...Bookfanatic

 

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

When it comes to writing stories about people that have been battered and left broken by life Garrett Leigh is one of the best...

Falling For My Roommate - Garrett Leigh

When it comes to writing stories about people that have been battered and left broken by life Garrett Leigh is one of the best.

 

I loved ‘Kiss Me Again’ it was one of the most endearing books that I’ve read/listened to and reviewed in a very long time and while ‘Falling For My Roommate’ didn’t engender quite the feels that ‘Kiss Me Again’ did from me, it still proved to be a story that was not only worth reading but has me once again looking forward to an audio version.

 

Micah is an ex-football player whose career and life tanked in a blaze of paparazzi glory and now he’s trying to put himself back together. But it’s not an easy thing to do and having a roommate that’s got him wanting more than the friendship that’s so readily happening between them when he’s sure that he doesn’t even deserve that is making things even harder but damned if he’s going to find somewhere else to live and give up a friendship that he’s come to treasure.

 

Micah’s story is one that we see all too often in today’s headlines…a well known athlete who looses his focus on his sport to the glitter and gloss of the fame and all that it brings and not of the good variety… drugs, booze, parties, faceless and meaningless sex and all of it ending in career ending tragedy.

 

Micah’s struggles were heartbreaking and then if you add in the pressure of the public scrutiny that he was forced to endure during some of the most challenging times of his life and it’s not hard to imagine that even the most well adjusted and mentally stable of people would feel overwhelmed by everything.

 

Sam’s a gay book-nerd that’s nicely packaged in the sexy body of a bartender/English lit student and he’s determined to be the friend that Micah so obviously needs. He’ll just keep the fact that he’s head-over-heels in love with his new roommate his little secret. No matter how much he wants to shake Micah until he sees himself the way that Sam does, because Sam’s not convinced that Micah is the undeserving person that he claims to be.

While this one doesn’t belong to Ms Leigh’s ‘Lucky Series’ it didn’t escape my notice that we got a peek at Dom and yes, I might have squeed a bit about this. It’s just one of those things that’s a perk of the story for me.

 

‘Falling For My Roommate’ is a story about finding love it’s also a stark and realistic look at what being with someone who deals with a mental health issue means. It’s not a sunshine, lollipops and all things sparkly and bright life. It’s good days and bad days, it’s having faith and hope when it doesn’t seem like you should. It’s about loving that person when even they don’t think they’re loveable and that’s just for the average person…add in the fame and notoriety of being someone who’s famous and things become even more complicated especially in today’s society.

 

The fact that Garrett Leigh creates stories that share not just in the telling, but in that they allow the reader to connect with things on an emotional level is one of the things that I appreciate the most about her stories.

 

‘Falling For My Roommate’ isn’t a sweet and fluffy story but it is a story that has what for me is the best kind of HEA…one that could really happen. Micah has to slay his own dragons and for as much as I came to appreciate Sam it wasn’t because he was anyone’s white knight it was because he was someone who was strong enough to be there for the person he cared about…not just the person he loved but someone who he considered to be a friend. But even Sam knew he couldn’t be Micah’s salvation just his support when he needed it. For me this was a story that felt real, it’s out there and one has only to look for it…who knows maybe it’s a story some have already lived.

 

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An ARC of ‘Falling For My Roommate’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Hide your frisbees boys and girls...Jordan's on the loose...

Howling on Hold - E.J.  Russell, Greg Boudreaux

So the lovely Ms Sandra says to me..."I read this and liked it, want the audio?" of course I scampered off to audible to listen to the audio clip for it and saw that the narrator was none other than Greg Boudeaux, skipped the audio clip because...Greg Boudeaux need I say more? scampered back to my e-mail and said 'Yes please'. Seriously how could I go wrong? I couldn't and didn't, ok?

 

First off can I just say this is a shifter book but hey no my first ride at this rodeo and it's by new to me author E.J. Russell...new to me not to a whole lot of other people.

 

What I found here was a story that simply worked and worked well for me. It was cute and touched with humorous moments that had me laughing and frequently smiling. There were a whole lot of characters from 'Fae Out of Water' and 'Supernatural Selection' previous series by this author and as someone who hasn't read any of these books I can comfortably say that while I read/listen to and very much enjoy this book, I'd really like to go back and enjoy the earlier books as well because there were times when I wouldn't exactly say that I felt lost but I did feel like something was missing and I wasn't quite getting the connections between characters.

 

Tanner's getting close to the end of his 3 year 'Howling' and fears getting recalled to his pack...he doesn't want to return to the remote and isolated pack much less become it's Alpha. He wants to go to college and learn and see what the world holds for him but more importantly he wants to find out how it would feel to have Chase hold him. 

 

Chase is the RA at Tanner's Howling residence and he can't in all honestly deny that he's attracted to Tanner but as Tanner's RA he's just going to keep that little bit of info to himself...because it just wouldn't be appropriate and that maybe true or at least it was true until the night of Tanner's 21st birthday when it seems that 'all hell breaks loose' and it's going to be months before anyone figures out everything that really happened.

 

When Chase realizes that Tanner is missing he decides to take matters into his own hands and he goes to 'Quest Investigations' for help (fans of this author's work will recognize this agency from the 'Fae Out of Water' series). 

 

With the help of Mal and *gasp!* Hue (as in Hu Man, seriously it's a supernatural joke or you can just think Dad joke...I did), Chase begins his search for Tanner and this is where things really begin to get fun and interesting.

 

There were a lot of interesting characters in this story and not all of them came from previous books of the authors. Tanner's house mates at 'Howling' residence all seemed to have their own challenging and unique personality...there was Hector and his love of food all things food and he also seemed to be a bit of a tech geek, then there was Gage I didn't really get a strong sense of his character and of course this makes me think we need to find out more about him, there was also Jordan and if you've read/listened to this book you can't forget Jordan...lock down your Frisbee everyone and watch out for the holes. Jordan for me was like a squirrel on crack. He went from one thing to next so fast that he left people feeling a little dazed and confused but very much amused, in spite of the fact that they we usually left holding on to a very gnawed on Frisbee as they fell into a hole that wasn't there 5 minutes ago.

 

Tanner and Chase were very well matched each having their own challenges to over come and each containing that quiet inner strength that for me lies at the heart of any true alpha male. 

 

While I enjoyed the ending and it was nice as it was, I think I would have liked a little more finality in Chase and Tanner's relationship...but maybe that'll come in a future story?

 

'Howling on Hold' was one of those stories that I found to be totally entertaining. I enjoyed the characters, the story line, the pacing and add in the superb narrating skills of Greg Boudeaux and this one was pretty well a guaranteed hit for me. Overall 'Howling on Hold' was the type of story that left me smiling and feeling entertained.

 

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An audio book of 'Howling on Hold' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I took so long getting to this one because...SciFi...

Consorts of the Red King - Eden Winters, Darcy Stark

The fact that I even tried it...Eden Winters...Darcy Stark... 

 

I'm a big fan of this author. Even before her 'DIversion' series I was devouring her books...from 'Almost Mine' to 'The Wish' I've enjoyed this author's stories and while I had initially decided that this would be the one that I just took a pass on when the opportunity presented itself to read the book...I caved and in some ways that was probably the right choice...this one's SciFi folks...sooooo much SciFi I just couldn't connect so I took a break and because sometimes Karma's not a b*tch...the book came out on audio and audio is my friend especially when the audio is being done by a narrator as talented as Darcy Stark.

 

So I grabbed me a copy of the audio book and then I spent a week staring at it whenever I decided to listen to an audio book because "Ohmygod!!! It's SciFi and what if I don't like it...and yes, I did angst a bit about this." before putting on my big girl panties and telling myself "If I don't like it, I don't like it. The world will not end." So here's what my audio adventure taught me...

 

apparently if it's a good story, it's a good story and while I struggled a bit when I tried to read this story, when I got it on audio with what I consider to be a rather talented narrator I found myself relaxing and focusing on the details and allowing my mind to visualize the world(s) that this author created and the life forms...yes, that's right this one goes beyond the light SciFi that I've listened to and enjoyed in the past and by light SciFi I'm talking humans, tech, maybe some genetic enhancement and/or manipulation and for me that's a level of SciFi that I'm comfortable with and often enjoy. It's not about good or bad it's about comfort level and that's mine but even I occasionally venture outside of my comfort levels, I find it to be a healthy thing to do and as it turned out this was a good time to do it.

 

First off Darcy Stark did a superlative job with the voices in this story from Van and Tayn to Jorvik, whose voice I imagine offered it's own unique challenge and then there was the Commander whose voice along with Ms WInters description created a very well defined image for me and can I just say...I am never sitting down to a meal with that dude... humanoid...alien life form?

 

If I've learned anything from my past history it's not that I don't like SciFi it's that when it comes to SciFi my preferences are auditory and visual...I've enjoyed several SciFi stories on audio as well as more than a few movies and/or television shows...so this is totally me thing. But once I got into this story I was all in.

 

The combination of Eden Winters story telling skills and Darcy Starks narration created not just a world but a universe that I wanted to explore as well as telling me a story that I was fully invested in. From the heat and passion of Van, Taryn and Jorvik's relationship to Jorvik's struggles to save his world this story basically had it all and uniquely so.

 

I'm not going to delve into any of the intricacies of the this story because I truly don't think I could do it justice. What I will say is that whether it's auditory or visual SciFi still isn't an easy sell with me but in the end it comes down to the story that's been created and with "Consorts of the Red King" the reader or in my case listener's been given a story that's filled with action, adventure, intrigue, subterfuge, love and passion changing the challenge from 'how to start' to 'how to stop'? I may have had a rather late night in there somewhere.

 

My rating for this one may have only been 3.5 stars but considering that I'm not sitting in my comfort zone on this one either...well, let's just say for me those are some pretty bright stars.

 

The other thing that I know for sure is that while this story could essentially stand on it's own as it is. Should the author choose to pick-up where things have been left and give us more about this unique trio and their adventures it could be done seamlessly at any time and if that happens I'll be there waiting for the audio book narrated by Darcy Stark...please and thank you.

 

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Things are getting seriously good here...

Unholy - Morgan Brice

‘Unholy’ is the most recent addition to Morgan Brice’s ‘Witchbane’ series and for me as well as becoming my favorite in the series, so far, it’s also accomplished two things…first it’s simply taken things to a whole different level and secondly, more so than any of the previous books, it’s connected the ‘Witchbane’ series to both her ‘Badlands’ and ‘Treasure Trails’ series as well as her ‘Deadly Curiosities’ and ‘Night Vigil’ series which she writes as Gail Z. Martin.

 

While this may all sound a bit confusing and maybe even overwhelming because one might ask ‘Oh lordie, you mean I have to read all these series to keep up with this one…the answer is no.’ The connection from series to series is the characters and what they all do. In general, in each one of these series the MCs are dealing with the paranormal either relics or creatures (ghost, ghouls, vampires, etc.) and while the MC’s interact from series to series the author provides enough background to comfortably enable the reader to read as many or as few of the series as you’d like. Personally, I’ve been reading the ‘Badlands’, ‘Treasure Trails’ and obviously ‘Witchbane’ series but haven’t even dipped into ‘Deadly Curiosities’ or ‘Night Vigil’ which isn’t due to lack of desire but a lack of time…so many books, so little time.

 

Here in ‘Unholy’ Seth and Evan are once again hunting one of the dark warlocks responsible for killing the descendants of the deputies who participated in their hanging only this time they’ve lost the element of surprise and the warlock not only knows they’re coming, he’s taken his sacrifice early and now he’s hunting Seth and Evan. He’s placed a curse on them, one that comes with an expiry date. So, time is of the essence for Seth and Evan. Thankfully here in Charleston, Seth and Evan discover that while time may be running out their resources are stronger than ever.

 

Without a doubt the absolute best part of this story for me was how much the characters from all of the series that I’ve mentioned got to interact and while I haven’t read them all I had no trouble following what was going on and who was who but, I also developed a strong urge to read the books that I haven’t gotten to yet. So yes, my goal is to do a big binge read on everything that I’ve missed to date and happily while the series are somewhat connected the timeline for each series stands separate and apart from the others.

 

I’ve been a fan of this series and ‘The Badlands’ from the first books. However, I have to admit until now the ‘Badlands’ has been the series that’s held the stronger attraction for me but with ‘Unholy’ all bets are off and I’m every bit as addicted to Seth and Evan as I am to ‘Simon and Vic’.

 

This story hooked me quick and fast. I stayed up well into the wee hours of the night reading and then I was awake in the wee hours of the morning to jump back into things. With the events of ‘Unholy’ the author has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for how things play out as Seth and Even continue their efforts to end an age old curse that began over a hundred years ago with the hanging of a coven of dark warlocks and I’m more than a little curious to see how things play out not just for Seth and Evan but for the full cast of characters that that author has introduce us to in this series and the ones that it shares a connection to.

 

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An ARC of ‘Unholy’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Let's play T.A.G. ok? You're it...

T.A.G. You're Seen - Merlin R. Carothers, Gomez Pugh

T.A.G. You’re Seen is the first audio book in a new series by new to me author A.G. Carothers and narrated by Gomez Pugh. Overall, it was an interesting premise…T.A.G. stands for ‘The Assassins’ Guild’ and I think the name says it all as to what they’re all about. ‘T.A.G. You’re Seen’ is a story that leans a bit more towards the humorous side than other books of it’s ilk.

 

Before I get into what did or didn’t work about the actual story, I just want to take a few words to say that while this was a new to me author, I’ve very familiar with the narrator. I’ve listened to approximately 10 audio books by this narrator and while I’ve enjoyed them all to varying degrees. I found that Mr. Pugh showed a broader scope and diversity with his voices in this story than has sometimes been heard in previous narrations…so overall when it comes to the audio aspect of this story…a very solid 4 stars for this.

 

After having botched his latest assignment, Mr. W is having a bit of recovery time by way of an ‘easy’ assignment. His most recent mark is Jacob Peters, an apparently innocent English professor who lives in a small mountain town. Only it doesn’t take long before Mr. W decides something is amiss and he’s determined to get to the bottom of things.

 

‘T.A.G. You’re Seen’ was not quite the story that I expected and truthfully it’s left me in a bit of a quandary as to whether I loved it or hated it…ok, maybe hates a bit of a strong word. I liked the overall premise and there were a lot of details that I enjoyed like the mystery of Jacob Peters, I honestly wasn’t expecting this.

 

I was also more than a little amused by some of the ‘tortures’ Yoshi used during the course of this story… it turns out that plastic wrap is useful for more than keeping food fresh, who knew? Certainly not I and apparently torture by music infomercial is a thing…while the idea maybe a new concept to me, I can see the merit, having lived through the days of K-tel records.

 

For the most part the characters offered potential…although I think I would have liked it if they’d had a little more consistency and depth to them…especially Yoshi, I just found that his character vacillated between being an assassin and…well, a twelve year old who’s decided that his penis is his favorite toy…sorry, but Yoshi just seemed a bit to consumed with this part of his anatomy given the circumstances of his life…maybe, not the brain that he should have been using for important life choices.

 

I did however like Conner or as Yoshi called him ‘Connie’. Connie was the brother of Yoshi’s heart and they had a very close bond that I found to be quite sweet and endearing especially given that they’ve been raised to be bad ass assassins and unfortunately the other thing that I really enjoyed was as how the plot played out, which I honestly don’t want to say more about since I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it.

 

The thing that just didn’t work for me, and please note this is entirely a matter of personal reading likes and/or dislikes was in regards to the sex…even though BDSM and/or breathe play aren’t my thing, when used in a story and done right it can be hot but at the same time when it comes to things like ‘watersports’ and ‘humiliation’…not my thing and never going to be hot for me no matter how well written the scene is but  I knew going into this that, I would encounter scenes involving these predilections and as we all know forewarned is forearmed. So feel free to assume that this did factor into my rating but only marginally…let’s say .25 to .5 of a star.

 

At the end of things, I came away with bit more that I liked and/or was curious about than things that truly bothered or just didn’t work for me, so for me the juries still out as the whether or not I’ll be continuing with this series but I’m certainly going to be checking out the next book before I make a firm decision one way or the other.

 

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An audio book of ‘T.A.G. You’re Seen’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I've been looking forward to this one...

Reserved (Tales of Bryant #4) - V.L. Locey

"Reserved" is the fourth book in Ms. Locey's series 'Tales of Bryant' and while I've been looking forward to it for a while now because it's Adrian's story and I've come to really like this character and bizarrely enough even though I didn't feel like I loved this book quite as much as the previous ones. I think I actually like Adrian as much or maybe even a little bit more than I did before reading it.

 

We've met Adrian in previous stories he's an up and coming event planner. He planned Isamu and Brian's wedding among other events. He's larger than life. Adrian is flamboyant and he's living his own truth. There's just so much about him that I adore...like his hats. Ok, I know this may seem strange but I love hats unfortunately because I come from a family with larger than average head sizes, wearing hats for me is simply cost prohibitive. So, when I encounter a character in a book who can indulge in something that for me isn't a practical reality because at the heart of things I am a boringly practical person, I live vicariously through them...therefore, Adrian + hats = happy me.

 

Adrian is in many ways a larger than life character but he's also very genuine and endearing. He's a successful event planner and needless to say he's got a very busy career that allows little time for a 'personal life'. So, the fact that he meets the man who makes his heart go pitter, patter while he's working really comes as no surprise. That said man is also a police officer was maybe not surprising but definitely interesting. 

 

Galen Ellison is one of New York's finest. He's out, proud and the perfect match for Adrian. He's strong, confident, handsome and not only was he not bothered or intimidated by Adrian's over the top, flamboyant ways, but, it was very much a part of what attracted Galen to him in the first place. 

 

For me 'Reserved' felt like a bit of a modern day fairy tale and for the most part I really enjoyed it. I loved getting to see more of Adrian, I adored that Galen loved Adrian for who and how he was never trying to change him...simply treasuring Adrian in all his awesomeness.

 

While it's always fun to meet new characters such as Galen or Tracy, Adrian's new assistant, it's having little moments here and there with characters from previous stories that's always one of my favorite things.  

 

I've pondered this story for a couple of days now and for the life of me, I haven't been able to figure out what it was that caused it not to work quite as well as the previous stories for me, but I do know that I still really like Adrian and while a bit more angst laden than some of the previous stories, I did enjoy it and I definitely liked the pairing of Adrian and Galen...so, I'm going with it was simply my state of mind when I read it.

 

I sincerely feel that if I were to re-read this, say in a couple of months or whenever, I can very easily imagine that my rating would be different than the 3.5 stars that I've given it here, but for now it is what it is and truthfully 3.5 stars is by no means a bad thing and when the next story is out for this series I'll be there with my grabby little hands ready to jump in and find out what's happening and to whom.

 

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

Another one of my favs on audio...

Kiss Me Again - Roy Calley, Garrett Leigh

I think 'Kiss Me Again' has become one of my favorite Garrett Leigh stories. I loved the hell out of this story the first time I read it and now listening to it on audio...well, I think I came to love it even more. I would have added more stars to my rating, if that were possible but sadly it is not.

 

Dan Calley was the narrator for this audio book and he's a new to me narrator that I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from. For me the voices he created to fill out the image of these characters was very much in sync with what I'd created in my mind when I originally read this story so listening to the audio book was even more enjoyable for me.

 

At this point I'm going to borrow a couple of paragraphs from my original review of this story because honestly I could write and write and write and not express why I enjoyed this book as much as I did better than I did in my original review (I know this because I just tried and failed) so, if it ain't broke, why try to fix it...

 

I love stories with characters that aren't perfect...they have weaknesses, flaws, medical conditions... whatever...they're real. They're not outrageously attractive and dynamic with amazingly successful careers or simply loaded with money, etc. etc. in a word they're not perfect, they're just ordinary, everyday people...because that's the kind of characters that I can relate to the best...mostly because..."Hello, ordinary, everyday person right here."

 

In 'Kiss Me Again' we meet Tree Surgeon Aidan Drummond. Aidan's a loner he doesn't want his life complicated by things and people...until an accident lands him in the hospital in a bed directly across from the bed occupied by Ludo Giordano, the most beautiful young man that Aidan's ever seen. Ludo's in the hospital following surgery and to get his meds regulated. Ludo's Bipolar and that means he's not going to get better, his condition isn't going away at the best of times things will be managed.

I had more than a little appreciation for Aidan's struggles and determination to understand what being bipolar meant for Ludo and how it could impact his life...as someone who spent 15+ years working in community healthcare I found this to be dealt with in both an effective and compassionate manner.

 

From the first time they lay eyes on each other Aidan and Ludo connect. The connection that they share isn't a 'love-at-first-sight' connection. This is about two people who get each other they understand how the other's brain works, what makes them tick, what soothes them, what irritates them...they just get each other it's a bit of an inexplicable thing that just happens. It's like meeting someone for the first time but feeling like you've known them for years. That's how things start for Aidan and Ludo and during their hospital stay the bond that they felt when the first saw each other begins to strengthen.

 

'Kiss Me Again' is a story about a friendship that found it's way to love. What captured my heart the most about these two men was how they fit, how each of them wanted to care for the other not by changing them but by being able to give them strength when they were weak, by quietly filling their moments of need with strength.

From start to finish I was enchanted with the quiet and simplistic beauty that was Ludo and Aidan's relationship. 'Kiss Me Again' is about the magic of love in an ordinary world between ordinary people to create something extraordinary in their lives.

 

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An audio book of 'Kiss Me Again' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Booklikes Active Poster

Reblogged from Obsidian Blue:

Updated 3/3/20:

 

Wanted to give this another chance to be picked up by others. We had a lot of comments and it was great to see so many active posters!

 

I thought this would be a good way for us to comment and then share the post to see who is still here to make sure we are all following each other. I only bring this up because I see some people posting and I appear to be the only one following their reviews.

 

I have gotten some comments from bots though which is another reason why I wanted us all to take this Friday to comment and share this post so we can all find each other. 

 

Feel free to drop your name in the comments and share! 

I think I'm in the minority on this one...

Ex Meridian - A.E. Via

I've enjoyed this series so far and as is often the case I've enjoyed some stories more than others. 

 

So far my absolute favorites have been 'Nothing Special V' and 'Nothing Special VI: His Hart's Command' (especially this one) I really loved both of these stories but then I admit I'm a bit of a geek/nerd fan, I love stories where it takes both brains and brawn to resolve a situation where everyone has a chance to show their worth and I admit I just really, really like Tech and Free, they're two of my favorite characters in the series.

 

I think what happened here for me was a bit of a disconnect. With most of the other characters we got a chance to meet one or both of them before getting their story. With the exception of God and Day of course since they started it all. While I don't feel that meeting characters before they become the MCs of a story is a requirement for me...it's nice but not necessary and what happened here was that both Ex and Meridian came so far out of nowhere that they were a bit of a 'what the hell?' moment for me and I can deal with this most of the time...surprises can be fun. This time around I just found my imagination have to stretch to far to make it work.

 

Unfortunately in this case I also just couldn't connect with the characters or their relationship.  These men were suppose to be deadly and lethal and quite honestly I just wasn't feeling it. At times for me they almost came off as careless and immature. Considering that they were supposedly recruited and trained to be part of a super secret dark ops government program their characters just didn't quite hit the mark for me and I fully recognize that this is very much a subjective opinion and may have worked well for others so not right or wrong just personal opinion here.

 

Ironically even though I didn't really connect on any level with the characters and their relationship what saved the relationship aspect enough to give it some believability as far as I was concerned was the fact that there is a history of an eight year old working relationship here and not a typical working relationship here. Ex and Meridian have literally lived in each other's back pockets for much of this time and they have saved each other's lives, on more than one occasion, creating a situation where having intense feelings for each other was made an easily believable thing.

 

The best thing about this story was the fact that essentially the God, Day and their entire team were a part of this story. It was like old home week and everyone was in attendance and of course like all good alpha males everyone had thoughts to share. 

 

'EX Meridian' wasn't exactly a huge success for me, neither was it a total fail and according to the blurb these are two new characters in the series so while they may not be favorites for me...yet, who knows what the future will bring to this pairing and how I'll feel once we get to know them better.

 

Also I'm sort of curious about their driver Slade and at the same time I honestly couldn't decide if I want to know more about him of if he was just a superfluous sidebar that we could all do without...in short for me the jury's still out on some of this story.

 

I know the blurb on a number of the books in this series says they can be read as standalones and essentially they probably could but truthfully I think that reading the series from the start makes for a more enjoyable reading experience and gives an even better sense of understanding between the couples and the over all team dynamics.

 

While this one didn't garner the love from me that some of the previous stories have overall the series is still a keeper on my reading list and I have to admit I'm more than a little anxious to get the next book in the series...it's Fox and Bull's turn to be in the spotlight and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say "I can't wait!"

 

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An ARC of "EX Meridian" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

This doesn't happen often but...

Spectred Isle - K.J. Charles, Ruairi Carter

I received a copy of 'Spectred Isle' as a Christmas gift from my lovely friend Christelle, so
hugs and a big thank you to her...and no this isn't the part that doesn't happen often, that's the part where I read it and forgot to add it to my book shelf but what can I say holidays are busy and sometimes these things do happen.

But I'm about to remedy my oversight with a 2 for 1 special because I also discovered the audio book as part of the 'audible escape' program and so of course I needed to refresh my memory before attempting a review.

Saul Lazenby is an unassuming archaeologist, who's had a bit of bad luck and finds himself working for an elderly man who quite honestly seems to have more money than brains but Saul's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth he likes having a roof over his head and food to eat. His employer knows what happened to him. He's an honorable gentleman whose been very forthright with the details of his circumstances and his employer doesn't care.

Randolph Glyde is the last of an an ancient line of archanist and he takes his duties very seriously.

Both men are somewhat more than they appear to be. As their paths keep crossing and strange events keep occurring what starts out as mutual a relationship based on mutual attraction with a solid dose of mistrust soon becomes a partnership with the mutual goal of getting to the heart of what's happening as well as opening up their hearts to each other.

Before I wrap this up I'll just take a moment to mention that the narrator was Ruairi Carter who is a new to me narrator and did an awesome job with this story. I'm definitely going to be checking his backlist out to see what else he's narrated that I can enjoy to help pass the time until there's more 'Green Men' to enjoy.

While I'm typically not a big fan of historical stories, KJ Charles is one of a small list of authors who I know will deliver a really enjoyable story no matter what year it takes place in. Plus...there's magic and masons and if that's not enough there's 'green men' but of course you knew this right? Because the series it's call 'Green Men' so it only stands to reason and now for the sad news...when I went to see when I'd be able to get my hands on the next book the blurb simply said...please not this is on hold until further notice. While this makes me sad I have every faith that when the author is able to resume the series it will prove to have been worth the wait.

About that cliff I've been hanging around...

Criminal Intentions: Deep Spiral - Cole McCade

Well here I am back with Cole McCade's latest episode of 'Criminal Intentions, Season Two' and while I thankfully feel that I can take a tiny step back from the edge of the cliff and maybe even breath a bit...not much but I'll take what I can get. 

 

Now before I get into my review for Episode 5, Deep Spiral...let me just say yes, I did read the preview at the end of this episode and I also read Cole's Q&A which comes right after the preview and I have my theory on what it all means and I'm going to have faith in Cole and stick with what I'm thinking until I'm forced to do otherwise...that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

Ok, now that we're done with the elephant in the room let's move on to this episode...holyfreakin'motherof$#$*&*%(*$(#!!!!...seriously if ever an author has f*$#ed with my emotions it's Cole McCade, without fail each episode in this series is a roller coaster ride of epic proportions and...well, quite honestly "I LOVE IT!"...what can I say I'm a glutton for punishment, so bring it on.

 

As it says in the blurb Seong-Jae and Mal are faced with one of the GRK's proxie's in a hostage situation and for most of this episode things were tense...very, very tense and when all is said and done we're left with the distinct impression that Seong-Jae and Mal are very much on the GRK's radar. As for Aanga Joshi...well, he definitely engendered some compassion from me. I think we can all agree that realizing that the person you love not only loves someone else but even if they didn't you would still not be right for them is a very emotional thing for anyone to have to acknowledge but I don't think Joshi's going to have the time to worry about that...things are happening.

 

Meanwhile back in Baltimore...things weren't any better. There really wasn't a lot of forward movement in the plot where Anjulie is concerned as a matter of fact her issues seem to be compounding and what will happen with Huang is still not clear but damned if Sade didn't prove what many of us have already suspected... they are not to be messed with. 

 

'Criminal Intentions' is without a doubt the type of series that takes a person on one hell of an emotionally draining roller coaster ride only to leave you sitting in that roller coaster car screaming... "Again!!!! Let's do it again!!!!" and as much as I hate the wait each ride has proven to be worth it.

 

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A copy of "Criminal Intentions: Deep Spiral" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

A sheriff, a hockey player and a cowboy are in a bar...

Changes Coming Down - Kaje Harper

I know we've all heard that joke but in this case it's not a joke but the beginning of a new series by Kaje Harper...but...before I get into my review...

 

I'm going to tell you a quick story that sort of relates to this book...

You see Scott Edison, our hockey player is playing for the Toronto Marlies and he's working really hard to achieve the dream...every little boy who has every laced on a pair of skates and held a hockey stick has probably had this dream. Scott's waiting for that day when he gets his big break and is called up to play in the NHL and not just for any team...nope, Scott's dream is to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and now for my little sidebar story...

 

I was actually going to write this review yesterday but as is often the case fact turned out to be stranger than fiction when the Leafs played the Carolina Hurricanes and it happened that both of the Hurricanes goalies came up injured so apparently in a situation like this the team can draw on pretty much anyone to fill the position and that's what Carolina did they called up the zamboni driver to be their goalie and not just any zamboni driver nope, since it was a hometown game for the Leafs they used their zamboni driver and as I'm sure most hockey fans already know...the Leafs lost...final score 6-3 for Carolina and now that the laughter has died down I'm going to try and get serious about my review. Sorry, I just needed to share this because...for years now people have said that the Leafts are jinxed and after this I think they might be right but also...Scott you seriously need to reconsider your life choices. 

 

Ok, enough of the sidebar stuff let's talk about what truly matters here...this book. I'm a fan of Kaje Harper. I adore her series 'The Rebuilding Years' I've read the e-books and loved it so much I have the audiobooks as well which made the decision to read 'Changes Coming Down' pretty much a no-brainer for me. 

 

Casey's a sheriff, Will's a cowboy and Scott plays hockey (as I've mentioned) so honestly each of these men have cause to want to stay 'in the closet'. It's not right and it's not how the world should be but it is how the world is in far to many places and while I'm not a fan of staying in the closet and I can't say that 'it worked' for me in this case what I will say is that it suited the situation and the dynamics for want of a more practical way to express things. 

 

In spite of the fact that the relationship between these three worked and I liked the story I was really hoping that they'd give me more feelz than what I got. Which isn't to say that I won't read the next book because I definitely want to read the next book. There are questions to be answered still and our threesome is definitely in the midst of some life changing events and while I may not be 'in love' with them yet. There's some very strong like going on for my part and I'm curious to find out how things turn out for them and what else life has in store for them as a trio and as individuals.

 

Ms Harper had a fair bit to lay out here with the relationship dynamics, background for the MCs individually and as a threesome/thruple/menage/trio/traid whatever name you choose to give them and then there's each man's story as it pertains to them but also as it effects the relationship and for me it was nicely done.

 

Situations were well represented and clear and not to downplay it but there's also a bit of a mystery going on here and in spite of the fact that it was maybe a bit obvious as to the why and who of it, I really didn't find myself disappointed over it since the mystery part of things never felt to me like it was a priority in the story but more like a secondary aspect that helped to facilitate everything else.

 

'Changes Coming Down' is a solid beginning to a new series by Kaje Harper and I honestly can't wait to find out what the changes will be? Here's hoping that the next book is in the works.

 

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

Five jobs, five chances at redemption and this is job #2…

Pros & Cons of Deception - A.E. Wasp, Walker Williams

Deception’s the theme for this job and the man that Charlie thinks can pull it off is none other than…’Bond’…Wesley Bond. What can I say he couldn’t resist, and neither could I.

 

Wesley’s a computer specialist. Some might call him a ‘hacker’ who specializes in the redistribution of wealth…a modern-day Robin Hood if you like. I prefer computer specialist since computers are his weapon of choice for his undertakings whether its redistributing someone’s finances or gathering information. Give him a computer and he’ll give you results and he’s going to need them if he wants to be successful in his mission to take down modern day slave traders.

 

We’ve not only got everyone back on board for this mission, but the team is growing. Along with Steel Alvarez comes Breck the man he rescued and fell in love with, in the previous book and with Breck, comes his best friend and fellow victim from book #1 Danny Monroe.

 

Wesley’s assignment takes the team to a vacation resort on a tropical island and while for some it’s a working vacation for Wesley and Danny the sexy, funny, smart, gorgeous and did I mention sexy? ex-prostitute…if you want to know what else you missed then do your homework and go back and read/listen to the first book…now, where were we…oh…that’s right Wesley and Danny, they’re going undercover as…you guessed it lovers…let the fun begin.

 

Once again A. E. Wasp has created a story that’s filled with action, adventure, drama, intrigue, suspense, danger and more than a few laughs. As Wesley and Danny begin their pretense of being lovers…which, is really not a hardship for either man given the strength of their attraction to each other.

 

Considering the fact that Wesley is the ideal image of what Danny wants in a man…he’s smart, sexy and those baggy clothes that he hides under haven’t really done their job because Danny’s sure there is one sexy toned body underneath it all.

Now if Wesley could just keep from being so distracted by Danny and keep his feet out of his mouth whenever he talks maybe he could actually figure out how to let Danny know what he really thinks of him and how he really feels…then their relationship could be more than pretend.

 

While I enjoyed Wesley and Danny’s relationship follies. This time for me the real star was the mission and the hijinks that were involved. In both the previous story and this one the times when these men were working together and wearing their communication devices were hilarious no to mention that this time around with the exception of Wesley and Danny the men were cast into ‘jobs’ that…well, let’s just say their qualifications were dubious at best and circumstances more often than not were entertaining awkward…between the scantily dressed bartender, militarized daycare and what sounded like a bathroom mishap worthy of Abbott & Costello with some interesting B&E on the side…well, things were entertainingly dicey at times.

 

The real mystery for me so far is…who is Josy, really? Because I’m pretty sure she’s not just a housekeeper/cook/den mother for these men and then there’s the question of Leo’s phone friend…’you can call me Al’, ok…but Al, I’mma just wondering what’s your real name?

 

Once again, the narrators were Alexandre Steele and Tor Thom and once again, I was delighted with the audio performance of this story. I’m looking forward to the next adventure in this series and I have zero doubt that I’ll be holding out for the audio book. After listening to the first two books on audio, I truthfully can’t imagine that I’d enjoy reading these stories nearly as much as I enjoy having them read to me.

 

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An audio book for ‘The Pros & Cons of Deception’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

It’s Charlie’s Angels meets Mission Impossible with a little touch of the A-team thrown in for good measure…

Pros & Cons of Vengeance - A.E. Wasp, Walker Williams

and it’s all done in a very sexy and humorous way…

 

‘Pros & Cons of Vengeance’ was very reminiscent of shows/movies that were not only a part of my youth, but shows/movies that I loved to watch. While ‘Charlie’s Angels’ was the first of these shows to come to mind for me and for what I think is very obvious reasons…first we have the mysterious Charlie and while this Charlie is dead we never did meet the original Charlie from television and then we have his ‘lawyer’ Miranda “Bosley” and a cast of 5 angels vs the three female angels that the television Charlie had.

 

It’s when we come to the angels that we start to deviate to other shows/movies…such as Mission Impossible or Oceans Eleven. Shows/movies where the team is comprised of men who each have their own unique talents and for the most part tend to walk on the wrong side of the law but ironically they also seem to have stronger moral fiber than many who claim to be on the right side of the law.

 

Regardless of any reflections of past shows/movies that these stories seemed to bring to mind for me the stories themselves were refreshingly original.

 

I was surprised to realize that “The Pros & Cons of Vengeance” my first time reading this author and happily it’s turned out to be a good time. Stories that contain a bit of romance, adventure and intrigue are among my favorites and always have been going all the way back to the days numerous shows/movies that this story engenders memories of.

 

Here in ‘Pros & Cons of Vengeance’ the author had a really big task to accomplish since it is the starting point for everything that comes after. The reader never actually meets the mysterious Charlie since everything begins with his funeral. This was seriously one ‘reading of the will’ that I would have loved to attend because basically it’s also a case of ‘blackmail from beyond the grave’ as it says in the blurb 5 jobs, 5 chances for redemption. Each man is given a mission and once he accomplishes it, Charlie’s lawyer Miranda Bosley will wipe the slate clean of whatever it is that Charlie has on them. So not only do we get the story/1st mission, we also get to meet a very ensemble cast of characters…there’s the 5 men in question and a group of supporting characters who will also recur in future stories.

 

‘Vengeance’ is the first mission and it’s assigned to ‘Steel’ Alvarez ex-Special Forces close protection specialist. His assignment, should he decide to accept…nothing too complicated, just take down a seemingly untouchable senator with a proclivity for abusing young male hookers. Needless to say, Steel’s all in on this one and that’s before he meets Breck Pfeiffer one of the senator’s most recent victims. However, Steel’s no fool he knows he can’t accomplish his mission without a little…ok maybe a lot of help from his ‘friends’?

 

‘The Pros & Cons of Vengeance’ for me was one of those stories that I could just sit back, relax and enjoy. There was action, intrigue, romance and laughs so may laughs and in the good way. The story was laced with a solid dose of humor and it was the kind that kept me smiling and laughing.

 

I won’t say that I’m fussy when it comes to comedy, but I feel like it’s one of those things that you either get or you don’t. I’ve read books or watched shows/movies that were suppose to be humorous and I haven’t even cracked a smile while everyone else is rolling on the floor and the opposites happened as well, for me it just comes down to you get it or you don’t. I got it…seriously or maybe not so seriously in this case I got it.

 

As well as a new to me author on this one, I got not one but two new to me narrators by the names of Alexandre Steele and Tor Thom. I have to admit not being familiar with either narrator I can’t say who voiced what throughout the course of the story but I can safely say that I enjoyed the narration in it’s entirety, which is a huge relief for more than one reason…one of course being that I had to listen to the story and thankfully because these two knew what they were doing, I don’t need to worry about getting anything wrong about who did what, that I did or didn’t like.  I can just summarize with I enjoyed it all.

 

This story was simply delightful and add to that the fact that as I said back at the beginning for me it was very reminiscent of so many shows/movies from my youth shows/movies like Charlie’s Angels, Mission Impossible, Ocean’s Eleven with a touch of ‘A-Team’ and ‘The Avengers’ and no I don’t mean the Marvel Avengers. The thing about all of these shows that I loved was that they had a touch of everything in them…there was action, adventure, romance, mystery suspense and humor (sometimes more than others but there was usually at least a light touch of humor). It’s a good recipe for any story if it’s done right because really it offers a little bit of something for everyone if it’s done right and so far it seems like the author has found a good mix to create something that a lot of people should enjoy.

 

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An audio book for ‘The Pros & Cons of Vengeance’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

It seems that paranormal stories are becoming a regular thing in my reading world...

Surreal Estate - Jesi Lea Ryan, T.J. Clark

I often use to preface my reviews of paranormal books with comments like...It's not my favorite genre, as a rule I don't do paranormal... yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course I've also been known to say 'never say never' and it's a good thing because it seems my affinity for this genre is growing.

 

I actually picked up the book a while ago thinking "Ok, this looks interesting. Sounds like a different take on the whole psychic thing, I'll give it a try the next time I want something different."  Much to my surprise a short time later I was present with the opportunity to listen to the audio book of 'Surreal Estate' with the narration being done by new to me narrator, TJ Clark. It felt like I was being pulled in a certain direction.

 

The narrator was not the only thing that was new to me for this story, this was also my first Jesi Lea Ryan novel and past experience has taught me that the combination of a new to me author and narrator can be a wonderful thing or something that goes sideways very, very fast. Luckily this one came in much closer to being a wonderful thing than a sideways thing.

 

TJ Clark provided a very solid and enjoyable narration for this story and I look forward to hearing more from him in future. I found the voices for not just the MCs but the other characters in the story each held their own consistent uniqueness.

 

'Surreal Estate' is the story of Sasha, a sweet young man whose life hasn't always been easy but somehow Sasha's managed not to let this turn him into someone who's jaded or bitter. In fact all things considered he's kept a fairly good outlook on things in general. He's been living on the streets for a few months now, working at odd jobs for minimum wage when he can and busking in between to add to his income. All Sasha really wants is a place where he can feel safe and call it home.

 

Then there's Nick. He's older and one would hope wiser and all he wants is to get his house-flipping business back on it's feet and to move on from his failed marriage.

 

Lastly we have the house. Sasha sees it as someplace where he can be safe and dry and he knows the house doesn't want to be alone anymore...did I mention that Sasha's psychic and has an affinity for houses? I didn't, really? Sorry, my bad...so yeah, Sasha's psychic and his connection isn't with people living or dead...it's with houses. So of course we have a house and Sasha sees it as a home, but Nick sees it as a fresh start for his business...now, if he just had the money to buy it and flip it...enter your friendly neighborhood loan-shark (seriously it's all in the blurb). 

 

For Sasha and Nick made for an interesting couple. Both of these men are strong willed and highly independent in their own way and distinctly different individuals. They're also very drawn to each other or they would be if Nick wasn't gay, but they can be friends right? Refreshingly this story had a nice slow burn and it isn't a 'gay for you' story either and yes, I really liked that fact. 

 

As Nick and Sasha work together both to restore the house and to help each other out of a couple of sticky situations and as Nick's feelings for Sasha grow so does the realization that maybe he's not as straight as he thought he was.

 

I really enjoyed this story and the the additional characters that the author created to help fill things out. There were some really sweet and sexy moments between the MCs as well as some touches of humor and for me just the right amount of emphasis was given to Sasha's psychic abilities to keep them an active part of the story without overwhelming the romance between him and Nick.

 

In general the balance and pacing was good and the story was laid out in such a way that it can easily stand on it's own or Ms Ryan has the opportunity to give us more, which  I admit I wouldn't mind if this turned into a series even just a short one with only a couple more stories to give the reader more of Nick and Sasha as their relationship develops both the personal relationship and the professional one that's hinted at as these two men join forces to flip houses and give them a new life...in more ways than one.

 

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

Sometimes it really is all about the fun...

Slow Dances Under An Orange Moon (Colors of Love #4) - V.L. Locey

"Slow Dances Under an Orange Moon" is without a doubt my favorite book in this series so far. I've enjoyed all of the stories in V. L. Locey's 'Colors of Love' series but this one...well for me this one just ended up being all that and a whole lot more.

 

Kye McLeod is returning home after a successful 20 year career in professional hockey and he's got a two objectives for his return. The first one is to take care of Dunny, his grandfather. He's going to get Dunny's home repaired and believe me it's much needed repairs with a list that just keeps growing and growing. Objective number 2 is to get back the love of his life a certain sexy Wildlife Conservation Officer..."call me Dave or David not Davy Aguirre".

 

There was so much that I loved about this story first there was Kye McLeod. I loved Kye both his comments and his inner monologues. Then there was Dunny. Kye's grandfather he was so freakin' adorable and just totally blunt in the things he said...Gee! I wonder where Kye got it from. 

 

Next there's Davy call me Dave/David. I really liked him. I loved that he didn't fall all over himself when Kye said he wanted to fix things between them but he also didn't say 'no'. He made Kye prove himself by planting roots to show that he wasn't going to run off again and as Kye went about planting his roots hijinx ensued.

 

Along with all this there's Davy's parents and their elderly neighbor, there's the town folks of Spruce Lake, there's a goose and it's goslings, there's hockey coaching for the wee one's and I do mean wee ones we're talking 4 -6 year olds so not a lot of hockey going on here more like some fun on ice...again it's adorable and of course there's small town homophobia and poachers. It sounds like a lot but really it's just a lot of fun.

 

I know it seems like there's a lot going on in this story but really there's not. For the most part things that happened were there to add to the story and give it depth and believability and for me that's what it did. It all added to the story without taking the focus away from Kye's wooing of Davy. 

 

While there were a few serious moments in the story none of them were enough to change the tone of the story. I think I started smiling somewhere on page one and basically the only thing that changed from page to page was whether I was smiling or laughing. It's been a while since I've read a book late at night that I've enjoyed so much that i had to worry about waking my husband up when I started laughing. 

 

For me the heart of the story remained that love is worth fighting for and that it can and should make a person happy. This one's definitely recommended for anyone looking to read a story that's sweet and light and will help them to remember that 'love should make a person happy'. 

 

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An ARC of 'Slow Dances Under an Orange Moon' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

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The Parable of the Mustard Seed by Lisa Henry
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