Review: “Out of the Shadows” by K.C. Wells

TITLE: Out of the Shadows
AUTHOR: K.C. Wells
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 250 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?


Do you ever read a book and think that it was exactly what you needed in that moment in time? Like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, filling your whole body with warmth and happiness, or a big hug from someone when you’re feeling low, letting you know that you are loved, and everything will be okay. Well, this book gave me all of that and more. Every atom of me was practically radiating joy, comfort and love while reading this stunningly beautiful story. I can’t believe the way I’m feeling now that I’m finished. It’s strange because I’m not sad that it’s done because I seriously can’t stop smiling. Normally I would be having a bit of mood dip because I loved the book and didn’t want it to end, but this story had the opposite effect, it’s left me with an emotional high that I really didn’t expect. It was bliss.

Christian Hernandez is basically a recluse. After an accident eight years ago that left him with serious burns and scarring, he hides away in his apartment and never leaves. He’s so afraid of other people’s reactions to how he looks, that he’s cut off all physical contact with the outside world. His groceries are delivered to the outside of his door, where he then takes them in after the delivery person has left. If he needs to leave the house when he feels like the walls are closing in, he leaves it until late at night when most people are back in their homes, and he can disappear in the shadows. The highlight of his days is watching one of the handymen that works around the grounds of his apartment building tending to the gardens. Christian has an attraction to the man but knows he’s safe being able to admire him from behind his patio blind. When he receives a letter from the apartment housing association telling him that his kitchen and bathrooms are going to be renovated, Christian’s world is thrown into a tailspin. He resigns himself to being locked away in his bedroom for as long as the work takes.

Josh Wendell has heard the stories and gossip about the resident in building 197. How he never leaves the house and how no one has ever seen him. But Josh never usually pays attention to rumours or other people’s opinions and likes to make up his own mind. When Josh is promoted by the housing association to upgrade the apartments, he discovers that he’s going to be working in the home of the mystery man. After a couple of days of conversation through locked doors, Josh and Christian start to become friendly and are able to laugh and joke with each other. But when Christian falls coming out of the shower and injures himself, the two men finally have their first face to face encounter.

Through their common interests, and with the help of Josh’s friends, Christian begins to come out of his self-imposed solitude and to become part of the big world again. He pushes his boundaries far beyond what he ever thought possible and learns that life can be so wonderful if you let your worries go and just enjoy what it has to offer.

There’s so much I want to say about this book, but I really don’t think I can fully express how much I loved it with just words. Christian made my heart want to break into a million pieces. His loneliness was often too much to take because he was just existing and not living each day. Josh was like sunshine on a rainy day when he entered Christian’s life. He gave Christian something he needed, but that he didn’t realise he was missing until that day. There were so many parts throughout the story that had me giggling and grinning, you would think I was a love-struck schoolgirl. The connection between Josh and Christian was so incredibly sweet that I couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy with each and every word I read.

A huge and very well deserved 5 stars for this book and author. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this happy and joyful at the end of a book, and I think it’ll be a while before I come down from the cloud I’m currently floating on. But while I’m here, I’m going to enjoy every second of it, just like I did with this story.

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

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Review: “Changing Tides” by Alex Standish

TITLE: Changing Tides
AUTHOR: Alex Standish
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska
GENRE: Historical Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 117 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 16, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

While most pirates sail in search of riches, Captain Devon Hall, the infamous Phantom of the Caribbean, is driven by vengeance. Devon has sworn to put an end to the corrupt governor of Jamaica and break the ruthless man’s stranglehold in the Caribbean.

When Devon is wounded and stranded on land, an unlikely rescuer comes to his aid. Brett Campbell is nothing like his uncle, the governor, and his goals are not so different from Devon’s. Brett longs for freedom, but his obligations to protect those under his uncle’s control keep him from fleeing. Throwing in with Devon might increase both their chances of success—and survival.

When the governor’s attempts to destroy Devon escalate and place Brett in danger and in the hands of the ruthless and depraved pirate Captain Blackburn, Devon must risk everything to save the man he loves and repay his enemies.

