Review: “Redeeming the Stepbrother” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Redeeming the Stepbrother
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Tales from St. Giles
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Tale from St. Giles
Family can be a blessing and a curse, but for artist Florian, it’s a nightmare he longs to escape.
As chief designer for Bartholomew Artist Porcelain, Florian specializes in painting birds. He also watches them in the wild to distract himself from his short-tempered mother, at least temporarily. Florian’s heart is too soft to leave his stepsister, Ella, to suffer alone. Still, he can’t help dreaming about one day finding happiness and love.
When Count Dieter von Hollenbach arrives in town to visit a friend and present an award, he isn’t looking for romance. Then again, he doesn’t expect someone as perfect as Florian to come into his life. To make sure Florian is all he seems and that their connection is genuine, Dieter keeps his title to himself.
But he isn’t the only one with a secret.
At a masquerade ball to celebrate the award, some of the masks fall away, but those that remain in place could destroy the love beginning to grow between them.


Redeeming the Stepbrother is the second book in the Tales of St. Giles series by Andrew Grey. I loved the first book in the series, Taming the Beast, which was a play on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
The second book is a play on the Cinderella fairy tale, but Andrew Grey has made it his own because the story isn’t about Cinderella, which would be the stepsister, it’s about one of the stepbrothers, who wants to protect his stepsister. There is still the evil stepmother and the rotten stepbrother, but there is only one rotten stepbrother instead of two. The good stepbrother, Florian, is old enough and makes enough to be on his own instead of still living at home but that would leave his underage stepsister at the mercy of his selfish and self-absorbed mother, who treats his stepsister like her own personal servant. So Florian stays to play mediator. I loved how he stands up to his mom and his brother ‘cause they are both a piece of work.

Florian and his brother both work at the Bartholomew Artist Porcelain, however, Florian is loved by his design team and everybody at the company, and his brother is hated by his co-workers. So when his brother gets passed over for a supervisor’s promotion, it has to be his brother’s fault since he’s been seen talking to the owners and the German representative that is there to present an award that the company has won.

I loved Florian. He’s kind and sweet and doesn’t take shit from his family but there isn’t a lot of gay people in their little town, and he’s kind of lonely. And he may have had a crush on his boss, Dante for the longest time, although he’s had to give that up when his boss got married, and he can see how in love they are and how they complete each other. Florian is a chief designer and specializes in painting birds. He’s won numerous awards, and it’s because of his work that they have won another award. He also loves to watch the birds in the wild to help with design ideas, and it’s in the marshes that he first meets Dieter von Hollenbach. And he falls for him fast and hard. But he knows that a relationship between them is not realistic since Dieter is only going to be in town for two weeks before going back home. Will Florian go with him when he goes and if he does what will happen to his stepsister?

Count Dieter von Hollenbach is in town to visit his friend Dante and award his company with an award. When he gets into town, he goes to the local hotspot for seeing birds and gets stuck in the mud and is lucky that Florian is there to save him. He didn’t come looking for love, but that didn’t stop it from happening. But is Florian really as wonderful as he seems and how will he react when Dieter tells him that he’s a count?

I liked how Dieter and Florian interacted together, and I loved getting to see more of Dante and Beau from the first book. I especially liked how the book ended, and I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Love You So Hard” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Love You So Hard
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: The Love You So Stories
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 77 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 6, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

A Love You So Story
Craig Elson’s life has hit rock bottom. Even though he’s one of the best strategic planners around, a more confident guy takes credit for his work, and despite being a good-looking man, he suffers insults from the slimiest creep at the bar. Taking care of his beloved mom, who has Alzheimer’s, uses all his funds, leaving him in a plain, depressing car… and a plain, depressing life.
Until he sees gorgeous grad student Jesse Randall and his T-shirt that reads “I Would Bottom You So Hard.” The message seeps into Craig’s soul, and he asks Jesse to teach him to top.
Jesse’s had his eye on the quiet hottie who comes into the coffee shop, and he’s more than eager to perfect his tutoring. He sets out to get Craig a new job, a new apartment, and a new life so far outside plain and depressing that it’s unrecognizable.The problem is, Craig loves his lessons—and his teacher—too much to want to graduate. How can Craig reach the top without losing his sassy bottom?


Love You So Hard is the first book in the Love You So series by Tara Lain. I thought this was such a cute novella. Fans of Tara Lain’s books will not be disappointed. She managed to whisk me away from reality, and for a couple of hours, I was immersed in the world of Craig and Jesse. This is another of her stories that take place in and around Laguna Beach. The story was well written, detailed, and had loveable characters.

I liked Craig. He was so very boring and had such low self-esteem that he allowed everybody to walk all over him. He has a great job, but it isn’t until he’s passed up for a promotion that he realizes that his more confident coworker has been stealing his ideas and passing them off as his own. Feeling blindsided he decides to take vacation time and reevaluate his life and make some changes. He doesn’t want to be Mr. Boring Unseen Guy anymore. He has a crush on a guy that came into the coffee shop wearing a t-shirt that said: “I Would Bottom You So Hard.” He overhears that his crush is a student who tutors for money and he decides to ask him if he would tutor him in being a top. Even though Craig is thirty-two all he’s ever been allowed to do is bottom. Jesse agrees to tutor him in being a top and also help him remodel his self-image and his life.

I loved Jesse. He is so happy, fun loving, and confident. He knew what he wanted to do with his future and he was very honest and sweet. Basically, he was everything that Craig wasn’t. Although, they were both sweet and caring men. There were plenty of steamy hot scenes between the two and lots of chemistry.

The only thing that would have made this book better is if we’d gotten Jesse’s POV also. The story was told through Craig’s POV only. I was also bummed that the book ended at eighty-one percent. And while I was excited to find out that there’s going to be another book in the series, I would have loved nineteen percent more of Craig and Jesse’s story.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Kiss Me Forever” by M.J. O’Shea

TITLE: Kiss Me Forever
AUTHOR: M.J. O’Shea
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal; Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 3, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Forever is too long to be alone.
Professor Avery Cook has spent his career researching the mysterious side of New Orleans. Superstitions, legends, and lore—Avery has an academic explanation for all of them….
Until one night when he walks into a bar and his life changes.
In a sea of impossibly beautiful people, Tyson stands out, and he sweeps Avery off his feet with his old-world charm and romanticism. But there’s a darkness in Tyson too, and Avery discovers Tyson is part of a world he thought existed only in books and stories—the paranormal tales he studies at the university.
Tyson’s been lonely for a long time, and he’s falling in love with Avery. But his past is a long one, and it’s full of enemies and danger. The best way to keep Avery safe is to push him away….


Kiss Me Forever by M.J. O’Shea is the seventeenth book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. This is the first book that I have read by this author, and I quite enjoyed the authors writing style. She did a great job of making me wonder what kind of paranormal Tyson is as well as his live-in housekeeper/companion Mrs. Peggs. For the longest time, I was sure Tyson was a vampire but nope no go. Then I was thinking that he was like Dorian Gray and he had a portrait somewhere that was keeping him young. But that was wrong also. So to say that I was invested in the story if only to figure out what he was, was a given.

I also enjoyed all of the supporting characters, like the other paranormals Donovan, Dan, and Brooke and Avery’s group of friends, Vaughn and Macy and his teacher’s assistant, Kelsey. They helped flesh out the storyline and through them we got some more history and details about the main characters, Avery and Tyson.

I hated Tyson’s ex-girlfriend, who every couple of decades comes around and makes his life hell and will threaten the people in his life that he cares about to get her way. I thought the author did a great job with the ex-girlfriends character as I screamed at Tyson that he should really kill her more than once especially when he pushed Avery away in order to keep him safe, not that it was very successful.

I liked Avery, but I thought he was a little dense at times. Like when they went to the paranormal bar for the first time. I would have thought that he would have picked up on the paranormal aspect of the people faster since he teaches local paranormal history and has a class called Origins of Myths and Legends. But alas nope, he doesn’t trust his instincts or really questions why Tyson and his friends are different, and when he does ask questions, he allows them to be brushed aside. So that kind of kept me from loving him in the beginning but his character grew on me as their relationship progressed.

I really liked Tyson. He’s been around for six centuries, and he loves to learn so the fact that he looks around the age of a college student has really helped him fit in around campus. When he gets bored with life he goes back to college and gets another degree. He likes to keep to himself and guards what kind of paranormal he is even from his friends that he’s known for centuries. He learned that hard lesson centuries ago from his ex-girlfriend. But when he meets Avery for the first time, it’s love at first sight, and they can’t stay apart. That is until his psycho ex shows up again. Now Tyson has to decide how to handle his ex. He can’t do what he normally does by disappearing until she gives up on trying to find him, not with Avery in his life. Will he allow her to ruin his relationship or will he finally do something about it? Tyson will have to decide just how much Avery means to him.

I liked this book, and it lived up to my expectations of the Dreamspun Beyond series. I would read another book by this author.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Mage of Inconvenience” by Parker Foye

TITLE: Mage of Inconvenience
AUTHOR: Parker Foye
SERIES: Dreamspun Beyond
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal;Shapeshifter; Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 212 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Can they find the magic in a practical union?
West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….
Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….
West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible.


Mage of Inconvenience is the first book that I’ve read by Parker Foye, but I liked the blurb, and I’ve loved the books in the Dreamspun Beyond series. And since this is the sixteenth book in the series, I figured I would give it a chance. I liked the book. I liked the author’s writing style and the plot. I also liked the characters. And while by the end of the book I could feel the love that the two main characters had for each other, I would have loved to have seen more passion in the book. However, the lack of sex isn’t going to keep me from reading more books from Parker Foye since I really did enjoy the book even if it only had kissing and a self-pleasuring scene.

West is a werewolf or as they are now called a “Meta” and has left his pack to live among the humans. He works at a dinner and keeps his head down and stays out of trouble. He found an abandoned cabin in the woods near town and is blessed that it has been protected by mage symbols. West is full of secrets which we learn about as the story progresses, although I would have liked more detail about why West ran away from his pack. The author glosses over the details, and we get bits and pieces of what happened. When something disrupts his defense system, he will need to find a mage to renew his magical defenses before his pack can find him. He calls the only person from his pack that he can trust. His best friend, Dana. Dana recommends the mage Julian.

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family and is a bit of a playboy. He doesn’t do relationships anymore after one resulted in a magical mistake that he needs his mother’s spell books to fix. However, in order to get his mother’s inheritance, he has to get married. So when West comes in to have his magical defenses renewed, it seems like the perfect fix to all of his problems. He gets a husband so that he can inherit and West gets a place to stay while his defenses are being renewed. Now doesn’t that sound easy? I bet they wished that it had gone so easy, but unfortunately it didn’t. And you’re just going to have to read the book to find out all of the things that they had to go through to get their happily ever after.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Wolf’s Man Friday” by Julia Talbot

TITLE:  The Wolf’s Man Friday
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Nose to Tail, Inc.
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Christine Griffin
GENRE: Shapeshifter; Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

The last thing Sebastian Zeller wants is to be pack Alpha. But when the pack leader, his uncle Ron, is attacked, he has no choice but to leave his beloved Colorado mountains and fulfill his duty as Ron’s heir—at least until his uncle recovers. In the meantime, he intends to lure the attacker out… and make them pay.
When Ron gets wind of Sebastian’s plan to catch the attacker, he doesn’t like the idea of risking his heir. That’s where Jaxon Reedis comes in—he’ll balance protecting the dark and sexy werewolf with pretending to be his personal assistant. He’s walking a fine line that requires all his foxy wit and craftiness… and that’s on top of the inescapable feeling that he and Sebastian are meant for each other. When the attacker returns, will they be able to maintain their deepening bond when danger threatens to tear down everything they’re building?


The Wolf’s Man Friday is the second book in the Nose to Tail, Inc. series by Julia Talbot. I was of two minds about this book. I thought the first half of the book was kind of slow and a little bit confusing. I was a little bit confused with why Sebastian’s Uncle Ray was attacked and where they were and why they were only going to be there for a short time before going back to their pack territory in Colorado. I was also confused by the pack dynamic, but it was explained a little bit more in the second half of the book. I was also confused by the dialog between Sebastian and Jaxon. The story was written where it was like they could hear each other’s internal thoughts but only part of the time, but they never addressed it or explained if it was part of them becoming mates or something else. It was kind of confusing. I liked the book a lot better after Jaxon and Sebastian got together. I loved their chemistry and all of their sexy times together, and when they would cuddle up in their animal forms and groom each other.

I liked Sebastian. He was an interesting character although at times a little wishy-washy. He had moments when he was with his friend Alan, and he would act juvenile and reckless, then he wouldn’t want to be the next leader of the pack and only want to be a designer, but he wouldn’t stand up for himself and tell his uncle that. But then there would be times when he would have a very alpha personality. So yeah kind of a wishy-washy personality. Made it a little bit harder to like him in the beginning. He definitely didn’t have next leader potential, which is what the author was going for, so I guess she did a good job conveying that.

I loved Jaxon. He was the perfect portrayal of a fox shifter. He was fun and mischievous but knew when to be serious and protective. He’d gone to butler school to learn how to be a jack of all trades in addition to being a bodyguard. He was hired by Sebastian’s uncle to pose as Sebastian’s personal assistant and protect him after Sebastian’s uncle found out that Sebastian was trying to catch his attacker. I liked how Jaxon’s level-headedness is a perfect foil for Sebastian’s more impulsive nature.

I also enjoyed the end of the story, and I’m intrigued to find out what happens with Cheyenne and his twin Cinturon. I hope they get their own books and Alan also.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis