Review of: A Pocketful of Stardust by P Barnaby, Rowan Speedwell

TITLE: A Pocketful of Stardust
AUTHOR: JP Barnaby, Rowan Speedwell
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary, Ghost, Spirits
RELEASE DATE: Jul 30, 2019


Noah Hitchens loves the New York City life he worked hard to build. But when his father dies and leaves him a bankrupt bookstore in their sleepy Georgia hometown, Noah knows he has to save it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anything about business. He finds unlikely help in Henry, the man who owned Stardust Books before his 1966 murder, and Kyle St. James, a shy but kind-hearted out-of-towner with a past almost as mysterious as Henry’s.
Kyle came to Aster, Georgia, looking for redemption. On the run and out of hope, he’s just trying to get on with his life. Then he meets Noah, a ghost, and a big sloppy lab named Jake who redefine his idea of living. But his past is closing in, and when it finds him, they could lose everything.

Noah is happy with his life in New York until a phone call from his hometown announced that his father had died, and he has to get his father succession and inheritance in order.
He left New York suddenly and went back home to bury his only parent. Soon he realizes that his father’s bookstore is almost at bankruptcy and Noah doesn’t know how to save it or if he wants to save it. Meeting Henry, the ghost, and Kyle his hot and shy neighbor might help him, but when the time comes, Noah will have to make a decision between the nostalgia of his childhood and the reality of his future.
A Pocketful of Stardust by JP Barnaby and Rowan Speedwell was my first book by both of the authors.

It was a sweet and beautiful story, with a rainbow of feelings. The book was told from Noah’s POV, and we follow him in his journey. We’re with him at each step, and we share his pain with him, along with tears, love, and happiness. I really appreciated how the authors had described all the emotions of the MCs well.

Noah and Kyle are made for each other. Noah is confident, but Kyle is stronger, he has a horrible and traumatic past that he struggles to deal with, until Noah helps him. I loved how they’re different but also how they’re similar. I loved Kyle. He touched me with his shyness, and his purity moved me. They are very sweet and adorable, two kind souls who met and recognized each other.

The authors transcribed very well, also, all the small town atmosphere, with a strong community ready to help and support each other. I loved it, in the crazy world where we live nowadays, we need that reminder that there’s still good people around us.
The writing was good, even if sometimes a little bit repetitive, I was still hooked in the story.

Even if it wasn’t all candies and rainbows, this book was sweet, beautiful and I really had a good time with them.
4 Stars for them

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis


Review of: Digging Deep by Jay Hogan

TITLE: Digging Deep
AUTHOR: Jay Hogan
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Aug 6, 2019


Drake Park has a complicated life. As a gay male midwife, he’s used to raising eyebrows. Add Crohn’s disease and things get interesting—or not, considering the sad state of his love life. Experience has taught Drake that most men are fair-weather sailors when it comes to handling his condition—gone for dust when things get rough. Staying healthy is a full-time job without adding in any heartbreak, so a little loneliness is a small price to pay. If he says it often enough he might even believe it. One thing for sure, the cop who arrested him isn’t about to change that.
Caleb Ashton does not have a complicated life. A senior detective with the Whangarei Police Department, he likes his job and is good at it. He works hard and plays hard, happy to enjoy as many men as he can while he’s still young enough—or at least he was. These days he feels adrift for the first time in his life, and the only thing sparking his interest—a certain prickly young midwife.
But can Drake find enough faith to risk opening his heart again? And does Caleb have what it takes to cope with the challenges Drake’s condition presents?

Drake Park is a young gay midwife who lives with Crohn’s – a chronic disease. His life is dictated by his disease, every simple thing like eating out, going to the theatre or traveling needs to be carefully prepared. Drake is single, his last relationship was a disaster at the end, and Drake is determined to never have to live that again – until Caleb.
Caleb is a hot gay cop, a bachelor who jumps from bed to bed without doing any repeats and running away from everything that might look like it’s a relationship. Everything was fine like that until he meets a sparky, bossy, hot midwife who gives him a run for his money.
Caleb doesn’t know if he can be in a serious relationship without messing it up, and Drake refuses to have a repeat of his last relationship. What are the odds that these two men succeed together?

Digging Deep by Jay Hogan is my first book by this author, and I liked it.
I loved the plot about a chronic disease, especially Crohn’s. I have friends who suffer from it, and I was glad to read a romance where one of the MCs has it. The author did her work well, and I appreciated that she took the time to research about it. Every disease is different from one person to another, but she sums the main aspects of it pretty well, and I liked it.

I loved the MCs. Drake is funny, sparky, and bossy. He refuses to appear vulnerable in front of everyone, especially Caleb. He pushes him away a lot from fear of the rejection when he will have a bad Crohn’s flare. He appears mean sometimes, and I found him pretty rude with Caleb, but I understand him and his reasons. Besides, when he realizes his mistakes, Drake works hard to make it up to Caleb, and I really love it.

Caleb is funny, sincere, and honest from the start with Drake. He admits knowing nothing about the relationship thing, and he admits not knowing anything about Crohn’s disease. But he refuses to let Drake judge him or assuming the worst about him. He fights hard for Drake, and for them. He wants a real chance to prove to Drake who he really is. I loved Caleb and his weird sense of humor.

The plot and the story were good, but there was too much repetition. All throughout the book, we read Drake pushing away Caleb, and Caleb doubting himself about their relationship. It was necessary at first when they started to date, but at some point, it was too much, and I had the feeling of turning in a circle with the same issues each time. It’s the only thing that bothered me during my read, and I admit I had to skip some passages from time to time.

Excepting this point, I really loved the story. The MCs, including the secondary ones, especially the awesome and wonderful Carmen/Daniel. I secretly hope to read a book about them and also about Aaron, Drake’s BFF.
Even if everything wasn’t perfect, it was a good book that I enjoyed.

4 Stars for them.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of :  The Priest by Rowan McAllister

TITLE: The Priest
AUTHOR: Rowan McAllister
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Sept 10th, 2019


hronicles of the Riftlands: Book Two
Brother Tasnerek, one of the infamous Thirty-Six stone bearers, is facing a dangerous crisis of faith after uncovering a secret that could shake the foundations of the Brotherhood of Harot. When Tas is sent to protect a tiny village on the edge of Rassa’s borders from Riftspawn, he struggles to resume his duties, risking his life and the lives of those around him.
Girik has always been an outsider, but to help his sick mother, he agrees to be the village’s offering in a painful ritual deemed necessary by the Brotherhood. But when the priest has a crisis of conscience, Girik offers his help to untangle a web of lies—even if it means getting closer than he ever imagined and committing sacrilege in the process.
With a monster lurking in the forest, a wandering mage mysteriously appearing, and more secrets awakening to unravel the truths of their world, Tas and Girik must make grave decisions. A life without danger seems a far-off hope, but love just might be theirs… if they survive.

Brother Tasnerek is one of the Thirty-six stone bearers. He’s facing a crisis of faith, and he doesn’t know how to face the next ritual he has to perform for the next hunt.
Girik is an outsider in his village, but he agrees to be the offering of the next ritual if the village will take care of his sick mother.
Tas and Girik have nothing in common at first, until Tas fails the ritual and Girik helps him to find a better solution to save the village. But when the spawn missed killing them, and a curious mage appears out of nowhere to help them, Tas and Girik will have to face the truth about their life, their future, and their feelings.
The Priest by Rowan McAllister is book 2 in the Chronicles of the Riftlands. It can be read as a standalone.

I adored The Wanderer, book 1 of this series, and I was happy to read this sequel.
Tas is a young priest, the youngest in his position. After discovering some proof against his brotherhood and how they lost themselves in greed and power, Tas has a crisis. A crisis of his faith in his brotherhood, a crisis of his life and his purpose. He tries to hide at first, but when he must face Girik in the ritual for the hunt, Tas loses his nerve and confides about his doubt. I liked Tas. He was really lost between what he believed and the truth, but when he couldn’t deny it anymore, he tried to do what was the best to protect the innocent and Girik.