All Devon’s ever wanted is his ship, his freedom, friends who stand by his side through thick and thin, and someone to love. But facing dangers at sea and on land, Devon wonders if they will live to enjoy it all.


Set in the islands and waters of the Caribbean in 1690, Changing Tides is a really entertaining and exciting adventure story of treasure hunting, revenge and romance.

Pirate Captain Devon Hall is the epitome of the lovable rogue. He’s all good looks and charisma, but is also pretty ruthless when he needs to be, and most of the not so good things he does are to help/benefit other people. When his father is killed on the instruction of the governor of Jamaica, Rupert Campbell, Devon swears revenge, and he sets out to make sure that he destroys the man and everything he has. When Devon is injured, he wakes through periods of unconsciousness to a voice and room he doesn’t recognise. When he becomes fully awake and aware of his surroundings, he’s shocked to discover that he’s in the house of his biggest enemy, and is being looked after by the man’s nephew, Brett Campbell. At first, Devon tries to pretend that he’s just an innocent traveller who’s been attacked on the road, but Brett tells him that he knows exactly who Devon is because there are wanted pictures all around the house and there’s no need to worry because he’s not like his uncle. Brett is willing to look after and protect Devon for as long as it takes him to heal. Devon is unsure at first, but as the days go on the two men form a friendship, and Devon begins to trust Brett and enjoy his company. Devon also finds Brett to be really attractive, so he’s happy with this arrangement.

Brett Campbell is nothing like the man people expect him to be. When they find out who his uncle is, they expect him to be the same cold-hearted and brutal person. But Brett is a sweet and caring man who just wants to be happy and treat people how he would like to be treated. Brett doesn’t agree with how his uncle runs Jamaica, or how he treats the people, especially the slaves that work on his plantation. On more than one occasion, Brett has stepped in to protect the slaves from the harsh and unfair foremen on the plantation and the punishments that they hand out. He knows how corrupt his uncle is, because his uncle basically stole his inheritance from him, and now by helping and hiding one of the most wanted pirates in the house, he’s giving his uncle another reason to hate him more than he already does if he ever finds out. Brett is surprised by the connection and attraction he feels towards Devon as he’s never been with another man, but he knows it feels right, even if other people will see it as being wrong.

What started out as one man doing what he knew in his heart to be the right thing by giving aid to someone in need, leads to a journey of swashbuckling sea battles, fighting for survival, unexpected encounters, falling in love, and finding peace and happiness.

This book was just an awesome read. I was transported to another little world, and I was really sad to leave it when the story ended. The plot totally captivated me, and I wish the book could have been a bit longer. The characters were so enjoyable and easy to connect with. I think my favourite was actually one of the supporting characters, Cody Sullivan. He was sweet, quick-witted and mischievous. I just wanted to give him a big hug and look after him. I thought he was so adorable and would love to have a story just about him.

For me, this book pushed all of the right buttons, even though the romance was a very slow burner. But because there was so much going on, I felt that it was right for the romance to almost take a side step. When we do finally get down to the first kiss and the first time they sleep together, it made it all the more satisfying.

If you like historical romance or stories about pirates (how can you not?) then I’d highly recommend this book.

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

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Review: “Sparkle and Shine” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Sparkle and Shine
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Western
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 72 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

All that glitters is not gold. No-frills cowboy Evan learned that lesson the hard way while married to a rodeo princess, a relationship that was all flash and no substance. At least Evan held on to his daughter, Cheyenne, and his best friend, Brooks, when the sparkle wore off and things fell apart. Life could be a lot worse.

But it could also be better… if Evan and Brooks took a step beyond friendship. Just as they start to explore their feelings, Evan’s ex-wife sticks her nose in to sabotage them. Suddenly everything is up in the air, and they have difficult choices to make about the rodeo, Cheyenne, and the romance they both want so badly to pursue.

2nd Edition


Sparkle and shine was a short but fun little read. Yes, the plot was obvious and predictable, and sometimes a little bit too sickly-sweet, but I did enjoy reading it in the small amount of time that it took.

