...Bookfanatic

 

Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book.

So maybe I should have just read the book...

Legal Tender - Andrew  Grey

I'm really torn on this one because in all honesty I wanted to really love this story. The blurb sounded so good that I couldn't really imagine not loving the story...and although I didn't love this quite as much as I'd anticipated there was a lot about the story that worked for me and I truly enjoyed.

 

While the story worked for me overall my biggest distraction came from the audio side of things and this is where I'm really torn...you see, I like John Solo. I sort of have a soft spot for him because it was his narration of Marie Sexton's 'Trailer Trash' that made me decide to start listening to and reviewing audio books. However, with this one the narration just didn't work for me and in all honesty I have to say I think this was a little bit me as well, but we'll come back to this later.

 

'Legal Tender' is the fourth book in Andrew Grey's 'Art Series' and while the blurb for the story intrigued me and sounded really good. In the end it turned out to be just 'ok'. Timothy has returned to his Grampy's home after finding out that his grandfather had left everything to him and not his drug addicted mother. Timothy left home at an early age after his mother betrayed him in the worst way possible. He's cut her out of his life and I say good for him on that one. She didn't deserve to be anyone's mother let alone someone as sweet as Timothy.

 

Coming back to Grampy's house has also reunited Timothy with his childhood friend, Dieter (one of the MCs from the first book in this series). Timothy also discovers that his Grampy's stories from his childhood were clues to a heritage that he'd been unaware of. Discovering a cache of old coins brings Timothy to Dieter's door in need of help from Dieter's partner, Gerald and introducing him to Joiner, whom Gerald task with finding out how they can enable Timothy to keep a rare coin that the American Government claims belongs to them as it was never monetized or so they claim.

 

As Joiner works to find a way for Timothy to keep his grandfather's coin the two men get to know each other and their initial attraction to each other becomes more, but the real question is will what they have be enough to keep them together when Timothy finally opens up about why he refuses to have anything to do with his mother. 

 

I loved all the different aspects of this story and how things played out slowly revealing the connections. 

 

Ok now for the audio portion of this review. As I said before I have a bit of a soft spot for John Solo so this pains me a little to say but for me the biggest problem was the audio. Overall the voices just weren't clicking for me. Gerald's voice was stilted and just seemed to have an arrogant tone to it and while I like confident...arrogant just doesn't do it for me and I found myself not liking Gerald a whole lot and then there was Timothy.  I wanted Timothy's voice to reflect my image of a man in his twenties who was sweet and while confident at times held a hint of insecurity especially when confronted with his past. I wanted to hear all the emotion in his voice when he spoke about his grampy, his mother, the things that happened to him as a child. What I felt like I was getting was a pre-pubescent boy. I liked Timothy and his voice just wasn't what I was envisioning it to be. So truthfully this wasn't a right or wrong thing it was just a case of it didn't work for me. However, on the upside Joiner's voice was ok for me, but still the over all narration just didn't work for me. 

 

It's usually at this point that I really know whether or not an audio book truly worked for me because if it worked for me the audio book gets an overall rating but in this case while the book would have gotten 4 stars from me. In all honesty the audio sits somewhere around 2.5 - 3 stars. So I'm calling it a day at 3.5 stars and having faith that my next John Solo audio book will be a better experience.

 

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An audio book of 'Legal Tender' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference...

Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay Book 20) - Jaime Samms

'Three Player Game' is a menage story that starts with an established couple who have always wanted a third person in their relationship and they've also known for a while who they wanted that third person to be...the problem here is that maybe he doesn't want to be that person or maybe he's just afraid to allow himself to be 'that person'.

 

Vince and Pete have been a couple for a while now and having a third person in their relationship has pretty much always been a part of their plan. Vince wants that third person to be Lee, a man he has a work history with and while Pete's not as sure as Vince initially that he wants it to be Lee, he's leaning towards 'yes' on the issue and definitely willing to give the man strong consideration.  Lee's the holdout. He's given his trust before it left him hurt both physically and emotionally to the point where he's spent the ensuing years closing himself off from the world believing that he'll only be safe if he's on his own. Vince and Lee have some walls to break down if they plan on making their duo a trio permanently.

 

There's definitely some history here both between Vince and Pete as I said they come into the story as an established couple and between Vince and Lee on a working level only. As well both Vince and Lee have a connection to their boss, Blair Carruthers, whose story is told in Bluewater Bay #12 How the Cookie Crumbles. Which I admit I haven't read yet, however, I didn't have a problem parsing out the connections pre-Bluewater Bay as the author provides the background as the story goes along.

 

I didn't even really have a problem with the fact that this story has a menage grouping...my concern was with the fact that it was an established couple adding to their dynamic. This is probably one of my least favorite scenarios. So I have to admit I waffled on this one for a long time before I finally decided I was going to bite the bullet and read the book. Initially I was a little hesitant but things ultimately clicked into place for me and I ended up really enjoying this one.

 

There were a number of factors that helped to make it work...the first one being the author, I really like Jaime Samms. She's the author of one of my favorite menage books 'The Foster Family' and it's based on the same premise of an established couple adding a third to their relationship. So having already experienced this dynamic with her, I had faith. The fact that in general I've really enjoyed the Bluewater Bay books that I've read so far also added to my faith that this would work. Ultimately though it came down to the story and luckily for me there were a lot of little things that I liked about this one.