Girik is an outsider among his village. People think of him as a simpleton, but Girik doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about what people think of him, he only cares about his mother, and he’s ready to do everything to make sure she’s well taken care of. She’s dying, and that’s why Girik accepts being the offering, but when he realises that Tas couldn’t perform the ritual, Girik tries to help him. I adored Girik. He’s smart, brave, fierce with a kind heart. He’s smarter than what people think. He didn’t hesitate to face a spawn to save Tas. I adored him.

The story and the plot were good, a little bit slow at the beginning, but it made sense at the end. The author takes the time to explain all the context about Tas’ stone, the brotherhood and most importantly, the immediate connection between Girik and Tas. The MCs were well developed. I was happy to see Lyuc, Ian, and Brin. They’re part of this adventure, and they help Tas and Girik to accept their destiny.
This book can be read at a standalone, but it’s better to read the series in order. Indeed, there’s a thread between each book, and it will be easier to understand all the background of this amazing universe.

I can’t wait to read the next book, the end of The Priest announces more in the future for this misfit band, and more revelations will come.

It’s 4 stars for them.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of :  In Safe Keeping by Victoria Sue

TITLE: In Safe Keeping
AUTHOR: Victoria Sue
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Contemporary Romance
GENRE: Sept 3rd 2019


He can’t save everyone…
Firefighter Lucas Attiker is mired in guilt by his inability to save his young son, who perished in a fire three years ago. When he rescues a troubled young man and his baby daughter from a Colorado forest fire, Lucas finally begins to forgive himself. But the wildfire is only the beginning of the dangers facing them.
Hell-bent on saving his daughter from his crime boss ex, Owen Michaels is on the run with the baby in tow—fleeing both the killers who are after him and the US Marshals Service deputies assigned to protect him. When his desperate flight lands them in the midst of an inferno, the man who saves them offers hope for more than just survival.
They might have escaped a blazing forest and a hail of bullets, but both men will need to risk their lives—and their hearts—to give a little girl a loving family… if they can make it out alive.

Lucas Attiker is a firefighter living with the guilt of losing his son in an explosion. He’s lived in a sort-of-stasis for the last three years, between his job that he loves with passion, and his painful memory of his baby.
Owen is on the run with his 7-month-old daughter. His ex-boyfriend, a cruel mob boss, is ready to do everything to find Owen. Lucas saves Owen and his baby from a forest fire, but he doesn’t know that it marks the beginning of a clock running against the mafia and the US marshals that are compromised with a mole.
Lucas and Owen will have to survive together if they want to explore the spark that ignites each time they’re together.

In Safe Keeping by Victoria Sue is book 2 in her Heroes and Babies series. This book is a standalone. I really loved In Safe Hand (book 1 in the series), and I was happy and excited to read this new one.

Lucas is a firefighter; and he’s blinded by his pain and guilt about his family death. He wants to save everyone at any cost even with his life, but Owen and Mia brought back memories to Lucas, painful memories that Lucas doesn’t know how to deal with it. I loved Lucas. He broke my heart a million times. He was so hurt by his family’s death—by their loss and his pain—that he didn’t realize what was going on between him and Owen at first. I really loved him. How protective he was of Owen and Mia but in the meantime, how fragile he was facing his past and guilt.

Owen is lost and scared when he meets Lucas. He’s ready to do everything for Mia, at only 23 years-old, he embraces his fatherhood with all his heart and his life. He refuses to give up, but despite his traumatic past, he didn’t hesitate to help Lucas to find closure and peace. Owen is kind with a big heart and sassy mouth. He wasn’t just a victim in all the mess of his life, he was smart and always thinking of Mia’s safety.

They were a perfect match for each other. Lucas was the protector that Owen needed. Owen was the heart that Lucas was missing.

