Review: “Saving Hannah” by J.P. Barnaby

TITLE: Saving Hannah
AUTHOR: J.P. Barnaby
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Tiferet Design
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Dec 18, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book /$14.99 –paperback


Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.
Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.
Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents…one that will change the course of both their lives.

When it comes to a romance novel with kids, I’m a sucker. When I read the blurb of this book, I knew I was in for a good read. Damn, I was right!
Little Hannah is sick, she needs intensive medical care for her to stay alive. Her father Thomas is an ex-felon who can’t find a job. He would do anything, anything to save his daughter.

Thomas had a very good reputation as a programmer until he decided that the company who he was working for had a very unstable firewall that could compromise their clients. So he proves it by hacking in their own system. His arrogance backfires, and he’s convicted and sent to prison. Now back, not only can’t he find a job, his daughter’s life is in danger as well. He’s desperately going from one interview to another with no hope whatsoever. Until one day he was called back for a second interview. His hope is back, and he’s so confident that his luck is turning around, and maybe he can save not only Hannah but the house he’s living in. That confident smile froze on his face upon meeting the owner of the company, Aleksander Sanna, his ex-roommate from college from whom he ran away after one drunk night.

Aleksander Sanna sees the opportunity to establish his role as the next CEO in his late father’s company. He knows that his father’s death wasn’t an accident. Upon seeing Tom’s name, whom he never forgot, who has hunted his dreams, he knows this is his last chance to secure Tom in his life. He knows everything about Tom; his time in jail, his daughter’s medical condition, and even the threat of losing the house him, his daughter and mother lives in. But when Tom accepts his offer to marry him, out of despair, Aleks realizes that maybe the way he approached Tom wasn’t the right one, he fears that Tom will do “anything”, even against Tom’s own desire, to save his daughter.

I loved every word of this book. Its angsty, its hot…

This book touches a borderline of gay-for-you and no-con situation (I mean the offer). I recommend it wholeheartedly!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “First Son of the Mound” by Meraki P. Lyhne

TITLE: First Son of the Mound
AUTHOR: Meraki P. Lyhne
SERIES: Chronicles of an Earned
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Angela Waters
GENRE: MM Paranormal
LENGTH: 365 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 26th
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book / $11.50 -paperback


Kaleb and Jeff are working on their budding friendship and on earning the trust of their new and potential allies. In the attempt to secure his ally, Kaleb runs into new magic. Or rather, very old magic. That mistake leads to more, and not only on Kaleb’s part.
With planning a wedding, the Enki fest, the opening reception of the auction house, and the art exhibition, the Earned are stretched thin serving. Edward strikes gold when he stumbles upon a young artist with a secret. He reminds Edward of a cycles-old love—one he’s going to need to focus on as his youngest son is once again thrust into unknown kinds of magic.
The two powerful Captains and their new allegiance are put to the test. So is their friendship as Jeff continues to work on saving his marriage.

When it comes to occult things, I always find my entire being on edge. It was like this from my very early childhood. There are a lot of books out there in this genre, but when I say that the Chronicles of an Earned is one of the most genuine, I’m not exaggerating.

I fell in love with this series from the very first book. The amount of information it contains amazes me evenl now. As often with this type of book, you may find the romance aspect is lacking or “dry” but the paranormal parts make up for it!
I love Kaleb and Alex’s POVs the best. They come to into themselves gradually, and I’m happy to to witness their growth.
This book is more focused on Kaleb and Jeff. Meraki enlightens us on Jeff’s state of mind and heart. He is one of the kindest characters in the series after Edward of course. And talking about Edward…

We know from the previous books that Edward feels useless when it comes to aiding his son Kaleb. That feeling grows when Kaleb gets in more a troubled situation. But Edwards finds a way to take away his mind for a short period of time and also his past getting the better of him.
Kaleb learns more about the elements. He discovers more about who he can serve. And with that, he gains more power, but he still feels like a child doubting himself. Thanks to the Gods for the people around him who are supporting and encouraging him. He finds a strong friendship in Jeff…

Jeff takes mentoring Kaleb with all his abilities. Also, he can’t ignore his Fay part, and when he and Kaleb come across of a Fay situation, he fears the Fays repulsiveness toward him as The Abomination.

This book is full of new information regarding Meraki’s universe of ancient creatures. It’s a slow build up. It’s not easy getting into that mind space, but once you’re caught up, it sucks you in and you just want to never part from it.

I’m restlessly awaiting the next one!

***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: “Ascendent” by Tal Bauer

TITLE: Ascendent
AUTHOR: Tal Bauer
SERIES: Executive Power
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 276 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 23, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 -e-book


Sasha Andreyev grew up on the wrong side of nowhere, dreaming of starlight as he strangled a secret. He fled, enlisting in the Russian Army, and worked his way up the ranks. Years later, after surviving a beating and being left for dead, he found a new life in Moscow, working with President Sergey Puchkov.
And then, he fell in love.
Desperate to avoid his runaway heart, crippled with a shame that infected his soul, and ravaged by demons haunting his memories, Sasha ran.
But he could never escape Sergey, or the gravitational pull of their love.
Nightmares trail behind his every step and weary ghosts live in the hollow chambers of his soul. He’s spent a lifetime brutally eviscerating the parts of himself he despises, and he’s an empty, shattered shell, struggling to be the man worthy of Sergey’s love.
The pieces of his soul he cut out are the very ones he needs in order to become the man he yearns to be. He’ll need to face himself, and his past, on a journey into the frozen heart of Russia, and into the midnight depths of the dead lands.
Only then can he ascend from the darkness, and be the man Sergey needs at his side.

Ever since I read the blurb of Enemies of State, I knew I had to get my hands on that book. That happened when all three books of the series were out. I knew it would be a good read, but I didn’t know that would discover an amazing author … Tal Bauer.

He has a talent for playing with words, words that you’re connected with and become part of you, installing their meaning deep inside the reader. I fell in love with Ethan from the very beginning. Their story captured thousands and thousands of readers, of whom I wasn’t an exception either.

Reading the series, I first met Sergey, the strong Russian President, who plays games with Jack but later they become close friends. And then Sasha appears and my attention switches from JATHAN (Jack/Ethan) to Sergey and Sasha. They become my favorite couple. I could relate to both of them, maybe because I, myself, grew up under a communist regime, and I knew exactly the deep meaning of their every thought. Honestly, until and unless you had the same experience with a dictatorial government, it’s really hard to identify with some of the things thees two marvelous characters go through.

And now finally I get to read their story. I was anxious at the end of Enemy Within because I didn’t get my fair share of Sasha and Sergey. Later on, I learned that Tal planned to release a book dedicated only to my favorite guys.

Ascendant is very Russian-like literature. If you had the opportunity to read Tolstoy, it would compare on some level with the feeling that this book gives away. The shadow of communism, the always-lacking, the carved out path of the future, to not having the option of choice, it all comes back in the book. The brooding Russian-love, the self-doubt, the not-good-enough.

Sasha suffers. His self-hatred of being gay and his love for Sergey are slowly killing him. The Arctic chill of Siberia freezes his insides and the only source of heat seems to be his sun, Sergey. But that’s not enough. He knows that for him to truly be able to love Sergey, he must find the part of his soul that he buried deep under the ice of Siberia.

Sergey is happy to have Sasha at his side, even though he knows that Sasha must leave again to be trained by NASA and become the future of the Russian space program, the only astronaut. Thier love must remain hidden because the future of Russia depends on it.

This book will make you love Russia. I always had a strange attraction to Russia. The hugeness of her history, culture, and art is ever-present in European culture. We learned it in school, and we talk in private gatherings. Ascendant also touches the Meta of the life. I’m not shocked that Tal talks about it in his book. Russian scientist are very much open for meta-science being that biology or physics. Also, they have a large amount of alternative healers who use bio-energy for curing. I witnessed many causes where these alternative bio-energetic treatment have a positive effect.

The journey of Sasha to find his lost self is amazingly written. Thanks to Tal’s genius-ness, you can really get a real feel of the multi-cultural, multi-ethnicity of Russia, and Tal’s utopian vision—that I deeply share—will put a smile on your face.


Spasibo, moy dorogoy Tal’!

***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: “Love and Payne” by Charlie Cochet

TITLE: Love and Payne
AUTHOR: Charlie Cochet
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Paranormal
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Sep 4, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book /$14.99 -paperback


Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.
THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.
When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.
Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be….

From the very first time, actually as I remember well, it was in the first book, Zack was one of the characters that I would have liked to know more about.
And after years and years, finally, I got the chance to know not only Zack but Austen too.

If you’ve read the series up until now, you know that Dex likes to torment Zach, the bear THERIAN shifter, by snatching up the last Cheese Doodles, a snack that both Dex and Zack are crazy about.
We didn’t read much about Zack up until now, but we get some glimpses in the other books of the growing “something” between Zack and Austen the TIN agent.

I think when I say that Austen is one of our favorites, I don’t think I exaggerate. We know Austen from the previous books as the mysterious TIN agent who pops up out of nowhere and always at the right time. He’s a resourceful cheetah THERIAN shifter, with a strength that comes from his dedication and his utter cleverness.

What we didn’t know was that Austen kept tabs on Zack, a very detailed tab that is. Austen knows Zack’s family (all ninety-six of them) by name. He knows everything there is to know about Zachary, he just can’t help himself when it comes to Zack. He knows that in his line of work—about what we learn more in this book—being in love and be loved in return, is not an option.

But when Zack’s life is in danger, thanks to his caring, soft heart, Austen does everything in his power to keep the man who means so much to him safe, even if he has to face all of Zachary’s clan one by one.

I loved Zach’s family, their caring for each other. They are close, and there are no secrets. Zach knows that obsessing on Austen will lead him to heartbreak and he decided that he’s going to take as much time as he can to be near Austen, because after all it’s done, Austen will leave, and they will never meet again…as was promised by his Austen.

This is a very good sequel of the series! Angst, love and many funny times thanks to Austen being near to Zack’s family. You will laugh a lot, as we used by now when it comes to THIRDS. And one more thing…I can’t wait for the next book when Austen must manage…Well I shouldn’t say more! Just read the book!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Englor Affair” by J.L. Langley


TITLE: The Englor Affair
AUTHOR: J.L. Langley
SERIES: Sci-Regency
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Tiferet Design
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 28, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book /$16.99 -paperback


A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to My Fair Captain
Anxious to escape the confines of Regelence society, if only for a little while, Prince Payton Townsend poses as an admiral’s aide to further investigate a dangerous conspiracy. Payton plans only to use his computer skills to help navigate the tangled web of mystery and deceit on planet Englor, then return home, but he finds himself drawn to the charismatic Colonel Simon Hollister.
Simon, however, is no mere soldier—he is heir to the throne of Englor, and his life is meticulously planned to include a bride and heir. Unlike Regelence, the Regency society on Englor disapproves of same-sex relationships, and Payton and Simon’s attraction plays out in a daring secret affair, one Simon never expected would grow into love.
Risking scandal and certain ruin if they are discovered, Payton and Simon uncover more about a common enemy and a deadly plot that imperils both their worlds. But in this game of interplanetary intrigue, love might be the ultimate casualty….

This is the second installment in Sci-Regency series. Actually, this series is a re-read for me, but I couldn’t pass up on the possibility to review this series on OptimuMM as well. So be prepared for the next review of the sequel as well.
I remember the feeling I had when I first read this series. It was soon after I discovered MM. Back then, I was struggling to accept myself openly as a gay man. These books were a big help to overcome the guilt and all the struggle.

Me being a bit conservative romantic-wise and a hopeless romantic also and a bit of sci-fi nerd this series hit home like nothing else. If you were reading the first of the series (and I highly recommend you do) you know already that Regelence is a regency planet were man marries man. I will be honest with you, if that planet had been real, I would be already on my way. I love how young men’s virtues are guarded. We read about this mainly in MF, when the young, noble lady must remain virgin till marriage. In this series, the young lords have the same faith.

Payton aka Lord Plague was raised in the same manner. So when his brother-in-law, the Admiral of the battleship Lady Anna of IN, brings him along as his aid to Englor where they continue to investigate Aiden’s and Jeremy’s kidnapping, he finds himself in scandalous situations. I’ll just tell you one thing …gym locker room…

Englor is not so open for same-sex couples, and by that, I mean they’re quite homophobic. Si, being the next in line to become the king of Englor, must hide his homosexuality. Then he meets Pay, the Admiral’s aide and all his precautions are blown away.

I love this series with all my heart. Pay’s insecurity and Si’s doubtlessness doesn’t seems to get along. I had some difficulty with some parts of the book, because being raised in our society, for me, it seemed that Payton was given a feminine role. But then I schooled myself for being so narrow-minded and I put myself in Payton’s shoes, remembering that Payton was brought up to be a Consort of another man.

I hope you’ll enjoy it as I did!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis