Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh

Jove Presents


Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…


Yet again – I had a craving to re-visit some of my favorite m/f authors and Nalini Singh and her Psy-Changeling series is one of my all time favorites!

This is definitely one of those books where if you haven’t been reading along you will be totally lost. It is NOT a standalone. No matter what it might say anywhere else.

In this, the long awaited book, Vasic, the troubled and suicidal Arrow works with Kaleb as well as Judd to secure the re-introduction of the EPsy – the empaths – back into their powers. It is determined that the EPsy are what the NetMind has needed all this time to combat the illness.

What is left unknown is how these EPsy will take breaking Silence and just what is it they need to do and how can they be protected when those protecting them suffer just being in their presence.

Ivy is a strong EPsy whose Silence has been fractured for years. She assumes when Vasic comes to collect her that she is at last to be killed for her “faults”. From the moment they meet the two share a connection.

Then – for many pages – we work out who must do what and why for the NetMind to become fixed. Vasic and Ivy struggle with their feelings for one another – neither having any kind of experience in love/sex/relationships at all.

In the end thre is a race against time and more crushing blows to the NetMind, some reconnections with previous characters and a climactic finish setting us up for the grand finale – Shards of Hope – Aden’s story.


I have to admit I was disappointed in this book.

It took a lot of slugging through to reach the end.

I liked Vasic way more before he had his own book and Ivy was pretty MEH the entire time.

In previous books in the series the love was at least half the important part and I feel in these last few books, Kaleb, Vasic, Aden – more time is devoted to the greater story arc than the individual love stories.

As a fan I was glad to re-visit with Nalini’s Psy-Changeling Universe and I am excited to finally read the last story in this arc – but I am also kinda ready for it to be over.

Overall, the writing is good, I think it needed tighter editing, and maybe a more focused story line that equalized the love/romance part with the story progression.

3.5 of 5 hearts



Ride Steady (Chaos #3) by Kristen Ashley

Forever Books Presents


Coming June 30th

ride steadyBlurb

The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .


As you know I almost exclusively read/review m/m. But – there are a few authors who I still read because they are so amazing. Kristin Ashley is one of them. Her characters are gritty and raw. The men are ridiculously hot. They have almost super-powers without being over the top. The sex is deliciously raunchy and so is the language. The women are mostly very strong even if they do need rescuing –BUT they rescue the hero right back so it isn’t annoying.

This is the third book in a series, and is probably ok as a standalone, but really, this is best read as part of the entire series, and even better read having read the entire group of Kristin Ashley’s books, the Rock Chicks, her Hero series and now the Chaos series. It contains characters from all those and knowing them adds a bit of flavor to the story that just makes it so much better!

In this, we find Joker (previously known as Carson), a new recruit to the Chaos MC. He’s had a bad childhood (nothing new there) and carries a chip on his shoulder. While he was in high school he had a crush on the “good girl” Carrisa and she was nothing but nice to him. But- she was involved with the “good boy” Aaron, and it looked like that was it – forever – for them, so he stayed away.

7 years later we find Carissa alone, with a newborn baby, nearly broke, fighting with Aaron for even the barest of necessities. She has a flat tire and who but Joker (whom she doesn’t recognize as her childhood crush, Carson) rolls up to rescue her.

From here, the Chaos band unofficially/officially adopts Carissa and her son Travis. The boys in the club know a bad situation when they see it, and Carissa is living it.

In typical Kristin Ashley fashion, Joker and his crew rush in to save the day and slowly but surely Joker and Carissa fall in love.


I just love Kristin Ashley’s work. I love how REAL the situations are. Sure, there are times when the men are a little too “manly” and the women a little too “helpless”, but the situations they find themselves in feel authentic and the responses are just enough of that perfect rescue fantasy to hit all my buttons.

I love the raunchiness of the sex, the language, the grittiness, the juxtaposition of the “good girl” and the “bad boy” and in the end the mutual rescue that saves them both.

The Chao series started with Motorcycle Man and was my first Kristin Ashley book ever. It set me on FIRE! I literally devoured her entire library after that and greedily look for more as they come out. This extends that book but also includes characters from her other series as well. Those of you who’ve read them all will be delighted to see Lee and Indy, TyTy and Tab, Elvira and the delicious Malik and even a bit of Gwen and Hawk.

This is a bit quieter in terms of the danger from the previous books. There is still trouble lurking – Aaron is an ass and has a boatload of legal support to help him get his way. Valenzuela is still causing trouble, trying to encroach on Chaos turf. But, mostly, this is Joker healing from an abusive childhood and Carissa finding her way as an independent woman.

I know it’s not likely to ever happen, but MAN oh MAN would I love to read a m/m book Kristin would write. It would be HOT with a capital HOT! But – these are wonderful just as they are and I adore the feeling of extended family I get when I dive back into her world. (It helps that I’m from Denver, so I can picture each and every place she describes, just like home ☺ )

One aspect really stands out in this book and that is : family. Family is absolutely what you make of it and it has nothing to do with DNA. Chaos is family and family sticks together through thick and thin. I loved that Carissa didn’t fight that one bit and just seamlessly absorbed the wonderfulness of it for what it is.

I highly recommend this book and this author.

5 of 5 hearts



Forever Promised Audiobook (Promises Book 4) by Amy Lane Narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner Presents


Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon’s world, but nothing ever stays the same.

When Deacon’s best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him—she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.

Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them—everybody is forced to examine the chances they’ve been given and the promises they’ve made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.


It took FOREVER for this to come out as an Audiobook! (Did you see what I did there?) Thank you, thank you, thank you Paul Morey for doing this and to Dreamspinner for finally producing it!

This book nicely joins all three of the previous books for a last(?) look at their lives as couples.

Without giving away too much – Benny wants to give Deacon and Crick a baby to help complete their family. She knows how important children are to Deacon and she knows that with her DNA and Deacon’s she can do the next-best-thing to having Crick and Deacon actually make a baby together. Of course this is FULL of drama and hand-wringing and of course, tears – Amy always makes me cry!

Mickey and Shane are dealing with their own house full of crises. Kimmy and her fertility problems. Two of the girls in Promise house are not getting along – one is Crick’s sister and the other is a sweet girl Martin has eyes for.

Jeffy and Collin are adjusting to married life and making their own decisions about family.

Jon and Amy have their own bomb-shell to drop and it, too, shakes up the Promise-universe.

What I loved about this book was that it didn’t feel like an afterthought. These stories felt like they NEEDED to be told and it was the perfect way to give some of these guys closure.

Now I would absolutely ADORE another book, but barring that kind of miracle, this is a nice way to cap off the drama and leave everyone – more or less – in a really happy place.

As for the narration. Well, you know I just love Paul Morey and his Mickey just makes me so happy! There is a particular moment, when Mickey has gotten some devastating news (it’s and Amy book – of course there’s devastating news!) – and Paul’s voice is so full of emotion and it just feels so damn REAL!

I can’t say enough that the listening to these books makes the amazing stories even that much more amazing and like “being there”.

Though I read them again and again, I also listen to this series again and again because the narration is so strong.

I can’t recommend them enough! 6 of 5 hearts



Reparation in Blood (Partnership in Blood Book 4) by Ariel Tachna

Dreamspinner Presents:


Partnership in Blood Volume 4

The war is at a fever pitch with both sides stretched to the limit, when the dark wizards score a shocking victory and capture Orlando St. Clair. Haggard with worry and grief at the separation from his lover, Alain fears that even if they find Orlando, the vampire’s heart and mind may be far too broken to save.

Knowing the Alliance teeters on the brink, Christophe Lombard, the oldest, most powerful vampire in Paris leaves his self-imposed seclusion to join the fight. Alain’s lost friend Eric Simonet, who betrayed him to join the dark wizards, is faced with a choice between revenge and redemption. And Jean, enraged by Orlando’s capture, faces the most agonizing decision in his unlife as the final battle looms: Will their actions lead to the shattering of the Alliance or the salvation of the world?


This is the finale (sort of) to the Partnership in Blood series. Really, it’s the end of the war, there is still some relationship stuff to be dealt with in 3 more books that follow.
Essentially, we see the various couples moving through their relationships some more. Some more sex. Some more angst. Some more drama.

Orlando goes missing. This is a huge hurdle in this book. It takes a lot of cooperation to get him back.

After the war dies down, the focus is on the couples and what will happen next.

If I could I would tell you to NOT READ THE EPILOGUE. Personally, it really didn’t need to be there and just made me cry and cry. I got kinda mad in fact… I can’t understand why it was necessary, unless it was just one more bit of proof of the devotion between these two characters…

Anyhow, I was glad to see the war finally end and know that in the upcoming books we get to see more of these wonderful characters that Ariel Tachna has done such an amazing job of creating.

If I had to give an overall summary for the series it would be this: If you enjoy very detailed stories, with an abundance of central characters, if you don’t mind f/f and m/f storylines and you don’t mind a good cry, you’ll find this series highly satisfying.

I had to round this book down to 3.5 of 5 hearts for the Epilogue alone. Personal preference. I guess I just enjoy living in ignorance sometimes…



Conflict in Blood (Partnership in Blood Volume 3) by Ariel Tachna

Dreamspinner Presents


Sequel to Covenant in Blood
Partnership in Blood Volume Three

As the Alliance wizard-vampire partnerships grow stronger, the dark wizards feel the effects and become increasingly desperate to find enough information to counter them, unaware of the growing strain of the blood-magic bonds on the wizards and vampires alike.

The conflict is spreading. The strife of uncomfortable relationships, both personal and professional, is threatening to tear up the Alliance from the inside, despite the efforts of Alain Magnier and Orlando St. Clair, Thierry Dumont and Sebastien Noyer, and even Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche, leader of the Paris vampires, who is fighting to establish a stable covenant with his own partner so he might lead by example.

As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.


In this, the third installment of the Partnership series, there is more conflict between the dark wizards and the wizard/vampire alliance.

As in book two the various couples have their own emotional hurdles to overcome and their relationships change and develop.

They develop a new way to counter the magic imbalance – through sex – of course!


This book still has the problem of balancing all the various couples (including m/f!) and the war. There is slightly more relationship building in this book (yay!) and each couple seems to be moving forward nicely, though there isn’t much dramatic change in the way of the war, yet.

Overall a nice, if perhaps overly long, addition to the Partnership series.

If you’ve been caught up in books one and two you will undoubtedly want to keep going…

4 of 5 hearts



Healing Hunter’s Heart (A Little Bite of Love Book 2) by Charlie Cochet

Dreamspinner Presents


Months after being forced to leave his lover and mate Ari Jannsen behind, Hunter Devin settles into his role as Enforcer for the newly formed Deagan Clan under the rule of his new Alpha and best friend Tristan “Trip” Hagan. Along with Hunter’s brother Boone, their nephews, sister, and mother, Hunter finally has the family he’s always wanted, but without his little rebel Ari, his heart is incomplete.

The Hagan Clan is unable to accept the Deagan Clan’s betrayal for walking away and taking the clan’s pups with them. War looms. As both clans plan their attack, a greater enemy plots against them. But Hunter is determined to get his Ari back. Bonds are put to the test and unexpected alliances are made as Hunter and his clan set out to protect their own and end the spreading heartache.


First – you MUST have read book one for this book to mean much to you.

We met Hunter and Ari in An Intrepid Trip To Love, the mates who couldn’t mate because of politics and were then separated by an evil mother and a clan war.

This book is about their back-story and their coming together.


Charlie Cochet has to be one of my favorite authors! She is so witty, so giddy and yet careful with her dialog. I adore her characters and find her creativity astonishing.

I was so glad to see that she didn’t keep Ari and Hunter apart for long in this book and was grateful for the back-story – it was sexy and hilarious at the same time.

The evil in this book is REALLY evil and I am looking forward to seeing more about this clan war and possibly another match with our wolf leader in the future.

PS I loved the Epilogue- Yay Trip and Boone!

5 of 5 hearts



Transparency Audiobook by Ethan Stone and Sara York narrated by John Solo

Troy Daulton Presents


Charlie is the quintessential bear. Big, muscular and hairy. But that isn’t the type of men he’s attracted to. He is drawn to men like Taylor – short, smooth, and sexy. Taylor is Charlie’s idea of the perfect twink. But there’s something about Taylor Charlie doesn’t know.
Taylor is unsure about a lot of things, but when he sees Charlie, he instantly knows he wants him. The only issue standing in his way is how Taylor views his own masculinity. He’s afraid that Charlie will leave once he knows the secret Taylor wants to keep hidden. Can he be transparent with Charlie and allow him to look behind the image he’s so carefully constructed?


Taylor meets Charlie at a glory hole and is afraid to make further contact because he’s been burned in the past by guys who can’t see past his past. Charlie is Taylor’s dream guy, big, hairy, tough… and unlikely to want someone like Taylor. Transgender.

But… Taylor doesn’t know Charlie and when Charlie convinces him to give their relationship a chance, Charlie surprises Taylor with the depth of his heart and his willingness to see past the body to the person underneath.

This is a short story and it maybe would have been better had it been longer. Since it moved so quickly from meet to love to forever it was a bit hard to swallow. I just didn’t fully appreciate that Charlie’s friends would vilify Charlie’s taste in men and Taylor so violently and I would think the whole transgender thing would need more discussion and would have really made for a lovely educational story about the challenges faced by such a romance.

The narrator, John Solo, did a great job and I enjoyed listening to this more than I would have reading it, I am sure.

Overall 3 of 5 hearts for the audiobook.



Deception (Vampires of America book 9) by DB Reynolds

ImaJinn Presents

Deception - 200x300x72Blurb
Book Nine of The Vampires in America Series
Kauai, Hawaii—tropical paradise, vibrant jungle, turquoise sea… and sensuous nights that hide vampires so powerful they can change the world.

Raphael—powerful, extraordinary, arrogant. He’s been eliminating rivals and gathering allies, determined not just to survive, but to demolish the Europeans who think they can steal what he’s worked for centuries to create. In a final bid to avert a war that seems inevitable, Raphael agrees to meet an enemy he knows of old. She is formidable, wily, and not to be trusted. But in his arrogance, Raphael believes he can foil whatever treachery she has brewing.

Cynthia Leighton—Raphael’s human mate, beautiful, smart, and deadly when threatened. She doesn’t trust anyone, much less a powerful vampire claiming to want peace. So while Raphael prepares to negotiate a treaty, Cyn is preparing for the inevitable double-cross that she knows is coming. Raphael worries about saving thousands of vampire lives. She only cares about one, and she will do anything to keep him alive and in her arms.

When Cyn is proven right, when it all falls apart and Raphael’s enemies draw on ancient magic to trap him, taking him away from Cyn and out of the war, it all falls to her—to find Raphael, to save the thousands of vampires who will die if she doesn’t succeed… and to kill every single being, human or vampire, who gets in her way.


This is one of my favorite m/f romance writers and this series is amazing. In a nutshell we have a very, very tough Cyn mated to the uber-alpha Raphael, the most powerful Vampire in American and possibly in America. Throughout the series we have seen Raphael’s enemies fall as his allies have taken over the various parts of North America into Mexico and Canada as leaders, each time finding their own mates, always a powerful woman.

(In one case the woman was the vampire!)

What I love about DB Reynolds is that her women are tough but still feminine and the alphaness of the vampire does not require them to fold and quaver. The sex is really hot (and plentiful!) and the action is always exciting.

Cyn and Raphael have had several novellas and this is their second full length novel. Their relationship is not usually at question, but their safety is always at risk.

In this, the ninth book in the series, Raphael is facing off against the Europeans and has been taken captured by them. Cyn and the remaining vamps have to find him and rescue him and then defeat the evil vamps.

I love that each time Cyn and Raphael come together it’s like they’ve been apart for days. They are always so hot for each other, yet caring.

The final scene is an epic battle and victory for our team… but there’s the hint of the next phase to come…

4 of 5 hearts



Fire Horse (Polo #1) Audiobook by Mickie B Ashling Narrated by Max Lehnen

Dreamspinner Presents

fire horseBlurb

Preston Fawkes is ten the first time he meets fifteen-year-old Konrad Schnell at the San Antonio Polo Club. Captivated by the mystique surrounding the sport of kings, Pres vows to learn the game at the hands of his newly acquired friend and mentor. The hero worship soon grows into something deeper, but the friends are separated when Preston goes off to boarding school in England.

The relationship that follows is riddled with challenges―their age gap, physical distance, and parental pressure taking precedence over feelings yet to be explored. Although their bond goes deep, they deal with the reality of their situation differently: Preston is open and fearless while Konrad is reticent and all too aware of the social implications of making a public stand.

Their paths intersect and twine, binding them as tightly as a cowboy’s lasso, but fate may alter their plans. How will love overcome the divots in the turf as they gallop toward the future—one where obstacles no longer stand in their way?

This book starts with Preston as an injured Polo player being told he should never play again and he’s lucky to be alive. We know he has 2 ex-wives and 2 children, and that Kon is NOT in his life, currently. (This should give you an idea of where things are headed…) Then we get to the flashbacks which take up the bulk of the book.

As a boy of ten Preston meets Konrad, a boy of 15, for the first time and learns from him what it means to be a Polo player. He acts as his groom and Kon mentors him in the sport.

Preston’s hero worship of Kon changes on the night he realizes that Kon is gay and that the feelings in his gut may be more than just friendship. Kon, as he should, rebuffs the now 13 year old’s advances.  He puts him off because a) he’s too young and b) the two are about to be separated by Kon’s joining the American Polo team and Preston’s going overseas to study.  But first the two share a passionate kiss.

Preston meets Ned at Eaton, a boarding school in England. Ned shows Preston how to be properly English and Preston gives Ned Polo lessons. After a while, Ned  becomes Preston’s tutor in gay sex as well as his close friend.

Preston and Ned don’t become boyfriends though, because Preston is saving that for Kon, whom he stays in touch with and occasionally meets.

Finally, when Preston is 17 he and Kon spend a chunk of time together and move their relationship forward, becoming lovers and long-distance boyfriends.

Here is where things go horribly wrong. Their relationship is discovered and Kon is forced to join the military and …. Well if I tell you it’s a big spoiler. Needless to say what happens next keeps Kon and Pres apart until the end of the story and for YEARS.

I really, really wanted to like this. I loved the idea. Polo, young love, age gap, geographical gap… It had a ton of potential.

The pre-eighteen year old sex did not bother me – that’s reality for a lot of people and I thought it was mostly handled well.

What did bother me: Kon never really seemed to love Pres as much as Pres loved him. Kon seemed to lust for Preston, but not love him. Preston was a jerk, and hard to like, so I don’t blame Kon. As an adult, Pres only gets worse.

The plot twists were far too many and too hard to believe. At times it was like a soap opera in the way that the lovers were kept from one another – for YEARS. If we have that much angst I need a huge batch of happy to make up for it and the reunion at the end did NOT make up for all the unhappiness. After all the torment we see our MCs through, they get about one paragraph of happy ending and the “celibacy issue”… I just didn’t buy it at all.

I did not like the on-page sex with people not the MC. That, more than the age thing, did really bother me.

I thought the writing was ok, but I didn’t feel a lot of authenticity from the characters. Preston’s dad was practically bi-polar (smacking Preston around then giving him a new pony.) Preston’s step-dad just going out and renting his 16 year old son porn seemed nuts. Preston’s mom even marrying Preston’s dad didn’t make much sense. Ned – putting up with Preston’s crap for so long.  And there are other areas where it didn’t feel real.

I just couldn’t connect well to either MC very well, thought the plot holes were too big to ignore and found the romance lacking.  If you are a fan of drama, you might like this.  There is a LOT of it.  If you want a tender and satisfying, relationship story, this is not for you.

Max Lehnen is hit or miss for me. I have heard him do some nice narrations, and I have heard him butcher some. In this case he had some tall orders. He had to do a wide range of ages, including aging the MCs from 10 to adult. He had several accents to do, Texan, British, and Preston’s odd British/Texas blend, women, kids, etc. I thought for the most part he did a great job handling such a demanding narration, though some of his accents were definitely better than others.

I give Max Lehnen 4 of hearts and the story 1 of 5 hearts which gives this an average of 2.5 hearts



Fairytales for Modern Queers by Emily Reed

Dreamspinner Presents: tales


Gay teenager Hart could finish his fairy tale for class if his horrible stepsiblings would stop harassing him. Talia’s depression is like a sleeping curse and may kill her if she doesn’t ask for help. Independent, overweight bisexual Sienna deals with her “nice guy” neighbor while visiting her grandmother. When a mysterious girl climbs up Rachael’s fire escape, Rachael might finally break free from her overprotective mother. Transgender Amelia is bullied regularly for her identity, but she’ll show everyone exactly who she is. Princess Rellyn must face down a dragon since she’s seventh in line and battle her father since she’s not a boy, and she’s not sure which one is scarier. An adventurous knight whisks away genderfluid Noll when all they want is a quiet life on their farm. Mermaid Astrid wants revenge on the man who betrayed her, but is confused by her attraction to the one sailor immune to her song. Asexual Myka might love Princess Lysandria, but Myka must learn to control her inner werewolf before the king marries her off to “cure” her. With the help of a witch, blacksmith’s apprentice Malcolm must find his missing prince.

You’ve never heard stories like these at bedtime


These are short – sometimes way too short – little LGBTQ takes on the old fairly tales.  In each there is a character or character that falls into that community who takes on a more modern/unique role.  Each story is a different set of people, using an old fairy tale as a template for a modern story.

The writing is good.  The idea is magnificent.  I really think that for the YA audience these will really ring true and find a home in the heart of the LGBTQ YA community.

However, for me, it felt like just as I was invested in the story – it ended.  So it was a little off-putting and frustrating.  I’d like to see these stories more fleshed out, I definitely think there is more that they have to offer.

I really liked that it wasn’t just gay or trans but a variety of gender roles/sexual orientations.  There really is something for everyone in this anthology.

Overall, I give it high points for the attempt with a little bit taken off for brevity.

If you are a YA fan I’d give this a try, it really is remarkable.

4 of 5 hearts