 

I was good with the fact that the story started with Vince and Pete already established as a couple since it would have probably made for an overly long story that would have lost my interest if it had gotten bogged down with their beginnings as well

 

For Vince and Pete adding Lee to the dynamics wasn't an easy feat to say the least. Lee was more than a little resistant and there were times that Vince and Pete had their reservations as well, which made sense...since the consequences of adding another person to your relationship is far more life altering than buying a new set of dishes especially when that person 'seems' to be resistant to the idea.  I'd be doing a lot more soul searching and second guessing myself than they did if it was me...just sayin'. 

 

I really liked all three of these men...Vince, whose work and home personas were essentially polar opposites. At work he was the gopher, that Lee bossed around,  he was calm, efficient, organized and incredibly observant, taking orders without hesitation but at home he was the one giving the orders and while he was still all those other things they were expressed differently and utilized to provide the care that his partners needed.

 

Pete like Vince had polar opposite work and home personas only at work he was the one organizing and ordering people around, making sure things got done how and when they needed to be. But at home he was the one who wanted to give up control to let someone else be in charge and care for him but Pete was also a nurturer and caregiver. Pete was also high maintenance and while Vince loved him tremendously taking care of Pete's needs also drained him. A reality that was apparent to both Vince and Pete and one of the contributing factors to their desire to add a third person to the relationship.

 

While Lee was prickly and obstinate hiding his gentler more caring side and his need to give up control and trust someone else to provide him with what he needed and wanted. For Vince meeting Pete's needs was like dealing with a force of nature, Lee's needs meshed more with Vince's and allowed him to restore some of his own balance at the same time.

 

Sexually the dynamics were different between each of these men as a pair and somehow things came together to fill the missing spaces in Pete and Vince's relationship creating a place for each of them that was unique. 

 

Making their relationship work turned out to be a learning experience for all three of these men.  Vince had to learn to trust in himself when it came to Lee. That he would be able to make things work without Pete as their buffer. Pete had to learn to step back and allow Vince and Lee find their own way to each other and Lee...well, Lee had the most to learn. He had to learn to trust not just Vince and Pete but himself...that he could make choices that weren't always going to get him hurt and to trust that he was not only worth being loved and cared for but he deserved it.

 

There was a bit of a BDSM flavor to this one and I am admittedly not an expert on this lifestyle by any means based on other stories that I've read I'd say it was more like an appetizer than the entree which I have to admit works just fine for me.  

 

This one worked for me and while I can't define one major reason. I would have to say that it was more a case of a bunch of little things coming together to take me back to Bluewater Bay for yet another enjoyable reading experience.

 

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A copy of 'Three Player Game' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Well that was interesting...yeah, let's go with interesting...

Dim Sum Asylum - Rhys Ford

I read 'Dim Sum Asylum' back in June when the e-book was first release...what can I say it's Rhys Ford so I'm all over that stuff. Plus...hello? Dragons. Needless to say I was not disappointed and I loved it 5 dragon stars worth. So when the audio book became available and it was narrated by Greg Tremblay...who was I to turn the opportunity down...my momma didn't raise no fools...ok, maybe one or two of them but trust me I'm not on that list.

 

So not to re-invent the wheel or anything but here's the link to my first review...

Dim Sum Asylum Book Review

 

Now that we've got that out of the way lets talk about the audio book. As I said it's narrated by Greg Tremblay so what makes this interesting is that this is the first time I've listened to an audio book from this narrator that hasn't quite worked for me and honestly that's not even how I want to phrase this because overall he did an awesome job and I loved his character voices...all except one and that was Roku. Don't get me wrong here, the voice that Greg Tremblay used for Roku wasn't a bad or annoying voice by any means. It just didn't quite work for me and by didn't quite work...I mean it changed my rating from 5 dragon stars to 4.5 dragon stars.

 

So really not a huge impact...I still loved this book and I still think Greg Tremblay is fantastic when it comes to narrating. I think this is more a case of subjective opinions and mine was a little bit different. Was Mr. Tremblay wrong...no, was I wrong...again no. We just viewed the character's voice differently. 

 

Once I settled in to the narrator's interpretation of Roku's voice I also settled in to enjoying this story all over again. I don't tend to do a lot of re-reads because honestly...I get bored but that doesn't mean I don't like to enjoy a story more than once so what I've discovered is that for me audio books are a wonderful solution to being able to enjoy a well liked story and it also allows me to enjoy other past times such as my quilting, cross-stitch, unpacking boxes...because this is a thing in my live right now and whether it's something I want to do or something I have to do, enjoying an audio book really makes it a much more enjoyable experience. for me, especially if it's a book by a favorite author being read by a favorite narrator.

 

If you enjoyed reading 'Dim Sum Asylum' than check out the audio book it's so worth going back to Chinatown to be able to spend time with Roku and Trent. 

 

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An audio book of 'Dim Sum Asylum' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I admit it...this was not the Ethan Day that I was expecting...

Northern Star - Ethan Day, Jason Frazier

Before I start this review I would like to offer sincere apologies to the author for having taken so long to get this review done. Unfortunately sometimes real life refuses to co-operate. I started listening to this story back around mid-July and then there was a move...so when I was finally able to resume the story in fairness to the author, the book and the narrator I felt I needed to start all over again so I did and I'm glad I made that choice because it allowed me to take the time to enjoy this one from start to finish allowing me to make a much fairer assessment of both the story and the narrator.

