...Bookfanatic

 

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

Wet Heat turned out to be a bit of a wet blanket...

Wet Heat - R.D. Hero, Nick J. Russo

I admit it, I'm reviewed out for now but bottom line with this one is I liked the narrator,Nick J. Russo. He's a favorite of mine and truthfully the main reason I wanted to review this book unfortunately for me the best thing about this one was that it was short because overall I just didn't enjoy this story. I really wasn't a fan of Lee Aung one of the MCs and overall I just couldn't connect with this story.

 

So at the end of it all I liked the narration and the fact that it was short. But just because this one did work for me doesn't mean it that others won't enjoy it.

 

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

Sometimes...once really is not enough...

The Long and Winding Road - T.J. Klune, Sean Crisden

If you haven't read this series please...stop here go back and start reading or listening  because it's all on audio. So either is good...trust me I've done both read the the series and listened to the audio and truly either format is very good.

 

I know I've already done one big long rambly review extolling the virtues of this book...actually of the whole series and truthfully I'll probably borrow some bits and pieces from it to use in this review, but if I do I promise I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

 

There's a quote that starts something to the effect of 'start as you mean to go on' and when I think about this series I truly feel that's what TJ Klune has done with this series. He began by giving us a story, one that we could relate to, with characters that we'd care about...invest a bit of ourselves in and take into our hearts and love and we did...or at least I know I did and I'm pretty sure a lot of my friends who read these books did as well and now here at the end of the journey we are once again given those same characters and even though this is their good-bye they have stayed in my heart and for all the hours that they've spent sharing their time with me they will remain firmly tucked into a corner of my heart.

 

When this journey started Bear was just finishing high school and the Kid well he was just that 'a kid' just a little guy and throughout the course of these stories we watched them grow up...going from a young man and a kid to grown men who have fallen in love, gotten married and now have children of their own. They've shared their happiness and their heartache with us, their good times and their bad and in return we've given them our tears and taken them into our hearts. 

 

I've read more than a few series from start to finish and I have to admit some have had amazing endings and some have been more than a little disappointing. 'The Long and Winding Road' for me was a perfect fit to the rest of the series. This is good-bye it's a glimpse at the past and everything that's gone before to make these men who they are but it's also a look into a future...one that's filled with love, laughter, good times, bad times and hope...always, there is hope.

 

Sean Crisden was the narrator for this final audio book and while he hasn't narrated all the books in this series, he has narrated 3 out of the 4 and I have loved every one of them. I'm a fan of Mr. Crisden and yes, honestly I am listening to one of his other audio books as I type this review...like I say "I'm a fan." With each story he's given us a solid and consistent narration adding depth, dimension and life to the characters and the stories.

 

Sadly 'The Long and Winding Road' is the final chapter in the journey that we've taken with these characters. I had mistakenly thought it would be easier to travel this road this time because 'Hey, I've already read the story. I know what's going to happen, right?' well, yeah that is correct but somehow the sad was just as sad, the happy was just as happy and the funny was just as funny as the first time around and I'm pretty sure that times number 3 and 4 and so on ad so on are all going to be just as enjoyable because while the this may be the end of the journey it's not going to be good-bye for me as long as there's a play button on my computer, e-reader, whatever I'll be spending time with these stories.

 

Well go me, I've gotten this far without having to cheat and use anything from my original review so I think I'm going to quite while I'm ahead and I'll just say 'The Long and Winding Road' is the last leg of the journey for 'Bear, Otter & the Kid' if you've read it all like me than you know that audio or e-book this series is time well spent and if you haven't...well, damn you were suppose to quite reading this review  back up at the beginning...obviously you're one of those people who don't follow instructions well...lol!!! Welcome to the club and as your initiation you need to go check out this series, go on it's worth it.

 

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

This is quickly becoming the most challenging review...EVAH!!!

Covet - Yolande Kleinn

Truthfully this is the third time I've tried to start this review and in my brain it's probably the twentieth. My goal here isn't to tell you what the stories about but to share with you why I was so gobsmacked by this one and truthfully to get you the reader to at least take a peek at it or maybe even decide to read the story. 

 

'Covet' at first glance appears to be a menage book that involves twincest...nope, sorry wrong. Truthfully I don't even think I would call it a 'menage' story in the true sense of the word and as for the twincest...not here. By definition 'twincest' is an incestuous sexual relationship  between twins or siblings who look very similar and that doesn't happen here. Peter and Jack are twins but there is 'no' sexual attraction between Jack and Peter. What there is...is a bit of a problem since both men are attracted to Colin. 

 

Colin is a professor at the local university where Jack also works.  While Peter is a lawyer. Peter and Jack have a close relationship and while Jack's attraction to Colin is there from the start, initially Peter's only interest is curiosity about the man who seems to be garnering more interest than his brother has given to anyone in the past and from there they become friends for Peter and Coliin the sexual interest is more of a slow burn. 

 

For Colin and Jack their progression to an intimate relationship while quicker still takes ore time since Colin has just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and he's not looking for anything new, but Jack's determined and he knows how to play the game. So with a little patience, determination and willingness to take things slower than he'd like Jack moves his relationship from friends to friends with benefits.

 

The relationship between Jack and Peter is definitely put to the test when Jack learns that Peter's interest in Colin has gone beyond the platonic. The relationship between these three men is...well...not to sound cliche but...yeah, it's complicated and then some. It's also handled incredibly well by the author.  This is my second book by Yolande Kleinn and while I enjoyed 'Running Hot' I'd be remiss if I didn't also say that 'Yolande Kleinn has impressed the hell out of me with the story that she's created this time around'. 

 

Aannnddd having said all that I did have one disappointment with this story which was the ending specifically the epilogue. Unfortunately that's about all I'm going to say about that because otherwise I'll be  sharing more in terms of details than I want to share...now, now don't get into a panic it's not that there wasn't any happy at the end you can breath comfortable about that the happy is there and admittedly it may well be that that I'm if not the only one, I'm one of a very few readers who are bothered by the epilogue, but I was so that's the reason there's not 5 stars here.

 

That this is one of the most challenging reviews I've ever had to write doesn't surprise me since this book contains some of the most challenging relationships I've encountered in a book in a very, very long time and yes, I do mean relationships because 'Covet' isn't just about the relationship between Jack, Peter and Colin...no it goes well beyond that. The author has given us time with Jack and Colin, Peter and Jack, Peter and Colin and we even got some time with Peter and Maureen...before things ended between them. I only mention this because while things didn't work out between Peter and Maureen, I really like the character of Maureen.

 

So, I'm just going to have a little babble about Maureen here. Maureen was initially Peter's girlfriend and what I really loved about this character was that she was a successful, confident professional (lawyer), she wasn't clingy or needy and when things ended with Peter she didn't turn into a raging bitch!!! Seriously I loved Maureen...please can we have more women like her in books. It was awesome to see a woman portrayed in such a positive light. Maureen didn't have a lot of page time but that's ok because what she had as appropriate to her role in the story. Maureen is one of a very few  female characters that I've encountered in a book in a long time that I truly enjoyed and thus ends my little babbling tribute to the character of Maureen.

 

'Covet' is a very relationship driven story and truthfully none of those relationships are easy or simple but in many ways they are very solid and real. Just like in real life relationships aren't always what they seem to be sometimes they are more or less than what the world sees but always they are unique to the people in them.

 

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A copy of 'Covet' was graciously provide by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Well that was sweet...

Finding Mr. Wrong - Charlie Cochet, Andrew McFerrin

Matthew Hart is the heir to Hart & Home Furniture he's had a good life raised by a loving and doting father after his mother passed away he grew up not wanting for material things or for love. 

 

Jax Foster was Matthew's friend and his first love until he disappeared without a word one day without so much as a by your leave for Matthew. Matthew was heartbroken...Jax had been his world...his best friend, his first love, everything a young man of 15 could have ever thought he'd want.

 

When Matthew has an allergic reaction to peanut oil that lands him in the hospital...because his epi pen magically disappeared he takes stock of his life and realizes that he loves his friends, his dad, his job but it's not enough. He wants something more and that's when Matthew and his PA and good friend Adam make a list so that Adam can find him, his Mr. Right.

 

It's when Adam gets a little help from Matthew's father that things really get out of hand because suddenly not only is Jax Foster back in town but when Matthew gets sent to meet with the contractor for a piece commissioned by one of Hart & Home's biggest clients the last thing Matthew expects is to come face to face with the person who broke his heart all those years ago.

 

I enjoyed this story it was sweet and watching Matthew and Jax get reacquainted with each other as Matthew resist letting Jax explain what happened all those years ago that caused him to disappear...events that could repeat themselves thanks to meddling family on both sides...family who's intentions are less than honorable.

 

I was a bit frustrated by Jax's father but in spite of that I loved that Jax stuck by his dad and continued to see the good in  him. He wasn't a bad man more a case of a good man making bad choices and Jax was able to see this which also speaks to the type of person that Jax was. Unfortunately the same can't be said for Matthew's cousin and his biotch of a wife...like seriously somebody get that woman a Prozac or two...maybe some Zoloft? Because damn she's got issues...serious, issues.

 

I really liked Matthew and Jax and as a couple they worked for me and while Matthew was initially resistant to resuming any kind of relationship with Jax I liked that it didn't become a drawn out and protracted state of affairs and we got to see Matthew and Jax re-ignite the love they had for each other a love that has stayed with both of them over the years just waiting for a chance to once again burn brightly.

 

As much as I liked Matthew and Jax and as steamy hot as things were between them.  What I'd really love would be Adam's story...well, actually I'd like to see a story about Adam and Rai. Adam is feisty and I'm pretty sure that Rai would make a good tree for him to climb.

 

I'm a fan of Charlie Cochet's writing and Andrew McFerrin has done a wonderful job of bringing her words to life and giving voice to these characters. 'Finding Mr. Wrong' was a fun, short, low angst story about first loves, second chances and happily ever afters.

 

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An audio book of 'Finding Mr. Wrong' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love it when a series just gets better...

Model Bodyguard: Haven Investigations, Book 2 - Dreamspinner Press LLC, Lissa Kasey, Brian Hutchison

I really enjoyed 'Model Citizen' the firs book in Lissa Kasey's 'Haven Investigations' series this one has definitely stepped things up a notch or two.

 

While 'Model Citizen' was about Ollie's POV this time around we're given Kade's POV on life with Ollie and I loved it. Kade loves Ollie there's zero doubt about that but he also sees Ollie in a very realistic way which is really, really good for Ollie because Ollie's got some issues that need to dealt with in a realistic way. I just love that I don't feel like Kade views Ollie as a burden to be taken care of. For Kade, Ollie's issues are just a part of Ollie and need to be dealt with in a positive and constructive way which is what Kade does.

 

Things are going good for Ollie and Kade. As a couple they're on fairly solid ground and the PI business is doing a lot better with the addition of Kade.  Plus the house that Ollie bought for him and Nate to build a family in is getting renovated by Kade as well and even this task shows Kade's love for Ollie with how sensitive he is to how much the house means to Ollie and that there are areas of the house that he knows Ollie's not ready for him to tackle yet because they were meant to be Nate's space and Ollie's still grieving for his brother. He's trying to get on with his life but it's hard and it gets a little harder when questions start arising surrounding Nate's death.

 

Kade's POV not only gives us a closer look at Kade's life before he came to Haven Investigations but more detail as to how he came to be at Haven Investigations...he had some scary stuff going on and we're not talking PTSD from the war here, ok? 

 

Ironically it's once again Ollie's past that brings a mystery back to their door along with Jacob...Ollie's ex and a definite contributor to Ollie's issues. Nate's a rock star and a playboy he doesn't do relationships just sex and kink but somewhere along the way he's picked up a stalker...one who's decided that he needs to be punished in a permanent way and there's no limit to the suspects in this one. Jacob's whole family is at the top of the list. This is one serious group of users and leeches and getting to the bottom of things and figuring out who wants Jacob punished may be impossible since Jacob's loyalty is pretty extreme in that he feels that his family is above reproach and would never hurt him...did I mention that Jacob might be a little delusional...trust me he is because I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could throw them.

 

Kade's got his hands full as he tries to keep contact between Ollie and Jacob to a minimum because honestly interacting with Jacob really isn't in Ollie's best interest and Kade's got his own insecurities where Ollie's ex's are concerned because Ty...who is also an ex of Ollie's seems to be around a lot more as well, thankfully though this is because he's seeing Tomas so his presence is far less stressful and concerning for Kade. Also let's not forget Kade's still dealing with his own physical injuries and a past that doesn't want to let go of him and may not be over yet.

 

I loved seeing things from Kade's perspective and I really loved how much Ollie and Kade's relationship has strengthened. Kade is so good for Ollie and good to Ollie. I also felt that Ollie was truly beginning to get past his grief from losing his brother Nate and make a real effort to move forward with is life. I loved seeing Ollie as a capable, contributing partner in Haven Investigations and not some damsel in distress who needs constant rescuing.

 

Kade and Ollie's relationship may be fairly solid but that doesn't mean that having Ollie's sexy rock star ex in their lives isn't going to be a test for them and sadly for the ready because...holy hell!!! did you see the size of that cliff that the author has left us sitting on? It's a biggie and while I know I could pop the next e-book onto my e-reader to find out what happens I've really been enjoying this series on audio. While the first one was narrated by Mike Pohlable this time around we've been treated to the narrations of Brian Hutchison and I've really enjoyed this one. While I liked Ollie's voice in the first book pretty much everyone else except the annoyingly whiny Donovan was just ok and while this is only my second audio book narrated by Brian Hutchison I have to admit that from an audio standpoint I enjoyed this one a bit more.

 

I'm really enjoying this series on audio and I admit I'm hoping, really, really hoping that the third audio book isn't too far off but in the meantime because I can't wait to see what's going to happen next with Kade and Ollie but until it arrives I'll just be sitting here over on the cliff's edge...you know that really, really steep cliff that Ms Kasey has left me on passing the time with some more audio books or an e-book here and there...who knows I may even have a DTB or 2 lying around to pass the time with.

 

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

I've wanted to read this one for a long time now...

Model Citizen - Lissa Kasey, Mike Pohlable

Ollie Petroskovic is finally going to pay his brother back for all the years that he's been there for him taken care of him been the parent that they both lost years ago. Signing the papers to purchase the home where Ollie and his brother, Nate will live. Where Nate and his future wife can raise their children. It's a fixer upper but Ollie knows that's what Nate would love a house that's a DIY dream come true.

 

Ollie's sure that he's finally made their dreams come true. Ollie can continue his modelling and clothing design career while helping Nate with Petroskovic Haven Investigations, a house where they can be happy as a family. What no one saw coming was how the dream would come crashing down when Nate could no longer deal with the nightmare of PTSD and saw taking his own life as his only escape from it.

 

A year later Ollie's struggling to try and keep what's left of that dream alive as he continues to work at the PI agency that was Nate's dream but without an Investigator's license it's a struggle that he's slowly loosing until Nate's friend Kade Alme arrives PI license in hand and tool belt strapped on. Kade's looking for to honor a promise made to his friend to take care of Ollie but he's also looking for his own fresh start. He's fresh out of the hospital with his own battle wounds but he's determined to make this work because for Kade that fresh start includes Ollie in his life in whatever capacity he can get him...if it's as friend and co-worker than so be it but if Kade has any say in things it'll be a far more intimate relationship than friend and co-worker.

 

Ollie's pretty resistant to Kade's help and it takes a lot of patience and determination but Kade's got those in spades and before they know it the two men are firmly involved in a case as they try and help an old friend of Ollie's who seems to be in a lot of trouble.

 

'Model Citizen' is a fast paced story with a lot going on. I loved both Ollie and Kade. Ollie appeared to be androgynous and identified as gender fluid, while his orientation is gay. Kade identifies as male and his orientation might be gay but to me it was more like he was Ollie-sexual because from the word go Kade was all about Ollie or maybe it was just the manties...nah, I'm pretty sure Kade was very into what was in the manties...mind you I'm just guessing.

 

I loved how supportive he was of Ollie. But that didn't mean that he was a pushover where Ollie was concerned. Kade wasn't the least bit timid about standing up to Ollie when someone needed to but he also stood up for Ollie when someone needed to. 

 

I enjoyed the mystery in this one while there were things about it that were fairly obvious or easily figured out this story kept my interest from start to finish, so much so that as soon as I was done listening to 'Model Citizen' I jumped right into 'Model Bodyguard' because I wanted more. 

 

Mike Pohlable was the narrator for this audiobook and I have to admit I'm a little torn on the audio for this one. I really liked his voice for Ollie for me it aligned with Ollie's identity of being gender fluid. 

 

While Kade's voice didn't work quite as well for me, most of the time it was ok as were most of the other voices in the audio book but then there was 'Donovan' and I guess in some ways I would have to say his voice was good because for me Donovan was just an annoying little sh*t but really did he have to be such an annoyingly whiny little sh*t! Because there were times the whiny  in his voice was way more than I could stand. As far as I can tell 'Model Citizen' seems to be this narrator's first audio book so I think I'm just going to sit back and see what the future brings before deciding yeah or nay with this narrator...who knows I may love whatever he does next or not but for now it's on to 'Model Bodyguard' and another new to me narrator.

The e-book was 5 stars but for me the audio book was 5 stars and then some...

The Master Will Appear - L.A. Witt, Michael Ferraiuolo

I loved this book the first time I read it but after listening to the audio this one of those rare occasions where I've been left dumbfounded by how much I feel that I missed the first time around. I just feel like I picked up on some much more of what was between Mikhail and Ryan and the dynamics of Ryan's family and how it affected him. I am going to be rolling this one around in my brain for a while to come and I'm fairly positive that's also going to include listening to the audio book one more time. 

Mostly I'm blaming this on Michael Ferraiuolo and the incredible job he did of narrating this story. I've been a fan of this narrator since listening to Santino Hassell's 'Five Boroughs' series but with this audio book this narrator has gone from someone who's audio books I really enjoy to 'must have in my m/m audiobook library'. 

As for the actual story after taking the time time to reread my original review for the e-book I'm not going to re-invent the wheel or re-write this review so here a link if you're curious...

Original Review: The Master Will Appear

 

I'm definitely recommending this one.

Ok, review to follow soonish...

His Boy - Bink Cummings

because 'daddy kink' it's on my 'no go' list and I did it anyways so damn straight I'm going to review it but right now I have things that need doing first. Later...seriously I promise we'll talk 'daddy kink'...I just...I can't even believe I did this...honestly I listened to this at least 4 or 5 days ago and it's taken me until now to be willing to admit it...don't judge me, I know...I know I am just one sad little puppy...

Uuuuhhhh...I'm not sure but I think the world is ending or...

Kairos - Mary Calmes

at the very least it's tilted on it's axis by a few degrees...

 

I'd been happily waiting for this one...I mean seriously new Mary Calmes men to love...what's not to be happy about, right? 

 

Interestingly enough overall this one was standard Calmes fare and I should have loved it but truly I didn't...it was ok but that connection that I usually feel and just the overall fun of reading a new Mary Calmes book wasn't there. Try as I might I never quite felt the connection between Kade and Joe and honestly neither of these men struck me as being overly dynamic or alpha...for me there just wasn't a Sam Kage or an Ian Doyle, no Trevan Bean, Ceaton Mercer or Darius Hawhtorne...dammit!!!! Where was my ober alpha male!!! Because I'm telling you neither Kade or Joe filled that role for me. 

 

Along with the lack of connection between the MCs that happened for me there were parts of the storyline that just weren't working for me. The biggest thing being Joe's reasons for leaving his family...it just wasn't convincing for me which created a bit of a domino effect in regard to why Joe and Kade were such good friends. Along with this was the fact that Kade knew that his so called friend and mentor Vaughn who was also a precinct captain did shady things and yet he idolized him anyway? Sorry, I don't get that much less that fact that he basically made a conscious decision to ignore this. Somehow no matter how hard I tried 2 + 2 was just not adding up to 4...maybe more like 3.5. 

 

While Kade and Joe weren't a strong connection for me there were some characters that really appealed to me and quite frankly had me wanting more. First off there was Joe's younger brother Sayre and Declan, the  young man that Kade and Joe rescue back at the beginning of the book I was really intrigued by both of these men and if anyone could give them each or maybe both? a story worth reading it's Ms Calmes.

 

And in true Mary Calmes fashion I could not totally resist her writing prowess because irregardless of how I felt about the overall story, she drew me in with her mom's...there was Joe's mom...I adored her...ok, I can totally relate to her. She had a very dry sense of humor and used it frequently to deal with situations...

"You could maybe tell other people what is going on in your head now and then."

"But I'm telling you now."

"But did you tell him?"

"Shouldn't he know after this many years?"

"Mom--"

"I can't be married to a stupid man, dear. What would people say?"

"You don't give a good god--"

"That was sarcasm, sweetheart. Do they not have that in Chicago?" 

and then there was just the fact that Joe and his mom have had some conversations that were reminiscent of ones that my own son has had with me...

"Mom, you can't collect people. I've told you that."

"And why not? You obviously do."

It's that mom instinct...you see someone who needs to be loved and sheltered from the world and it's just instinct to want to do what the world has failed to do for that person so far. This is one of my favorite things about Mary Calmes books not only are the characters bigger than life but there's often at least one or more character who brings things like 'mom love' to the story in such an overwhelmingly big way. Nothing gives me a wary fuzzy like that moment in a Mary Calmes book when a character...in this case Joe's mom sweeps in takes one look at another character...and in this case it was Kade and Declan and just instinctively knows that they need 'mom love' and in this book there was two of them there was Joe's mom and Donatella Gallo who was his family's housekeeper and cook.

 

'Kairos' wasn't as much of a connect for me as some of Ms Calmes other standalone stories like 'Acrobat', 'Any Closer', 'What Can Be' or 'Where You Lead' but as a confirmed Mary Calmes addict I wouldn't have missed this one if for no other reason than 'awesome moms'.

 

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

This garden is definitely coming into bloom...

The Garden - Rosalind Abel

'The Garden' is the second book in Rosalind Abel's series 'Lavender Shores' and I have to say this one worked much better for me than 'The Palisade'. We first met Gilbert Brayant in 'The Palisade' as the best friend of MC Andrew Kelly and while this book can easily be read without having read that book I have to admit I enjoyed having the background of the first book before going into this one. 

 

Gilbert may be a member of one of Lavender Shores founding families but for him Lavender Shores isn't the idealistic little town that others seem to find it. But when that's where your family lives it's hard to cut all ties so he's found a compromise he's made his home base just a short commute away and when family obligations demand it he makes the trip back to Lavender Shores only to escape back to his sanctuary as soon as he can. 

 

Walden Thompson has escaped to Lavender Shores following a disastrous ending to a bad relationship.  Every since he'd visited Lavender Shores as a child, Walden had dreamed of living there.

 

Gilbert and Walden both have things in their past that they regret...mistakes that haunt them still and neither man wants a relationship again. Nor does either of them count on the strength of their attraction to each other and how perfectly they fit together when it comes to their sexual proclivities and let me just say these two clicked in the bedroom...they were hot...smokin', sizzling hot and add in Gilbert and his 'do you kiss your momma' with that mouth?' dirty talk and well I seriously considered reading this outside and folks I live in Canada our temps are in the 'who needs a freezer range'...need I say more?

 

Following what's suppose to be a one time encounter both men are very aware of how well they fit sexually and are equally determined to keep their distance from each other but Karma well...she's got other plans and she's determined to make sure their paths keep cross whether they want it or not.

 

I really liked Gilbert. His humor and snark were right up my alley and had me laughing out loud more than once and while Walden was so open and honest at times he was also quiet and reserved but neither man was totally what they appeared to be and each man had things they were more than a little hesitant to share with anyone.

 

For Gilbert and Walden the road to love and happiness has more than a few twist and turns in it. I really enjoyed the journey as these two got to know each other slowly sharing their secrets and their hearts as their relationship went from sexual attraction to a tenuous friendship to two men in love. It took time and effort from both of them before they finally got to a point where they could both admit the wanted more...they wanted to be together and have a relationship. 

 

While events from the first book really didn't impact the plot on this one it was nice to be familiar with a lot of the secondary characters in this story especially since Andrew and Joel showed up a fair bit, but if you haven't read the first book 'The Garden' gives enough background to keep the reader from feeling lost.

 

Once again Kirt Graves was the narrator for this audio book and once again he delivered a solid narration the kept me engaged and delivered a very enjoyable audio book experience. 'The Garden' is not my first audio book by this narrator for that matter neither is 'The Palisade', no this is actually my fourth audiobook narrated by Kirt Graves and I've enjoyed his narration on each one of them and I'm hoping to enjoy more in the future...specifically I'd love to listen to more of the 'Lavender Shores' series narrated by Mr. Graves. He adds depth and dimension to the story bringing it to life and allowing me to enjoy the story all the more for having listened to it on audio.

 

While this series only got off to an ok start for me...this book has changed that and definitely has me on board for future stories about the residents of 'Lavender Shores, but I have to admit...I've enjoyed listening to these on audio and I'm planning on continuing with this format so please...dear author can we have more on audio...soonish, please?

 

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

So...I'm just wondering...

The Palisade - Rosalind Abel, Kirt Graves

Where do I send my dental bill? Because by the end of this one, I'm pretty sure I've got a couple of cavities...'The Palisade' was most definitely one of the sweetest...to the point of being cavity inducing books that I've read in quite a while...ok, listened to.

 

The only thing that might have beat the sweetness quotient on this would be the sex. Seriously the bunnies called and well...they're jealous...although me and the bunnies agreed we're not sure about the dirty talk...sometimes, it just wasn't working too well for me and I admit there might have been a raised eyebrow or two.

 

Ok, so once we get past the sweetness and the sex there is a story which starts with a really strong dose of insta-love and by that I mean 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am, whiplash inducing insta-love'. But thankfully the road to happiness wasn't all sunshine and light for these two and there were obstacles to be overcome before Andrew and Joel can claim their happily ever after. Add to this some rather interesting bordering on bizarre parents...mostly Andrew's father whose fixation on his gay son's love life and male penises...including Joel's was at times a wee bit disturbing but irregardless of all this there was a sweet little love story in here that kept me listening and wanting Andrew and Joel to figure things out and find a way to be together and the thing that really held things together and kept me listening was the narrator.

 

Kirt Graves gave a solid narration with this book and his voices ticked off the things that hold my interest with an audio book and kept me engaged to the end.

 

I've held off on this series for a while now but when I got the opportunity to listen to the, 'The Garden', the next book on audio, I decided that regardless of whether or not it could be read as a standalone I wanted to read/listen to the first book before I did that and truthfully I'm glad I did because while I probably could have listened to 'The Garden' without benefit of this story I think I'm going to be enjoy it more for having listened to 'The Palisade' first there's definitely background for Gilbert here that while not crucial, it's still going to be good to know.  So now you know what I'm up to next...yeah, that's right I've got 'The Garden' playing as I'm typing this so I'll be back later to let you know how that went. 

Well this creates a problem...

Reckless Behavior - L.A. Witt, Cari Meister

you see I do try really, really hard to be honest in my reviews and I'm sure I'm hardly the first person to face this dilemma but I gave this one 5 stars and that's where my problem arises...I need more than 5 stars...seriously more than 5 on this one.

 

I loved the hell out of this story. I was addicted to this series from the word go and with each book my love for these books for the stories and characters contained within has only continued to grow. While there's not a lot of sexy times in this series what there is...is one hella' good relationship. It's there, it's strong and from that first book where we got to watch as Darren struggled to find a way to make his partnership with Andreas work to this one where we watch as Andreas and Darren work together as partners both on a personal and professional level to find Andreas's kids and bring them home to Darren's own heartbreaking news the strength of the relationship between these two men is so evident. 

 

I love the relationship that's built between these two. For all that might not be here in terms of the physical relationship between these two the emotional connection, which to me is so much harder for an author to bring out has been made and is so wonderfully real and present between these two. I love that no matter what is going on for one of them they don't lose track of what's going on with their partner and the toll that events are taking on each other emotionally. 

 

There's a lot going on in this one but it's well done and I didn't have a problem following events or feel like it was a jumble of chaos as could have easily been the case. A lot of this story focuses on every parent's worst nightmare. Andreas and Darren are doing dinner with Andreas's kids. Andreas is trying really hard to fix his relationship with his kids and come clean with them about things that he's kept from them as well as introduce them to the other important person in his life...Darren. Things start out a little awkward but for the most part the dinner's going well or at least it was until the evening comes to an end and suddenly two of the kids are missing and as everyone's trying to find the girls, Erin and Emily there's a threat to Andreas's sons, Ben and Casey. When the dust settles only Ben's still there...Erin, Emily and Casey have all been abducted. 

 

As Andreas and Darren work to find the missing children, they're surprised to realize that for whatever's happened in the past their brothers in blue are there for them and they're not alone. But even with the addition of all this unexpected support for Andreas it's Darren's presence that means the most. But when Darren gets hit by a personal tragedy of his own...choices have to be made. Choices that neither man finds easy, but Darren is determined to be there for Andreas, he knows that he can't control or change what's happened in his life and it'll all be there for him to deal with once Andreas's kids are safely back where they belong.

 

Having children of my own it took zero effort for me to understand how Andreas and his ex's felt. Just the thought of one of my kids being taken is terrifying and makes my blood run cold...so yes, there were tears and more than a tissue or two was sacrificed to the reading of this book but more than this what twisted my heart and still reduces me to a sad, little sobbing puddle of tears was the tragedy that blindsided Darren because truthfully it blindsided me as well because I so did not see that one coming and there went a whole lot more from the tissue box and then there was the ending and there went a few more tissues...hey, even happy tears require tissues.

 

There's so much more that I could say about this story because it's not a simple story and a lot of what happens in this book is connected to events of the previous two stories and truthfully I think the best thing that I could say here is if  you haven't read those first two books go back and read them before you tackle this one because it'll all make a lot more sense and be a more enjoyable story if you have all of that background filled in.

 

I know there's at least one more story coming in this series and it's going to be released real soon...like in less than a week soon...it's called Romantic Behavior and it's hopefully going to give Andreas and Darren the happily ever after that they so very much deserve. I'm looking forward to the next installment in this series and if it's anywhere near as good as this one I'm going to need a lot more than 5 stars to show how much I enjoyed it.

 

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

Well Mr. Wright...took a wrong turn for me...

Finding Mr. Wright  - Ba Tortuga, Robbie Nelson

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this one. The story was probably closer to at least a 3 star read for me...maybe even a little better unfortunately this one was totally ruined of me by the audio. 

 

I originally asked for this one because while this is one of the stories in Dreamspinner's 'Dreamspun Desires' series it's also the second book in B. A. Tortuga's 'Leaning N' series and I had listened to the first book on audio and to be honest it didn't go so well but that was due to the narration and this one has a different narrator and the audio sample seemed to have potential so I figured it was worth a try...I figured wrong...ok. Robbie Nelson is a new narrator and truthfully not one that I believe I'll be checking out again anytime soon.

 

It didn't work out so well for me this time, so I think for now I'm done with this I may read future stories in this series because I like B. A. Tortuga but I think I'm done with the audio experience here...it's just not working.

 

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An audio book of 'Finding Mr. Wright' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tea for two and two for tea...me for you and you for me...

Tea or Consequences -  'KC Burn'

'Tea or Consequences' is a fun mystery with a side of romance and I really enjoyed this one. Set in the city of Toronto...you guessed it!!! CANADA!!!! Ok, that's my squee, I'll try and keep my inner geek under control from here.

 

Riley works for a temp agency as an executive assistant. He loves the challenge of what he does and the newness of working for someone different all the time and he's really good at what he does. So good that his latest position working for Gabrielle the cosmetics queen of Gautier Cosmetics lets him know that in no uncertain terms she wanted to keep him as her PA. 

 

Everything's going really well for Riley...right up until his boss turns up dead and his high school crush turns up as one of the lead investigators on the case...Riley's well ordered life is suddenly thrown into chaos as he and Tad work together to figure out who wanted Gabrielle dead because there's no shortage of suspects with this case. 

 

I liked the character of Riley. To say the least he's someone who's organized and efficient. You can't be a good PA much less a good temp PA and not have those qualities nailed down but I think what I love the most about this character is that he's representative of so many people who have found what they want to do in life and are doing it because it makes them happy and their lives are fulfilled not because they're meeting everyone else's expectations but they're meeting they're own and doing what makes them feel happy, successful and fulfilled.

 

Tad was a little harder to get a grasp on because for most of the story it wasn't clear whether or not Tad remembered who Riley was. Tad was also frustrating because of his reluctance to be in a relationship with Riley, not because he didn't want to be with Riley...in fact it more like the opposite Tad definitely wants to be with Riley but for him it's a conflict of interest in regards to his job and at the same time it also felt like he was using Riley to get information that he wouldn't have otherwise had access to for his case. The bottom line is that Tad may be trying hard to do what's right it's not without a price to both his and Riley's happiness.

 

As much as I enjoyed this story I do have to admit that it required a big suspension of belief when it came to some of what happened in this story. I'm not going to go into the details but let's just say in regards to the police procedures...it's FICTION!!! And this one really was built on that premise. In general this was a really entertaining story and I think a lot of that was due to the fact that the author didn't try to adhere to police procedures and it allowed them to use Riley in a more active role for the mystery part of the story and I mean more active as in...I'm not sure how the police would have solved this without him. This also facilitated Riley and Tad's relationship progressing as well.

 

The romance in this one was definitely a secondary factor in this story but at the same time it never got lost from the story...it just took a bit of a back seat at times but the connection was always maintained allowing the romance and the mystery to transition back and forth in terms of priority.

 

Darcy Stark was the narrator for this story and while he's not a new narrator...he's a new to me narrator and one that I think I need to check out a little more because based on this audio book, he's a narrator that I'm going to enjoy. His voices were unique, expressive and consistent. He added depth to the characters and the story making for a very enjoyable listening experience and story.

 

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An audio book of 'Tea or Consequences' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Who says life's quiet in a small town...

Flight or Fight - Dirk Greyson

After things fell apart in New York, Brantley Calderone did what any sane person would do he bought a farm and left the city looking to make a new life for himself...he just didn't plan on that life including a dead body on his front porch at the end of his first week. Nor did he count on it including a sheriff who pushed every hot button he has.

 

When Mack pulled up to the house with the dead body on it and realized that he was more interested in the hot and very much alive owner as more than just a prime suspect. Mack learns in short order that first impression can be wrong and it doesn't take Mack long to figure out that his first impression was deceptive and as events unfold he realizes that not only is Brantley not a suspect, he's a potential victim.

 

I liked Brantley, he was determined not to give in to his fear and run back to New York no matter how tempting the idea became and I can well imagine that having someone try to kill you would be a real motivator to get the hell out of Dodge. But when push came to shove Brantley pulled on his big boy pants and held his ground and without fail Mack had his back. I might have warmed up to Brantley a little quicker than Mack but that didn't mean that I didn't appreciate Mack. I loved that Mack wasn't afraid to let Brantley know how he felt. 

 

As Mack and Brantley pull together to solve the mystery and keep anyone else from being hurt or worse not only does the pressure to find a solution increase but feelings between Mack and Brantley change and Mack's desire to keep Brantley safe becomes more personal than professional.

 

I found myself engaged by both the romance between the MCs and the mystery in this one even though I was fairly sure who it was I still enjoyed the journey that the author took us one to get there. 

 

Overall I enjoyed this story but I have to admit that ending was maybe just a little bit to much sunshine and rainbows for me to buy into but sometimes it's nice to get the sunshine and rainbows in my books because real life doesn't always have them to offer when life goes off the rails.

 

I've left my thoughts on the audio portion of this book for last because truthfully this one was a real challenge for me. I listened to the sample on audible.com  before I requested this one and honestly it seemed ok, I really didn't think there was going to be an issue...I was wrong ok? Because about an hour into the book I picked up on the fact that what sounded like a slow easy drawl after only a few minutes turned into more of a sing-songy voice and truthfully just did not enhance the story for me especially as I began to feel like it was getting a bit challenging to distinguish the character voices apart as I didn't find the voices of the MCs to be overly distinctive. This was my first audio experience with Mark Westfield as the narrator and truthfully probably my last as well. I know he's a very popular narrator especially with fans of Charlie Cochet's THIRDS series and I'm cool with that. Once again this isn't a case of right or wrong it's just a case of this narrator's voice didn't work for me. 

 

At the end of the story it's a case of the story was easily a 3.5 possibly a 4 star read for me but the audio only gets 3 stars from me because while this was by no means my best audio book experience I've had worse...a lot worse so I'm calling it a day at 3.5 stars for this one and moving on to my next adventure.

 

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An audio book of 'Flight or Fight' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This one had the makings of a really adorable story...older MCs, second chances, babies!!!! So much potential...

Earning His Trust - Alicia Nordwell

Evin is a single dad raising his son on his own...this wasn't the plan but you know what they say...life is what happens when we're busy making other plans. 

 

When Evin finds himself at the local emergency room following an accident in the kitchen while baking the last thing he expects to encounter is the man who he once thought he'd spend his life with. A man whose just as surprised to see Evin sitting in the patients chair much less see him sitting there with a small child in tow. But when opportunity knocks...Ben's willing to answer the door.

 

Ben thought that ending things between him and Evin was the right thing to do after college their lives were heading in different directions he was sure it was the best solution for them both. What he didn't realize was that years later he'd still love Evin and want him in his life even if it was only as friends. 

 

Ben quickly realizes that while he may want more what Evin truly needs is a friend and he's determined to step up and be that friend and if luck's on his side maybe he could win back Evin's trust and they'd get that happily ever after that he'd so carelessly thrown away.

 

I really liked that Ben was willing to be patient and to prove to Evin that a second chance was something that they both deserved and that Ben also recognized that Evin had some other issues that he needed to resolve before they could be together. 

 

In general this was a sweet story but unfortunately it seemed to keep getting lost in the day to day details to the point that at times it just really distracted from the developing romance for me. I think if there had been a little more focus on Ben and Evin rebuilding their relationship had been added it would have gone a long way towards helping me to become more invested in Ben and Evin being reunited. 

 

Mickey Hamm was the narrator for this story giving me 'a new to me author and narrator' to discover and while 'Earning His Trust' didn't work as well for me as I'd hoped it would I was comfortable with the author's writing style and am definitely think that there's potential for the future with this author and I definitely look forward to seeing what Mickey Hamm brings to the audio book format in future. I enjoyed the narration on this book and the narrator definitely added to this story in a positive manner for me. 

 

'Earning His Trust' appears to be the Mickey Hamm's first audio book and he definitely ticked off my 'what I look for in a narrator' list and I'll be keeping this narrator on my 'watchlist'. 

 

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An audio book of 'Earning His Trust' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.