Tag Archives: published: 2016-09

Dare to Love Forever by Jake C. Wallace

Dare to Love Forever

Dare to Love Forever by Jake C. Wallace

Series: New Vampire Justice, Book 1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 26, 2016 (2nd edition)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Connor Locke is a rare vampire, a Tabula Rasa. When he bites someone, he has the ability to completely wipe their memories. Because he can work this power on both humans and other vampires, he’s considered dangerous by some and useful by others. But it means he needs to be careful what he does, where he goes, and who he trusts. So when he’s caught stealing blood to survive, he’s understandably suspicious of Lincoln Samuels, the New Vampire Justice Commander who saves Connor’s life, heals his wounds, and offers to help him. But as other forces prepare to move in on Connor and use him for their own purposes, he finds Lincoln might just be the one person he can count on. And together, they might just be able to change the world.

I’ve found that I’m reading more vampire stories than I think I have in the past. It’s not really a conscious thing; they’re just the ones that are popping up on my reading list at the right time lately. But I’m also finding that I’m enjoying the stories that I’m reading more than I think I did in the past. And that’s largely because I’m picking up books that are about more than the fact that a vampire is involved. There’s more going on in the story. Yes, one (or more) of the main characters is a vampire, but the story doesn’t revolve around that chapter after chapter after chapter. And an action romance like this one is a shining example of how to tell such a story without resorting to tropes to get through it…

Waiting for Patrick by Brynn Stein

Waiting for Patrick

Waiting for Patrick by Brynn Stein

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 16, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Elliot Graham is an architect who specializes in restoring old houses and flipping them for a profit. But when he purchases an old plantation home in South Carolina, there’s something about the place that makes him wonder if he’ll be able to part with it. He’s found something that he didn’t even know he was searching for even if he can’t exactly articulate what it is.

Ben Myers promised Patrick that he would wait for him to come back. And he’s someone who is true to his word. Even though that promise was made during the Civil War, Ben is still waiting in the same plantation house where they parted more than a century ago. A bit restless, Ben reaches out to Elliot and tells him his story. Elliot does his best to try to convince Ben that Patrick is gone and isn’t coming back, but Ben is devoted. And it turns out there may be a bit more to this love story than either of them realizes…

Are you someone who believes in fate? Even just a little? Well, even if you aren’t, I have a feeling you’ll still enjoy this well-written and engaging story of love that spans more than a lifetime. In life there are very few second chances–and sometimes even few first chances–and it’s imperative that we take the chances that we are given. Who knows, sometimes they may surprise us and we might even surprise ourselves. And that’s exactly what you’ll find here…

Commitment Ranch by B.A. Tortuga

Commitment Ranch

Commitment Ranch by B.A. Tortuga

Series: Leaning N Ranch, Book 1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 15, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Ford Nixel left his family ranch behind back when he was in college and never looked back. After Uncle Ty took in Stoney, Ford’s ex-boyfriend, and gave him a job, and then Stoney went off and had a kid with Ford’s (now late) cousin, he’d had enough. And he’s managed to make quite a life for himself with law offices in both Santa Fe and Austin. So when Uncle Ty announces he’s signing over his half of the ranch to Ford, it’s both unexpected and a bit unwelcome for all involved.

But Ford values the family ranch, and he wants to work to keep it going. And as much as he despises Stoney, he can’t hold those feelings against Stoney’s son, Quartz. So he moves in, deciding that he’ll only be at the ranch part of the time and spend the rest of his days immersed in his law practice. But it turns out the ranch may need more of his attention than he originally thought. And being so close to Stoney brings some intense feelings to bear–and not all of them are the burning hatred he would like to believe they are. But it also turns out that some of the facts of Ford’s situation with Stoney are not at all what he assumed. Can they put the ill feelings of the past behind them for the sake of saving the ranch? And in the process, might they also find those feelings they thought they lost so many years ago?

I would sum this up by saying it’s an entertaining and engaging story about two stubborn cowboys whose stubbornness gets in the way of their own happiness. These two… you’ll find yourself shaking your head more than once. But there’s also a great cast of supporting characters who are interesting and fun in their own right. And since this is the start of a series, I hope we get to see some focused stories involving some of them in the near future.

Flux by Kim Fielding

Flux

Flux by Kim Fielding

Series: Ennek Trilogy, Book 2
Published by: DSP Publications on September 6, 2016 (re-release)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Synopsis

Ennek took a huge risk in saving Miner from Stasis. Even the son of the Chief must obey the laws of the land. But the thought of Miner spending more time suspended in a dreamless sleep troubled him too much. Of course, so did the idea of becoming the puppet of his mentor, a man who wished to see Ennek on the throne so he could control him.
 
And now, Ennek and Miner find themselves on the run. Their mission is to get as far away from Praesidium as possible. What they don’t realize right away, though, is that they may be in more danger from those they come across than anyone who might be following them. And if they have any hope of staying together, they will both need to be strong–in mind, body, and spirit.
 

Review

This is an interesting follow up to the first book. The previous installment took place mostly in the castle, and largely in Ennek’s room. Here, we’re on quite a journey, both by land and by sea. And the cast of characters that Ennek and Miner run into are more varied, and in some cases more unstable, than anyone they’ve encountered before.
 
I did enjoy the journey aspect of this story quite a bit. And the uncertainty that Ennek and Miner face was rather apparent as the story went along. I did feel like they kept playing out the same scenario in different ways, however, so I would have liked to see just a bit more variation.
 
That said, it’s an enjoyable m/m fantasy romance, and I look forward to picking up the final installment in the series.
 
[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Bear Among the Books by T.J. Masters

Bear Among the Books

Bear Among the Books by T.J. Masters

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 2, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Ben Thompson has been a bit lonely since the loss of his partner, but he’s invested his passion into the library he manages. A lover of books, he enjoys being able to share them with his community. And he has a great team of staff to work with. When a new young man shows up at the library, piquing the interest of Ben’s shrewd assistant, Ben finds himself more than curious. What’s even more interesting is that the new patron spends hours in the library, but he never checks out a book.

Jason Barnes loves books. So he relishes his daily trips to the library, where he finds so many readily at this disposal. But there’s something that makes Jason a unique library patron–he can’t read. It’s not something he’s proud of, and he’s found many ways to cope so most people don’t even know. But when the head librarian shows him some kindness and manages to figure it out, Jason decides to let Ben give him some lessons. It’s just that literacy skill isn’t Jason’s only secret. And as the two become fast friends–and maybe more–Jason wonders if Ben can handle Jason’s past and who he’s become as a result.

The obvious issue this book throws out from the beginning is age. Ben is forty-eight; Jason is nineteen. But the author doesn’t dwell on it. It’s addressed–some people would definitely have an issue with that age gap–but it’s handled respectfully and with tact. And even if you might have an issue with that as a reader, I think you’d find that it’s not as big of a deal in this book as it may seem.

Where things get more challenging is Jason’s history of abuse and the issues of his illiteracy. It sounds like what Jason went through was pretty horrific, yet it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal in the end. And while I understand everyone works through their issues differently, it just seems odd to me that there’s not as much worry or discussion on Ben’s part as I would expect before they jump into any sort of a relationship. And while people can find many ways to hide that they can’t read, there are moments when I wonder how Jason would have made it as far as he did in school without anyone noticing. Unless they did and didn’t care. But the author doesn’t really give us that, so it’s hard to tell.

Slight issues aside, this is an interesting read. The supporting cast of characters is incredible. Daisy, the shrewd assistant, went from someone I didn’t like to one of my favorite characters by the end. And Alice, Jason’s grandmother, is a riot all her own. I suppose that helps balance out some of the heavy stuff Jason is going through.

You’re Saying It Wrong by Ross Petras & Kathryn Petras

You're Saying It Wrong

You’re Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled History of Misuse by Ross Petras & Kathryn Petras

Published by: Ten Speed Press on September 13, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

We all know those words or phrases that people say wrong and it gets on our nerves. And we also have those words that we say, and we’re just not sure if we’re saying it’s right. And where do some of these seemingly nonsensical words and idioms come from?

Ross and Kathryn Petras have assembled 150 commonly mispronounced words and phrases in the English language in one comprehensive resource. In addition to providing the common mispronunciations and the correct way to say it, they provide historical context and anecdotes to go along with it. In a nonjudgemental fashion, the authors present the correct way to say it and why.

So whether it’s those misstatements that bug you (mine: anyway, bruschetta, Daylight Saving Time, for all intents and purposes, irregardless, mascarpone, utmost) or the ones you didn’t know you were staying wrong (mine: electoral, homage, spit and image), it’s all here. It’s also a quick read, so why not pick it up and give it a chance. It will validate your pet peeves and teach you a thing or two in the process.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Vespers by Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

Vespers

Vespers by Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

Series: Hours of the Night, Book 1
Published by: Prescourt Books on September 13, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Sarasija Mishra knows there’s reason to be concerned about his new job. But he’s not going to admit that to his mother. After being hired without so much as a real interview, Sara drives from Seattle to New Orleans to become the new assistant for the mysterious Thaddeus Dupont. Sara couldn’t even find anything about the man on the internet. But he’s been offered $80,000 a year for part-time work–and his family needs the money.

Of course when Sara arrives and it seems he wasn’t expected, things seem even stranger. And when his new boss sends him away, he resolves to fight–he has a contract after all. But the desire to fight takes on a new meaning when the pair are suddenly attacked in the night, sending them off on an adventure that both excites and terrifies Sara. Until Sara learns what his contract meant about providing his new boss with meals that cater to his special diet…

Thaddeus isn’t sure what to do with his new assistant. He’s specifically always had women assistants, and for good reason. He needs to feed to stay alive, and the act of feeding always ends up a bit more physical than one might think. And the White Monks, the Catholic order that is supporting Thaddeus, have given him a set of rules. Among them: he cannot engage in what they deem to be sinful relations. And they are the last line of defense for his soul.

But proximity and adrenaline seem to increase temptation. And eventually the two of them will need to make a decision about not just the contract, but what they really want out of life. Can Thaddeus provide the sense of meaning Sara’s been looking for in his life? And can it be Sara–not the White Monks–who holds the real power to save Thaddeus’s soul?

Well, my friends, all I have to say is this was an unexpected gem for me. I mean, I read the blurb and figured I would enjoy it. But I was pleasantly surprised at the sense of adventure that carried through the entire story. The pacing here is wonderful, consistent, and sustained. And that’s partly how I read this in a single day, finding it difficult to put it down.

There are some characters I didn’t care for, but I think that’s more just a function of who they are (ugh, the White Monks are not my friends). And Sara is a dynamic character who seems to find himself in a lot of ways during the story. Although the timeline of the book is relatively short, none of the character development seems overwrought or contrived.

Definitely give this one a recommendation. And I’m personally looking forward to the next book in the series.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

 

Connection Error by Annabeth Albert

Connection Error

Connection Error by Annabeth Albert

Series: #gaymers, Book 3
Published by: Carina Press on September 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Josiah Simmons can’t believe he’s late for one of the most important flights of his career. He’s on his way to Germany to meet with the design team for an expansion to his company’s wildly popular game. Despite his best efforts, though, here he is. And although part of him says he should remain focused–he gets distracted easily enough on his own–he can’t help taking notice of the wildly attractive man sitting next to him. And it’s a bonus when he learns the guy is a gamer, and he just happens to play Josiah’s game.

Ryan Orson is hoping for an uneventful flight back to Washington, D.C., so he can get back to his physical therapy. His injuries have put his future as a Navy SEAL in question. But Ryan plans to do all he can to get back to active duty. When he meets Josiah, however, he decides the flight may as well be a little more eventful than he’d planned.

When their plane is rerouted to St. Louis due to weather, Josiah sees an opportunity to get to know Ryan better. But after he sticks his foot in his mouth, he figures he’s ruined that opportunity altogether. There’s something about Josiah that gives Ryan pause, however, and he finds himself willing to let things go long enough to help Josiah out for just one night. But what that one night might lead to is something neither of them has really figured out just yet…

This series is absolutely wonderful. The way Annabeth Albert writes characters is simply masterful. It’s so easy to get into their world as a reader. And the writing is so engaging that I always find it difficult to put these books down.

I do recommend starting from the beginning just for the purpose of catching these in order. But they can all be read as stand-alone books as each focuses on a different set of main characters.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]