...Bookfanatic

 

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

What just happened here...

Override - Peterson's

What I was expecting and what I got...not the same thing. Interestingly enough the first line of the blurb for this book is "Don't judge a book by it's cover..." can I just say "How totally appropriate this is." because based on the title and the cover I was expecting something a little darker, edgier, grittier with maybe a little more angst...not what I got. Now am I bothered by this...not really because I still got to read a really good story one that I totally enjoyed. 

 

So now you know what I was expecting let me tell you about what I got. I got a story about two men looking for what most of us look for at some point in our lives...someone we can connect too, feel complete with...you guessed it 'the L word'. Donavan is a big guy. He's tall and hours in the gym and working in a factory have given him a pretty impressive set of muscles...he's totally a dominant...not...and that's his problem people look at him and assume he's a take charge sort of guy. At least that's what most people assume, not so much with Seth. 

 

Seth is older, smaller and more than willing to take charge. He knows what he wants and he usually gets it. One look at Donavan and Seth wants...wants so many things that he thought were beyond even him. Things that he'd buried his hope for long ago, but Donavan's re-ignited that hope and Seth is sure that what he and Donavan could have together would complete them both if he can just make Donavan see himself the way Seth does.

 

I have to admit stories like this can be so hit or miss for me and as much as I like this author initially I was leery about how this would go. Somewhere around 40% I was pretty sure I needed more story with my sex so for me the first part of the book was maybe 3 stars at best but I was determined to have faith and as I kept reading I found my story. It wasn't the one I was expecting but it turned out to be one that I enjoyed none the less. I realized that I was really invested in these two men. I was totally enjoying them together. There were no huge stumbling blocks, over the top misunderstandings or long drawn out angst-fest. Instead what I found was a sweet story about two men exploring a mutual attraction and discovering a bond that was strong enough to build a life together on. There was still lots of sex and while it was definitely on the rough side at times there was always an underlying sweetness to it because it went from sex with caring to sex with love.

 

One of the things that drew me in with this story was that the emotional growth wasn't forced and didn't feel like it was being shoved at me. Seth and Donavan's feelings for each other were just there, they evolved as a natural part of the story as the relationship progressed. What started out as a mutual attraction and a bit of insta-lust progressed to mutual caring and finally to love. In some ways it was a bit on the fast side but it felt right and with these two men it worked. Mostly because it was more on Seth's side and Seth's nature was such that he wasn't a procrastinator he was the type of man who knew what he wanted when he saw it and went after it. While Donavan took a little more time to think things over. He wasn't necessarily more hesitant to commit to the relationship, but he was slower to admit to how he truly felt.

 

'Override' is the first book in SJD Peterson's new series 'The Underground Club' and was an unexpectedly low angst, sweet and not the sugary shoot-me-now kind of sweet but a heartwarming and enjoyable kind that also introduces us to some wonderful secondary characters from Donavan and Seth's awesome parents to the MCs that will be in book #2 which I am definitely looking forward to along with holding onto the hope that some of the the other characters from this first book will appear in later stories because like Donavan I really want to know what's going on between Cain, Donavan's best friend and Seth's cousin, Tristan. There's definitely more than meets the eye happening there and Seth's twin brothers, Samuel and Christopher also offer some interesting potential.

 

So maybe 'Override' wasn't quite the story that I was expecting but it was definitely a story that I enjoyed and made this a series that I look forward to continuing.

 

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

New to me authors can often be a good thing...

The Mystery of Nevermore - C.S. Poe

Before I get into the details of why I actually loved this book so much let's just take a moment to admire the pretty cover because it's a big chunk of the reason why I decided to check this book out. It's not over the top or incredibly colorful it's just quietly subtle and once you read the book you realize it's very appropriate to the story. So overall it's a cover that does it's job and a little extra. See that guy the one right there on that cover that I'm babbling about he's totally Sebastian Snow...seriously I could maybe google around and find someone other pictures but I'm betting they'll still look like that guy on the cover. Ok, I'm done with my little tribute to good covers.

 

Like others who have reviewed this book I'm going to comment on what we'll call 'The Adrien English' influence. Yes, I noticed fairly early in the book that it was reminiscent of another series that I truly love Josh Lanyon's Adrien English, however, 'The Mystery of Nevermore' was also it's own strongly unique story. I'm not going to bother with a list of what was similar and what was different because I think that's something that each reader needs to decide for themselves. I'll also add here that I tend to read the author's dedication in books to see who maybe influenced or inspired them while they were writing that particular book and I think it removes a lot of doubt as to who C.S. Poe was inspired by...

For Josh, the Master of Mystery.

You gave me the courage to find my voice again.

 

Now let's discuss why I gave this book 4.5 stars because i kid you not the cover had nothing to do with it. I just really liked the cover but that works well because I really, really liked this story. So much so that I am more than anxious to read what comes next and since this is the first book in a new series by a new to me author there is definitely more to come right? 

 

C.S. Poe is a new to me author and from the looks of things a new to publishing author as well, which really excites me because I'm hoping that it means she has a whole bunch of awesome stories to share with readers like me.

 

'The Mystery of Nevermore' starts out with more time invested in the mystery part of the story than the romance which for me was ok, because I love a good mystery and this one definitely was and more importantly this is why Sebastian and Calvin meet. Much of what happens involving the mystery is related to the writings of Edgar Allan Poe one of America's most notable authors and a man whose life seemed to be shrouded in mystery. 

 

Sebastian Winter is the owner of Snow's Antique Emporium and the love interest of one very closeted cop named Neil, with whom his relationship is sinking fast...like the Titanic fast. When strange things start happening to Sebastian and other antique dealers around the city Sebastian suddenly falls under the scrutiny of Detective Calvin Winter. it's amidst the chaos of things falling apart between Neil and Sebastian and Sebastian's growing attraction to Detective Winter and all the general confusion of strange happenings and dead bodies that we see things end between Sebastian and Neil and heat up between Sebastian and Calvin and yes, even Sebastian knows he's jumping from the frying pan possibly into the fire but the heart wants what the heart wants.

 

I was delighted with the characters in this book. There was Sebastian's father a retired professor of literature and his dog Maggie. Max, Sebastian's employee at the antique store. Beth the bookstore owner next door to Snow's Antique Emporium and seriously folks I want to be Beth...I could be Beth we're about the same age and we both love  books what more do you need...oh, I have gray in my hair and I love cats...see I am Beth plus I could totally work a cat skirt. Then there's Neil, who I'm pretty sure was so far in that closet that he had his hand on the door to Narnia. He wasn't a bad person a little self-centered and self-absorbed maybe, no to mention that he just didn't love Sebastian enough to be what he needed and last but not least Calvin Winter. I really liked Calvin. He was brave and honorable and so much more damaged than Sebastian first realized, but most of all he genuinely wanted to be the man that Calvin needed. There were also a few other minor characters who added interest to this story but these are the ones that I feel we are likely to see in future books from this series.

 

While I may have had my suspicions about who the culprit was it wasn't until the author took me on a merry goose chase that had me squirreling from person to person until we got close to the end that I really felt sure. As for Sebastian and Calvin did they get their happily ever after...well, to me it was more like a happy for now with a strong promise of tomorrow and I like that because at the end of the day it's often all any of us truly gets.

 

I'm not sure when book 2 is being released but I do know I'll drop whatever I'm doing to jump into it and go on another adventure with Snow & Winter...oops, I almost forgot for those of you who might be wondering Calvin = hot, sexy, muscular GINGER!!!! with freckles...oh yeah, he's all that (I looked for him in a suit, honest I did!)

 

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A copy of "The Mystery of Nevermore' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes things just don't work out how we expect...

Curioddity: A Novel - Paul Jenkins

Curriodity landed on my radar at a time when I was wanting to read something really different and unusual. So after pondering it for a few days and reading the blurb several times I thought why not? 

 

While I have to admit it was definitely unusual it also turned out that it just wasn't the book for me. I struggled with just how much unusual was in at.

 

Wil works as a detective...well, works might be a bit of a loose term to use...maybe, more like struggles to earn a living. He studied to be an accountant because this was what his father wanted for him. But for Wil life until the age of 10 had been filled with the exploration of the unusual and unique an interest that was nurtured by his mother until she disappeared.

 

Now as an adult he plods through life struggling each day filled with his efforts to ignore the existence of the unusual and quirky things that surround him. Things like the noises coming from the pipes in his apartment, the fact that said apartment seems to always smell like mushrooms and things aren't always where he left them when he went to bed the night before or when he gets home from work.

 

Things begin to take a turn for the truly unusual when Wil encounters Mr. Disndale the curator of the Curioddity Museum. A man that strikes Wil as being most unusual and a man who seems to challenge Wil to look at the world from a totally different perspective and who never really takes no for an answer. Wil's instincts tell him to distance himself from this strange man but it's the offer of a job that promises to pay Wil a considerable amount of money that keeps tempting him along until before he realizes it, he's accepted the challenge of finding the missing box of levity from the Curioddity Museum.

 

Wil's search for this elusive and valuable object takes ihim to places that are not what he expected and place him in the path of one Lucy Price. The beautiful girl who captures his heart instantly. Along with the adventures and misfortunes that occur in his search Wil has to deal with his father's pending visit which has thrown him off kilter because Wil's father has no idea that his son is not working as an accountant much less that he lives in an apartment building that is managed by the neighborhood cat lady whom Wil strives and fails to avoid every morning as he leaves the building to start his day.

 

I liked the story line about Wil and his father it was the primary reason that I kept reading the book I wanted to see how things played out between this two men and for me this was definitely my favorite part of the story, I also liked anything involving Lucy driving a car or Wil's Lemon phone especially when it was using the navigation function...turn left, turn left, turn left...it goes to a personal experience that my husband and I had while on vacation and we were using his cell phone for directions and yes at one point that was all we heard...turn left, turn left...in 200 meters turn left...Sara is real or at least for me she was realistic.

 

Unfortunately there was more that didn't work for me than what did and I often found that I was bored or becoming frustrated with the pace of the story so I would take a break and move on to other books...once or twice maybe three times...this is not the norm for me. Making me feel that it was a good indication that things just weren't clicking with this story.

 

I'm sure I could probably go on and on about why this book didn't work for me but at the end of the day it would still come down to just that. It didn't work. It wasn't the right book for me to read or I wasn't the right reader for this book because truthfully I don't feel even remotely inclined to make inferences that the author wasn't a good writer. I truthfully think he was.

 

So yes, I've given this book a 2 star rating much to my chagrin. But I also think if you're someone who wants a story that's quirky and incredibly unusual from a new author who knows how to write you need to check it out for yourself because truthfully...a literary critic I am not. I'm just someone who enjoys reading books, loves to step outside of her comfort zone from time to time and really loves chatting with her friends and sharing her thoughts on what she's read and before I forget while it really has no bearing on the book good or bad can I just mention this book has a superb cover.

 

Happy reading and remember the only person who truly knows if it's the right book for you...is you.

 

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A copy of 'Curioddity' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I liked it...

Three Little Words - Allison Cassatta

Yep, those are my 3 little words I was hoping for something more but 'I liked it' is as good as it got for me on this one.

 

After spending 3 weeks working out of town Matt returns to the home that he's shared with Brandon the man he loves, shares his life with and hopes to marry one day only to discover is dog, Zeus out in the back yard and a 'Dear John' letter on the dresser...ok, can we just stop here so I can say 'Brandon, really? A Dear John letter? You've been with this man for 5ish years and he goes out of town to work so he can give you all the nice things he thinks you deserve and this is how you end it with him with a pitiful letter written on paper from a legal pad, not even nice stationary and the last thing you tell him in your letter is 'I love you, I'll always love you.' Can I just say 'dude you have got one hell of a way of showing love.

 

Anyways, at this point I like Matt. I felt really bad for him. He seemed like a really sweet guy and damn, he just did not deserve this. But go Matt, he pulls on his big boy pants and decides to head out to New England do some lobster fishing for his brother, get his head on straight. Ok so now I'm maybe crushing on Matt a little because hey, sweet guy adores his mom, always brownie points for that with me. Puts everything into storage and his best friend Luke (remember this name, it's important) offers to take care of Zeus so that he'll have a yard to play in...did I mention that Zeus is a pit bull that Matt rescued from the animal shelter, yep, Matt's racking up those brownie points like nobodies business with me.  

 

Every thing is done, taken care of so it's time to hit the road. Easy, peasy right? Well it would have been if Luke hadn't decided to kiss Matt good-bye only Luke was hoping it would turn into a 'hell yeah, I'll stay' because unbeknownst to Matt, Luke's been in love with him for years. Now, is anybody besides me totally on board for this? It's going to be awesome right? Oh, I forgot to mention Luke's a firefighter...yep, I'm hooked sign me up.

 

Ok, so here's where things detoured for me. Somewhere on the ride to New England Matt shifted from this adorable but heartbroken guy, who walked away from his best friend because he knew he had to get his head on straight before getting involved with anyone else, especially the one person he'd loved for the past 20 years. So far so good still because while he loved Luke in his heart he'd always believed this to be unrequited because Luke was straight  as far as he knew so he truly loved Brandon and and was committed to making a life for with him. Anyways, somewhere along the line Matt seemed to change for me. He became wishy washy and self-absorbed with a bit of whiny thrown in. I was really starting to not like him. Add in the fact that he'd barely arrived in New England and he's calling a guy who gave him his business card when they met very briefly at the hotel where Matt stopped to get some rest for a night. This for me was so not cool and I just couldn't rectify it with someone who's trying to get over the end of a 5 year long relationship while finding out that the person he's crushed on an ultimately loved for 20 years isn't beyond his reach and they could have a chance at a life together...nope, just not seeing it.

 

But skipping ahead a bit, Matt goes out lobster fishing on his brother's boat and honestly this part of the story was pretty good. I liked it and Matt seemed to be getting back on track a bit. They've barely returned to shore when Matt's mom phones to let him know that Luke has been hurt. Needless to say Matt goes home ASAP and things start to improve for me. I like Matt and Luke together, they really work. While the relationship moved a bit faster than I would have liked. I was still ok with it and I liked the ending that Matt and Luke were given.

 

Matt was loving and supportive and he adored Luke always had and was determined to make things work for them and Luke loves Matt every bit as much. He was mostly afraid of how his parents would react to finding out their son was gay because of course they were oober religious. But in the end it was his love for Matt and his desire to be with him that won out so for the most part I liked what the author did with this part of the story, it worked for me.

 

While the main story was about Matt and Luke there was also a lot of stuff happening on the periphery and none of it really got resolved, in fact some of it just seemed to vanish leaving me wondering why it was ever included to begin with and in the end this also took away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

 

In the end 'Three Little Words' was an ok read for me and I liked it well enough but it just didn't quite have what I needed to make it an 'I love it' book.

 

Note:  The copy of this book that I received to review is a second edition and while I didn't read the first release based on reviews done by those who did it seemed to me that some of the inconsistencies mentioned as part of the first edition appeared to have been corrected so kudos to the author for this and for the lovely new cover.

 

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

 

Gun or No Gun...

Aftermath - Cara Dee

Gun or No Gun...

 

Imagine being held hostage...a prisoner against your will to a stranger you've never met...never laid eyes on and they keep you locked up in a basement no windows, no light unless they allow it. You don't know why this has happened to you. All you truly know is you're not alone there are 9 other men just like you...trapped in tiny cells, 2 men in ever cell, wearing shackles, your basic needs dependent on the whims of a madman. How desperate would you get? How long would it take you to get to the point where your motto...the mantra that hummed in your brain would become...gun or no gun and what does that mean?

 

For Cam and Austin what it meant was whether their captor had a gun or he didn't if the chance to try and escape came they would take it. This is the world in which these two men meet. Both of them captured by the same madman who would hold them hostage for 5 months. Five months of near starvation, torture, brutality at the hands of someone they'd never met. 

 

'Aftermath' begins with after these men have escaped...not everyone made it out alive...but those that did have returned to their former lives and are trying to move on to make sense of a world that no longer makes sense to them. There's a bond that forms when people endure extreme situations like this and sometimes once everything is over so is the bond. People don't want to be reminded of the horrors of what they went through other times the bond continues even strengthens because that other person is the only person who truly knows what has been endured. Not just that they can empathize or sympathize they know, they were there, they understand in a way that can't be explained. This is what happened for Cam and Austin and once everything was over what they each had to face was how much deeper that bond was, deeper than either of them had realized. 

 

For me the first part of this story was ok, I liked the way the author gave us the background of what happened to them while they were being held hostage in the form of flashbacks for me that worked really well but at the same time I wasn't quite clicking with the characters. I wanted to know the story but my emotional connection wasn't fully there. I think a large part of this was because of the whole situation surrounding Austin's wife. It all felt really, really wrong for me and just didn't work. I basically wanted a different scenario here, but not my story and while I respect that the author told it the way she wanted it to be...because, hey it's her story unfortunately it took away from things for me (so, please bare in mind that just because this didn't work for me, I'm not saying it was bad...simply that it didn't work for me. I know it worked for a lot of other people so this isn't right or wrong just personal taste). 

 

The second part of this story especially the last 20% worked tickity boo for me. It was awesome and I enjoyed it a lot. Interestingly enough the situation with said wife was resolved and she was basically not a part of this. Also there were so many things that I did like a lot. I liked Cam and Austin when these two men were together there was chemistry and the more together they were the better the chemistry was...damned near explosive at times. I loved that they both had awesome and supportive families there were no douchecanoe parents or siblings to deal with. There were also dogs!!! Dogs are they best they know how to love you and make you feel special just by looking at you with their awesome, trusting puppy eyes and there was Austin's daughter, Riley. Riley was epic...totally and awesomely epic...not perfect but epic.

 

For me overall the first part of this book probably rolled in at about 2.5 stars while the second part sat pretty solidly around 4 so a compromise of 3.5 stars.

 

And best of all 5+ stars to some of the best buddy read friends ever the beautiful Christelle, the amazing Sheziss who hung in there for us in spite of the fact that things just weren't working for her and last but not least my awesome cyber child Josy.

How long does it take to save the world?

Crisped + Sere - T.J. Klune

"We don't know who the monsters are anymore,"

21 days...that's how long Cavalo, Lucas, Bad Dog, SIRS and the people of Cottonwood have to prepare themselves for what will be the battle for their lives and what is left of the world that they know. Can it be enough? Do they have a chance against Patrick and his Dead Rabbits? Probably not...but there are worse things than dying...things such as giving up your freedom, watching those you love die cruel and brutal deaths, watching as all you hold dear is taken from you and destroyed piece by piece while you stand by complacently knowing that this is only the beginning of the end and that you failed to even try to stop it...to make a difference in the outcome...again.

 

'Crisped & Sere' is the second book of TJ Klune's series 'Immemorial Year' and like the world itself there is nothing gentle or kind about the force with which the author took me back to this world...to this time and all it's harsh brutality. 

“People like… us. Who we are. We never live long. We’re not meant to.”

While the plot of this ook was so emotionally draining and left me in pieces it was the strength of its characters that kept me going...kept me reading and wanting to get to the end. Characters like  Bad Dog...

No. We’re MasterBossLord and Bad Dog. We get bad guys and make them pay! And no matter where you run, if bad guys are after you, they’ll find you. It doesn’t matter how far you get, they’ll find you. It’s better to turn and fight than get shot in the back with a boomstick.

Cavalo who fought his madness to save a town and the family he created for himself knowing that in the end they would all probably die but making a stand together was better than dying alone.

 

Lucas...mute, raised in a savage world that many would not survive by a father devoid of goodness, compassion or any form of love. Wiling to place his trust in a man whose nature is every bit as savage as his own and fighting beside that man to save people who would sooner kill him than have him among them.

 

SIRS (Sentient Integrated Response System) that's right a robot. A robot who repeatedly brought me to tears with his humanity. 

"...and you will watch his back like you've never done before. I know he tells himself he doesn't need that, that he's doesn't need anyone, but it's a lie. It's a lie he chooses to believe most of the time. He needs you both just like you'll need him. If you can keep each other safe, then you can all come home, and we can pretend this all was a very bad dream." 

Of all the amazing characters TJ Klune has created with this series, SIRS is the one broke my heart, grabbed me emotionally and wouldn't let go. Made me cry those damned big ugly face tears that we all hate. It was SIRS who constantly brought humanity to light in the cold, harsh brutality that was the world of this book...

"You have fucked with the wrong people," SIRS announced, squaring his shoulders. "And now I am going to make sure you never hurt my family again."

This is not a story of sunshine and happiness of love and laughter but mired in the darkness, the cruelty and despair there is strength and determination, trust, friendship, hope and love. So much love in so many different forms.

 

We see it in Cavalo and all he does to try and save/protect his friends/family as he repeatedly refuses to abandon those he cares about and in his relationship with Lucas, while neither of them every puts a name to it, probably would have denied it and it may not necessarily have been the healthiest example of a relationship it was reflective of the world. That either of them was willing to die or kill for the other was undeniable. 

 

SIRS and Bad Dog neither of them human but both are willing to give their lives to protect those they bound to by nothing more than love, loyalty and friendship.

 

For all the other thousands of reasons to read this book...those being that every word of this story is extraordinary, SIRS is the part of this story that stole my heart and of course there's the...uuummm...ending...sweet baby jeebus the ending was for me sheer perfection or as perfect as an non-ending, ending can be in a book about what happens after the apocalypse.

 

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An ARC of 'Crisped & Sere' was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Have you ever wondered how the world will end?

Withered + Sere - T.J. Klune

 

It's a pretty bleak thought isn't it? and it's admittedly one that I try not to contemplate too often because seriously how much depression does one need in any given day? No matter how I look at it this is not a question that would or could ever produce a cheerful ending. 

 

In 'Withered & Sere' TJ Klune does just that. He makes us look at what is left after the world has ended 'in a wave of fire'. It's not pretty or cheerful, but it is scarily realistic. This is a world that I not only can't imagine existing, but I can't imagine existing in. It's a world where hope is a luxury few if any can afford. Survival is the prime directive and sanity is a matter of perspective. 

 

The world we are shown is 100 years after the one we know has been destroyed. Our guide in this world is a man known as Cavalo who lives in what use to be a correctional institute along with a mutt he calls Bad Dog and a robot known as SIRS.

 

'Withered and Sere' is a heartbreaking and thought provoking look at one man's life in  this world that few of us would dare to imagine.  Cavalo struggles not only to exist in this new world but to hang onto his rather tenuous sanity while doing so and it is through his eyes that we are shown not just the devastation caused on a larger scale but the impact it has wrought on an individual level as we watch him battle the ghost that haunt him in a world filled with monsters who would destroy him.

 

Cavalo's past is filled with so much pain and heartache the fact that he retains any sanity at all is a testament to his strength and ability to endure. He keeps himself isolated from what remains of the world as part of his effort to survive but finds his world begins to unravel when an encounter in the badlands leaves him with a mute hostage whose very existence seems to create conflict and draw more attention than Cavalo has ever wanted all while stirring feelings in Cavalo that he had long ago imagined ceased to exist. 

 

'Withered & Sere' is unlike any TJ Klune book I have ever read...actually it's unlike just about any story that I have ever read, it paints a picture of a world that I hope never to see but can all to easily envision existing. There are monsters and not all of them can be recognized by how they look, there are good men doing evil things...things that are meant to ensure the greater good but more often than not lead down a dark path to even darker places...places where evil men prey on the weakness and cowardice of others...places where survival simply means who can strike the fastest with deadly force.

 

This is a world left behind by unimaginable destruction and ruled by chaos and it's a world where knowledge is power and the price for that power is often paid in blood. I  can truly say this is not a world that I want to live in but it is one that I want to read about. With the first book in this series TJ Klune has created a world that is both terrifying and riveting in it's savagery. The characters are as fascinating as they are scary and what could happen next has me wanting to read more with a mix of both anxiety and anticipation. 

 

Immemorial Years is not a series for the faint of heart. It's for the adventurous reader who's willing to test the limits and step outside the box. There is no great love story here or steamy romance but there is an incredibly well written story that might leave you wondering 'if the world ends tomorrow...how will it happen?'

Can 'Be the Air For You' pass the test of time...

Be The Air For You - T.A. Chase

I first read 'Be the Air For You' back in 2010 and back then I gave it 5 stars. 2010 for me was early days of reading M/M and I really liked the story and 6 years later what I've discovered is that I still really like the story but what took this from a 5 star read 6 years ago to a 4 star read now was simply years of reading experience that has changed my personal taste. Specifically where I loved the story as it was 6 years ago the me now would have loved a longer story with more of the background between Rod and Hawk rather than just the few indications that are given in the story.

 

'Be the Air For You' is a friends to lovers story between rock star Rod Hannah and his lifelong best friend Hawk McLoed. Hawk's been there for Rod since they were kids. He's been his friend and his support through it all good, bad, highs, lows and everything in between and over the years Hawk has quietly loved his friend never letting the true depth of his feelings be known, while Rod has quietly returned his feelings loving the one person that he can't imagine not having in his life.

 

Everything changes for these men when Hawk is faced with a crisis of his own and realizes that if he's ever going to act on his feelings for Rod it needs to be now. 

 

I loved the relationship between these two men. It wasn't insta-love or love at first sight this was a life time of love finally acknowledged. When Hawk let's Rod know that his feelings are shared. Rod maybe scared of losing his best friend if things go wrong, he may be confused why things are changing between them now, he may be a lot of things but what he's not is stupid. He loves Hawk and letting him go just isn't an option.

 

Did I enjoy 'Be the Air For You' less than the first time I read it...a little bit because I wanted more.

 

Am I sorry I re-read it...no, it was still a sweet, friends to lovers romance.

 

Was the story now vastly different from the original release...no, the only notable difference between the story from 6 years ago and now was the publisher and the cover, I cannot lie the original cover was much more visually appealing.

 

Did either the new publisher or cover factor into my current rating...no, covers and publishers are of no consequence to me when I'm reviewing a book. This one was purely a matter of personal taste having changed. 

 

While I would have liked more story I still very much enjoyed this version and re-reading it was definitely a pleasure. If anything the fact that my only complaint after 6 years and many, many more books is that I need more of this story only tells me that when it comes to the test of time 'Be the Air For You' has passed.

 

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A copy of 'Be the Air For You' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

The things we do for love, the things we do for love...

Midlife Crisis - Rob Rosen

Like walking in the rain and the snow
When there's nowhere to go
And you're feelin' like a part of you is dying
And you're looking for the answer in his eyes.
You think you're gonna break up
Then he says he wants to make up.

The Things We Do For Love

by 10 CC (with a little editing from me)

 

Sometimes when I'm reading a book things just pop into my brain randomly and 10CC's song 'The Things We Do For Love' was one such thing as I read this book. I haven't read a lot by Rob Rosen but I have to admit I'm glad this was one of them. 

 

'Midlife Crisis' was both a mystery and a romance with a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor thrown in. Jack is 35 years old and his latest relationship has just ended so he's having a bit of a pity party when his friend Monroe stops by for some Coke (of the cola variety) and to dispense a bit of sage advice in the form of a walk down the memory lane of Jack's love life which culminates with the memory of Jack's first love who of course was also the one that got away...Bing O'Malley (hey, I did not name this guy, sadly someone thought his parents should be allowed to. What the hell, it worked for Bing Crosby, right?). It's with a great deal of determination that Jack decides to go back to his hometown of Ono, California and yes, it is pronounce oh-no! trust me it's appropriate. This is where his search for Bing and in many ways his journey to get his own life back on track begins.

 

While Jack may have been the main character in this story he definitely was not the only 'character' there was Jack's mother and his father but especially his mom. She was one unique individual, Chompers the dog, David the hospital nurse and former high school bully who it turns out was more in the closet than bully, there was of course Bing, Monroe and his husband Paul, and just for good measure lets add in a host of small town characters and more twist and turns than a piece of abstract art.

 

I loved that like most of us Jack's hindsight was considerably better than his foresight and he was fully aware of this and like most of us it was more than a little annoying at times. 

 

I'm not really sure how to explain the humor in this book, it was quirky and at times it was even a bit lame but in a rather entertaining way. It just really, really worked for me. I was totally entertained and amused from start to finish and yet there were a couple of things that didn't work too well for me and honestly I'm not going to delve into them because in the overall scheme of things they didn't spoil the book for me or take away from the entertainment factor so really not worth spending any time on. 'Midlife Crisis' is however, worth considering if you're looking for a romantic, mystery that tends to poke at life and love with a very tongue-in-cheek and totally irreverent attitude.

 

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

If you've ever been the parent of an 18 year old...

Adulting 101 - Lisa Henry

If you've ever been the parent of an 18 year old...

 

then you know this is not a mind that you want to spend a lot of time in and yet, I was drawn to this book. Mostly because I'm more than a little impressed by this author and I was curious to see if she could pull this off. I mean seriously I wanted to see if Ms Henry was as good as I think she is because I truly think it takes balls to be a woman and write a book about an 18 year old boy. 

 

I have 4 brothers and a son and thanks to my son I've had the joy of experiencing the 18 year old male viewpoint on more than one occasion from more than one 18 year old male during my adult life unlike my brothers who are all older than me and I simply remember them as just being weird at that age. I honestly have to say I'm impressed because there was more than one instance of me laughing and nodding my head and I thought yeah, I remember that whether it was part of my 18 year old sons life or one of his friends.

 

While I wasn't instantly overwhelmed with feelz for Nick, I was definitely entertained by him. Nick in some ways was an amalgamation of every 18 year old boy I've ever known. He had his superficial moments and let's face it at that age who doesn't male or female, he had insecurities which he often tried to hide with a touch of brashness and a bit of bravado, he had his moments of insight and revelation like when he realized that his parents had been people with their own interest and personalities before they became mom and dad and that maybe his dad wasn't really boring just not the person that Nick wanted to be and he has hormones...lord have mercy he has those in abundance just like every other 18 year old boy (and girl) I've ever met. Eighteen is also one of the toughest ages to be because it's that time when the world says you're an adult and expects you to act like one but doesn't always treat you like one and you don't always feel like you're ready to be one. 

 

I actually liked Jai from the word go and ironically it was mostly due to the way he treated Nick. He was good to Nick. He could have been mad about the whole porta-potty incident and blamed it on Nick but that wasn't the way he was wired. He was genuinely a nice guy and hot really, really hot. I know this because Nick told me several times...see superficial, but we can forgive him for this because he's 18 and he did also realize that Jai as well as being good looking Jai was also a really good person and that he liked being with him...see that Nick's growing up.

 

I loved Devon and Nick's bromance it was beyond cool. That Devon at times was more mature than Nick and so there for him without being asked was awesome but Devon also had his moments and like a true bro Nick was there for him.

 

Nick and Jai's relationship was probably one of the most entertaining relationships I've encountered in a while. I mean seriously in no universe anywhere, ever has having sex while there are family members or authority figures of any kind on the premises ever gone well...ever!!! and it was no exception here except for the fact that not being one of the parties involved allowed me to sit back and enjoy the occasion.

 

For me the icing on the cake was the ending. Was it a case of 'and they all lived happily ever after' who knows, Nick's only 18, Jai's all of 25 and the fact that they're 'happy for now' is far more realistic. Do I want more...oh hell yeah, I'd love a story somewhere down the road to find out how things are going with Nick and Jai and their families and friends. I have every confidence that it would be every bit as entertaining as 'Adulting 101' was, maybe even more so.

 

So did Ms Henry succeed in writing a book about an 18 year old male? For me, she nailed it with panache and a huge dose of humor. So is she as good as I think she is? Hell no, she's way better. I not only recommend this one I encourage it.

 

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An ARC of 'Adulting 101' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have computer gremlins...

Night Wars Collection (The Night Wars) - Sophia Beaumont, Missouri Dalton

Ok, truth is I'm on vacation and the internet service here sucks but I'm trying folks. I am seriously trying...ask my husband I have probably tried his patience to the max and he's a pretty patient fella' and it's courtesy of him that I'm going to be able to get this one done. I'm pretty sure it's took me longer to be actually get this review written than it did to read the book which really is sad because I enjoyed the hell out of this book.

 

'The Night Wars Collection' is a compilation of short stories from the Night Wars series by Missouri Dalton and Sophie Beaumont. While it's been a while since I read this series the one thing I definitely remember is that I loved it. I first stumbled across the Night Wars series back in 2013, I read the blurbs and promptly bought the books without hesitation I jumped in and devoured them one right after the other. So reading this was a no brainer and if I had the time I'd would happily re-read the whole damned series.

 

If you've read the Night Wars series than you've probably read a few of these stories already and if you haven't then you might want to check out this book out before going into the series. While the characters are from the series the events of these stories don't seem to be directly connected to the main books even though some events are eluded to it's done without involving any real spoilers from the series so I'd say all in all this is a nice little intro to the series and it's characters as well as the authors.

 

While I still have a couple of Ms Dalton's books to read, I have to admit I haven't read 'The Spider's Web' which seems to be Ms Beaumont's contribution to the Night Wars series so far but her story L'lle des Saeurs, which features the characters from her book definitely has me giving strong consideration to remedying that over sight.

 

By the time I was done reading this collection of stories I was definitely wanting more Night Wars, so needless to say I am hoping that after nearly 2 years of nothing 'The Night Wars Collection' is Missouri Dalton's way if saying she's back and has brought the world of The Night Wars with her.

It's not the light that will get you, it's the darkness that you need to fear...

Poison Tongue - Nash Summers

This one is going to be a bit of a challenge because I read my friend Jewel's review and honestly it's one excellent review, so I totally encourage you to check it out as well either on GR or on My Fiction Nook.

 

Interestingly enough Jewel went into this because the story sounded good and she wanted to give the author another try while I went into this because I like the author and I was  curious to see if I would like this book because I don't do scary, creepy paranormal my idea of paranormal is Kelly Armstrong and while she may have shifters and witches in her stories they're not what I would really call scary and while this one may not have had me peeking behind shower curtains or cautiously into closets I can guarantee you there are no swamps in my future or abandon houses or late might walks. 

 

'Poison Tongue' walked that edge for me that was just on the other side of my comfort zone and it held my attention from start to finish. Once I started reading this there was no going back and no stopping.

 

The relationship between Levi and Monroe started with a very slow burn but it held an intensity that had me squirming in my chair at times. Practically from the minute these two men met I crossed my fingers, held my breath and prayed for things to work between them. 

 

Levi's family is loving and supportive and interesting and unique to say the least. Being gifted is a family trait but how those gifts manifest is as unique as each individual. Levi can see a person's soul and he's drawn to the darkness. It calls to him like a lover. His sister, Silvi sees ghost, his gran could see the future, his mom does readings, can cast spells and senses things and then there's Ward. Levi's best friend who lives with them, he's Levi's soul and Levi is his heart. Their bond is strong.

 

Monroe's past is dark and filled with pain. Coming back to his hometown has been a difficult and painful experience but it's brought him Coin who is one awesome and fiercely loyal dog and in spite of the the fact that being near Levi seems to bring some kind of darkness and pain upon Levi, Monroe can no more stay away from Levi than Levi can stay away from him. Monroe's cursed and Levi sees the snakes that manifest as the darkness around his soul but he also sees the spark of gold that's there still struggling not to get extinguished. It's the dark that draws Levi to Monroe but it's that spark of gold that makes him fight for Monroe's soul.

 

This story was so beautifully drawn out each word leading us to where the author wanted us to be. Showing us a world beyond what the eye can see. 'Poison Tongue' is the first book in Nash Summer's series 'Afflicted Souls' and this series may be a little step on the wrong side of the my comfort zone line but the author tells a story that makes me not care and want more. So yes, I'm a fan and sign me up for whatever comes next.

 

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An ARC of 'Poison Tongue' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The world is black, the world is white It turns by day and then by night...

Stranger In Black - Devon Rhodes

Christian has been in love with Carl since their university days and when he suddenly finds Carl back in his life he realizes that his feelings have never truly died. Eventually their relationship resume between them and Christian tries to convince himself that everything's good but eventually he realizes that he has unwittingly become Carl's dirty little secret and Christian knows that his dirty little secret days are done.

 

Determined to end things and move on Christian hatches a plan to attend a masquerade party with his friend David and catch Carl in the act. Things become complicated when it turns out that Carl’s got a fiancée and Christian finds himself drawn to her friend, Jarrod, who’s there to help her put an end to Carl’s cheating ways.

 

In spite of the fact that I had to do a serious suspension of belief for some of this story I found it to be an entertaining and enjoyable read. While I was ok with what Christian did, dressing up to attend the masquerade ball and catch Carl in the act so to speak because he wanted to give himself closure and felt that seeing what he knew to be true would help him make the break he needed worked for me. While Mira, Carl's fiancée  wanting to meet Christian so that she could tell her (Mira was under the mistaken idea that Chris was short for Christine not Christian) to stay away from her man because she loved him and intends on marrying him despite his infidelities. Really? Have you no self respect, MIra? You need to kick his ass to the curb. You haven't even married him yet and he can't keep it in his pants. Do you honestly think he'll change his cheating ways? I think not. I liked Mira she was a strong, independent and successful woman until it came to Carl...oh well, they do say love is blind.

 

As well as Mira's 'it's ok to cheat on me' attitude there was a part of the ending that I did find a bit hard to swallow and it definitely took away from my enjoyment of the story, however, since it was part of the ending I'm reluctant to give details and truth be told my issues aren't everyone else's, so it may not bother others who choose to read the book. 

 

More importantly what did I like...well, I liked Christian's friend David. I liked the fact that as a heterosexual male he was comfortable with admitting that Christian in drag was hot. I liked that ultimately Mira did what was right for her and most of all I liked Christian and Jarrod together. They were a good pairing and I'd love more about them and where their relationship goes.

 

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

Mmmmmm....muscle cars and men!

Running Hot - Yolande Kleinn

Kurt may know his cars but he definitely needs to fine tune his senses when it comes to men. Kurt and his twin sister Lena run a successful auto repair shop and that may even be why Sloan started bringing his cars there to be repaired but it's not what's kept him coming back.

 

Sloan may love his muscle cars but what's got his motor racing is the sexy mechanic who owns the garage. Problem is said mechanic thinks it's his twin sister that Sloan's after and much as he'd like to take Sloan for a test drive he doesn't poach especially from family. So for Kurt, Sloan is strictly off limits.

 

It takes a wake up call from his sister after he tells her about Sloan kissing him to make Kurt realize that opportunity knocked and he may just have slammed the door in it's face. Thankfully Kurt knows how to find his way back to that door and he's more than willing to knock and see if the door's been locked or if he can manage to re-open it for a second chance at the man who starts his motor running.

 

My favorite part of this story was the cars, especially the 1970 Barracuda that Sloan wanted to restore. Don't get me wrong I liked Kurt and Sloan and they made a  cute pairing but growing up with 4 brothers one of whom ended up being an auto mechanic and all of whom shared a passion for cars, there was frequently more than one muscle car parked in our yard and ironically my favorite was my oldest brother's Barracuda. So this turned into an enjoyable trip down memory lane for me.

 

'Running Hot' was a short story about two men with a common attraction to cars and an even stronger attraction to each other add in some steamy sex and a side helping of car nostalgia and it all made for one sweet read. 

 

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An ARC of 'Running Hot' was graciously received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Apparently LIFO was my accounting method of choice this time...

All Note Long (Perfect Harmony) - Annabeth Albert

 

If you know anything about accounting than you'll understand the LIFO reference if you not you'll just think I'm a little cray, cray. Seriously it's the acronym for an accounting term and  stands for Last-In, First-Out because this is book #3 and it's ended up being my first read for this series.

 

I was a little pressed for time and there was a deadline on this one for me so I took a page from my friend Dani's review because she said it could be read as a stand alone and I trust Dani so that's what I did and no surprise here she was right. I had no problem following this story and while I definitely intend to go back and read the first 2 books in the series I read this one without feeling lost or like something was missing.

 

Lucky and Michelin for me were an interesting pairing. There were so many differences between these two that more than once I found myself thinking 'yep, opposites attract'. At the same time there were some fundamental similarities that really sold me on them as a couple. The fact that music plays a very important role in both their lives, for Michelin as a C&W performing artist and for Lucky as a dancer. Neither of these men were interested in hook ups but for different reasons they weren't really looking for ongoing relationships either. For Lucky it was largely because he was very career focused and for Michelin it was due to being demisexual and a C&W performer. Family was also very important to both of them.

 

Lucky and Michelin meet at The Broom Closet the gay club where Lucky works as a dancer and Michelin has gone to celebrate a friends birthday. There's a definite attraction between them and some seriously bad communication so what was almost their first date quickly turns into a parting of the ways until Michelin is outed courtesy of Lucky's greedy co-workers and social media. As a result Lucky gets pulled into a PR plan to save Michelin's career and act as his pretend boyfriend.

 

In spite of all the disasters and potential disasters both Lucky and Michelin find themselves drawn to each other and increasingly reluctant to deny the attraction that is forming between the two of them. I honestly haven't read a lot of books using the 'pretend boyfriend' trope mostly because in general it doesn't appeal to me. But as with most things if it's done well I can make an exception and for me this was done well.

 

Initially Michelin was a bit frustrating with his ostrich syndrome behavior which in a way I understood and maybe it did take him longer than it should have to get his head out of the sand but like it or not he had a lot to lose. His career was not a small deal and he'd worked hard to become the success that he was and he basically grew up in a fairly homophobic industry. C & W is not known for it's gay friendly attitude so his fears were not unfounded and yet at the same time he showed moments of incredible sweetness towards Lucky and it was in those moments that Lucky saw the man behind the iconic and charismatic performer and that was the man who won Lucky's heart. The man who was nervous and insecure and who just wanted to be known for his music and not become the face of a cause. It's not until Michelin sees that it's his cause too and one worth fighting for, if he wants a chance with Lucky, that he becomes the person he needs to be and stands up for himself; making Lucky realize that letting the person you love give you the help you need doesn't always have to cost you your pride and that was the compromise that Lucky needed to make so that he could have the man he'd fallen in love with.

 

One of the best parts of this story for me was that both of these men had amazing mothers. Sue me, I'm a mom I like stories with awesome moms in them. Sadly Michelin's mom passed away when he was younger but it didn't change the fact that she was a good and loving mother and that's a memory worth hanging on to for any child no matter how old they are but Lucky's mom was still around and she was equally as awesome. Dispensing her mom wisdom when needed...words to love by...

"Estupido. It's not about how many words come out of your mouth. It's about what comes from your heart and what actions you back it up with."

One last quick note the other things I really liked about this story were the tweets that started out each chapter, I Ioved that they gave a glimpse of the larger picture that both influenced and was influenced by the actions of Michelin and Lucky, Dogs...that's right there were dogs how can you not like that? Lucky and Michelin together loving on each other. It was sweet and tender and hot and sexy and anything that good couldn't possibly be wrong. Last of all the ending the happiness that Lucky and Michelin ultimately found was not easily gained making the ending all the sweeter. 

 

 I'm definitely looking forward to going back and reading the first two books in this series and hopefully I'll get to do that before there's a fourth book...which, I'm hoping there is. Who it might be about I neither know nor care. What I do know is that I love the stories this author tells and I plan on enjoying every one that I can. 

 

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A copy of 'All Note Long' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Come to Canada...we has dragons!!!

Never Lose Your Flames - Francis Gideon

Canada!!! Ohmy!!! Sign me up. Yep, I read the blurb on this one and nothing was going to keep me from reading. Canada folks my home country and there's a dragon and fairies, a motorcycle race with a gargoyle and let us not forget a pair of awesome kickass women and the Oracle...no wait him I'd like to forget...meh, every story has one but still there's just so much magical, mystical goodness. How could I not want to read this? Of course I did.

 

I loved this one it was like reading an updated fairy tale only better. You see once upon a time there was this dude named Gabe, Gabriel actually but don't call him that he hates it. Anyways Gabe is a former cop turned bounty hunter and for how that happened you'll need to read the book. So Gabe's chilling at this underground concert one night sees this hot looking dude named Nat and I do mean hot turns out Nat's a firestarter as in 'snap flames' and just when Gabe and Nat are about to find a little privacy and get their groove on Gabe gets a call from Duke, his boss. Duke needs him to do a job...do you see where this is going? Yep, right down the drain as Gabe puts two and two together and comes up with 'Oh f*@k' while he's watching his motorcycle his beloved Harley Davidson Cruiser ride off  into the sunset without him but not without his latest assignment...the firestarter that he's suppose to track down.

 

Now I have to admit I was a little nervous because while this had the potential to be an amazingly fun story it could have also gone horribly wrong. Luckily for me anyways, it didn't, from start to finish I was incredibly entertained. I loved Gabe but then really how can you not love someone who can change into a huge black dragon and destroy half of Canada in a rage...the lesson here folks is 'don't piss off the dragon'. There's more to it than that but again you'll need to read the book. Nat...oh, lordie Nat is the sweetest thing ever and somehow he got stuck with Atticus for a brother and in the life lottery that translates to the shortest stick ever.

 

Aside from Atticus and The Oracle there are so many amazingly colorful characters in this book there's Tansy, she's a 13th level witch. Trust me when I tell you that means she's scary powerful and she's Gabe's friend, there's Imogen, she's Tansy's partner and human but don't let that fool you she's still really kick-ass, there are the elemental children, Beatrix Jane and Duke he's Gabe's boss and a bit of an enigma. 

 

Granted this story is not exactly set in the Canada that I know and love. There really haven't been any dragon's go on a rampage destroying half the country. But Saskatoon is still here as are Winnipeg, Regina, Alberta really does have a section known as the badlands and we do get the occasional forest fire.

 

My only minor disappointment is I would have liked Gabe and Nat to have a bit more sexy time but when you read the story it's hard not to wonder how the hell that could realistically happen with all that they had going on, so for me this was a minor disappointment at best that was well compensated for by the overall enjoyment that I had while reading this story.

 

I could probably go on and on about this story it was just that enjoyable for me but what I don't want to do is give away anything that's going to spoil the enjoyment for anyone else. So I'm going to stop here and just say if you're interested in a trip to Canada that offers fun, excitement and a few surprises you need to stop right here and give this one a try.

 

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An ARC of 'Never Lose Your Flames' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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