Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn: by Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #9
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

 

four-half-stars

 

So close…..

Oh Charlie, you don’t know how close I was to parting ways with your series. I got so tired of Dex & Sloane taking over everyone’s stories, tired of the cliffhangers and tired of the other couple playing side characters in their stories. I was just tired. It would have been sad for me, but I would have no other choice. Along the way, the series has gotten so big that at times I forgot who is who, and what is what.

But Ms. Cochet, you’ve redeemed yourself to me. Big time. I’m not an easy series reader to please, and this felt like one of the beginning books in the series. I really liked this. It was an actual story with no cliffhangers, the minimalist of Dex, and Seb & Hudson finally gets to tell their story.

A really big reveal comes into play. I mean, I kinda figured it out, but I definitely like the direction it went in. Hopefully this means Seb & Hudson gets to play a bigger role in this series as well as a potential spin-off series. I did forget the reason for the breakup, but I did like seeing an established couple work through their problems. Is was very up and down at one point, but I understand both points of views.

This is not a standalone, and reading the series helps a lot. We get to see the main characters in their everyday lives, and how well they are able to work to one another. I got a feeling that the series is almost over for some of these people, but its a couple of people that I’d like to see have a story or novella before we leave. Zachary first and foremost, didn’t forget about him. Austen, Dom, and Alfie ;). Have to read the story to find out about that last name folks.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. Nice plot, decent amount of heat, passion, love, and angst. Yes it was a bit angsty in my opinion, but it had me sucked in from the very beginning. Charlie has redeemed herself in my eyes. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this crew.

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About Charlie Cochet

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.If you’d like to connect with Charlie, just drop her an email, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Breaking the Ice: by Tali Spencer
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
Pages: 86 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better — until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart — and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

three-stars

 

Breaking the Ice is a cute enemies to lovers story. Heavy on the ice fishing, low on the steam, and plenty of sass. I loved Matt’s sass. Being the poster boy for out & proud in this small Wisconsin town doesn’t even matter to Matt. He likes what he likes, does what he does and isn’t going back in anyone’s closet for anybody. John is new to town, and with all new people they find the popular people and try to fit it. Its what he did here, regardless of the homophobe taunts could have been aimed back at him, he just wanted to fit in.

I know next to nothing about fishing. Its not in my wheel house and I’m okay with that. Matt explained enough for the both of us. I really enjoyed his style and delivery on such things. He was a forgiving person even though he didn’t want to. I don’t really know if I liked John personally. I feel like we got to see the glimpse of him in a bad way, but post making up and setting amends it kinda flew passed. I didn’t get a feel of him like I would have liked to. This book is very much low on steam, which was another downer for me. They did move pretty quick together for my liking, or it could have been the second half of the book was rushed in my opinion.

It wasn’t a bad story, but it wasn’t as exciting as I would have liked it to be. The relationship growth was all on page, and majority of the book was spent talking about Ice Fishing. I would have liked too see them work things out together and definitely on page. It kept me interested enough to finish so there’s that. I think people would like it.

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About Tali Spencer

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

How To Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How To Bang A Billionaire: by Alexis Hall
Series: Arden St. Ives #1
Release Date: April 16, 2017
Pages: 384 • Format: e-book
Published By: Forever Yours
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoogle PlayiBooksKobo

The first book in an all-new m/m romance trilogy by RITA Award-winning author Alexis Hall!

Rules are made to be broken . . .

If England had yearbooks, I’d probably be “Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire.” So far, I haven’t. I’ve no idea what I’m doing at Oxford, no idea what I’m going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he’s brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.

It’s impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he’ll be through with me.

I’m good at doing what I’m told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian’s shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it’s him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn’t have the power to give me.

two-half-stars

DNF @ 67%

ARGHHHHHHHHH

It’s only so much you can take! Goodness, I really tried. I tried Alisa, oh pudding pop I tried. LOL.

I literally want to take a bat to ARDEN’S head and shut him the hell up. It was TOO MUCH internal monologuing. I liked the premise of the story and the reversal of the FSOG saga, but it was too much for me. Honestly, I read up to 67% and put up with alot. I couldn’t deal with a few sentences of dialogue between Caspian & Arden, and then 5 long pages of internal yammering from Arden. It was this way the entire book so far. Then Arden would go on extended rants about things that were so left field. I really feel like he had ADHD. It is okay to admit it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Arden a lot. I even liked Caspian, and certain parts of the story were good and funny. Both characters were likeable, but to many words and not enough execution left me bored and pissed off. I wish it was maybe dual pov’s. Maybe it would have flowed more easily reading from Caspian’s pov.

This is a bummer for me. I don’t find myself reading this author that much but I do like a couple of his stories. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this persay, but people seem to read enjoy it. There reviews are a lot more positive in energy about the characters. It didn’t work for me, but it might work for you. Try it. 

 

 

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About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the twenty-first century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune-teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth-century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hot-wire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shelter The Sea: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevlet #2
Release Date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 190 • Format: eARC
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

four-stars

Shelter the Sea is such a good follow up to Carry the Ocean. Loved seeing Emmett and Jeremey’s love continue to grow.

This book was much lighter than book one.  Not saying that the guys didn’t have difficulties, but I am so ecstatic that Heidi didn’t torture our guys apart to give us a story. This was a lot more realistic then book one if you want to say that. This book dealt with the difficulties of living with a mental illness. This was such an eye opener for people who don’t seem to matter or get pushed to the wayside. This story was a lot bigger then Emmett & Jeremey to me. Of course every couple goes through little snits together and its healthy. This was them plus the people in their everyday life and everyone else they inspire around the world. It was very emotional at times.

Half of the book focuses on their relationship. Some of it is happy, sad, funny and its them. We see Jeremey struggle with his depression a lot more. We also see him open up and he’s a lot more vocal in his wants and needs. Emmett, oh such a sweetheart. I love Emmett’s resilience. He does not give up. This man is the ultimate fighter and champion of his beliefs and causes. Their relationship grows, and we see them grow individually on page to grown men  and better partners for one another.

This was political heavy. Not to preachy, but very detailed and informed on what goes down. I think Heidi did wonderful with his research for this subject. It’s an emotional journey to say the least. It shows how messed up the government is when it comes to Mental Health and its patients, families and allies. It shows the ugly truth about money being the root of everything in this country. It also shows people of different everything coming together for a cause. It shows them banning together to fight to get the same rights as everyone else.

Shelter the Sea is a good closure to their story. It wasn’t very romancy, but it had its moments where it mattered. I think fans of the book one will be very happy with the outcome to this story. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of the series as well. Hats off to you, Heidi.

 

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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich

Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich
Release Date: April 15, 2017
Format: e-ARC Pages: 32
Published By: Owlkids Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

Meet Phoebe. Unfortunately, her name doesn’t look quite like it sounds. At school, her classmates practice writing their names, but Phoebe struggles. Her teacher tells her to “just sound it out.” Phoebe doubts herself and procrastinates before resolving to try. Readers are privy to her funny, endearing interior monologue and little-kid rationale as she writes the result: FEEBY.

Told in a relatable, introspective voice, this school story conveys the feelings and worries of a 5-year-old and supports learning about sounds and letters. Readers will see from Phoebe’s fellow kindergartners’ attempts that everyone makes mistakes, and that we can take pride in effort and not just perfection.

LEVELING
Grade Range: Pre-K–2
Fountas & Pinnell: J
Reading Recovery: 17
Lexile: AD 590L

COMMON CORE
RL.1.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9
L.1.1,1b,1e,1f,2,2a,2b,2d,2e,4
L.1.4b,4c,5,5a,5b,5c,5d,6
RF.1.1,2,2a,2b,2c,2d,3,3a,3e,4
SL.1.1,1b,1c,2,3,4,5,6
W.1.3,5,6,8

My 7 year old son read this book to my 5 year old son. They had a different reaction to this book than I did. My youngest was tickled most about Phoebe’s boots. He enjoyed the book and he said that Phoebe sounding out her name reminding him of the Gingerbread man because he thought the first letter should have been “J”.
My big boy thought the book ended too fast. He wanted to know how the teacher helped Phoebe with understand about spelling her name. He also had more comments about the boots and Phoebe’s phonetic issues.

My overall impression was this book that it seemed a tad disjointed. It started off about boots, but then turned into kindergarten kids spelling their names. I actually didn’t think much about the boots. It was actually a distraction. I also didn’t understand the introduction of the second teacher Ms. April who enjoyed music. It didn’t fit. It didn’t seem to flow what I felt was the main theme of the book, which I loved. It was a joy following the steps Phoebe took as she worked to write her name. I would have liked the author to concentrate on the name, and how certain words have a phonetic sound different from the actual spelling. The boots thing could have been a separate story. My kids found that aspect entertaining.

My rating for this book would have been a 3-star, but my kids thought it was a 4-star book. Thus, I will settle in the middle. My youngest did ask me to read it again tomorrow, but he wants to wear his boots when I read it.
So clearly, my son related to Phoebe’s footwear.

*Special Thanks to Owlkids Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

Ezi

At Attention by Annabeth Albert

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

At Attention: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, #2
Release Date: April 10th, 2017
Pages: 209 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Carina Press BooksAmazonKobo

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

two-half-stars

 

You know, I’ll admit I waffle if I should give this book 3 stars for the author, or the actual story. I had to go with my gut on this. This was a disappointing read. I struggled throughout the entire story. My biggest thing is that we’ve read this scenario before. There was nothing new or exciting for the same thing again and again. I love Annabeth’s work tremendously but it took everything in me to power through and read it. I seen all the high rating, and love for it. I had to wonder was we reading the same book. The general formula of a widower and a crush getting together was just it. There was nothing significantly interesting to me. Not one point. If I read ten pages then I forgot what the first 5 were. I even put it down for a while to read something else, and it still didn’t draw me in or give me a glimpse of hope that it gets better.

I liked Apollo from book 1. I guess in his book he lost all the sparkle and excitement that I wanted to read about. Yes he was a caring father, and a tad overprotective but that’s human nature. He’s grieving and still in the mindset about Neal. I don’t know how he feels about Dylan honestly. Even at the end, I sort of was not buying his feelings. I guess they feel forced to me. On Apollo’s side it just felt physical. I didn’t see the attraction outside of that, and I’m bothered by this mostly.

I know Dylan has always liked Apollo so I can believe his attraction. He does some classic stupid things, but they are classic and one reason this trope is so popular. Trying to only stay physical without getting their emotions involved is dumb. One because Dylan’s emotions were already there and they just came back full fledged. This was really a contemporary novel nothing really major happens outside of the story.

I tried and tried to read and get involved with the story but it just seemed liked missed connections to me. I will read book 3 because I know Annabeth’s stories work well for me. I just didn’t like this one at all.

 

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About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Joy by C.S. Poe

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Joy: by C.S. Poe
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 5th, 2017
Pages: 69 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?

Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

two-half-stars

Okay I find myself liking and loathing this series at times. I couldn’t pass this up because I enjoy the author’s writing and the cover model was Wowza big time. Two things stopped this from being a 5 star read. The length, and the ending. I feel like this had the biggest potential ever to be a full length novel or at least a regular novella length. I mean 70 pages didn’t do anything for this story. It had a really good beginning, middle, but the end just tapered off into a dive and never recovered. It got sloppy to me, and conflict for the sake of conflict is not something I want at all. It was sugary sweet goodness for 90% of the story and the last 10% completely changed the tone of it for me. The length was a major letdown. First there’s No On Page Physical anything but a kiss. Yeah, I was a little disappointed but didn’t think it was going to end like that. Ummm no thank you. We really got to see Gideon & Silas start somewhere fresh in their lives, and not really see them start a future.

Gideon Joy thinks he’s having a mid-life crisis at the age of 25. Super funny about that, and he upends his life in Los Angeles to go on a statewide road trip. He finds himself in a small town in New Hampshire in a conflict with Moose. Yes, Moose. Not a person but the actual animals. I laughed at the initial showdown with the animal that caused the car accident and the events later on in the story. He meets Silas who seems standoffish and mean but we come to find out he’s just shy. I liked Silas a lot. With not much money or a job Gideon decides to stay in the Podunk town to work out the repairs for Silas’s car and money for himself. I thought it was cute and a lot of fluff from here on out. Gideon makes a mark on some people. The townspeople are super nice to him, and its the first time that he can really breath. He has no worries, and feels at peace here. He meets a really nice couple who lets him stay there and gets a job from a nice guy name George. Things seem to be looking up for Gideon. He starts flourishes here and Silas isn’t the mean SOB he originally thought he was. Who knows, they find that they have a lot in common and attraction is one of them. Its definitely a fast pace on the relationship which I enjoyed. I really wanted more of the story. We didn’t get any closure or see a future happening. A bummer if you ask me. Such sweet characters and writing, but it felt unfinished and I’m not really happy about that since I liked them so much.

 

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About C.S. Poe

Is an author of gay mystery and contemporary romance. She believes that happily ever after is an attainable goal for any character, given enough elbow grease and legwork is provided.

C.S. lives in New York City, but has called a host of different locations home in the past, most recently being Ibaraki, Japan. She regrets no longer having easy access to limited edition candy, capsule toy machines, and clean trains, but over ten years in New York has proved to her there is no place quite like it.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats, in no particular order. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. Poe’s first publication was Love Has No Expiration, by Dreamspinner Press in 2015. Her debut novel, Snow & Winter: The Mystery of Nevermore is scheduled for release in summer 2016 by DSP Publications.

Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Loose Cannon: by Sidney Bell
Series: The Woodbury Boys #1
Release Date: April 3rd, 2017
Pages: 327 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Don’t miss this brand-new male/male romance series from Sidney Bell, author of Bad Judgment

Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.

With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.

Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

five-stars

This book surely deserved that slow clap. So I originally read this book in Janurary as an ARC, and was blown away by it. It was the first book of the year to get 5 stars and land on my Best Books of 2017 list! I was completely enthralled with the story and it stuck with me. Well what did I do? I completely forgot to write my review. Knowing that I was going to have to skim or re-read it had me worried. I was worried if I didn’t like it the second time around just as much. If I could find little things to nit pick that would cause me to lower my rating or change my opinion overall. I am shocked that the second time around, I’m just as in love with it as the first one. Didn’t cry, but it was the same raw emotions and feelings the first time around. Bell has some true talent, I’m 2 for 2 on her books and she continues to be a force to reckon with so far.

This angsty, age-gap, out for you romance with a great plot and superb characters was Ah-Maz-Ing like Penny stated above. I was blown away by the story, the journey, friendship, love and obligation that Miller & Church had towards each other. Edgar Allen Church is such a complex character with an wonderful heart. He is fresh out of Woodbury Rehabilitation Center for Youth Offenders. When his living arrangements fall through, it leaves him no choice but to call the one person who he hasn’t spoken to in 5 years. Miller. Miller who is everything to Church. Not knowing the feeling is reciprocated. Church comes from an abusive childhood where fists are used instead of words, where no physical acts of love is shown, and he only has himself. Miller breaks my heart, he’s living day to day but not really living. He has this storm raging inside of him, and instead of letting himself be he hides himself and its literally eating him apart.

I really like how the story is told in 3 different parts. We get to see what lead Church to his incarceration, what happened between him and Miller, and the fall out from those years spent apart. This was angsty in my opinion, but I’m glad that it had multiple components to keep me on my toes without worrying about their relationship. As much as I loved Church, my feelings were all over the place with Miller. He’s been in love with Church for so long but all his thoughts and feelings are constricted based on the guilt he feels about another man. Wrapped up in his own head, and hearing his father saying its a sin has Miller waffling on his sexuality. Bell did a good job on Church being the calm one when the sexuality conversation comes into play. It gets steamy and the love is already there. You can see what they mean to each other and I’m just blown away by the feels that was in this book.

The mystery aspect was well done. I cannot wait for Tobias to get a story. I don’t care if its with Ghost or not, I just need pure, sweet Tobias to get love. Ha, I know he isn’t pure, but I loved him. Ghost is so broken, but so wonderful at the same time I expect so many tears to come when his book comes out.

This was such a great start to the series. I mean, Bell did a good job with Bad Judgement, but Loose Cannon is in a class all by it self. Very well written, extremely flawed characters, such a realistic feeling to an emotional journey. I think fans in this genre would love this, and can definitely see this on the Best Books of 2017 list. A definite recommend from me.

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About Sidney Bell

Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

Home Fires by Kate Sherwood

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Home Fires: by Kate Sherwood
Series: Common Law, #4
Release Date: April 1st, 2017
Pages: 162 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Trouble comes to Mosely, Montana, from the outside world. When the residents of Mosely are left on their own, they can make things work. Sure, there’s always been a militia operating up in the hills, but they were small-scale—just survivalists doing their thing—until organizers came in from out of state. Now Jericho Crewe and the rest of the sheriff’s department are facing down a heavily armed band of fanatics, and the feds are busy elsewhere.

The odds are hopeless, but Jericho swore an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Mosely. He won’t walk away from that, even if Wade Granger’s begging him to run away somewhere and finally be together the way they always should have been.

But this time, it’s Jericho who refuses to leave Mosely, even if staying kills him.

four-stars

 

**Grumbles**, it was far better in the romance department then all the other books in the series. Still LOW STEAM, no actual physical stuff in the book more low key. I am still not happy with my romance being such low end on the totem pole. With this book I guess I should be happy that it was forthcoming as it was. Home Fires wraps up a lot of the story lines that we needed answered. Jericho & Wade finally come to a head sort to speak. They were a lot more forthcoming with one another, and I guess when lives are at stake then being present about your love in front of others wouldn’t mean anything to you. Declaring your love for each other seemed like pulling teeth at times, and now it was really refreshing to see them accept love in any form.

I really enjoyed the action that this book packed! Everything was busy from the very beginning, and I will say the ending felt a little off. I will say my fruition about Wade didn’t come true. I’m still not clear on what he was really doing, since it wasn’t a big showdown with him, and I wanted his business to be a little outed. I mean, he was amazing in this series, and we don’t get to see him actually be such a badass. We kinda assume all these things about him, but nothing is either confirm. Jericho, I’m glad you got some semblance of happiness. I really would have like to see more of an epilogue with him and his siblings. I would have liked to see a future for them possibly.

I’m just reaching now. I’ve enjoyed the overall experience of this series. I want closure on certain things that I’ve explained above, but I am happy with the outcome. I think people will enjoy this series, and its a recommend from me!

 

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About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Enemy Within by Tal Bauer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Enemy Within: by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office #3
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Pages: 445 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
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The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

three-half-stars

 

Dude, I’ve been dreading writing this review. It took me close to 11 days to finish the book. I know his previous 2 in the series have been long but it felt very different from this book. This was the last book in the series, and it wrapped up and answered alot of questions in the series. I didn’t necessarily enjoy it as much as the second book. I want to say the romance took a back seat to the actual plot, and all of the copious amounts of information was an overload for me. I like that Tal did his research but, I didn’t NEED to know every single detail. At best, I was disgusted with all the different pov’s, I didn’t need to read it from there I would have been okay with the knowledge coming from Ethan & Jack or just letting things play out by ear. I’m a little let down, and I’m not going to lie. I wish I could cut 100 pages out of this adventure and get some future insight on Ethan & Jack post world showdown.

Don’t get me wrong. I did like certain parts of the story alot. I liked seeing the good guys plan evolve and come to fruition. I liked seeing things happen back home in D.C. So much espionage and treachery was in this story, but I did SUSPEND all my SCANDAL beliefs while reading this. For me, it was lacking that magical feel that I got from the other books.

I don’t want to give away any plot so I won’t even talk about who is with who in this review. I did learn a bunch of new things, don’t know if I will ever use them but I’m glad it went to my mind palace.  I will say Tal does an amazing job with the love conquers all theme for me. Him putting Jack & Ethan through the ringer in this book. I like that his characterization never changes throughout the series.

This book was overwhelming. Not a bad thing, but I did take several breaks while reading it. It’s a lot to handle and I might needed to create a pie chart, but I excelled through. I look forward to seeing some of these people in novellas or one shots if the author see fits. I still recommend the series big time. Tal is an excellent writer, and story teller which equates to good reading from me! A definite recommend.

 

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About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.