Kip O’Connor Mystery: Last Gasp – S.C. Wynne
Kip O’Connor lives a simple life in the little seaside town of Pearl Bay. Unless it’s tourist season, things tend to be pretty peaceful. There is, however, one never ending source of irritation in the form of Police Chief Merrick Dawson.
Merrick is Kip’s older brother’s BFF, and nothing seems to bring Merrick more joy than nagging Kip about silly things. You’d think a Police Chief would have more important things to do than lecture Kip on parking tickets and picking up pet waste, but somehow Merrick always finds the time.
Kip decides to take an art class at the local community college, and he’s annoyed to find Merrick has also enrolled in the course. The instructor takes a shine to Kip, and soon they become friends outside of class. Merrick warns Kip of the dangers of blurring those lines and befriending his teacher, but Kip is flattered by the attention.
When his art teacher is found stabbed through the forehead with a palette knife, Kip is determined to figure out who killed his new friend. Merrick naturally thinks Kip getting involved in the investigation is a horrible idea, but when has Kip ever listened to that irksome, pig-headed Merrick Dawson?
This is book one in my brand new Kip O’Connor M/M Cozy Mystery series. Each book has a cozy feel to it and there is a strong romantic story-line in each book. No on page steam but some mild violence. I hope you enjoy reading this series as much as I enjoy writing it.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Kip O’Connor Mystery: Last Date – S.C. Wynne
Some dates are simply murder.
After barely surviving a terrifying stalker last month, Kip is reexamining his life choices. There’s nothing like almost dying to make you take stock of things.
One bright spot is that the ever maddening Merrick Dawson has stopped following him around picking on him. Merrick has begun dating Peter Harris, who by all accounts is a wonderful guy. Peter is nice. He’s handsome. He’s downright annoyingly perfect.
When Kip is asked out on a romantic sunset cruise by one of Pearl Cove’s most eligible bachelors, he decides he has nothing to lose. Unless he wants to spend the rest of his days alone, he needs to be proactive about finding love.
But when Kip shows up for the cruise, instead of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, he finds his date dead.
This is book two in my Kip O’Connor M/M Cozy Mystery series. Each book has a cozy feel to it and there is a strong romantic (slow burn) storyline in each book. No on-page steam but some mild violence.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Kip O’Connor Mystery: Last Chance – S.C. Wynne
Wait just a minute. A whole month has passed and no one has been murdered in Pearl Cove?
Things are settling down in Pearl Cove as Kip and Merrick fumble their way through a new relationship. There’s no denying the two men have deep feelings for each other, but trust issues can play havoc when people don’t communicate well.
When Kip’s office manager, Helen, has her home burgled, but nothing is stolen, the Pearl Cove PD has little interest in solving the case. Kip, Charlene, and Helen decide a little amateur sleuthing couldn’t hurt anything.
Not surprisingly, Police Chief Dawson doesn’t agree. He wholeheartedly disapproves of his boyfriend’s plan to nab the trespasser. But if the police won’t do anything, Kip isn’t about to turn his back on his friend.
In fact, it’s rather fun to play detective… until the thief tries to murder them.
This is book three in my Kip O’Connor M/M Cozy Mystery series. Each book has a cozy feel to it and there is a strong romantic storyline in each book. No on-page graphic steam, but some mild violence.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Kip O’Connor Mystery is your typical cozy mystery. Small town, quirky characters, frenemy cop later boyfriend, and of course, murder. The dynamics between Kip and Police Chief Merrick Dawson reminded me of Josh Lanyon‘s style, except this is much better. Merrick is more likable and less an asshole than most Josh Lanyon love interests.
I say this is typical, but this turned out to be my favorite S.C. Wynne series. The author picked a great narrator, James Woodrich, whose delivery suited the story to a T and made Kip’s personality shine. I also liked how he voiced Merrick’s character, charming, a bit arrogant but always protective of Kip, level-headed and stern when in cop mode.
Kip’s fantastic in his down-to-earth ways. His character wasn’t overly quirky or introverted, for which I’m glad as too many cozies tend to lean towards those. He’s an average joe who seeks contentment and a simple life. What made me love Kip is that he’s kind-hearted, loyal, and always willing to help his friends, who are also his employees. He runs a thriving dog-walking business and likes dogs so much, he volunteered a lot of pro-bono training hours just so a dog wouldn’t end up in the pound. And I was super amused at how spectacularly oblivious he was about Merrick.
Kip and Merrick had an antagonistic relationship since childhood. Merrick is Kip’s older brother Thomas’s best friend, who tormented him as a child. As years passed, Merrick’s feelings changed, but Kip’s has not, and this led to the running gag in the first two books, where everyone knows, hints are thrown, but Kip fails to pick up or entertain because memories of bullying were hard to shake off.
I’m not sure how to feel about Kip’s family and friends waving the trauma aside and proclaiming Merrick’s the best guy for him. However, present-day Merrick is genuinely contrite, so I wasn’t too hard on him. I loved how effectively the author created the USTs and squee factor between the two MCs, even if most of how Merrick felt was only relayed to Kip, who had a hard time believing. It took spelling out for our boy to realize what was pretty obvious to everyone. Trust is an issue but they’re working on it.
The mysteries were intriguing, with a lot of red herrings thrown in. For the first two books, Last Gasp and Last Date, Kip is directly connected to the murder victims. One is his art teacher. The second is his Valentine’s Day date. I like that he didn’t do amateur sleuthing here because it wouldn’t have felt natural, given Kip’s situation.
In the third book, Last Chance, his employee Charlene is burgled, and due to police neglect, Kip, Charlene, and another employee, Helen, are forced to do some amateur sleuthing. They crossed paths with some horrible people but there is a nice little resolution for Charlene at the end.
One of the conflicts between the MCs is about police behavior. Kip’s encounters with the cops were usually unpleasant. Merrick is understandably defensive of his cops, but Kip had a point about them not doing their jobs properly and/or jumping the gun too often. However, the great thing about these two is that they might bicker and miscommunicate, but they do make it a point to talk, eventually.
Kip O’ Connor Mystery is as cozy and entertaining as promised. Add to it the adorable doggy antics, and boy, do I want to work for Red Leash! Kip’s a super cool boss and my spirit animal in bleeding hearts for strays department. He’d be awesome to have as a friend too. All in all, great books for curling up in a corner with a canine friend or two!
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Kip O’Connor Mystery: US
Welcome Boulevard: They Call Him Levity Davidson King
Levity works the streets of Welcome Boulevard, begging people for money. It keeps food in his belly, a leaky roof over his head, and he gets to do it with his best friend, Clove. No, it’s not the ideal life, but he does what he must to survive.
Salvatore Grillo is a man who is used to getting what he wants. He’s a loyal brother to his autistic sister, runs numerous business empires, and knows how to make people to bend to his will. It’s not often someone comes along and shakes things up. And then Levity smiles at him.
Levity’s idea to pull in more money draws Salvatore’s attention, and while being the focus of a crime boss should be terrifying, Levity is intrigued by the man. Not to mention, Sal is as gorgeous as he is powerful. The two gravitate toward one another and soon are wrapped up tightly in each other’s worlds. When enemies try to break through their doors and their lives, Salvatore has to do everything in his power to save not just himself but Levity too.
Not knowing who is behind all the chaos or when they will strike makes their happily ever after almost impossible. Time’s running out for Sal and Levity. Will they survive, or will their story end before it’s even begun?
They Call Him Levity and our boy is indeed a ray of sunshine!
The book opens Davidson King‘s latest series, Welcome Boulevard. It’s written in the same vein as the fantastic Haven Hart series, mafia-lite, fluff-heavy, with a huge dollop of family drama thrown in for good measure.
The story stars Levity, practically homeless and begging for money on the streets with his best friend, Clove. The money they earn goes to mob boss Salvatore Grillo via a disreputable middleman. Levity is quick of mind and a font of trivia. He and Clove use that as their schtick to catch people’s attention. It was so effective Sal’s curiosity was piqued, and he had to go and see for himself…
Levity’s personality just pops off the page! He was so bright, brave, smart, and tenacious, I found myself smiling and utterly charmed. Of course Sal stood no chance and found himself housing an injured Levity and his friends, Clove and 17-year old Maze, after a violent encounter with the pervy middleman who tried to grab Maze.
There’s a slight niggle regarding the panhandling scheme Sal had going. It reminded me of how we were always warned not to give money to beggars because a crime syndicate is behind them collecting the proceeds. It’s a really shitting thing to do, so I wasn’t impressed with Sal about that at first. Later on, he had his realization after meeting Levity and his friends and vowed to change things into something that would make his sister proud.
Also, I wished the story delved deeper into Sal’s and Levity’s backstory. We had a bit more info on Sal but we only get the here and now version of Levity. The boy is mostly a mystery. Not even his real name was revealed. The romance was gentle and sweet but overall felt underdeveloped since it happened too quickly.
Sal’s relationship with his autistic teen sister, Jacqueline, is one of the most endearing parts of the book. He’s super protective of Jac since her mother, his stepmom, treats her as if she is defective. The scenes with the stepmom were the ugliest parts, the woman is a pure narcissist. I can’t believe she doesn’t appreciate how awesome and talented Jac is.
Plot-wise, it’s pretty predictable. Still, I had a great time because I love the characters. They made all the difference. The author did a spectacular job making me care about them so much that I’m already super hype for the next book. It’s probably about Clove and Marcel, Sal’s best friend and right-hand man. I’m amused at how these two pretend they’re not into each other although it was so obvious they are, people started a pool.
They Call Him Levity might have some niggles and ugly drama, but it’s very aptly named. I’m usually emotionally distant and poker-faced when reading, and this book actually made me smile!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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Wild Hearts: Prince of Flowers – Nazri Noor
He captured a fae prince. But can he capture his heart?
Lochlann Wilde walks in the shadow of his father, a legendary summoner who commanded mythical beasts in battle. But Locke isn’t legendary. He’s barely a summoner, never passing his academy’s trial of the elements.
And then he accidentally summons a fae prince with a beautiful body and a bad attitude.
Sylvain is fiery and ferocious, stronger than anything Locke has ever encountered. And hotter, too. But time is running out. Locke must tame the prince’s wild heart. If he fails his trial, he’ll lose his inheritance and ruin his family’s name.
Without Sylvain, Locke could lose his chance to become a true summoner… along with his shot at true love.
Prince of Flowers is a contemporary fantasy romance with an HFN ending. Can a snarky summoner and a fickle fae prince endure mythical creatures, meddling goddesses, the fury of the elements, and each other? Only one way to find out. If you like sorcery, spice, and everything nice, you’ve come to the right place. Start the Wild Hearts series today.
Prince of Flowers has a gorgeously captivating cover that is hard to resist. I had to grab it immediately! I was thrilled to learn this is part of the fabulously magical Nazri Noor universe that always has plenty of adventures and misadventures in store for our brave, if sometimes cocky, heroes.
Our hero today is Lochlann Wilde, a super senior at Wispwood Academy desperate to earn his Summoner’s Crest and graduate so he could live up to his father’s illustrious name. At yet another of his attempts to summon a magical creature to serve as his eidolon, he inadvertently summoned a fae. And not just any fae, but a fae prince.
Loch and Sylvain are characters that I have come to recognize as the author’s style. They tend to be unashamedly arrogant and cocky golden boys, courageous in battle and quick of wit, and quite aware of how badass they are. It’s a nice change to how chosen-one characters usually bemoan their fate.
The two MCs’ first meeting would have been a grumpy yet adorable meet-cute had it not been overshadowed by Loch going on and on about how hot Sylvain is. Yeah, I get it. The fae are extremely good-looking, but one doesn’t need to sound like a broken record.
The writing is on the wordy side. The jokes would have been funnier and have more impact had they been more succinct. However, I appreciate the details about Wispwood Academy and its adjacent worlds, as well as the many magical creatures and goddesses that appeared in the story. There are slight similarities to Harry Potter, but the Wild Hearts series stands on its own, even among the related series.
One thing I love about the author’s books is that they are guaranteed to be action-packed, full of magic and mayhem, and HELLA FUN! And I’m so glad Greg Boudreaux is the narrator because his style suited the book’s spirit to perfection.
There’s an adventure to be had, a quest to retrieve the Blood of the Earth, and the mystery of the Withering to be solved. There’s also the very intriguing Three Headmasters, who are definitely not what they seem. I’m most curious about them. There are a lot to discover in the Wild Hearts world, and I’m eager to explore.
Loch and Sylvain bicker and banter their way through the story, throwing off USTs like fireworks, then deliciously succumbing to the inevitable. They were quite the happy power couple, but they were hit by the third arc curse. I’m not a fan of the third arc separation, but it paved way for dramatic entrances and spectacular displays of magic. There were many awesome, adrenalin-pumping fight scenes rendered in cinematic detail, and I relished every minute!
I love being part of Loch and Sylvain’s adventure, and it only just begun. Prince of Flowers is a fantastic opener, laying the foundations of a very promising series while giving us a riveting tale of overdue graduations, super cool plant magic, and a hot, very, very hot fae prince because Loch won’t shut up about it. Snarky and fascinating, it might be on the flowery side, but it will definitely grow on you!
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
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