Evan has been a single dad to his smart and adorable little girl, Cheyenne, since his ex-wife left them 5 years ago. He has taken part in the rodeo circuit for most of his life along with his best friend, Brooks. But Evan hasn’t been at his best lately and thinks that he’s getting too old to take part now. Evan believes it’s time to settle down because Cheyenne is getting older and needs more of an education than he can provide on his own. At the same time, this life is all he’s known, and he doesn’t know if he can just walk away, especially because that means that he won’t be with Brooks all of the time. Unknown to Brooks, Evan has been hiding the fact that he has had a crush on him for a quite a long time, and he’s finding it harder to keep those feelings at bay.

When Evan tells Brooks that he’s thinking of leaving the circuit, Brooks can’t believe what he’s hearing. He doesn’t want to do the circuit without Evan because he loves spending time and travelling around the country with him, but Brooks has also become very attached to Cheyenne, and leaving the little girl and her father behind would break his heart. As far as Brooks is concerned, they’re like a family to him because he’s got no one left of his own anymore. Brooks has also been trying to push back the strong feelings that he’s having towards Evan because one day he started to look at him as more than just his friend. But Brooks doesn’t want to do anything that will ruin the friendship/bond that he has with Evan either.

When a few drinks after a show in Vegas leads from one thing to another, Evan and Brooks realise that there is no going back to just being friends, and decide to explore where the journey of being lovers will take them. In their case, what happens in Vegas will not being staying in Vegas. But the two men have a few challenges to face along the way, including homophobia and an ex-wife who only cares about herself and what she can get.

This book was the first I’ve read by this author, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Both the characters and dialogue between them were really well written and felt true and natural. The accent and cowboy twang was very distinct in the writing and definitely added to how the story came across. I’m really glad I got the chance to read this book because it was a great little light-hearted, lift-your-spirits story that left me with a huge grin on my face and forgetting about all my worries when I was done.

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

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Review: “Runner” by Parker Williams

TITLE: Runner
AUTHOR: Parker Williams
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.


If it was possible to give a million stars, it still wouldn’t be enough for this book. From the first couple of pages you know it’s going to be a hard read, but it’s written so brilliantly that you can’t help but be totally drawn in, that you need to keep going. The subject matter of attempted rape and assault is going to be a trigger for some people. But the story mostly deals with the aftermath of the attack and how the main character copes with it, and we are only really given a description of the actual assault twice in the book.

Thirteen years ago, Matt was assaulted and almost raped by one of his teachers. Since that day he has become increasingly withdrawn from the people around him, and for the last ten years, he has been living in isolation on a piece of property he bought 20 miles from his hometown of Fall Harbor, Maine. He doesn’t leave the property at all and doesn’t have any visitors. The only person he still communicates with is his brother Clay, who’s now the town Sheriff, and even then, it’s only by phone. Due to the attack, Matt has developed severe OCD and PTSD, and anything that happens that is not part of his normal routine throws him completely off-kilter. Because of the remote location of his property, Matt never usually sees anyone near his house, but for a few months, there has been a man using the road near his property as a running track.

This makes Matt extremely uncomfortable, and he pleads with his brother to try and get him to stop, but Clay tells him that the man isn’t doing anything wrong unless he ventures onto Matt’s land. Clay really cares a lot about Matt and wishes he would get himself some help so as he can come back to town and be a part of their lives again. He suggests that Matt tries to talk to the man to prove that he’s okay on his own and doesn’t need any help/therapy.

Matt reluctantly agrees to this deal, and finally plucks up the courage to go and speak to the man. Matt discovers his name is Charlie and that he’s an author. The two men soon form a bond over their love of books and home-made lemonade. Matt realises that he’s actually so much lonelier than he thought, and seeing and speaking to Charlie every day becomes more important than some of the routines and schedule he normally has for himself. For some reason, even though he’s a stranger, Charlie makes Matt feel like he’s finally safe.

