A MelanieM Audio Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding and Drew Bacca (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Once I got past of certain stage this story, I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook of The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding as narrated by Drew Bacca. But it did take a bit of time and an admission that yes, this is a work of contemporary fiction, and no drop a certain expectation of reality here.

That started with someone of “rockstar/country star status” heading off   to an unstable communist dictator block associated country like Vasnytsia for a concert and he’s going by himself.  No members of his band, no handlers, no setup crew, no security, especially not his own security in this day and age, and only one person?  Uh no. Eye roll.

That  alone would raise suspicions as to the mission they were on. Can’t do spy missions with an entourage. So dump any idea of a certain authenticity here and just go with the flow.  It made it more enjoyable, at least for me.

Once past that notion, and a certain stumbling steps with the narration, the story took off once we landed in the country of Vasnytsia,  the combination of the peeling back of the layers of true  situation there politically and the slow build of the relationship between Reid and Jaxon was terrific.  I loved the contrast between worlds and the tension sexually and outwardly with the mission.

Then as everything goes haywire the suspense it out of this world and the novel becomes absolutely gripping.  I was totally invested in the characters, the wild ride of emotions and scary undercover mission they were on, and that ultimate moment was out of this world.  It more than made up for the shaky start in my opinion.  I was there with them all the way.

As for the HFN ending?  Sort of perfect because that was the only way I could see it for them.  Now I’m looking forward to more in this series.

As I said the narrator grew on me as did the story.  This is the first audio from Drew Bacca and I will look forward to more from him as well.  I thought he did a good him distinguishing different voices and getting into the story.

I definitely recommend it.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer. The cover really doesn’t do it for me, it’s in the brand style but otherwise eh.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audiobook, 6 pages
Published February 28th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 2nd 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStars from Peril #1
settingEurope

A Stella Release Day Review: Yes, Chef (Amuse Bouche #2) by T. Neilson

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

A savory slice of first love.

Simon’s dad died when he was young, leaving Simon to take the reins of the family restaurant business—and the responsibility for his mother and brothers. His commitment to his duty left Simon time for little else, least of all romance.

Argentinian celebrity chef Luke Ferreya has wanted Simon since their culinary-school days, but for Simon, family always came first. Now Luke’s back in Simon’s life—briefly before he returns to South America—and he’s determined to give Simon a sample of everything he’s missed out on.

Simon’s brothers are grown, and his mother is doing fine on her own, and Luke is offering a second chance for a future full of the pleasures of fine food, wine, and especially love. Without his obligations to hide behind, can Simon finally allow himself to say “Yes, Chef”?

Yes Chef was a lovely surprise by a new to me author, a sweet story that ends with the promise of love and a future together between two men who finally decided to give their lives a second chance, this time as a couple. Luke already knew he was in love with Simon, after ten years apart, he came to his friend’s restaurant to say goodbye and go back to his Argentina for good. But then Simon started to understand that he might be interested in men, or just in Luke. Their meeting were sweet and simple, although nothing happened till the very ending, it was clear how much they were connected and attracted to each other even after all the years they spent apart.

I think the story was well done, interesting, quick to read and well written. The main characters well done, plus there were some second characters I would love to know more about. Maybe I will get more of them when I will read the first book in the series. In fact, although Yes, Chef is part of the Amuse Bouche series, I haven’t read the first title and this new one still worked well as a standalone. Now that it’s clear I liked Yes, Chef, I will surely pick Sweet Nothings too. I’m a huge fan of stories about chef/food, I can’t miss it.

The cover art by Bree Archer is simple but I like it, especially the colors.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner

Amazon

Kobo

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 193 pages

Published April 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781640805217

Edition Language English

Series Amuse Bouche #2

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Lust and Other Drugs (Mytho #1) by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Police officer Jordan and dragon shifter Edra might have to work together, but they don’t trust each other—even if sparks do fly between them.

If anyone finds out Jordan’s a mytho sympathizer, it could kill his career. No one can know that he frequents the satyr dens and uses the drug Bliss. A dead satyr might not get much attention, but two dead humans who appeared to overdose on Bliss? That shouldn’t even be possible.

And it might not be an accident.

