...Bookfanatic

 

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

The Other Book is also a different book...

The Other Book - Roe Horvat

I'm fairly new to the writings of Roe Horvat...as in this is my second book by this author and honestly what I'm left wondering at this point is "damn, girl what the hell have you been waiting for?". 

 

'The Other Book' is one of the few books that I've read that while it has a fair amount of sex in it there are two things that I found to be very different from most other books that can make this claim...one...the sex is not gratuitous, it is an integral part of the story and two...it never felt excessive or unnecessary at any given time and I almost forgot there's a very solid story that it supports...not the other way around.

 

Tyler and Joel are two incredibly different men. Tyler's comfortable in his own skin he knows who he is and he's more than good with it. He's been raised by a mother who's both loving and supportive and I suspect a bit of a free spirit...she was a delightful addition to this story.

 

Joel is like a spring that's been wound too tight and one touch and it's going to fly out of it's casing and go in a million different directions. Joel's been raised by his father who to say the least is the polar opposite of Tyler's mother.

 

Tyler's convinced that Joel hates him and frustrated by his inability to figure out why he finally confronts the Joel only to discover that Joel feelings are driven more by desire than derision leading to the beginning of a relationship that at the beginning is entirely sexual and about Joel ceding total control of things to Tyler allowing him to let go and just feel without the responsibility of making the decisions. 

 

As time passes Tyler begins to realize that Joel isn't entirely what he seems to be and that he's a man in need of someone to love him and Tyler also begins to realize that he's the man that Joel needs.

 

I loved the journey that took Tyler and Joel from essentially being enemies to lovers. I loved that while there was a lot of sex in this one because of the nature of their relationship quite honestly it was a very sexual relationship and a story about two men involved in a relationship that starts out as purely sexual and then not to have any sex or at times a lot of sex would have seemed a little strange and while it's a fine line between a lot of sex and too much sex that line was walked perfectly this time around.

 

I'm looking forward to delving into more of this authors works in the near future. I've become enchanted with the authors writing, with the locations and the wonderful characters who inhabit them and last but not least with how the author brings it all together to create a story that captures me mind, heart and soul.

 

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

There was sweet and there was feelz...so many feelz, but...

Awakenings & French Songs - Nell Iris

I really wanted more. This is only my second read by this author and while I only gave this one 3 stars if I was giving stars for potential there would have been at least 4 stars on this one.  I loved the story and was over the moon about the potential it held. I just needed more actual story to get me there.

 

When we first meet Iggy, he's at a crossroads in his life. There's a lot about his life that he likes but as he gets closer to his birthday he also begins to reflect on what it is that he has and what it is that he wants.  He's a party boy...Iggy never says no or so the story goes until...Iggy says no because he's starting to realize that the life he has, isn't the life he wants. It's during a late night visit with his neighbour...Ronan, his very hot, off limits, single father neighbor that Iggy begins to question his life, where it's at vs where he wants to be and comes to the realization that it's time for a change.

 

My biggest problem with this story was that I really and truly wanted more...more Iggy and Ronan. Ronan's not off limits because he's straight...nope, for Iggy he's off limits because Ronan's straight or because he's not looking for a quicky or even a friends with benefits relationship.  Ronan wants the full package. He's looking for someone who wants someone who's in it for the long haul...someone who's going to love his kid as much as him because they're a package deal. 

 

I was ok with the fact that the story picks up part way through their friendship but once they agreed to see if there was more...well, i really liked these two men and I wanted to be there for more of the more as well. I'm not just talking about the sexy times here given the brevity of this story quite honestly the amount of sex that was here actually seemed appropriate but I wanted more of the dating/getting to know each other moments.There's a time jump between the end of the story and the epilogue of a year and I admit it I'm greedy and I wanted at least some of that year because Ronan and Iggy going from friends to lovers from what I read left me wanting the whole story.

 

So this isn't a case of 3 stars because I didn't like what I read it's a case of 3 stars because it was so good that I really, really wanted more.

 

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An ARC of 'Awakenings & French Songs' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

I'mma' gonna' have a tiny rant here...

Something About Jace - Rinda Elliott, Jocelynn Drake

Ok let's start with what was good here...because sadly that list is short. This was a buddy read...because some things need to be endured...eeerrrrr...I mean shared. While there were some good moments at the beginning of this one...not great or amazing...but they were ok and truthfully for the first half  I probably could have comfortably gone with 3 stars but sadly the last 30ish percent tanked for me and it tanked hard. 