This whole story was just a whole spectrum of emotions. It was a very distressing and heart-breaking read at times, but then it was just so sweet and beautiful that my heart was almost bursting out of my chest with joy. The characters were amazing. I honestly can’t pick a favourite because they each had their own little thing that made me completely love them. Matt, although he was around 29 years old came across as a lot younger and almost naïve, but I think that’s because of everything he went through. He didn’t get a chance to experience his life as a teenager and young adult normally, those years were about survival and making it to the next day.

I don’t know how many times the tears were falling while reading this book, but it was so worth it. The ending couldn’t have been more perfect for this story or Matt and Charlie, it was so lovely and tender, just like them.

This book is most definitely a must-read for anyone who loves a story that will pull at your heartstrings but make you smile at the same time.

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

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Review: “Patterns Revealed” by Suede Delray

TITLE: Patterns Revealed
AUTHOR: Suede Delray
SERIES: Patterns
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Martine Jardin
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Erotic
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 148 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 21, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

Dominick has recovered from his injuries but is still on suspension from the force. This hasn’t deterred him from wanting to solve the Regis murders. Some information from his sister prompts Dominick and Rob to take a weekend trip to Boston. What they don’t know is that the killer is watching.


Patterns Revealed is a continuation from book two of the series so can’t be read as a stand-alone. It starts off almost exactly where More Patterns finished.

Dominick and Rob are heading to Boston to follow up on information about a murder similar to the one that Dominick was investigating. Dominick believes that there are too many similarities to the other murder for it not to have been the same person. But the problem is that someone already confessed to the older murder, and is currently in a psychiatric hospital after being sentenced and trying to kill himself. Rob and Dominick manage to go to the house the murder was committed in by pretending they’re interested in buying it. Inside the house, they find that it’s been left in the same condition as it was just after the crime tape had been removed. There are still blood stains on the carpets, and the faint outline of the blood writing on the wall can be seen. Rob gets a creepy vibe from the house and doesn’t like being there, especially after finding that someone has been sleeping in the basement and that there’s also a rat problem. When they head outside to meet up with the realtor again, Rob sees a face at the window, they go back inside only to find a message for Dominick written in rat’s blood on the wall. They return to New York where Dominick is placed back in charge of the investigation. Dominick and his partner Betty continue their hunt for the killer who likes nothing more than to taunt them by leaving little clues and messages for Dominick. But they soon discover that the killer has been watching them for quite some time, and he knows more about Dominick, his family and their lives than they could ever have imagined.

The Martindale Institute also has a new intake, a 13-year-old boy named Logan, who was found working as a prostitute and addicted to crack cocaine and heroin. Rob can’t help but form an attachment to the boy because he sees a lot of himself in Logan and what he’s been through. Logan’s longing for a loving home and family and Rob’s protective, caring nature means that Rob will do whatever it takes to try and help Logan.

What can I say, this book was fascinating. I was on the edge of my seat most of the time while reading it, and was so engrossed in the story that I forgot the rest of the world existed for the few hours it took me to finish. This book’s definitely been my favourite by this author, it was the perfect conclusion to the murder investigation, and the unveiling of the identity of the killer was done brilliantly. I’m so glad I stuck with this series and characters.

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

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Review: “The Layover” by Roe Horvat

TITLE: The Layover
AUTHOR: Roe Horvat
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Roe Horvat
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 104 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either….


The Layover was a wonderfully surprising and very sweet little romance. What I really enjoyed about it was that it was different from most other books I have read. The storyline plot was extremely well thought out and researched, and felt authentic. The author’s writing style had me completely immersed in the story, and I felt like I was watching a movie in my head while reading. Everything seemed so real. I could see the character’s faces, I could picture the environment around them, I felt the fear and joy that they did. It was just…genuine.

The story is told in first person POV by the main character Ondro. At 30 years old, Ondro has just quit his job as a flight attendant and has decided to return home to Bratislava, Slovakia, but due to a strike by the airline, he gets stuck in Basel. Even though he was a flight attendant, Ondro comes across as being distant and grouchy, not really a people person. He normally only thinks about himself and doesn’t really get close to anyone, except for his best friend Kristina who he has known since he was a child. Ondro doesn’t really want to return to Slovakia, especially because there’s a referendum being held on same sex partnerships and it’s quite a hostile environment for a gay man. But he feels like he needs to face up to the life he left behind, to not feel scared or ashamed anymore, so that he can move on and be happy with himself.

In the airport while trying to arrange a hotel for the night and another flight, Ondro notices a young man with quirky dress-sense in front of him in the queue. At first, he finds the man to be quite strange, but when he actually sees his face, he realises that the man is actually very attractive and for some reason, Ondro can’t stop looking at him. When he finally gets the courage to speak to the other man, he’s shocked to find that he looks scared of Ondro and seems to be very nervous and doesn’t want to be involved in any kind of conversation. The men go their separate ways, and when Ondro arrives at his hotel, he decides that he can’t be stuck in the room looking at the four walls, so heads down to the bar, where he is surprised to find the young man from the airport. Ondro approaches the man again, and after some awkward conversation, they begin to relax a little. He discovers that the young man is the complete opposite of what he thought when he first set eyes on him, and his name is Jamie.

Jamie is originally from Idaho, but is living and working in Edinburgh, where he’s teaching and doing research in biochemistry and genetics. Jamie is quite shy and almost introverted. His best friend tries to push him to experience things out of his comfort zone, but Jamie can’t seem to bring himself to do it. He isn’t a one-night stand kind of guy, he needs to feel a connection to someone before he will take the next step, and even though he’s having a good time with Ondro, he knows he won’t go any further so decides to call it a night. But when Ondro gives him a napkin with his room number on it, it gives Jamie something to contemplate, after all, they’ll probably never see each other again. The two men soon find that their chance encounter will change their lives completely, and everything they thought they knew and believed about themselves was maybe wrong.

I adored this story and the characters. The little bits of Slovak that Ondro spoke just added to the realness and enjoyment of it. I love when an author includes parts of the language and culture they’re writing about, it really does make a difference to how the story/book is perceived and how it flows. I had never heard of this author before, but I’m going to make sure I have a look out for future releases, because if this book is anything to go by, I’d say we’re all in for a real treat.

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

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Review: “M4M” by Rick R. Reed

TITLE: M4M
AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 10, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Includes brand-new novella, “Status Updates.”
Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.

VGL Male Seeks Same
Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?
But his life is about to change…

NEG UB2
Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.
But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?

STATUS UPDATES
Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.


M4M was previously published and released as two separate short stories. It has now been put together in one book, with a third part added to bring a conclusion to the story and tie it all together.

Ethan Schwartz is a publicist for theater companies in Chicago. He’s had enough of being single and hates how mundane his life has become. Ethan wants more than just a hook-up. He’s done with the pretty party boys and the bar/club pick-up’s, where he never really felt like he fitted in. Ethan wants someone who he can be himself with, who shares his interests, someone he can snuggle on the couch with watching movies from the 1930/40’s. Someone to love. But he thinks that he’ll never find a person like that in the world he’s living in, because everyone he’s met so far, only wants one thing, and that’s sex.

When Ethan hears a colleague talking about a dating website, he decides that since he can’t find what he’s looking for in a guy by going out on the town, he may as well see if he can find it across the internet. So Ethan signs up to the website and creates a profile. This is where he meets Brian who’s an attorney and lives quite close to Ethan. Ethan can’t believe how much they have in common and is sure that Brian can’t be real because he feels that all of the similarities between them is just too good to be true, and surely, he can’t be that lucky to find his perfect guy online? But the two men form a connection to each other and quickly fall in love. Ethan is sure his life can’t get any better, but then one day he’s given the devastating news that he’s HIV positive. He can’t believe what he’s being told, and immediately comes to the conclusion that the only way that he could have contracted it was from Brian. His now perfect life and relationship have suddenly fallen apart in the blink of an eye. Ethan learns that even when you are at your happiest, sometimes life just throws you a little test, to see how strong a person you really are.

