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The Mastermind by Dylan Allen A 1001 Dark Nights Novella

The Mastermind by Dylan Allen

The Mastermind by Dylan Allen in in the author’s Rivers Wilde World. You can read The Mastermind as a stand alone.

Ok, honestly, Dylan Allen in the best at writing emotional dialogue with mature characters. I love how dialogue is constructed in Dylan Allen’s books. It’s so careful and thoughtfully written and it just takes you right into the story.

Our main characters are Omar and Jules. Omar is a retired professional football (soccer) player turned businessman. He was based in the UK for much of hisfootball career, but moved to LA at the end of his career to play soccer there. He carries quite a bit of responsibility related to his family, mainly his Dad and sister as he bears the burden of supporting them financially. After a falling out with his father, Omar returns to London.

Jules lives in London and is a strong woman. At the beginning of this book, she has completed law school and been called to the Bar and starts her pupillage. She also works as a bartender. She’s a survivor and I won’t share to much of her story here to avoid spoilers.

Omar is a little gruff and grumpy but he’s the connsumate care taker of those he loves. When he meets Jules, he’s immediately tied to her and likewise for Jules. I really love Omar. He’s really good, mature man.

This story is an emotional roller coaster with many beautiful and unexpected highs and lows.

5 stars for this beauty, and I can not wait for what Dylan Allen has for us next!

ARC provided by the author, and this is my honest review.

The Shell and The Octopus by Rebecca Stirling

The Shell and the Octopus was unexpected. I went into this book blind because I enjoy memoirs when I know none of the details about the author or the author’s story. I knew the basic premise of The Shell and the Octopus.

The Shell and the Octopus was a story of Rebecca Stirling’s unconventional childhood growing up on her Dad’s boat with her sibling but also during her parents turbulent marriage. Eventually the marriage is over and Rebecca stays with her father on the boat as a first mate of sorts. This book leads us into Rebecca’s adulthood as well.

This memoir has a fluid timeline, so it does move around a bit as you are reading. The story exams a lot of things that include women’s perceived abilities in sailing, Rebecca’s desire for a life away from the water and her eventual return to the water and everything that makes up a life in between.

This is a wonderful memoir and takes you all over the world as well as examining complicated relationships within a family.

I gave this book 4 stars; it’s written well and the story is engrossing.

ARC provided by She Writes Press.

You & Me by Tal Bauer

Click to go to Amazon

To celebrate Pride month, my book club read You & Me by Tal Bauer. This is a story that includes MM, friends to lovers, bi-awakening, single fathers and written in own voices.

This story is told entirely in first person POV and it’s perfect. I will be honest and say that I normally struggle with 1st person POV, but this book is so masterfully written that all if the emotions come through.

Our two main characters are Landon Larson and Luke Hale. The story is told from Luke’s point of view. Landon and Luke meet at a high school football practice as they are fathers to two boys who are stars on the varsity football team.

There are some very real emotions in the story and you get invested in the story. Ultimately, this is as much a story about fathers and sons as it is about finding true love.

Luke is very lonely at the beginning of this story and he’s hurting and a bit stuck. He and his son Emmet are in a bad place. It’s heart wrenching and it got me as the parent of a 15 year old boy; yes, I shed some tears and wished I could give Luke a big hug. Landon is big as life, he’s an amazing guy, very successful in life but has an interesting religious back story.

Overall, this is a story you’ll want to read over and over, it’s a comfort read in so many ways but also a journey of self discovery and starting over. I’ll never be over them, this story is written with so much depth, you’ll be a little sad when it’s over. I am reading this author’s latest release and will be working on his back list all summer.

This is 5 trillion star book, and I give it the highest recommendation; seriously, move Me & You to the top of your TBR!

You & Me is available in KU on Amazon.

Review of Only a Crush by Delancey Stewart

Only a Crush, Book 2 of the Kasper Ridge Series by Delancey Stewart brings the steam with “Monroe” and Mateo. Mateo is a single Dad to an adorable 7 year old girl. He’s part of the contractor team who is working on a ski resort that was left to a pair of siblings by their very eclectic uncle.

