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

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.



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'. 



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


So at the end of episode three I was standing at the edge of a cliff...

Criminal Intentions: Hard Angle - Cole McCade

I'm pretty sure that I'm now tumbling over said cliff...so if anyone has a minute...maybe you could throw me a rope...please!


Seriously, there are cliffhangers and then there's 'Holy hell, what just happened here? and did anyone get the number of the truck that hit me?'


Seriously if I thought I was standing at the edge of a cliff after the last episode I have taken a headlong tumble over the edge on this one and now I have the quandary of explaining why without giving anything away...good luck to me.


Here in 'Hard Angles' things take some dramatic changes Seong-Jae finally confides in Mal and plans that were set into motion in the previous episode are revealed while still other plans are only beginning to play out. Most importantly though is the fact that, that cliff has gotten a whole lot steeper. There were a couple of things that I have to admit I did not see coming and the ramifications have the potential to be not only disastrous but downright deadly.


Initially in this episode events play out that make Mal, Seong-Jae & Joshi think that they're going to be able to wrap up their case and capture a killer...or at least that's what they thought until their suspect turns up dead.


Best of all in the midst of all the chaos we get to see Mal & Seong-Jae take a break from the madness that is their life to just be two men in lo...eeerrr...who really, really care about each other spending some time together and yes there's also some steamy, smexy alone time for these two as well.


As for everyone else well...Sila's in the wind as is the rabbit head wearing serial killer, Min Tze and Sade are even more estranged and Anjulie's got a mystery of her own building not to mention that things between her and Gabrielle have definitely moved onto shaky ground, Adelaide's set her sights on a beat cop but it remains to be seen if she'll follow through on things...so many things going on here and at the end of it all...well, I leaned way, way over the edge of that cliff and damned if I could see anything.


I'm thinking that things are going to step up with the next episode and that's ok, as long as events happen to let me take a step back from that cliff I'm standing at the edge of because I'm feeling more than a little anxious about more than a few things and I'd like to catch my breath for a few minutes before the end of season two but just for a minute or two since...It's only a matter of days until the next episode is released...oh please, oh please oh please!!!



An ARC of 'Criminal Intentions: Hard Angles' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I give up...I keep thinking this series can't possibly get better and then...

Criminal Intentions: Cold Calculation - Cole McCade

I read the next book only to discover that I'm wrong again...


For me the challenge is quickly becoming the fact that once I've read the next book what do I say? What words do I use to explain how amazing this series is. If we count last season we're 17 stories into this series and it's not loosing steam, slowing down or becoming less interesting. In fact if anything with each story I become less patient with waiting for the next episode because damn...there's a serial killer on the loose and honestly if it was only that simple, than maybe I could be a bit more patient but it's not there's more so very much more.


This episode ended with more than a few unanswered questions about the crime that needs to be solved but also we're left with Mal and Seong-Jae in the midst of a relationship crisis...Mal's worried that they've been here before and Seong-Jae's desperately trying to convince himself that his past isn't once again colliding with the events of the present and that maybe this time it's going to destroy his future with Mal. 


Like so many others my heart was breaking for Mal as he struggled to not just be what Seong-Jae needed, but to discern what it was that his lover did need. All while giving him the two things that he knew for sure...space and love (Seong-Jae may not want to say the word but Mal's not shy about it). I admit given Seong-Jae a cuff upside the head and telling him to get his sh*t together held some definite appeal for me, I also understood that Seong-Jae needed to process things because if what he believes to be true is...well then...it's going to change things...so many things.


But it's not just Mal and Seong-Jae who are left in a state of uncertainty. We're left with so many questions about Sade and Min Tze. As always we can be certain that both Sila and our mysterious serial killer are putting plans into motion that are in no ones best interest except their own. There's something going on with Anjulie and things seem to be changing with her and Gabrielle along with some other minor curiosities. This season is quickly ramping up to be even better than season one and that's no small task as far as I'm concerned.


There's a lot going on in these episodes because not only are we dealing with solving a crime there's a lot going on in terms of personal relationships and not just Mal and Seong-Jae.


While I don't want every series that I read to be as busy as this one. Sometimes it is nice to read something that makes a reader exercise their logic and deductive reasoning skills as well as just a bit of straight up memory work to keep up with things and 'Criminal Intentions' does this in spades.


I'm just going to take a step outside of the story to mention something that I have really come to appreciate in general about this series and that's the diversity of the characters ...and by that I don't just mean the fact that not everyone is a 'WASP' (White Angelo Saxon Protestant, for those who are unfamiliar with the term). The fact that this story is filled with a diversity of people in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, personality types and probably a few more things that I should be listing here makes stepping into the world of 'Criminal Intentions' in some ways feels like stepping out my front door and into the real world...I don't know who I'm going to meet when I do, I just know that no two people are going to be the same and some of them...I maybe never want to meet...I'm not talking about Sila really...I'm no...damn straight I'm talking about Sila and a few others. 


As much as I can't help but wish for the next book...ok, maybe it's the one after the next book since I'm playing catch up here and I'm actually going to be writing my review for episode #4 as soon as I'm done here...anyways, as much as I don't enjoy waiting when I'm left as close to the cliffs edge as I am now. I know that it's going to be worth it when that next episode is released. So, I'm off to get myself all caught up and ready to go for whatever comes next and seriously my fellow bookaholics...'Criminal Intentions' it's a thing and it's seriously HOT!!!! I definitely recommend checking it out.



An ARC of 'Criminal Intentions: Cold Calculations' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

It’s back to the world of academia…

Love's Trials - Janice Jarrell, Walker Williams

In ‘Love’s Magic’ we were introduced to the characters of Professor Nate Reese, Professor David Gardener, Sergeant Colin Campbell & Dr. Joshua Abram and while we saw Nate and David get their happily ever after we really only saw the beginning of Colin and Joshua’s story, so now here in ‘Love’s Trails’ the reader/listener gets the rest of their story.


For both of these couples getting to their happily ever after has been a hard fought battle, but a well deserved victory. I thoroughly enjoyed “Love’s Magic’ so much so that I very willingly listened to it again before beginning ‘Love’s Trials’ and if anything I have to say I think I may have been a bit stingy with my stars but be that as it may, I’m going to let that rating stand because really 4 stars is not a shabby thing in my humble opinion. Even more surprising to me than realizing that I seem to have enjoyed the first book more than I realized at the time is the fact that for me the second book was just that tiny bit better.


I knew from ‘Love’s Magic’ that I liked Colin and Joshua, which was part of the reason that I was so excited about this audiobook. What I didn’t realized was how much I would connect with this book on an emotional level…more than once I found myself reaching for the tissues.


While ‘Love’s Magic’ addressed the very real issue of violence on today’s college campus’s, ‘Love’s Trials’ takes it a step further when adding in the issues of drugs.  Colin and Joshua each face their own challenges as these two men endeavor to become a committed couple. Colin’s a bit of a commitment phoebe or he was until Joshua entered his life, while Joshua is struggling to adjust to life with a man whose job puts him in harms way on a daily basis. He’s always known what Colin does for a living he’s quickly coming to realize that knowing this and living it are two very different things.


After getting through the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ riots life should have been a breeze for them but when Colin finds himself in charge of an informant program intended to infiltrate a drug ring he promises Joshua that he won’t be in the line of danger and he’s determined to keep his promise until one of the student’s in the program is placed in harms way and suddenly Colin’s the only thing between him and life threatening danger. It’s the aftermath of these events that will test the strength of Colin and Joshua’s commitment to each other.


While I loved David and Nate’s story and I was rooting for them from start to finish in ‘Love’s Magic’ even then I was equally as curious about Colin and Joshua. Here in ‘Love’s Trial’s’ for me it was all about these two men and the struggles they faced. There’s a solid dose of realism here from start to finish as we’re given a story that’s not wrapped up with a pretty pink bow but held together by two men who are committed to each other and sometimes held together by the strength and clearer heads of friends and loved ones who aren’t afraid to step up to help them find their way back to each other.

I honestly can’t even say that their reactions would have been mine…again that’s not how the world works we don’t all react the same way to the same things but for me how these two men reacted to their circumstances was believable…sometimes heartbreakingly so.


I loved that we got a fair but not overwhelming amount of David and Nate. The friendship that began in the first book between these four men has continued and as the story progresses, we get to see it grow even stronger. So often in series we’ll see couples that start as friends but with subsequent stories the friendship seems to diminish and sometimes the characters disappear altogether and that’s fair enough…it happens that way in real life to but what also happens in real life is that friendships grow stronger as times passes and within the pages of this story we are shown this in a way that isn’t often captured in a story. I’m a fan of stories where we get to see the MCs interact with the rest of the world and not just each other for me it just gives everything a more realistic atmosphere.


This story had me hooked from start to finish, but it was the latter part of the story that left me feeling a bit shattered. There was so much there that I was able to relate to. For very different reasons, I know how it feels to suffer a really traumatic injury and the havoc this can play on even the strongest of relationships add to this the fact that we were given things from both men’s perspective and this story for me was taken to a whole new level.


Add in the fact that Walker Williams was once again the narrator for this story and it all combines to create what was for me a supremely awesome listening experience that I know I’ll be repeating in the near future…this one’s definitely recommended.




An audio book of ‘Love’s Trials’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think a book blurb has ever hooked me quite as much as this one did...

The Edge of the World - Garrett Leigh

Specifically the second sentence in the blurb which reads…”But you can’t know where you’re going to until you know where you’re from,…” you see when I was a very young girl in grade 8 I had this amazing history teacher and when one of her students expressed that they didn’t see why we had to study history she turned to him and said “how can you know where you’re going to, when you don’t know where you came from?” Those words have stayed with me for over 40 years so when I saw them in the blurb for this story it was a very clear sign that I needed to read this story.


Shay Maloney is the lead singer for the pirate/folk rock band, Smuggler’s Beat. It’s as they begin their tour that Shay’s reminded of the commitment he made to film a documentary about his family roots…not those of his adoptive parents but those of his biological family that Shay is introduced to Ollie Pietruska, the researcher and filmmaker, who’s going to guide him through a past he never knew was his.


While Ollie and Shay are drawn to each other, Ollie’s got his own past to deal with before he can hope to build a future with anyone, much less a successful musician whose past is still a mystery to him.


Amidst the chaos and pandemonium that is the life of a band whose star is on the rise as they begin a tour that’s intended to push them over the top, Shay and Ollie struggle to get to know each other as their feelings deepen and if they could both just be in the same place a the same time things might be a little easier…but, we don’t always get what we want sometimes we just have to work with what we’re given.


I was smitten with both of these men from the very beginning. In spite of his quickly rising star Shay’s character held such a laid back, down to earth almost humble feeling that not liking him really just wasn’t an option. While Ollie seemed to be a little more reserved and shall we say crusty around the edges it wasn’t enough to cover the genuine concern and kindness that he had for others.


I loved the interaction between these two men as they got to know each other the balance of kindness and caring was equally challenged with moments of conflict and angst that held my interest solidly from beginning to end and while the secondary characters and background filled out the story nicely it was always Shay and Ollie who held my interest.


I think the part of the story that I enjoyed the most was whenever Ollie was revealing a part of Shay’s past to him. I was very much reminded of as show that I use to watch on PBS called “Finding Your Roots” and I was fascinated by this show so needless to say I was instinctively drawn to this part of the book as well and I really loved the way the author teased us with Shay’s ancestry laying a breadcrumb trail of information from that randomly wandered through the past and back to the present slowly connecting pieces of a puzzle that the reader may not have even realized was there.


I may not have read all of this author’s works…yet…I still feel confident enough to say that after having read approximately 20 of her books for me if Garrett Leigh’s the author than I’m buying the book.



An ARC of “The Edge of the World” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

There are short stories and then there's 'The Layover'...

The Layover - Roe Horvat

For me reading a short story can be a bit like maneuvering a field of landmines. If you're lucky each step takes you closer to a happy and successful ending but one misstep and things go sideways leaving you feeling like you don't quite know what happened and you've missed something important. While 'The Layover' is less than 100 pages long it packs all the emotional depth and intensity of a story that could have been much longer but didn't need to be.


Ondro Smrek left Slovakia eight years ago in search of a new life. Now after 8 years of trying to outrun his demons he's decided it's time to go home and face them. 


Jamie's returning to Edinburgh from a convention.


Both men suddenly find themselves stranded in Basel, Switzerland when their connecting flight is cancelled due to a snowstorm. Brought together by circumstances the two men find themselves having to spend more time together than either had anticipated. 


I found myself liking both of these characters quite a lot especially Ondro. While he seemed very cold and even distant, we're also shown his struggles and his pain not in an overly dramatic way but a very human and heartfelt way. In spite of what was a very clear attitude of indifference at times it was also very clear that Ondro was a kind, caring and essentially decent person. Through his thoughts we are also shown a man who struggles with his own insecurities and personal demons. 


Jamie is a more open and friendly personality but he's also young and he's been hurt before and while part of him wants to take a chance another part of him is afraid of having his heart broken again but the more time he spends with Ondro the more he comes to believe that Ondro may just be the one person his heart is safe with.


There comes a point in the story when Ondro does return to his hometown and as heartbreaking as that visit was, for Ondro it also became the affirmation that he needed that the choice he made when he left Basel, Switzerland was the right choice for him... the choice that would truly take him home.


Anyone who's ever been in a relationship will tell you that it takes two and just like in real life, here in the end it took both men making a leap of faith to bring them together so they could make the home they'd both been searching for.



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

There's a killer on the loose...

Criminal Intentions: In Sequence - Cole McCade

At the end of episode 1 we are left with the Golden Ratio Killer (GRK) heading off to 'begin' leaving the reader to wonder what dark and twisted plan he has in store and who his next victim or more accurately victims will be. 


We get a peek at Sila who seems to have a strong interest in what the GRK has done so far and there are hints...so many hints...the question is what do they all mean?


Mal and Seong-Jae are firmly locked into the hunt for GRK and they've gone from Baltimore to Arizona and after a brief trip back to Baltimore, they find themselves heading for Seong-Jae's old stomping grounds...FBI Headquarters in Los Angeles, California...a place he never wanted to return to. Only this time he's not going back alone. He's returning with Mal by his side. Both men are firm in their conviction that together they will get through this and they will bring a killer to justice.


While Mal and Seong-Jae spend their days...very long days that often go well into the night hunting for the Golden Ratio Killer. They're nights are spent putting each other back together after dealing with the dark brutality and horror that they face as they track GRK from crime scene to crime scene and while there wasn't a lot of time dedicated to this in this story what we got was very, very hot and for me very indicative of the fact that the relationship between these two men is potentially at a critical point and how that will affect the dynamics between these two remains to be seen. 


Once again there's a lot going on in this season of Criminal Intentions and it's gong to take patience and paying close attention on the part of readers to parse out what's connected to what and what's important.


While Mal and Seong-Jae are without question my favorite part of the series and honestly the intensity of their relationship is enough to hold my interest everything else really is just so much bonus and I think with the mystery that's building in this one readers are in for one hell of a bonus.


Meanwhile on the other side of the country things are still happening in Baltimore. How much of those things are connected to Mal and Seong-Jae remains to be seen, but I'm more than a little curious to see where things go with Anjuli and Gabi and it goes without saying that Min Zhe and Sade are a must in these stories my heart aches for them and I can't see a happy ending where they're concerned but I've still got my fingers crossed.


There was one other person who caught my attention with this story and that was Adelaide, I'm more than a little curious about her and I think like so many of the other characters contained within this series her's is not a simple or easy story. Now last but certainly not least we come to Joshi...for me the jury's still out on him...I'm hoping he'll do the honorable thing where Mal and Seong-Jae are concerned but only time will tell and I may have my fingers crossed but I'm not holding my breath. 


I'd say that I can't wait for the next episode in this series but fortunately for me...I don't have to and I'll be jumping into it as soon as I write one more review and really the only other thing that I can say about this series that's of import is simply that "this is one hella' good series that deserves every minute of my reading time that I can give it."



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


If you haven’t read Season One of Criminal Intentions…seriously?

Criminal Intentions: The Golden Ratio Killer - Cole McCade

What are you waiting for there’s still time to remedy that situation and really you need to do that before getting into Season 2. Now, that you’ve been warned I’m going to try to explain how seriously incredible this series… specifically this episode is.


Right from the start Mal and Seong-Jae…that right there makes it worth reading every word. I could give you a fairly long list of m/m pairings that I really like but without question these two men would be on that list and very probably at the top. Mal and Seong-Jae are without question two of the most incredibly intense characters that I’ve ever encountered both as a couple and individually. 


Season 2 begins with the return of several of the characters from Season 1 and while Seong-Jae and Mal are definitely the main characters, we’re also treated to glimpses of events that are transpiring in their lives as well as well as new characters and a closer look at some characters who's relevance to events are changing and some who have yet to be revealed. 


Once again Soeng-Jae’s past is going to collide with his present and the consequences are going to be deadly. When a serial killer reappears after a 20 year absence, Mal and Seong-Jae find themselves pulled away from the place they’ve come to think of as home, by Seong-Jae’s ex, FBI Division Chief Aanga Joshi and they’re all about to find themselves going down a rabbit hole that’s far more deadly than anyone could possibly anticipate.


Already here in episode 1 of season 2 we're left with so many questions about a killer who's set to push the limits of everyone's endurance for the horror they leave in their wake and if that's not enough the impact that all this will have on Mal and Seong-Jae's relationship is sure to test it's limits. Without fail the one thing that I've come to expect whenever I start reading an episode of 'Criminal Intentions' is that my attention from start to finish will be consumed by the story.


There are a number of reasons for this the stories are a combination of the fact that this is simply a really well written story, with intriguing characters, a well laid out storyline and interspersed with both the expected and the unexpected. With everything designed to draw the reader in and keep them wanting more.


The buzz words for this season of CI seem to be 'Criminal Minds' meets 'Dexter' and I have to admit that I can't honestly speak to the validity of this since I've never watched 'Dexter', but what I can say is that for me there is still a solid feel of 'Criminal Minds' in this first story but regardless of whether you think 'Criminal Minds' or 'Dexter' while you’re reading this one by the end of the story if you've enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I did you'll be thinking "I want more...now...please."


One last note before I finish here...my sincerest apologies to the author for having been so tardy with this review. Sadly sometimes life is what happens while we're trying to do other things and sometimes as was the case for me...life demands that we set other things aside to deal with it and this is how we fall behind with some things...so now here I am diligently attempting to get back on track with this and CI is definitely at the top of my list as I attempt to keep up with some things and catch up with others.



An ARC of 'The Golden Ration Killer' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes when you don’t know what you need...

The Prince and HIs Bedeviled Bodyguard - Charlie Cochet, Greg Boudreaux

...life just makes that decision for you. That’s what happened when I got asked if I wanted to review the audio book for ‘The Prince and His Bedeviled Bodyguard’ by Charlie Cochet. I figured why not…author who writes one of my absolute favorite series and a narrator who has never failed to provide me with anything less than an excellent audio experience…how could I lose? So, right there I was off to a good start. But what I didn’t count on was getting a story that was just simply so cute, entertaining and simply adorable that I would basically smile and laugh…in all the best possible ways from start to finish.


Prince Owin is an ocelot shifter…he’s also a little bit vain, somewhat self involved and about to embark on the most important quest of his life to prove himself worthy of the crown for Ocelot shifters and not the slightest bit attracted to the annoying oversized canine shifter that he can’t seem to divest himself of.


Grimmwolf had no idea what he was in for when the King of All Shifters asked him to be Prince Owin’s bodyguard. Piece of cake, right? I mean really how big of a problem can it be for a big alpha werewolf to keep an adorable little Ocelot shifter Prince safe? Even if he is a bit crankier than your average cat shifter.


I was already fairly certain that I was going to get an enjoyable and entertaining story going into this one, but what I didn’t realize was that I’d get a story that would have me smiling and laughing from start to finish.


Had this been a longer story I might have found the constant snipping and snark between these two characters to be less than entertaining but that was not the case here because most of the time I was just too busy enjoying how much Grimm’s calm and unflappable nature seemed to contribute to both Owin’s annoyance and his attraction. Grimm on the other hand sees right through Owin’s vane, arrogant and somewhat self-absorbed persona. Grimm sees the kind and caring person that Owin thinks he’s got so well disguised and Grimm knows that there’s something special between him and Grimm and he also knows that making Owin see this is going to be his biggest challenge.


Greg (Tremblay) Boudreaux is the narrator for this light and entertaining shifter tale and once again he’s done an excellent job of capturing all of the snark and humor contained in this story. I can honestly say that without a doubt this is my most listened to narrator and that’s not allowing for the numerous times I’ve done a replay on an audiobook, whether he’s working under the surname of ‘Tremblay’ or ‘Boudreaux’ I know if Greg (Tremblay) Boudreaux is the narrator, I’m not going to be disappointed with what I hear.


‘The Prince and His Bedeviled Bodyguard’ is the first book in Charlie Cochet’s latest series ‘Paranormal Princes’ and until I listened to this first book in the series, I admit I was seriously considering taking a pass on things since paranormal and shifters aren’t genres high on my reading list but quite honestly I’ve revised that decision and I’m looking forward to finding out what the King of All Shifters has in-store for the rest of his shifter princes.




An audio book of ‘The Prince and His Bedeviled Bodyguard’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

If you're looking for that next happy, happy, joy, joy feel good story...keep going, because...

Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat, Vance Bastian

...this is not that story.


Thankfully I knew that going into this, so I was prepared and able to appreciate this for what it was...a deeply painful and emotional story not about finding love but about surviving it.


Dr. Simon Mraz keeps the world at a distance. He can cold, aloof even abrasive at times. He's not a happy go luck guy...that's just not who he is or will ever be. But still he has a solid career as a specialist and lecturer at Prague's Charles University and he has friends who can see beneath his icy exterior. 


As a student Matej is off limits to Simon or 'The Cruel Dr. Frost' as he's called by students. But Matej isn't worried about a bit of frost...no he's fascinated by it and determined to get 'The Cruel Dr. Frost's' attention.


"A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat" is the story of what happens when he does. This is a story that's filled with pain and heartache, but it's also a story that's filled with love. 


Simon knows he shouldn't get involved with a student but when it comes to Matej, he's drawn to the colorfully dressed, tattooed young student like a moth to a flame and just like that moth when he gets to close, Simon's knows he's going to get burned but still finds himself helpless to resist.


I basically listened to this book in one sitting and I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me when I say that finding nearly 7 hours (6 hrs., 52 min.) to just and listen to an audio book isn't always the easiest thing to do but just like Simon and his attraction to Matej, I found myself helpless to do otherwise. Every time I considered stopping so that I could get some things done I found that leaving whatever I needed to do for another day so that I could listen to..."Just a bit more" became the logical course of action.


While I'm not normally a fan of stories that jump around their timeline the way that this one did. I found I was a little more challenged keeping up with things on the audio version that I would have If I'd been reading the e-book but still I never felt like I'd really lost track of what was going on and when either so a bit of a niggle but for me not a really big deal either.


Surprisingly I never found myself in need of tissues with this story but I think that's mostly because I went into it knowing it was 'that kind of story'. However, what I did find was that most of the time I was left with a dull, empty ache inside of me like something was missing and I realized at the end of it all this was very much because of Simon and how strongly I related to his character, I imagined that to some degree this was how he often felt. 


I have to admit that bringing me to tears isn't really a big challenge, however, making me feel such a deep emotional connection that it's like an actual physical ache, as I did with this story is something that rarely happens. 


Roe Horvat is quickly becoming a writer who's stories I find to be incredibly compelling whether I'm reading them or listening to them on audio. Once I begin a story, I find that setting it aside is not acceptable. They are for want of better words 'deeply intense, and compelling often times speaking straight to the readers heart'. 




Once again, I’m back in the world of A.E. Via’s alpha males...

Promises: Part 1 - A.E. Via, Aiden Snow

but this time it’s not the God and Day’s world that we’re visiting. This time we get to see more of the Bounty Hunters. We first met Judge back in “Nothing Special #4: Don’t Judge” and we’ll see him a bit here as well but he’s not the focus of this story, he’s had his day in court so to speak.


However, those who read that book may also remember Duke, the owner of the bail bond company that Judge works for and Judge’s occasional no strings attached lover. Having said all that, you now basically know the connection between ‘Nothing Special’ and this series or at least this book. So, you don’t have to read the previous series but there’s some good stuff there so you might want to consider it.


For those who enjoyed Ms Via’s series ‘Nothing Special’ on audio if you enjoyed the narrator as much as I did than you’re in for the added treat of once again being able to enjoy the narrations of Aiden Snow. I was more than a little happy to know that Aiden Snow was the narrator for this first book of the series and I admit my fingers are crossed that he’ll be continuing with the rest of this series as well.


Just to be clear Duke is one of the MCs in this first book of the series ‘Promises, The Bounty Hunters’ and his love interest is none other than Vaughan Webb, classic gentleman with an old soul who’s just returned after 7 years from studying abroad with a newly printed law degree in hand as part of his plan to prove himself worthy of the man he loves…that’s right he’s set his sights on none other than Duke Morgan…his daddy’s best friend and if you didn’t see that coming than all I can say is you should have read the blurb.


While Duke and Vaughn’s story is essentially contained within this book, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of them either. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work for me because of not just the age difference but the fact that Duke is best friends and business partners with Vaughn’s father. Surprisingly I ended up being ok with it and I think that due for the most part to the dynamics between the two men. This really wasn’t a case of ‘daddy complex’ if anything Vaughn was the aggressor in this pairing.


Vaughn's been in love with Duke for years, it was part of his motivation to travel and study abroad for his law degree. He wanted to put some time and distance between himself and Duke so that when he was done what he needed to do it would help Duke to see him not as a ‘boy’ but as a man who’s been out in the world making his way and experiencing life…Vaughn’s a man with a plan and the determination to make it happen. Vaughn’s 27 when he returns to his hometown ready to claim the man he wants. So while Duke’s a fair bit older than him that still doesn’t make Vaughn any less of a mature adult. I loved that this story never felt like there was an imbalance of power between these two MCs and believe the opportunity for this to happen was there on more than one occasion.


As I mentioned earlier, we first met Duke back in ‘Don’t Judge’ book #4 of the ‘Nothing Special’ series. What we see in this story is that Duke was far more hurt by what happened between him and Judge but even he conceded that he wasn’t the right person for Judge, but more importantly he also comes to realize that Judge wasn’t the right person for him and that his happiness is waiting in someone else’s arms.


Despite the fact that events seem to be conspiring against these two men Vaughn’s determination to have the man of his dreams will not be easily dashed and he is determined to succeed whatever the cost and the cost is, to say the least surprising but Vaughn’s up to the challenge.


Vaughn and Duke’s story may have had some over the top moments but at the end of it all, it was a sweet and enjoyable romance that I really enjoyed.


However, there was more than just Vaughn and Duke to this story. This is also the beginning of another story. One that’s about Vaughn’s father, Roman ‘Quick’ Webb and a certain adorable doctor that I really liked and to be honest I’ve got my fingers crossed that Quick has to do some serious grovelling on this one. When it comes to being a dad and a best friend Quick’s got it nailed. He was awesome to bad when it comes to just being a decent human being, he has moments filled with ‘fail’. I admit it I vacillated back and forth with him because one minute he had me gushing and sighing with how much I liked him and the next minute I was thinking someone needed to punch him in the junk…that’s right in the junk!!! He was that much of a jerk. So needless to say  I need this story because in my heart of hearts I don’t believe he’s as mean of a person as he was but I’m really curious to know what would make someone so nice act like such a jerk…what can I say inquiring minds want to know.




An audio book of “Promises Part 1” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Have you ever wandered through a park...

Fade In (Tales of Bryant Novellas #1) - V.L. Locey

or maybe some public gardens and wondered about the people you see there…Who are they? Where do they come from? Where are they going to? Why are they there? So many questions. In ‘Tales of Bryant’ Ms Locey creates stories that could easily play out in such a place…a place that really could be anywhere even around the corner from where you or I live, but in this case the park happens to be in New York, and it’s called Bryant Park.


Bryant Park is the thread that joins each story to the next. In the first book Bryant park was where Isamu and Brian’s story began. Then in book #2 we again returned to Bryant Park to as these two men became husband and husband but just as one story was getting it’s happily ever after another one was beginning.


It was during Isamu and Brian’s wedding that Caiden and Devon first meet and their attraction is something that neither man wants to ignore and what starts off as a one night stand quickly becomes something much stronger and far more than either of these men are prepared for.


Caiden and Devon are two very different men, at very different places in their lives. Caiden is a successful producer of LGBT movies. His career is established, he’s got the connections, professionally he’s proven himself.  He’s had relationships and even he’s cautious because he knows he’s quick to fall in love and he wants to give Devon everything…except the one thing that Devon wants the most.


Devon’s a film student and after being thrown out of his home for being gay, he’s also determined to show his father that he can make it on his own. He’s working a minimum wage job at a bakery to try and make ends meet, he’s got classes and when he gets offered the intern position at Budgie in the Dell studios…he’s not crazy of course he jumps at the opportunity…really, what’s a few less hours of sleep?


While the age disparity between these two men isn’t a favorite of mine just as it wasn’t with Brian and Isamu, somehow it all seems to work. In both cases the men all bring something unique to the table helping to keep things balanced and to offset the difference not so much in regards to the age difference but in regard to the power dynamic of an older, career established person with considerably more life and career experience vs someone whose career hasn’t really started and whose life experience is much more limited and yet in both cases the author has made this dynamic work for me.  For me the fact that both of the younger men have the strength of character to stand up for what they want and who they are, even when they’re afraid it could cost them what matters to them the most is definitely a large contributor towards making these relationships work.


Along with Isamu and Brian who have returned from their honeymoon the story offers us a peek at Adrian, whom we met in ‘Nine Small Sips’ and we are also introduced to Luis, Caiden’s cook and housekeeper and one adorably colorful personality. I’ve got my fingers crossed that future stories will see both of these men paying a visit to Bryant Park to see what destiny has in store for each of them.


The ‘Tales of Bryant’ each provide a story that feels complete in both content and emotion as well as offering a connection to more and I’m definitely looking forward to more.




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

It's Indiana Jones in steampunk Victorian era London with a touch of a gay romance...

The God's Eye - Anna Butler

‘The God’s Eye’ is the third, and rumor has it, final story in ‘Lancaster’s Luck’ the Victorian Era Steampunk trilogy by Anna Butler.


In ‘The Gilded Scarab’ we were introduced to Rafe Lancaster and followed his return back to civilian life after leaving the Britannic Imperium’s Aero Corps. As Rafe tries to find his bearings upon returning to civilian life the reader goes on a journey with him while he learns about running a coffee house, deals with a jealous ex-lover, fends off murder and kidnapping attempts and begins a new relationship with Ned Winter, first heir to Gallowglass House…it was only meant to be a brief dalliance but as fate keeps drawing them together, it turns into something stronger, something more…possibly the key to Rafe’s future happiness.


Then in ‘The Jackal’s House’ the reader travels to Aegypt with Rafe and Ned on an archaeological excavation in the temple ruins of Abydos where strange things began to happen…things that became dangerous…life threateningly dangerous. At every turn they find themselves facing more and increasingly dangerous things. It soon becomes clear that if they’re going to survive, they need to get to the bottom of what’s happening and quickly.


And now in ‘The God’s Eye’, Rafe and Ned’s once again find themselves in jeopardy. Rafe is to become First Heir of House Stravaigor and as his father hovers on the brink of death leaving Rafe tied to a future he never wanted but knows he must accept he finds himself unable to accompany Ned to Aegypt for the archaeological digging season. Rafe’s deepest worries are realized when Ned fails to return from a trip to the remote, unexplored highlands of Abyssinia.


As much as he is reluctant to do so, Rafe knows he must follow his heart and leave Londinium with its house and familial commitments behind to travel to Aegypt and ultimately Abyssinia in search of Ned so he can bring him safely home.


When I first began reading this series, I said that not only was this Ms Butler’s wheelhouse but she was in the driver’s seat…my belief in this has not changed. Although it’s been a while since I read ‘The Jackal’s House’ slipping back into the steampunk world of Victorian era London was effortless.


While there’s a very definite romance in this story…actually in all of them for the most part it’s the action and adventure that holds center stage. So admittedly if you’re someone who wants their romance front and center than you may not enjoy these stories as much as I did. But also know that there is a very definite romantic relationship between Rafe and Ned and while it’s not always the main focus neither does it ever become completely lost to the story.


Once again Ms Butler has maintained the world she’s created while taking the reader on an epic adventure with some very memorable characters. Many of which we’ve met in previous stories but here in ‘The God’s Eye’ we are given a closer look at some of the people in Ned and especially Rafe’s life. I think for me one of the main reasons that I’ve enjoyed this series so much has been the authors writing style and that she’s not only written a story that feels like it’s set in steampunk Victorian Era England and that it holds such an intimate feeling to the era that in the best possible ways it feels like she lived it.


Just a little side note here…as well as my recommendation in previous reviews to read the series from the beginning and in order. I would also encourage visiting series page on the author’s website (https://annabutlerfiction.com/my-books/lancasters-luck/) where you’ll find links to a lot of fun and interesting information on the series and on steampunk London. It’s a fun place to poke around and add a more visual feel to the story in terms of the era and how things appeared as well as things specific to this series, it’s information that can only add to your reading experience.


“The God’s Eye” may be the final book in ‘Lancaster’s Luck’ I’m hoping that it’s not the authors only foray into the world of Steampunk London and for me the only thing that could have made this better would be if I could enjoy it all over again on audio…“le sigh!” a girl can hope…right?



An ARC of ‘The God’s Eye’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I've danced around this one for a while now...

Vespertine - Indra Vaughn, Leta Blake, Michael Ferraiuolo

which totally explains why I'm so ridiculously late to the party, but when the opportunity presented itself to review the audio book and I discovered that Michael Ferraiuolo is the narrator and guess who just happens to be on my top 10 list of narrators...well, really who was I to do anything but say yes please.


Ok, so let's start with the elephant in the room...well, actually there's two of them in the room for me and can I just say this room's getting really, really cozy right about now...ok, the first elephant 'catholic priest gone astray' sorry just totally not my thing. Don't get me wrong I'm not a devout Catholic who has some illusion about priest being perfect because it's more like I'm a non-practicing Anglican who knows that...'that dog don't hunt no more'. I think for me it's a case of this is one of those things that happens in real life that, I'd rather not have show up in my fiction and yet here it is and here I am as for elephant #2 let's call a spade a spade because if it's an elephant it's just a teeny tiny little dumbo sized elephant call 'rock star-itis'...that's right I'm not much of a fan of rock star stories, I tend to be really fussy about them...a bit more so than some other sub-genres. It just tends to work out that I either really, really love them or they go horribly wrong for me, so while I do read them they're not usually my subject of choice for reviewing. 


But considering that this is a combination of one of my absolute favorite narrators, Michael Ferraiuolo combined with 2 authors who have written one or more books that I'm wildly crazy about I was feeling pretty good about the chances of liking this audio book and while I was pretty damned optimistic about my chances of enjoying this story I have to admit at the end of it even I was surprised by how much I really loved it... truthfully I wanted to simply go back to the beginning and start all over again once I was done. 


'Vespertine' drew me in, in ways that only a truly wonderful story can. I loved the characters and not just Jasper and Nicholas...although I did become a devoted fan of them both, but there were a wealth of other characters who added so much color and depth to the story from Jasper and Nicholas's parents to members of Vespertine and the community that Jasper and Nicholas grew up in. Not only did the authors make the events of this book feel grounded in reality but they kept the characters there as well. Nicholas's parents were loving and supportive but at the same time I felt their worries and concern for what was happening in his life and much of the time I was right there with them. Then there was the relationship between Jasper and his mother...far more fragile than that if Nicholas and his parents but every bit as possible and realistic.


Jasper and Nicholas grew up together as best friends until they weren't...until that day that friendship became love and then unexpectedly for Nicholas...Jasper left. He followed his calling to the priesthood and Nicholas turned to his own church...that of sex, drugs and rock & roll until years later, after a stint in rehab Nicholas goes home to try and truly put himself back together and find the man who loved the music before the drugs.


While we get a lot of background about these two men as the story progresses it's woven into the events of the present and in many instances gives clarity to not just what's happened in the past but what it's effect is on events in the present.


'Vespertine' is second chances, starting over, seeking forgiveness, coming home, rediscovering love and very probably a few other things that I've missed. It's a story that leaves you breathless, makes you laugh and cry. it's not about losing faith so much as finding it where you least expect it and yes there's a priest in it but there isn't any preaching.


At just over 14 hours I can't say that this is a quick read or listen if you choose the audio version as I did but what I can say is I loved it and it's definitely going at the top of my very, very short list of 'books involving men-of-faith'.


Once again with the help of her writing partner Indra Vaughn and the incredible narrations of Michael Ferraiuolo, Ms. Blake has taken things that really don't appeal to me, mixed them all together and made something that I loved...it's definitely magic of the best kind.



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

You know that friend the one who's just always there when you need them...

Fall Through Spring - Amy Lane

I'm sure we've all met or maybe we are that person..the friend...the quiet, steadfast friend who's there when they're needed. No, they're probably not the person who draws a crowd at parties or comes up with the crazy wild ideas for fun. They may not even get noticed much at events but when everyone else has gone home they're the one who's still there helping you clean up even though they were the one who arrived early to help you set things up for the party to begin with, they're the friend who drives you home after you've had one to many when the gang's out on the town, they make sure you get into your home safely. They're not the star of the party or even your knight in shining armor but they're just like you and I...they're someone who's looking for love...this is Clay Carpenter.


Clay's been here since the beginning and I think most of us saw him as Skipper's best friend and we never really gave him a lot of consideration beyond that. He was nice and dependable and really in the history of romance have there ever been two words more solidly connected to the 'kiss of death' when it comes to love than 'nice & dependable' I think not...that is unless your name's 'Dane Hayes'. Dane's done hot, attractive, sexy, exciting, yadda, yadda, yadda...he knows what those words mean or at least he knows what those words mean for him. For Dane they mean 'sh*t's getting real, so it's been nice and I'm outta' here. Dane's bipolar so sometimes his world goes sideways really fast and the only thing he's ever been able to depend on is his family...his parents and his brother Mason. He's accepted this. But Dane's like Clay...they can say what they want but the truth is their hearts want someone to love, someone to call their own.


I loved Skipper and Ritchie and Mason and Terry were truly adorable but I felt a connection to Clay and Dane that I just didn't with the others. Clay may be the silent, dependable, steadfast friend but that's not all that he is and Dane sees that... Dane truly sees him. He sees all that's good and honorable about Clay but he also sees his faults and insecurities right along with what makes Clay one incredibly sexy and attractive man in his eyes...he sees Clay the real Clay and Clay does the same for Dane. Their relationship is grounded in a love and appreciation of the whole person flaws and all and as the story unfolds we are shown this on more than one occasion.


Most of Clay and Dane's story runs parallel to that of Mason and Terry so there's definite overlap but we've given different perspectives of a lot of events and while some things may have seemed familiar I never found that anything felt repetitive or boring. However, I would have probably liked it more if there'd been a bit of post-getting back-together Mason and Terry shared with us...but truly it wasn't their story so that's me being greedy...again.


I loved how Clay and Dane fit together...it was neither seamless, nor effortless but it was real and worked at, so hard by both of these men. It as a happy ending that was very much deserved. I don't know if there's more in store for us from the lives of these men but if there is I'll certainly be happy to find out what comes next.



An ARC of 'Fall Through Spring' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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