This book has me conflicted. I’m struggling to decide how I really felt about the story overall. There were parts that I didn’t particularly like, then there were parts that I really loved. I found it quite slow and hard to get into at the beginning and really couldn’t connect with the main character at all. But then as I worked my way through the book and got towards the end of part two and into the new story, I found myself becoming very emotional and teary, but I think that was more to do with the author’s writing and storytelling than the feelings I had for Ethan. I loved Ethan’s blog that he started about being HIV positive. The author did an amazing job of portraying the feelings and emotions involved in receiving the news and coming to terms with the diagnosis and then learning to live with it. I just wish we actually had a little more in-depth detail about this part of the story because I feel like that was never fully concluded or resolved and it left me with a lot of questions. The third part of the book was by far the best, and I think that this really saved the whole book. The writing was exceptional, and I was really choked up trying to get through each paragraph. It was something I definitely didn’t expect considering I felt practically no emotion reading the first two parts. So I’m glad I stuck it out even when I didn’t really feel like it.

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

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Review: “Riding with Brighton” by Haven Francis

TITLE: Riding with Brighton
AUTHOR: Haven Francis
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Come To Age
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

In the small town of Spring Valley, molds weren’t made to be broken, and high school senior Jay Hall’s been living comfortably in his popular jock one since adolescence. If it weren’t for the colorful, outspoken artistic anomaly Brighton Bello-Adler, he might have been willing to remain there. Unnaturally drawn to Brighton, Jay knows he needs something from him, but is he ready to find out what that something is?

Temporarily ditching his old life, Jay climbs into Brighton’s Bronco and finds himself on a whirlwind road trip through parts of his small town he didn’t know existed. When the excursion takes an unexpected turn, Jay is cracked wide open, and the person who’s revealed does strange things to Brighton’s heart.

But just when it appears they could be headed toward their own shared piece of paradise, the road takes a sharp right turn into Jay’s life—where the real trip is about to begin.

In an unconventional love story that defies labels, two young men embark on a journey toward growing up, coming out, and finding their place in the world. It’s a trip that ranges from heartbreaking to uplifting, funny to sweet, but always unique and personal.


This book was just… EVERYTHING! I’m absolutely certain there are not enough words in the English language that could convey how much I adored this amazing story. I’ve never read a book that has been more perfect or relevant for Pride month, and I don’t think I ever will again. Everything about the book and story was on point, there’s simply nothing about it that I can fault or criticize because it was flawless. These characters have found their own little space in my heart, and I’ll never be able to let them go.

Jay Hall is 18-years-old. He’s the popular jock with the pretty girlfriend, but when he looks in the mirror, he doesn’t like what he sees. The person looking back is all just a facade. Jay doesn’t like the person he’s become, which is basically a clone of his friends, same haircuts, same clothes, same shoes and a pretty girl next to them. Jay wants more than this and believes his life needs a change. But he’s scared of making the change because he doesn’t want everyone to turn against him. The highlight of his week is going to his history class because he gets to sit next to Brighton Bello-Adler, the guy that’s everything Jay wishes he could be.

Brighton is also 18-years-old. He’s confident, outgoing and artistic, he gets along with almost everyone in the school and their town, and nothing seems to ever get him down. His parents love him unconditionally, and completely accepts his sexuality, they even like to try and set him up occasionally, much to Brighton’s embarrassment. Brighton finds Jay attractive but knows there’s no point even thinking about him in that way because Jay is totally straight.

When Jay tells Brighton in class that he’s sick of the life that he’s leading and wants something different, starting with new friends, Brighton gives him his number. They agree to meet up to see if they can build on more than just the short conversations and banter from class. During their day and drive around together, Jay begins to discover more about himself and what he really wants from his life. He opens up to Brighton about all of his thoughts and feelings, and tells him things that he has never even admitted to himself up until now. Jay realizes that he doesn’t actually want to be like Brighton, but wants to be with him, as more than a friend. Jay has finally accepted that he’s gay, and that he’s been attracted to Brighton for a long time. He can’t keep living a lie any more because it’s destroying him inside, and if it means losing some people in his life then he’s willing to take that chance, to be able to be honest with himself and be free, and actually loving the person he sees when he looks in his mirror every morning.