This book has a snowed in situation which I love! It takes place in Colorado and Mateo and Monroe hike up to remote cabins on the resort property to assess them, but, a sudden snowstorm happens and they have to buckle down in the cabin for a few days. Sparks fly and they admit their mutual attraction, but once the storm is over and they return to normal life again, will they be able to overcome their pasts? This was a 5 star read for me and I highly recommend this book.

Only a Crush is available on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Google Books and iBooks.

Rival Radio by Kathryn Nolan

  • Rival Radio by Kathryn Nolan
  • Trope: E2L
  • Triggers: left at the alter/childhood emotional abandonment-all mentioned as back stories.

Just buy the book! But seriously, we’ve all been through a lot in the past couple of years and we sometimes need a hug! Rival Radio is that hug! Yes, it’s E2L, yes, Daria and Dr. Theo Chadwick are in two different camps about love but we are all evolving and learning and smudging the edges as we go because we can commit to one another by listening and with understanding comes respect and love. That’s what this story is about.

There are public platforms both Theo and Daria stand and they are different and opposite platforms. They hold assumptions about each other and there is a lot of verbal sparring, but when they are asked to combine their separate radio shows into one, it’s a rough start, but they learn more about each other and there’s undeniable love that stemmed from attraction on DAY 1.

What I can say is this author’s writing is transparent and really beautiful. It throws a little light on social issues as well as including characters you’ll find in any community and it’s written naturally in a very organic way that makes sense for the story.

This was a 5 star read, so grab it and enjoy!

Book Fundraiser for Mental Health Awareness Month

💚¸.•*¨Grab a Great Read to Benefit a Great Cause .•*¨*💚

Welcome the 𝟭𝟬𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗠𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗿 benefiting the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where for the 10th year, an amazing group of authors have generously agreed to donate a portion of their May sales to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund.

Here’s how you can help raise money and awareness for mental health:

Purchase a book from the amazing books listed here:

https://bit.ly/3FfASOR

We hope you will #1click4charity a number of these amazing books!

Please note that the portion of sales is from any platform: digital, print and audio.

If you have read one of the wonderful stories included, gift a copy to a friend who might love it!

Thank you so much for helping support mental health awareness.

Review of One More Day by Auryn Hadley, narrated by Mercedes Michelle

  • 4 Stars
  • Stand alone
  • First book I’ve read by this author
  • Narration was 4 stars
  • Triggers: Past history and present battle with cancer, parent abandonment, loss of a parent at a young age, history of alcohol abuse (not a factor in the story), a comment by a character that is anti-Semitic.

This book came to me via a recommendation and it was definitely different in both it’s story content and the characters. We meet Ryan our H who has been pining over Mackenzie for the last year. Mackenzie is his “girl in the coffee shop” he hasn’t been able to approach. But one day, she comes into the coffee shop upset after losing her job and getting terrible health news. She cries on his shoulder, he offers her a job at his tattoo shop. And then she meets Colby, Ryan’s employee and friend and he makes remarks about her body, etc.

Both Ryan and Colby put their own lives on hold completely to step in and take care of Mackenzie and it’s quite rough. All are put through the ringer.

I gave this book 4 stars because there was a lot of repetition to the story and the same things kept coming up, Mackenzie just kept repeating that she wasn’t good looking enough, fat, etc to be with Ryan, who was, apparently, out of this world handsome. Ryan was too good to be true. Colby was a good guy, but the interactions between he and Mackenzie bordered on very odd and at one point I thought the story might turn and become a MFM.

There are post treatment sex scenes and one very odd tattooing scene with Ryan then Colby. There is body shaming as well, and then a reference by, I think, Ryan about not wanting to date a holocaust victim, which was extremely inappropriate.

All in all, this book is written well, but there is a lack of spark and I assume the men are much older than Mackenzie, but seem young. Ryan admits to never attending college, but is able to run a business which is interesting.

From what I can see of the author’s other works, this looks like she’s writes mostly PNR, which I’m willing to read.

