Crime

The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon

mr-riversRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 September 13, 2016
Length: 
214 pages  
Publisher: 
Loveswept

As the son of an international crime lord, Will Rivers only inherited one thing after his father died: trouble. The Pentasus organization deals in kidnapping and murder, and Will wants no part of the power grab that’s tearing leadership apart. But the only way he’ll be able to escape is with some help from his former bodyguard, Hunter Cain, whose sculpted body and brooding looks keep Will awake at night. Somehow, Hunter has resisted the tension between them . . . until, suddenly, he gives in.

As a German intelligence officer working deep undercover, Hunter has a very good reason to keep Will in the dark about his identity and his intentions. Although the sex is hot, Hunter’s true feelings are a growing liability. Now the only way to save Will from his old life is to push him deeper into danger. But when two strong men are each determined to protect the other, the heat isn’t just combustible—it’s a firestorm.

My View: The Talented Mr. Rivers is interesting, and it works as a stand-alone. I didn’t read Mr. & Mr. Smith, but it’s not necessary unless you want to know how a pair of secondary characters got together. The only reason I see it can be a problem is if you needed more information to get the opening scene from this book into context.

I liked the ideas behind this story. I just didn’t love them. The main character’s relationship is a good mix of smexy and sweet, and we get to experience it with them. Their possessiveness is sexy without turning into Alpha nonsense. The reader can see their attraction and how they friendship is the foundation of their HEA.

One thing that bothered me was the lack of setting and character development. We know they’re in Paris, that Will is British, and Hunter German, but there’s nothing that pointed to it other than Will affinity for tea. I needed a little more to get invested in them.

What I liked the most: Will’s personality.

I wanted more/less: More of a setting and tridimensional characters.

Who should read it: Fans of mobsters and crime stories.

ARC provided by Loveswept, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

High Contrast by Tess Bowery

High ContrastRate: 3.25 stars
Genre: Contemporary
Publication day: May 3, 2016
Length:  226 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing 

The deepest scars aren’t the ones that show.

Jacob Shain is your average member of Generation Screwed. He has a boring internship, no cash flow, and a tiny NYC apartment he has to share with Ethan, his much-cooler, tattoo-artist twin brother. Not to mention his love life is DOA. At least, until his brother’s shop hires on a new piercer, and Jacob’s humdrum life takes a turn for the weird.

Cody Turner is gorgeous, funny and kind—everything Jacob wants in a boyfriend. Except for the way he refuses to talk about his past, or where he lives, or anything about his personal life.

When Ethan is arrested while on a mission of mercy, the reason Cody is so tight lipped comes to light. And while Jacob and Cody fight to understand the depth of their feelings for one another, the police dogs catch their scent. So does the local mob.

Now Jacob has to make the hardest choice of his life: stay safe like a good boy, or dive headfirst into a world he barely understands…and hope Cody is there to break his fall.

My View: This was my first book by Tess Bowery, and I enjoyed the writing style and the characterization, not only of the MC but the rest of the characters. Everyone involved had a reason to take part of the story, and their background added to it. The pace flowed, and the situations were interesting enough to keep me reading.

One thing I like about contemporary fiction is the opportunity to mix real and unbelievable events. This story started strong, and I had high hopes for it, but near the ending, the unrealistic events took over. They were too many to ignore and too cheesy to keep me invested in the overall story.

The main characters were great together and their relationship lovely. I love how protective Jacob was of Cody and how sweet their interactions were. Their times together were smexy and their nerd moments amusing. Also, Ethan seemed to be the perfect complement for Jacob.

Overall, High Contrast is entertaining enough if you don’t mind suspending your beliefs for a while. The ending was too cliché, but it worked with the rest of the story. The book is unconventional but engaging enough to want more from it. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

What I liked the most: The friendship between the shop’s crew.

I wanted more: Angst.

Who should read it: Fans of new adult stories.

ARC provided by Samhain Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

Promises Part 2 by A.E. Via

Promises Part 2Rate: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary
Publication day: March 20, 2016
Length:  290 pages
Publisher: Via Star Wings Books

Roman “Quick” Webb is one badass bounty hunter on the crime-filled streets of Atlanta. He’s fearless when it comes to carrying out his dangerous job alongside his longtime best friend and business partner, Duke. However, there is one thing that has begun to cause Quick concern and it’s the dreadful thought of living out the rest of his life alone. Seeing his best friend and his son fall in love and sharing the special connection that only true soulmates can, has made him all the more aware of what’s lacking in his life.

Love.

Dr. Cayson Chauncey has been wildly attracted to the big, tattooed hunter for almost a year, ever since he performed the surgery that saved Quick’s best friend’s life. Cayson must’ve mistaken Quick’s gratitude for something more, because the one time he tried to make his desires known, he was harshly rebuffed and left on the man’s doorstep feeling stupid for hitting on an obviously very straight man.

Cayson never dated a man who was willing to come out of hiding and be with him. Now at almost forty, Cayson is intent on no longer being anyone’s dirty secret. Having experienced countless disappointments, and having taken a stand not to fall for any more tricks, Cayson is more than a little skeptical when Quick comes around asking for a second chance to prove himself. The gorgeous man had already made it clear that he was not interested in Cayson… or so he’d thought.

Dr. Chauncey stirred up Quick’s suppressed, most carnal desires from a place deep down inside of him. He’d reacted so badly the first time that now his sexy surgeon wanted nothing to do with him. It was going to take a fair amount of patience and a whole lot of wooing involved as Quick sets out to convince Cayson that he’s worth another chance and that he is the brave lover who Cayson has been looking for.

With a scorned ex and a very dangerous job thrown into the mix, Cayson’s happiness and all of Quick’s promises may not be as easy to keep as they’d hoped.

My View: Promises Part 2 is better than the first book. Perhaps, because we are familiar with the characters and with the exception of one chapter, we don’t get unnecessary POV shifts. Quick’s and Cayson’s personalities are distinctive enough for the first person narrative to work well.

The relationship between the MCs starts with a tentative truce and a slow burn. In the previous book, we get to see how Quick dismisses the doctor and how Cayson finds himself humiliated by it. We also get a peek into Cayson’s toxic relationship with Dr. Joe.

When this story starts, Quick is ready to embrace, not only his bisexuality but his attraction to Cayson. Cayson in the other hand doesn’t believe in Quick’s interest and thinks he’s only trying to play with the gay guy to humiliate him.

It takes time and several dates, for the MCs to get comfortable together. Plus, some poking from Duke and Vaugh. When they decided to start dating, they go all in even when the threat of Dr. Joe, Cayson’s scorned ex is present.

There’s action, love, and much more in this installment. The angst level is minimal even when they are dealing with the jealous ex. The smexy scenes are well balanced with the everyday events, and we can enjoy the novelty of their sexual exploration too.

The author did an excellent job incorporating the characters from the previous story into this book, and the guys from the crossover series, Nothing Special, as well. We get to see their loyalty and the family they represent. And we got a little hint of a possible couple. I hope I’m right in my assumption. Ford needs a little something for taking care of his brother.

What I liked the most: How comfortable Quick was with his sexuality.

I wanted more of: The main reason behind Quick’s rage.

Who should read it: Any fan of Law Enforcement stories.

ARC provided by the author as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Don’t Buy My Love Program.

Love the Sinner by Avril Ashton

Love the SinnerRate: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary, Law Enforcement
Length: 229 pages
Published: May 9, 2012
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

Detective Gabriel Ashby has never looked twice at another man, yet the criminal across from him, the man he’s interrogating, isn’t like any other. Gabe can’t deal with the sudden, intense need he has for one of NYPD’s Most Wanted. Everyone close to Angelo Pagan ends up dead, with the smug gang leader standing amid the rubble. Gabe would love nothing more than to bust Angelo’s ass and lock him up. So why is he seeing the bastard in his dreams at night?

Angelo Pagan knows attraction to Gabe is suicide. He’s resolute to ignore the chemistry…until a police raid goes wrong. He critically injures Gabe, changing the trajectory of both their lives. Now the two can’t get close enough. They settle into a forbidden affair threatened by lies and betrayal, living on different sides of the law with no way of breaching the gap between them. With the authorities looking to make an example of Angelo, Gabe has to decide if it’s really worth it to hate the sin but love the sinner.

I read the Run this Town series first, and now I’m moving back to the very beginning with the Brooklyn Sinners. Both series are stand-alone, but all the characters are interconnected. Plus, I’m getting ready to read all the books in-between the two and the ones connecting them to the new series, Loose Ends.

My View: This story is another example of the author’s ability to create characters that steal the reader’s heart. We get happy and suffer with them, for them, without exception.

My main complaint is about the beginning of the story. When the MCs met for the first time, the reader had to assume they knew each other, but then we find out that was their first time talking to each other. Everything they know comes from Angelo’s record and any information he gathers about Gabe. After that, the reader just had to suspend their beliefs about attraction and rights and wrongs. Some areas were a little slow and others too fast, but in the end, a good balance was achieved.

I like this book, and it works well as the first in the series, setting the main couple and the rest of the characters. From the very beginning, I wanted to know more about Pablo, Kane, and Syren. And at some points, it distracted it me from Angelo’s and Gabe’s story. But overall, still another great story by this author.

What I liked the most: The sex scenes, obviously : -D Actually, the depth of the MCs feelings for each other.

I wanted more of: Nothing, really.

Who should read it: Fans of law enforcement stories.

Mine by Mary Calmes (Audiobook)

MIneRate: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary
Length: 7 hours and 8 minutes
Narrator: Caleb Dickinson
Published: November 24, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Trevan Bean has a job that’s going from illegal to frightening, a boyfriend who may not be in his right mind, and a guardian angel who might actually be evil incarnate. Add to that the reappearance of his boyfriend’s estranged family, death threats, kidnapping, and the struggle of saving money to realize a dream, and Trevan has a lot on his plate. But Trevan is up to the challenge: he promised Landry a happily ever after, and Landry’s going to have it if it kills him!

It just might.

Landry Carter was a broken doll when they met two years ago but has grown into a partner who can stand at Trevan’s side… most of the time. Now that Trevan’s life just got scary—and Landry just got himself kidnapped—Trevan has to hope Landry’s love stays strong through this newest challenge, because the happily ever after won’t happen if Trevan has to go it alone.

My View: I really liked this story. The relationship between Landry and Trevon extended beyond a simple power exchange. They were everything for each other, and they were willing to do anything for each other. They had a real partnership, and their lives merged in a simple, everyday relationship.

Landy was a handful, and probably, as mentioned in the story, was in need of counseling to bring their relationship to a calmer routine. They needed each other, but in the end, we get so see Landry’s strength and how much Trevon had helped him during their time together.

I expected the story’s conflict to be related to Trevon’s lifestyle and not Landry’s. Their time apart after the trip to Las Vegas felt rushed and lacking a real reason. After everything was done, I expected the real story to start, but the book simply ended. I hope the author decides to bring this couple back, or at least, bring others stories. Perhaps Conrad’s or Chris’s.

Narrator: This is the first story I heard narrated by Caleb Dickinson. I enjoyed the different voices and how he delivered his performance. His narration deserved a 5 stars rating.

What I liked the most: The power exchange relationship between the MCs. And how Landry tried to keep his independence.

I wanted more of: A story. I was waiting for more to happen on Trevon’s side of the story.

Who should read it: Any fan of Mary Calmes.