This was the most beautifully written story, of self-acceptance, coming out and finding true happiness within. There were highs and lows, and moments that were just breathtaking. I was drawn to this book as soon as I read the blurb, something just called to me, and I knew I had to read it. I spent almost the whole book with my skin tingling, butterflies in my tummy and practically glowing with happiness. And when I finished…well, lets just say I was Judd Nelson at the end of The Breakfast Club (one of my favorite films of all time) my fist was in the air in victory and triumph, and my head and heart had Don’t You Forget About Me screaming out as I closed my kindle down. This was an astonishing piece of writing that couldn’t portray the love is love message any more perfectly if it tried. I am so grateful to the author for the privilege of being able to read this awe-inspiring story, I don’t think it’ll ever leave me.

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

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Review: “More Patterns” by Suede Delray

TITLE: More Patterns
AUTHOR: Suede Delray
SERIES: Patterns
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Martine Jardin
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 133 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book /$6.25 -paperback
  

BLURB:

Rob and Dominick are trying to adjust to married life but Dominick’s job takes more time away than Rob expected, especially since Dominick is on the trail of a killer who slaughtered an entire family as they slept. Rob has problems of his own at Martindale’s Institution for boys, namely a new intake who claims he hooked up with Dominick in a BDSM club. If that’s not enough, Dominick’s mafia connections are about to catch up with him, and he will risk everything to save his sister, including his job.


More Patterns is book two of the Patterns series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. It does involve characters and situations from book one, but we are given some background, so you are easily able to catch up without feeling confused.

Rob and Dominick have now been married for six months, and are enjoying their lives as newlyweds. Dominick answers a call to a crime scene where a family, including two small children, have been brutally murdered, and the killer has left a message written in blood on the wall. Dominick is tasked with leading the team to investigate the murder but is finding more questions than answers, no matter which way he turns. This is taking him away from home and Rob for longer than he would like. It causes some friction between the two men, and Dominick can’t seem to do right for doing wrong. Dealing with the high profile case, his personal problems and a closeted member of the team, who is often aggressively homophobic towards Dominick—even though they previously had a little drunken liaison at an office party—is giving him more problems and stress than he needs.

Rob’s feeling a little bit lonely and neglected. He spends most evenings at home alone, and although he accepts that it’s part of Dominick’s job, he didn’t think that they’d be apart as much as they have, especially this early into their marriage. When the detention centre gets a new teen, Gavin, who likes to cause trouble, Rob believes it’s a result of the hard life he’s had. But then Gavin says some things to Rob about Dominick that really gets under his skin, and he finds it hard to keep his cool around the boy. Gavin is also telling all the other kids in the centre about Dominick, so Rob is feeling like everyone is talking about him and his authority is being undermined.

By the time Rob gets home, his mood has taken a turn for the worse, and when Dominick finally arrives, he confronts him about the things that Gavin had said. Dominick is shocked that Rob would even think he would be involved with a child and tells Rob that he will go to the detention centre and speak to Gavin to find out what’s going on.

When the two men speak to Gavin, he tells them that he knows Dominick because of who his family is, and the BDSM club he worked at was run by some of the mobsters that worked for Dominick’s father. He then tells them that he’d seen Dominick’s picture before because there’s been a hit put out on Dominick by his father because he got him sent to prison. This leaves Dominick trying to salvage his relationship and marriage, solve a murder, and also trying to keep himself safe for the sake of his sister and Rob. But as it normally is with life, there’s more than a few difficulties along the way, the question is, will they be able to come out the other side unscathed?

This was a really good follow-up to the first book. There was still the excitement, drama and intrigue, but it also showed that even two people who are very much in love don’t always have the perfect relationship and life. I was slightly disappointed that the book ended on a kind of cliffhanger because I wanted to know what happened with the murder, but I guess it’s even more of reason to read book three, and I have to say I’m excited to see where the author will take us next.