 

I could probably go on a bit rant here about all the things that went wrong for me but truthfully I'd rather spend my time writing a more positive review for one of the other books that I've listened to or read more recently so I'm just going to say one of the biggest obstacles on this one was 'the sex' and seriously there was sex...so much sex. I know I wasn't the only one skimming and rolling their eyes along with some ridiculously over the top moments and a side plot that was suppose to add some suspense, interest, drama? all of the above things escalated and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a...

 

 

and maybe this seems a bit harsh but in comparison to the 'Unbreakable Bonds' series.or even 'Ward Security' ...'Something About Jace' was a very solid disappointment. If you asked me 'Should you read this book?' my reply would be "read Unbreakable Bonds'...but that's just my take on things... 

 

I just need to do one more thing to wrap this one up...a great big thank you to my buddy read gang (in alphabetical order)...Anne, Christelle, Josy, Shile & Simone. You are alo awesome and good or bad or anything in between any buddy read with all of you is always 5 stars!

Two men on the same side of he law...

Fire and Granite - Andrew  Grey, Greg Tremblay

and still that's not enough to quell the animosity between them until one man is put into danger...

 

Judge Andrew Phillips has it all under control in his courtroom...he knows the law and he's a master at maintaining order in his courtroom. But when a fugitive named Harper escapes and sets about keeping his promise of revenge on the man who sent him to prison. Judge Andrew suddenly finds himself being guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Deputy Clay Brown...his control begins to slip.  As the danger escalates Andrew and Clay both begin to let down their barriers and begin to discover that they each might just be what the other man needs in his life.

 

I've been a fan of Andrew Grey's for a while now and I have to admit that recently things have been hit and miss for me but with this second installment of his 'Carlisle Deputies' series things are hitting their stride again and as with the first book I've really enjoyed this one. 

 

I like Clay and his little dog too...yes, Clay has an adorable dog named Petey, who'like my own dog is pretty sure that the whole world is around just to give him love but he's a really good little guy and I think he might be right...sorry, I love pets in stories so I felt compelled to ramble about Clay's adorable dog for a moment. 

 

While 'Fire and Granite' is a romantic thriller and really not a mystery the author has still given us a bit of a surprise ending and we get to see a bit of Red and Terry from 'Carlisle Cops' the series that spawned the 'Carlisle Deputies', so for fans of that series' there's  a bit of a treat. I haven't read this series yet but I will confess I do own the books and it's on my TBR list or maybe I'll add it to my 'TBLT' list (To Be Listened To).  While I liked Judge Andrew, i have to admit Clay was definitely my favorite. he was strong and confident but not to the extent of being arrogant or conceited and he seemed to someone who was incredibly kind...in general he was the type of person that any law enforcement agency would be lucky to have. 

 

Overall I really enjoyed this story and while I would have liked the relationship development to be a little bit stronger this was still a nice enjoyable story and Greg Tremblay as the narrator only made the story that much better. I have to admit that while I've lost track of how many audio books I've listened to with Greg Tremblay as the narrator, I have no problem remembering the number of them that I've had a problem with the narration and that would be zero...zip, zilch, nadda, none! I have a very, very short list of narrators who I don't need to worry about listening to a sample because I know I'm going to enjoy  listening to it and from the audio standpoint I won't have any issues or concerns.

 

'Fire and Granite' is a what the world of music would call 'easy listening' you get to just sit back, relax and enjoy the story effortlessly.

 

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An audio book of 'Fire and Granite' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Just doing a bit of revisiting....

Fish Stick Fridays - Rhys Ford, Spencer Goss

I'm totally a fan of anything this author writes and since I hadn't listened to the audio book for this one I decided that I needed to rectify that situation and this one was awesome from start to finish. I enjoyed the audio book every bit as much as I enjoyed reading it and once again Greg Tremblay's narration simply added depth to the story and brought Ms Ford's characters to life for me.

So here's the deal...

Mad Lizard Mambo - Rhys Ford, Greg Tremblay

Rhys Ford, Greg Tremblay, action, snark, enemies to lovers...well, ok not quite there yet and dragons...DRAGONS!!! People there be dragons here...

 

But mostly Rhys Ford...she writes it, I'll read it.

It's a bit of sci-fi...

The Englor Affair - J.L. Langley, Joseph Morton

It's been a really, really long time since I've read this series. J.L. Langley was an early days author for me when it comes to m/m and I strongly remember how much I enjoyed these stories. 

 

Sci-fi is another one of those genres that I rarely venture into. So while I'll be the first to admit I'm not expert in the world of sci-fi I am an pretty knowledgeable about what I like and I liked this series...probably even more on audio than I did the e-books. 

 

We first met Prince Payton Townsend in 'My Fair Captain' the first book in this Sci-Regency series, he's the brother of Aiden one of the MCs in that story and in this book we see him traveling to the earth colony of Englor with his brother Aiden's husband, Nate Hawkins. It's on the planet Englor that Payton meets Colonel Simon Hollister and all this would have been simpler if Simon wasn't more than just an ordinary colonel...nope, Simon's the heir to the throne of Englor. But of course life is never simple for the royal family.

 

This one's got spies, intrigue, espionage, undercover escapades and ultimately a wedding to protect someone's honor...and oh how I loved this but I'm not telling the details about the who's and whys of it because for me this was just all too precious.

 

The Englor Affair is a thoroughly fun and enjoyable romp through a regency world of an entirely different creation. On the planet Regency being gay is not only accepted, it's preferred, but on the planet Englor it's a different story...being gay is only beginning to be accepted. Simon may be a prince but he's a prince with a homophobic biotch of a mother, a father who needs a bit more spine and his whole world is about to get upended when he suddenly find that he's not the heir to the throne...he's inherited it.

 

'The Englor Affair' is sexy, entertaining and enjoyable story narrated by Joseph Morton and as much as I enjoyed reading these stories more than a couple of years ago, enjoying the story on audio narrated by this new to me narrator has definitely added a whole new level of listening pleasure to this story...one that I know I'll be revisiting again soon. 

 

This is my second audio book narrated by Joseph Morton so while he's fairly new to me after having enjoyed his narrations for the first two books of this series this narrator has impressed me both times with a very solid and enjoyable audio experience.

 

While this may not be classic literature or even classic 'sci-fi' it is an enjoyable and fun read/listen with some humorous and fun moments that leaves the listener (meaning me) smiling and adding it to my mental 'I'll be listening to this again' list.

 

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

This one poses an interesting moral dilemma…

A Dance for Two - Colette Davison, S. Neil MacFarlane

What makes someone your brother?

 

Adam and Luc grew up together. When Luc’s mom marries Adam’s dad the two also decide to adopt each other’s child making them all legally family. This was all well and good until the boys are older and Luc realizes that his feelings for Adam are much more than brotherly or even best friends. Luc’s solution is to put distance between them first by how he treats Adam…no longer are they friends, Luc begins to treat Adam horribly pushing him away until the day that Luc goes off to college never returning to his family home…even for a visit.

 

When Luc’s mother calls him years later to help save their failing dance studio. Luc convinces himself that his feelings for Adam are under control but regardless of whether they are or not, his mom needs his help and even he’s not a big enough jerk to ignore a plea for help from the mother he loves.

 

As soon as Luc is faced with Adam he knows the truth of things…he’s not over Luc…he’ll probably never be over Luc.

 

I’ve often said that I enjoy a story that makes me examine my own ideals and values and this one certainly did that. While the premise of the story was more than a little intriguing to me. I found the execution of the premise was ok but there were a couple of things that kept it from being more enjoyable…

 

At times for me Luc was just too aggressive in his pursuit of Adam…aggressive to the point that I felt uncomfortable for Luc.

 

I would have liked for both men to have come to terms with their feelings for each other before becoming involved in a romantic relationship with each other. I’m not a fan of incest stories and at times that’s what this one felt like because both Adam and Luc kept thinking of each other as ‘brothers’ rather than ‘lovers’. (I’ll ramble about this more shortly)

 

My last issue regarding this story and it was probably the smallest of them all was the emphasis on the sexual aspect of their relationship…especially from Luc’s perspective. Don’t misunderstand I think a strong and passionate relationship is important to any relationship and from that perspective this worked, but for me it felt like there was just a bit too much emphasis being put on the physical relationship and I needed the emotional connection to feel like it was as strong as part of their connection as the sex, but for me it just didn’t quite get there.

