Review: “Social Sinners: In the Shadows” by TL Travis

TITLE: Social Sinners: In the Shadows
AUTHOR: TL Travis
SERIES: Social Sinners
PUBLISHER: Encompass Ink
COVER ARTIST: –
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: –
RELEASE DATE: August 17, 2018
PRICE: $2.99 – e-book/ $ – paperback

BLURB:

For Ricky “Stoli” Branson, the stars were on his side. Social Sinners was headlining their first sold out US tour. Radio stations across the states were playing their songs, and he’d won the heart of the man he loved.
Everything was going great, or so he foolishly believed…
When an accident has them burying one of their own and leaves another fighting for his life, Stoli questions his beliefs. Or lack thereof.
“Have faith,” his mother tells him. But how can you have faith in something that threatens to take away your only reason for breathing?


Book two in the Social Sinners series is told from Ricky “Stoli” Branson’s POV. I highly recommend you read the first book because it does set the tone for this one. Stoli, as he prefers to be called, has been in love with his best friend for most of his life. He’s had to watch Joey from the sidelines never being able to show or tell him the depth of his feelings for fear of ruining their friendship. Joey finally wakes up and see what’s right in front of him and that he’s actually in love with Stoli. Stoli can’t believe it’s actually real. He wants to believe his best friend finally sees him as more than a brother, but he has his doubts. They have to work through the awkwardness of being first time lovers while touring with their crazy bandmates.

My heart broke for Stoli in book one, and I was cheering for him in book two. He’s such a great character to read, and I loved that this is from his point of view. He’s loved Joey most of his life and Joey is so dang oblivious I wanted to knock him upside the head. I hated seeing Stoli hurt. Stoli is such a sensitive guy, but he’s also very strong. He’s always been the glue that held the group together.

He’s a natural born leader. Stoli, as a character, is extremely well written. I felt his emotions all through book one not even told from his point of view and certainly through book two. I felt like I was taking this journey with him instead of just reading the words.

I really got to know Joey in book one, and although I was frustrated at his obliviousness to Stoli, I absolutely adored him. The moment he realized he was in love with his best friend had me in tears. I was cheering, and I wanted to hug him so hard. Joey is absolutely beautiful in this book. The love he has for the people around him just makes me love him even more. He has some adversity to overcome in this book that had my heart breaking.

These books were an absolute joy to read. I didn’t want to put either of them down. I highly recommend them, but they definitely should be read in order. The author brought so much life into these books. The characters were intriguing, and I enjoyed every minute of them. The secondary characters were interesting as well, and I can’t wait to get their stories.

The author did such a fabulous job with how she brought these two together.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Tempt Me” by Remmy Duchene

TITLE: Tempt Me
AUTHOR: Remmy Duchene
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Erotic
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 85 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 17, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Officer Gabe Ford knows finding love could be a tad problematic—especially since he hasn’t come out to his partner of six years yet. But what’s a guy to do when his body wants what his brain is saying he can’t have?
A year and a half after a breakup, Jason Tomlinson isn’t actively looking for a relationship. Hell, he can do bad all by himself. But Gabe Ford is just too damn yummy to resist. Just as things are beginning to pick up, one bullet may end it all before it even begins.


Tempt Me is a Contemporary romance novella with a healthy dose of erotica thrown in. Officer Gabe Ford and his partner are seeking out some grub when a sexy mountain of a man lets them into his bar before opening hours. Gabe isn’t sure how to react to the openly flirtatious bar owner, but he is certain that he doesn’t want his partner to know he’s gay. Jason Tomlinson hasn’t been in a relationship since his ex a year and a half ago. He hasn’t openly looked and wasn’t when the sexy as sin Officer Gabe Ford knocked on his window seeking out a big daddy burger.

Gabe was adorable, in a sexy as sin sort of way. He was a little shocking with his kinkiness in the bedroom. Definitely not the one I assumed would be. I love how shy he is to ask for what he wants but then gains confidence as the relationship grows.

Jason is a little older than Gabe, but he’s tall and sexy even with a man-bun that he hates. I really enjoyed this character. He seemed to have a lot of facets to his personality that were really intriguing especially in such a short book. I loved how he let Gabe be free and open during sexy times. I really would like to read more of these guys.

