...Bookfanatic

 

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

Another excellent re-read...

Afterimage - Santino Hassell, Ais

This was my second time reading Afterimage and while there were parts of it that were a bit slow for me. It was in many ways every bit as good the second time around as it was the first and this time I got to share the experience with my lovely buddy read partner, Christelle. So basically my original review is still good just add some hugs and huge thank you to Christelle for sharing the experience with me this time around.

 

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I feel like I've gone through a war, train wreck, god I don't know. This was so amazing and yet at the same time so horribly traumatizing. Most of this book left both Sin & Boyd emotionally bare to the world. Surprisingly it was Boyd who ended up earning most of my disappointment and frustration.

 

Part way through this book it just became so abundantly clear that while he really isn't a selfish person he can be very self absorbed, I mean really Boyd. Kassian? What the hell were you thinking...oh no wait that's the problem you weren't at least not about anything other than yourself and your self perceived needs.

 

Next is Sin, god he is so incredibly damaged. It astounds me that he can function in any capacity let alone as highly as he does in some areas and I am getting so frustrated with how much people use him, it needs to stop...just...enough already.

I'm not sure what's become of Annabelle and none of my wishes for her are anything nice, she was such an epic failure in spite of everything and then we have dear sweet Vivienne, wow I'm still holding on to that die in a freakin' fire thought for her.

 

Ryan, oh I do hope this sweet little techno geek gets the chance to spread his wings and explore the world, MLE & I are hoping to have an anime marathon with him before he departs on his travels. It will be of epic proportions and epic fun, his going away party if you will in a cyber sense.

 

As to the rest of the book especially the ending all I can say is I was going to take a break and read something a little lighter, just a book or two before going back for more, but no I find I have already jumped into the next book, I need to...no I must know what comes next. What can I say this is crack and I apparently am a crack baby.

Sometimes love just ain't enough...

Guns n' Boys: Chokehold (Book 5) (gay dark mafia romance) - K.A. Merikan

I'm sure that a lot of readers enjoy listening to some music while they read I know I do and sometimes the music just happens. That's what occurred for me this time around. 'Chokehold' is the 5th book in K.A. Merikan's Boys 'n Guns series and I have to admit this one started off a little slow for me. I'm not sure why but when I first started reading this book I was worried because I just didn't seem to be feeling that connection that I felt in the previous books...it was actually kind of scary because I really, really like Seth and Dom. These two men are hot and sexy, they're fierce and intense and so far I've found it fairly easy to get wrapped up in their story so just for a bit there at the beginning I was worried that maybe for whatever reason I'd fallen out of love with them. I mean honestly I couldn't imagine it but hey, sometimes these things happen...sometimes...but thankfully, not this time...

 

It may have taken me a bit to get back into the feel of things but sure enough I did and right about the time that I fell back into this story I realized that my brain was on a continuous loop of an old song by Don Henley and Patty Smyth called 'Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough' and after listening to it a few times I realized that for this book for me this was Dom and Seth's song.

 

'Chokehold' definitely delivers all of the action and suspense of the previous books in this series but unlike those books the real threat to Domenico and Seth's relationship is them. Dom and Seth have left the dangers of biker gangs and swamps behind and with Mark, the recent addition to their family in tow they're heading for Mexico and as with any trip nothing ever goes according to plan.

 

When Dom gets hurt during their border crossing. Things get complicated when Seth tries to take on Dom's role of provider and protector and Dom is unable to do anything to stop him while his injuries heal. Out of desperation Seth takes a job that places him in the cross-hairs of 'The Gravediggers' and at homes things go from bad to worse Dom begins to heal and tempers run short and begin to flair. 

 

Their love may be as strong as ever but the question becomes is it enough. What happens when harsh words are spoken, feelings are hurt, faith is betrayed and trust is broken...things are said and done that can't be undone or taken back, old wounds are re-opened. How do you come back from that? Neither Seth nor Dom can imagine a life without each other so they're left with the question of how to make a life with each other.

 

Seth is Dom's light. He's all that is good and right in Dom's world. He's sunshine and innocence and there's nothing that Dom won't do to keep it that way. Dom is Seth's darkness. He's what keeps the ugly side of life at bay. If it will keep Seth safe, if it will keep that light of innocence burning in his eyes and keep the darkness away from his soul then Dom will go there he will do what needs to be done without hesitation.

"I'm honest. I wake up everyday, and I breathe for you." whispered Domenico without shame, because nothing that he said was for anyone else's ears but Seth's.  "And without you my life is losing all of it's color. I'm stuck in a black and white perfume commercial," he said shaking his head. 

The growth that we see from these men as a couple and as individuals was so beautifully done. I freely admit a few tissues were drowned during the reading of this book. Like the song says "sometimes love just ain't enough" but it doesn't mean that it's not a good place to start to find what is. 

 

'Chokehold may have been a slow start for me but once the pace picked up there was no turning back and while it may not have a title or a release date yet, book #6 is already on my TBR list. If you haven't read the previous books in this series I strongly encourage doing so before reading this one.

 

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An ARC of 'Chokehold' was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

It was a dark and scary...ok, maybe not so much with the scary...

Raven's Rest - Stephen Osborne

I thought 'Raven's Rest' had the makings of a really good story. There's a spark of mystery here a chance for not one but 2 romance stories one set in the present, one tied to the mystery of the past, add in  a bit of starting over, a bit of comfort and emotional healing, a ghost or two or three and I'm thinking this has the makings of one incredibly good read...at least it seemed to in the beginning.

 

Somehow what seemed to me like it would be a story filled with awesomeness turned out to be ok...yeah, that's what it was just ok. Sadly the mystery from the past was a little on the obvious side and I have liked for the author to make us work a little harder to figure things out. 

 

Michael Cook has gone to the small town of Banning to start his life over and escape Kevin, his ex who is controlling and emotionally abusive. He checks into the Raven's Rest and within a day of being in Banning he finds out about Coleman Hollis who is a ghost that haunts the Raven's Rest looking for his lover who happens to look just like Michael.

 

Venturing out to explore his new surroundings Michael stops at the local coffee shop for breakfast where he meets Trey an attractive musician who also works at the coffee shop when he's not writing music, he also gets a job at said coffee shop which just happens to be owned by Trey's mother. Michael's having one busy day. 

 

Needless to say Trey is gay and he and Michael are attracted to each other, thankfully though it's not a case of insta-love, lust maybe and hey they're young it's allowed. Except for the fact that for someone who's supposedly just left an abusive relationship that lasted for 5 years Michael doesn't seem to have any lingering issues or insecurities from it and while this wasn't what I would call a case of insta-love things seemed to be happening awfully damned fast and for me the connections just didn't quite happen.

 

As for our ghost Coleman Hollis and his missing lover. This was the part of the story that I liked the best. Their story was heartbreaking and sadly it was also believable. I liked Coleman, I know he's a ghost but his love for his missing lover, Bryan, felt real and strong. His determination to find him was one of the parts of this story that I was able to connect with. So for me Coleman was a very positive part of this story. 

 

So what started out as potentially a really great story just didn't quite hit the mark for me. Some things were too predictable, some things needed more filling out and some needed less...but at the end of it all I'm left with a story that worked out ok and in spite of the fact that it didn't meet my expectations I also know that previous books that I've read by this author make me believe that the potential could still be there and if there's something more happening at the Raven's Rest in the future I may give this one more try. 

 

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An ARC of "Raven's Rest" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Excuse me can I get some more stars over here...please?

Overexposed - Megan Erickson

'Overexposed' is book 4 in Megan Erickson's 'Focus' series and I have to admit as it turns out it's also my favorite in the series which I realize is not a very obvious thing considering that for me they've all been 5 star reads but trust me until now if I had to name a favorite for this series it would have been 'Focus on Me' Colin and Riley's story. I loved that one and I still do but 'Overexposed' wormed it's way into my heart and so far it's refusing to leave. 

 

It's about Levi, who we met in book 3 'Out of Frame' and who we get to see is so much more than his reality show character, it's about Thad who Levi meets as he walks the Appalachian Trail in memory of his sister who was suppose to walk it with him and instead came home with a flag draped over her coffin. It's about how these two men see each other and find themselves drawn together as each man tries to find the person they want to be, the person who has gotten buried in the crush of lifes pressures and demands. 

"Because that's just not me, " he answered quickly, "...That wasn't what I was to you, and it was so fucking refreshing. I was just a guy who you hiked with. And you seemed to like me just for who I was. Which was crazy to me, because I wasn't sure there was much of me left.."