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

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Review: “Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius” by M.A. Church

TITLE: Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius
AUTHOR: M.A. Church
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Humour
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 110 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 28, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

Clay McDonald finds the perfect car on Craigslist and is quick to send the seller a text:

Is your penis still for sale?

AutoCorrect strikes again. Damn—he should’ve proofread. How embarrassing.

Luckily Darrell Anderson, a mechanic and the owner of the Prius, is more amused than offended, and the two men agree to meet. When they do, the attraction is instant, and a date is arranged. But a series of mishaps, misunderstandings, and misplaced assumptions sorely test the new relationship.

In a contemporary romantic comedy about the perils of technology and dating in the modern world, a text that went so wrong might just lead to something so right—but only if Clay can refrain from jumping to conclusions and give love the benefit of the doubt.


So when I first saw this book I thought it showed a lot of potential, a texting fail that leads to romance, I mean who doesn’t love a bit of humour in a story, but what I read wasn’t really what I expected. It was enjoyable enough, but I thought it could have been a whole lot more.

Darrell Anderson’s a 43-year-old mechanic who owns his own business, and he’s been left with a silver/grey Prius after the owner didn’t pay their bill for the work that they’d asked Darrell to complete on it. Darrell’s brother and employee, Bert, suggests to Darrell to sell the car to recoup the money for the repairs and to get it off his hands. So he asks Darrell to let him try to sell it on Craigslist, as it’s usually a quick way of getting a sale, but he’ll put Darrell’s number as the contact because the car will be kept at his house.

Clay McDonald’s in his mid-thirties, and works as a dock supervisor in a refinery in Memphis. Clay has an hour-long commute to work everyday and his gas-guzzler truck is costing him a small fortune to run, so Clay decides that he needs to look for a smaller more fuel-efficient car to use for his work journey. When he meets up with his best friend at their local bar/diner to discuss his options for getting another car, he sees a beautiful black Corvette in the parking lot, with an even more attractive owner behind the wheel. He knows the Corvette is not even nearly what he’s looking for, no matter how good it looks, but he can’t seem to get the guy inside it out of his head. When his friend suggests having a look on Craigslist for cars, Clay isn’t too sure but decides he’ll give it a go because finding something he actually likes within the budget he has is proving difficult.

When Clay sees the advert for the Prius on Craigslist he immediately makes contact with the seller because the car is pretty much perfect for his needs. The only problem is he didn’t actually check what he’d written before pressing send, and instead of asking if the Prius was still available, he inadvertently asked if the penis was still available. When Darrell receives the message, he takes it in good humor and tries to make a joke of it, which Clay is relieved about. They both agree to meet so as Clay can take the car on a test drive. As Clay pulls up to Darrell’s house he can’t believe what he’s seeing, the Corvette from the parking lot he was lusting over is in the drive, and the handsome owner that’s been in his thoughts since that first glance has just walked out of the house to meet him. There’s instant chemistry and attraction between the two men, and they can’t believe how well they get on with each other. Could it really be fate bringing them together like this? It’s not all plain-sailing though because thanks to a little misunderstanding with Bert when he answers Darrell’s door, Clay thinks it’s already doomed before its begun. There’s also the other issue that even though Clay is the smaller, younger man, he likes to be in control, especially during sex, but Darrell has never bottomed and doesn’t know if he can be that person who gives over control to someone else.

This book was very insta-love, and had so many coincidences it felt a little bit too unrealistic, but for a fairly short book, it kept me entertained and I did like the characters a lot. I just wish it had a little more depth to it or it was a bit longer so as it didn’t feel so rushed. Don’t get me wrong the sex scenes were HOT! My favorite was the driveway scene, you’ll definitely need a few minutes after reading that hehehe. All-in-all I liked this book, even though it wasn’t what I first expected, and for a bit of light-hearted reading, it fulfilled its purpose. It made me smile and laugh, and really isn’t that what you want when you finish a book? So yes, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d recommend it.

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

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