Guest Review: Short Order (Foothill Pride #8) by Pat Henshaw

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.


Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Underdogs, Unite!

I love a good underdogs story. Love. Love. Love. And you have a lot of that here. Add in a personal growth twist and an epic romance and you have a whole lotta good feels.

I liked that the MCs were a little different. I liked that they were a little damaged, or well, at least one of them was. More so than the other. I liked the fact that John had to grow up a little and realize that there is a vast different between what you think you want and what you actually need.

Fenton's character was fantastic. Smart, sweet, funny, patient, and strong. John was quieter and a little broken, but still made of steel. They were great as individuals and great together.

pbj time

As always, there are niggles. The villain in the story was more of a paper tiger. I mean, do people as inept as he was really get away with stuff like that in a setting like this? I just don't see it. I guess it's not as much that it's impossible as it seems unlikely. Maybe I'm being hypercritical, but I don't think so.

John pissed me off a few times and Fen, too, for that matter. John was just a little too ... self-sacrificing? Self-deprecating? Doom and gloom. And Fen was too far in the other direction. Hyperfocused on something ephemeral instead of something real. Too dismissive. Too determinedly footloose. It irked here and there even though I knew they'd get it together.

All in all this was an enjoyable read. I really loved the character- and relationship-building even though the guys frustrated me at times. The plot was so-so, like I said before, but taken as a whole I really don't have much to complain about. I liked it. I was thankful—because my work schedule sucks ass—that I didn't have to read the whole series to enjoy this book. It can be read as a standalone. And best of all, I'd truly love to see these guys again sometime.


More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.



Release Day Review: Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue

Gael Peterson has spent years hiding behind the enhanced abilities he wears like a mask, even though he is an important, confident member of the FBI’s exclusive H.E.R.O. team. The hurt and betrayal of his mom’s abandonment and his father’s fists are secrets buried deep beneath the ugly scars on his face, and he doesn’t trust Jake, his new regular human partner, with any of them. In a world where those with special abilities like Gael’s are regarded as freaks and monsters, it won’t be easy for him to rely on Jake to have his back, especially when the abilities of a vulnerable, enhanced, nonspeaking child make that child a murder suspect.

Tempers rise and loyalties are challenged, and when the serial killer targeting the enhanced finally sets his sights on Gael, not only will Gael have to trust Jake with his secrets, he might have to trust him to save his life.




Once again, Victoria Sue has hit it out of the ballpark. I loved this episode of the Enhanced series! Gael and Jake were an unlikely couple who, even with all the drama and mayhem surrounding them, fit together seamlessly.

I’ve wanted to read Gael’s story since I first got to know him in Five Minutes Longer. He had an air of mystery about him and I could tell his story was going to be heartbreaking.

Jake was a bit of an unknown going into this book. We didn’t really meet him until later in the second book so, although intrigued, I had no idea what to expect from him. Jake also had the extra stigma of coming from ENu, the police’s enhanced unit and the team’s number one archrival. It wasn’t easy for him to acclimate, but he slowly won the guys over after proving himself to be a good cop and even better human being.

I loved the slow progression their relationship took. Yeah, there were some ups and downs, but not more than what you would find in any budding relationship. Gael was averse to having a partner; he didn’t really feel that he needed (or deserved) one. Jake, not one to shirk any duty, put forth a lot of effort in breaking down the wall Gael had erected around him. First, in an effort to fit in with his partner and the team and then, after getting to know Gael a bit more, because he found he liked the guy. He liked the guy a lot. Some would say he may have even developed a crush on the mysterious man with the scarred face. Some would be correct in that assumption. ;)

Their relationship felt natural. It felt easy and genuine. I liked that the author avoided the dreaded Big Misunderstanding Due to a Lack of Communication trope that is prevalent in the genre nowadays, instead offering a natural progression to their relationship that felt real and more true-to-life.

The underlying theme to this book seems to be family and all the differences in each one you may find. There are good families and bad. Families that support you and those that hold you back. Happy families and toxic families. Ones that you are born to and new ones that you form. It doesn’t matter what type of family you come from; only what you make of yourself and the one you create. It was a strong yet subtle message that really resonated within me and made me think.

I can’t leave here without mentioning the villain in this story. What a wonderfully despicable character they were. I was fully invested in their demise. I loathed them fiercely and anticipated their comeuppance with an unholy glee. Fabulous job on the villain!

Recommended for lovers of exciting, action-packed urban fantasy that is heavy on the romance. These ain’t your mama’s superheroes!




https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/beneath-this-mask-by-victoria-sue-9191-b

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33536685-beneath-this-mask?from_search=true

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Romantic Behavior (Bad Behavior #4) by L.A. Witt & Cari Z.


L.A. Witt, Cari Z. & Riptide Publishing are here today to celebrate the release of Romantic Behavior and they're offering up a generous giveaway to one lucky commenter! Be sure to enter below!


About Romantic Behavior
Detective Andreas Ruffner is no fool—he’s found a man who loves him, puts up with him, and has stuck with him through hell and back, and it’s time to put a ring on it. Darren Corliss is the love of his life, and he wants the whole world to know it.

Now the fun part—the wedding!

Well, after the not-so-fun part of planning the wedding in between dealing with overbearing and impossible-to-please family members. With future mothers-in-law driving them both up a wall, the guest list growing out of control, and the wedding getting ever more complicated, Darren and Andreas have to wonder if they’re in over their heads.

But they’re going to make it to the altar if it kills them . . . and at this rate, it just might.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!



About the Bad Behavior Series

It’s “hell no” at first sight for newly partnered detectives Andreas Ruffner and Darren Corliss. Darren is too chipper, Andreas is too gruff, and that whole “IA wants me to prove you’re a dirty cop” thing really doesn’t get them off on the right foot.

It doesn’t matter if they like each other. They’re partners and that’s final. Though Andreas is easy on the eyes. And Darren is kind of cute. And . . . okay, maybe they can make this work.

They’d better, because as their cases get more horrifying—and more personal—they’ll have to trust each other with their lives, and with their hearts.

Check out Bad Behavior


About Cari Z.

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, "See ya!" She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She's still climbing that ladder, but can't stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get 'im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there's a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari at http://cari-z.net/  or via her blog, http://carizerotica.blogspot.com/


About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt). 



To celebrate the release of Romantic Behavior, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice in an ebook from each of Cari and L.A.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 



Review: The Hockey Player's Heart (Hockey Hearts #1) by Jeff Adams & Will Knauss

When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser . Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?

Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.





By now I think it’s pretty obvious that I am a fan of the Dreamspun Desire series and this book is a great example of why. There are some books in the Dreamspinner Press houseline that are super fluffy and they are some that are so damn sweet and meaningful, you need to hug it out with your Nook when you finish the book. This story is the latter.

From the prologue I was hooked as we get a young Caleb waiting to give a gift to his older sister’s best friend Aaron who is also Caleb’s crush and his geometry tutor after Aaron’s high school graduation. Caleb has been crushing pretty hard on Aaron for what seems like forever but he has no way to tell Aaron other than this. It’s a milestone moment for Caleb but it’s over quickly and then life happened and the two men haven’t seen one another in years.

Caleb has always loved the game of hockey and was lucky enough to turn it in to a career playing for the New York Rangers. But a foot injury has Caleb needing some time off the ice so he heads back to his home town of Foster Grove to recover. Once home, his sister Pam who is also the elementary school’s principal thinks it’s a great idea for Caleb to participate in the local school’s carnival and draw some fundraising money, Caleb comes face to face with his teenage crush.

I love that this was told from both Aaron and Caleb’s POV so we really got a chance to see that both men have had crushes on the other for some time. Aaron is nothing short of adorable as he tries to act like seeing a grown up and hot as heck professional hockey player that Caleb now is doesn’t affect him and Caleb momentarily turns 16 again when he sees Aaron but the men keep it platonic.

This story was so sweet and yet really meaningful. We get a lot of Aaron and Caleb building an adult friendship though a natural progression. The men hang out with one another and find out they have a lot in common with their likes and shared history. It’s easy to see how they could quickly find themselves in a relationship though it moves at a slower pace with them keeping respectable boundaries. The moments of Caleb showing Aaron’s third grade class how he uses geometry in Hockey and Aaron being mesmerized by Caleb teaching kids on the ice was lovely to experience. These two have such a healthy admiration for what the other does that it gives the reader a stable building block for their romantic relationship.

With Caleb being a hockey player, we do get a good amount of sport in this story. At least for a reader like myself who isn’t sporty. We get the ins and outs of how the sport works professionally for Caleb and his responsibilities with it. The “You Can Play Initiative” is front and center with Caleb and the story highlights it in an informative and supportive way. Just the memory of Caleb dealing with a young man wanting an autograph and what he does warms my heart. Caleb knows that his position as an out gay man in the world of professional hockey holds a level of responsibility and he doesn’t take that lightly. He gives back to his community and he gives back to kids remembering what it was like to be one.

Aaron broke my heart with his relationship issues and how he wants to trust Caleb but is scared. I think what I liked the most about this element is how he and Caleb were so honest with one another about their past, present and future. The communication is always there even if it’s a little stalled with insecurity but it doesn’t last long.

Once again, I find myself rambling because there are so many positives in this story. It’s a great unrequited/unknown/mutual high school crush/friends to lovers romance that warmed my heart. I truly loved watching Aaron and Caleb become friends and then more. They are sweet and also really hot together when they decide to get down and dirty and Aaron can get pretty dirty.

At the end of it all, this was lovely. I find myself thinking of the moments that made me smile and there are so many of them. I have a note on one highlight that says “Stop highlighting moments before you highlight the whole book” because there are that many.

The ending was super sweet and again, respectful and romantic. Yeah this was a good book.

Wait… I have one more thing to say. Since this is listed as a series, I really hope the next books is Dimitri because he needs someone to show him his hookup days are over.






Blog Tour: Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke


Kris T. Bethke is here today talking about her inspiration for her new Dreamspun Beyond novel, Ghost of a Chance which comes out tomorrow! Happy Release Day Eve, Kris! 

See our pre-release day review HERE


Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m so excited to be here, and to talk about my newest release, Ghost of a Chance, which is out tomorrow.

When I decided I wanted to write a paranormal romance for Dreamspinner Press’s Dreamspun Beyond line, I had a lot of things to choose from. I’ve always loved paranormal romance, so I had plenty of ideas. But I was looking for something different. Something that I hadn’t seen done hundreds of times in different iterations.

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories in general. I’m not one of those people that likes being scared, so I usually steer clear and leave them for readers/writers who love it. But Ghost of a Chance isn’t that kind of story.

Blake Jones is a ghostwalker. When he dies, it’s not permanent, and while he’s gone, he can conduct himself on the spirit plane. Blake isn’t the only one. In fact, there are thousands of ghostwalkers in the world. Requiem Inc. formed in 1915 to make use of those ghostwalkers. While they are dead, they help spirits who are trapped on the spirit plane cross over and find eternal peace. It’s a demanding job. Emotionally as well as physically. And ghostwalkers need someone to take care of them when they come back to life.

Enter Derek Scott.

Derek is the natural counterpart to a ghostwalker. He has a gene, the anchor gene, that predisposes him to care for a ghostwalker. Requiem Inc. employs thousands of anchors too, to care for and see to the well being of the ghostwalkers. Not every anchor has the gene, but those that do are especially good at their jobs.

It’s not smooth sailing for Blake and Derek. There’s a lot they need to overcome in order to work together. And when they do? Well, things take a turn neither man expected. Because Blake and Derek connect on levels deeper than either anticipated.

I loved creating this alternate reality, and loved writing Blake and Derek’s story. It’s not something I’d ever seen before, not quite like this, and I enjoyed figuring out how it all worked. And how, in the midst of all that, Blake and Derek fall in love.

If I’ve done my job, you’ll enjoy reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope you’ll get a chance to check it out.

Blurb:

Only love makes life worth living—over and over again.

Ghostwalker Blake Jones dies every day. It’s his job and how he helps trapped souls cross over. But to return to life, he needs an anchor. His new partner, Derek Scott, is a surprise. Not only is he male, but his appearance belies a caring and gentle heart underneath. Despite attraction and a strengthening relationship, they know they shouldn’t take things further.

But there’s a big difference between knowing and doing.

Their growing love presents a problem, though not the one they expect. Blake and Derek have to decide if they should take their relationship to the most permanent level—an unbreakable metaphysical bond. Doing so offers both risk and unimaginable reward. Can Blake let go of his fears and put his complete trust in Derek in order to have the happily ever after he’s always craved?

Buy Links:

DSP

Author Bio:

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her site
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Review: Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke

Only love makes life worth living—over and over again.

Ghostwalker Blake Jones dies every day. It’s his job and how he helps trapped souls cross over. But to return to life, he needs an anchor. His new partner, Derek Scott, is a surprise. Not only is he male, but his appearance belies a caring and gentle heart. Despite attraction and a strengthening relationship, they know they shouldn’t take things further.

But there’s a big difference between knowing and doing.

Their growing love presents a problem, though not the one they expect. Blake and Derek have to decide if they should take their relationship to the most permanent level—an unbreakable metaphysical bond. Doing so offers both risk and unimaginable reward. Can Blake let go of his fears and put his complete trust in Derek in order to have the happily ever after he’s always craved?





For me, this was a really interesting paranormal story and quite the win!

Here, Bethke has created a present day alternative where there’s a national (and I presume international) organization that employs people of various abilities solely for the purpose of helping others pass safely and painlessly into the afterlife.

Blake is a ghostwalker, and he dies willingly every time to help a spirit find their way home. To help make his job doable and tolerable, he needs an anchor who cares for him during the entire process, making sure he heals and recovers to basically die another day. Enter Derek. He’s brand spanking new, but what he lacks in experience, he’s chock full of enthusiasm and initiative. This job is the sort of thing Derek’s been wanting to do his whole life and he’s ready to get his hands dirty.

So basically, this is all about Blake and Derek’s relationship, which starts out quite rough as Blake doesn’t like the idea of a man seeing him so vulnerable. It doesn’t help that he’s insanely attracted to Derek. However, Blake quickly realizes that Derek is very very good at his job and unlike any anchor he’s been with before. Not surprisingly, their work dynamic quickly evolves into something more. So. Much. More. Be reassured that there is some very nice smexy, and though there is some hurt comfort, overall there’s not much relationship angst except the usual denial of feelings and whether or not they should cross the professional line.

What this excels at is the storytelling. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories so my exposure is limited, and thus I’m not sure if this is a common trope that is often written about. Again, I found this both interesting and intriguing on top of the sweet romance.

A great start to a series, and I’m looking forward to the other supporting characters getting their happy ending! This was a definite Bethke win! My attention is caught!


Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.






Don't miss the Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) blog stop HERE!

Audiobook Review: Finder's Keeper (Heart's Gate #1) by Shira Anthony

The truth might ruin his dreams—or make them come true.

When Zane moves into an old gothic brownstone, he discovers the house comes equipped with a caretaker—Kit, who lives in the basement. Zane is immediately drawn to the charming and attractive Kit. But Kit is much more than he seems. He is a two-hundred-year-old half-human, half–red-fox spirit who guards a Gate between the mortal and spirit worlds—a fact Zane should recognize, but doesn’t.

Orphaned at a young age, Zane never learned he comes from a long line of mystical Keepers. Kit needs Zane’s help to protect the Gate, but how can he tell Zane of his legacy when that will crush Zane’s dreams of traveling the world? If he takes up the mantle, Zane will be bound to the Gate, unable to leave it. But when Zane realizes Kit’s true nature, and his own, he’ll have to make a choice—fight to protect Kit and the Gate, or deny his destiny and any chance of a future with Kit.

Narrated by: Kenneth Obi 
Listening Length: 5 hours and 39 minutes


Bleeeeerrrrggggghhhhhhh....


I don't know what happened! I was so looking forward to this one but I never connected to these characters which is a shame since it's got a lot going for it-unusual shifters, intriguing plot and cracky fluff. Slam dunk, right?


Kit is a ginger fox shifter and guardian of a gate to the spirit world who lost his keeper five years ago. He's been white knuckling it since then until Zane finally gets a job in Ohio and moves into the house he's inherited. Zane is the next keeper in the family line but since he and his sister were orphaned he doesn't know it. Kit is loathe to tell him for fear of binding him to a life he doesn't want yet the longer Kit goes without a keeper the weaker he becomes.

Me and the martyr thing don't get along and Kit lets it go on for far too long, especially considering Zane keeps telling him how much he wants all the things, so it came across as unnecessary drama. That coupled with the fact that I never felt their soul deep, forever-n-ever connection left me...


I know. For shame. I did like the spirit world and how vast and rich texturally it sounded filled with unusual creatures. Zane's attraction to Kit was nice and I liked that Kit was awkward and inexperienced due to never having formed a romantic connection to anyone before much less his keeper. But I didn't get the warm squishy feels I've come to expect when reading the cracky fluff.

This is my second rodeo with this author in audio format and as much as it makes me feel like a pill to say this, I don't think her writing style is conducive to audiobooks. It comes across choppy and muddled. There are excessive details regarding everyone and their sister's actions that make the narrative difficult to follow. I found myself so distracted with trying to keep up with who's sighing, who's finding the cure for cancer, who's making a batch of scones and who's about to die at the hands of some nefarious being that I think I subconsciously checked out after awhile. I kept listening but I was mailing it in. The action nor the romance plots moved me and both took too long to coalesce. However, I have resolved to try her in written form and hopefully that goes better. 🙏

As far as the narration goes, Obi differentiated all the characters well. I liked his voice for Kit but his voice for Zane was a little too breathy for me and I think sometimes he "punched" the wrong moments.

This will be my last Anthony audiobook and I wouldn't recommend it but my opinions are my own and YMMV.



A review copy was provided.




Guest Review: Ripping Off the Mask by Harper Jewel

Can injured Sgt. Cooper Brandt, with the help of Dr. Westley James, rip off the mask he donned as self-imposed penance at the end of high school, or will fate determine a different path for both men?

Thirteen years after high schooler Cooper Brandt suffered a life-altering tragedy, Newark Police Sergeant Cooper Brandt suffers yet another earthshaking misfortune while on duty. As a result, he lets the mask he donned because of his first grief-filled setback slip. When overwhelming guilt consumes him for a second time, an unexpected, and oftentimes unwanted, helping hand tries to force him into making a choice: face his demons and rip the mask off, or continue living a lie while his facade stays put.

Upon his move to New Jersey, aqua therapist Dr. Westley James meets his toughest patient yet when a snarly police sergeant accuses him of duplicity at the start of their first session. When he discovers the reason for Cooper’s ornery attitude, an odd, empty feeling he’s lived with for as long as he can remember begins to fill in like missing pieces of a puzzle.

As a fragile relationship between Cooper and Westley grows, an unhinged sociopath threatens to ruin everything. Will fate force the emotionally bruised sergeant to fasten his mask on even more tightly, or will the couple’s blooming love and partnership be strong enough to help Cooper rip his mask off for good?



Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Unmask Me Anytime, Baby

There isn't anything I didn't like about this story. It was really phenomenal. Cooper tugged on all my heartstrings. There is something to be said for someone who is a professional self-flagellator. I was pulling for him to pull his head out of his ass the whole time. In some ways it was exhausting, but I was invested in his journey and that made it easier.

Westley was a rock for Coop. There was a lot going on. A lot that had to be hard to deal with. Cooper certainly didn't make it easy with his cactus routine, either. Thankfully, Wes was no stranger to hard work or going after what he wanted even if it was hard ... and painful.

I had to reread the blurb so I don't spoil anything too much and it's making this review hard going, I won't lie, because there's so much to say that I just can't! So I'll leave it with a bullet point summary.

There are some great themes in this one: repeated personal tragedies loosely tied to one MCs sexuality, a 'chance' meeting paving the way for a second-first-chance, hurt-comfort, personal growth/realization, lost family ties, a small paranormal twist, murder, mystery, general mayhem and all of that and uniforms, too. Mm-hmm.

You'd think that that many complications in one book could turn into one hot mess, but no. Jewel did an excellent job of twining everything in the plot into a cohesive and fluid story that pushed all my buttons.

I'm going to keep it simple because I really can't do anything else. Read this book. Read it now. It's that good.



More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.




Guest Review: Circle of Darkness (Genesis Circle #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker & Nicholas Bella

There isn’t a monster D’Angelo Kumar can’t destroy or a crisis he can’t manage until he meets Angel Bai. The insane attraction he feels toward the sexy waiter is unwelcome because D’Angelo doesn’t have room in his life for relationships. A solitary path is the only option for a man like him, but fighting his growing feelings for Angel may be the first battle he can’t win.

Angel’s abilities extend beyond memorizing the menu at D’Angelo’s favorite Italian restaurant, but he knows better than to trust anyone with his secret. When a vision reveals that D’Angelo’s life is in danger, he will risk everything to save him. The only thing scarier than monsters and demons to Angel is never knowing D’Angelo’s touch.

To say the demon hunter is reluctant to form a partnership with the psychic is putting it mildly, but D’Angelo needs every advantage he can get when the world’s very existence is threatened. As darkness looms nearer, D’Angelo and Angel’s unexplainable connection grows stronger. For a chance at happiness, the two men will need to call upon unlikely allies for an epic showdown between good and evil.

Sexy, witty, and action-packed, Circle of Darkness is the first book in the Genesis Circle paranormal romance series by Nicholas Bella and Aimee Nicole Walker. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.


Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Mixed Bag

I'm not sure where to really start here. Many of you might know that I really like new twists on religious angles and mythology. I love a little of that in my paranormals. I enjoy the imagination and creativity that can shine through when an author manages to come up with a unique spin on that kind of thing. This book has that in spades.

Is it believable? ... meh. Sort of. Is it fun and interesting? Yes. Was it unique enough to probably have me rating this book higher than the masses would? Yep. Why do I say that? Well, because there were definitely things about it that I didn't like and I can't help but think those things probably should have weighed more in the balance of things, but ... I'm a sucker—A SUCKER—for fun twists on religious themes. Don't stone me.

blasphemy

So what didn't I like? D'Angelo was an absolute ass, and while it did get noticeably better, as in, he wasn't actively being an ass after a while, I don't think I saw a personality transplant mentioned in there anywhere. And that's what it would have taken to fix that guy. I mean seriously, he treated his soulmate like "the little woman" for Christ's sake. Yeah, I blasphemed. And?

Cast out warriors, tattooed with Jesus' blood, still fighting the good fight. All that I can get behind except for the apparent power differential. Fighting the everyday baddies was fine. They were good with that, powerful enough for that, but throw a demon in the picture and it was like swatting flies. You'd think that would be the one subsection of badness they'd have cornered the market on, what with the content of the tattoos and all.

Also, I had some unanswered questions about what it meant for the 'mate' in the equation. Things were hinted at but not clarified. Are these guys longer-lived? Do they have regular human lifespans? Do the 'mates' take on some of their partners powers? Since they're not in the loop with the illustrious school that cornered the market on the Jesus mojo, does that mean that D'Angelo and Christian's mates—who don't exist according to the Institutes doctrines and yet of course they do—are unprotected from the evils they're now exposed to through their warrior mates?

delicate flower

Too many questions to make it more than a 3.5 heart (3 GR stars) read. It was entertaining. I liked the 'treasure hunting', the occultism, the religious twists, the MCs were [mostly] okay, I believed the romance for the most part, I liked the secondary characters—I want more of the demon knight—and it left me intrigued enough to read the next ones. I guess that's almost a glowing recommendation as long as you keep the niggles in mind.

There could have been a little more balance in the character- and relationship development and the dialogues were sometimes a little frenetic, sometimes a little immature, but I think it fit the character(s) where they were in life at the time. I dunno [shrugs]. It's worth reading and I liked it overall, but don't be surprised if there are things that take it down a notch or two as you're reading.

I am looking forward to more, so that says something. Maybe that I'm a big, gullible, sucker ... maybe that there's something substantially worth it prowling in the wings waiting for its moment in the series. Maybe you should see for yourself.


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An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.




Review: Interview with the Kevin by Mark Lesney

Danton is a 1200-year old vampire, blinded by the Medieval Church, who makes his life as a paranormal romance novelist. He writes about a vampire detective and “pretends” to his fans to be a vampire himself. But book sales are down because he has been without love for over 30 years and just doesn’t have that spark of romance left in him. Until he meets Kevin, a disbelieving young man, desperate for a job, who is brought in by Danton’s agent to try to lighten up his life and heat up his prose.



This was a really interesting vampire tale and when Danton began telling his backstory I got completely absorbed in it and would read the hell out of that thing as a full length novel.

If you’re coming into Interview with the Kevin looking for romance, you may find that this is not your jam, but chuck that out the gothic window of Danton’s mansion, because Danton’s story itself was a great read. I didn’t feel like I got too strong of a handle on Kevin, and this was not really his tale to tell. I would have liked more of him though and if I had gotten as much dimension out of him as I did Danton I would be throwing more hearts at this one.

It seems that Kevin may be the key to Danton getting his mojo back and I liked reading about Danton getting pulled out of his comfort zone by the effervescent Kevin. Danton’s natural snobby side (from literal centuries of experience and knowledge) were challenged by Kevin and I appreciated how the author wrote those scenes. While Danton wasn’t necessarily wrong about the great differences in intellect and experience between them, he didn’t come off as intentionally arrogant, rather more like he was looking for an excuse to not let the young man get too close.

Getting too close brought back the potential for emotions and Danton found those way too painful given his heartbreaking history, but I don’t think Kevin is one to give up. While the ending was a little abrupt and I can’t really call it an HEA or even an HFN, it did read to me like there could be a lot more story to tell and I would definitely be interested in reading it from both the MC’s perspectives.






**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**