...Bookfanatic

 

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

Whoever said that 'all good things must come to an end...

Criminal Intentions: Crescendo - Cole McCade

Needs to shut up and mind their own damned business.

 

Like a number of my friends I have  become totally, unapologetically, addicted to this series. I've enjoyed the individual cases contained within each story and the continued build of the overlying story arc but most of all and, I think a number of my friends will agree with me on this, what I've enjoyed is the relationship between Mal and Seong-Jae. Without a doubt this is one of the hottest, most captivating, magnetic pairings that I've encountered since...Ty and Zane (or just insert whoever floats your boat here, for me Ty and Zane will always have a spot at the top of my list).

 

While the mystery in this one wasn't quite as strong as previous stories I still enjoyed it and found it interesting and while I had most of it figured out earlier than usual in the story there were still a couple of details to things that surprised me so maybe not quite the usual but still a fairly solid crime. 

 

Meanwhile in other parts of the story we got a peek at Sade and enough to know that maybe some things would have happened differently or maybe not at all...I don't know but I have to say I'mma not happy with Mx Marcus at the moment and then there's the resident badboy, Sila...as far as this character's concerned I'mma' just gonna' say "He's batsh*t CRAZY!" and scary as f*ck!

 

Over the last few books we've seen Mal and Seong-Jae's relationship grow deeper and stronger  and now in this one...well, I don't know how to say this my friends but it seems we're about to take a side trip here and while I'm not entirely sure of all the whys, whens and what fors or how comes things are changing and let me just say as if I wasn't already addicted and committed to this series at this point you will have to pry the next book out of my cold dead hands before I'll not be reading it...oh wait, I'm already reading it. So yeah, that won't be happening this time around or anytime soon if I have my way because I am so on board for this whole adventure start to finish sign me up!

 

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An ARC of "Criminal Intentions: Season 1 Episode 11, Crescendo" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

There's no drama llama here...

Nothing Serious - Jay Northcote, Michael S Pauley

'Nothing Serious' is another one of those books that I've read before...actually quite a while ago as in 2013, so when the chance to revisit this one on audio presented itself I decided I wanted to do just that. Unlike 'The Small Things', 'Nothing Serious' didn't quite hit the mark for me but apparently it did work better on audio than when I read it.

 

Michael Pauley was the narrator for this book and with 300+ books to his credit in various genres he's definitely not a new narrator or even a new to me narrator...this is my seventh audio book narrated by him and while I've enjoyed the previous selections and this one, I have to say it was a little bit of a jolt listening to a story set in England be narrated by someone with a decidedly non-British voice. But since I enjoyed the narration anyways we're not going to count this against anyone and lets just call this one a statement of fact.

 

Originally when I read this story I got off to a bit of a rocky start with the first part of the book and honestly I can't remember exactly what my issue was but while listening to the audio didn't make the first part of the story wonderful it seemed to go a bit better for me than when I read it and just like the first time around the second part of the story found me enjoying it more.

 

For me 'Nothing Serious' was a light and entertaining story and I'm good with that not every book I read needs to be deep and profound. Sometimes I just want to read a book and enjoy the story.

 

My biggest point of contention here was that I would have liked a little more plot than what I got. Mark and Jaime had a bit of a communication issue and Mark got sick so Jaime went and took care of him. Other than that just add some hot sex and you've got the basic gist of the story.

 

So yeah, a little more story would have been nice...not a big deep complex plot thank you very much, just a little touch of something more but as it was this one translated to an audio book on a much better level for me and while the e-book was only 2.5 stars I'm going with 3.5 for the audio even without the British accent.

 

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An audio book of 'Nothing Serious' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's the little things in life that matter...

The Little Things - Jay Northcote, Matthew Lloyd Davies

It's been almost a year since I read this story for the first time and happily on this second time around with the audio version I've enjoyed this story just as much as I did that first time so...I'm going to borrow some from my first review since I'm a solid proponent of the expression 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' 

 

But before I start about the actual story lets chat about the narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies. While this is my first time listening to this narrator it is by no means his first audio book...nope, this narrator has just over 150 books in various genres to his credit and I have admit there are now a few more audio books on my wishlist (pronounced Karen's future shopping list). Jay Northcote's books are usually set in England and by usually what I mean is all of the ones that I've read and/or listened to have taken place there.

