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review 2017-06-28 23:12
Follow the yellow brick road...follow the yellow brick road...follow, follow, follow...
Stuck in Oz - Andrew Grey, Rusty Topsfield

"Stuck In Oz" is the second book in Andrew Grey's 'Tales From Kansas' and while we get a very tiny glimpse of Roger and Lyle, the couple from 'Dumped In Oz' book 1 in this series, 'Stuck In Oz' can easily be read as a standalone. 

 

Jeremy runs from San Diego to Wamego, Kansas with his little brother Petey when their mother dies and he's determined to keep Petey with him. Petey is an adorable, sweet little 3 year old who loves his brother Jeremy. Jeremy is in his early 20s and he adores his brother Petey and would do anything to keep him safe and happy. So he decides that his safest course of action is to go to their Uncle Milt. 

 

Milt wasn't close to his sister but he loves his nephews and takes them in with open arms and welcoming heart. While he wasn't always the most observant person at the party he came through for his nephews with flying colors.  I loved Milt and am really hoping that at some point he will get a story and his own happily ever after. 

 

When Jeremy arrives in town he stops at the local diner and this is where he meets Nate for the first time. Nate's lived his whole life in Wamego and while he seems confident and outgoing he's got his own demons to deal with. As Jeremy and Nate get to know each other Nate's insecurities come to the surface and it's Jeremy's sweet quiet nature and his faith in Nate's ability to overcome his insecurities that helps Nate to take stock of himself and find the determination to be the man that he wants to be.

 

I really enjoyed this one. While Nate and Jeremy were attracted to each other from the start it wasn't love at first sight and we got to see them get to know each other and take their relationship from acquaintances to friends to lovers. The ending was definitely a happy for now with a solid HEA to come.

 

Rusty Topsfield was again the narrator for this second installment of the 'Tales From Oz' series and while his narration in the first book was ok for me...I definitely enjoyed his narration of this one a bit more.

 

The stories in the 'Tales From Kansas' series are short with little angst and a definite feel good undertone and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next one has in store for me and I have to admit I'm really, really hoping for Uncle Milt's story before this series ends...just putting that out there in the universe.

 

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An audio book of 'Stuck In Oz' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-28 22:34
The story was good the audio...not so much for me...
Wrapped Up in Chains - Cindy Sutherland

I've been wanting to read this one for ages now so when the audio book became available I saw it as a golden opportunity and said 'yes please' to the chance. 'Wrapped In Chains' is a story of finding love and second chances. 

 

Because this was an audio book and both the author and narrator are new to me and unfortunately also because my rating for the book and for the audio portion are very distinctly separate I'm going to try and do this review in 2 parts. First the story and then we'll deal with the audio...

 

I really liked the story overall there was only one thing that I had a tiny niggle with so for me the book was 4 stars. 

 

Devon West runs his own BDSM club and he's a DOM with very strong ideals and beliefs about a D/s relationship especially the DOM's responsibility towards the sub. I liked Devon. I liked that he was someone who basically lived and breathed his moral values in all aspects of his life both as a person and a DOM. Needless to say it made it easy to believe that he would go to the extend that he does to protect Chase, a young sub whom he finds being violently beaten when he walks into his club one night. Devon's immediate actions are strong, confident and all focused on protecting Chase and ensuring that he is safe from the DOM who Chase suffered years of abuse from.

 

Chase ran away from home afraid of how his family would react when they discovered he was gay. It was a young, naive, scared Chase who is taken in and abused for years by James Kingston. Someone whom he believed was really a DOM but in fact is only an abusive, sociopath who's spent his life being protected by his wealth and privilege as well as several years being obsessed with Devon. Kingston's convinced that Devon is his perfect sub he just needs "proper discipline". 

 

 

Initially Chase felt so much more submissive than the personalities that I'm use to in BDSM stories but as the story progressed what had initially seemed like a totally submissive personality started to feel more like a combination of a sweet and gentle soul whose nature leaned towards submission and Chase went from seeming like someone whose nature was so totally submissive that he didn't seem to be able to make his own decisions to someone who as I said was sweet and gently and very capable of making his own decisions but also someone who craved the sense of balance and security that submission could give him. 

 

Devon and Chase worked well for me as a couple in that their personalities meshed well. Devon was a DOM but not one who wanted to control his sub 24/7 he wanted the control in regards to the sexual aspect of their relationship but outside of that he fostered and encouraged Chase to be independent and his actions always seemed to be geared towards what was best for Chase and while this initially wasn't always a matter of what Chase wanted he truly did seem to have an ultimate goal of Chase becoming confident and self sufficient in his day to day life but more than willing to also be the DOM that Chase so obviously craved.  

 

My one little niggle with the story was how quickly Chase became attached to Devon and yet, in some ways it was not really a stretch to accept this could happen given that Chase was held hostage for years and endured cruelty and abuse at the hands of the only person he's really had contact with for the past 7 years and suddenly he's rescued and cared for by someone who is his captures polar opposite. Someone who cares what he thinks and feels and treats him like his comfort and well being truly matters. it's like getting rain after a drought how can you not enjoy and appreciate it?