 

I’m going to go back to my point about ‘brothers’ vs ‘lovers’. For me this was more of a moral or idealistic question and something that we all need to decide for ourselves. I know what my decision was at the end of it all, but in the end it’s a decision that each reader needs to make for themselves.

 

Neil Macfarlane was the narrator for this audio book and it appears to be his first audio book which was part of the reason I wanted to listen to this story…it’s always good to have another narrator you enjoy and while the audio sample went well enough to interest me.  I have to admit I’m still undecided about the book in its entirety. Mr. Macfarlane’s narration was good in that this story is set in England and he has the accent which really helps to maintain the story’s setting. Where things fell a bit short for me was how expressive he was or at times more accurately wasn’t. So here we are back to the sex…so, I’m going to be direct here…if I’m reading a story where two people are as hot for each other as these two supposedly are than when a sex scene happens I need the narrator to convince me that they’re genuinely passionate for each other…I realize this is a fine line that needs to be walked here because…to much expressiveness and it becomes eyeroll inducing at the least and simply laughable at the worst but here it was closer to ‘well…I guess we should have sex now’…sorry but it just didn’t convince me that this was a love affair for the ages. Still aside from this little quirk I did feel that this is a narrator with strong potential and I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for future audio releases…one story does not determine things for me with either an author or a narrator.

 

‘A Dance for Two’ was my first waltz with this author and the narrator and while it didn’t work out quite as well as I would have liked. It was still strong enough to get my attention and make me interested in seeing what the future brings from Colette Davison as an author and from Neil Macfarlane as a narrator.

 

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An audio book of ‘A Dance for Two’ was graciously provided by the author through ‘Gay Book Promotions’ in exchange for an honest review.

Just one more kick at the Christmas can...

A Case of Christmas - Josh Lanyon, Derrick McClain

This one was probably closer to 3.5 stars rounded down. I love Josh Lanyon stories and while I maybe didn't love this one quite as much as I've loved some others it was still an enjoyable story narrated by Derrick McClain who does a rather enjoyable job of adding depth and emotion to this story and overall making it just a touch more enjoyable for the listener.

So in the interest of full disclosure...

Devil Take Me - Ginn Hale, Jordan L. Hawk, Greg Tremblay, Rhys Ford, TA Moore, C. S. Poe, Jordan Castillo Price

Let me just say...I don't like anthologies, I don't like horror stories, paranormal with demons and stuff this is so not my thing. I took a pass on the book because no, just no. I was positive this would never work for me and then came the audio and I looked again...I say Rhys Ford, Jordan L. Hawk, C.S. Poe, Ginn Hale, T.A. Moore and Jordan Castillo Price and the icing on the cake narrated by Greg Tremblay and still I pondered, I waffled, I procrastinated...I told myself I didn't have the time and I kept looking at those names and my brain kept saying...but, but, but...

 

and finally I caved and said 'yes please.' and what did I learn after nearly 18 hours...well, I learned that what happens when you make a deal with the devil isn't nearly as interesting as what happens when the devil makes a deal with you, I learned that faith can be bent and reshaped but that doesn't mean it's broken, I learned that sometimes believing in someone else helps you to believe in yourself, that things not being what  you think they are doesn't mean they're not what you need...but most of all I was reminded that one should never say never...as in I never read/listen to stories about things that go bump in the night, that a good story is a good story regardless of the subject and that well in the words of 'George Michaels'...Ya gotta' have faith...

 

I actually finished listening to this audio book a couple of days ago and was left with the question of how to review this. It's an anthology which means it's a collection of stories by different authors, unlike the last anthology that I read which was a collection of stories about the same characters by the same author much easier to deal with but after much consideration what I've decided on is that I'm going to address this in a general sense. 

 

Let's start with the authors. I admit this was what caught my attention from the very beginning I've read at least one book (mostly more) by each of these authors and they have been some of my favorites and in this anthology we get to sample each of these authors as they offer up a tale of demons and things that go bump in the night in worlds that are unlike anything that we know as..

 

Jordan L. Hawk...gives us 'Infernal Affairs' a story of a demon who finds himself at the crossroads.

 

T.A. Moore...gives us 'Collared' about a man of god who loses his life and his faith but not his sheer determination to do what needs to be done.

 

Ginn Hale...gives us 'The Counterfeit Viscount' this ones not about deals or bargins with a demon or the devil. It's about the power of faith.

 

C.S. Poe...gives us '11:59' and we see what happens when a person strikes a deal with the devil only to discover that they've given up more than just their dreams only to become the one person that can solve the devils problem. 

 

Rhys Ford....takes us back to 'Wonderland City' and trust me this is not the Wonderland of our childhoods and if you think Alice had an adventure in Wonderland the citizens there would tell you it was more akin to a nightmare.

 

Jordan Castillo Price...and finally in 'Dark Favors' we are given a story about trading in favors in which we discover that payback really can be a bitch and every contract has a loophole....you just have to find it.

 

These stories all have some things in common first off they were surprisingly good...I mean seriously I'm looking forward to revisiting these stories all of them.  But seriously for as dark as they are and yes these are all a walk on the dark side. Every one of them dealt with love, trust and faith.

 

Originally I was going to rate each story on an individual basis but truthfully when I got listening to them I realized that by rating them individually I'd be saying that I like some better than others and while there were different reasons that I liked each of these stories and I will be the first to admit while I was able to resist all of these authors collectively because I honestly didn't think this was going to be my cuppa' once it became an audio book and I discovered that it was narrated by one of my absolute favorite narrators...the awesome Mr. Greg Tremblay I decided that I was going to take a chance on this one and I'm so glad that I did. I can't say this would have been a 5 star read for me but as an audio book it was one of those books where I frequently found myself stopping what I was doing so I could just listen to what was coming next. 

 

While I found these stories to be dark and slightly scary what they weren't were stories that 'scared me' and kept me awake at night...yes, I'm one of those people who are rather easily scared but I do still enjoy stories that delve into the dark side of human nature whether it's real or purely fiction...the darker side of things fascinates me...on paper...in the real world I like my sunshine and rainbows thank you very much.

 

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An audio book of 'Devil Take Me' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you're not afraid of the dark side...

Criminal Intentions:  Where There's Smoke - Cole McCade

'Criminal Intentions: Where There's Smoke' is a story that should interest  you...that is...if you've read the first 5 books.

 

Admittedly you could probably read this book without doing that, but there's a lot of things going on in this series that started before this book and are unresolved and while some of it doesn't come into play here I think from the aspect of some of the relationships anyone reading this without benefit of the previous books isn't going to enjoy or maybe even fully grasp what's going on...so really the gist of it for the best reading experience...'start at the beginning'. 

 

'Where There's Smoke' is every parent's nightmare and because I refuse to spoil any of this book that's all I'm saying...oh, except this nightmare probably isn't quite what your thinking, but if I had to live through something like this as a parent...I would so want Soeng-Jae and Malcolm on the case. 

 

I have devoured every episode of this series so far no matter how dark and at times terrifying the stories have been. I'll be the first to admit if it's a Stephen King or Dean Koontz type of thing I'm out of here. But if we're talking Criminal Minds, How to Get Away With Murder, Law and Order any of that stuff I'm there and Criminal Intentions is just that it's a police procedural/crime drama type show (book series) and while each individual story is without fail dark, intense and more than a little compelling. In this book the overlying story arc has started to bleed out into things a little more intensely and I'm loving this because there are questions so many questions coming to light and the only way they're going to be answered is through the progress of the bigger picture and we're all about the progress, right?

 

I wouldn't have thought I could love reading one of these books more than I already do but surprise...I did. This one was so perfect in so many ways. Malcolm and Seong-Jae have been dancing around each other for what seems like forever and honestly I don't know how either of them could stand the heat...because these to men are scorching hot! What these two can do with a kiss should be illegal! Seriously there were parts of this book that needed to be read in the shower...a very, very cold shower!!! So suffice it to say that things have definitely stepped up a notch in the relationship department, but I have no doubt that these two still have a long way to go before they get there and I'm going to savor every last moment of it.

 

While most of this story focused on Seong-Jae and Malcolm and can I just say that was delightful. What I really loved was seeing more of Seong-Jae on a personal level. This case was so much more personal from him than we've seen previously. For me Seong-Jae is a mystery wrapped in an enigma...etc. and I've really been enjoying the little peeks behind his armor that we've been getting until now and I know there's still a lot more to find out about him and I think Mal...there have been hints in previous stories that for me seemed to indicate that Mal like Seong-Jae is so much more than what meets the eye. 

 

Gabi is still a presence in Mal's life but I have to say I was happy to see the change in their dynamics...I like Gabi, but for me, Gabi and Mal had there time and they weren't meant to be a forever thing so now it's time for both of them to let go and move on and just like in real live not everyone dies when a violent crime happens and not every relationship ends in a negative manner...sometimes, two people meet and as much as they care for each other there comes a point when they both realize that they're not meant to be forever...they're just meant to touch each other's lives on the journey to their forever.

 

For those who are into the crime/mystery/thriller/whatever you'd like to call it part of the story and that would also be me one the things that have made this series so enjoyable has been the fact that the author has taken the time to create some uniquely different events and not given us cookie cutter scenarios from story to story keeping each episode fresh and interesting.

 

Six books in and this series has not even begun to lose steam. I loved the first book and was more than a little impressed with it as it was also my first time reading this author but at this point I'd say me and this series have gone beyond love and I'm well into a very healthy book addiction where it's concerned. 

 

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An ARC of 'Criminal Intentions: Where There's Smoke' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Happiness is spending the holidays with friends...

Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories - Tere Michaels

and that's what it felt like reading these stories. Even though it's been 4 years since this series wrapped up and 3 years since i read the final book it was so effortless to slip back into the lives of Evan, Matt, Jim and Griffin along with all their families and friends.

 

For the most part I'm not a fan of anthologies or collected stories...usually. But I will always makes an exception and happily so when it's something that leaves me smiling and just simply delighted with every word that I've read.

 

I'm not going to bother with rating each story or going into the details of each story but what I will say is if you haven't read the series than probably best to skip this book until you do. Most of these stories are set around the Christmas season There's not messing with anyone's HEA and there's no big storyline. This is more a case of the author sharing their HEA with us.

 

Everyone has a different vision of what happily ever after holds and for Evan, Matt, Jim and Griffin happily ever after isn't about fame and fortune but family and love and in 'Forever & Ever' the author takes us through the lives of these men sharing with the reader the good times and yes the bad...but often it's the bad that defines the good and reminds us that we need to appreciate and treasure them and during the worst of times it's their memory that give us the strength to get through the bad. But this time we are treated to the best of the good times...family time, births, weddings, love at it's sweetest and the bad thankfully is the kind of bad that happens to people and often times at the end of it all we realize that rather than the bad it's more of life's way of reminding is to treasure, love and appreciate all the good that we've been given.

 

There were far more times that made me laugh and smile with delight while shedding tears of happiness than there were moments of tension and truthfully I had no tearful, sad moments.

 

I think my only regret about this one was that I didn't have the time to re-read the original series and I know that when time permits I'd love to curl up and re-read the original series before once again enjoying the collected stories contained in 'Forever & Ever'.

 

In 'Truth & Tenderness', book #6 of Tere Michaels' 'Faith, Love & Devotion' series, we said good-bye to this series but here in 'Forever & Ever' it feels more like the characters of 'Faith, Love & Devotion' have come to say good-bye to us and share with us a bit of the 'happy ever after' that they fought so hard to get and for me it was simply perfect and so comforting to know that while the series may have ended these men didn't they lived on and got to enjoy their happily ever after.

 

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An ARC of 'Forever & Ever': A Collection of Stories'. was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

‘Miracle on Three King’s Day’ takes the reader from the usual North America location to....

Miracle on Three Kings' Day - Beth Laycock

...a small town on the coast of the beautiful country of Spain. Levi’s fallen into a rut and his family knows that somethings got to give to get him out of it. He needs a change. So it’s with this in mind that his brother Jesse sends him a ticket and invites him to spend the New Year in Spain. What neither Jesse nor Levi count on is Jesse getting stuck in Scotland and Levi finding himself alone in a country that he’s not familiar with and doesn’t speak the language and even more Levi’s not prepared for Alex. His brother’s best friend.

 

I loved, loved, loved this story. Levi and Alex worked for me as friends, as lovers. Without a doubt I would be over the moon to get more story for these two men. Their meeting was done is such a natural and organic way…seriously who hasn’t found themselves stranded at an airport because of weather or some other unforeseen set of circumstances on one occasion or another…it’s happened to me twice and I don’t even fly that often. So when Levi finally reaches him brother he’s told to go Alex’s Café and get Jesse’s spare key from him…how many people have or leave a key with a neighbor or friend as a matter of course…again not an unusual or surprising thing to for Jesse to have done. So, these to men meeting seemed more like an ordinary course of events than something bizarre or contrived.

 

But most of all what I loved was the interaction between them…it just worked. Alex knew much of Levi’s story…Alex is Jesse’s best friend, so really again not surprising that Jesse would talk to his best friend about his family? How many of us haven’t done this?

 

I was totally enchanted with how Levi and Alex’s relationship progressed and developed…they enchanted me, I have no other words for these two. They worked as a couple…this all worked as a story and while I loved what I got. I would so happily have read more. Beth Laycock is a new to me author and one that I’ll be watching out for more.

 

Sometimes we read stories that we just connect with and while there was so much about this story that I liked and that worked for me. I also just connected with this one on a level that doesn’t have reasons or explanations I just got it or maybe it got me? Whichever, it’s all good and it all worked.

 

Christmas time is a time for giving and receiving and what greater gift could anyone give or receive than the gift of love. This one’s filled with love and hope and the warmth of the season and for me was the perfect wrap up to all this holiday magic.

 

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A copy of ‘Miracle of Three King’s Day’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's time for a little Christmas...

The Magician's Angel - Jordan L. Hawk

magic? or maybe must some good old fashioned murder and mayhem!

 

'The Magician's Angel' is the third book in the series "Christmas Angel" and it's Jordan L. Hawk's contribution to this series as each book is written by a different author. I was gifted this story by my friend Anne and as Anne will atest to, that was a bit of an adventure all it's own but we persevered and I got to read an enchanting holiday story that was surprisingly also an historical story...not my favorite venue but in this case a fairly safe bet since I really love this author's Whyborne & Griffin series and as with that series the author has created a story that eclipses the setting of its time. 

 

As a vaudeville performer Christoper Fiend lives for the limelight while Edward Smith would be happy to never set foot in his family's theater, but while Edward has no love for the theater he does love his brother Tobias who's most fervent dream is to revive the theater that is their legacy from their father.

 

The last thing that Edward's prepared for his the attraction that he feels towards Christopher and as the story progresses it's not attraction that brings these two men together but murder and in the end it's love that binds them.

 

I love a good mystery and this one was definitely a fun and delightful distraction from the chaos of the holiday season. I was more than a little impressed with the story that I got to read. With less than 90 pages I was expecting to feel shortchanged somewhere with the beginning or the middle but yes, most likely the end as that seems to be where stories often run our of steam but much to my delight that was not the case. 

 

There are 7 stories in this series each connected by an angel and for the story of how the angel came to be one needs to start with book one by Eli Easton and in spite of the fact that I haven't read that one...a situation  that I hope to correct...acutally, I'm not even even going to try and be subtle I would love to hear this series on audio and this is one of those rare times that I would love for each book to be narrated by a different narrator but barring an audio book...I would have no qualms about reading the e-books....7 books by 7 awesome authors...how can I go wrong? I can't...season's greetings everyone and happy reading.

Vanilla Clouds is not a vanilla book...

Vanilla Clouds - Roe Horvat, Vance Bastian

Wow! I've been wanting to read a book by this author for ages now and it just seemed like this was not going to happen so when I was offered the opportunity to listen to this one on audio narrated by a new to me narrator...Vance Bastian...you can bet that I ran off to audible to listen to the sample and yes my fingers were crossed as I diligently listened and hoped that I would like this new to me combo and well...needless to say I got my own little Christmas miracle (I got this one on Dec. 24th so who am I to dispute this). 

 

'Vanilla Clouds' for me was like a breath of fresh air. Roe Horvat has taken some things that logically speaking either shouldn't be believable or at the very least shouldn't work...don't sweat it, it all works. I love a sweet love story that leaves me feeling just a little starry eyed at the end and when it came to Magnus and Michal I was feeling more than a little starry eyed. These two men were beyond adorable together.

 

Magnus is in love with Michal before they ever meet and if truth be told his feelings are reciprocated. They've been on-line friends for a while now and sadly because of things (yep, read the story if you need more details) Michal refuses to meet Magnus. But Magnus is not a man who readily admits defeat and he's willing to risk whatever he has to for a chance with the man he knows he loves...Hell Yeah!!! I was cheering for Magnus.

 

'Vanilla Clouds' gives us a different setting...we're not in Kansas (code for the US) anymore or even Canada...the setting is Sweden we've got a Swedish MC and a Polish MC, we've got loving and supportive parents  and one kick-ass roommate...no seriously she can kick-...

 

We've got chocolate and let me just say I'm not a big lover of chocolate...don't hate me but if it's really good chocolate I can get on board with things.

 

We've got an age difference and once again not a fan but if it's done well and done right...again I can get on board.

 

We've got an MC who's healing from a horrible experience and working really hard to find his footing in the world again and we've got another MC who wants to help him. Who believes in him and wants to be there for him. To help make his world a better place.

 

I know a lot of us say we don't believe in love at first sight but this one begs the question 'if you don't believe in love at first sight...how do feel about love when it's sight unseen?' for me, Roe Horvat made it work.

 

On top of all this we have Vance Bastian the narrator who so perfectly captured the characters and the atmosphere of this story for me.

 

Needless to say my first Roe Horvat story was a definite success as was my first Vance Bastian audio experience...so of course, I'm a fan...of both.

 

At just under 4 hours if you're not familiar with either this author or the narrator than this really is a golden opportunity and if you are familiar this is a chance to enjoy a love story that's sweet and will very possibly leave you feeling a little starry eyed. 

 

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

Sometimes appearances really can be deceiving...

The Strength of His Heart - Victoria  Sue

Vance Connelly is a member of HERO and his 'super-power' is strength but what few realize is that the strongest part of him is  his heart. He's only ever wanted to serve and protect like the rest of his family.

 

Samuel 'Angel' Piper has spent years working undercover for the DEA and while he's tried to keep it hidden...he's also got a pretty damned strong heart but he guards it really, really closely and more than anything he wants to leave the DEA and the undercover work behind. A goal that joining HERO will help him accomplish...that and putting Vance and Sam solidly in each other's path.

 

I've really enjoyed all of the books in this series so far but Vance and Sam's story is definitely the one that I've connected with on the strongest level. These are two men who at first glance appear to be strong...Vance with his big strong body and Sam with his cool and unflappable exterior. Never letting anyone in and keeping the world at arms length.

 

As Sam, Vance and the rest of the HERO team race against time to figure out how to stop the disappearance of young enhanced teens both men find themselves faced with the realization that the share an attraction and it's one that only one of them is willing to risk. Sam's idea of a relationship is one and done. He doesn't do forever or happily ever after...he's pretty sure that it's not a thing for people like him.

 

While Vance has had to deal with being an enhanced which in this world is definitely no fun. He's done so with the benefit of a loving and supportive family and most of the local law enforcement. Vance is such a sweet soul...I'm not sure that it would be truly possible to not like him. Sam's not been as lucky. Growing up for him was a matter of survival and he had to grow up really fast and  hard to be able to take care of himself because there was no one else to do it. 

 

As Vance and Sam work with the rest of their team to solve this mystery...it's Vance who ends  up going undercover while Sam suddenly finds himself confronting his past...a past he thought was long gone.

 

Like others who have read this book I definitely wouldn't have been opposed to a bit more page time for the romance but I also feel like given what was happening with the rest of this story for Vance and Sam to have all kinds time for romance and intimate moments wouldn't have felt quite right ...for me it comes down to a question of 'would someone who has dedicated their life to protecting and serving really be more worried about 'getting their grove on than saving the lives of those that they've chosen to serve and protect?' for me that's a no. I'm not saying that they would totally disregard their personal life just that at times like this other things would realistically take a back burner...so having said all that maybe there's more in store for romance between Vance and Sam...after all given the ending of the book leaves Vance and Sam in a very good place with potential for all the romance that we missed out on in the story.

 

While 'The Strength of His Heart' is my favorite of all the stories that I've read so far in this series. For me it's because of how much I liked Vance and Sam and the story that brought them together but I have to agree that while this is the story that brought them together what's missing is the story that shows us more of what happens for them next as a couple and if you've already read this story than you know that what comes next has the potential to be filled with love and fun.

 

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An ARC of 'The Strength of His Heart' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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