Moment of Truth (Moments in Time #2) by Karen Stivali

Dreamspinner Presents:

moment truthBlurb

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

We met both Collin and Tanner at school where they went from friends to lovers and Collin faced the monumental task of coming out to his ultra conservative family. Now it’s summer and Collin and Tanner are together for the summer on Fire Island and finally enjoying being an “out and proud” couple. But…

Wendy and Maggie are two women from Tanner’s past that are currently still causing trouble for the couple. And there are yet more women Tanner meets at work that pokes every jealous bone in Collin and makes him feel insecure. Finally, there is a guy at work hitting on Collin and when he makes his move, Tanner is there to witness it.


I really, really like Karen Stivali’s writing. It’s engaging, erotic, and believable. I really like Collin as a character and his relationship with Tanner is both tender and erotic. I was delighted that they boys got to move their relationship further both emotionally and physically and am psyched to see Collin embracing being gay more and more fully.

What I really didn’t like was the teen-agey angst and drama being played out in the beach house. I particularly didn’t like Maggie and Wendy and their contribution to the story.

I know that when a story like this is broken down into parts rather than being served up as an entire novel each “section” has to have it’s own hurdles and problems. What I hope for is that each section will be an evolution in the relationship and not a recurring battle of “will this relationship work?”. I think that Collin’s virginity, his newness to being out, his battle with his conservative up-bringing and his newness to being a “boyfriend” could have provided enough conflict to move the story forward without throwing in a potential relationship-ending episode of almost cheating that we see with Jason.

I was grateful that the episode with Jason is brief and quickly resolved and I sincerely hope the next installment will focus more on making the relationship work rather than questioning whether it should be a relationship at all.

I will definitely read part three as I am totally captivated by their story and I do recommend this book and the series, even though it was painful to see the boys in so much pain.

Writing/Editing 5
Romance 4
Sex/Heat 5
Storyline 3
World Building/Characterizations 5

4.4 of 5 hearts



The Chauffeur (Workplace Encounters #2) by Serena Yates

Dreampsinner Presents


Chauffeur-slash-exotic dancer Kyle and forklift operator Nick connect, but family pressure and unemployment might ruin everything. 2nd Edition A Workplace Encounters Book Scarred former model Kyle Anderson leads a double life. By day, he works as a chauffeur for his uncle’s limousine rental company. Since his wages are too low for him to become financially independent, he works nights as an exotic dancer, donning a mask to hide his identity and the facial scars that got him rejected by his parents. Kyle catches the attention of Nick Giddings, a forklift driver who visits the club to let off steam. Nick is stuck in a low-skilled dead-end job after being kicked out of school for a prank he didn’t commit. The two men immediately connect, but when Nick is laid off and Kyle’s uncle pushes him to date a woman, everything comes crashing down.


Nick sees Kyle dancing and convinces Kyle to go on a “date”. Though they are instantly attracted Kyle feels Nick won’t like him if he knows he’s scarred.

Nick sort of stalks Kyle when he meets him again without the costume, and convinces him his interest is sincere and they begin to date.

Nick is about to lose his factory job, Kyle is worried about coming out to his uncle, and both worry they may end up homeless and jobless soon, but they have each other.


This is the second short story in Serena Yates Workplace series. It has a similar pattern to book one in that these are men who find themselves on hard times and need the support of the other to become better men and have better lives.

If you enjoyed book one you will probably enjoy this as well.

However, I enjoyed book one a bit more than book two because I just didn’t bond as much with either MC in this book and found the ending with the uncle a bit much to take.

I think the writing is good and the smexy times were hot, but I didn’t connect with this story as much as I have in the past with Serena’s books.

Writing/Editing 4
Romance 2
Sex/Heat 4
Storyline 2
World Building/Characterizations 2

2.8 of 5 hearts



Outing the Quarterback Audiobook by Tara Lain Narrated by John-Paul Barrel

Dreamspinner Presents

outing quarter audioBlurb

Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.

In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.

When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.


(This was previously posted for the book.)

Will is in his last year of business school (to satisfy Daddy) playing the straight, star quarterback for SCU. What he really wants is to be a gay painter, but he can’t afford to be honest with either his sexuality or his preferred profession. His goal is to win a scholarship for next year and be honest then.

Noah is an out and proud artist, working 3 jobs to pay tuition, hoping for the same scholarship Will is after because he’s so broke he’s having a hard time paying the bills. In the meantime he’s having an affair with his teacher, who is also a judge for the scholarship.

So… you can guess what happens. Will and Noah meet. They start a relationship. Noah and his professor end their relationship (this isn’t taken well by the prof.). Will gets outed by the media. Noah loses the scholarship (sort of) due to sour grapes. Will and Noah make a go of it and with some razzle dazzle Noah ends up with a scholarship, Will ends up in art school and we get a really lovely HEA.

I’m a huge Tara Lain fan and this book just sort of underwhelmed me. It took several starts for me to finish, I just wasn’t swept overboard by any of the elements. The attraction between Will and Noah wasn’t spectacular. The storyline was predictable, which can be fine if there are other things to hook you in, but I just didn’t feel any zing with this story.

I really liked the secondary characters, Jamal and his sister Ev, and am excited to read Jamal’s story in the next installment, however.

I thought the writing was excellent, it was edited well, and of course I loved the happy ending, but overall, I just wasn’t wowed.


John-Paul Barrel is a new narrator to me. I really appreciated that he tried to differentiate each person with a unique voice. Some of the voices were better than others. I didn’t care much for his intonation and emotionality (acting) and didn’t like his overall “narrator voice” much. For me, unfortunately, it detracted from the overall listening experience.

Writing/Editing 5
Romance 3
Sex/Heat 3
Storyline 3
World Building/Characterizations 4
Audio 2

Overall 3.3 of 5 hearts



Saint Martin’s Day by Kim Fielding

Dreampsinner Presents:

saint martin


Toby follows Neno to Zagreb, Croatia, hoping Saint Martin’s Day will bring the change their relationship needs.

Five years ago, Neno Kovač fled California, graduate school, and his lover, Toby Cowan, to return to his native Croatia. Since then, he’s led a quiet life as a librarian—until one November afternoon when Toby, who has never stopped loving Neno, shows up in Zagreb. When he left the United States, Neno wasn’t ready to give up his home and family to take a chance on a long-distance relationship. But Saint Martin’s Day has arrived, the day pressed grapes turn to wine and autumn turns to winter. Perhaps it will be a day when other changes are possible as well.



We jump into the story right when Toby shows up in Zagreb to surprise Neno. It’s been 5 years since the couple has seen or heard from one another, but neither has lost the love they held.
In order for Neno to be with Toby (back in California where society will accept their relationship) he has to tell his family, agree to leave his childhood home and face the fact that he can’t be who he thinks his mother wants him to be.
Kim Fielding is a wonderful writer and this short holiday story shows the depth of the feelings between the couple as well as their hope for the future. There is a little steam to the story and lots and lots of “feels”.
I especially loved Neno’s family and the sense of being there we get from Neno’s touring Toby around his home.
I really enjoyed this selection from Dreamspinner’s 2014 advent calendar and give it a 4.5 of 5 hearts


Happiness for Beginners Audiobook by Zahra Owens Narrated by Michael Stallman

Dreamspinner Presents:




Jesse harbored a crush on his TV series costar, Kaye, for more than eight years, but when the show was canceled and he realized those years of playing gay hadn’t convinced Kaye to leave the straight and narrow, Jesse turned his back on acting for good. Ten years later, Kaye is back in Jesse’s life, on Christmas Eve – and the eve of his third divorce. Jesse’s not sure his heart can take another beating, but Kaye has a few tricks up his sleeve – and a few truths from his own heart – that might just convince Jesse that the gifts of love and happiness are not just for Christmas.

A novella from the Dreamspinner Press 2011 Advent Calendar package “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”.

 Morgan’s Review

 (Contains spoilers- be warned)

Jesse is an ex-TV star who now runs a travel agency. He is surprised when Kaye, his ex-costar, suddenly turns up on his doorstep after divorce number three. Jesse had a huge crush on Kaye back in the day, especially since they were on on-air gay couple, but Kaye was “straight” and therefore off limits. After the show ended the two never had ANY contact until now, ten years later.

Kaye is depressed. His marriages fail. His most current ex won’t let him see their adopted daughter and he hasn’t actually had sex in 14 years.

What?! 14 years? Yes, that’s what I said.

We find out Kaye’s mother is a psychiatrist who “cures” the gay out of a person and really did a number on Kaye’s sexual identity. Now, he wants to “experiment” to find his true sexuality. With Jesse. Jesse agrees. They embark on some hot make-out sessions and it seems pretty clear that Kaye is in fact, gay.

Then, suddenly, Kaye is packing to go back to LA. He accepted a part out there and has to leave. Does he discuss this with Jesse? Nope. Just begins packing.

Jesse is pissed and rightfully so. He throws Kaye out and cries himself to sleep.

But Kaye doesn’t actually leave. He misses his plane and returns to Jesse, heart in hand, asking to start a don’t-ask-don’t-tell relationship with him and Jesse agrees.

The End.


This entire story made me so frustrated!

The beginning was a slow lead up to what was looking like a GFY/OFY. I figured that Kaye was deluding himself for some reason, and when it was revealed what his mom did for a living I thought that was a nice, unique twist. I appreciated the slow build up and was excited when the couple started talking and “experimenting”.

Then, when Kaye left I was mad, but hey, he came back. But then he makes this ridiculous proposal of “we’ll be a couple but won’t tell anyone” and Jesse agrees even though he’s said over and over that he won’t go back in the closet… and they live on opposite coasts… and really? Fourteen years with no sex?? Kaye obviously has a bunch of issues he needs to work through.

I thought it was ridiculous. Jesse was way too easy on Kaye and I was left thinking there is no way this couple makes it. Kaye is far from actually accepting who he is and Jesse is not doing anything to protect himself. I never got to the point where I actually liked Kaye and as a result, I didn’t feel good about Jesse and his door-mat acceptance of Kaye’s crap.

Sure, we can interpret that this is the beginning of the story, and hope the boys figure things out. However, I was not left feeling that this was a reliable HEA or even HFN. Therefore, the name “Happiness for Beginners” feels like a misnomer because nobody seemed very happy to me, even at the end.

I give the story a 2 of 5 hearts because the writing was fine and the story had potential.


Michael did a nice job with the narration. There wasn’t a lot of “acting” but the sound quality was good and his voice allows you to be absorbed in the story. I give the narration a 4 of 5 hearts.

Overall… well I wouldn’t recommend either the audio version or the book version but I’d give it a 3 of 5 just because it did stir up my emotions and that is saying something.