On a personal note, I’m still in school chipping away and trying to sneak in reading here and there! The semester is almost over, but then it starts up again a week later! Have a wonderful week and I’ll probably post another review in May!

The Mad Hatter’s Son by Helen Starbuck

  • Available in Kindle Unlimited
  • Trope: Mystery with a dash of romance
  • Triggers: murder, attempted murder, a body count, trauma, potential PTSD, mortal danger, informal police procedure.
  • Pining neighbor
  • Book 1 in a 3 book series
  • Warning: may cause a kindle to be tossed, but do not toss the kindle, take a break and make a cup of tea.
  • Binge reading warning
  • Rating: 1000 stars

Wow, all I can say is I was searching for a book about an OR nurse for a challenge billed “book with a character in your profession.” I’m an OR nurse, this book was written by an OR nurse and our main character, Annie Collins, is an OR nurse.

Even though we only get snippets of the OR life, the snippets were very spot on and made sense to an OR nurse.

Onto the story. This is a page turner in every sense of the expression. I was very challenged to put this book down and get adulting done this past weekend, and I don’t regret choosing not to do everything on my to-do list.

Annie Collins lives in Colorado and works as a PRN OR nurse, so she makes her own schedule which works out great for this story, if she was regular staff, nothing in this story would have been possible. This story starts with Libby, a college friend of Annie’s, who is unwell and asks Anne to take care of her. She had a miscarriage several weeks prior but her health is declining. Annie takes this on, but her friendship with Libby had a disconnect 4 years prior when Libby married an IT superstar, but Annie never liked him. Libby is a talented and sought after artist. Annie and Libby don’t have a smooth reunion and everything in this story moves quickly along.

There are many moving parts to this story and I can only advise you to strap in for the ride and carve out the time to give this book your attention, stock up on snacks, tea, wine, or whatever you enjoy!

Spring Break!

I’ve been busy with work and school, but I have squeezed in a few books!

The Last Eligible Billionaire by Pippa Grant is everything I love in a romance! Fake relationship with sunshine and grump! Plus an adorable dog. This one is the perfect read for a weekend. It just oozes happiness!

Next up, Hollywood Ball by Annie Dyer. This is book 2 in the Manchester Athletic Series, all written by Annie Dyer. This book is absolutely amazing. Ryan is a pro footballer as well as having some serious coding skills. This can be read as a stand-alone.

This is a fiction novel and takes us back to the late 1960s early 70s and the sad results of having a child with special needs, places that would “keep” them and throws a light on misogyny and the patriarchy of the 20th century.

Next up, I listened to Impact Winter, an Audible Original, this was a great listen. It’s more like an audio play with a cast and sound effects. It’s post apocalyptic. You do not need an Audible membership to listen.

Books, Books and More Books, Plus, It’s Mpreg Day

I’ll admit, I have way to many books on my e-reader. It feels like too much at times and I’ll never read them all, but maybe there is a gem or two hiding in the stacks? The ereader has allowed me to one click my way into this current situation! How will I ever give these books my eyes? I can’t even spare the time to organize them or even thin out my library.

Since I’m currently a student as well as working, my reading time has been reduced a bit so I’m in reading crisis mode. I’m reading ARCs and that’s just about it because studying has taken over my life. It doesn’t negate my guilt when I see my ereader library, but hopefully, a better day will come and I’ll be able to read all I want when I’m done with the program I’m studying.

So, I wasn’t aware until I got an email, but today, in Romanclandia, it’s Mpreg day. If you’re unfamiliar with this, Mpreg is a male pregnancy and you’ll see this is the Omegaverse sub genre.

Omegaverse also is called A/B/O which is “alpha/beta/omega” and is speculative erotic fiction. It’s basically a fantasy world created by the author, the characters have animal like behaviors and may include shifters. There is the term knotting used to describe sex between the characters and is used to describe the male appendage. Males can become pregnant in Omegaverse romances. Bringing me to Mpreg Day. There are freebies around today for you to try out! Just Google Mpreg Day and you’ll be able to find freebies.

Personally, I enjoy Omegaverse books, but it’s a very specific sub genre, but maybe you’ll give it a try.