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

Here I go again to...'The Edge of the World'...

The Edge of the World - Roy Calley, Garrett Leigh

I knew when I read this book back in January of this year that if there was an audio release, I'd be revisiting Shay and Ollie as they tour around the United Kingdom. That I would be doing it at a time such as this...well, who knew certainly not I. 


'The Edge of the World' is  a story that truly highlights the connection between past, present and future as we follow Shay and Ollie. As Shay's band tours the country showcasing their talents. Ollie joins them to take Shay on a journey through time to show him a past he never knew he had, all the while Ollie tries to ignore a past that rules his present and won't let go of him.


For as much as I loved reading the book and believe me...I loved this book. The audio book grabbed on to me even more than I'd thought possible. Partially because this was a story that simply resonated with me and partially because Dan Calley took a wonderful story and made it even better. He created the vocal imagery that the characters were lacking when I first read this one. Sometimes I can give them voices in my mind when I'm reading a story but sometimes even my imagination needs some help.


Other than the fact that I enjoyed the audiobook immensely, nothings really changed from how I felt when I wrote my original review so I'm going to borrow some words from the past (code talk for 'from my original review) to explain how I feel about Shay and Ollie...

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

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

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

So here I am like millions of others in a self-imposed isolation and travelling not only all over this world but to other worlds, to the past, the present and sometimes even the future without ever leaving my home. Whether it's audio books, ebooks or paper books they tell wonderful stories and take us to amazing places and I plan on going to "The Edge of the World" again one day...it's a trip worth taking.



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


What's better than dragons? Why steampunk dragons of course...

Mages & Mechanisms - Devin Harnois

 I have a weakness for dragons and for steampunk but when the two are combined...well, saying no isn't really an option for me. however, I am also a wee bit fussy when it comes to these things...so, more often than not I can be disappointed.


However, while I wouldn't label "Mages & Mechanisms" as disappointing I have to admit that for me there just seemed to be something missing and I'm not even sure I can put my finger on what that something is...so, let's talk about what wasn't missing...


Characters...of course we have our MCs, Jak and Leander. Two very different men. Leander is quiet and he lives by the rules. He wants to secure a better station in society for his family, to be able to provide for them. Jak is bold and brash, not only does he not live by the rules, he lives to break, skirt the edges of and bend every one that he can. Yet these two men are inexplicably drawn to each other and for better or worse they form a business partnership that could be the making or breaking of all that they want and hold dear.


Leander's a machinist of the highest skill...his workmanship is exquisite and Jak's a mage who's powers are very possibly the answer to Leander's prayers.


In a time when mechanical pets are all the rage Leander's creations are possibly without parallel or at least they would be if he could just find a mage to enchant them and give them life...enter Jak and thus a business partnership is born.


So we've got characters, we've got the start of an intriguing storyline, we've got some seriously interesting world building going on...so where did things fall short for me...well..


Let's start with Jak...Jak just didn't seem to have any sense of self preservation. For someone who was suppose to be flying under the radar so to speak, he was just a bit to out there. On one hand we're given to understand that Jak needs to not garner attention and yet, nearly every action he takes screams 'look at me' and for the most part it's not something he's doing accidentally or without intent. He frequently felt like the matador waving his red cape at a very angry bull. For the most part this seemed more deliberate than accidental, which left me wondering  just how much danger he was really in?


The only other thing about this story that really niggled at me was that when it came to Jak and Leander as a couple...well...I just wasn't quite feeling it. That's not to say that I won't but at the moment it's hasn't happened for me, but I'm not feeling like the match is unrealistic either so there's always a chance that something will click into place for me, but in the meantime, I am liking the story and what's happening and really there's steampunk and a dragon so for me there's always hope and so many possibilities...



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

Mmmm...shifters...I believe they are growing on me...

Fated Hearts - Garrett Leigh, Dan Calley

Ok, so I actually checked on my bookshelves and sure enough this is only my third shifter story this year, so I think I'm still fairly safe saying 'shifters not so much a big deal for me' but Garrett Leigh..yeah,that's a big deal for me. So when I was asked 'would you like to review a couple of audio books by Garrett Leigh...you bet I was all over that..although I have to admit I did hesitate for a nanosecond over the whole shifter genre...but, then I said 

"It's Garrett Leigh, how can I possibly go wrong with this?" and I was right I couldn't.


'Fated Hearts' isn't a 'love at first sight' story but there was definitely some 'lust at first sight' and really given the whole premise of 2 souls being destined for each other...well, it's all got to start somewhere doesn't it?


When Devan's alpha ask him to not only become the resident healer for a wolf pack, but to become part of the pack with the assurance that if he truly wants to come home he will be brought back to the clan. It's with very little hesitation that he says yes. There's a war going on and it's vital that Zio's pack survive and without a healer things aren't looking good.


Zio's a warrior and he's mourning the loss of his best friend and his pack's healer when Devan arrives...so needless to say while the logical part of him knows they need a new healer the part of him that's loyal to his friends memory is less than happy.


This is a world where humans have full knowledge of the existence of shifters and while there may be a tentative peace between humans and shifts that's not necessarily the case between the wolf shifter packs. 


Unlike my previous shifter stories this year 'Fated Hearts' was not a story laced with humor and fun times and I while I do enjoy a story that can bring some humor into my day, sometimes it's good to read/listen to something that's not necessarily light and fluffy.


While Zio and Devan were very different in some ways...Zio's a warrior and right now he's pretty much consumed with thoughts of vengeance and he's one angry wolf. He's close to his pack mates and more than a little resistant to newcomers. While Devan's a healer who's whole demeanor is pretty chill...except for where Zio's concerned these two both feel a very undeniable attraction to each other but in their own way they're each determined to ignore it because nothing comes before pack and it seems that everyone is in agreement that a matebond between Zio and Devon  probably not a good idea...it would seem that Devan's 'NOT A WOLF!!!' and the only other thing I'll say to that is Devan is my favorite kind of shifter...I was such a happy little soul when his shifter form was revealed...yep, happy, happy, happy and no he's not a dragon...because damn, that would have been epic and awesome.


I was definitely intrigued with the shifter war and the world that's being created here. There's still a lot that I want to know but I have to admit for me the other main attracion was ...the relationship of course.


I loved Devan and Zio as a couple. For me they worked. Their connection was there and it wasn't that they were trying to deny it so much as resist it because for both of them it came back to what was best for the pack and with most shifter stories...especially wolf shifters pack is everything. It was the little moments that filtered into the story that gave Zio and Devan's connection that added touch of intensity that given the reality of their world helped to make things fall into place for me.


'Fated Hearts' is the first book in the 'Shadow Bound' series and while it laid out a fair bit of the ground work for this series in terms of setting, characters and world building there are still some gaps to be filled but I'm confident that those pieces will get added as the series progresses.


Now the final and rather important part of what made this such an enjoyable audio book was Dan Calley...this is only my second audiobook by this narrator and coincidentally my first one was also a Garrett Leigh story and just like that first audio book I was once again left with character voices that felt right to me and suited the individual characters giving them each their own unique voice.


While Zio and Devan's story felt complete for me it also felt like this world had so much more to share with me and I'm hoping that I'll be able to discover more of it soon...maybe even more about the 'Shadow Clan'...please!!! I mean no offense to Zio's pack or anything but I'd really like to see Shadow Clan get a lot more attention.



A copy of the audio book 'Fated Hearts' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Best to start this one by engaging your imagination...and...

Thief In the Light - Jaime Samms

suspending all sense of disbelief. 


I pretty much figured that much out when I read the blurb. 'Thief In the Light' in fact has 3 MCs in it and no we're not talking about a ménage à trois with this one since the third MC that I'm referring to happens to be a house named 'Mildred' or more formally 'The Oaks'.


It's been a long time since I've read a book by this author, but I'm really glad that I was able to get to this one. I think we're all familiar with the expression that 'something has character' well in this case that something happens to be a house that has gone straight past 'having character' into she's got personality.


From the first time that Arnold Kreed (just call him Kreed because Arnold...so doesn't suit him) entered 'The Oaks' he felt like he'd come home and that was it the deal was done. He bought the beautiful old Victorian style house and turned it into a B&B and hasn't looked back. 


The night that Lucky finds himself lying in a ditch on the side of the road and facing what he sure is one of the most uptight people he's ever met turns out to be the luckiest night of his life. When Mathilda insist on helping Lucky out of the ditch and into her car so she can drop him off at Kreed's B&B. When Lucky enters the B&B he's determined to sneak out and be on his way ASAP but one look at Kreed and he suddenly finds himself breaking all the rules...even rule #1 the most important rule of them all...DON'T STAY!


'Thief In the Light' is actually the second paranormal story that I've read or listened to featuring a house that's decidedly sentient. However for me that's where the similarities between 'Thief In the Light' and 'Surreal House' ends...well that and the fact that I really enjoyed both stories.


While I truly consider Mildred to be one of the MCs in this story she was definitely not central to the story and by that I mean the story could have been told without her, however, I truly don't think it would have been nearly as much fun to read. The house's presence was given to us in subtle...believable ways for lack of a better way to express it. We know how she feels about things by the slamming and/or locking of doors, people suddenly running out of hot water even though they've just turned the shower on. Bells tinkling when a someone enters even though there's not bell, groaning of pipes, squeaking floorboards...that no one's walking on and other such idiosyncratic happenings that make Mildred a consistent and fun character in the story without having her steal the center stage.


Kreed and Lucky both had issues and unfortunately people from their past that they're going to need to deal with before they can begin to find their happily ever after, but it's with the beginnings of friendship, trust and faith in each other that they're able to do this along with the support of a small but caring community. Ms Samms has filled this story out with some wonderful secondary characters whom I would happily spend more time with. From Mathilda who first brings Lucky to Kreed's B&B to Steph, Steve, & Jake the siblings who run the bookstore across the street from the B&B, to Mr. Benson the local barber just to mention a few.


While there were some things about the ending that felt a little bit glossed over for me. I also have to wonder if there had been more detail in regards to certain situations, events and outcomes if things might not have ended up being a bit less enjoyable with regards to the outcome of things from Lucky's past (I apologize for the vagueness here but I'm trying to keep it spoiler free) as for the out come of things from Kreed's past/present situation I wanted more detail as it felt like some people got away with things with impunity and seriously that was not good...not good at all. I wanted them to have to face the consequences of their actions and it just didn't feel like they did...so that's mostly why only 4 stars and not 5 for me.


"Thief In the Light" is the  first book in this newest series by Jaime Samms and I have to admit that while Kreed and Lucky's story was solid as it stands I'm so looking forward to more and finding out what and who's happening next.



An ARC of "Thief In the Light" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Three men...three lives...one love...

Changes Going On - Kaje Harper

Will's a farmer, Scott plays hockey for the NHL and Casey's a small town sheriff or at least he was until he lost the election, what do these 3 men have in common you might wonder...well they're in love of course...with each other. But you all knew that from 'Chanages Coming Down' the first book in this duology, right?


Here in 'Changes Going On' we pick-up where things left off...Will, Scott and Casey are dealing with the aftermath of Scott coming out to the world and in the middle of it all Casey gets a call that pulls him back to law enforcement and away from his men...that's right there's murder afoot and the town that tossed him aside for a shinier sheriff now wants him to come back and find out who shot the sheriff? and somehow one murder turns into two and there seems to be a few young members of the LGBTQ community who are at risk and in need of someone to watch over them...enter Will with a little help from his hockey player.


It's going to take all 3 of these men working together to solve a murder, keep the kids safe and keep their love strong but that's ok because these men are up to the task.


I've enjoyed both of the books in this duology, but this one really nailed it for me. While there was more than just one thing going on in this story at any given time the author wove things together like a fine tapestry and always at the center of it was Will, Casey, Scott and the love they held for one another.


Like any book this one held the good...the bad and the ugly with thankfully more good than bad or ugly. I think one of my worst niggles was Scott's mom. For all her professing to love her son and want him to be happy, I just never quite felt it. To me it always felt like she wanted to cut Will out of things and that bothered the hell out of me. Will is this sweet, gentle soul who's had more than enough crap come his way in life and making Casey and Scott happy means the world to him and her making him feel not just insignificant but unwelcome in his own home...not cool Casey's mom...totally not cool. So I'm sorry even though she seemed to have been coming around by the time she returned home. When it comes to being a good mom...she's got some work to do.


As for Casey's mom who also popped by for a visit...that woman is pretty epic in my books...not perfect but she's definitely well on the road to fixing things and she's epic and a bit larger than life in her own right.


"Changes Going On" also brought some new secondary characters into play who added more than a little interest to the story there was Rusty and Kris who came on as ranch hands and then there was the appearance of a few of Scott's teammates along with the return of some of Casey's former deputies to help him solve the murders.


I really liked all three of these men at the end of the first book but I have say at the end of this one I think Will owns a little bit more of my heart than Casey and Scott...not much but he's just too sweet and gentle of a soul not to stand out. 


"Changes Going On" was a busy story with a fair bit going on which definitely kept the reader on their toes and while we were given a bit of a rest part way into the story it was nice to have that time to catch up with what I thought I knew and file things away in my brain for future reference before jumping back into the action the plot one again took off on a race to the finish line.


I know this is suppose to be the end of the road for this story but for my part I'd love to see what's happening with these men at a future date and find out if Casey might run for Sheriff at some point in time and how Scott's NHL career is doing and what's happening on the farm with Will and his efforts to pay it forward to kids in need of a little kindness.


We started with "Changes Going Down" and now things have wrapped up with "Changes Going On" but I truly hope that one day we'll find out about the "Changes to Come"...but that's me hoping and dreaming again for just a little more.



A copy of "Changes Going On" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was sweet...but it just didn't pack the feelz that I was expecting...

Change of Address - Jordan S. Brock, Daniel James Lewis

After months in a VA Hospital in Washington, Michael Baldwin and his service dog Kaylee head to his families summer home on Hartsbridge Island to try and get on with his life. A head injury sustained during his enlistment has left Michael with PTSD, aphasia and other cognitive issues.


The last thing he needs is a father who wants to cash in politically on what happened to his son during his deployment overseas by parading him around like a show pony. Ironically it's because of his father's machinations that Michael encounters what he truly does need...a kind and gentle man who wants to feed not just his body but his heart and soul. 


Josh's life hasn't exactly gone according to plan...but then for Josh the plan was never very clear to begin with. Dropping out of high school to care for his father and help run the family business was only suppose to be a temporary thing but somehow it's become Josh's life and he's ok with that. Josh doesn't consider himself to be much of a cook unless it's bagels and breakfast on the menu. Add in the fact that Josh has a couple of issues of his own and you'd almost wonder how these two came to be. 


There was a lot about Michael and Josh that worked for me. In general they both felt like someone that you meet out there in the real world they had their good traits and their bad. They were flawed like any average person.  But they also saw the best in each other. For me the characters had a very genuine and real feeling about them. 


The other thing that stood out for me in this story was the dichotomy of Michael's relationship with his father versus the relationship between Josh and his father. Ironically the one thing that also didn't work as well for me as it could have is that the issue between Michael and his father felt like it needed a bit of a clearer resolution although when it comes to family issues the resolutions are often not as clear as we would like them to be. So while this needed more clarity in it's own way the resolution felt realistic enough to be believable.


Unfortunately in spite of the fact that overall I enjoyed this story and I liked both of the MCs as well as some of the secondary characters and while the narrator...Daniel James Lewis is a new to me narrator who really delivered voices that for me matched and suited each of the characters helping to bring them to life.


While everything worked in theory and the story held the potential to pack such an emotional punch somewhere along the way things just fell short and what I had thought would be an 'I love it!!!' story turned out to be a case of 'This was a sweet story and I enjoyed listening to the audio book.' so all in all still not a bad thing by any means.' 


"Change of Address" was originally intended to be the first book in the 'Heartsbridge Island' series, however, it's been four years since it's release so I'm not sure whether there is more to come with this series or not but this story can easily be read as a standalone with a solid HEA ending, so if there's more to come that's cool but if not readers can comfortably stop at this story and not feel like they're left hanging with unanswered questions.



An audio book for "Change of Address" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you haven’t read “What Lies Beneath” than you need to stop right here…

Without a Trace (Lancaster Falls Trilogy #2) - RJ Scott

…go get that book and start reading because this is one of those series…you know the type…where each book connects to the next one and chances are very, very good that if you haven’t followed things from the beginning you’re going to get lost and rumor has it that the woods around Lancaster Falls are not a safe place to get lost in.


In the first book we get to meet many of the characters that will continue throughout this series as well as the beginnings of a decade old mystery…What happened to Casey McGuire after he left Lancaster Falls?


For years Casey’s brother Drew (Andrew) chose to believe that Casey was out there somewhere living his life and hopefully being happy or at least he believed that until Casey’s remains were found along with a something more and now ready or not Drew finds himself returning home in search of answers to questions he never wanted to ask…questions like who killed his brother and why?

Logan’s only been in Lancaster Falls for a couple of years. After an injury earned him an early discharge from what was supposed to be a lifetime military career.


Once again the reader is presented with a story that has 2 main story lines the first one being the continuation of the mystery surrounding Casey’s disappearance and the ongoing graffiti that keeps turning up around town and the second one is the relationship that’s developing between Casey and Drew.


There’s a lot of tension as well as antagonism between Drew and Logan, that to say the least makes a relationship seem very unlikely. Drew’s only in town to find out what happened to his brother and help his mom give Casey a proper burial and then he’s out of there or at least that’s how things start for him. While Logan’s determined not to get involved with him because he’s a by the books cop, Drew’s leaving soon and he knows it and he’s the victim’s brother so it just wouldn’t be right, right?


Initially I wasn’t 100% on board with this pairing because I just couldn’t quite see it, but as the antagonism slowly went from antagonism to some rather interesting flirting and both men began to display small gestures that showed their feelings were changing, I began to like this match and for what seems to be some apparent differences these men also share some definite commonalities as well.


Drew and Logan are both ex-military and they’ve both got their own share of issues and alpha male in their basic make-up. But I think I struggled more with Drew’s character than Logan’s because at times he just didn’t really match my impression of what someone who does covert ops and is a sniper would be like…I don’t know maybe he just wasn’t badass enough or at least that’s what I was thinking until I realized that this was only a part of who Drew was. Here in Lancaster Falls he’s just a man, a son, a brother, a friend and he’s someone who’s looking for answers to what happened to one of the most important people in his life…his big brother. Not only that but given that he’s spent the past 10+ years telling himself that Casey’s alive and out there living the life he wanted he’s never come to terms with the reality that his brother’s dead.


In general the pacing for this story was a bit slower than the previous book but I found that especially when it came to the relationship development between Drew and Logan the slower pace just felt more believable.


Now about my favorite part of the to book the ending or to be more precise the last 60 or 70 pages. This is the point at which for me things really started falling into place and I couldn’t put the book down…so yeah I stayed in bed later than usual…sue me, it’s not like I needed to go anywhere #self-isolation, #goodexcuseforreadingmore


While there’s a lot more that I want to say about the ending of this book, I’m trying to keep it spoiler free here, so the best I can comfortably do is to say that for me the ending of this one worked and it worked well. I got some answers and I got more questions but most of all I got left wanting more…so please can it be June now?




An ARC of ‘Without a Trace’ was graciously provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

‘Shadow and Light’ is a story that I’ve been waiting for…it’s Henry and Apollo’s story.

Shadow and Light (Arizona Raptors #3) - V.L. Locey, RJ Scott

We met Apollo for the first time briefly in the ‘Harrisburg Railers’ series. He’s Adler Lockhart’s best friend and personal assistant. But now that Adler’s got his Foxy man, Apollo’s life has become a lot less demanding and he’s finding he has to much time on his hands to think and a lot of that thinking seems to focus on the last man who broke his heart. So, when Adler proposes that he go to Arizona and take care of Henry, Apollo decides that maybe this is just what he needs someone who needs his help in a place that’s filled with warmth and sunshine.


Henry’s struggling…life’s just not cutting him any breaks. It may have been a car accident that broke his body but it was the man driving the car who broke his heart and shattered him emotionally and his family took care of whatever self esteem he had left along with his money leaving Henry with nothing and no one to offer him support as he struggles to find his way back to the world in general and the sport that he loves.

Together Apollo and Henry can help each other to find a way back from their pain if they can just learn to trust each other and share what’s in their hearts.


I was more than a little anxious for this story since we’ve been following the events of what’s happened to Henry throughout the previous books and for the most part I enjoyed this one but I also found myself wanting the relationship development between Henry and Apollo to come from Henry’s point of view just a tiny bit more than it did, but while I wanted a bit more of Henry’s perspective during this part of the story, I also didn’t feel like his POV was entirely missing either so that may be more a me thing than a story thing.


As a couple I really like Henry and Apollo. Certainly, after all that he’s been through if anyone every deserved someone who is a ray of sunshine…it’s Henry. But Apollo is equally deserving of someone who will love and appreciate the awesomeness that is Apollo.


My other little niggle was in regard to the ending. For the most part it worked but there were a couple of moments when things felt like they were becoming just a bit to over the top however, they never quite reached the point of spoiling the story for me so all in all just a little niggle I shook it off and carried on enjoying the story.


Last of all from a very personal perspective I really, really want a resolution that brings harsher consequences for Aarni Lankinen and solid vindication Henry, Tennant and Bryan, the people he has hurt the most…and then he just needs to go away, but maybe that’s just a me thing.


As with previous stories in this series and the ‘Harrisburg Railers’ series we were once again treated to glimpses of characters from previous books Ryker and Jacob, Alex and Seb, we even had some time with Adler and his Foxy man.

Even though I didn’t connect with this story quite the way I had thought I would. I still very much enjoyed it and wouldn’t have missed out on it for anything. Henry and Apollo were fun, sexy and well worth the read…but…


I have to admit I was hoping that the next book would be about Colorado the hot and sexy Raptor’s goaltender…or at least that’s what I was hoping until I read the blurb at the end of this book for book #4 Sugar and Ice…it’s Tate and Vlad’s story and it sounds like it’s going to be scorching hot…hot enough to melt the ice. I am so on board for this one.




An ARC of ‘Shadow and Light’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

And that's a wrap...

Sink or Swim - L.A. Witt, Nick J. Russo

'Sink or Swim' is the 8th and possibly final book in L.A. Witt's series 'Anchor Point' and it's also the book that I held the most apprehension about reading...now let me just explain this...


When I was growing up my parent's raised us with the belief that there are two topics of conversation that one should always try to avoid... one was politics the other was...you guessed it 'religion'. As I got older I learned that it wasn't necessarily about avoiding these topics so much as entering into them with courtesy and respect for the opinions of others and if that fails...well, then it was simply time to follow Elvis and leave the building. Politics and religion in general are topics on which most people have a very firm mindset and entering into a conversation can be more dangerous than walking through a field of landmines...leaving me to wonder what I was getting myself into with this one since I've had past experiences with books that have had a heavy focus on religion that...well, quite honestly didn't go so well for me.


Dylan is a Protestant Naval Chapel, however the place of worship that he presides over is maintained as a place that welcomes all faiths even that of Islam giving Alhazar a safe place in which to practice the teachings of his faith and this is the point at which I knew that if nothing else I would truly like these two people because for me faith is something that each person should be free to find in their own way and their own time while respecting the rights of others to do the same, so I immediately felt that these men and  I were of like minds on this subject and needless to say I was comfortable with the characters from the word go.


While Dylan and Alhazar's faiths were integral to who they each were and to the story in general it was not the story and was one of a number of issues that the story touched upon...there was an issue of psychological abuse for one of the men in regards to a previous relationship, the story also touched on the subject of harassment (I use this in a general term as this was touched on from more than one aspect), the challenge of being in the military and coming out even after DADT for both men and women. I'm sure there are other things that I'm leaving out here. The list may seem daunting and maybe even a little bit depressing. I felt like it was dealt with in a way that brought attention to the issues without adding an overly somber note to it as well as maintaining a connection to the central theme of things which was the relationship between Dylan and Alhazar. 


For as much as I liked Dylan and Alhazar there was a scene in the story that left me feeling very frustrated with and disappointed in Dylan, however, I also understood his feelings at the time...not saying he was right just that I could see where he was coming from. Of course this didn't make me not want to give him a good shake and tell him to get his head out of his pulpit. But the ending more than made up for this and after all was said and done I and more importantly Alhazar happily forgave him.  


Once again here in the eighth and maybe final 'Anchor Point' story we're given the consistency of having the same narrator take us from start to finish and while this isn't always the case and sometimes in a series where the main characters change from story to story having different narrators isn't as much of an issue but for me having just marathoned through this series I can honestly say having Nick J. Russo as the narrator for each story was simply and purely an auditory delight that only added to how much I enjoyed the entire series. 


As I've indicated this may be the final book I truly don't have any insider knowledge on the yes or no of that but if we're taking votes I have to admit I'd love one more and in the ideal world it would be an anthology of all the couples we've met along the way giving a glimpse into their lives maybe a little further down the road in time to see what's happened and how their lives have changed...so there you have it my wish for what would be the ideal final book to this series but for now I'm on to other things and if you're looking for something to do while waiting for the world to get better...hot men in the military right here...it's worth a peek.



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

Not quite a wash out...but...

Wash Out - L.A. Witt, Nick J. Russo

This one just didn't work as well for me as previous stories have. But it also surprised me a bit in that between Logan and Casey...it was Logan who I liked the most. If you had told me that he would be my favorite after reading 'Afraid to Fly', I probably would have looked at you like you had two heads and neither of them was working right.


Seriously when I started listening to this one and realized who Logan was I paused the audio book for a moment and asked myself... "Really? Do I really want to listen to a story about this asshat?" and surprisingly my brain said "Yes, Karen. Yes you do, because everyone deserves a second chance even those who live in books." So I continued and "SURPRISE!!!" what I discovered was that Logan wasn't who he had seemed to be. Logan for one was ex-military and as is too often the case with those who have seen combat, Logan has his own demons to battle. So getting to see him here in a different light as someone who was fighting to be a better person to get his life back on the rails was very much a good thing and it didn't take long before I was a confirmed Logan fan.


Casey...for me Casey's a mixed bag on one hand yes, I did feel bad for Casey. All he ever wanted to be was a Navy Seal and he was working so hard to make his dream come true and to have that dream taken from him so suddenly and so unexpectedly is nothing short of heartbreaking. But, I really needed for Casey to get over it sooner than he did. I know it's not easy to go through something like this and a person needs time to re-evaluate their life and make new plans but Casey almost seemed to me like he was overthinking the things that people were saying to him and looking for a reason to be offended by it...which is code talk for he was looking for an excuse to vent his frustration and again I get that but 'Dammit Casey, you wanted to be a navy seal than show us that you had what it takes to have been one. Put your bit boy panties on and refocus on the new mission...creating a new career path for Casey.


Having said all that Casey did redeem himself a bit at the end but by then...it was to little, to late to make him seem anything more than ok for me. 


Once again with this story as in previous stories we are treated to a peek here and there of previous characters such as Clint and Travis (not so much on page but for me where there is Clint, Travis is close behind), Diego and by virtue of Diego it felt like Mark was also close at hand.


Of course all of this was once again brought to auditory life by the talented Nick J. Russo.  I know there are other really awesome narrators out there but for me this series belongs to this narrator and he's brought it to life and added depth and personality to the characters in a way that few others are able to. 


Overall this series has definitely been a success with me and while I've still got one last audio book to go I'm fairly comfortable saying that I see me revisiting the men of 'Anchor Point' again in the future and if we all have to hibernate for much longer the future may be closer than I think. 



An audio book of "Wash Out" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is it...that's right of all the books in this series...

Once Burned - L.A. Witt, Nick J. Russo

This is the one that gave me that "Daaammmnnnn!!!...I love this story" feeling.


There was just a whole lot here that pushed the right buttons for me. Diego is a character who I'm pretty sure has shown up on the fringes in most of these books as he's one of the regular bartenders at 'The High & Tight' but it really wasn't until 'Going Overboard' book #5 that we saw any real interaction with other characters from him. He was Dalton's best friend and they have a bit of a history and Diego also has a bit of a history with the navy. A history that's left him angry, frustrated and bitter.


Diego's problems are multi-faceted but for the most part things stem back to his time in the navy, his green card and his immigrant status. I think this part of the story for me was a bit easier to get through because one I'm was born in Canada so natural citizen and two born in Canada so no prior knowledge of U.S. immigration laws which allowed me to avoid the mental conflict of what the story contained vs what I maybe knew to be fact.


For me Diego's issues were used as a representation of the issues that immigrants can face more in response to the challenge of trying to achieve citizenship in another country more so than as realistic reflection of those challenges. 


For me one of the things that I enjoyed most was seeing Diego work through his feelings about the navy and how it contributed to his situation and come to terms with the events of his past so that he could try to build a future.


Captain Mark Thomass is in a very different place in his life and he's had a very different experience with the navy. Mark's career in the navy is winding down and he's getting ready to face retirement when he suddenly finds himself receiving a divorce, a promotion and a ship to command...one would think it was Christmas. Marks a navy man through and through and if the navy's taught him anything it's how to deal so for him...while the divorce may have been a surprise the promotion and the ship were the solution to the dilemma that it created allowing him to move to Anchor Point and start over.


"Once Burned" was a story of opposites attract and starting over. Diego and Mark are two very different people with very different lives and experiences leading to two very different outlooks on life and the navy. Outlooks that more often than not clashed when it came to...you guessed it...the Navy...oh and baseball...come on you didn't really think they'd cheer for the same team now, did you?


I loved the back and forth between these two men as they each found themselves stepping back to look at situations from the other's perspective and found themselves questioning how they thought and felt about things and coming to the realization that more often than not the solution to a situation didn't come from being right or wrong but from compromise.


For me there was a lot of growth for both of these men and sometimes it seemed like one step forward and two steps back but that's a feeling that I think most of us have felt at one time or another in our lives so it was very relatable.


I think this probably would have been a solid 5 star read if the ending had been filled out just a tiny bit more. Compared to the rest of the story I felt like it held a bit of a rushed feeling to it and I admit it I would have liked a bit more happy together Diego and Mark but all in all I connected really well with this story and with Nick J. Russo on board once again for the narration it was a very solid 4+ story and one that I plan on enjoying again in future.



An audio book of "Once Burned" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


If I hadn't of already listened to the next book in this series...

Going Overboard - L.A. Witt, Nick J. Russo

I'd probably be saying that this one is my favorite so far but because I'm ahead of the game and have actually taken a break to catch up on the reviews I know that this one was close but it's not 'the one' for me but still a really, really good listen and the first one in the audio series that I did't read the book before listening to the audio.


So once again we have Nick J. Russo as the narrator and can I just say that he did a really superb job on the narration of this story...I would have to say that while it didn't end up being my favorite story so far when it comes to the narration this one tops the list.


'Going Overboard' has it's own bit of uniqueness as far in comparison to the other stories in this series...we haven't met either of the MCs prior to this story and they have no connection to any of the MCs in previous stories, this is also the first biracial couple in the series, compared to the other stories there's not really an age gap or an issue with their rank and both men work in the same section. So all in all a number of small details that help to give this pairing their own unique place in this series. 


Dalton and Chris actual met for the first time off page and prior to this story as they became best friends when the attended coxswain's school which is to say driving school...for boats/ships, just a bit of extra info here but boats and ships are not the same thing. In really, really simple basic detail boats are little, ships are BIG! Anything with an overall length of 197 ft. is considered a ship. Ok, that's it for the added info portion of this review.


 So back to Dalton and Chris who met at coxswain school and now find themselves stationed at NAS Adams. They're both working hard to gain their rank of MA1 (Master at Arms First Class) time is running out for both of these men as their nearing the end of their qualifying period. But they're studying hard and they're determined. Things are actually looking good until the night that Dalton goes out on patrol and through the negligence of the coxswain in charge that night during incredibly bad weather and rough waters Dalton is thrown overboard, it's only because of the heroic actions of the MA2 on board with him and the coxswain that he's saved...this is where everything goes to hell.


This is also where Dalton and Chris realize that they mean so much more to each other than just friends. This is also where li'l 'ole me starts to feel rage. You see Dalton and Chris have the misfortune of being under the command of the navy's prime example of "if you can't be a good example than you might as well be a horrible warning" Chief. I had rage so much freakin' rage for this man so much rage...I can't even begin to explain mainly because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read/listened to it yet. 


The upside of this is that while I really despised this character he achieved two things... one he solidified my connection to the MCs and my desire to see them beat the obstacles and thank to him they had a few but a side benefit of this was that it also created a situation whereby characters from previous stories were required to be involved in the resolution of events and two while I very much enjoy Ms Witt's stories having a character such as this gave an added level of emotional involvement to the story for me. I seriously raged against this man...much to my husband's amusement.


Thankfully at the end of it all I was left satisfied with the outcome of most things with one exception and that was in regards to what happened to the coxswain who was driving the boat the night Dalton was injured but sometimes things just are what they are and for the most part things wrapped up in a fairly realistic manner. So, I'm going to take the win and move on to the next story...which by the way turns out to be my favorite one in this series...although I'm not done listening to the eighth and final book so there may be some wiggle room yet...only time will tell.



An audio book of "Going Overboard" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If it's not the age and it's not the gender...in the military it must be the next obvious thing...

Rank & File - L.A. Witt, Nick J. Russo

it's the 'Rank & File'.


Senior Chief Will Curtis has spent his military career doing what's right and always keeping the big picture in front of him...his goal has always been to make master chief and retire  after 30 years of service. All it takes is one call out to a domestic disturbance and his world gets upended and he begins to question if the prize is worth the price. We first met Will in 'Chief's Mess' where he helped his friend Noah with some tough love and proved what a truly good friend he was.


Lieutenant Brent Jameson's a navy brat, he's lived and breathed the navy for his entire life. He's done Annapolis and now he's paying his military dues to get him off the bottom of the ladder and on to better things...but, when Brent gets tangled up in a domestic dispute that threatens his career plans and meets the very sexy senior chief that he can't seem to get out of his mind. He begins to question whether or not the life plan that he's been following is truly his or just what he's been told he wants.


Brent's an officer. Will's enlisted and never the twain shall meet unless they'd like to be court-martialed. Ya' gotta love the military they may have gotten rid of DADT but they've still got lots of rules and regs to keep their people from pursuing happiness...you know that thing that they keep getting sent off to fight for everyone else to have. Don't get me wrong I get it when the people in question are in a direct chain of command...that only makes sense but there are ways around that too...anyways back to Will and Brent. 


Here we have two men one an officer, one enlisted not in each other's chain of command but they can't be together because rules. The other problem is they can't seem to stay away from each other. I liked Will and Brent and the dynamics between them as well as the dilemma they faced.


On a lot of levels this just generally worked for me. I know it's easy to say well that's just dumb but reality is if you're in the military that's also life...rules and regs, they are the military's lifeblood and if you don't know that when you enlist you learn it really fast. 


If you like your men hot blooded and sexy this is definitely a series to investigate because so far the one thing that all of these couples have in common besides the fact that one or both of them are in the military is that the sexy times are sexy...like seriously keep your cold shower on standby sexy.


Will and Brent spend a good portion of this story trying to stay away from each other and quite honestly they repeatedly fail to succeed. But what I really enjoyed where the in between moments when we got to see them try quite honestly with more success and more heartfelt effort to be together...there's a weekend spent in Portland that was of course very hot and steamy but it was also incredibly sweet and tender and there may have been some hotwings...seriously hot wings involved in this.


It's not until the ending that we see these two find their way through and while the ending didn't necessarily have the obvious conclusion it was for me the one that suited the story.


In spite of the fact that each of these stories could stand on it's own without benefit of having read/ listened to the previous stories I've really been enjoying the audio books and as well as the fact that the stories are ones that I enjoy a solid part of that is also attributable to the fact that the series has the consistency of the same narrator who happens to be an absolute favorite of mine making this an even more enjoyable experience and a truly delightful way for me to fill my days of self-isolation and social distancing.


Seriously if you can't go out into the world...and we all know we shouldn't, audio books are a great way to fill the time and if you don't like audio books there's always the tried and true method of 'reading' and yes, I've been doing this as well.


So I'm on to the next book in this series and here's hoping that if we all do our part the world will feel better soon.



An audio book of 'Rank & File' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's been a while since I first read this one...

Chief's Mess - L.A. Witt, Nick J. Russo

and while I enjoyed revisiting the story on audio...because...Nick J. Russo! This is a narrator who consistently delivers and is one of my top 5 narrators. Without fail I can rely on his narrating to make a good story great and to make a not so good story better and he's even made some that were less than tolerable into something tolerable. Simply put as a narrator Nick J. Russo consistently delivers.


Now onto what it was that he delivered...'Chief's Mess' is the third story in L. A. Witt's naval series "Anchor Point" and while I liked the story it wasn't quite on the same level for me as the first two and while I think that might be a very tiny bit the story, I know that it's more of a personal issue for me...so yes, it's not the story it's me.


I was fairly certain before I started this audio book that I probably wasn't going to enjoy it quite as much as the first two audio books...one because I read the book so I knew what I was getting and two because I read the book and it also wasn't my favorite but I'm ok with this. Not every book has to be an over the moon I love it read/listen for me and I'm just one of those people who likes to read/listen to all of the books in a series whether or not I'm going to give them all rave reviews or not. For me it's about having all the info so that I can more readily make connections between characters and events and my other half will tell you it's really just my book OCD kicking in...whatever, it is what it is.


Ok, so back to Noah and Anthony why didn't they enchant me the way other couples in this series have...well, it's not broke so I'm not going to try and fix 

Noah Jackson is a member of Anchor Point's military police. He's got a stressful job and unfortunately his solution for dealing with the stress of his job comes from a bottle and he sees no problem with this. As a matter of fact he's so on board with this that when a problem results from his drinking his solution is to make his life accommodate the drinking...can't drive home because you've had too much to drink...take a cab...problem solved because drinking less or not drinking doesn't even ping his radar as a reasonable solution. Noah is what is known as a functioning alcoholic. Unfortunately he's not as functioning as he believes people like his best friend and superior officer, Senior Chief Will Curtis see what's happening. I'm sure most of us have met or had someone like Noah in their lives at one time or another, I know I have.

While we weren't introduced to Noah in 'Fear of Flying' we did meet Anthony. Anthony is the supportive brother of Curtis's ex-wife. There was a lot about Anthony's behavior that I understood in regards to his mildly paranoid behavior about how much Noah drank. I got that and I remember being so cautious about people in my life and how much they drank wondering how much and how often they truly drank. Honestly, it's not fun living like that doubting and never fully trusting until you're sure really sure that it's safe to trust that person because they aren't going to crawl into a bottle every chance they get.


You see the fact is that while I've known Noah, I've been Anthony...been part of the rubble left behind when the landslide stops. I've lived through the lies, the deceptions and justifications, the heartbreak of knowing you can't fix them. That they're the only person who can fix themselves and not until they're ready to. The frustration of knowing that you've reached the point where the only thing you can do is walk away and save yourself.


The concept for this story was good and while I liked it, I think maybe for me it came just a little to close to a reality that I've known which was a big part of the reason that I didn't enjoy 'Chief's Mess' as much as the first two books. 

So that's basically where the fail came in between me and this story not a bad thing not a good thing it just was what it was and I knew that going into it and while each of these stories could stand on their own for me a part of the enjoyment of each story comes from the complete picture that reading them all gives to me. 


At the end of it all I'm leaving this one at 3 stars even though I did actually enjoy the audio a bit more than just reading the story and I'm moving on the 'Rank and File' to see if Senior Chief Will Curtis is as good at sorting out his own love life as he seems to have been with his friends.



An audio book of "Chief's Mess" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was looking for a few pithy words to explain...

The Parable of the Mustard Seed - Lisa Henry

what 'The Parable of the Mustard Seed' was and what I discovered was that like many things the meaning of this parable is open to the readers interpretation but loosely speaking...

So, the picture painted in the Parable of the Mustard Seed by Jesus is of the humble beginnings of the church experiencing an explosive rate of growth. It grows large and becomes a source of food, rest, and shelter, for both believers and false professing individuals that seek to consume or take advantage of its benefits while residing or mixing among what was produced by the seed.

Making my one and only real concern after reading this and then seeing the word...'cult', that maybe things would go sideways and become 'overly' preachy to reinforce the whole 'cult' issue thankfully, I realized fairly early in that I could kick this concern to the curb as it quickly became evident that it was a non-issue.


At which point I have to admit I still wasn't really sure what I was getting into, but Lisa Henry was the author and I was sure whatever I was getting into was going to be good, and it was good...so much more than good.


My struggle really hasn't been so much about what to say as how to say it, but the time for procrastination is over and now it's simply time to jump in...


While this is a story with love in it...it's also about man's inhumanity to man and all in the name of religion, it's about the strength of the human spirit and it's ability to overcome the darkest of times with out losing the ability to love and trust again.


"The Parable of the Mustard Seed" is the story of the events that brought Australian-Samoan police officer John Faimu and Caleb Fletcher into each others lives. What happened wasn't pretty and if you're like me you might want to have some tissues on hand.


In this story the author takes us back to the beginning...back to the day that John first saw Caleb, when he took place in the police raid that freed Caleb from the cult that nearly killed him and as the story progresses we are shown events of the past at the beginning of each chapter bringing us into the present and giving a solid understanding of not just the relationship between John and Caleb but of who they are as individuals and of who Caleb is and what has shaped him into the person that he has become. 


From the very beginning I liked John. His character was intrinsically good and although Caleb always feels like his priority at the heart of everything John does is his love, concern and respect not just for Caleb, but for everyone that he cares about. 


While my feelings about Caleb weren't as clear at the beginning what he had endured became clear fairly early in the story and my heart broke for him...no child should go through what Caleb did but it's through the retelling of Caleb's past that I came to embrace what a truly amazing person he became. What Caleb endured wasn't just physical abuse there was emotional and psychological torment as well and he was betrayed by his mother...there is no forgiveness for what she did to him. 


There were also a lot of wonderful characters in this story John's family from his mother right down to his sister's Mary and Jessie, his brother David, his partner on the police force Liz and Caleb's father Darren just to mention a few.


While 'The Parable of the Mustard Seed' isn't as dark as some of Ms Henry's other works such as 'While All the World Sleeps' it's also a far cry from the fun that is 'Adulting 101' but like both of these books, it is an excellent story worth reading. 


If you're looking for a story with a lot of hot, steamy sex. then you'll probably be disappointed, but if you also like stories where the relationship between the MCs has a slow burn with a very palpable sense of how much the MCs cherish each other contained within it's pages...then I truly believe you need to check this one out.




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

When it comes to writing stories about people that have been battered and left broken by life Garrett Leigh is one of the best...

Falling For My Roommate - Garrett Leigh

When it comes to writing stories about people that have been battered and left broken by life Garrett Leigh is one of the best.


I loved ‘Kiss Me Again’ it was one of the most endearing books that I’ve read/listened to and reviewed in a very long time and while ‘Falling For My Roommate’ didn’t engender quite the feels that ‘Kiss Me Again’ did from me, it still proved to be a story that was not only worth reading but has me once again looking forward to an audio version.


Micah is an ex-football player whose career and life tanked in a blaze of paparazzi glory and now he’s trying to put himself back together. But it’s not an easy thing to do and having a roommate that’s got him wanting more than the friendship that’s so readily happening between them when he’s sure that he doesn’t even deserve that is making things even harder but damned if he’s going to find somewhere else to live and give up a friendship that he’s come to treasure.


Micah’s story is one that we see all too often in today’s headlines…a well known athlete who looses his focus on his sport to the glitter and gloss of the fame and all that it brings and not of the good variety… drugs, booze, parties, faceless and meaningless sex and all of it ending in career ending tragedy.


Micah’s struggles were heartbreaking and then if you add in the pressure of the public scrutiny that he was forced to endure during some of the most challenging times of his life and it’s not hard to imagine that even the most well adjusted and mentally stable of people would feel overwhelmed by everything.


Sam’s a gay book-nerd that’s nicely packaged in the sexy body of a bartender/English lit student and he’s determined to be the friend that Micah so obviously needs. He’ll just keep the fact that he’s head-over-heels in love with his new roommate his little secret. No matter how much he wants to shake Micah until he sees himself the way that Sam does, because Sam’s not convinced that Micah is the undeserving person that he claims to be.

While this one doesn’t belong to Ms Leigh’s ‘Lucky Series’ it didn’t escape my notice that we got a peek at Dom and yes, I might have squeed a bit about this. It’s just one of those things that’s a perk of the story for me.


‘Falling For My Roommate’ is a story about finding love it’s also a stark and realistic look at what being with someone who deals with a mental health issue means. It’s not a sunshine, lollipops and all things sparkly and bright life. It’s good days and bad days, it’s having faith and hope when it doesn’t seem like you should. It’s about loving that person when even they don’t think they’re loveable and that’s just for the average person…add in the fame and notoriety of being someone who’s famous and things become even more complicated especially in today’s society.


The fact that Garrett Leigh creates stories that share not just in the telling, but in that they allow the reader to connect with things on an emotional level is one of the things that I appreciate the most about her stories.


‘Falling For My Roommate’ isn’t a sweet and fluffy story but it is a story that has what for me is the best kind of HEA…one that could really happen. Micah has to slay his own dragons and for as much as I came to appreciate Sam it wasn’t because he was anyone’s white knight it was because he was someone who was strong enough to be there for the person he cared about…not just the person he loved but someone who he considered to be a friend. But even Sam knew he couldn’t be Micah’s salvation just his support when he needed it. For me this was a story that felt real, it’s out there and one has only to look for it…who knows maybe it’s a story some have already lived.




An ARC of ‘Falling For My Roommate’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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