 

So having a narrator who has or can do a British accent for me is always a plus because it just adds to the setting and this narrator has a wonderful accent...yes, I'm a sucker for accents and equally as important is the fact that while there was more than Dan, Liam and Joel in this story and I found each persons voice to be readily identifiable I was particularly appreciative of the face that each of these men had their own voice and I had being able to identify who was speaking was not a challenge. From an audio perspective this is definitely a story and a narrator that I would recommend.

 

Finding the right person is hard at the best of times, but when you've got a kid...it's a whole other level of challenging. 

 

Joel's life isn't quite what he imagined but still he wouldn't change a thing especially the part that gave him an adorable daughter named Evie. He's got a boyfriend named Dan that Evie seems to really like. So while life's not quite what he'd imagined Joel's got a job he enjoys, a boyfriend he thinks might be the one, he shares custody of his daughter with her mom and while it wasn't what he thought it would be, life was turning out to be ok for 23 year old Joel.

 

But it only takes a moment for things to change and when that moment comes Joel finds that he's suddenly the sole guardian of his beautiful little daughter and that maybe Dan's not the one, as the pressure of full time parenthood begins to shine a bright light on the cracks in their relationship and an accidental encounter with a stranger named Liam gives him more comfort than all the time with Dan possibly could. After yet again encountering Liam, Joel comes to the realization that he and Dan really weren't meant to be and ends things. After encountering Liam yet again Joel gives in to his attraction and he and Liam begin to get to know each other.

 

'The Little Things' isn't a love story or even a romance in the typical sense of the word but what it is, is a story about finding love and not the magical romantic stuff of fairy tales no this is the love that exist in the everyday world and sometimes it's scary and it doesn't always fit into our lives but if we want it than we find a place to squeeze it in and we work at keeping it.

 

I loved this story. Joel's a real person with real problems. I've known more than one single parent trying to do the juggling act with life where they give everything they've got to their kids, to being good parents and then they're left trying to squeeze just a little something out for themselves from the time that's left and it's hard, seriously freakin' hard.

 

Partially because of the whole time issue and partially because most single parents have a story to tell and more often than not that story isn't a sunshine and roses story with a cutesy happily ever after. It's a story that has some level of pain, struggle and heartache in it. Sure some people choose to have kids without a partner but more often than not the reason that a single parent is a single parent is one that's not entirely of their own making as was the case for Joel. So by the time Liam came into Joel's life...well, Joel was well into having issues about people leaving his life, so I have to admit I found Joel's treatment of Liam frustrating at times to say the least but as frustrated as I was I could see where Joel was coming from and basically I sat on my hands and growled at Joel to man up.

 

One of the things that I liked the most about this story was surprisingly...Dan. I admit when I read the blurb I was anticipating not liking Dan...yep, Dan was going to be my bad guy...well, surprise, he wasn't. Dan was 19 to Joel's 23 and he and Joel had very different backgrounds so realistically Dan was an average 19 year old. He wanted to go out and have fun. But he did man up a couple of times when Joel really needed his help and support and he did it of his own accord but I have to admit I honestly can't find fault with a 19 year old who isn't ready for the kind of responsibility that a relationship with Joel would entail so I liked the way Dan and Joel's relationship went. I liked that there was no over the top drama between the Joel and Dan even when things were ending between them.

 

'The Little Things' was a warm and heart melting story about someone that felt like they could have been your neighbor or mine, an average person that we might all know. It's an everyday story about an everyday person...that any of us could know and sometimes those are the best kind of stories to read.

 

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An audio book of 'The Small Things' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's time to say good-bye...

Why We Fight - TJ Klune

'Why We Fight' is the end of what has been a hilarious, sexy and simply fun filled journey with a collection of what has turned out to be the most interesting and unique group of people one could ever know. They are without a doubt strong, brave, loyal, loving, compassionate and fierce but above all else they are family.

 

While there was a more serious undertone to this story that was due in part to the MCs,  it also felt reflective of the times...2016 was the beginning of a time of political turmoil for the United States and while this is reflected in the story it doesn't overwhelm things and added a strong sense of realism to things.

 

As well as being Corey/Kori and Jeremy's story 'Why We Fight' is the final book in TJ Klune's 'At First Sight' series. It's a good-bye of sorts and I have to admit I was prepared for the tears because it's always sad saying good-bye to friends, what I wasn't prepared for was the laughter...no it wasn't the same kind of humor as what we found in Sandy and Darrren's story or Paul and Vince's but still with all of these characters so preseent in the story I really shouldn't have been surprised by some of the hijinx that ensued even though it's not their story but Corey/Kori and Jeremy's there was still a very definite difference to the tone of the story that just seemed right.

 

I loved the snarky banter that went back and forth between Corey/Kori and Jeremy and how they teased each other...early morning jogs come to mind and Corey/Kori being such a klutz and dropping his phone charger in the office and I'm not even going to start on the eggs...specifically eggs that vibrate...I could not stop laughing! Knowing that Paul and Vince still need to hosed down from time to time was definitely good to know...ok, it was also amusing to say the least.

 

Having Sandy, Darren, Paul, Vince and the rest of the family that Corey/Kori has found for themself play such a strong role in this story was the icing on the cake for me but for as much as I enjoy this wonderful and wacky collection of people Corey/Kori has always had his own special place in my heart so to finally read their story was the cherry on top of the icing on my cake.

 

Along with a love story that was sweet, sexy and at times laugh out loud funny there is a message a very relevant and necessary message that I think Helena Handbasket said best...

Helena grinned wickedly. “But it got me thinking. What is the point of all of this? What are we doing? Why are we here? And it hit me: we are here because we matter. We’re here because we’re necessary. We’re here being our fabulous selves because we demand that our voices be heard. Someone very dear to me, to my family, once said that we are stronger together than we will ever be alone, and this is why we fight. We fight because there are people in the world who hate us, people in the world who want nothing more than to silence us. But I am here to tell you that will never happen. Because I am proud of who I am. And I am proud of who all of you are. Except for the protestors. Because still fuck you.”

It's been a long but never dull, tedious or boring journey from where things really started with 'Bear, Otter and the Kid' to this final part of the journey here in 'Why We Fight' and like so many others I'm so glad I made the trip from start to finish and yes, maybe more than once but I'm still looking forward to enjoying this last leg of the journey on audio...again and maybe again and maybe one more time for good measure.

 

Also a great big thank you to my amazing cyber child Josy, once again you made an awesome story even better. You are the child of my heart and like my other children you will always be a part of the family that I've made for myself. You may live a half a world away but never doubt that you are always right here with me in my heart. 

Apparently I'm on a role and it's not a good one...

Lincoln's Park - Parker Williams, Tristan James

This is the second book that I've listened to recently that's been narrated by one of my favorite narrators and as much as I enjoy Tristan James's narration even that couldn't save things for me with this one. 

 

I'm not going to dwell on this one for to long because..well, quite honestly it just was what it was.

 

Lincoln's Park was going along in ok mode for me for most of the book. It probably would have gotten 3 stars  up until the last hour of the audio book and then it was one of the biggest what the f*ck!!! Moments that I've encountered in a while.

 

There was a specific scene that well...I think it broke my brain because I'm still trying to understand how the hell anyone thought this was a good or workable idea. It involved one of the MC's having a confrontation with the other MCs father and brother...two minutes into things and my poor husband had to listen to me yelling at my laptop about how could anyone be that f*ing stupid and what the hell did he think he was doing? ? and who in their right mind would believe that this timid little mouse would even try this and on and on.

 

It threw me for such a loop that I was almost going to dnf but with less than an hour to go in the book I decided to suck it up and see if something would happen to redeem the story...trust me for me it didn't. I remained more than a little disappointed with Noel and to be honest he went from being the sweet, young man that Lincoln rescued and feel in love with to being and remaining the gold digger who turned out to just be a stupid f*ing idiot...what can I say sometimes it just doesn't take much and for me this was on of those times. 

 

I won't even mention the BDSM...well, ok I will one of my friends said it best in here review 'it felt out of place' while I think my reasons may be a little different than her's were I definitely share her sentiment.

 

Maybe I was expecting to love this one as much as I did 'Runner' or '500 Miles' or even 'Before You Break' which was co-written with K.C. Wells all of those were solid 4 star reads/listens for me and I would happily revisit any of them but I'm pretty sure I won't be going back to 'Lincoln's Park' anytime soon...if ever.

 

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An audio book of 'Lincoln's Park' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This one was full out tissues and teddies...

String Boys - Amy Lane

and if you don't know what I mean by that...well, it's really simple you need lots of tissues tor all the tears and a teddy to hug because everyone knows teddies make everything better. 

 

I've been procrastinating about this one for a few days now because it's one of those stories where if a person's not careful they could give away the store and spoil so much of the story and if you haven't read this one yet than just trust me when I say that would be a shame.

 

'String Boys' is one of the most emotionally, gut wrenching stories that I've encountered in a very long time. It was heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. It was filled with love and hatred, anger and fear, beauty and ugliness, strength and weakness and so many diametrically opposed emotions. While it's probably one of the most angst filled books that I've read in a long time it was worth every moment. 

 

Putting this book down once I'd started it was at the absolute bottom of my to do list. I literally got up at 5 o'clock in the morning to continue reading after having stopped at around 1 a.m. because keeping my eyes open any longer just was not possible so I got the minimum amount of sleep that i could and then I snuck out to the living room to carry on reading so that I wouldn't wake my husband up with my crying because crying was inevitable for me...remember I'm the person who cries over the Bell Canada commercials and let's not talk about Hallmark, ok?

 

More than anything this story is about love...obviously the love that Seth and Kelly share but also the love of family...the one that we are born into and the family that we create. There were so many awesome characters in this book besides Seth and Kelly I can't even begin to explain them all and how much I came to love them but as with any story there were also those that I came to hate...people whose sole purpose in this world isn't to help other's but to tear them down and subjugate them. People who can only feel good about themselves by making others feel bad and ironically it was one of these people who broke my heart and left me with so many tears that I actually had to stop reading for a few minutes because the tears were just too much to continue reading... am I going to tell you who it is? Well of course not, I want you to read the book and figure it out for yourself and let me know if they broke your heart too.

 

While I'm not going to talk about all of the wonderful characters in this story I am going to at least talk about Seth and Kelly for a few sentences. Seth was such a sweet young man and purely by accident he discovered that he had a gift...the gift of music when Seth played the violin the angels wept. Kelly was equally as wonderful as Seth and his gift was his heart. There were no limits to his ability to love or to what he would sacrifice for those he loved. Don't get me wrong Seth's heart was every bit as amazing as Kelly's and the sacrifices that both of these young men were willing to make without hesitation or thought was beautiful and heartbreaking.

 

I'm not really sure that there's much else I can say except that this book touched my heart on a deeper level than anything else that I've read in quite a while. The fact that it was written by Amy Lane is no surprise, she's left me in tears on more than one occasion and that's truly not a bad thing. I don't always want sunshine and rainbows in my stories sometimes I want that hard won, fought for happily ever after. I want to be left crying tears of happiness at the end because finally, finally the MCs in the story got the happiness that they deserved...no scratch that the got the happiness that they fought for and earned.

 

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

I think this might actually be my favorite one yet in this series...

Diplomatic Relations - J.L. Langley, Kc Kelly

"Diplomatic Relations" mmmm...I don't think this means what we all think it means...lol!!!

 

J.L. Langley's 'Sci-Regency' series will always have a special spot in my heart because many years ago when I was reading a lot of fantasy and m/f romance and honestly just getting a bit disillusioned with both genres because things were seeming very same old, same old a book called 'My Fair Captain' caught my eye and my little pea-brain whispered "Come on try it you know you wanna" and really I did so I did and I read it and then I went back to the beginning of the book and read it again from there I discovered a world of stories that have delighted me and yes...sometimes they've also disappointed me but if we didn't encounter the bad...how would we ever really recognize and appreciate the truly awesome.

 

While the previous books in this series have involved members of Regelence's immediate royal family this one is...well, it's more about the royal relatives. Relatives like Dalton Fairfax who is not only the heir to the marquess of Ravensburg but cousin to the royal princes. After flaunting one societal rule to many, Dalton finds himself with a commission in the IN to be followed by a couple of years in the Regelence Navy.

 

Now that he's completed his time with the IN, Dalton's returned to Regelence and his ready to start his enlistment with their navy. While his enlistment may have been less than voluntary, Dalton has come to realize that it's one of the best things to happen to his life so far and it's Dalton's plan to make a life in the military his career, but not with the IN...nope there're things going on in the IN that are questionable at best and while he loves the military Dalton loves Regelence, his home planet  and that's where he wants to be. But Dalton's goals take a slight detour when he learns that Blaise Thompson the Viscount Redding is in need of a body guard...one look at Blaise and Dalton's more than willing to guard his body. 

 

While Blaise is determined to keep his distance from the less than reputable rogue, what he comes to realize is that Dalton is much more than the picture that people would paint of him.

 

While I've absolutely enjoyed all of the previous books in this series none have delighted me like this one. For Dalton and Blaise the journey to be together is filled with challenges and danger but ultimately it becomes a question of trust and faith. Both men are going to have to trust in what they've built together and have faith that it will weather the storm of societies judgment.

 

'Diplomatic Relations' not only gave us new MCs but a new narrator...KC Kelly was the narrator this time around and this was probably the perfect time to switch narrators in a series since not only did we have two new MCs but because they weren't direct members of the royal family we were also treated to a host of new secondary characters so while some of the usual suspects were on hand for the most part they were a little further in the background than usual allowing the listener to focus more on the new voices that Mr. Kelly provided as opposed to comparing interpretations of characters from previous stories to his interpretation in this story. Overall I enjoyed this audio book every bit as much as the previous stories.

 

While these men may be opposites in their own way, there's also a balance between Dalton and Blaise's personalities that allows them to temper the more extreme sides of each other's personality and at times this can create more than a few sparks between these two men.

 

'Diplomatic Relations' is absolutely Dalton and Blaise's story but at the same time we're not only given more information about them but about Dalton and Blaise's families and the royal family, as well.

 

There are events at play that have still not fully unfolded and hopefully as we progress in this series I have faith that the author will lead us where she needs us to be to bring things to their inevitable conclusion and while I have little doubt that I'll enjoy the next book the story that I'm waiting for is Tarren and possibly there will be another of the royal family's guards involved...I'm just saying that's what this reader is hoping for after all he may only be one of the royal guard but I think he's the royal guard for Tarren...but that's another story for another book...right?

 

This is the part where I would usually tell you that an audio book of 'Diplomatic Relations' was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, however, that wasn't the case here a copy of this audiobook was provided by me because I really, really wanted to listen to this one so I bought me a copy and I regret nothing.

 

Have you ever read a Harlequin romance...

My Regelence Rake - J.L. Langley, Joseph Morton

well me neither, but I remember when I was a kid my mom loved them and so did the mom's of a few of my friends. I had a friend who also loved reading Harlequin romance novels and I remember her reading some of the novels from their regency romance collection and I imagine that those stories bore a strong resemblance to the stories of Ms. Langley's 'Sci-Regency' series and while I still have no interest in Harlequin's regency collection I am unapologetically a fan of this series.

 

For me each story has consistently gotten better. When I first read 'My Regelence Rake' several years ago I thoroughly enjoyed the game of chase played by Prince Colton and rake extraordinaire...Captain of the Guard, Sebastian Hastings are playing with one another and when it came across my radar that it was on audio well...you guessed it I was all in. Joseph Morton has narrated the first 3 books in this series and so far I've thoroughly enjoyed his narrations and the life he's breathed into these absolutely delightful Sci-fi Romance Adventure stories.

 

As Captain of the Guard Sebastian is responsible for the safety of the entire royal family and as things move forward in the mystery plot of this series between the planets Regelence, Englor and the IN (Interglactic Navy) the danger to the Regelence's royal family grows but too many questions are remain for anyone to be sure where the next threat will come from and one thing Sebastian knows for sure is that he takes his duties very seriously and none of the royal family will come to harm on his watch but especially not Prince Colton.

 

Meanwhile Colton's decided that the crush that he's nurtured for so many years is pointless because Sebastian's never going to notice him...but Colton's wrong because Sebastian's biggest problem is just how much he's noticed the young Prince and how much more he wants to notice.

 

I loved the relationship between these two it was nothing if not challenging for both of them but when you throw in a little interference from the royal parents it was also inevitable. 

 

The 'Sci-Regency' series is a light and enjoyable read. These are not the deep and complex plots of many sci-fi stories but stories meant to entertain and capture the readers imagination as the author takes you to new and unusual places such as Regelence and Englor.

 

Admittedly there are probably a number of inconsistencies and errors in these stories but for me these are stories that I read to enjoy, their what I would call a light read...maybe even a summer read or beach read or in this case a light listen. So when all is said and done if I'm looking to simply enjoy the story why would I go looking for mistakes and inconsistencies; it kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

This one was short so I'm going to keep the review short as well...

Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You - Lily G. Blunt,  Sean Crisden

"Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You" was unfortunately not the perfect story for me in spite of the fact that it was narrated by Sean Crisden, one of my favorite narrators. Overall this story just wasn't working for me. 

 

Sorry but in a nutshell we've got a naive young college boy hiring a rent boy to teach him about sex so he'll know what to do when...read if his secret crush ever gives him the timeee of day and before I know it, it's the naive young college boy who's getting all pushy and toppy with the rent boy. 

 

I'm not even saying that this couldn't possibly happen but with only 1 hour and 8 minutes to convince me...well, I just wasn't convinced. Maybe if the story was a bit longer and might I say apparently the only thing that needed to be longer was the story everything else was "the perfect size".

 

This was my first time listening to a story by this author and while it didn't goes as I'd hoped there are other stories and who knows how they'll turn out. 

 

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An audio book of 'Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You' was graciously provided by thee author via 'Gay Book Promotions' in exchange for an honest review.

There are a lot of reasons why...

Out of the Shade - S.A. McAuley

I shouldn't have liked this one and I do mean a lot. So let's get on with this and start a list...

first off there's the whole neanderthal caveman mentality, copious amounts of alcohol consumption, there's a group of men that in some ways don't seem to have really made it past their high school or college days...yeah, let's be generous and say college days...so, in truth I could probably go through the first part of this book and by part I mean about 30 probably 40% and pick out all kinds of details that made me crazy, annoyed the hell out of me or at the very least had me using some very unladylike language. So to those who dnf'd before the halfway point, in all honestly I get it I really do and another time I very probably would have done the same. 

 

But right now in this moment for me it turned out it was a case of the right time for the right story and the second half of this book was the right story, for me. It was the story that I was looking to read.

 

In the first part of this story we meet Jesse Solomona and to be honest the only thing I was definite about during the first part of the story was I did not like Jesse. He was someone with addiction issues...sorry, I don't care what Jesse wants to tell himself. He's an alcoholic add in some definite anger issues...the man was at times abusive towards his friends..seriously I did not like Jesse and if I had done a dnf on this one he would have been the biggest reason.

 

Then we have Chuck Dunn a tattooed and pierced sports photographer who's walked away from a very successful career and while he doesn't advertise it, he also doesn't hide in the closet.

 

We also meet the Kensington Boys and their wives. These are Jesse's friends. He's grown  up with these men and they play league sports together they go drinking together, celebrate holidays and special events together, go drinking together, go on vacation together, go drinking together...are you seeing a pattern here? I have to say I'm not really sure how many Kensington Boys there are but this group is beyond important to Jesse...they're so important to Jesse that being who he thinks they want him to be is far more important to him than being who he wants to be.

 

While I wasn't a fan of Jesse this was not the case with Chuck. I liked Chuck and honestly I was definitely not a fan of Chuck with Jesse because, for me, Jesse just did not deserve someone like Chuck...nope, not even a little bit.

 

So here I am not quite halfway through the story and honestly leaning towards moving on but there's this little voice that whispers in my ear and says..."But what if you're suppose to read this one...what if it's the last half of the book that's important...that's the story you're looking for...what if you're missing out but not finishing this." and I have to admit that voice whispers in my ear quite often and most of the time I do listen to it...every once in a while I tell it to shut up and go away but somewhere in the clusterf*ck that was the beginning of this book there were a few little things that resonated with me and made me want to know a bit more...like Jesse's sister and some of the Kensington Boys and their wives were interesting and yeah, I admit it Jesse and Chuck just weren't quite working for me so I wanted to see how this could ever possibly work.

 

I picked through what worked and what didn't and weighed the pros and cons of it and at the end of it all I thought "What the hell, I've come this far. Why stop now?" so I didn't and here's what I found...

For me the second half of this book is about what happens when you hit rock bottom and realize that you've basically destroyed your life and lost what matters the most. It's about second chances and what it takes to deserve them and me, I love second chances. 

 

For everything that drove me crazy about the first half of this book there was equally as much that made me so glad that I stuck with it in the second half of the story. For me the last half of this book is about change, it's about life and it's about love. Jesse is a man who needs to change to get the future that he wants instead of the one that's being created by his destructive behavior, Chuck needs to let go of his past if he's going to have a chance with the man that he's falling in love with and even with some of the secondary characters there's growth and change...maybe not as dramatic or as obvious as that of Jesse or even Chuck but it's the small things the subtle things that often happen in day to day life...somethings may only be a blip on the radar while other things can mean so much more than we realize at the moment...but still it's change and change is life.

 

I've always said that if we don't go through the bad times, how can we truly appreciate and know how special the good times are and I feel like that's what happened here the beginning of this story is Jesse's bad times and in order for the reader to truly appreciate the good times and what it took for Jesse to get to them we needed to go through the bad times with him.

 

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

No rating for this one...

Street Freaks - Terry Brooks

I love Terry Brooks and am such a fan of his Shannara series but try as I might even if it's by one of my favorite authors I just can't get into this one. It's SciFi and I'm a fantasy girl at heart. So no rating for this one from me because it's not a case of bad book just a bad choice on my part.

While there were several things about this story that I liked...

The Color of Summer - Anna  Martin

what there wasn’t, was a lot or even much that I really loved.  So let's just chat about this for a bit...in fact let's start with Max and Tyler, the MCs of this story. Both of them very likable people.

 

Max left his hometown of Sweetwater for college and other than to visit his mom moving back was never a plan until his mom has a stroke and Max finds that he needs to change direction with his life.  Max decides it’s time to return home to be closer to his mom during her recovery and takes advantage of the opportunity to open his own tattoo shop.

 

Tyler left Sweetwater too, but he’s been back for awhile. However, Tyler’s return was prompted by an entirely different set of circumstances.  Six years earlier Max suddenly finds himself a single parent with a daughter to raise and decides what better place to raise a child than the place that held his own happy childhood memories and a loving family to help him. Max readily sets aside the dreams of his youth for the reality of his current life.

 

If it hadn't been for a tense and dangerous situation that happened towards the end of the story I'm not sure if Tyler and Max would have actually progressed to an actual relationship and even then I just didn't feel the connection between them...truthfully, I felt like Max had a stronger commitment to Juniper and I had no problem imagining him as her other dad.

 

I liked that the setting was a small town, but somehow I just didn’t get that small town vibe that tends to just draw me that little bit further into the story…so yeah, liked but for me the small town love just wasn’t there.

 

I love that both of these men were older Max was nearly 30 and Tyler was just a few years older and I’m a fan of MCs who have a bit of life under their belt. I also loved that both of these men had pretty awesome families. While not everyone is blessed with a loving and supportive family sometimes it’s nice to read stories where it’s more the norm than the exception. Also high on the me-likey-list was 'Juniper', Tyler's adorably precocious daughter. 

 

At the end of it all we've got a sexy guy with tats, a hot cop with an adorable daughter, two men with very likable families an definite plus for me and yet in spite of all this the connection between Tyler and Max that should have been there wasn't and the sex that should have been scorching hot really just wasn't.

 

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An ARC of 'The Color of Summer' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I tried...really I tried so freakin' hard but...

Where Death Meets the Devil (Death and the Devil #1) - L.J. Hayward, Rowan A. Scott

Ok, before I get to far down this rabbit hole I just need to say...no matter how hard I tried this one bored me. But in fairness to the book I think a solid part of the blame for this rest on my shoulders as well.

 

Honestly I've seen so many amazing reviews about this book that I'm not sure if any book stood a chance of meeting my expectations...yes, even my absolute #1 go to favorite because every book he writes is amazing author...Greg Iles, for those of you who don't already know this about me...well, I think even he may not have been able to meet the expectations that I had by the time I finally got to this audio book.

 

This was spies/hired assassins/espionage and I usually enjoy stories along these lines. But this time around the pacing was off and I just found that things were getting drawn out and taking to long to progress. I felt that this was at least due in part to the fact that things jumped back and forth along the time line on a fairly regular basis and for me the whole keeping track of whether events were in the present or the past just got to be a bit tedious and distracting resulting in me being distracted from my overall enjoyment of the story.

 

As for the characters Jack was ok. I didn't mind him nor did I really like him...he was there and as for the secondary characters they were there and truthfully no one really stuck out in my mind.

 

There were three things that were saving graces for me with this story...the first one was Ethan Blade. He was definitely both an interesting and unique character for this story. I love it when a character is morally ambiguous leaving the reader to wonder who is truly the hero and who's the villain or is it really a question that has a clear answer.

 

Overall the story line was solid and the connection between Jack and Blade lends itself quite nicely to future events both throwing these two men together as allies or possibly leaving them on opposite sides of a conflict. Whichever way it happens there are definite possibilities.

 

Last but not least Rowan Scott, a new to me narrator, did an excellent job of narrating this 10 hour and 31 minute story that was also by new to me author L.J. Hayward and played a very definite role in getting me through this one from start to finish.

 

While this wasn't an "over-the-moon-5-star-oh-my-god-give-me-more!" story for me. It was a story that turned out to be 'just ok' and also held some potential and I think for me the question is does it hold enough potential for me to want to continue with this series...right now my honest answer is "I don't know." but I will say if you liked this story I strongly encourage checking out the audio book...story aside I very much enjoyed the narration on this and I'm looking forward to opportunities to enjoy future narrations by Rowan Scott and as for the story mine is only one very dissenting opinion among the many who have read and truly loved this story so, in fairness to this story and yourself...sit back and check out the many other awesome reviews here on Goodreads before deciding.

 

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An audio book of 'Where Death Meets the Devil' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All those other reviews that you've read...

Adam Only (Those Other Books #2) - Roe Horvat

well...turns out they're true. This book is sexy as f**k!!! So if sex is something that bothers you or makes you squirm maybe this isn't the book for you...or maybe it is?Maybe it's time to let go of some inhibitions. 

 

Adam is a very tactile person or at least he is when Christoffer's around but it seems Christoffer has the same affliction and he takes every chance he can to touch Adam the sweet, magical man who has captured his heart. 

 

This is the second book in the author's series entitled 'Those Other Books' and each one can be read as a  standalone with the exception of 'Joel' from 'The Other Book'  the characters in both books do over lap and the events from 'The Other Book' actually take place after the events of 'Adam Only' and yes, I know this sounds confusing but whether you've read 'The Other Book' yet or not it's really a non-issue...really read them in whatever order makes you happy and everything will be fine.

 

'Adam Only' is similar to 'The Other Book' in that it's a love story that's both romantic and incredibly sexual...Adam and Christoffer's story is uniquely their own and there's a very natural ease with which Adam submits to Christoffer that feels both incredibly sensual and right. Don't get me wrong this wasn't a D/s relationship nor was there any real kink involved, what there is though are some very hot, sensual and romantic encounters between two men with a definite age gap.

 

'Adam Only' is about two men with different needs who feel like they don't fit...that the world doesn't really hold a place for them until they meet and little by little each man begins to realize that...one man's needs is another man's wants and it just takes the right man with the the right wants to make things fit creating a place where they are both loved, wanted and safe. 

 

To echo the sentiment of more than one review 'Adam Only' is a book that is deserves being read without interruptions and probably best not at work, or the local Starbucks or even on the transit ride home at the end of the day...seriously alone time it's a thing and in this case it's a good thing.

 

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

Who says 'There are no happy accidents...'

The Accidental Baker - Clare London

'The Accidental Baker' is the tale of how one little accident plays a role in the lives of 4...well actually 8 different men. 

 

Starting with Donnie a sweet young man with a heart of gold who never gives a second thought to what he can do to help someone else...he just does it but when Donnie drops some of the egg shaped or mostly egg shaped eggs that he's made for the local community center children't party what he doesn't realize his chocolate creations are about to play a role in changing the future of more people than him and a few children. 

 

I was totally enchanted with how this story played out and how each one of Donnie's chocolate creations that rolled away from him played a role in the meeting of two other men ...from something as simple as sharing a chocolate treat to causing to men to be locked in the men's room.

 

'The Accidental Baker' isn't a collection of romance stories but a collection of romantic beginnings.  It's a collection of stories all connected by chocolate and really who doesn't like chocolate? These stories are high on sweetness and love on sex...I'm a just sayin' if you're looking of steamy graphic sex than this may not be the one for you but if you just want some sweet, promising beginnings than you've come to the right place.

 

And having said all that...I'd be lying if I said I didn't want the rest of the story to go with these sweet beginnings because of course I do and I've got no shame in saying that I'm hoping the author has plans to give us more story for each of these couples...one where everyone gets an HEA or even a solid HFN...one can always hope, right?

 

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A copy of 'The Accidental Baker' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an  honest review.

Well that was a bit of a surprise....

Santori (Santori Trilogy #1) - Maris Black, J. F. Harding

'Santori' is the first book in the series of the same name that picks up where the original series 'Kage' by Maris Black leaves off.

 

When it came to the 'Kage' trilogy I devoured the audio books and couldn't wait to dive into 'Santori' the next part of this story and so far I'm not disappointed that I did. While the story has turned out to be very different than I'd expected it continues to be every bit as interesting, sexy and scintillating as the original stories. 

 

My only real issue with this book was the sense of frustration that I experienced with both Jaime and Kage...

Let's start with Kage. Honestly the man needs to stop telling Jaime how sheltered and naive he is and then perpetuating it by keeping things from him. How can anyone be expected to not be sheltered and naive when the people in their lives continually keep things from them and create an environment where they only see the sunshine and rainbows. But having said that I want Jaime to stop acting like a little kid...sorry, but getting drunk because your partner isn't giving you the attention you think they should isn't the behavior of a mature, responsible adult and this has been Jaime's go to behavior on more than one occasion.

 

It's pretty clear that Kage and Jaime are going through a rough patch right now but really, what couple hasn't faced it's share of challenges? I maybe frustrated with their behavior at present but my interest and enthusiasm for this series definitely hasn't waned and I'm very much looking forward to hearing what happens next for this couple.

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