Never Too Late Spotlight #1 12


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Take Your Best Shot by StarlightHalden Blake was a good soldier and a good man. He never intended to be a hero, and he definitely never intended the events that landed him in intergalactic politics. Now, three presidential terms later, Halden must decide if running for office again is worth five more years of putting his own life on hold.

Isaac Knox has been President Blake’s public liaison from the start, an ally and friend through difficult times. Halden has always carefully resisted thoughts of more, and Isaac has never given any hint of returning his guarded attraction. But when Halden finds himself struggling with questions about his own future, Isaac makes a surprising offer that could change everything.

OMG – How many amazing things can I say about this little ditty? It was amazing and spectacular and fantastic. I’m totally adoring Halden and Isaac. Hal is a wonderful heroic character who has given his all and now needs to figure out what the future holds. Isaac has been at his side professionally for fifteen years and is the kind of aid any politician would be thrilled to have. And yet, there’s an underlying attraction that comes to a head on the day Hal needs to decide if he will run for a fourth term.

The descriptive narrative was engaging, the dialogue, sharp. If I had to find a complaint – and believe me, this story is so good, no complaints at all – it would be this. I want more! I hope the author does a sequel and gives us a longer story of Hal and Isaac because I adore these two men and want to see where their journey takes them.

5 stars most definitely!

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

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A Life WithoutAfter decades of wondering and worrying over his submissive tendencies, fortysomething Todd decides to explore his fantasies. His first step is to join a BDSM club, and it’s there that he meets Malik, a young and beautiful Dominant who is very interested in introducing Todd to this world. In fact, Malik is interested in everything about Todd, which is startling to the older man given the differences in their ages. Malik helps Todd explore his submissiveness, but after an unpleasant meeting with Todd’s ex-boyfriend, he also encourages him to confront his demons so he will no longer live his life in shame.

I will be the first to admit, I am usually pretty harsh on BDSM books, mainly because I understand the lifestyle intimately and find most fictionalized accounts absolutely hideous. This story surprised me. I adored Malik’s handling of his submissive and the way he acted. He actually made mistakes! Aces for that, first off. But also, I enjoyed the relationship between Malik and Todd. It was sweet. Added to that, their dealing with Todd’s jerk of an ex, and I definitely give this 5 stars.

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

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Mens ReaJames Carter is forty-five and has been a police officer most of his life. He married young, lost her young, and his life revolved around his work and his son. Young is a recurring theme in his life, he thinks, when he meets the considerably younger AUSA Derek Moore on a case and finds himself ruled by the whims of his heart.

The road to love between a hotshot lawyer and a veteran cop was never going to be smooth, not in the real world, but there are criminals, misunderstandings, and a lack of communication standing in their way too. Both are so stubborn and convinced their interest is one-sided that it takes a murder case, exhaustion, and an adjournment for them to get their act together. They move fast after that, but they both know there’s no guarantee for tomorrow.

Okay, this one is a bit harder for me to review. It isn’t cut and dried. I went back and forth on whether to give it a 3 or 4 star review. Usually, my basis on reviews is: 1 star for a book that has ban punctuation, horrible spelling, and no continuity. 2 stars for a storyline that was a good idea but fell far short of expectation with too many faults. 3 for a story that has the bones right and flows but I really didn’t care for. 4 stars for a story I liked. 5 stars for a story I will definitely be re-reading again. For this story, I was torn between not really caring for it and liking it. It was like a tennis match going back and forth, back and forth. Most of the problem probably had to do with the fact it was third person singular point of view, which is good, but it was also present tense.

Those two things have a hard time coalescing in my head. So much so, that several times it would jar me out of the story. Twice it was so bad, I thought the POV or the tense had gotten messed up. It hadn’t, it was still the same POV and tense, but for some reason, it really broke up the story for me.

I’m not sure if it was that or the fact there were choppy time breaks, but I never really came to care for either of the main characters. I felt I had a better relationship with Derek’s sister and James’s son as their personalities jumped off the page, then with either of the main characters. Plus, there was a murder investigation that never quite went anywhere and it was like we were left dangling because our heroes didn’t solve it.

So, I’m going with 3 stars on this one.

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

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Lord Heliodor's RetirementUnlikely hero Lord Adem Heliodor saved his queen’s life during the Screaming, a magical attack on his city, but his broken nerves have forced him into an unwanted early retirement to his country estate. Adem thinks his life is over, but retirement holds some surprises. First, there’s his new librarian, who turns out to be not just the first love he thought was dead, but also someone surprisingly knowledgeable about political intrigue. Then there’s the assassin in the orchard and the discovery that the Screaming was just the first attack on the city.

 

This is another one of those books where I was caught between a 3 and a 4 rating. If I had rated it up until the last 10% of the book, I would have given it a 3, but the ending was satisfying enough to end up a 4. I’ll admit, I’m not sure I would classify it as a ‘romance’ though. Historical suspense sorta kinda. The romance between Adem and Cory was an aside to the actual storyline, in my opinion, which ended up working out.

Adem saved his queen from the Screaming, a strange plague that once touched by someone who has it, a person will start screaming and then bleeding from every orifice, dying soon after. Then, a short while later, he ended up screaming at her, thus precipitating his early retirement. Sent to his home in the country, which feels more like a banishment than anything, he becomes reacquainted with a man he thought long dead. But before they can have their HEA, an assassin comes after Adem. Now, time is against them as he and his man work to thwart a man intent on destroying their country in any way he can through sorcery.

I have to admit, for such a short story, the author did an incredible job at putting this all together without making it feel rushed. While historical isn’t usually my thing, I enjoyed the fantasy-esque, historical slant. It added a nice touch of realism to it.

Definitely 4 stars.

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

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Because of Roses

After the death of his longtime partner, American attorney Dan Evans is reassigned to his firm’s London office. It’s a change his life sorely needs. While admiring roses in a small village in the Cotswolds, Dan meets Martin Saint John. Martin, still fit and attractive at seventy, has also lost his partner, and now spends his time growing roses, meeting friends in the pub, and going to church on Sundays, content with his quiet life. Roses and tea progress to spending weekends together exploring the countryside, but the differences between Dan and Martin go beyond the fifteen year age gap. If they can open their hearts and accept love—instead of accepting its absence—they might find a second chance at happiness. All because of roses.

 

So many stories, even when it is in an ‘older’ genre, still top off at a man in his fifties. In this story, we see things a bit differently. Daniel is in his late fifties and has just moved to England to run his company’s office. He finds a delightful town to buy a house in and I must say, his reason for buying the house he did – even with the fact he kept batting his head against the doorways – I found delightful. Another charming aspect was his love interest was a man 15 years older than he was. So, that’s the first thing I had to get used to reading this story. Seeing two men, of which one could attach the word ‘old’ to, getting into a relationship.

But it wasn’t just that. You had Daniel, a brash American and Martin, an uptight Englishman. Daniel might be older, but he’s American down to his toes. Martin schools him in the language as well as how to act. The scene with digging up the yard cracked me up. I think I would have been as disgruntled as Dan was 🙂

Once I got past the fact this story was about two older men, I have to admit I found it charming, absolutely charming. Everything from Martin’s reactions to changes Daniel makes in his cottage to the way he acts when Daniel rents a car even though he’d said he would pick him up at the station.

It’s a simpler romance and quite sweet. And I will definitely read it again. 5 stars.

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

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Up to BoilWhen plumber and builder Jordan Novotny goes to take a look at the home of the town’s openly gay, recently dumped librarian, he doesn’t expect to find anything other than a falling-apart old house and a water heater in need of repair. Instead, he finds an older man in need of some TLC and a new circle of friends after his ex tossed him aside for a newer model. Stephen might be attracted to Jordan, but he thinks the young man is exactly that—too young. It takes Jordan’s family interfering and a bit of a mishap to make them see that it’s never too late to find a new love, and that age is just a number. All that matters is compatibility and the courage to take a chance.

 

I truly wanted to enjoy this story. Loved the premise and I liked Jordan from the outside. Unfortunately, the story fell flat. I never truly got to know Stephen or even Jordan beyond what he did for a living. Why did a 22 year old and a 51 year old man fall in love? I still have no idea. Why did Jordan’s family basically date Stephen until the two were ready to admit they had feelings? The reason that came through for me was that Jordan had just come out and Stephen – the 51 year old man – was single and gay.

Mostly, the book was a ton of ‘telling’ and very little showing. So I never became connected to the characters. Unfortunately, that leaves this with 2 stars.

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

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