Victoria Sue gives us a beautiful and emotional book. The story and the plot were good, dynamic, funny, and full of feeling with a lot of actions. It was a straight-to-gay book, but realistic. I mean, Lucas realised that he was attracted to Owen when he thought he was straight all his life, and he didn’t jump in bed with him immediately. He didn’t suddenly deep throat him with success or go all the way with him. I loved that, I loved that the author makes her characters evolve slowly, step by step, admitting that he was bisexual and how to approach it carefully for both Lucas and Owen’s heart. It put a deeper connection between Lucas and Owen, more authentic. I loved it.

It was a good read, a very good book that I gladly recommend.

5 Stars for them.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: The Doctor’s Orders  by Heidi Cullinan

TITLE: The Doctor’s Orders
AUTHOR: Heidi Cullinan
SERIES: Copper Point Medical #3
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Aug 20, 2019


Once upon a time Nicholas Beckert was the boy who stole kisses from Jared Kumpel beneath the bleachers. Now Jared’s a pediatrician and Nick is the hospital CEO who won’t glance his way. But everything changes when they’re stranded alone in a hospital elevator. Ten years of cold shoulders melt away, and old passions rekindle into hot flames. Once out of the elevator, Jared has no intention of letting Nick get away. He wants a full, open relationship, which is a step further than Nick is willing to go, and it looks like the same arguments that drove them apart in high school might resurface. Jared’s determined not to let it happen again. He won’t order Nick from his shell—he’ll listen to what he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happily ever after.

Nicholas Beckert is the CEO of St Anne’s Hospital at Copper Point. Jared Kumpel is the pediatrician. Jared and Nick have a past together. 20 years ago, as two young teenagers, they discovered what love is together. But when Jared came out and refused to hide who he truly is, Nicholas chose to hide in a closet and burry half of himself.
20 years later, Nick is still hiding in his closet, and Jared is still trying to forget his first and true love. But life and fate have another plan for them, and after 5 hours in the dark in an elevator that can kill them both, their priorities change. Nick refuses to stay in his closet anymore, and Jared refuses to let him hide again.
The Doctor’s Orders is the third and last book in the Copper Point Medical trilogy. It’s another home run for Heidi Cullinan with The Doctor’s Orders. After the delicious Doctor’s Secret, the breathtaking Doctor’s Date, she gives us the fabulous Doctor’s Orders.

I adored this book, I adored this trilogy. I was looking forward to Nick and Jared’s story.
Nick is the CEO of St Anne. He has a lot of responsibilities; he’s exhausted by his job. He loves it, but he had a rough start with the former board who tried to manipulate him. But after he’d succeed in removing them and avenge his father’s memory, Nick has to face another threat against the hospital and their safety. Despite all these difficulties, Nick refuses to let go of Jared. He refuses to spend another 20 years lonely, but he doesn’t know how to achieve that. How to be with the love of his life without losing everything, his position, his community, and his family. I adored Nick, I really adored him. He’s strong and thoughtful. He used to being in charge. He’s the chief of his family, a strong figure in his community, and the CEO of his hospital. But he’s tired, and only Jared see it, only he can take the burden off Nick’s shoulders. I loved how, despite his fears of losing his family, Nick stood up for Jared. I loved how, despite the cold reaction of his community, Nick stood up and keep pushing them to accept him, to accept the real Nick.

Jared is fabulous. He’s an amazing doctor and friend. He’s funny with a kind heart ready to do anything for the people he loves. But Jared is lonely, really lonely and not just because his two best friends had to move from the house they all shared. He’s been lonely since the day he lost Nick 20 years ago when they were sixteen. I love him so much. I loved his sensitivity as I discovered his fears, pains, and past. I discovered another side of Jared that I didn’t suspect in the previous books. He’s amazing.

This book is about acceptance, family, and community. This book is about two beautiful men who only want to be together, to be loved, and happy together. This book is about how to fight against your worst fears—how to become your true self.

I’m sad to let them go, all of them. It was an amazing series. A must-read that you need to have in your Kindle. It’s the kind of series that you read and re-read with pleasure and love.

5 Stars for Nick and Jared…. Five Stars for Copper Point!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis