Review of: Fire and Obsidian by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Fire and Obsidian
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Carlisle Deputies
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2019

BLURB:

A Carlisle Deputies Novel
Can a couple be more opposite than a thief and a cop? Or do they have more in common than they think?
Mattias stole to survive. He was damn good at it. But there’s no such thing as a victimless crime, and when he saw how his theft hurt people, he resolved to change. Now he works as a consultant, and while helping to investigate a rash of burglaries, he crosses paths with James.
Police Officer James Levinson doesn’t trust thieves, and that includes Mattias. James’s father stole to support himself, and James knows firsthand how that can destroy lives—it inspired him to go into law enforcement. Mattias is no different, from what he can tell… at first.
As they work together, Mattias and James realize there’s something deeper between them than just the physical attraction neither can deny. Given time, they might even grow to trust each other—unless the case they’re working on dredges up pasts both would rather forget.


Fire and Obsidian is the fourth book in the Carlisle Deputies series by Andrew Grey. I loved reading it. It had everything that I’ve come to expect from Andrew Grey and this series. Sexy deputies, usually an opposites attract trope, an interesting case that they are trying to solve, catching the bad guy, some sexy times and hot chemistry. This book didn’t let me down. The characters were complex, the story was fast-paced, and I had a lot of fun trying to guess who the thief they were trying to catch was.

I loved Mattias Dumont. He grew up in the foster care system and learned how to steal to survive, and he was great at it. But he learned that there’s no such thing as a victimless crime, and when he saw how his theft hurt people, he resolved to change. I loved that he now works as a consultant, and while helping to investigate a rash of burglaries, he crosses paths with James. And during a demonstration of how good he is at stealing, he ends up lifting James’ gun, which doesn’t do anything to endear Mattias to James. Especially when they end up getting paired up together to solve the cases.

I also liked Police Officer James Levinson. He doesn’t trust thieves, and that includes Mattias. He has personal experience with thieves since James’ father stole to support himself, and James knows firsthand how that can destroy lives. It was what inspired him to go into law enforcement. And from what he can tell, Mattias is no different, at first.

Unforeseen circumstances will end up having Mattias living with James for a while as they’re working on the case. And James is forced to see that Mattias has put his past behind him and is trying to do the right thing. As they work together, Mattias and James realize there’s something deeper between them than just the physical attraction neither can deny. Given time, they might even grow to trust each other, unless the case they’re working on dredges up pasts both would rather forget.

Mattias will end up having to use contacts that he would rather not use, and James will finally have to choose between family and the job. Can their relationship survive?

I so enjoyed reading this book, and I know that you will too. Fans of Andrew Grey will not be disappointed.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Rebound by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Rebound
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 12, 2019

BLURB:

Professional basketball player Bri Early needs a physical therapist after an injury, and he’s heard that Obie is the best. Bri takes an immediate liking to the out-and-proud man with the magic touch, and even though Bri isn’t openly gay himself, he’d never let anything stand in the way of something he wants.
Obie can’t deny that the sexy athlete presses all his buttons, but he’s a professional and has no intention of getting involved with a client. While they’re working together, it’s hands off, no matter how great the temptation.
But being a pro athlete isn’t easy. Bri has enemies, and one of them is making his life hell. When his house is set ablaze, Bri can no longer pretend the threatening messages he’s receiving are jokes. He needs a safe place to stay, and Obie can’t turn his back. But the two of them in the same house is a recipe for combustion that could burn them both….


I loved reading Rebound by Andrew Grey. The book’s a standalone with a great cast of diverse characters. I loved how fun and free Obie and his friends were. They were constantly making me smile, and I want more of Obie, David, and Chippy. And Bri and his friends were the exact opposite. They were much more serious and focused, but then they are athletes, and that’s what’s needed to compete professionally. I also loved how much fun the author had with the names since I’m a huge Star Wars fan.

I loved Bri Early. He’s a professional basketball player, and he’s been injured in a game and needs a physical therapist. However, he’s so focused on getting better as quickly as possible that he’s gotten a bit of a reputation and his physical therapists keep quitting on him. He’s one step away from looking up physical therapists in the yellow pages when his coach gets a call back from Obie. Obie was the physical therapist for Monty, who’s the husband of Hunter, one of Bri’s friends. Bri knows that Obie was able to really help Monty and so he has high hopes that he can get him back to full extension and back on the courts.

I also loved Obie. He’s a physical therapist that focuses on healing the whole body and not just the part that’s injured. He believes in clean living and healthy eating and full body massages to help relax the other muscles that are being strained due to the knee injury that Bri is dealing with. I liked how Obie can’t deny that the sexy athlete presses all of his buttons, but I loved how he’s a professional and has no intention of getting involved with a client. And while they’re working together, it is hands off no matter how great the temptation is, which leads to a great buildup of sexual chemistry. This story is definitely a slow burn.

I also loved how the author was able to show us that being a pro athlete isn’t easy. Bri has enemies, and one of them is making his life hell and unfortunately escalating his threats. When his house is set ablaze, Bri can’t pretend that the threatening messages he’s receiving are jokes any longer. He needs a safe place to stay, and Obie can’t turn his back. But the two of them in the same house is a recipe for combustion that could burn them both because Bri is in the closet and Obie is out and proud.

I really enjoyed reading this book about a basketball player falling for his physical therapist. It’s another great book by Andrew Grey.

***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: Coming Up For Air by Amanda Meuwissen

TITLE: Coming Up For Air
AUTHOR: Amanda Meuwissen
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: April 30, 2019

BLURB:

It’s not easy being someone’s fairy tale.
Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.
Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.
Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.
But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.


Coming Up For Air by Amanda Meuwissen is the first book that I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be the last book that I read by her. The book had complex characters and an interesting plot. I was entertained from the first page to the last.

The book is based loosely on the “Little Mermaid” fairy tale. I liked that the author changed up the roles of the fairy tale and made the story her own. In this tale, we have two warring mobs fighting for each other’s territory, seedy dock workers, thieves, and many other unsavory characters. Then you have the merfolk. They aren’t like in the Little Mermaid. The merfolk have three possible forms. In their original form, they have razor sharp teeth, long sharp claws, and are deadly fighters who live to drown humans. They also have a form that looks more like a friendly merman with normal human-like features except for their tails, which are still very much a merman’s tail. Then they have their human form complete with human legs which they only get when they share a kiss with a human.

The kiss grants the human special abilities also, like the ability to breathe underwater and achieve the human-like merfolk form, although they only get that form if they bond with the merman. But bestowing a kiss on a human isn’t without its consequences. Ancient laws state that if the merman is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, the merman will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.

Tolomeo, aka Tolly, comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different. He was raised to be kind to humans and other creatures of the sea. When he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. If he isn’t able to obtain a vow of love by the one he kissed, then he will be put to death upon returning to the water.

Leigh Hurley is best friends with Mob boss Arthur Sweeney’s son, Alvin, and Leigh has been making a name for himself by being a little bit like “Robin Hood.” Trying to make a name for himself and move up in the ranks in Sweeney’s Mob, he steals payments that are supposed to be being paid to the mob run by the Moretti brothers and eventually ends up getting caught and getting weights shackled to his ankles and taking a swim in the river. But somehow he escapes certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking up on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss. And then Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment. And he ends up becoming Leigh’s bodyguard/boyfriend. But even though Tolly can see and feel how much Leigh loves him, Leigh doesn’t believe in saying the words. And the ancient laws state that he has to make the vow out loud to count. What will Tolly do?

I loved both Leigh and Tolly. I loved the chemistry between them, and I was completely invested in their feelings and actions. They even made me cry a couple of times, and I love when that happens because it shows just how invested I have become in their story.

I hope that the author will write many more books about the merfolk because I can’t be the only one out there that loves reading about them. I also can’t wait to read more books 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 of: Wisdom’s Allegiance by M.D. Grimm

TITLE: Wisdom’s Allegiance
AUTHOR: M.D. Grimm
SERIES: The Shifter Chronicles
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: MMM, Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: May 28, 2019

BLURB:

The Shifter Chronicles: Book Thirteen
Can a loyal and sensual owl shifter couple woo a human mate who’s convinced he’s an ugly duckling?
When socially awkward Dexter Fortis rescues an elf owl blown off course by a storm, he has no idea the bird is a shifter named Orion. Or that his life is about to change.
Orion falls in love with the kind custodian, but he must convince his long-term partner, Talon, that Dexter is just who they’ve been searching for to establish a permanent ménage. Even if they can gently break down Dexter’s walls, they’ll have to contend with a dangerous cult rising in the shifter community and a hidden enemy determined to keep Dexter from them


Wisdom’s Allegiance is the thirteenth book in the Shifter Chronicles series by M.D. Grimm. The books are mostly standalone. Two of the books are sequels to previous books and so aren’t counted in the series numbers. Those two wouldn’t be standalone, but the others are. I loved the cover of the book and was sucked in by the blurb, and although I saw that it was the thirteenth book in the series, I decided I wanted to review it. I’m so glad that I did. I absolutely loved the book and promptly went out and bought the series bundle so I can go back and read the first nine books. The book was everything I was looking for in a paranormal shifter book. There was fated mates with a human being one of the mates, a great plot with villains from both the shifter community and the human community trying to protect their species, and for once, I found a paranormal book that I loved that didn’t have any male pregnancy in it. Usually, I love m-preg, but with this book and its plot, I found that I didn’t miss it.

I loved how bubbly Orion is. He’s this cute, cuddly elf owl that Dexter rescues from a bad snow storm on his way home from work. Orion falls in love quickly, but he’s sure that Dexter is his true mate. All he has to do is convince his long-term partner, Talon, that Dexter is who they’ve been searching for to establish a permanent ménage.

I loved Talon. He’s a great-horned owl, and he’s fierce and protective of the people he loves. And he’s as opposite as can be from his long-term mate, Orion. Hence them trying to find a third mate to bridge the gap and give them both what they are missing in their relationship.

I also loved Dexter. He’s human, painfully shy, unloved by his family because he can’t live up to their expectations even though he went to Notre Dame just like his perfect younger brother. He has two strikes against him in his family’s eyes. He’s overweight, and he’s gay. He has a couple of friends, has never had a date or a boyfriend, has a little bit of sexual experience but not much, and has enormous self-esteem and self-worth issues. He can’t believe that two handsome men are interested in him being their friend let alone their boyfriend. I love how fierce he is about protecting Orion when he believes he’s being insulted or in danger. I also loved how Orion is able to pull Dexter out of his painfully shy shell and how Talon’s steady presence and approval help also.

I also loved when Dexter spends New Year’s Eve with Talon and Orion’s family, and he was instantly accepted and found a new family to love and be loved by.

Overall, a fabulous book and if this book is any indication of what I can look forward to in the series, then I can’t recommend this book or this series enough.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis