A Paul B Review: Crash (Demon Elite #1) by April Kelley

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

CrashElijah Spade’s life got complicated after his mother’s death.  Having had virtually no contact with his mother’s relatives due to their criminal activities, Elijah is now caught up unwillingly in their plans.  Forced to help kidnap another gay man at a club, Elijah decides that is one man is going to die do to his actions, it should be him for helping out his relatives.  However, the attempted escape fails and Elijah and the victim are both captured.  Not knowing what happened to the mark, Elijah is thrown into the family dungeon where he lingers for weeks on end.  Hope comes when a fellow prisoner escapes and sends in help to rescue Elijah.

Crash Morgan is an assassin for the Demon Elite team.  His job is to kill the worst of the worst in society.  Those who die by his hand need to die.  So when his boss tell him that his next assignment is to watch and question a young man who is in the hospital, Crash initially objects.  When goes to the hospital room to watch over Elijah, Crash feels instantly protective of him.  Crash realizes that the man in the hospital bed may have to go to jail so any feelings are inappropriate.  Besides, it is against company policy.  As Crash gets to hear Elijah’s story, he cannot help but feel sorry for the guy.  His feelings for him start to grow also.  So when a pair of dirty cops sent by Elijah’s family show up, Crash takes matters into his own hands and escapes the hospital with Elijah.  Now can he keep them both alive to see if what both men are beginning to feel will grow?

This is the first book in the Demon Elite series by April Kelley.  The story revolves around an elite squad of men who contract out their services to right injustices in the world.  I thought her portrayal of what would be symptoms of PTSD in Elijah was well written.  Elijah’s anxiety attacks and his fear of Crash leaving him were realistic given the circumstances of his imprisonment.  Crash’s mother, who seems to act as a mother to the team, immediately bonds with Elijah after she learns what has happened to him.  The author also sets up future books with a twist that puts the integrity of the Demon Elite team in question.   It will be interesting to see how Crash and company takes on “the big bad.”

Sales Links:   eXtasy Press |  Amazon

Book Details

Kindle Edition, 122 pages
Published January 8th 2016 by eXtasy Books
ASINB01A2O3KZU
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDemon Elite #1

Series:  Demon Elite

A MelanieM Review: End Street Detective Agency Volume One (End Street Detective Agency #1-2) by Amber Kell, R.J. Scott

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Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

End Street Detective Agency Vol 1Dragons, vampires, werewolves, fae, witches and one very confused human.

* * * *

Sam, 100% human (no, really) inherits a crumbling building and a private detective agency from his Uncle.

Bob, a brooding stubborn and ancient vampire turns up at his door and refuses to leave.

Before Sam can say ‘I only want human cases’ he’s knee deep in werewolves, dragons, vampires and witches.

Book 1 – The Case of The Cupid Curse

Sam Enderson is a human detective who inherits a building from where his Uncle used to run a detective agency. He finds himself working for paranormal creatures despite his resolve to stick with humans only. To supplement his income as a new PI Sam rents out rooms in the large house.

Bob is a vampire and turns up on Sam’s doorstep to rent a room. Sparks fly and Sam is attracted to the vampire despite himself.

Sam is cursed by a witch, and has two cases landing on his desk. Werewolves, annoying ghosts and a grumpy gargoyle are enough to drive Sam mad. But somehow in amongst all of this he has to find a missing fae and a missing shifter child.

Book 2 – The Case of the Wicked Wolf

Naiads, humans, sirens and a challenge for Alpha make up the intricate story in the race to rescue the missing children.

Sam and Bob have more than just the case of one lost child to handle. Not only is Shelby Hartman missing, but other paranormal children have disappeared. The race to rescue the children is hampered by naiads, humans, sirens and a challenge for Alpha.

Hartman Hunter is desperate to find his daughter. He turns to the demon Danjal Naamah for help. The problem is that Danjal is the only person Hartman has ever loved—the man he let go for the sake of the pack…

NB: Previously released as two separate books.
Word count for End Street Volume 1: 64,500

I started this series at book four and then had to scrabble back to the beginning and start where most readers began.  I’m not sure I made a mistake because I picked out a early pattern that has continued through all the books I’ve since finished.  With each story this series gets progressively better.  The plots deepen and the character drop what qualities I found irritating (and yes, frankly whiney) towards the  beginning of the series.  So it was probably a very good thing that I started with books where the characters had lost some of the attributes and mind boggling naivete found in books 1 and 2.

This mostly applies to Sam, a being who refuses to accept that he’s not human.  Everyone  else knows he’s not, from the fae to the  ever present gargoyle.  But Sam?  Nope, with the stubbornness that becomes highly irritating.  I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to do the things he can do in the world Amber Kell and RJ Scott have built?  And they don’t lay any real reason for Sam’s unyielding prejudice/stubborn unwillingness to see himself as anything other than human, when all the events and his powers say otherwise.

Luckily that starts to disappear somewhat or become palatable after this volume.

But I knew there was more coming.  Plus I got to see how he met Bob the vampire.  I adore Bob.  Plus all the other beings that inhabit his house/detective agency are so cool, with  very distinctive personalities that they make up for the places I want to deliver a “Snap out of it” ala Cher in Moonlighting to Sam.  What saves Sam?  He’s really cares, he’s also just a determinedly stubborn in wanting to do the right thing.  A sort of supernatural knight charging off to fix things, with a whole passel of supernatural beings running after him to help.  That’s charming and each case connects to the next, getting better and better.  You will love what’s coming next in Vol. 2.

These were my rating for the individual stories but really, don’t pass any of them up.  You need them to build, one on top of the other.

  • Book 1 – The Case of The Cupid Curse.  Rating: 3 stars out of 5
  • Book 2 – The Case of the Wicked Wolf. Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Next up, Vol 2, (dragons) and then The Case of the Purple Pearl, that’s a real winner.  I love this series and recommend it.

Art work by Meredith Russell.  Love this cover.  Works beautifully for the characters involved.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published October 5th 2015 by Love Lane Books Ltd (first published June 28th 2013)
ASINB0168MICJ4
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEnd Street Detective Agency #1-2

 

 

A Stella Review: THE UGLIEST SWEATER by Gillian St. Kevern

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Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

The Ugliest SweaterDan’s favourite festive sweater is so ugly, it’s cost him not one but three boyfriends and sent him back to his parents’ place for the third Christmas in a row. About to give up hope of ever having a Christmas date, Dan meets Jake, a hot guy with a rock and roll edge. Jake is infatuated with Dan’s sweater but vanishes before Dan can decide if Jake is for real or really in need of an eye-check. After all, no one has ever liked the sweater.

Dan’s sweater is rocketed to national attention, when Jake’s radio colleagues launch a hunt for the mystery man in the hideous jumper. Dan jumps at the chance to meet Jake again, and they hit it off in a big way, to the accompaniment of intimate gigs, exclusive clubs, and the paparazzi. Dan falls hard, but despite obvious mutual attraction, Jake refuses to take him back to his apartment. Is the relationship real – or a ratings stunt? After all, Jake has a reputation for cool that Dan, a lowly gym instructor, could never approach. Is a fondness for tacky Christmas clothing the only thing they have in common? Or does uber-cool Jake hide a Christmas secret of his own?

“Have you lost your goddamn mind?”

“That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” Dan looked down at himself. “It’s only a sweater.”

Aston snorted. “That is ‘only a sweater’ the same way the Titanic was a bit of a wreck.”

Dan forced a laugh. “You can’t compare a sweater to an actual tragedy.”

“That sweater is an actual tragedy. Honestly, Dan. Have you gone blind?”

