Review: “Personal Best 2” by Sean Michael

TITLE: Personal Best 2
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: Personal Best
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; BDSM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 9, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Swimmer Mike Gauliet and coach Jessy Turner are back in this second book in the Personal Best series! Mike is moving up in the elite ranks of the American swim team, despite his repetitive stress injuries. He’s hiding his pain from Jessy, not wanting to give in to it or let his coach down, and by the time he gets treatment, it’s almost too late. Jessy helps Mike recover, both in an out of bed, and their need for each other grows as quickly as Mike’s career. They’re scorching hot and ready to go to the top competitions when another injury forces Mike to the sidelines. Jessy thinks this one is no accident, and Mike has to work hard to recover the lost ground. Jessy takes Mike away from the hustle and bustle of the training center, living on the coast while the two of them struggle with adversity. Mike gets back into competition form and his success is also Jessy’s. Can they keep everything together and keep their relationship from getting in the way of Mike’s Personal Best? Sean Michael triumphs with another sexy, captivating read! Look for book three of the Personal Best series to debut in 2008!


Personal Best 2 is the second book in the Personal Best series by Sean Michael. I loved this book. It’s packed full of sexy times, and I do mean packed full. Whether they were playing in the water, their playroom, the elevator, the hotel rooms after a swim meet, or their bedroom, these two had lots of stamina, and I loved the occasional dominate/submissive play to help Mike clear his head and focus his excess energy.

I loved the dynamic between Mike and Jessy. They flow beautifully from swimmer and coach to lovers. Jessy goes from being a complete hard-ass coach to being a protective dominate taking care of his submissive. And Mike needs somebody to tell him what to do. Otherwise, he would be in the pool twenty-four-seven and back to eating foods that would make him sick. I love how much he wants a Dr. Pepper and how he says it just get a reaction out of Jessy. I also liked that when push did come to shove that Jessy is willing to compromise and Mike is willing to compromise too.

I also liked when Jessy is there to help Mike recover from his injury, that is, after he gets over how furious he is with himself and Mike for keeping the injury to himself and his determination to continue to compete instead of taking a break and resting the injury. When he finally gets better from that injury and gets back up to competing again, he gets injured by another competitor. And he’s back to where he was before but with a longer recovery time.

But the book isn’t just pure sex. It does have a great plot also. The book does continue from book one, so I do recommend that you read Personal Best first before reading Personal Best 2 and the book does end in a happy for now ending, so I am looking forward to Personal Best 3 to come out and see how Mike does in his quest to win an Olympic medal.

I recommend this book to people that have enjoyed reading Sean Michael’s Iron Eagle Gym series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Living On Air” by Susan Mac Nicol

TITLE: Living On Air
AUTHOR: Susan Mac Nicol
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Boroughs Publishing
COVER ARTIST: Boroughs Publishing
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 236 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2018
PRICE: $0.99 – e-book/ $9.25 – paperback

BLURB:

PIERCING THE NIGHT
Cary Stilwell has been existing since he was ten years old, and each year it gets harder to find meaning in his bleak life. The only exception – his work. As a top-billed aerialist in a popular travelling circus, he enjoys accolades and applause, but little else. When notable photographer, Rhys McIntyre, joins the circus to catalogue its inner workings, Cary fights the attraction that hits him from the moment they meet. But a kind soul wrapped in a beautiful body has a way of battering all the walls Cary has built around his cold, dark heart.
WITH LIGHT
Rhys McIntyre is on his third iteration of reinventing himself. Once a hotdog financier, he embraced his passion for photography and became an eminent war photo journalist. Until one too many bullets lodged in his body, and he gave up the front lines for the softer side of chronicling life. When he accepts the assignment to record life in a circus, the last thing he expects is to find the man crush of his dreams. Except Cary Stilwell is a cold, tortured man who seems incapable of any warm emotion, never mind love. But Rhys is known for his persistence, and this time the pay-off might be more than he could have ever imagined.


Living On Air is the first book that I’ve read by Susan Mac Nicol. I liked the author’s writing style, but at times there were too many clichés and comparatives. There are quite a few author warnings for this book. It delves into subjects some people may find disturbing. There are elements of the main character’s past that include pedophilia, the dark side of religion, and the horrors of war. Aspects of the story include self-harm, depression, and suicide, and the book is set in a circus where clowns are featured.

For me, the constant self-harm of the main character Cary was a little much as was his constant pushing away of everybody. I get that he’s lived through a horrible childhood trauma and childhood abuse, including rape, from an authoritative figure which leads to him joining the circus at the age of 10. But he’s been with this circus family for over twenty years and he’s still rude and mean to everybody except for a few people that he’s less mean to, like Marco—the circus clown, Julian, Greta—the owner of the circus, and Lucy—his fellow aerialist. I would have thought that after twenty years he would have been friendlier to them. I did like how Cary explains why he self-harms and the different things he uses like a box cutter, the custom-made cilice, razor blade, and in a pinch a broken plastic fork. I did think it was realistic that he had good days and bad days although for him it was more like bad days and worse days until photographer Rhys joined the circus to do a coffee table book about the circus, then he had more good days versus bad days.

I liked Cary. As someone who has experience with self-harm and childhood molestation, I could empathize with Cary. It really is a living one-day-at-a-time and battling feelings of self-worth and placing the blame on yourself for what happened, when it really wasn’t your fault. And any little thing can trigger a breakdown. Cary Stilwell has been existing since he was ten years old, and each year it gets harder to find meaning in his bleak life. The only exception—his work. As a top-billed aerialist in a popular traveling circus, he enjoys accolades and applause, but little else. When notable photographer, Rhys McIntyre, joins the circus to catalog its inner workings, Cary fights the attraction that hits him from the moment they meet. But a kind soul wrapped in a beautiful body has a way of battering all the walls Cary has built around his cold, dark heart, and Cary will go through some dark times as they start to crumble, especially when he finds out that his childhood abuser isn’t dead like he thought. Will that be his tipping point or will he finally learn how to rely on his chosen family for help?

I liked Rhys. He used to be a war photojournalist and has gotten burned out on being shot and the evilness of what humans are capable of. With PTSD flashbacks, Rhys is trying to do something on the softer side with his photography and takes an assignment to record the life in the circus. He didn’t expect to be so attracted to the cold and moody silk ribbon aerialist. But Rhys is known for his persistence, and he sure has his work cut out for him.

Throughout reading the story, I wasn’t sure if Cary was ever going to let Rhys into his life. Even after Rhys found out about his cutting, Cary still didn’t want to let him into his life or rely on him for help. And then just when I thought that they might make it, something tragic happens in the circus, and it prompts Cary to take care of his past, and he sends Rhys away until it’s been taken care of. This happens at seventy percent point in the book, and I was very worried about their relationship. Their relationship does get back on track, and I was happy with the ending, which for me was more of a happy for now ending.

***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: “Fangs for the Memories” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Fangs for the Memories
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Dead and Breakfast
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 222 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 6, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Dead and Breakfast Novel
One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.
Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….
Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.
Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.


Fangs for the Memories is the second book in the Dead and Breakfast series and the thirty-first book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. Ever since reading Fangs and Catnip, the first book in the Dead and Breakfast series, I have eagerly awaited this book since it’s about Tom and his fated mate. We first met Tom in Fangs and Catnip. He was at the Dead and Breakfast Inn because he was a bitten wolf shifter and he was having trouble controlling his shifts. He became fast friends with Carter, a mountain lion shifter, who bounces around like Tigger on crack, Carter’s mate Fallon, who’s a vampire, and Tanner who’s a fierce bear shifter with a mothering streak.

When Tanner and Carter notice a rogue wolf on the property, they know that they’ll have to find a way to either get him to move on or he may end up one of their customer’s lunch. They think that maybe another wolf will be able to talk to him and help him so they contact Tom and see if he can come and help. Tom’s wolf loves to play in the snow, and the D & B has just gotten six inches of fresh powder. He also loves to help other shifters like he was helped by the D & B gang. He wasn’t expecting that the rogue wolf would be his mate or that he would be stuck in his wolf form, injured, malnourished, and missing his memories. Luckily for Tom because of the mate bond, they are able to communicate mentally, and he eventually finds out as his mate’s memories come back that his name is Nathan. It’s through the mate bond that Nathan will finally find the courage to shift back into his human form so that he can have a physical relationship with his mate.

Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper, his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But even stuck in his wolf form he recognizes his mate when Tom comes out in his wolf form to help him. But he’s been a wolf for so long, relying on his wolf’s instincts that it will be quite a while to learn to trust his mate and move in with him and allow him to help him. As his memories come back, he remembers where he was kept captive and that there were other shifters that were in cages with him when he escaped. When he tells the D & B gang, they figure out what kidnapped him and know that it’s only a matter of time before he tracks him down and captures him again. But will the D & B gang be able to defeat this powerful enemy and keep their love, and themselves, alive?