Edra, Mythological Services Liaison, has been covering up mytho crimes to protect the community’s reputation. With a mayoral election looming, the last thing his people need is a scandal like this one.

To get a murderer off the streets, Jordan and Edra will be spending a lot of time together, and it won’t be easy to keep up with their deceptions. Or keep resisting each other.

While I love Fantasy, I’m usually not big on crime/mystery novels, so I was a bit unsure whether I wanted to read “Lust And Other Drugs” or not. In the end, it was the cover that convinced me to give this a try. And I’m so glad it did, because this book was absolutely brilliant!

As I said above, I’m not a big Mystery reader, so I can’t really judge the quality of the crime solving part of the novel. I can only say that I enjoyed it and was glad it didn’t take up a huge part of the book. It’s essential to the plot, but it’s just one essential part among others.

The romance is a very slow burn. There’s an instant spark between our MCs, but they don’t tumble into bed or into a relationship right away. It takes time and it’s not easy. While relationships between a mytho and a human might not be forbidden, it is most definitely taboo. And very bad for Jordan’s career in an anti-mytho police force. And Edra has good reasons to be wary of humans in general, especially the human police. I really enjoyed the slow dance of attraction and the UST was so scorching hot.

The Fantasy part was actually really interesting. While a lot of the elements aren’t exactly new (dragons, collapsing worlds, magic,…), the author managed to give it a very unique twist. For once, the end of the world isn’t caused by evil magic, but by a mundane human experiment gone wrong. And it’s not the end of the human world, but the end of another realm. All our fairy tales and myths are based on the mythos, that used to visit our human world. The world building was very well done and made perfect sense to me.

I loved the politics, the way the world reacted to the sudden appearance of mythological creatures and how the daily life works now, 10 years later. Again, it all made sense. Humans are always wary of anything that’s “different” and after such a huge upheaval, it only follows that humans want to go back to what’s “normal”. They become more intolerant and humans that don’t fit in are also viewed with hostility.

Jordan was rather surprising. He loves wearing lingerie and likes to put on eyeliner and lipstick every now and then. I’m usually not really into femme MCs, but the way the author described the feeling of the silk against skin was incredibly sensual. And the way Edra reacted was just hot as hell.

Overall, I really, really loved “Lust And Other Drugs”. The ending is a very open HFN and it’s obvious there’s more to come. The love story doesn’t really have a satisfying result and the crime isn’t fully solved either. But it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series. I want to know what happens next!

The cover by Tiferet Design most definitely did it’s job. It’s what caught my attention in the first place and what ultimately made me decide to read the book. I think it looks really great and totally fits the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 1st edition, 203 pages
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN1 39781644051887
Edition Language English

Series Mytho #1

An Ali Review: Frost by Isabelle Adler

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The end of the world as they knew it had come and gone, and the remnants of mankind struggle to survive in a barren landscape. Twenty-three-year-old Finn sets out on a desperate mission to scavenge for the much-needed medicine to help his sister. He knows better than to trust anyone, but when a total stranger saves him from a vicious gang, the unexpected act of kindness rekindles Finn’s lost faith in humanity.

The tentative friendship with his rescuer, Spencer, gradually turns into something more, and for the first time in years, Finn lets himself yearn for joy and hope in the dead of nuclear winter—right until Spencer goes missing.

They say love is the greatest power of all, but it seems it would take nothing short of a miracle to overcome the dangers that threaten to destroy Finn’s only chance for happiness and the lives of his loved ones.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author in the last month and it was another hit for me. (I also highly recommend her book Adrift).  I am a sucker for apocalypse settings in books and read them a lot.  This was the first time though that I have read a book when the apocalypse caused a constant snow and cold temperature.  I thought it was unique and since it would be mine own personal hell I was totally drawn in to it.
The book was relatively short but still did a good job with the world building.  It set a tone of bleakness and fear and I could immediately understand Finn’s desperation to help his sister.  Spencer was intriguing and I liked him immediately.  The bad guys were well done too.  You have to have bad guys in apocalypse stories but if it’s too heavy handed it can be over the top.  This was just the right mix in my opinion.
 
I really liked the romance and I thought the guys were great together.  It was a bit insta-love and while I don’t generally like that, I will always give that a pass in this sub genre.  It’s the end of the world….. you gotta get your loving when and where you can.  
 
As I previously stated I have read two of this author’s books this month and have really enjoyed them both.  She was a new to me author and I’m really excited to have found her stuff.  I will definitely be reading more by her.
 
Cover:  This cover was done by Natasha Snow and I just love it. I think it’s really well done and sets the feel of the story perfectly.  I think this cover artist and publisher have the best covers in the genre right now.  They set a high bar for book covers.
Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook
Published March 4th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781950412143
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Radical Hearts (Deviant Hearts #2) by A E Ryecart

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

When the past shatters the present, how can their future be saved?

 

Taking shelter from a storm in an off-beat, alternative bookshop, security consultant Lee Adams only wants to wait out the weather. Wary and cautious following the collapse of his long-term relationship, Lee’s got no time and even less interest in having a man in his life. Or that’s what he tells himself as he works long, exhausting days in a futile effort to deny his crushing loneliness. But when the flirty, dark-haired assistant invites him to a campaign meeting to save an old pub from being bulldozed out of existence, Lee finds himself saying yes when everything tells him he should be saying no.

 

For Dominic Russell, the Save Charlie campaign is personal. Charlie’s was where the frightened teenager he’d once been found a safe haven to be himself without fear or shame – until the events of a long-ago night ripped his world apart and forced him into a decision that changed his life forever.

 

Both are wounded by betrayal, let down by those who should have loved them unconditionally. It’s only when they find the courage to open their hearts to one another that Lee and Dominic understand what each of them wants and needs to make them whole and complete.

 

Against the background of Lee and Dominic’s unfolding love story, the campaign to Save Charlie is falling apart. Nobody’s interested and nobody cares – until a stranger with vision, passion and conviction arrives. He’s the shot in the arm the campaign needs, and he’s come with a full syringe. But something about Charlie’s saviour doesn’t add up, and Lee’s determined to find out why.

 

A whispered revelation, an angry confrontation, and the campaign takes a dark and disturbing turn. As Dominic’s new-found trust is tested to the breaking point, everything he’s trying to save threatens to destroy him.

 

For Lee and Dominic, preserving the past might just tear down their future.

 

This story had so many little twist and turns, it felt like there was something coming at them from all angles.  Dominic is living his life according to his rules, he just wants to be himself but can’t seem to break free of the hurt his father caused years ago.  Lee hasn’t been ready to put himself out there since his relationship collapsed but can’t help being drawn to Dom when they meet.

 

Hmm, I liked this story a lot, not as much as the previous one but it was good.  I loved getting to know these characters as the book went on though they tried to keep themselves at a distance for a while.  I liked how these two really took it slow and got to know each other more before they jumped in too much, even if it wasn’t always intentional.

 

My only real gripe with the story is it seemed that every time they started to make headway something else get in their way and the reality of that many things or people causing problems is mind boggling.  Though at times it was themselves that got in their own way.

 

I liked the cover art with the pictures of the characters, though Dom’s pink tips would have been a nice touch.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages

Published: June 20, 2018 by AE Ryecart

Edition Language: English

Series: Deviant Hearts #2

Don’t Miss Out on A Hitman and a Giveaway with the SPEAK NO EVIL by J.R. Gray Blog Tour

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Speak No Evil by J.R. Gray

Publisher: Gray Books

Release Date (Print & Ebook): March 28th

Length (Print & Ebook): 70,000 words

Subgenre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Learn more: https://jrgraybooks.com/speak-no-evil/

 

Book synopsis:

Weston doesn’t believe in voodoo but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t believe in him. His life and family were steeped in the stuff and it was fine, until voodoo took everything from him, ripped his life from his grasp. And when it swallowed whole the person he loved most he had to escape.

But there were consequences. His voodoo goddess wasn’t going to let go of him so easily, and her revenge was the pinnacle of evil. He could have dealt with something like impotence or boils, but this was purely depraved. She came for him and hit him where it hurts. She might as well have taken his guns.

Weston found himself unable to lie. A hitman who can’t lie. What a joke.

When his handler throws him a bone, a job that requires no interaction only observation, Weston takes it. He should be able to do this in his sleep, but he’s off his game. He gets way too close. Nothing is as it seems, and someone else, maybe someone worse than him, is stalking his mark. But he can’t leave the kid high and dry. Not when Eli is all he can think about.

About J.R. Gray: Gray is a cynical Chicago native, who drinks coffee all day, barely sleeps, and is a little too fashion obsessed. He writes realistic and damaged characters because everyone deserves a happily ever after.

Connect with J.R. Gray: Website | Instagram | Twitter – Personal | Twitter – Books | Facebook | Facebook Group | Tumblr | Mailing List | Amazon Author Page

Blog Tour Excerpts:

Slightly NSFW Teaser #1:

Eli wobbled but didn’t back off. “You know what I’m talking about.” He stabbed a finger into Weston’s ribs. “I saw the way you stared in there.”

Weston shook his head. The gleam in Eli’s eyes, that slight edge to his voice, made Weston decide to go for broke. Straight military guys seemed to be the most homophobic people he’d met, but Eli seemed to be into this—into him. He would end up getting hit if he was wrong, and his excuse to get close to his mark might blow up in his face, but he couldn’t stop the words that came out of his mouth. 

“You liked it.” He had a few inches on him and was thicker all around. He wasn’t worried.

“If I did?” Eli challenged, reaching up and fisting a hand in Weston’s shirt.

“Then I guess you won’t mind this.” Weston grabbed Eli’s neck, using the leverage to press his lips against the mouth that had haunted him for a week and taunted him for the past hour. He fully expected to be shoved into the wall or hit in the face, so he kept his eyes open and his hand near his knife just in case.

Using the grip on Weston’s shirt, Eli did just that, shoving him against the wall. Weston gripped the hilt of his knife, inching it out of its sheath, but Eli leaned further into Weston and parted his lips, giving into the assaulting kiss. He flicked his tongue over Weston’s bottom lip to lure his tongue out to play. Weston’s stomach turned with nervous energy, and he groaned. His cock tightened behind his zipper. Eli tasted better than he looked, cloves with a hint of jet fuel, tinged with bourbon.

He released his hold on the knife and slid his hand around Eli’s waist. Eli kept his grip on his shirt and used his free hand to cup Weston’s face, groaning into his mouth. They stayed locked together in the dim alley, exploring each other.

Weston flushed with heat. Desire flooded through his veins. He let himself forget that Eli was a mark. Kissing Eli was better than any sex he’d ever had. He kept Weston on his toes, nipping and biting ‘til his lips were swollen, only to delve his tongue into Weston’s mouth to twist and battle with his own.

Weston was breathless when they finally broke apart. His lungs were on fire as he tried to breathe normally and regain control of his pounding heart. “Well, that wasn’t what I expected.”

“I think it’s better to keep your type off balance.” Eli grabbed Weston’s hair, bringing their mouths together controlling the speed and direction

Weston’s lips parted, welcoming Eli’s persistent tongue into his mouth again. Eli pulled them apart again but lingered against Weston as his chest heaved. “Nightcap?”

Weston’s heart stopped in his chest, and he swallowed hard. His fingers reached for his holster, needing to feel the metal, but Eli’s body pressed against his made it impossible.

“Lead the way,” Weston said with his cock.

NSFW Teaser #2:

Sex in clubs was easier. This Weston was sure of. But he wanted Eli naked and sprawled out under him, and now he had to figure out where to put all the guns he was wearing. Which, if he was honest with himself, was a bit excessive. Too late to have regrets now. He had to stash them and fast.

Eli was on him as soon as he passed over the threshold into the bedroom. He was unrelenting in trying to get Weston’s clothes off. So enthusiastic he seemed almost sex starved, which didn’t make any sense considering how good he was with his mouth.

“Are you planning on wearing those all night?” Eli asked.

“Feisty little fuck, aren’t you?”

“I know what I want.” He renewed his effort to get Weston out of his clothes.

Weston loved the fight for dominance. It was cute how Eli actually thought he was in control here. Weston ate guys like him for breakfast, and he sure as hell didn’t do anything without wanting to.

Giveaway: Enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card from J.R. Gray! Must be 18 to enter.

Enter here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKU-Fs-Ac1Vdo13_PeT_Dz2SbCS5-Qk6kFP7iPsMLZMNkP0g/viewform

If You Love Gay Murder Mystery Don’t Miss Out On the Blog Tour for At A Stranger’s Mercy (Badge and Bullets #1) by Brittany Cournoyer (excerpt and giveaway)

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At A Stranger’s Mercy

Badge and Bullets Book 1

Brittany Cournoyer

Gay Murder Mystery

Release Date: 03.22.19

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Blurb

Making eye contact with a killer wasn’t exactly how Bradley Danforth had planned to start his day. As an accountant, he craved structure and routine. What he hadn’t anticipated was being part of a real-life murder mystery with him cast in the starring role.

Death and sorrow were part of Max Donohue’s job description, leaving the detective hardened after years on the job. On his latest case, he’s the one stuck protecting the only witness in a sadistic homicide.

One death becomes two… then three. And soon Max and Bradley find themselves playing a deadly game of cat and mouse. Can Max save Bradley from the clutches of a serial killer? Or will the killer finish what he started?

At a Stranger’s Mercy is the first installment of a continuing series featuring the same two characters. It’s a suspenseful murder mystery that depicts detailed crimes, strong language, and adult situations. While this series will include a romance, it’s a slow burn that develops throughout the series.


getbook.at/AtAStrangersMercy

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Excerpt

I shut the door, making sure to lock it behind me, and started the engine after clicking my seatbelt into place. After checking my rearview and side mirrors, I slowly backed out of the driveway then pointed my car in the direction of the coffee shop—and work. Only then did I realize I’d have to drive by the man who was still digging around inside his car.

He must’ve heard my car approaching because I watched out of the windshield as he straightened to his full height and pulled his car door partly shut so I wouldn’t hit it when I drove by. While a nagging voice inside my head told me to keep my eyes on the road, I couldn’t stop myself from looking and locking eyes with the man standing by his vehicle.

I felt like time reduced and my car was moving in slow motion as I drove by. The anger I could see in his eyes had me gasping aloud, and I felt my blood run cold. The black, cold eyes burned into mine, and I couldn’t bring myself to turn away, no matter how much I knew I needed to. The unease I felt earlier intensified, and even though I wanted to press my foot down harder on my accelerator to get the hell out of there, my body felt nearly paralyzed with fear. It was only when I was past his car I could finally breathe easier.

I didn’t even bother to stop and get coffee; the mood for it had completely gone. Instead, I went straight to my office in hopes of getting lost in my work so I could shake the weird feeling that had settled over me. But it didn’t happen. The unease clung to me all day, and my mind was plagued with flashes of black, angry eyes. My hands shook as I punched numbers into the calculator. My handwriting was barely legible thanks to the tremors as I tried to make notations, and it was incredibly difficult to concentrate since I was so off-kilter.

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Brittany was born in a small town in Alabama and moved to Indiana when she was thirteen years old. She currently resides there and works as an operator at a local hospital. When she isn’t working, she loves to spend her free time writing stories, playing with her puppy, Delilah, watching television, and spending time with loved ones.

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Love a Drag Queen Mystery? Check Out the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Fault Lines by Shane K Morton

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Length: 63,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

Drag goddess, Ursula Moolay, left Kentucky as fast as her size twelve pumps could carry her and has created a new life for herself in Los Angeles. Here, she has found herself surrounded by a group of people with their own secrets and lies:



A daytime Soap stud hiding in the Hollywood closet.


A reality television producer prepared to destroy his star.


An aging showgirl- the complex’s mother hen, fighting to survive.


A married male escort desperately hiding his profession from his pregnant wife.


And finally, Ursula, pulled into a terrifying ordeal of drugs, murder, and deception as she grapples with her own identity.


Enter the world of red carpet meltdowns, sex tapes, shopping with drag queens, earthquakes, mortgages and murder.


Can they survive or will they each fall into the cracks of LA’s fault lines?
 
Author Bio
 

Shane K Morton lives in Studio City, CA with his husband Jody and their fur baby Slayer. His first novel, The Trouble With Off-Campus Housing was published in 2016. When not writing, Shane can be found at a film festival or performing cabaret somewhere in a dark dive bar in LA.


Website
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