I honestly can say this story disappointed me a little, maybe my hopes were too high, because I fell in love with the gorgeous cover and then I read the blurb and thought The Ugliest Sweater could be original and sweet. What I got was a lovely reading with cute characters (main and secondary too) but nothing more. Even in stories so short, I need some characters’ background or just an epilogue to see where the relationship has gone after the first sex night together. While here I got none. As a matter of fact, the ending felt to me rushed and very unexpected, I turned page on my kindle and there was the author’s bio. It was frustating.

That said, if I try and forget about these things, I had a good holiday story, sweet and fluffy. I was looking for a light book because  I was coming from a heavy reads, and The Ugliest Sweater was perfect, it took my mind away from dark places and filled it with colors and gingerbread smells.

Plus the cover art by Aria Tan caught my attention at first sight. It’s super cute and adorable.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published December 14th 2015 by NineStar Press
isbn13 9781911153108
Edition Language English

 

An Ali Review: Double Indemnity (The Stonebridge Mysteries, #1) by Maggie Kavanagh

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Rating: 3.5  out of 5 stars
Double IndemitySam Flynn dreamed of being a journalist until a car accident killed his parents and put his brother into a long-term coma. Now Sam spends his days as a landscaper toiling in the New England sun and his nights drunk in bed with the closest warm body. In his limited spare time, he writes about Stonebridge’s local crime and politics on his blog “Under the Bridge.”

Then Sam’s favorite client is found dead in her home—shortly after telling him someone has betrayed her trust. Sam can’t believe her grief-stricken husband Nathan would be a suspect, but the investigation hones in on him. Sam has always admired handsome Nathan from afar, but now he puts his libidinous feelings aside to help clear his name. However, the closer he gets to Nathan, the more he’s told to keep away from him and the investigation—by the fatherly police chief, by an officer on the case who’s hated him since school, and by Nathan himself.

Sam’s determined to expose the real reason his friend died and clear Nathan’s name—even if it’s the last thing he does. Which, considering how fast the death toll is increasing in Stonebridge… it might be.
 
 
I found this to be an enjoyable start to a new series.  This story is more mystery than romance but the building of a good love story is there.  It was a slow burn and it worked well with the story elements.  I thought the way it all unfolded was very believable.  Sam isn’t a perfect guy.  He has some issues but he’s upfront and honest and I thought it made his character one I could relate to in some ways.  I wasn’t sure about Nathan at first but he grew on me and I really liked him by the end of the book.  There are a host of good side characters who’s presence adds to the story.  I thought this was a good, solid start to a new series and I’m looking forward to the next book.
Cover by Maria Fanning. This is an average cover in my opinion.  I don’t love it but I also don’t have any complaints about it.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here
Book Details:
ebook, 214 pages
Published January 26th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
Original TitleDouble Indemnity
ISBN 1632163780 (ISBN13: 9781632163783)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Stonebridge Mysteries
Double Indemnity (The Stonebridge Mysteries, #1)

Cover reveal for Dev Bentham’s ‘Whistle Blower’‏ (excerpt and giveaway)

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WhistleBlowerFS

Whistle Blower by Dev Bentham
Release Date: February 5, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Blurb

Money can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He’s a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos—evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.

In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it’s never too late to begin again.

 

Pages or Words: 214 pages
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt

Ben got waylaid by a bunch of little things, so it took him longer than he’d expected to get back to the dock for Nussbaum’s—Jacob’s rowing lesson. As Ben approached the dock, Jacob was facing away, staring out over the lake. Which was good, since he was naked except for a skim of bright red Lycra that barely covered his ass. And what an ass. What a body in general. It had been a long time since Ben had seen a muscular olive-skinned back on which dark hair grew in such fascinating patterns. Manny had a back like that. Ben had loved to run his tongue along the thin lines of fur along his lower back. Manny hadn’t been hairy, really, just never quite naked. Jacob had that same look, except he was younger, stronger, and better built.

Feeling uncomfortable with that comparison, Ben tore his eyes away from Jacob’s body. Aside from leaving him feeling unfaithful to Manny’s memory, this was neither the time nor the place and, in all probability, not the man to indulge that kind of fantasy. Ben cleared his throat, and Jacob turned around. Jesus. Who’d have thought under all those clothes, there’d be this—high definition, perfect tone, and all that gorgeous skin. Ben forced himself to meet Jacob’s eyes. He reached into the boathouse, pulled out one of the clean tee shirts he kept for changing after rowing, and handed it to Jacob.

“It’s easy to get sunburned out here.” For the love of God, he had to cover up the guy if he was going to teach him anything, other than…. He cleared his throat again. “The beginner scull is up here.” He walked back up the dock to the boat rack, yelling at himself the whole way for unprofessional thoughts.

As Ben uncovered the practice scull, he was hit by an unexpected wave of memory. Manny had bought it for him their first summer in the Northwoods. It had taken Ben two years to outgrow the added stability and another to decide to try Manny’s MAAS. He ran a finger over the fiberglass patch from when he’d run the boat into the shore. Manny, from his own scull twenty feet away, had admonished, “Never get in a fight with a rock. The rock always wins.”

From behind him, Jacob asked, “Need any help?”

Ben straightened and walked to the far side of the boat. “Get the stern, would you?”

Jacob picked up his side of the boat, and in a monkey-see-monkey-do motion, lifted it onto his shoulder. Ben turned around, settling the bow onto his left shoulder, and led the way back down to the dock. On three they flipped the scull into the water. Ben squatted beside the boat, pointing and describing the various parts until he felt comfortable enough in his role as teacher that he could glance over at Jacob, who knelt beside him. Jacob was focused on the boat, taking in Ben’s instructions. Ben exhaled. Jacob covered up and concentrating on the boat was easier to deal with than he was as a just-about-naked man basking in the sun at the end of the dock.

Ben noticed Jacob’s shoes for the first time. No shorts, no water shoes. Evidently Mr. Nussbaum had been expecting an entirely different resort vacation, probably involving mai tais on the beach and plenty of bikini-clad young women. If he tipped over in the scull, which he was going to do, everyone did when they were starting out, those shoes would take a long time to dry. Ben had an extra pair of water shoes. Maybe they’d fit.

“What size feet do you have?” he asked.

Jacob glanced up. “Ten. Why? Does it matter for the stirrups?”

Of course he wore tens, because otherwise the physical comparison wouldn’t be perfect. “Your shoes will be awkward as hell in the stirrups. You need something lighter and better in the water. Don’t worry. I’ve got some you can borrow.”

Jacob wouldn’t fit in Ben’s nine and a halfs, but Manny’s old tens were still where they’d always been, on the top shelf in the boathouse. Ben found them. He brushed off the dust and cobwebs. The shoes weren’t sacred, and it wasn’t disloyal to let Jacob wear them. They were just old water shoes with cracks in the soles. Ben grabbed a pair of oars and stepped back onto the dock, dropping the shoes by Jacob. “Try these. I’ll get the oars set up.”

Ben fixed each oar in its oarlock, concentrating hard so he wouldn’t have to watch another man put on Manny’s shoes. Then he set about teaching Jacob Nussbaum the rudiments of rowing.

Buy the book: Dreamspinner Press | B & N | Amazon | Kobo | ARe

 

 

Meet the Author:
Dev Bentham writes soulful m/m romance. Her characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know what they are missing, but whose lives are transformed by true love.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, KathyMac Reviews, Love Bytes, Bayou Book Junkie, Happily Ever Chapter, The Hat Party, The Jena Wade, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews, Unquietly Me, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Gay Book Reviews, Making It Happen, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, Molly Lolly, Alpha Book Club

Final for Dev Betham's Whistle Blower

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: A signed paperback copy of Nobody’s Home OR an ebook, reader’s choice, from Dev’s backlist which can be found at http://www.devbentham.com

 

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