A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Witches for Hire (Odds Jobs #1) by Sam Argent

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5
All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks.

Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.
Review: A combination of the gorgeous cover and the interesting blurb made me beg for a copy of this book.
I have mixed feelings about “Witches for Hire”. At times, it was simply brilliant. At other times, it was rather confusing and left me feeling like I was missing a prequel (I checked – there isn’t). There’s so much backstory going on here and we’re only fed bits and pieces at a time and I often felt like there was more to know than what we get told.
This being a DSP title, this really isn’t your typical romance. There’s lots and lots of (very hot) sex pretty much right from the beginning, but the romantic feelings take their time. That’s one of the things I like so much about this publisher: The books are rarely “just a love story” and “Witches for Hire” is a good example of that. Yes, there is sex and love involved, but there is so much else going on, it’s just one part of the whole story.
The world this book is set in is very interesting. There are all sorts of supernatural creatures – witches, werewolves, demons and many more  – and even some otherworldly ones. The world building was quite expansive and yet a bit lacking at the same time. I’m still not entirely sure how the agency works, tbh.
The MCs are certainly an interesting bunch. Each of them has their secrets, which are never fully revealed, even when it’s their pov. Even though the author used more than the two traditional POVs, there was no head-hopping and confusing POVs. Instead, it felt like I really knew each and every character intimately. That was really quite well done.
The plot itself was full of mysteries. There’s a lot of violence and the occasional bit of gore, so beware. Personally, I didn’t mind that. It somehow just added to the whole atmosphere of the book. It’s certainly not a pretty story and I liked that.
The romance part was addicting as well. I honestly wasn’t sure who would end up with whom and I’m still not sure if it will stay that way in the next part of the series. I loved the tension and could totally relate to Jeremy’s conflicted feelings. It really made me quite sad at times.
Overall, I liked “Witches for Hire”. I think I’ll read the sequel too. The book seemed to be getting better toward the end and I’m not quite ready to let go of Jeremy and the others.
Cover: The cover by Catt Ford is absolutely gorgeous. So badass and mysterious!
Sales Links:   DSP Publications | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 314 pages
Expected publication: April 4th 2017 by DSP Publications
ISBN139781635333527
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOdd Jobs #1

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Love is Heartless (Love Can’t Series #2) by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

love-is-heartless-by-kim-fieldingSmall but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he responds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s bow-tied, wealthy landlord.

Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terrible crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.

Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that sparks fly when they’re together. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.

“Love is Heartless” is part two in the “Love Can’t” series, but works perfectly fine as a standalone. The MCs from book one don’t show up very often in this book.

I had very high expectations of “Love is Heartless”. Part one of the series was simply brilliant, so I’d hoped for a brilliant sequel. “Love is Heartless” was definitely good, but not quite as brilliant as “Love Can’t Conquer”. This book was definitely far less angsty and gritty than part one. It was still intense, but not as dark.

Nevin is hard to like. He’s very prickly and doesn’t let anybody get too close. Honestly, his “fuck off” attitude was a bit over the top at times.

Colin is his complete opposite. He’s sweet and kind and lovely. Again, maybe a bit too much so. They did both have depth and weren’t just reduced to those character traits, so that’s definitely a plus.

The love story was slow to unfold, what with Nevin’s commitment phobia. I’m not a huge fan of the opposites attract trope, but it was well done here. The ending didn’t really work for me, though. Too cheesy.

I liked Nevin’s job. There are plenty of cops in our m/m romances, but most of them work in flashy departments like homicide or drugs. Nevin is responsible for helpless people – the elderly, disabled and children. Experiencing Nevin during his work was wonderful. It really shows that there is a soft core under all those thorns.

The crime solving part was a bit weak, but I’m not a big fan of crime novels anyway, so I didn’t mind too much.

The sex was absolutely smoking hot. Nevin and Colin definitely know how to have a good time. And I loved that they were versatile in the bedroom.

The best part of the whole book was Colin’s cat Legolas. Kim Fielding gave him his own personality and it was brilliant. I love that cat to bits!

Long story short, “Love is Heartless” was good, but not as brilliant as part one in the series. The MCs seemed a bit over the top at times and the love story was a little too cheesy. It was still an enjoyable read and I’m absolutely looking forward to book three in the series.

Cover: I really like the cover by Brooke Albrecht. The colours are beautiful.

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Book details:

ebook, 254 pages
Expected publication: January 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332141 (ISBN13: 9781635332148)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLove Can’t Series #2

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

whispers-of-old-windsSheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County, in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam has known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.

When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening causes him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.

I really enjoyed “Whispers of Old Winds”. It’s a bit of an unusual paranormal story. It’s not told from the supernaturally gifted MC’s pov and I’ve never come across the Native American myths about skinwalkers before. I’ll admit that my knowledge of Native American myths and legends is extremely limited, though.

Anyway, I liked how the author wove those myths into the story so easily, even though his MCs are not Native American. I have a thing for myths and fairy tales and I’m always thrilled to learn more about them.

The story itself was an interesting mix of supernatural occurrences and crime investigation, with a bit of mobster business to spice things up a little. Oddly enough, it was still a rather quiet story. Or at least that’s how it felt to me.

Sam and Michael are already a married couple at the beginning of the book. We do learn about how they met and fell in love in short flashbacks all over the book. I think there were a few too many time jumps at the beginning, making things a little bit confusing. The love story doesn’t play a major role here, even though the two of them are very obviously in love with each other.

The sex is non-explicit for the most part, with a few short exceptions where things got a little more detailed. I think that worked well with the vibe of the story. Explicit sex scenes would have felt out of place, somehow.

George Seaton is a master at making me feel cold. His descriptions of the weather conditions were excellent. And I definitely know where I don’t want to live now… Way too cold up there!

Michael remains a bit of a mystery throughout the story. We don’t get his pov, so we only know what Sam knows, and that’s really not all that much. He still seemed very likeable, if a bit odd.

I immediately liked Sam. The way he interacted with Brunhilde, his car, was adorable. He treated her like a pet. Little quirks like that gave him real depth.

George Seaton came up with a very interesting cast of minor characters, each with their own unique personality.

What makes “Whispers of Old Winds” so good is the excellent mix of all sorts of little things, like Sam being a war veteran or Michael being the son of a mobster, without making the whole story about just one of those things.

Long story short, if you like crime novels, fantasy and/or mythology, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. Give it a try, it’s worth your time and money.

Cover: I really like the cover by Anne Cain. The mountain landscape is beautiful and it all gives off a very mysterious vibe, which fits the mood of the book perfectly.

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Book details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 286 pages
Expected publication: December 16th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163533120X (ISBN13: 9781635331202)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Changing Worlds (Worlds #1-2) by Cari Z

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

changing-worlds-by-cari-zTheir love will either inspire change in the world or tear it apart.

Former starship captain Jason Kim and his lover, Ferran, are starting a life together on Ferran’s native planet. The Perel matriarchs reluctantly allowed their marriage in the hopes of securing better diplomatic relations with humanity, even though the decision ignites anger from traditionalists. Ferran’s family accepts Jason and the love the two men have found, but other influential families are less accommodating and much less willing to welcome an outsider to their isolated, subterranean world. Some of their enemies are willing to go as far as eliminating Jason permanently. Tensions are quickly building toward a breaking point that might push Perelan into a bloody civil war.

If Jason and Ferran have any hope of surviving the coming conflict, they’ll have to rely on their devotion to each other more than ever before. But that won’t be easy when a figure from Jason’s past reappears to make them question everything.

First Edition of Opening Worlds published by Storm Moon Press, 2011.

First Edition of Changing Worlds published by Storm Moon Press, 2012.

First of all, the blurb is a bit misleading. The things mentioned in the blurb do happen, but it takes a while to get there. The book starts with Ferran and Jason meeting and falling in love, so they don’t start out as an established couple and Jason is still an active starship captain.

I’m always a bit wary of real aliens in my romance, because I’m so not into tentacles. But while Ferran is definitely an alien and definitely looks different than a human, there are no tentacles. So, yay for me!

Cari Z. got really creative with the Perelans and their world. A matriarchy is rare enough that I always find it interesting. “Changing Worlds” is a perfect example that world building and romance can and do work perfectly well together, without either part of the plot having to suffer. That’s something not a lot of romance authors seem to get and which always bothers me as a fantasy/sci-fi fan who also enjoys romance.

Ferran and Jason are both very likeable. They come from completely different backgrounds and yet compliment each other perfectly. Their romance felt pretty realistic. We got to see the bumps after the very fast falling in love. Although the two of them don’t spend a whole lot of time together before they decide to commit to each other, it never really felt like insta-love.

Reading about Jason’s very real struggles with finding his place in a world that’s so completely different from everything he’s used to was very interesting. We get to learn all sorts of things about Perel together with Jason.

There are lots of hints about Jason’s past in the military and yet we never get a full story of what actually happened. That’s a real shame because it sounds as if he led a very interesting life before meeting Ferran. Since there doesn’t seem to be a sequel (or prequel) planned, there’s no hope for a more thorough explanation. It’s the only reason why I ended up giving this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars.

Long story short: “Changing Worlds” has every chance of appealing to both science fiction fans AND romance fans. Neither part takes away from the other.

I’ll definitely go looking for more science fiction books by this author!

Cover art by Anne Cain: I quite like the cover by Anne Cain. It shows Jason and Ferran, who really fits the descriptions in the book.

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Book details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 236 pages
Expected publication: October 24th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634779081
Edition LanguageEnglish