As Levi and Thad continue hiking the AT getting to know each other their attraction grows. Levi likes to talk, Thad likes to listen, Levi likes cake, Thad likes pie, Thad likes to look at the moon, Levi thinks it looks like cheese.  Levi needs rescuing, Thad rescues him...more than once. These two men fit. Their hearts wrap around each other effortlessly until Levi is confronted with the knowledge of what Thad's been trying to escape.

 

When an unexpected emergency forces Levi to return home Thad goes with him determined to be there to be the strength and support that Levi has felt from him since they first met. Thrown back into the real world Thad and Levi continue to explore their feelings. But it's when Thad leaves that Levi has to face the tough question and determine how much his heart can take.

Because I love you, Levi. I love you so much that I can’t deal with seeing you look at me with pain. I don’t want you to have to see me walk away and wonder if I’ll come back.

Start to finish I loved this story and while my head knows that this is a delightful, well crafted work of fiction. My heart ached and I cried more than once as I read. I gave this one 5 stars because that's all they let me give but truthfully this one gets the stars and the moon from me.

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An ARC of "Overexposed" was graciously provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Reality tv so not my thing...

Out of Frame - Megan Erickson

J. R. Butler is one of the stars of the reality show Trip League and they're taking their celebratory cruise as their season comes to a close. Quinn Mathers is having a last hurrah with his best friend Jess as 4 hard years of college come to a close. It's just suppose to be one big happy party for everyone.

 

I have to admit I'm not a fan of reality television and for the most part college age and younger MCs also not my thing, but my rules aren't cast in stone either so I can be flexible. I've read the first two books in this series 'Trust the Focus' and 'Focus on Me' and I really enjoyed them so I was more than willing to check this one out as well and so very glad I did. 

 

There was  lot about this story that I liked to start with the MCs Quinn has always followed the rules and done what's expected of him and J.R. or Jay as his family calls him has found himself trapped in a situation that he's becoming increasingly uncomfortable with and the more he encounters Quinn the more he questions how much longer he can keep up the pretense of hiding who he really is. I loved the attraction between these two. It was start and stop and a bit of touch and go but given all the obstacles that they had I honestly didn't expect things to be different. 

 

There were a lot of other things that I liked about this story so many of the secondary characters Jess, Levi and yes, even Casey ended up being more than he seemed at first. It was nice to see some of the characters from the previous books Colin and Riley at the beginning and again along with Justin and Landry in the epilogue (which was really yummy icing on the cake by the way).

 

Now, I'm going take a minute to talk about the parental units because I tend to like to do that and truthfully this time it's not to rant or say how disappointed/frustrated/whatever that I am with the representation of parents...nope, it's because I loved them...both sets of parents were a win with me.

 

Admittedly Quinn's parents weren't perfect and maybe that's a big part of why I liked them. Being a parent isn't about being perfect it's about doing your best and giving your children that unconditional love that every child deserves from us as parents, but it's also about knowing when to let go, to have faith that what you did in raising your child(ren) was enough. I questioned whether this would happen for Quinn but it did and for me there was a touch of reality to it that...well, truthfully, made my chest feel a little tight and my heart ache for a bit because I remember that feeling. The one where you hope that as a parent you were enough, you did a good job but you realize that it's time to let go. So while it was a very small part of the book the scene where Quinn tells his parents what he's decided for his future was definitely one of my favorite parts.

 

Next we have Jay's parents very different from Quinn's but just as warm and real. So yeah, one of the things I really liked about this book was that there were no crappy parents but there weren't those parents that make the rest of us feel like we'll just never measure up either. There were just 2 sets of parents who loved their kids and did the best they could with what they had and who they were...just like what often happens out in the real world.

 

You probably don't need to read the first two books to enjoy this one but seriously, why read one awesome story when you can read 3?

 

Ironically I started out giving this book 4 stars and as I was writing my review I realized that I loved and enjoyed this book every bit as much as the first two so I'm changing that now and just like the first two books this one gets 5 fully focused stars because I can't think of one valid reason why it shouldn't. 

Sometimes neither time nor distance can change the course of true love...

Gambling On Love - Jane Davitt

'Gambling on Love' was originally released back on 2011 and I didn't read the first edition so I'm not sure what the changes between it and this second edition are besides the cover and can i say I do like this cover it's definitely the more attractive of the two in my opinion.

 

This is a second chance story about Abe (Abel, but don't call him that he doesn't like it) and Gary or Fox as Abe tends to call him from time to time and yes, he is a ginger but that's not where the nickname comes from or at least not entirely. Apparently it's because he's too smart for his own good and that makes people wary of him.

 

Abe and Gary are best friends and during their senior year in high school they figure out that they both want more than friendship and that's all well and good until they get caught in the locker room by Abe's coach he gets an eyeful of how much more than friends they are. Unfortunately when it comes time to face the music Gary decides to pack up and leave without so much as a 'see you later' for Abe who stays and faces the music on his own and eventually settles into the comfortable and safe life he's makes for himself. A life very different from Gary, who has spent the last few years they're apart with Peter an older very dominant and controlling man who has shows Gary a very different world from the one he grew up in.

 

It's 11 years later when Gary finds himself heading towards his past and quite literally by accident back into Abel's life as he sets out to fulfill Peter's last request following the man's untimely death 

 

Needless to say while Abe's never stopped loving Gary he's also a little bit angry at how things ended and Gary's got some issues of  his own from that time as well.

 

One of the things that worked for me was the the emotional roller coaster ride that these two men went on when they encountered each other for the first time after their 11 year separation. It was a case of 'come here, come here, no get away, get away' and I could see that because out of the blue you find yourself confronted with your first love and the first person to ever break your heart add to that the fact that neither man ever really got over the other and I know if that was me it would be roller coaster time. There was more than one instance of 'get out of my life but I'm never letting you go again' totally conflicted feelings on both sides.

 

However while this worked for me and I could see how and why things would be this way I didn't quite feel it. I didn't have any gut wrenching moments where I felt like all that mattered was these two men getting things worked out. The sex was hot, undeniably so but I didn't find myself squirming in my chair or heading for a cold shower and the ending had a bit of predictability to it not in terms of exactly what would happen but more in that it would go in the direction that it did. In spite of this I liked the specifics of how things ended up the way they did and given what we knew about Peter from Gary's account it make sense to me as well, so for me it worked.

 

'Gambling on Love' isn't my first book by Jane Davitt and I have to admit it's didn't turn out to be one of my favorites because that spot still belongs to her series 'Laying a Ghost' and her books 'Hourglass' and 'Truthful Change' but it was an enjoyable story that kept me entertained for a few hours and that's never a bad thing either.

 

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A copy of 'Gambling on Love' was graciously provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Ok, so I needed to wait a while to write this review because...

Tied Up in Knots - Mary Calmes

I was honestly too busy bouncing in my chair with excitement over this book. Seriously, from practically the first page all hubby heard my muttering was "Ohmygod!!! Ohmygod!!! I may die of happiness. Seriously if you can die of happiness I'm going to do this right now." and on and on it went. I think he's come to the conclusion that he can replace sex with a Mary Calmes book for me and I won't notice the difference. Now he just needs to figure out that it has to be Miro and Ian. I love all things Mary Calmes but after this book these two men top my list of M/M pairings from Ms Calmes.

 

Miro and Ian...yep, you can insert **moony eyes here**. I'm totally gaga over these two and this story...well, I just don't even know where to begin. This one just had it all. There was tough guy alpha stuff, guns were shot, people had knives and at one point I was left wondering 'if you're a cop and you pull over a car and the first thing that's said to you is 'I'm a US Marshal' what person in their right mind isn't going to say 'show me some ID' I mean come on common sense here and if that cop doesn't have common sense then I need to know 'who the hell gave him a gun?'...just puttin' that out there for the universe...and then on top of all this tough guy action we had Miro and Ian working through some pretty important relationship stuff. I know I'm being really, really vague here but come on do you really want me to give details and spoil things? I think not. It's Mary Calmes and if you love her books like I do you know you're going to read this, hell even if my best friend in the whole world told me she hated this and that I shouldn't read it. I'd just look at her with sad eyes and say 'oh, you poor confused kitten' as I wandered off to read this...well, I would if I hadn't already read this. 

 

Honestly I'm still bouncing in my chair thinking about this book and if I had the time I'd start reading it all over again right now. On top of everything else there were some fabulous cameo's in this book and some of them were surprising to say the least...yep, read the book I shall go no further on this one.

 

There was one little tiny niggle at the end for me and while I didn't totally buy into it, somehow it still worked with the story so 4.5 'YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK' stars for me because Miro and Ian and so much Mary Calmes awesomeness how can you not?

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An ARC of 'Tied Up In Knots' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

More Kai, More Ryder and MORE DRAGONS!!!!!!!!!

Mad Lizard Mambo - Rhys Ford

That's right more of all the good stuff. More dragon fun...

“Kai, don’t move,” Ryder advised.

 

“Like I haven’t noticed there’s a huge damned dragon giving me a hickey?” The egg pulsed against my chest, and I pushed it at the lizard. “Just take it. And please, by Buddha’s belly, don’t… eat… me.”

 

Kai and Ryder are off on another adventure and this time there weren't suppose to be any dragons...not really...they were looking for ruins. Ruins of an ancient lost court somewhere in the Nevada desert...a court that might contain a secret desperately needed by Ryder's people and Kai's, if he'd only stop denying his heritage.

 

Kai's history alone is a mystery and as he, Ryder, Cari, another stalker who's along for back-up and Robbie Malone, a foolish boy who's playing a dangerous game, head towards their destination dodging bullets and fighting even more black dogs and running into unexpected relatives in the middle of nowhere somehow Kai and Ryder manage to have a conversation or two and find out a bit more about how they feel about dragons...

"Thing is, I'm not going to ask you to kill a dragon, Ryder. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen, but if ever you're in a spot where you've got to choose between you and a dragon--you better not choose the damned dragon. And if that makes me a sentimental fraud, at least I'm a live sentimental fraud."

and each other...

"Right now, nothing. You're going to catch some sleep, and I'm going to pretend to wake you up in four hours to take over watch when I'm probably going to let you snore for about six."

 

"And tomorrow?"

 

"Tomorrow, we'll see. Probably still no bones jumping." Shaking my head, I reminded him. "I don't have sex with people I know Ryder. That's been a hard, fast rule...forever."

 

"Nothing is forever, Kai. Not rules. Not people. What are you so afraid of?"

Ryder and Kai's interactions are entertaining to say the least and for all of Kai's mutterings about Ryder and wanting to be free of him it's when things go wrong that Ryder becomes Kai's first priority and who he does his best to protect. Maybe it's because Ryder is technically his boss but truthfully...I think not entirely.

 

I know there's no real romance between Kai and Ryder yet...but it's not for lack of trying or interest on Ryder's part and I'm rooting for him because he sees Kai in a way that few others do and he treasures him and while he may not want to admit it Kai's defenses are lowering and he's finding it harder and harder to not give in to his own feelings and desires.

 

I can't wait for book 3 because while this story was complete Kai and Ryder's journey together still has a ways to go and I'm so looking forward to taking that trip with them. There's so much more to find out about Kai...his past, who he really is and what that will mean for him and Ryder. But I also think there are things we don't know about Ryder yet. I think we haven't seen all that he is. 

 

Ms Ford has created a world and characters with a wealth of potential and opportunity and if her previous series are any indication of what this author is capable of than I for one am waiting anxiously to see what happens next in this strange new world where worlds have merged and the rules are still being written...and dragons, who doesn't want more dragons?

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An ARC of 'Mad Lizard Mambo' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I have a new book boyfriend and his name is...

Black Dog Blues (The Kai Gracen Series Book 1) - Rhys Ford

Kai Gracen...yep,, I'm in lust love, yeah, that's it I'm in love. I've been trying to get around to reading this one for ages now and finally I made it happen because book 2 was waiting on the horizon. 

 

What did I love about this book...well besides Kai. The author, I 'm a huge fan of Rhys Ford so right there I knew I was in for a treat. It's urban fantasy and I love urban fantasy and now Kai Gracen is on my list of must read Urban Fantasy series. He's cynical and jaded possibly even a little bitter about the hand life has dealt him, but hell, if I had his family I'd be more than a little jaded and bitter as well. But underneath it all he's got a heart of gold and a sense of humor that's dryer than the Sahara Desert and he may even be admittedly a little bit crazy, at least where Ryder's concerned...

"I'm not an anarchist."

"I see you're not denying you're psychotic."

"I don't even know what qualifies someone as psychotic, but if it's wanting to stuff the person who hired me into a trunk, then yes, I'm definitely psychotic."

Ryder's a Sidhe Lord who's come to San Diego to establish a Dawn Court and it turns out he'd also like to start something with Kai. But Kai's not having any of that. He's got no interest in working for Ryder so romantic entanglements are so not going to happen. While there's not a romance going on in this series...yet, there is a relationship building between Kai and Ryder that hints at a possible future for them but it's a slow burn...we're talking trying to light a fire in a windstorm slow and while I'm not often a fan of this slow of a burn I'm willing to wait this one out because I think when it finally happens my e-reader might spontaneously combust and damned if I want to miss out on something that hot. 

 

AND...on top of the potential heat from Kai and Ryder there's an awesome story and DRAGONS!!!!!!!!!! Seriously folks 'there be dragons here' and if you know me, you know I love dragons. So, Kai ends up taking the job for Ryder because hey, money and it's an easy run up the coast during dragon mating season...what could possibly go wrong?...right? 

 

I love the world that Rhys Ford has created with the beginning of this series. It's not the San Diego that we have now it's not even a San Diego that most would ever imagine. The world that this story is set in is post-merge. Somehow...somewhere... something went wrong and the Underhill which is the world of the Elfin and the world of Humans have collided and merged creating a world where both must learn to co-exist and survive the devastation and the monsters created by the merge.

 

If you enjoy books like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series I strongly recommend checking out Kai Gracen. 

It's ICoS...it's great...

Evenfall Vol. 2 Director's Cut - Ais, Santino Hassell

'Evenfall: Volumn II Director's Cut (In the Company of Shadows #1 Part 2'  is the second half of the original book 'Evenfall' and yes, i am still buddy reading this with my awesome buddy read partner Christelle and we are still enjoying : the hell out of it. We spend most of this book down in Mexico and it was a hella' roller coaster ride but me and Christelle we took it together with visits from the best ICoS stalker every the lovely Josy and there were some pop in visits from other ICoS fans to provide moral support...this may have included a bottle or two of wine...I'll never tell...hic! Jewel, did you run off with our wine again?

 

Anyways, I don't really have a previous review for this one because as I said originally this was all part of one book so if you go to my review for the original Evenfall or for Evenfall: Volumn I Director's Cut (ICoS #1 Part 2) it's all there or as I said before go to either Ais or Santino Hassell's site and download the books for free and have yourself an incredible adventure. 

 

Second time around still as good...

Evenfall Vol. 1 Director's Cut - Ais, Santino Hassell

This is actually a re-read for me. I read ICoS for the first time about 3+ years ago and needless to say I loved it then and I did review it at the time. I can't say that how I feel about the series so far has really changed except that I'm probably enjoying this even more because this time I'm reading the books with my awesome friends Christelle and Jewel...well, ok Jewel's a sort of on this one. Seems she's really enjoying the story and has left us pokey joe's eating her dust because she can't wait to find out what happens next, but she still pops around to visit and chat with us because sh'es just awesome that way.

 

So if you want to know more about ICoS you could go read my review from the first time around or you could just grab the books because hey, they're available, they're free...can't beat that price. Although I have to admit this series is so awesome that while I do have the free books I also bought myself the paperback copies just so that I could pet the pretty covers and I mean really, it's ICoS how could I not?

 

Ok, so that's it for me for this one. I have to get some sleep so I can carry on with book #2 in the morning because I know lovely Christelle will be waiting for me so we can read more because...Sin...Boyd...Mexico...need I say more?

 

This is the link to my original review which was for the original version of this story and pre-edits and being split into 2 books.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/545488264?book_show_action=false

Hey Babe, take a walk on the wild side, Said hey honey, take a walk on the wild side...

Crazy Joe - A.J. Llewellyn, D.J. Manly

Having sex with the bosses son in the copy room at the office Christmas party might not be the best way to further one's career. Who knew? Apparently Dectective Montana Delray of the New Orleans Police Department didn't or at least he didn't know that the hot young man who practically dragged him into the copy room was his captain's son nor did he know that his captain was going to walk in and catch them with their pants down...literally...oopsie, so much for that promising police career.

 

It was this momentary indiscretion that causes Montana to find himself suddenly an officer of the 77th Precinct. That this precinct is a bit on the bizarre side is a mild understatement. Turns out the best thing that the 77th has going for it is Crazy Joe. He's either crazy or there's some truth to the rumor that he's psychic, but the one thing Montana knows for sure is he's hot, he's gay, he's definitely interested and damned if he isn't actually a good cop as well.

 

'Crazy Joe' is told from the alternating point of view of both Montana and Joe. In general I found Montana's perspective to be a bit more entertaining. His dry, caustic and somewhat cynical humor left me chuckling on more than one occasion and while I didn't find Joe quite and entertaining I still found him likable.

 

From start to finish circumstances in this story were bizarre and definitely over the top and while the flow from one POV to the other could have been a bit smoother. I was definitely entertained by the bizarre events that happened at the 77th precinct and enjoyed my brief visit there.

 

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

Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it...

Rented Heart - Garrett Leigh

'Rented Hearts' started out good for me. I was enjoying it. I can't say I was over the moon but it was sweet. Liam's lonely. He's still mourning the loss of the man he thought he'd spend the rest of his life with, but he's also still alive, still young and like any red blooded man he's got needs and that's where Zac comes into the story.

 

Zac's a hooker, rent boy, use whatever descriptive works for you here. He first approaches Liam outside of a club and Liam likes what Zac's offering. He's lonely and Zac's offering him some no strings attached fun...well, no strings but it turns out there's still a price to be paid after all a man's got to feed himself doesn't he? It's with little more than a moments hesitation that Liam agrees to Zac's price and conditions, after all it's just a one time deal...right? And then Liam's going back to his life and Zac gets to carry on with his. Problem is neither man can seem to stop thinking about the other.

 

I liked that Liam and Zac's relationship didn't change magically over night. Liam realized that he enjoyed Zac's company and so he continued the their transactions but for him...Zac was never a hooker and for Zac...Liam was never 'just another john' but it still took time for both of these men to come to terms with their feelings and to acknowledge that what they wanted from each other was a relationship that wasn't based on an exchange of money.

 

It took a misunderstanding and nearly losing Zac to make Liam see a live without Zac wasn't a life he wanted to live. It was somewhere during the shift in Zac and Liam's relationship that I realized their story had gone beyond just a sweet romance for me. I wanted Liam and Zac together. I needed to see Zac get his happily ever after. His life had sucked, kicked out onto the streets when he was just fifteen, forced to work as a hooker to try and support himself, his only friend Jamie a drug addict but still the only person who'd ever had his back and whom he felt he owed the world. I needed Zac to get a bit of happiness and who better to do that than Liam. Sweet, kind, lonely Liam. A man who'd known love but had it taken from him unexpectedly. A man who still had so much love to give.

 

I wanted a story with a fairy tale ending and while there were no fairy godmothers waving their wands here and there was a bit of predictability to some of the events leading up to the ending. I loved ever minute of it. I loved that in the end Liam had Zac to love and Zac was more than willing to love him back. Sometimes a little happily ever after really is good for the soul.

 

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

A second book full of second chances...

Steady Stroke (Off Beat) - A.C. Arthur

'Steady Stroke' is book 2 in A.M. Arthur's new series 'Off Beat" and it's Lincoln's story. We met him in the first book and at the end of 'Body Rocks' Lincoln was not in the best of places and I really liked him. He's best friend and brother by choice to Dominic Bounds one of the MCs from 'Body Rocks' and even in that book I got the sense that his feelings for Dom were a little stronger than a best friends should be but he never let this deter him from being a true friend and that made me like him a lot because it takes a truly good and strong person to put the happiness of the people they care about above their own. 

 

In 'Steady Stroke' we watch as Lincoln strives to regain control of his life by taking that first step and heading out to Off Beat the place that a year ago was the beginning of dreams coming true for the members of Off Beat the bar's namesake band. Lincoln's only looking for a night out and maybe a quick hook-up instead what he gets is a one night stand that goes horribly wrong, a new friend named Melody, a chance to play music again and his first glimpse at the man he'll want to spend forever with.  Going back to the place where things started for Lincoln and his friends really felt like the right place for this second chance story to begin. 

 

So much of 'Steady Stroke' was about second chances for Lincoln, for Emmett, Melody, Adrian and ultimately even the band, 'Off Beat', gets a second chance to have that moment in time that all performers want...that moment when their star gets to shine the brightest.

 

It just takes Lincoln one look at Off Beat's sexy, shy busboy who seems to be as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to know he want to get closer and find out more but Emmett, the object of his attention, has problems of his own and suffers severe social anxiety disorder and it's this knowledge that makes Lincoln decide that going slow and maybe just being friends is what will work best for both him and Emmett, but he's not going to be deterred by this and remains determined to spend time with Emmett, the only person who's looked at him in a long time and made him feel like he wants to live again.

 

As Emmett and Lincoln get to know each other and explore their mutual attraction the real question becomes whether or not these two men can handle the obstacle course that life seems to want to put in their way and will they still be together at the end of it. 

 

I really enjoyed LIncoln and Emmett's story. Yes it was a bit of insta-love but in spite of the fact that while they both acknowledged the strong attraction they didn't just fall into the relationship. They started out determined to be a friend to the other. So while the attraction was instant, acting on it not so much.

 

There was a lot of angst and a laundry list of bad things happening to good people and maybe it was a bit over the top, who knows? I tend to expect it with this author and in a way for me it's a bit of book crack. So sue me I enjoy the angst and drama of it all, but I have to admit there was one thing this time that for me didn't work and it's probably what kept this from being a 4 star or more read. It was "the big secret", for me it just didn't work, but in spite of that Lincoln and Emmett did. I liked them for so many reasons and I loved having characters from the first book show up as well as the addition of new ones. The Bounds family. Beatrice, the owner of Off Beat and we got to meet her son, Adrian. Van, one of Off Beat's bartenders was back with much more on page presence and do I like Van...oh,hell yeah. I'm crossing my fingers that we get his story soon? Lincoln's new friend Melody, I really like her and yes, it's another story that I'd love to have.

 

So while I didn't love this one quite as much as I'd hoped for I definitely enjoyed it and plan on being there to read what comes next. Like a few other authors A.M. Arthur is book crack for me and I look forward to my next fix.

 

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

 

We often wonder about the one that got away, but what about...

Tart and Sweet (Candy Man) - Amy Lane

the one that broke your heart.

 

'Tart and Sweet' is the fourth book in Amy Lane's 'Candy Man' series and I honestly can't say that it's my favorite if you go by my ratings because I loved them all and gave them all 5 stars but if you make me pick...well then, I think I might have to tell you this one is my favorite. 

 

I have loved these stories from start to finish. Each one has been about finding love while finding yourself. It all started with Adam and Finn and here in book 4 it comes back to them in it's own way. 'Tart and Sweet' is the story of Robbie and how he betrayed the man he loved when he was in the army. 

 

Two years later and Robbie's trying to figure out how to fix things. How to make things right with Adam and to move on and make a life for himself and that's when he sees Cy. Beautiful, uninhibited Cy on the boardwalk dancing to the music. Robbie and Cy's attraction is instant and while insta-love isn't necessarily a favorite of mine it worked in this story because these two men had things to deal with before they got to be together. So in this case insta-love did not equal insta-HEA.

 

I really liked Robbie. To me he wasn't a bad person simply a good person who made a bad decision and acted on it. He made a mistake and I've always believed that we all make mistakes and it's how we fix them and what we learn from them that really matters and shows who we truly are.

 

While Robbie was attracted to Cy from the start he didn't let this derail him from what he felt he needed to do to make things right with Adam and to make his life the kind of life he wanted to live and not the life that he was expected to live by his parents, who of course want him to marry a good girl and produce their 2.5 grandchildren and have that house with the white picket fence...yadda, yadda, yadda. 

 

By the end of the story I couldn't possibly imagine a more perfect match for Robbie than Cy or for Cy than Robbie. Robbie saw the beauty of Cy not just his outer beauty but the beauty of his heart and soul. While Cy believed in Robbie and saw the man that was buried inside of Robbie a man who wouldn't make old mistakes again, a man who would stand beside and stand up for the person he loved no matter who he had to face.

 

Along with Robbie's story we got to spend time with all the characters from the previous stories including the awesome pets...Clopper and Jake and there's a trip to the animal shelter involving kittens one of them's a meesie I love meesies (Siamese if you're wondering)...maybe, that was a bit of why I loved this books so much...who knows. I just know that I couldn't stop reading and when it was done I wanted more.

 

I'm not sure if there will be any more trips to Candy Heaven but things have certainly been left on a sweet note for me.

 

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An ARC of 'Tart and Sweet' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reblogged from want a real life adventure? come to Australia we have spiders bigger than your hand. :

Inspiring video about DV. I'm not usually one for poetry, but this guy is beyond incredible.

 

(P.s. If video doesn't work just clink the link at the bottom. Will take you to FB Video, posted by Upworthy)

Source: http://www.facebook.com/Upworthy/videos/1381094335264754/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

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