Tempt Me was an interesting mix of romance and erotica. I’d say it tipped more towards erotica than actual romance. There were a lot of different kinks being thrown out in this novella. These guys were not shy about trying new and different things, and I really enjoyed seeing that in a book. It wasn’t a BDSM book by any means, but it was a couple trying some good old-fashioned kink and I loved it. The plot was set up really well. Definitely a couple of intense moments. About halfway through the book, I felt like things were starting to feel rushed and thrown together. I did enjoy it. It’s definitely a good, hot, short read for those late nights.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The 17-Year-Old Itch” by MJ O’Shea

TITLE: The 17 Year Old Itch
AUTHOR: MJ O’Shea
SERIES: Coconut Cove
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 80 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 17, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

An old conflict boils up behind the scenes of Coconut Cove.
The popular show is about to start filming its second season, and Tony Adams is happy to return to sunny Key West and his role as innocent Joey… mostly. Being back on set also means facing Casey. They had indulged in a scorching behind-the-scenes tryst during season one, but it ended in heartache for Tony. It still hurts.
When they return to Key West, nothing has changed. Casey takes his role as hot dad a little too far and can’t seem to remember that Tony isn’t the teenager he plays on TV. Tony’s tired of being Casey’s dirty little secret—he’s more than man enough for a real adult romance—and draws a line in the sand. Either Casey acknowledges him and their relationship publicly, or he’s calling it off between them.


Book four in the Coconut Cove series is the story of Tony and Casey. We’ve seen them throughout the series in various parts, and the authors have hinted at some turmoil between the two, but now we finally get their book. The book is once again set in Key West, Florida and is taking place during the filming of the second season of the television show Coconut Cove that both characters star in.

With Tony’s character, I had to go back and try to get a feel for him because this book was a little difficult to grasp in terms of who Tony actually is. I know by now he’s tired of being labeled as adorable and cute. His attitude in the book was of a scorned lover, so there wasn’t much else about his personality that I really saw.

Casey is the older man in this book. He’s told Tony that he can’t be with him but never explained why. Casey wants Tony but doesn’t want Tony. He has reasons, but it takes to the end of the book before we find out and then it was pretty anticlimactic.

The heat was good in the book during the moment. I wish I got more from the characters. I’m not sure why we needed the scenes from the show in this book. They didn’t tie anything together or really add anything to the entirety of the book. As a couple, these weren’t my favorite, but I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Shades of Darkness” by Nicky James

TITLE: Shades of Darkness
AUTHOR: Nicky James
SERIES: Trials of Fear
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Nicky James
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: –
RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book/ $12.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Six years ago, an unforeseen incident turned Rory Gallagher’s life upside down. Now, he lives in darkness, fearing the sun, fearing light altogether. Rory has developed Heliophobia. As a creature of the night, Rory has learned to adapt to his unusual lifestyle. He draws comfort from shadows and safety from the nighttime hour. Unfortunately, his mind is the darkest place of all, and the one place he can’t seem to escape.
Finding help isn’t easy, but when Rory registers with a local, twenty-four-hour counseling center, the man he meets surprises him in more ways than one. Young psychology student, Adrian Anderson, is Rory’s complete opposite. How will this smart, preppy, do-gooder ever get through to the man with a chip on his shoulder who has learned to hate the world?
It doesn’t take long for Rory to discover they have something horrific in common. Despite rules and regulations, this sad detail helps them form a bond neither of them expected. Could Adrian be the shining light Rory needs to dispel the darkness for good?


Phobia, an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Heliophobia, a fear of the sun, sunlight, or any other form of bright light. This is the second book in the Trials of Fear series, and it can be read as a complete stand-alone. The interesting thing about these books as well as most of Mrs. James books is the uniqueness of the story-lines. She writes about topics that are so intriguing and are so unlike any other books I’ve ever read in this genre. In this series, we meet characters with extremely difficult phobias. Phobias that affect the characters everyday lives to a point of being debilitating. These are phobias that actual people suffer from, and some of us have never even heard of them. In this book, the topic is heliophobia, the fear of the sun, sunlight, or any other form or aversion of bright light.

Rory Gallagher’s phobia stems from a traumatic event that left him not only broken and scarred but unable to tolerate any form of bright light. He’s relegated himself to his home, and darkness with very little contact with the outside world. His trust issues that formed as child have become so ingrained that he’s only had one friend in the past six years since the incident that took his freedom. Rory had my heart from the very beginning. He had so much depth to his character that I felt at times I was reading a biography instead of a fiction. I felt his frustrations, and even his triumphs. He’s a character that will most definitely stay in your heart. I loved how he never took crap from anyone. Even though his phobia wouldn’t allow him any real normalcy, he never whined or played the victim card. He was also so stubborn at times that I wanted to smack him. With a not so gentle push from his best friend, Krew, Rory finally decides it’s time to seek help for his disorder.

I don’t normally write about secondary characters in my reviews, but I have to give a shout out to Krew. Krew is Rory’s best friend/coital companion. I love his character. He has so much personality, and he really brings so much life to the book. He’s so sassy and confident. He really loves Rory as a friend, and he’s been Rory’s rock and support system for as long as Rory has known him. I’m dying for Krew to get his HEA. He deserves so much love and happiness.

Adrian Anderson comes from a well-to-do family, his father is a neurosurgeon, and he had expected Adrian to follow in his footsteps. Adrian decided to study psychology instead. After getting his bachelors in psychology, he gets a job as a mental health counselor for a government-run mental health center. Because of Rory’s unique circumstances, Adrian is assigned his case. After a couple of mishaps, these two soon learn that they have more in common than they originally thought. Adrian is such a loveable character. He’s in such a crappy living situation, and yet he stands tall, and pushes forward. He knows who he is, and what he wants in life, and he’s not letting anyone or anything stand in his way. When he meets Rory, it’s not the typical insta-love, well not between him and Rory anyways.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were so dynamic and absolutely intriguing. The entire storyline was so exceptional I couldn’t put the book down. Each character brought something so unique to the story. They all came from diverse backgrounds, and each faced adversity, but they never made me feel like they were whining or being overly dramatic. Mental health disorders are such a taboo subject in many genres. You don’t see many fiction books that touch on the subject let alone go in depth as much as Nicky James’ books do. She has a way of telling a story while also bringing awareness to these disorders that always has me googling the subject afterward, and sometimes even during the book.

I highly recommend this book as well as her Healing Hearts series and Love Me Whole. Each book is unique and so heartfelt. I always say her guys have a special place in my heart, and they always will.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Meet Me in Shanghai” by Luca Domani

TITLE: Meet Me in Shanghai
AUTHOR: Luca Domani
SERIES: World of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 62 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 3, 2018
PRICE: $ 3.99– e-book

BLURB:

What are the odds of meeting your perfect match in a city of twenty-four million people—halfway around the world?
Software engineer Jeff has never set foot outside North America when his company sends him to Shanghai. It’s daunting to say the least, and Jeff is soon lost. He’s rescued by Chinese American banker Greg—a man who immediately sparks Jeff’s desire. But in a city so large and chaotic, what are the chances that they’ll bump into each other again?
When they do, a vigorous friendship forms despite Greg’s devotion to his high-powered—and high-stress—career. Both men want more, but Greg never takes things further, and Jeff’s time in China is running out. Soon he has only one night left. Will it be a last night together as friends… or the beginning of something that can last despite the distance between them?


This book is part of Dreamspinner Press’s World of Love series. It’s a short Contemporary romance that takes place in Shanghai, China. It is written from one character’s point of view. I’ve never read any books from this series, so I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t very moved by it. The storyline was good. I really did love all the descriptions as the characters explored the city. The problem I had most with the story was the characters.

Jeff is heading to Shanghai, China for his job. He’s never left the US before, and his coworker that was set to accompany him backed out at the last minute. When he arrives in Shanghai, he’s definitely way out of his depth. He has a crazy taxi ride on his way to the hotel that I could definitely relate too. His first day heading to his temporary office, he gets turned around. Luckily, he’s saved by a fellow American, and businessman Greg. Jeff is a very complicated character. I really liked him until he met Greg. Jeff is only in Shanghai for two weeks, and as soon as he meets Greg, he becomes a love-struck teenager. He was extremely difficult to read at times.

Greg is a businessman from California who has been living in Shanghai for the past ten years. He knows he works too much, and relationships are pretty nonexistent. His parents have put a lot of pressure on him to settle down and have a family. He hasn’t come out to them in fear of their reaction. He runs into a fellow American when the man seems lost. He sets the man on the right course. There wasn’t much depth to Greg as a character. He was more like a secondary character instead of a main character.

This book was a short, so I understand that there’s only so much depth an author to dive into. However, this book focused more on the descriptions and the life happening around the main characters than what was actually going on with the characters as a whole.

I would really like to read some of this author’s more extensive work.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis