“Mini” Reviews #5

I haven’t done Mini Reviews in a while (or in forever), so here we go. Be aware, that most of them received a poor rating. I’m in a bad book place at the moment.
Neil by Sybil Bartel (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

This is the first book by Sybil Bartel that I read and it might also be the last one.
I didn’t like this book mainly because of Neil, the one whose name is in the title, so he should be likeable, don’t you think? At least after a while, right?

4% in and I already sided with one other review I read about this book, and that review said: Neil is a dick, jerk and so on. I agree wholeheartedly. I would like it just quote the whole review and be done with writing mine, but I won’t do that. There were some moments where I thought he would redeem himself but the next sentence he was back to his asshole-ish behaviour. So no. No redemption for Neil.

The writing style of the book overall was really good, which is maybe the only reason I finished this book, but the characters, not only Neil, killed the book for me.

Rating: 2,25 stars


The Little Library by Kim Fielding (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

I would love to say that I was impressed by this, but the truth is I was kinda bored. I started this book of with “uh, this is a cool idea and the writing style is not bad”, but over the course of the book I found myself drifting to other, more interesting books.

I just was not invested in Simon and Elliot’s relationship and to be totally honest Elliot was pretty annoying from time to time.

That I didn’t like this, doesn’t mean that you won’t like it, but sadly this book was one of the rare m/m books that didn’t do it for me even though the premise sounded promising.

Rating: 2 stars


For Real by Alexis Hall

Caution, this is a bit of a rant. LOL.

I read an ARC prior to For Real that also featured an age-gap between the two characters. That ARC I liked a lot more than For Real. In fact I didn’t like For Real at all. I won’t even put this one in one of my folders on my Kindle. No, it will go straight back into my archives for when I ever feel the need to download it again, which I’m pretty sure won’t happen. Ever.

Here are the things that especially didn’t work for me, overall the whole book didn’t work for me though:
1) the whole relationship between Toby and Laurence. I didn’t mind the age-gap, really. What I do mind is chemistry. There wasn’t one ounce of chemistry between these two. Seriously. No sparks. Nothing. Also the relationship was for a better part of the book totally one-sided. This didn’t even feel like a relationship. Poor Toby. Relating that, to be blunt: Laurence was an ass and I did not like him. Not in the beginning of the book, not in the middle or at the end. Just didn’t like him.

2) the BDSM part. I’m not a big fan of BDSM, that I will honestly admit, but still I’ve read better books about it. Here all the lines between sub and dom were smeared and I just didn’t understand their dynamics.

3) the narration. The whole writing style felt kinda off for me. The only good thing is that I could really good distinguish which characters POV I was currently reading. That is like the only positive thing I have to say about this book. And that it didn’t play in America, but in the UK. That’s another teeny tiny good thing.

Quite frankly I don’t get all this love for this book. Lots and lots of people have recommended this to me and lot and lots of people on Goodreads love this so I thought “if so many like it, it has to be good, right?”. Nope. Not for me. I’m still not really sure how I even finished this or why for that matter.

I’m not sure I will pick up another book by Alexis Hall. Probably not. I know I’m probably one of the very few people that did not like this book, or maybe I’m just one of the few that chose to review it, but that’s life. Don’t hate me for my opinion.

Rating: 1,5 stars


Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

This was really cute and at the same time I had tears in my eyes a few times. Highly recommend it, but be aware that both of the characters deal with a lot of grief, so if that’s not your piece of cake and you want something more fun and lighthearted, this is not it.

Rating: 4 stars

 

 


Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker

I think this is the first M/M Paranormal Romance book I ever liked. It’s different from the others I’ve read and wanted to throw at the wall.
Some things were stupid, some repetitive, the whole fated-thing I kind of hate in other books, but since it’s still kind of a slowburner here, I’m ok with that. Overall I liked this book.

Rating: 3,5 stars 

 


I’m better on writing mini reviews on Goodreads, so follow or friend me there, if you want to keep up with what I’m reading: >> My Goodreads profile <<

[Review] Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

About the book

Awaken the Darkness
(Immortal Guardians #8)
by Dianne Duvall

ebook
Publication Date: July 10th 2018

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

review

Awaken the Darkness is the eighth book of the Immortal Guardians series – which is one of my favourite series by the way. Originally is was supposed to be a novella, but since Dianne Duvall is now a self-publishing author (good for you, Dianne!) it magically ended up being much longer *cough* 400 pages *cough* and I’m absolutely not mad about it. The only way you feel that this was supposed to be a novella is in the way that not as many side characters as in the other books are present and we don’t have the Gershom story arc. Apart from that you really can’t feel that this was supposed to be much shorter.

I really loved the story of Stan and Susan. Stan was the perfect gentleman even though he was riddled with wounds (where do I find such specimen for myself?) and Susan was awesome, just as awesome as all the other female characters Dianne Duvall creates.

The whole story was fun and I loved the scene when Stan was finally reunited with his Immortal Guardian bethrens.

You know one thing I would like to see in the Immortal Guardians world? Even though it will probably never happen, like never never… I would love to see an M/M story, preferably between David and Darnell, but that’s probably just my M/M infested brain talking. LOL. I would buy the shit up of it though, just saying 😉 I love me some friends-to-lover M/M story. Hint, hint, Dianne.

Anyway, where was I? Right, Awaken the Darkness. Buy it, read it, love it! That’s my advice for you.

And if you haven’t started this series yet, start at the beginning, it’s awesome, trust me.

Also I absolutely can’t wait for Seth’s book, which is set to come out in 2019. The only thing I hope about this book is that he doesn’t end up with a reincarnated version of his wife, I don’t like the whole reincarnation theme. Let him end up with someone totally new, but we will see what Dianne Duvall has in store for us. Now if only I could muster some patience, it truly was never my strong suit.

It’s not 2019 yet, right? Damn…

Rating: 4,75 stars

[Release Blast] Awaken The Darkness by Dianne Duvall

 


Awaken the Darkness 
(Immortal Guardians #8)
by Dianne Duvall 
Kindle Edition, 414 pages
Publication: July 10th 2018 by Dianne Duvall

Return to the “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.  

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

 

 

 

 

 Don’t miss a heart-pounding moment of Dianne Duvall’s “utterly addictive” Immortal Guardians series!

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne’s books “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly), “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “extraordinary” (Long and Short Reviews), and”wonderfully imaginative” (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.
Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn’t writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books.
For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .

 

(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card
(1) $25 Amazon Gift Card
(1) Immortal Guardians Prize pack

Continue reading

[Blog Tour] Awaken The Darkness by Dianne Duvall ~ Excerpt

 


Awaken the Darkness 
(Immortal Guardians #8)
by Dianne Duvall 
Kindle Edition, 414 pages
Publication: July 10th 2018 by Dianne Duvall

Return to the “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.  

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

EXCERPT

She returned her gaze to the dirt. What was down there?

Curiosity seized Susan once more. Jax, too.

As the beagle jumped down into the hole, she reached for the shovel.

A deep voice, full of pain and carrying a… Russian?… accent, filled her head. Careful. Please.

It should concern her. Should actually send her fleeing up the stairs and out of the house. But it didn’t. She had to know what was down there. The curiosity was killing her!

Gingerly, she poked at the dirt with the shovel.

Jax’s claws caught in something just under the surface.

Kneeling, Susan set the shovel aside and reached out to explore Jax’s find.

Something rubbery, with a texture similar to a car tire. Weird.

But very intriguing.

Forgoing the shovel, she shooed Jax back and began to scoop the dirt away with her hands. More rubber. Rounded. Sliced and torn in places. Definitely not a tire. It was more like a rubber cover encasing something solid that gave a little when she tested it. Some of the dirt she scraped away from it was rust colored.

Her heart leapt as her fingers brushed something different. Something harder. She could feel the outline of it beneath the loosened soil and—

Oh sh**.” It was a man’s boot.

Keep going, that mysterious voice whispered. Don’t stop.

It compelled her as much as the curiosity riding her did.

Why the hell am I doing this, Jax?” she murmured, uncovering another boot beneath the first.

Jax leapt out of the hole.

Great,” she muttered. “You started this. Now you’re going to abandon me?”

But he didn’t. The faithful beagle stood above her, tail wagging wildly, making happy little whining sounds as he watched her.

Susan continued to scoop dirt away.

Legs came into view. The odd rubber that encased them looked as though someone had peppered it with buckshot or something. Lots of ragged tears and holes she couldn’t see into for the dirt that had settled in them.

Then a hip. A man lying on his side?

Fear struck, almost instantly obliterated by that strange calm and inexplicably intense curiosity.

Mannequin, the voice whispered in her head.

Doubt rose, again vanishing as eagerness replaced it. She had to see what else the dirt concealed.

A narrow waist. An arm drawn up over a head, concealing a face.

Please let this be a mannequin or some bizarre art project abandoned by the previous owner,” she murmured.

Why the hell was she even still digging? Why was common freaking sense not kicking curiosity’s ass and hightailing her out of there?

Because you have to know, that deep voice murmured. You need to know.

I do,” she agreed. “I need to know.”

Her fingers tangled in soft hair.

She stilled, rubbing the short dusty tresses between her fingers until the midnight color was revealed. Flying into motion, she brushed dirt away from the head those soft strands hid. Careful, but urgent, her heart slamming against her ribs.

Breathing heavily, she sat back on her heels and stared down with utter amazement at the treasure she had uncovered.

A man—a very tall man—lay curled on his left side, facing her, his right arm drawn up over his face, a large hand sporting numerous lacerations shielding his head.

He was thin. So thin as to be almost skeletal. But his skin…

It didn’t look leathery or decayed or mummified.

Nor did it appear to be plastic. This was no mannequin.

So why wasn’t she afraid? She should be very afraid. She should be shaking in her proverbial boots right now.

Cautiously, she grasped his wrist and lifted the arm a couple of inches, slowly drawing it down away from his face.

Oh no,” she breathed. Lowering his arm to his side, she leaned in close and brushed his dark hair back from his dusty face. “What did they do to you?” she whispered.

He was handsome… or would’ve been were it not for the wounds that scored his compelling features. His eyes were closed, his brow furrowed as though he still suffered. His ears had bled, as had his nose. His cheeks, coated with perhaps a week’s worth of dark stubble, were sunken and marred by so many deep gashes and scratches. What had happened to him?

Tears welled in her eyes.

How long had he been buried there? She glanced down his long length. And how had he remained so well preserved? As though he had just lain down and breathed his last breath five minutes ago?

She returned her attention to his face, drew her fingers across his forehead, carefully avoiding the jagged line carved into it.

His skin was gritty from the dirt. Cool to the touch.

She shook her head. “What did they do to you?” she whispered again.

One of his eyelids lifted.

She sucked in a breath.

His brown eye blinked, then focused on her.

Amber light flashed in it.

The fear that she should have been feeling all this time now struck with a vengeance.

Her heart doing its damnedest to burst from her chest, she yanked her fingers back and tried to scoot away.

His hand shot out and clamped around her wrist, preventing her from withdrawing.

Oh sh**!” she cried, struggling to free herself from his hold while Jax began to bark.

 Don’t miss a heart-pounding moment of Dianne Duvall’s “utterly addictive” Immortal Guardians series!

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne’s books “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly), “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “extraordinary” (Long and Short Reviews), and”wonderfully imaginative” (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.
Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn’t writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books.
For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .

 

(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card
(1) $25 Amazon Gift Card
(1) Immortal Guardians Prize pack

Continue reading

[Release Blast] Play It By Ear by K.M. Neuhold

 Play it by Ear RDB Banner

PLAY IT BY EAR

REPLAY SERIES, BOOK 2

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.02.18

Play it by Ear Cover 

BLURB

Lando

My muse is gone, and I haven’t written a word of music in over a year. Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is Dawson. Nine years ago, just before Downward Spiral’s first major tour, I met my soulmate and then I walked away. Now that I’ve finally tracked him down again, things have changed. I’ll have to make him fall for me all over again. But is it possible I put our single weekend together on a pedestal or could Dawson really be The One?

Dawson

A traumatic brain injury nine years ago left me deaf and with spotty memory of the first twenty years of my life. When one of the biggest rock stars in the world shows up and seems to know me, I’m not sure what to believe. Is it possible he’s telling the truth when he says he’s been in love with me for nine years, even if I can’t remember ever meeting him?

***Play it by Ear is the second book in the Replay series. Each book in the series will focus on a different band member getting a second chance at love. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.

PibE live banner

PibE teaser 1A

EXCERPT

The blank pages taunt me cruelly. No matter how many times I put the tip of my pencil to the paper, it remains blank. Have you ever felt like your entire life depended on your ability to do something that you suddenly couldn’t do? Not that I’m going to die if I can’t write. But if I can’t do this, the band will be dead, and I might as well die along with it.

“Just write,” I command myself, putting the tip of the pencil to the paper once more. “It can’t be that difficult. You’ve written three dozen songs, if not more. Just put one word in front of the other until you have enough words to fill three minutes or so.”

I drill the tip of the pencil into the paper, but still no words come.

“Goddammit,” I roar, snapping the pencil in my fist and throwing the pieces to the ground. “Dammit, dammit, dammit.”

A familiar resentment simmers in my chest. If Lincoln wasn’t such a mess, I wouldn’t be in this position. When we signed our first contract with Epic Records a decade ago, Lincoln and I agreed we’d share the responsibility of writing music. How many songs has Lincoln written? Two. Two fucking songs in ten years while I sit here with an ulcer over needing to get a whole album written in the next few weeks.

“Fuck you, Lincoln, and fuck me, too,” I mutter, heaving myself off the couch and heading to my kitchen to grab another beer.

How’s this for the wild Friday night in a rock star’s life? Drinking beer and berating myself in my deathly quiet penthouse.

I wander over to the window that takes up the entire east wall. City lights twinkle like stars all around, but when I tilt my head to see the actual stars, there’s nothing but hazy light polluting the sky.

I lift the bottle of beer to my lips and gulp down half of it in one go. None of this was how it was supposed to be. When we started this band, we were nothing more than best friends sharing a love of music. When we were signed by Epic, we were all so sure this was going to change our lives. We weren’t wrong. A decade later we have seven albums, three of which went platinum, we’re a household name, our songs—my songs—are on every radio station. We’re living the dream. So why does it feel so empty?

I rest my palm against the frigid glass of the window and wonder for the millionth time what the point of all this is.

The shrill sound of my phone ringing makes me jump. I reach into my pocket and see Archer’s name on the screen. There’s only one reason our band manager would be calling me after midnight on a random Friday.

“Is he okay?” I ask as soon as I answer. My voice sounds flat to my own ears, and I wonder if Archer notices it. I feel wrung out physically and emotionally. I’m a battery with only ten percent life left and no charger in sight.

“He’s in the hospital,” Archer replies, sounding just as exhausted as I am.

“How bad is it?”

“Not sure yet. They’re pumping his stomach. It looks like he drank a liter of whiskey. I found him asleep on his balcony, damn near frozen.”

“On his balcony?” I put my hand back on the freezing glass and shiver. “It’s like twelve degrees outside.”

“Yeah,” Archer agrees.

“What do you need me to do?”

“Nothing tonight. I just wanted to let you know, and I was hoping I could swing by to talk after he’s out of the hospital. Maybe tomorrow evening?”

“Yeah, any time,” I agree. “Do you want me to call Benji and Jude?”

“It’s okay; I need something to do to distract myself while I wait. Thanks though.”

“No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I hang up and gulp down the rest of my beer. Sometimes it feels like these aren’t the lives we were meant to live. We all got off track somewhere. I can pinpoint exactly where my life split into a before and after. I’ve written a dozen songs about him. I’ve stayed up nights thinking about him. I’ve gotten drunk and cried over him. I hardly know him, but in nine years, I haven’t been able to shake him. What I wouldn’t give to go back and do something differently. Maybe I’d never leave him. Maybe I’d beg him to come with me. I don’t know what I’d do, but it wouldn’t be this.

I toss the empty bottle in the recycling and amble to my bedroom, stripping out of my clothes as I go. Maybe I’ll dream some damn lyrics and save my own ass. More likely I’ll dream of him.

KM Neuhold Logo 2

I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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