I loved reading this book and getting to see the Dead and Breakfast gang again. I’m hoping that the next book will be about Tanner finding his mate.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Fire and Agate” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Fire and Agate
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Carlisle Deputies
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: IN PAGES
RELEASE DATE: November 6, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Carlisle Deputies Novel
When Chris Anducci is moved off jail duty and into the sheriff’s office, he doesn’t expect his first assignment to be protecting a witness against a human trafficking ring. Knowing the new sheriff doesn’t abide screwups, Chris reluctantly agrees to work the case.
Pavle Kasun has spent the last four years of his life at the mercy of others. When an opportunity presented itself, he took it, resulting in his rescue. Now the safe houses he’s placed in are being threatened and he needs protection if he is to have any sort of chance at a life.
Chris opens his home to Pavle, but he doesn’t expect Pavle and his story to get under his skin… and stay there. Soon they discover they have more in common than either of them thought. Slowly Pavle comes out of his shell and Chris finds someone who touches his heart. But as the men looking for Pavle close in, they will stop at nothing to get him out of the way. Even if Chris can keep him safe, he might not be able to protect his heart if Pavle moves back home.


Fire and Agate is the third book in the Carlisle Deputies series by Andrew Grey. I loved this book. I just couldn’t put it down. The writing style is easy to read and has an easy flow to it. Andrew Grey did it again with a wonderful plot and complex characters. I loved how Pavle and Chris interacted and the chemistry they had together. I also loved the supporting characters like Briggs, Pastor Tyrone and his family, Nanna, and the social worker, Marie. They were all there to help and support Pavle, and I thought that was wonderful. My only complaint with the story would be that they don’t say who the leak in the sheriff’s department was. Otherwise, I loved how the story ends.

Chris Anducci has recently moved from jail duty to working in the sheriff’s office. He doesn’t expect his first assignment to be protecting a witness against a human trafficking ring. Even though he doesn’t have a lot of experience protecting people, he knows that the new sheriff doesn’t abide screw-ups and so Chris reluctantly agrees to work the case. He has no idea just how much he will come to admire and care for the young man that he’s assigned to protect. I loved how he puts aside his attraction and makes sure that he never does anything to distress Pavle.

Pavle Kasun has spent the last four years of his life at the mercy of others. When somebody finally moves in next door, it’s the opportunity that he’s been waiting for and it ends up resulting in his rescue. However, the safe houses that he’s been placed in are being threatened by people that don’t want him to testify. He’s going to need protection if he’s to have any chance at a life. I really enjoyed Pavle. He has a spine of steel and doesn’t let what’s happened to him stop him from going after what he wants. He very much wants to live in the future and not the past. I loved his interactions with Nanna. They always made me laugh.

I loved that Chris opens his home to Pavle and how Pavle comes out of his shell and how Chris doesn’t turn his house into another jail when Pavle wants to go to church. I also loved how protective he is of Pavle when they realize that there’s a leak in the department. I just wished that we got to find out who the other leak was in the department besides the person who was named. And of course, I loved the chemistry between Pavle and Chris.

Overall, a great story and a great addition to the series. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Trex or Treat” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Trex or Treat
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 34 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 31, 2018
PRICE: $1.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.
Josh’s son, Ernie, can’t wait to go, so Josh dresses up like a movie cowboy and saunters over. It’ll be the best Halloween of Ernie’s life, but there’s another sharpshooter roaming the dark corridors, and this one might have a special treat for Josh….
Second Edition
First Edition published by Etopia Press in Halloween Heat (IV anthology), October 2012.


Trex or Treat was a cute, sweet, sexy story by Tara Lain. It has great story building for such a short story, and I found myself smiling through the book as I was reading it. I really enjoyed the main characters and their families. I liked that both main characters are single fathers in a way. With Josh being a single father to his son, Ernie, and Bradley “Trex” Trexler being a father figure to his younger stepbrother, Beauregard “Bogo.” I also liked that they both are going to be working at the same university since Josh is a busy college professor and Trex is a grad student and TA, doing his final paper on homosexual activity in opportunistic settings, like cowboys who are thrown together out on the range versus being a biological homosexual. I also liked that he’s a fan of Professor Harris and is using some of his books for research on his paper. Trex had a little bit of hero worship that was really cute with the crush that Josh had on him. Trex also wasn’t shy about going for what he wanted, which was apparent when he invited Josh back to his haunted house for the adult party that was being held after the kids had all gone home. My favorite part of the haunted house was of the televisions playing horror movies and how that changed during the adult party portion.

Overall, a super cute, sweet, and sexy short story that fans of Tara Lain will love. If there was anything that I would change it would be that I would love another book about this couple to see how their relationship progresses since the book was so short.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis