Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Audio Book Review: Surreal Estate by Jesi Lea Ryan

From The Blurb:
Sasha Michaels is a psychic with an affinity for houses. And he’s homeless. Go figure. After months of sleeping rough, he stumbles upon an abandoned house, and the lonely place beckons him inside. He’s finally safe . . . until someone comes blundering in to his hideaway. 
House-flipper Nick Cooper lost everything in the recession. Desperate to revive his business, he turns to a loan shark to fund his comeback project: flipping an abandoned house full of potential. But it turns out the house has an unexpected occupant. 
Nick and Sasha make a deal: Sasha can stay in exchange for helping with the renovation. To both of their surprise, the closer they get to the loan shark’s due date, the stronger their feelings for each other grow. Problem is, Nick isn’t the only one with feelings for Sasha, and now the house doesn’t want to let Sasha go. 
Listening Time: 7 hrs., 30 min. 
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: Drug use, explicit violence, non-consensual touching.


Karen's rating:




I often use to preface my reviews of paranormal books with comments like...It's not my favorite genre, as a rule I don't do paranormal... yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course I've also been known to say 'never say never' and it's a good thing because it seems my affinity for this genre is growing.

I actually picked up the book a while ago thinking "Ok, this looks interesting. Sounds like a different take on the whole psychic thing, I'll give it a try the next time I want something different."  Much to my surprise a short time later I was present with the opportunity to listen to the audio book of 'Surreal Estate' with the narration being done by new to me narrator, TJ Clark. It felt like I was being pulled in a certain direction.

The narrator was not the only thing that was new to me for this story, this was also my first Jesi Lea Ryan novel and past experience has taught me that the combination of a new to me author and narrator can be a wonderful thing or something that goes sideways very, very fast. Luckily this one came in much closer to being a wonderful thing than a sideways thing.

TJ Clark provided a very solid and enjoyable narration for this story and I look forward to hearing more from him in future. I found the voices for not just the MCs but the other characters in the story each held their own consistent uniqueness.

Audiobook Review Tour: PROS & CONS 1 and 2 by A.E. Wasp




AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR - PROS AND CONS 1 AND 2

Five men. Five chances for Redemption. One thing’s for sure, they’re no angels.



BOOK 1

Book Title: Pros and Cons of Vengeance

Author: A. E. Wasp

Publisher: Tantor

Narrator: Tor Thom and Alexandre Steele

Release Date: April 2019

Genre: M/M Romantic suspense/romantic comedy

Trope/s: Bodyguard. Leverage meets Charlie’s Angels but more gay

Themes: Vengeance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 8 hours 54 minutes

It is a standalone story.

 


Blurb

There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. And what a group we are: a hacker, a thief, a con artist, a thug, and a Federal agent with an axe to grind. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

Since job number one calls for some muscle, it looks like I’m up first. I’m Steele Alvarez, ex-Special Forces Close Protection Specialist (aka, a bodyguard for some not so nice guys).

After learning what the job is — taking down a seemingly untouchable senator with a penchant for beating up young male prostitutes — I’m in. No questions. A bullet ought to do the trick.

Then I met Senator Harlan’s latest victim: Breck Pfeiffer, the gorgeous hooker with a heart of gold and the soul of a fighter. One look at him and I’m gone. That kid laid me out harder than any punch ever did. I’ll do anything to protect Breck, even kill for him. But Breck doesn’t want the senator dead, he wants vengeance.

If we’re going to find a way to bring down the slimebag and get the blackest mark on my record erased, I’m going to need all the help I can get.

Like it or not, we’re all in this together.


Buy Links



Karen's review:





It’s Charlie’s Angels meets Mission Impossible with a little touch of the A-team thrown in for good measure…
and it’s all done in a very sexy and humorous way…
‘Pros and Cons of Vengeance’ was very reminiscent of shows/movies that were not only a part of my youth, but shows/movies that I loved to watch. While ‘Charlie’s Angels’ was the first of these shows to come to mind for me and for what I think is very obvious reasons…first we have the mysterious Charlie and while this Charlie is dead we never did meet the original Charlie from television and then we have his ‘lawyer’ Miranda “Bosley” and a cast of 5 angels vs the three female angels that the television Charlie had. 
It’s when we come to the angels that we start to deviate to other shows/movies…such as Mission Impossible or Oceans Eleven. Shows/movies where the team is comprised of men who each have their own unique talents and for the most part tend to walk on the wrong side of the law but ironically they also seem to have stronger moral fiber than many who claim to be on the right side of the law.
Regardless of any reflections of past shows/movies that these stories seemed to bring to mind for me the stories themselves were refreshingly original. 
I was surprised to realize that “The Pros and Cons of Vengeance” my first time reading this author and happily it’s turned out to be a good time. Stories that contain a bit of romance, adventure and intrigue are among my favorites and always have been going all the way back to the days numerous shows/movies that this story engenders memories of.
Here in ‘Pros and Cons of Vengeance’ the author had a really big task to accomplish since it is the starting point for everything that comes after. The reader never actually meets the mysterious Charlie since everything begins with his funeral. This was seriously one ‘reading of the will’ that I would have loved to attend because basically it’s also a case of ‘blackmail from beyond the grave’ as it says in the blurb 5 jobs, 5 chances for redemption. Each man is given a mission and once he accomplishes it, Charlie’s lawyer Miranda Bosley will wipe the slate clean of whatever it is that Charlie has on them. So not only do we get the story/1st mission, we also get to meet a very ensemble cast of characters…there’s the 5 men in question and a group of supporting characters who will also recur in future stories. 
‘Vengeance’ is the first mission and it’s assigned to ‘Steel’ Alvarez ex-Special Forces close protection specialist. His assignment, should he decide to accept…nothing too complicated, just take down a seemingly untouchable senator with a proclivity for abusing young male hookers. Needless to say, Steel’s all in on this one and that’s before he meets Breck Pfeiffer one of the senator’s most recent victims. However, Steel’s no fool he knows he can’t accomplish his mission without a little…ok maybe a lot of help from his ‘friends’? 
‘The Pros and Cons of Vengeance’ for me was one of those stories that I could just sit back, relax and enjoy. There was action, intrigue, romance and laughs so may laughs and in the good way. The story was laced with a solid dose of humor and it was the kind that kept me smiling and laughing. 
I won’t say that I’m fussy when it comes to comedy, but I feel like it’s one of those things that you either get or you don’t. I’ve read books or watched shows/movies that were suppose to be humorous and I haven’t even cracked a smile while everyone else is rolling on the floor and the opposites happened as well, for me it just comes down to you get it or you don’t. I got it…seriously or maybe not so seriously in this case I got it. 
As well as a new to me author on this one, I got not one but two new to me narrators by the names of Alexandre Steele and Tor Thom. I have to admit not being familiar with either narrator I can’t say who voiced what throughout the course of the story but I can safely say that I enjoyed the narration in it’s entirety, which is a huge relief for more than one reason…one of course being that I had to listen to the story and thankfully because these two knew what they were doing, I don’t need to worry about getting anything wrong about who did what, that I did or didn’t like.  I can just summarize with I enjoyed it all.
This story was simply delightful and add to that the fact that as I said back at the beginning for me it was very reminiscent of so many shows/movies from my youth shows/movies like Charlie’s Angels, Mission Impossible, Ocean’s Eleven with a touch of ‘A-Team’ and ‘The Avengers’ and no I don’t mean the Marvel Avengers. The thing about all of these shows that I loved was that they had a touch of everything in them…there was action, adventure, romance, mystery suspense and humor (sometimes more than others but there was usually at least a light touch of humor). It’s a good recipe for any story if it’s done right because really it offers a little bit of something for everyone if it’s done right and so far it seems like the author has found a good mix to create something that a lot of people should enjoy.
*************************
An audio book for ‘The Pros and Cons of Vengeance’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK 2

Book Title: Pros and Cons of Deception 

Author: A. E. Wasp

Publisher: Tantor

Narrator: Tor Thom and Alexandre Steele

Release Date: June 2019

Genre: M/M Romantic suspense/romantic comedy

Trope/s: Fake boyfriends. Leverage meets Charlie’s Angels but more gay

Themes: Justice

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 8 hours 13 minutes

It is a standalone story but it helps to read the first one.



    


Blurb

There's nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie's lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

Job number two lands right in my lap. I'm Bond. Wesley Bond. (I can't resist saying it that way. Blame my dad, if you can find him.) You could call me a hacker. I redistribute wealth - moving it from rich slimebags to poorer but infinitely more deserving people - and make a tidy profit as I do. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to bring down some modern-day slave traders.

With the life of the one person in this world I love on the line, I can't afford any screw-ups or distractions. Unfortunately, my biggest distraction is my biggest asset - Danny Monroe. Danny is a leftover complication from our first job. He's a smart, funny, gorgeous ex-prostitute, who can't seem to keep his clothes on. I can't seem to keep my mouth shut around him. But I need a fake boyfriend, and Danny is the only option.

We don't know who the bad guy is; we have no idea how to prove anything. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to need all the help I can get. Like it or not, we're all in this together.


Buy Links



Karen's review:

Release Blitz: Slow Dances Under An Orange Moon (Colors of Love #4) by V.L. Locey





Cover Design: Designs By Sloan


Colors Of Love Series



Book #1 - Lost In Indigo - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 - Touch Of A Yellow Sun - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 - The Good Green Earth - Amazon US | Amazon UK



Blurb

Can the love they once shared be saved or has the pain of the past eclipsed it?

It’s been twenty years since Kye McLeod left the quaint little mountain town of Spruce Lake, Maine to play professional hockey. He’s had his share of ups and downs, but his choice to hit the big city and not look back has paid off handsomely. The future hall-of-famer is now ready to retire and come out of that dark closet he’s been sequestered in since his first secretive kiss with Davy Aguirre in high school. Now that he’s heading home to keep an eye on his feisty grandfather, there might be the chance to rekindle the flame between him and Davy.

Kye quickly learns that the boy he left behind isn’t the man he’s now knocking heads with. He always imagined grown-up Davy—who now insists on being called David—would be beyond the pain that Kye’s youthful blunder caused him, but now he’s not so sure. When the wildlife conservation officer squares off with the ex-hockey captain their connection is incendiary, and there are more than just fireworks. However, winning back the man he walked away from may not be as easy as he thought…



About the author:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Book Review: American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

American Dreamer (Dreamers #1)From the blurb:

No one ever said big dreams come easy

For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food or of Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both…if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.


Heather's rating:





I went through the WHOLE range of emotions with American Dreamer, going from from liking the book, to being bored and putting it on hold, to loving it in the end. I'm going to go into it in this review, so stay put for the long haul!

I was hesitant about reading this book at first for a few reasons. For one, I'm sort of acquaintance-y with the author, and I've had people get REALLY mad at me in the past for not liking their books. Over the years, people I considered "friends" have stopped talking to me after I gave their book a low rating, or worse, trash-talked me online, and it has made me really disconnect from authors in a personal way over the years.

Also, despite loving all genres of food in a deep and passionate way, I have a terrible track record with chef romances. It sounds silly, but I don't think I've ever given a romance book with a chef MC above 3-stars, which I know is a weird thing to have as a trend. I think I get focused on the food and analyzing it and I don't get as much of a romance from the story.
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