Category Archives: Affluent family

Prophesy (The King & Alpha #1) A.E. Via

💫REVIEWED BY: Patricia Nelson💫

TITLE: Prophesy

SERIES: The King & Alpha Series Book 1

AUTHOR: A.E. Via

PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings Books

RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2017

An Enemies to Lovers
Shifter, Vampire True Mates story.

BLURB: Justice Volkov is the youngest Alpha Zenith to ever lead the wolf shifters. Following in his father’s large paw prints was a responsibility he met head on. Now at age thirty-three, he is alpha of the alphas. As a direct descendant of the original Siberian pack, his wolf is bigger and stronger than Justice himself is sometimes able to control.

His wolf howled long and hard but Justice kept it inside. It felt like a bass drum beating against his rib cage. The harsh breaths, angry snarls, and the determined pacing inside him was overtaking him.

Justice takes his role of leadership and his legacy very seriously. He has little time for romance, not to mention a true mate. His packs are his priority. With a human government trying to regulate them, an uprising of rogue shifters, and a violent team of scientists trying to experiment on them, Justice has his hands way too full.

Chadwick ‘Wick’ Bentley is not enthusiastic when the captain of his escort tells him he has to leabe his comfortable London home and go back to the States. As the Vampire King, he has no choice but to get his species back in line before they cause any more chaos. At over one hundred years old, Wick is no one to trifle with, but his smooth, charismatic manner makes him quite unique, despite the negative reputation vampires have. Wick has had nothing but time up to this point. He doesn’t feel the need to make issues pressing. Nothing is urgent in his life. Until he meets Justice. His beloved.

“Natural enemies can’t be mates.” Or so Justice thought. He knows his skepticism and rejection is hurting his mate, so while he fights their connection, Wick gets help from a source very close to Justice to help him win his beloved’s heart. Wick is a force all on his own, but when he’s blessed with a special gift from the Mother herself, not even Justice’s powerful wolf can prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled.

REVIEW: This fascinating, and fantastic book is A.E. Via’s first foray into the shifter/paranormal genre. I personally think she’s done a absolutely awesome job of it. Her world building is vivid, pulling you in from the very beginning. The characters are complex, three dimensional, and totally engaging. I couldn’t help but hold my breath, watching as Wick and Justice shakily navigated the minefield of ploys, plots, betrayals, ingrained prejudice, years of war, and their own doubts, insecurities, and inner demons, hoping that they would get the HEA ending they so richly deserved. I absolutely loved this enthralling beginning to an intriguing new series, and can’t wait to see what happens next.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Via Star Wings Publishing

 

 

 

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When Heaven Strikes by F.E. Feeley Jr.

“Sometimes when heaven strikes, it comes in the form of a fierce storm. A knock at the door. A phone number slipped into a back pocket. Sometimes it comes with the sweetest of circumstances or the hardest of lessons.”

 

Can love survive heaven’s wrath?

Artist Ted Armstrong lives a solitary and eccentric life. The survivor of child abuse disguised as religion, Ted has cut himself off from the world.

Then Ted meets Anderson Taylor, and it’s like being struck by lightning.

Anderson is a cardiac surgeon whose passion for his work has consumed him. He fears he’ll never find a partner—until he sets eyes on Ted. It’s happening fast, but both men know what they feel is right.

Confronted with an angry preacher, a scandal, and an act of God that threatens to destroy everything, their relationship will face its first true test.

Kimi’s thoughts:

This is a story that at its core is about love. We meet Anderson and Ted, who form the main couple, but also Anderson’s family, and Josiah and his family. Their lives are woven together in the organic way that those who live in the same community and live their lives naturally cross paths here and there. We get not just one love story between two men, but also those of the others, and not the least, that of familial love and friendship. 

Feeley takes a hard look at the human idiosyncrasies and frailties that cause us to doubt, to lash out, to lie to ourselves, and to act out in anger. While Ted’s parents hide behind fundamentalism, it is made more than evident that these are not those that follow the words of the Christ they hold as a religious figurehead, but people who use the Bible to justify their own thirst for power. Power within the community, control over their lives, and the feeling of safety that gives them. It’s an unhealthy obsession that they cling to, rather than face their own inner demons, yet like other addictions, it falls flat and ultimately, a rock bottom is reached. It is from there that our characters learn the way from the bottom is to face their own fears and support each other on the way up, to where happiness waits.

His use of the storm as an allegory was done without a heavy hand. Anyone who’s lived in Tornado Alley, or anywhere prone to devasting other acts of natures, knows of the suddenness these can strike with and the utter devastation they leave in their wake. Lives carefully constructed often find it stripped away, with loss taking its toll even as the spirit of friendship and community blossom. Yet even as everything lies in ruins, people begin to rebuild and their new ties within the community add their own bright colors to the patchwork of their lives. 

It’s a beautifully crafted tale, and one I heartily recommend. Available from Amazon to buy or to read with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

 

 

Rating: 5

kimisig

 

 

Promises 3 (Bounty Hunters) A.E. Via


💫💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫💫

 

TITLE: Promises 3

SERIES: Bounty Hunters

AUTHOR: A.E. Via

PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings

RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2017

 

BLURB: A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story. The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.

 

REVIEW: This is the third book in this fantastic series by this author. And when I tell you that it’s amazing, I mean it. This book continues with Dana and Ford’s story. This story, as with all this author’s work was such a pleasure to read. It was also a pleasant surprise because I wasn’t expecting this pairing.

Dana is the youngest on the team and in my opinion, the most vulnerable, emotionally speaking of course. I loved Dana’s character. His personality was an interesting juxtaposition of vulnerability and strength. He was shy yet…not. He was confident yet insecure.

Ford was a gruff and tough former Navy Seal. He’s loyal and fiercely protective of his younger brother. He’s also stubborn. Well, both men are stubborn. So much so that I wanted to reach in and Gibbs smack both of them at the backs of their heads to knock some sense into both of them. I especially wanted to snap Dana’s girlfriend like a twig. The ole bony, salad eating wench that she was.

You know a book is good when the characters make you yell at your reading device. I was yelling at, smacking and positively howling at my iPad, these characters are just that vivid.

I love her writing style. You’re not going to get any pretty lavender words or flowery dialogue from the men in her books. I also love the fact that her characters are men of a particular age and everyday working men. What I also appreciate is the fact that she’s not afraid to use the word bisexual. These men are BISEXUAL. Not ‘gay for you’, ‘out for you’ or any of the other tropes that  erases the bisexual identity. 

I can’t express how excellent this book is. I equate reading this author’s work to mama cooking in the kitchen and when she’s finished, you end up with the most delicious meal. Yes, she has truly put her foot in the pot with this book.

This book, heck, this series is definitely highly recommended.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟AMAZING🌟🌟

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon (Promises 3) 

Amazon (Promises series)

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Finding Hope (Finding Series #5) Sloane Kennedy

                         💫💫Reviewed by Michele💫💫

TITLE: Finding Hope

SERIES: Finding Series Book 5

AUTHOR: Sloane Kennedy

PUBLISHER: Self Published 

RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2017

BLURB: At 19, Beck Barretti is living two lives. To his family, he’s a young man trying to find his way after years of battling a mental illness that nearly cost him everything. But to the rest of the world he’s just another privileged kid with problems. The truth doesn’t even lie somewhere in between because Beck’s entire life is actually about keeping secrets.

From the people he loves.

From the ones he doesn’t.

From himself.

Spending a summer in Dare, Montana with family friends isn’t about starting fresh – it’s about escaping the crippling darkness that threatens to consume him.

Until one encounter that was supposed to mean nothing ends up changing everything…

Quinn Donovan had the life he’d always dreamed of until a brutal act of violence ripped it all away. Even though he’s found a new future working at the CB Bar Ranch in Dare, Montana, he’s not interested in trying to get back what he once had. All he wants is a quiet life that includes a job that’s worth getting up for each morning and hanging out with his best friend, a black and white Paint stallion named Koda.

But nothing prepares him for the strange twist of fate that brings not one, but two men into his life…

Brody Wilder is done hiding in the closet. As the son of a political scion, he’s spent his entire life hiding the truth about who he is just so he could inherit a legacy he never wanted. But those days are behind him and he’s starting a new life in rural Montana where he’s saving lives as a paramedic and building a successful construction business that would surely horrify his old-money, society-loving family.

After years of denying himself, he’s taking advantage of his newfound freedom by indulging in random, meaningless sexual encounters that are about pleasure, not emotion.

So no one is more surprised than him when one night in the back room of a sordid gay club leads to something more…

Can three men who came together by chance find the hope they need to build a future with each other, or will they end up letting their fears tear them apart?

Trigger Warning: This book contains multiple triggers. To review what they are, please take a look at the sample or use the “Look Inside” feature and scroll to right before the table of contents. Reviewing the triggers may cause spoilers.

***This book is part of a series but can be read as a standalone…no cliffhangers. However, there will be additional enjoyment if the series is read in order***

REVIEW: WOW! That’s all I can say. She did it to me again. My emotions were all over the place while reading this painful but cathartic story. For me this one hurt but in a good way. As I read Beck’s story, and I read all 4 of the previous books in this series, the characters in Finding Hope were by far the most captivating. The story was well written, which given that this was a ménage can be difficult.

This book is about 3 men, Beck, Quinn, and Brody, who separately are struggling with issues from their past. The lack of acceptance and betrayal by your own family, the painful loss of who you thought was the love of your life, and the physical and emotional abuse inflicted by those knowing and unknowingly who took an oath to protect, and those who professed their friendship only to be used in a game of deception.

Beck’s story brought out my feelings of indignation as I felt his fear, pain, sadness, and anger. I had to pull myself together more than once in order to continue reading. Even as I was flooded with all those emotions the story continually showed Beck coming out of the darkness of his past as he discovers himself and finds friendship, acceptance and love in the small town of Dare, Montana. This is a MUST READ. I HIGHLY recommend this book.

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RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

 

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New Vocations by T.A. Chase

                         ✨Reviewed by Michele​✨

TITLE: New Vocations

SERIES:

AUTHOR: T.A. Chase

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January10, 2017

BLURB: Two men who believe in second chances meet and their lives are never the same again.
Layne Daly comes to participate in the American Royal. He’s there to show off the abilities of the retired thoroughbreds he adopts straight off the track. He wants people to know these animals can do so much more than race. He has three horses there to do exhibitions in reining, barrel racing and cutting. When his usual groom gets sick, he has to hire someone fast.

Carl Stewartson used to love coming to Kansas City for the rodeo. He’d ride broncs and hang out with his friends. But since his career-ending injury early in the year, Carl has been spinning his wheels, trying to find something to do with his life now that he can’t rodeo anymore. He runs into Layne and offers to help him with his horses.

Together, they have to deal with not only the stress of the event, but also starting a new relationship. Second chances are what Layne does best and he’s more than willing to give Carl the opportunity.

REVIEW: This is a short but sweet story about two men who believe in second chances. Layne Daly and Carl Stewartson meet by chance at the America Royal Rodeo in Kansas City. Layne is there to show off the abilities of his retired thoroughbreds. Show that these horses can be more than just race horses. But when Layne get his horses to the gate, his groom is nowhere to be found. He gets a call from Quinn, his groom, stating that he was under the weather and probably wouldn’t make it. He needs help with these horses especially one in particular that is quite spirited. So now what can he do?

Carl actually used to participate in the rodeo’s bronc riding competition but due a knee injury, his riding career was basically over. So now here he was with no way to make a living doing what he loved to do best. Then an opportunity comes up for him to use his knowledge of horses as he was raised on a ranch and maybe make some money doing it. Of course it didn’t hurt that the two men were attracted to each other but without confirmation neither was willing to make assumptions. But working so closely together to help Layne with his horses for the exhibition revealed their mutual attraction.

I actually liked this short read and wished that there was more to their story, more time to get to know the characters. The fact that one of the characters had a physical limitation made me more interested in his character. I liked how the two men come together to help each other. The physical attraction between the MC’s made for a few steamy scenes. So overall it was a pleasant read.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing

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Gaining Trust (Kiss of Leather) Morticia Knight

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Gaining Trust

SERIES: Kiss of Leather

AUTHOR: Morticia Knight

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2017

BLURB: Chuck isn’t sure what he needs and Master Jordan can’t wait to show him.

Stone’s shy junior investigator, Chuck, can no longer deny his interest in the BDSM lifestyle. The beautiful connections and raw emotions he’s witnessed between so many of the Doms and subs at Kiss of Leather, leave him yearning for something he’d never dared hope he could have: unconditional love and care from a man. He isn’t sure if he can take the chance of having a real relationship when he’s not out to his meddling parents yet, but the sexy Master Jordan, Gavin’s friend and the owner of Club Consequence, makes him want to take that chance.

Master Jordan has been biding his time until he can get next to the super-fine Chuck. Gavin warned him that Chuck wasn’t in the lifestyle, but there’s something special about him that Jordan can’t deny. When they’re finally alone, the chemistry is off the charts and Jordan can tell it won’t take much to bring Chuck willingly into the world of BDSM.

An unexpected development in the case of Corey’s kidnappers shocks them all, but not as much as what happens with Chuck’s family. Jordan teaches Chuck that secrets hold power over the person keeping them, and that gaining trust can only be achieved through complete honesty.

REVIEW: This is the 5th book in this series and one that I was looking forward to. This story features Stone’s assistant, Chuck, and Gavin’s friend, Jordan, the owner of another BSDM club, Club Consequence.

I was intrigued from the moment these two were mentioned and featured briefly in the previous books so I was very pleased to see that the author has decided to give them their own story.

As with all of her characters, the ones in this series are very well written. Knight’s attention to detail in her work is meticulous. She has a great talent for maintaining her characters and their storylines. The transitions from one book in her series to the next are always smooth without any breaks or holes in the plots.

Her depictions of the subs and their Doms are awesome. The subs aren’t simpering, child-like, effeminate twinks. There’s nothing wrong with a man being effeminate or a twink but I absolutely detest when simpering and child- like is thrown in. She strikes the perfect balance between these men being strong and independent but are strong and confident enough to submit to their Doms.

I loved Jordan and Chuck’s characters. Chuck’s character was shy and sweet, strong and fierce and due to his upbringing, a little ‘buttoned up’. He was introduced to the BSDM lifestyle because of the case he and Stone are investigating but he’s drawn to it because of the deep love and respect that he observes between the men he’s befriended. He meets Jordan while working undercover at Jordan’s club. I also loved how Chuck didn’t allow the stench of his family’s bigotry to touch him. He’s a loving and kind gentlemen that treats people with respect. He also had a lot of backbone. This is what fascinated me about him. He was shy and sweet but also very tough. I love how the author wrote him breaking away from his family. She did it with little fanfare and didn’t dwell on it afterwards. She understood that everything else took a back seat to Chuck and Jordan’s budding romantic relationship.

I also adore the way Jordan’s character was written. Now that I think about it, I appreciate how this author portrays her characters of color in ALL of her stories. As a reader of color, I can honestly say that Knight has done a wonderful job of this. There have been quite a few authors in the MM genre, on many occasions, who had been dragged for filth by readers in general, readers of color specifically over their ridiculous and often times insidious stereotyping of their characters of color. Some on more than one occasion. I’ve never encountered that problem with any of this author’s work. The skin color of a particular character is only used to describe physical appearances. Again, as a reader of color who likes to read LGBT themes books, I really appreciate this.

As I was saying before, Jordan’s character was also well written. He was a Dom but his style was a little different than the others. His was a gentler approach. This didn’t make him any less of a Dom but I think that he adjusted his approach a bit for Chuck because he knew that Chuck was new to the lifestyle as he didn’t want to scare him off.

The storylines, character development and plots are wonderful and engaging. The books aren’t too long but just long enough to satisfy you. There are no unnecessary cliff hangers that leave you hanging either. This book, this series is definitely well worth the time to get in to.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon:

 

Pride Publishing

 

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Beyond A Reasonable Doubt by Sharon Johnson

💫✨💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫✨💫

TITLE: Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

SERIES: Doubt series

AUTHOR: Sharon Johnson

PUBLISHER: Wicked Words Publishing

LENGTH: 241pages

RELEASE DATE: November 30 , 2015

BLURB: DeMatteo Santiago is the Alpha of one of the largest prides in North America. He is a young, successful lion shifter, surrounded by a large family and his devoted lover. By anyone’s account he has more than any one man can ask for, but his lion cares of nothing except finding their mate.

An unexpected business trip pits DeMatteo and his long awaited mate on opposite sides of the courtroom. But when challenged by ex-lovers, nosey siblings, and crazy hunters, DeMatteo realizes that finding his mate was the easy part. The real question is whether they will live long enough to be together.

This release is an M/M paranormal shifter romance. This series will contain, graphic violence, graphic language, and Mpreg. What it will not be is an instant mate fairytale, as forces set out to destroy everything and everyone.

REVIEW: Alright, now we’re finally getting into the story of Matt’s life after his parent’s deaths. Now, as I’ve stated before, I love shifter stories in general, lion shifter in particular because I’m one of those crazy cat ladies that love all things feline. I will also admit that I like Mpreg stories; they fascinate me. So, put both of those elements together and of course I’m in.

Matt is a alpha lion of a large pride. I like the fact that he’s not just a lion shifter. He’s a highly successful and sought after attorney in the human world so I like how the author wrote him to be able to balance interacting in and with the human world as well as the paranormal world.

The human world is where he finds his true mate, Sean. Sean’s the opposing attorney in a very messy human divorce. Matt is ecstatic that he find his mate but there’s just a few glitches in the program. One, Sean’s human so there’s the how-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-explain-this aspect to this mating. Two, they’re both with other people—Sean has a girlfriend, Matt a boyfriend so there’s the how-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-a-clean-break aspect of those situations. Sean’s breakup was painless compared to Matt’s. I felt so very bad for Hugh! It was to the point that I didn’t care for the Matt’s character at all. Even though Matt made it clear that whatever they had was just sex, I still felt that he could’ve handled it with a lot more grace than he did. The way that he did it was a bit foul. It was like he told Hugh and then reminded him that he was just something to play with until the real thing comes along. It was sad. I understood that he made it clear in the beginning what type of relationship it was to be but fifteen years…I felt he could’ve at least given the poor guy a week or two before just tossing him out of the house. And Matt’s sisters didn’t make the situation any better. I actually loathed them for they way they treated Hugh. I felt like they were all rubbing salt in a cut Matt inflicted. It’s like Hugh has been mistreated all his life and were aware of that but didn’t care. They acted like insensitive bitches. And I didn’t care what happened to or with them for the rest of the story.

There’s threats from all sides, human hunters and other paranormals. Add in the mess from the breakup with Hugh and it’s not an easy walk for Matt and Sean. And you know what? They didn’t deserve one. I felt that they deserved every bit of drama and chaos that came their way; they deserved the karma over how their exes were treated.

I really enjoyed reading this book. You know the author did a great job when the reader has such visceral reactions to the characters and you’re absorbed in the storyline.

The only thing about the book that I didn’t quite care for was the tenses. I think it was told in a–I don’t know-narrative voice?  I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called. It was like someone was telling you the story as opposed to you reading it as it’s happening…I can’t explain it properly but it drove me nuts. I tried to roll with it but after the first chapter I ended up substituting the tenses and the changing the wording in my head and that made it easier for it to click. It weird, I know but it’s a quirk of mine.

I usually hate cliffhangers but if the story’s really good, as this one was, I don’t mind it so much. Especially this time because I had the next book on hand so I was able to quickly get to it. In all, I think it worked out rather nicely.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

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Erasing All Doubt by Sharon Johnson

💫✨💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫✨💫

TITLE: Erasing All Doubt

SERIES: Prequel to Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

AUTHOR: Sharon Johnson

PUBLISHER: Wicked Words Publishing

LENGTH: 72 pages

RELEASE DATE: January 8 , 2016

BLURB: Eighty six thousand, four hundred seconds. One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes. Twenty four hours. One day. In his twenty five years of life DeMatteo Santiago had often taken for granted how much could change in a single Day. When DeMatteo crawled into bed at 10:30 pm on May 7th, 1980 there was no way of knowing how the next twenty four hours would forever alter his life. As a young Alpha lion shifter DeMatteo has left his pride, in search of his mate, and a pride of his own. But the fates have been conspiring for centuries to lead him to this precise moment in time. May 8 1980, 10:30 pm, a moment in time that will forever change the life of Matthew (DeMatteo) Santiago. Facing the challenges of being the new Alpha of the largest pride in the United States, DeMatteo must find a way to lead in the face of his own personal tragedy.

REVIEW: This is the prequel to the first book in the Doubt series which is pretty much a map of all the characters in the upcoming books and their lives. This novella reveals how Matt becomes the alpha of the pride after the death of his parents, his relationship with Hugh and such.

You definitely should read this novella prior to starting the first book because it actually gives the background stories to many of the characters. I made the mistake of reading the first book before reading the prequel and I must say that I was a little bit confused as to what was going on and who everyone was in relation to Matt. I stopped in the middle of the first book and went back to the prequel.

I liked how she mapped out each character’s life and gave us a feel of each of the characters. The only issue I had with the story was Hugh’s backstory. You read he’s experienced some abuses from his old pride but it’s mentioned in the vaguest of terms for most part of the story. It’s finally revealed but by this time, I had pretty much giving up on ever finding out. Now reading about his past makes me that much more sympathetic towards what his character goes through in the first book.

You’re not going to really connect with the characters because this prequel is simply a map into the character’s lives and personalities. You will get the full story in the upcoming books. In all, I think she did a good job. This book piqued my interest because I am a fan of shifter stories in general, feline shifters in particular. Because I am obsessively in love with all things cats, I feel that there’s not nearly enough books featuring feline shifters.

This is a nice novella acts as the appetizer before the main courses.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon

 

 

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Starting Now by S.C. Wynne

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From Riptide:Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.

Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.

Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.

Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.

Randy Wright believes the best in others. He’s immediately drawn to Francis, even though Francis is hardened and wary. When Francis is attacked by one of his johns, Randy and his family take him in and offer him temporary work. Randy always thought he was straight, but something about Francis has him yearning for more than just friendship, and realizing he might be bisexual.

Francis is attracted to Randy too, and Randy and his parents say they’ve always believed in gay rights. But talk is cheap. What are the odds that these Christian parents will remain open-minded when it’s their own son in a relationship with another man?

 

Kimi’s thoughts:

Every now and again a book comes along that speaks to the heart. this is one such book- a bittersweet tale about a young man who is homeless and is selling his body to survive. He gets food where he can, including showing up at places that offer food to customers and event attendees. This leads him to try to mingle at an event run by Grace and Light Church where he doesn’t manage to blend in as well as he hopes. This leads to him becoming a sort of project for the pastor’s family, though they are genuinely fond of him personally.

Just how their deep-seated prejudices they don’t know they have actually run is revealed though when their son Randy, tipped to be his father’s pastoral successor, realizes that he’s bi-sexual and is in fact in love with Francis. The prejudicial attitudes explored here run true, from certain church members’ attitudes towards the homeless in general  to the way sex workers are viewed, as well as the old chestnut about a gay person being able to ‘confuse’ a straight person and make them do things they shouldn’t.  It’s also a story about courage and personal growth, not just Randy’s and Francis’, but that of others who are involved in situations that arise. While gritty, it isn’t a tear you apart read, but one that manages to uplift and shed a light on the darker corners of modern society.

 

Rating: 4.5

kimisig

 

Mountain Murder Mystery by Benjamin Dahlbeck

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From DSP:

The Severn family—Jeff and his wife Phyllis, Lynette and her new fiancé, and single Andy—has gathered at the mountain home of their grandmother, Mary Agnes Severn, to celebrate Thanksgiving and hear an announcement regarding their late grandfather’s will. With news of an escaped convict in the hills, everyone is barely settled in before a huge snowstorm strands them in the large old house with only gas lamps and lanterns to keep the darkness away. Local sheriff Roger Dickerson arrives to check on the family and seek shelter from the storm. Sparks fly between him and Andy as long-held passions bubble just under the surface, but before they can address them, Mary Agnes’s three servants are murdered one by one. Who is the murderer? Is it the escaped convict? Is it someone in the house? Everyone has a motive, and everyone has the means. What’s going on between Andy and Marcus the handyman? What’s going on between Phyllis and Marcus? Is there something going on between Roger and Marcus? It’s (snow)bound to be a wild week of murder, mystery, and mayhem!

 

Kimi’s thoughts:

My first impression was one where I wondered what the heck was going on with the cover. I love covers, and this one annoyed me with the way the faces were covered up in a similar manner to ill-placed price stickers in shops do it. I got over it quickly though as what matters most is the meat of the story, which turned out to be another bit of an odd duck.

It’s very old school, really working the “all gathered together and there’s a killer” trope and is firmly tongue in cheek. Luckily it does it quite well. Fans of Wodehouse may enjoy the double reveal at the end. Now, what didn’t work for me: it was too heavy with dialogue, so much so that this read more like a screenplay. The descriptions also got caught up in minutia. These things should have been pruned back. So, not a serious mystery and not literature for the ages, but for days when you need a light rainy day read, this is a good bet.

 

Rating: 3