 

'Northern Star' is not my first book by this author. I've read his 'Summit City' series and some of his standalones and 'To Catch a Fox', the first book in the 'Fox Mysteries' that he co-wrote with Geoffrey Knight is definitely one that I'm be happy to read more of. But I will be the first to admit none of them prepared me for this one.

 

I guess I've come to expect a solid dose of humor in Ethan Day's stories and while there were some humorous moments in this story...honestly that bar-b-que conversation between Steve and his friends got more than one laugh out of me. So yes, there was a touch of humor in this story but 'Northern Story' was definitely darker and more introspective than what I've normally come to anticipate from Ethan Day.

 

In the life lottery, Deacon Miller did not get the winning ticket...hell, he didn't even win a consolation prize. Thankfully what he did get even though he doesn't realize it is a backbone of steel. Born to a homophobic, alcoholic mother whose luck with men rivals that of a passenger on the Titanic. Deacon has survived a life that would have very possibly crushed others...not unscathed, but he has continued to dust himself off and get back up each time life has tried to knock him down.

 

Making a hasty retreat from the the family holiday from hell only to get dumped by his boyfriend and dragged back home by his little sister when their mother ends up in the hospital and then jail after causing an accident and being charged with a DUI infraction for the third time, but not before sharing an incredible interlude with the much older and incredibly sexy Steven Steele. 

 

Neither man can forget their time together nor does either man make the first move to contact the other. It's up to fate to bring these two men together and she does. Both men are trying to leave behind a past filled with mistakes and heartache and the comfort and passion that they shared in that one interlude stays with each of them despite the passage of time.

 

Deacon's around 27ish and Steve's around 44ish so approximately 17 years...there's a definite age gap here and it seems to be a theme with my reading these days. Surprisingly in a lot of ways this age gap doesn't seem so glaringly huge because while Deacon's only 27, his life experience has definitely aged him beyond his years and broken him in ways that no 27 year old should be broken. He's sad, there's really not another word for it and Steve wants to fill some of the empty spaces in his heart with love and maybe even a bit of happiness.  Deacon thinks Steve is amazing and that he's just not good enough for someone as wonderful as Steve...this is not a helpful idea and one that Steve would like to change Deacon's mind about.

 

'Northern Star' was my first audio experience narrated by Jason Frazier and I have to say, for me, he definitely delivered. I enjoyed his voices , they were distinctive, consistent and expressive...at times seriously expressive...just saying fanning myself may have been involved during certain scenes.  

 

This wasn't an insta-love, magical peen fixes all kind of story. It was more like insta-lust to attraction, to friendship to love...it was believable and felt like it could be a real life relationship. 

 

Being together isn't something that comes easily for Deacon and Steve but then anything worth having never comes easy does it?  I have to admit at the beginning I wasn't quite sure if this was going to work for me, but the more I listened the more it drew me in and the more I wanted to hear in the end I really enjoyed this one...I think that's the sign of a good story...isn't it? 

 

'Northern Star' isn't quite the usual Ethan Day fare, but still it was an emotional and touching story that I enjoyed every bit as much as his other stories and while it didn't leave me in fits of giggles, it did touch my heart and let me believe that happiness is there for anyone who's willing to fight for it. 

 

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An audio book of 'Northern Stars' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

So just add me to the list...

Illegal Contact - Santino Hassell

What list you may wonder why the list of people who loved this book of course...yeah, that list.

 

First off let me just say I'm not much of  a fan of football, sorry I am Canadian the hockey arena is more than likely where you'll find me if sports are involved, but for me, when it comes to books it's the story that matters and the subject doesn't always have to be a favorite topic of mine. Santino Hassell is one of those authors whose name on the cover takes precedence over what the story is about...in other words a good book, is a good book, is a good book and I've learned that there are certain authors who I can rely on to deliver a good book no matter what they're writing about. Santino Hassell's name is on that list for me.

 

ICoS was my first reading experience with this author and he and Ais totally blew me out of the water with that series. So much so that after reading it I was compelled to buy the Director's Cut copies for Evanfall. I own the e-book copy or I own the book I don't make it a habit to own both and if  you know me than you know that doing so speaks to how incredibly much I enjoyed them. Next I discovered the awesomeness that is his 'Five Boroughs' series and enjoyed these as audiobooks and now this author has again shown his diversity with 'Illegal Contact' the first book in his latest series 'The Barons' again...mind blown! I have yet to enjoy his paranormal story 'Stygian' and his other new series 'The Community' but trust me, I have them all waiting for me on my e-reader...it will happen.

 

Gavin Brawley has it all the successful football career, the money, the huge house that you can get lost in, fame, success...so it begs the question 'Why is someone with all this so unhappy?'

 

Noah Monroe is a college grad, he's buried in debt, lives with his dad who is jobless after being on the wrong side of his employer's latest downsizing efforts and yet, in many ways he's happier than Gavin and would be even happier if he could just find a job that allowed him to earn enough money to pay his bills. 

 

Thankfully Gavin's misfortune is about to become Noah's golden opportunity. When the successful football player ends up under house arrest and needing a Personal Assistant. 

 

This one's a slow burn to be sure. There may be a bit of lust at first sight but Gavin and Noah have more of an oil and water mix going on at the beginning. Watching these two maneuver their way around each other as they slowly work their way past the barriers each of them have built is more than a little entertaining. 

 

As Gavin and Noah spend time together Noah begins to see past the gruff and rude exterior that Gavin has put up to the man...the man that no one but Gavin's friends and teammates, Simeon and Marcus, ever see and even they don't get to see the person that Noah ultimately uncovers. 

Noah’s lips stretched into a smile, and his eyes twinkled behind his glasses. “I feel like four and a half months ago those words would never have come out of your mouth.”

 

“Heh. Maybe. Four and a half months ago I didn’t see a need to not drive people away.”

So much of Gavin and Noah's story feels real, like maybe we could have read this in the tabloids. There's a lot of unvarnished truth in the story we're being given and much of it is a sad commentary on how we...and by we, I mean society in general, view celebrities. Whether they're actors, singers or sports figures...if they're in the limelight we tend to feel that their private lives are meant for public viewing and this is the issue that drives Gavin's actions both at the beginning of the book and at the end and how Gavin deals with the circumstances during both events shows his growth as an individual and how much Noah has influenced his life, which for me was definitely in a positive way. 

 

The secondary characters in this story as always were given enough depth and dimension to make them feel real...some of them were totally likable, such as Jasmine. Noah's best friend who calls him on his BS and isn't afraid to keep it real as well as Simeon and Marcus who do the same for Gavin. There was also Gavin's agent Mel, a tough, no non-sense businesswoman but then there was Joe Carmichael, Gavin's manager who was admittedly not very likable but he truly cared about Gavin and had his best interest at heart...likable but not. But when it came to secondary characters my personal favorite was Case the guy from the autoshop who befriended Noah. I totally want a story for him...please? There must be a quarterback or a linebacker somewhere in need of an awesome, sexy and genuinely nice guy to work on his care and maybe him? Just offering that one up for the powers that be to consider.

 

As for the sexy times in this one...well all I'm going to say is 'good things come to he or she who waits and this pair are so worth the wait...Gavin and Noah are seriously hot...I'm pretty sure that some circuits got scorched in my Kobo, but hey, don't take my word for it. There are lots of other awesome reviews you can read or better yet just read the book.

 

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An ARC of 'Illegal Contact' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

How a series ends is...

The Long and Winding Road - T.J. Klune

every bit as important as how it started but then so is everything in the middle...

 

I have such mixed feelings about this one. I loved the chance to spend more time in this world with Otter, Bear, the Kid and all the wonderful people in their lives. But that this was the end of their story...well, how could that not make me a little sad.

 

While I was a little late to the party with this series. It was August of 2011 when 'Bear, Otter and the Kid' was first published and somehow I managed to wait until 2015 to read the first 3 books...and yes, I did binge read them and what I do know for sure is that whatever instinct told me that I finally needed to read these books was a good one and I need to listen to it more often. 

 

Life's tapestry is made of so many different threads...hellos, good-byes, births, deaths, meeting new friends, losing old ones, leaving home, going home and so many other moments that shape us taking us on a journey that helps us to define who we are. This is the journey that we've traveled with Bear, Otter and the Kid. 

 

It's an incredibly emotional journey. One covering everything from happiness and love to anger and grief with so much more in between and it's here in 'The Long and Winding Road' that we get to revisit the past with Bear as he faces some of the biggest changes yet to happen in his life and Bear's not the only one affected by these changes. While some of these changes affect Bear directly some do so indirectly because they're changes that are coming for the people that Bear loves...for the kid, for Otter, for Creed, for Izzie the sister that Bear's never met and at the heart of it all, Bear knows as long as they're together...Bear, Otter, the Kid and the amazing family they've gathered they will weather the changes and come out of things whole and stronger.

 

 

I think most of us can agree that how a series starts is important...that first book can decide if it's going to be a success, if the reader will want to read the next book, what kind of series it's going to be. So much can be decided from that first impression. But like the first book, the last book is also important. It can leave us frustrated, disappointed, feeling like we want more or less or it can leave us feeling happy and satisfied that we took the journey, even though we aren't really ready for the journey to end. If it's done right we're still left feeling that the journey is complete and content that we took the trip and while in my heart I wasn't ready for this to be over, I am very content that I took this journey, so much so that I know I'll be taking this journey again some day.

 

I did my music thing with this book and of course for anyone familiar with the Beatles you guessed right if you assumed that one of the first songs I listened to was 'The Long and Winding Road' and in many ways it's so fitting for this story and the title fits so wonderfully with the story, but for me the song that really connected with this story was a different another song by the Beatles it's called 'In My Life' either song is a beautiful and fitting background to this beautiful conclusion to a series that will always have a special place on my 'Favorite Series' list.

 

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An ARC of 'The Long and Winding Road' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's not quite the court of dissenting opinions here but...

Becoming Kerry - Lynn Kelling

I'm afraid I didn't quite make it to the 'oh-my-god-this-book-is-amazing' club either. First off I want to talk about why even though this book didn't really work for me I still think it's an awesome book and worthy of being read.

 

'Becoming Kerry' is surprisingly...well surprising to me anyways, my first read by this author. I do actually have several of her other books and look forward to checking out more of her stories, after all one book is really only the beginning of the journey when discovering a new author.

 

 

First and foremost there is a really good story here and that story carries a powerful and worthwhile message one that we all need to hear. To me 'Becoming Kerry' is about love and acceptance. It's about loving someone not in spite of who they are but because of who they are.

 

Kerry was an amazingly unique individual and so very deserving of someone like Ewyn to love her and Ewyn was equally unique and deserving of love. Yes, he wanted to protect Kerry and keep her safe from the ugly in the world but not at the price of her individuality. He wanted Kerry to be able to fully realize who she was and for her light to shine and make the world a more beautiful place...we all deserve to be loved in this way.

 

There really was a lot about this story that I liked but for some reason things just didn't quite connect for me and while I definitely admire and respect the story that the author was telling I admit part way through I set the book aside and read something else because I was a bit bored but mostly frustrated there were things that I seemed to be repetitive and so I decided that rather than DNF altogether I would take and break and try in again. It worked and I finished the book with more ease and I'm glad I did, I wanted to see Kerry get her HEA. She so deserved it, so even though 'Becoming Kerry' was more a case of reading the book than experiencing it. It was time well spent. 

 

I admit for personal reasons near and dear to my heart books such as 'Becoming Kerry' mean so very much and are such an important part of the reading spectrum. So maybe this wasn't a 5 star 'rave-about-it-forever- story for me, it was still a story that I am so very grateful to Ms Kelling for having taken the time to tell Kerry's story. 'Becoming Kerry' is surprisingly...well surprising to me anyways, my first read by this author. I do actually have several of her other books and look forward to checking out more of her stories, after all one book is really only the bd

 

Ms Kelling admits that she knew this book wouldn't please everyone but her goal was to please Kerry and I can't help but feel that she met her goal and the fact that there is one more book out there for anyone who is questioning their sexuality and/or trying to define their gender to read and to maybe be able to say 'oh-my-god-this-is-me', so that they won't feel so alone or like they're a 'freak' but know that they are simply a unique and beautiful individual that the world needs...well for what it's worth, Ms Kelling that pleases me, it pleases me very much.

 

'Becoming Kerry' 1 star? 2 stars? 3 stars? all the stars? Who cares...what matters is how each individual connects to the story and what we're able to take away from it. 

 

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A copy of 'Becoming Kerry' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ok...so daddy kink...still not my thing, but...

Permanent Ink - Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn

A good story, is a good story, is a good story and this one was for me a step above good. When i can read something that contains a topic that I have to be honest is one I tend to avoid and really enjoy the story anyways and not be bothered by that particular aspect...well, for me it says a lot about what an amazing job the authors did with this book.

 

Ok, so confession time. I took a short break here and went poking around at some other reviews because I have to admit as much as I enjoyed this story I was surprised by the fact that the 'daddy kink' didn't really bother me and I think I found my explanation in reviews written by fellow reviewers whom I respect and definitely consider to be more knowledgeable about this topic and according to those reviews the 'daddy kink' in this story is 'mild' and/or not representative of 'true daddy kink'. This makes sense to me so I'm good with that and since I wasn't really looking for 'daddy kink' it in no way changes how much I enjoyed the story. 

 

The age gap here is 17 years and even though I've essentially gotten past my whole age gap issue. I have to admit this is a big gap in my eyes but things worked. it was a combination of the blind optimism of youth that was exhibited by Poe's belief that age is just a number and don't misunderstand in many ways it is and in all honesty thank heavens for the optimism that we have in our youth it's what frequently gives us the faith and courage to step beyond the boundaries that we set for ourselves as we get older. We got to see Poe do a lot of growing up in this story. He learned from his mistakes and as he did he also redefined who he was and what he wanted from life. He went from being a son who Landon loved but was at his wits end as to what the do with him to being a son, Landon could be proud of and a man that Jericho could truly love and be partners with. 

 

I also totally understood Jericho's perspective while the age gap frequently bothered him and he was the one who more often than not brought it  up. I liked that he also seemed to come to the realization that sometimes when something works and it feels right you just have to go for it. Let it happen, seize the day whatever adage you want to apply. Jericho finally accepted that he and Poe were good for each other and they were good together...it worked for them and really at the end of the day isn't that what matters most that a relationship is good and the people involved are happy and where they want to be. 

 

Along with Jericho and Poe who I truly would love more of we are given Poe's father Landon and honestly I'd love a story for him. Landon...hot men, fast cars...I can so get behind this idea...mmmmmmm...yummy and then there's also Callum. Callum strikes me as someone who's story could be fascinating to say the least. Along with Landon and Callum we are given Poe's best friend Blue, I'm really torn on how I feel about Blue part of me wants to just smack him upside the head and tell him what a total douchecanoe he was for the things he did another part of me wants to feed him milk and cookies and help him see that he's worth so much more than he gives to himself and that he deserves some happy and love too but maybe he needs to learn to value and respect himself first so that other people will value and respect him as well.  Lastly we have Pete one of the tattoo artist in Jericho's shop we don't really see much of the grumpy dude but again I think there might be an intriguing story there. 

 

'Permanent Ink' was an excellent start to 'Art & Soul' a new series by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn and I'm really looking forward to adding this to my reading list.

 

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A copy of 'Permanent Ink' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why do we cry?

Dear Mona Lisa... - Al Stewart, Claire Davis

We cry for so many reasons…sadness, grief, heartache, loss, pain, suffering…so many heartbreaking reasons but there are other times that we cry as well…the good times the happy times and these are the best kinds of tears.

 

I cried when I got married tears of absolute joy and again when my son was born. These were wonderful events in my life but I have to admit it’s not often that I can say I cried because something was so beautiful so breathtaking that the beauty of it brought me to tears…this book is one of those times for me.

 

I’m not going to talk about the story and what happened in it because honestly my goal here is to share with you my fellow reader how beautiful I thought this story was so that hopefully when you get done reading what I sincerely hope won’t be a pitifully inadequate review the first thing you’ll want to do is get your hands on a copy of this book so you can read it as well.

 

I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a story that wrapped itself around my heart so tightly in so few pages. ‘Dear Mona Lisa’ is about love. It’s about Tom’s love for Loz, for his beautiful daughter Lou and for the other wonderful and not so wonderful people in his life and it’s about their love for him. Yes, there is sadness in Tom’s life and it’s shared with us through his memories and truthfully if not for the pain and heartache how would we truly know to appreciate and treasure the good. It’s all part of life. Thankfully Tom’s heartache is in his past and while it’s shard with us it’s not the focus of this story…it’s his life in the here and now that’s important.

 

Have you ever felt like your life is leading up to one moment, that one pivotal event that will make everything else fall into place…this is the moment that we are being led to in Tom’s life and we view it through his eyes. Much of what happens may at times seem inconsequential but for Tom it’s not and it’s all leading him to that one moment that everything else hinges on.

 

I could easily go on and on about this book, I loved it that much and when it came time to do my review I was torn because I wanted to find the words all the words that said this is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a long time and I know I’ll read it again…probably more than once or I could share with you the review that I told my husband I wanted to write…it went something like this…

 

READ THIS BOOK, IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO READ THIS F*ING BOOK. IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STORY I’VE READ IN I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG!!!

 

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An ARC of ‘Dear Mona Lisa’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

While Lace was nice...Satin was totally smooth...

Satin (A Material World Book 2) - K.C. Wells, Meredith Russell

Detective Joel Hunter is on a stakeout with his partner, Trish at The Paradise Club when he first sees the singer 'Satin'. He's more than a little fixated with her and arranges for them to return until the assignment is finished and the club's owner is behind bars. 

 

With the assignment finished and no reason to return to Club Paradise, Joel finds he's unable to get the sultry singer out of his mind and returns to the club at his first opportunity. When Satin realizes that the attractive detective is still returning to the club the question that plagues here is whether Joel is interested in Satin or the man behind she becomes once she leave the stage...Ross Duantry.

 

Every once in a reader gets lucky enough to read a book that just works from start to finish it just all goes right and sometimes it just works because it does, sometimes there are reasons and you can identify them and sometimes it's a mix of both these things. This time for me it was a mix. There were things that I liked but at the same time there was that intangible quality that connected with me. 

 

So let's talk about my favorite part of this book Detective Joel Hunter and Ross Dauntry. First Joel...

 

I loved Joel. He's not perfect and he makes mistakes but he's willing to try and fix things. Initially Joel's put forth as being straight but there are a few times in the story when the indications are more that Joel's suffering from a dose of indecision complicated by a touch of denile ...he knows he's not straight, but admitting this to himself also seems to be one of his biggest challenges. Joel doesn't always react to things as well as he could or should...he's human he makes mistakes, but it's not the mistakes that show who we truly are, it's how we deal with them and while Joel occasionally waffles back and forth on his decisions in the end he made the choices that kept taking him back to Ross.

 

Now Ross Dauntry. I loved that Ross was unapologetically Ross. He was comfortable with his sexuality and just who he was in general. That's not to say that he didn't have his own issues and insecurities...because he did. Ross's been hurt...more than once so while he definitely wanted Joel and wanted to see where things could go between them he was also a little cautious about how much he put himself out there.

 

For me the relationship was more of a slow burn. There was the initial attraction when Joel first saw Satin at The Paradise Club but things slowed down again when Joel realized that 'Satin' was Ross. Joel needed to re-evaluate his perspective on things and while Ross's feelings continued to intensify he was also guarded as to how much he was going to put himself out there and risk having his heart broken again.

 

There were two secondary characters in this story that had important parts to play as well one was Trish...Joel's partner and her I really liked. She was honest and upfront and called a spade a spade even if you wanted it to be a club. Trish was truly the kind of friend that everyone needs. She was willing to give Joel the hard truths. The other character was Ross's roommate, Helena, whom I liked until she crossed that line...the line that says 'you've gone from good friend to meddling biotch'. While Helena's heart was probably in the right place her actions were not.

 

Now the other thing that I liked was Joel and Ross together. These men were hot, seriously hot. It's been a while since an author has made me squirm in my seat and trust me when I say K. C. Wells made me squirm more than a little bit. This author not only knows how to write the sexy times but she put the emotional connection there for me as well. I love it when an author can write a scene that's not just about the sex but adds the feelings that take it from 'having sex' to 'making love', I know it sounds cliche but it's the best way that I can explain the difference to me. 

 

'Lace' was the first book in this series and I like it. It was definitely ok...but with 'Satin' things have stepped up for me and I know I plan on being around to see what K. C. Wells has in store for us in 'Silk' the third book in Ms Wells 'A Material World' series.

 

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An ARC of 'Satin' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

What would you do if your best friend accidentally learned...

Lace - K.C. Wells, Meredith Russell

your most closely guarded secret...

 

and what would you do if you were that friend and what if you were in love with each other. 

 

Ok so first thing you'd maybe do is freak out...even just a teeny, tiny bit or at least I would but for Shawn and Dave there's a little more to it.

 

Dave's straight or at least he is until he confesses to Shawn that he's bi. Shawn's gay and Dave's known this for years. What Dave doesn't know is what Shawn keeps hidden in his dresser...it's all about the lace for Shawn (no secret there...have you looked at the cover? just sayin'). 

 

This should all be easy for these two, right? I mean they're already best mates, they know each other's deepest secrets or at least they do now. Shawn's been in love with Dave for years, he just never knew that he had a chance and Dave's felt the same way about Shawn for quite a while as well. So what could possibly go wrong? 

Well for one thing Shawn could do what most people do when the wish that they want most in the world is about to come true...he could become insecure and panic leading to misunderstandings and miscommunications and Dave could maybe go a little bit overboard in his efforts to show Shawn that he cares and he doesn't have a problem with how Shawn looks in lace or out of it for that matter.

 

I liked that this was a best friends to lovers story they're a personal favorite of mine and I admit it I like the manties and honestly male or female I truly defy anyone to put on a pair of lacy, sexy, silky panties and YES! go for the freakin' expensive ones and tell me, you don't feel sexy wearing them. You could be wearing ratty jeans and a ten year old tee shirt but guaranteed you put on that sexy expensive bra and panty set underneath and how can you not feel sexy? Truly and honestly you can't especially if that special someone knows what you have on, it's like a personal invitation to them only. So how could this story not be hot! Believe me it was at times it was hella' hot. 

 

Unfortunately at times it was also frustrating. Sure Shawn and Dave are guys and we all know guys don't want to do the emotional talks, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get it truly I do but sometimes if you want someone you just gotta' suck it up buttercup and have the talk. These two needed to talk...to each other! Dave, I'mma lookin' at you here my friend...they seriously need to talk and Shawn needed to get the hell out of his head...heaven knows I wanted out. At times Shawn was his own worst enemy, he spent way more time than he needed to stressing over why Dave was suddenly interested in him. Maybe he needed to consider that rather than Dave being interested in him because of what he found in Shawn's underwear drawer that what he found was his excuse to finally express that interest...see, how easy that one was? Even without the talk sometimes things just need to be looked at from a different perspective. 

 

'Lace' is the first book in K. C. Wells 'A Material World' series and it was a cute, sweet friends to lovers romp with a bit of kink thrown in and while it wasn't over the moon fantastic for me. I did enjoy it and it left me looking forward to the next book in this series 'Satin'..." 'cause we are living in a material world and I am a material girl..." sorry, I just had to get that out there the song has been rattling around in my brain since I saw the series title...hopefully now it'll go away.

 

So far 'Personal Secrets' is my personal favorite...

Personal Secrets - K.C. Wells, Cornell Collins

‘Personal Secrets’ is book #3 in K. C. Wells series ‘Personal’ and while we get to see Blake and Will become parents to an adorable baby girl and Rick and Angelo are around and doing well. This is Ed’s story. Ed works at Trinity Publishing for Blake and we met him back in book #1 Making It Personal.

 

Ed’s a down to earth guy who speaks his mind, he enjoys his job and playing rugby. He likes spending time with his teammate Colin…as a matter of fact he likes spending time with Colin so much that he wants them to be friends with benefits…or at least that’s what he starts out wanting but as Ed and Colin spend time together Ed begins to realize that what he feels and wants from Colin goes beyond friends with benefits, but the question is ‘what does Colin want?’

 

Colin’s wanted Ed for a long time. He just never thought his straight friend would ever want something more from him but when opportunity knocks…Colin’s not only willing to open the door he’ll happily prop it open if it means having a chance at the man who monopolizes his dreams.

 

In spite of office & family drama and unexpected ex’s and thankfully with the help of some good friends, Colin and Ed manage to work through Ed’s coming to terms with his sexuality and a bit of insecurity on the part of both men.

 

I loved the honesty between these to men, not that they didn’t have their misunderstandings, but they both worked hard to try and be honest with each other. Colin was sweet, patient and supportive of Ed. While Ed may have hesitated at times, ultimately, he always faced up to how he felt about things and at times he may have even a little help from his friends but in the end Ed knew what he wanted and was willing to persist in his efforts to be the kind of man Colin wanted and would be proud of.

 

Cornell Collins is once again the narrator for this book and I’ve enjoyed having the continuity of the same voices for these characters from story to story. The voice that was Ed in the first book was the same one that I heard in this book and I enjoyed this a lot. After listening to all 3 of these audio books back to back by the time I got to the final one it felt like listening to friends sharing their stories with me.

 

I’ve developed a sincere appreciation for listening to audio books like this that are from a series and have the same MCs or as was the case with this series the same core set of characters.

 

With the first book, Making It Personal, we had Blake and Will as the MCs but Ed, Rick, Karen and few other secondary characters were in this book and carried through to the second book, Personal Changes, where Rick became one of the MCs as we watched his story with Angelo unfold and in book 3 again we are given the same cast of characters, with the addition of Angelo, as Ed and Colin’s story unfolds and I’ve really enjoyed having the same person narrate each book giving me the continuity of having the characters voices remain the same from story to story.

 

I’ve enjoyed hearing these stories on audio and with my fingers crossed that Cornell Collins will continue as the narrator I look forward to hearing more and spending a few more hours with the familiar voices of this group of co-workers and friends.

 

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A audio book copy of ‘Personal Secrets’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes opposites really do attract...

Red Fish, Dead Fish (Fish Out of Water Book 2) - Amy Lane

'Red Fish, Dead Fish' is the second book in Amy Lane's 'Fish Out of Water' series and like the first one I was gobsmacked. I loved this book. It was more complex, grittier and the sexy times...well they were sexy and sadly Jackson did not come out of things unscathed. 

 

There's a serial killer on the loose and he's got a specific target in mind...and it's Jackson. He's going after anyone he can who's connected to him, but Jackson's surrounded by a strong group of people who care...people like Jade. She's more than his best friend's sister, she's his friend and she loves him like family, his neighbor and friend, Mike. Lucy Satan or more affectionately known as Ellery's mother and my idol...when I grow up I wanna' be just like her. But most importantly he's got Ellery and Ellery's a shark in the courtroom but out of it he's a man in love willing to use every trick he has at his disposal to save Jackson not just from Owen but from himself...

"That's sweet you think your cat loves anybody as much as he loves you. No. Because once you're out of my life, he's coming after me. Think about it, Jackson. Me, all alone in the house, you not there to protect me--I'd be naked."

 

Transparent. And effective.

Ellery is awesome. He's got his priorities and he understands that this is not just war...against Owen but it a battle for love...his love for Jackson and in his eyes all's fair in both.

 

And Jackson...Jackson is about as cuddly as a brillo pad and yet he's the one who breaks my heart over and over again...

"Because the duplex isn't mine anymore," Jackson said softly.  "And...and if this place isn't home, I don't have anywhere to go."

and then you put these two together and the romance is off the charts, I mean seriously these two take sweet talk to a whole new level...

"Are we going to live?" Ellery asked, acid in his voice.

 

"Probably not--but I may like you more than anyone else I've ever killed." 

Now tell me that just doesn't just melt you into a puddle of goo on the floor. Ok, seriously there are actual words of love spoken between these two and yeah, at times it's different and maybe not quite what you'd expect but it's also sweet and heartbreaking. As determined as Ellery is to make things work between him and Jackson and to make Jackson see how good they are together, Jackson's equally determined that he just doesn't deserve this and that he's not good enough for Ellery...he's just an alley cat that no one's ever really going to want to keep. 

 

Like the first book we're given a story in it's entirety with possible links to what's going to come next but definitely not a cliffhanger. You could easily read this one and stop there if you wanted to but I would however strongly recommend reading the first book to give yourself a better understanding of the connections between a lot of the secondary characters and the MCs. Again not a necessity but potentially the difference between 'it was ok' and 'I loved it'. 

 

I tend to be more a fan of series that have a different couple in every book but when it works and it's done well like it was in Abigail Roux's series 'Cut & Run' or Josh Lanyon's 'Adrien English' and more recently Eden Winters' 'Diversion' or Kate Sherwood's 'Common Law' series, I will happily jump on board for a series with storylines as strong as the men who carry them and while this is only the second book in Amy Lane's 'Fish Out of Water' series it's shaping up to be excellent and for me the only thing that's missing right now is the next book and maybe more Lucy Satan because...damn that woman rocks.

 

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An ARC of 'Red Fish, Dead Fish' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

And now we're at the end of the line...

Forging the Future - Mary Calmes

'Forging the Future' is the fifth and final book in this series and as much as I loved 'Crucible of Fate' in a lot of ways this one has turned out to be my favorite.

 

In 'Forging the Future' we're given the answers to any lingering questions and more than a couple of werepanthers get their just desserts and a few others get their very richly deserved 'happily ever after'. This one left me feeling good about a whole lot of things and most of all happy for Jin and Logan as well as the people who have come to be their family.

 

Sean Crisden was once again the narrator for this final installment to the 'Change of Heart' series and as well as being my favorite book in the series it was also my favorite one of his narrations for this series as well.

 

Ok, that's it. I'm outta here. Movers are coming in the morning and I plan on getting a little sleep tonight so peace out everyone and Happy Monday!

 

Psst...here's the link to my original review, apparently this was the only one that I wrote a review for when I read the e-books...Forging the Future

And still more...nope, this one's not Jin & Logan...it's...

Crucible of Fate: Change of Heart Book 4 - Mary Calmes, Sean Crisden, Dreamspinner Press LLC

Domin and Koren...nope, close but no cigar...Koren screwed it up again. This time it's Domin and Yuri and for as much as I have come to love Jin and Logan...a story of Domin and Yuri is just what the doctor ordered.

 

I really loved this one. it was nice to get a story that gave a different perspective to the werepanther world and the aftermath of events that occurred in the previous book 'Honored Vow' and yet still included a bit of Jin and Logan as well. 

 

Sean Crisden was once again the narrator for this one and thankfully Crane lost of bit of his Fozzie Bear sounding voice so I definitely enjoyed things more. I love that Domin ended up with Yuri and not Koren. 

 

Yuri proved to be the mate that Domin needed he's strong and supportive and his love for Domin is solid giving Domin the foundation he needs to become the amazing leader that his friend Logan believes him to be. 

 

This one was just full of awesome and win for me. Definitely a favorite in this series.

More werepanthers = more Jin & Logan!!!

Honored Vow  - Jeff Gelder, Mary Calmes

'Honored Vow' is the third book in the series 'Change of Heart' only this time it's not so much hearts that are changing as it is Jin...he's becoming way more than you're everyday, ordinary werepanther and while Logan loves him as much as ever. It's the rest of the world giving Jin the side-eye that they need to worry about. Things are changing not just for the Church household but for Logan's tribe as well. 

 

This one's got action, adventure and some very sexy times. Once again Jeff Gelder does a solid job of narrating the audio book and my original rating of 4 stars remains unchanged. Overall both the story and the audio were enjoyable. 

 

Sorry but you know moving time constraints and all. I'm out of time. Still if you like shifters, romance and Mary Calmes...check it out.

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