 

The other thing that balanced the immediate sense of attraction between Devon and Chase was Devon's sense of responsibility towards Chase and what had happened to him. While it wasn't Devon's fault in any way, I like that he realized that what Chase really needed wasn't being in another relationship but having help with dealing with the damage that being held hostage and abused for years did to him physically, emotionally and mentally. 

 

While the story had a bit of a fairy tale feel to it in the handsome knight (Devon) rescues the damsel in distress (Chase) and vanquishes the evil villain (James Kingston) way. It was still a very enjoyable and well done story and I really liked it. 

 

However, what really didn't work for me was the audio on this one. John Anthony Davis was the narrator for this book and while I liked his voice in terms of it's tone and that the voices were distinct and easily discernible in terms of who was speaking. I found that at times it was slow and almost hesitant or stilted when it came to fluidity and unfortunately that made it feel almost monotone at times. While Chase's voice for me had a too young sound to it that made me think of a young boy in his early teens rather than a young man of 23 or 24 which he was suppose to be. This unfortunately happened enough that I found it was a definite distraction from the story for me. So while the story was 4 stars for me...the audio was at best 2.5 stars. So over all this one's getting 3.5 stars from me.

 

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An audio book of "Wrapped Up In Chains" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-28 19:51
Another DNF - See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt

 

One for the DNF pile. I can't get into it at all, every time I pick it up I find myself becoming bored and I have to try and force myself to keep reading in the hope that it will improve.

 

I just don't care for the characters. There's nothing likeable about them in the slightest and I honestly couldn't care less what happens to them or where their stories are heading. I'm not a fan of the writing style either. Definitely not a book for me.

 

It's taken me 5 days to read 26%, time to admit defeat.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2017-06-26 17:16
Surprise...it's my first time reading this author...
Forgotten Paradise (Dreamspun Desires) - Shira Anthony

Ok so I have to admit I was a little surprised when I realized this because truthfully I own more than a few books by this author and have somehow not managed to get to them yet...so many books, so little time...

 

"Forgotten Paradise" is part of Dreamspinner's Dreamspun Desires series and I enjoyed listening to the audio book. It was like being read a sweet, low angst fairytale...of the modern, adult variety, of course. 

 

Adam Preston is enjoying a well earned vacation in the Dominican Republic before returning home to deal with what can only be considered a hostile takeover attempt by Entech a company with a reputation for less than ethical behavior in their business dealings, when he decides to do a bit of scuba diving he's surprised to discover that his instructor is the attractive, charming and somewhat mysterious Jonah, whom he met at the resort bar the night before.

 

It turns out that Jonah's not just a mystery to Adam but to himself as well. Since he only remembers the last 10 years of his life when he woke up on a beach one day with no idea of who he was or how he got there. He's held that secret close until Adam, who for some reason is causing long hidden memories to try and resurface in his mind.

 

As Adam and Jonah get to know each other during their time together, their attraction grows and with each encounter Jonah finds himself recovering parts of a past he thought gone forever and one that maybe he no longer wants. 

 

It's a bit of a whirlwind romance between these two. Considering that they only have one week before Adam has to return to his real life. It works and I really didn't have a problem finding it believable...beautiful tropical setting, two intelligent, attractive, available people (men in this case) drawn to each other and who enjoy each others company.  Honestly no stretch of the imagination required here at all.

 

It's when Adam returns the real world that he begins to discover that his fantasy vacation was far more firmly rooted in reality than either he or Jonah could have ever imagined.

 

I enjoyed the first part of this story which introduced us to Adam and Jonah. Seeing their relationship go from a simple attraction to something so much stronger in spite of the fact that they knew they only had a week before Adam would be leaving.  It was fun and sexy and sweet and so easy the envision with the way that the author wove in the background information to create images of a beautiful tropical setting combined with the adventure of deep sea diving.  

 

However, it's the second part of this book that really won me over. Seeing Adam as he came to the realization of who Jonah was while also struggling to save his company and pull his family back together. More than the company that his father started Adam valued his family and while his relationship with his mother and his sister is fairly solid (his awesome sister, Karen...just sayin' with a name like that how could she not be awesome?), it's his brother Rodger whom he misses. They use to be best friends able to talk to each other about everything. But since their father's death that's changed and Adam wants to fix this. He's willing to do just about anything to have his friend and brother back.

 

Ironically when Adam's vacation ends he's not the only one who needs to return to real world. As Jonah comes to remember his life before waking up on a sandy beach he also comes to the realization that he can no longer hide from who and what he was. He needs to return to the life he's only now remembering and put his own house in order. 

 

While the first half of the book gave me a glimpse into the character of Adam and Jonah and what kind of men they are, it's the second half that really develops them and gives them depth. There are no cake walks here, both men have to fight for what they want. Proving that determination and strength of character is not in short supply where either of them are concerned.

 

"Forgotten Paradise" was narrated by Andrew McFerrin, who is a new to me narrator and while I have to admit I didn't fall head over heels in love with him. His voices were consistent and expressed emotion. While I can't say that any one voice was outstanding or hooked me into the story as I've had happen with other narrators. I wasn't put off by any of them either and I'm definitely willing to listen to future audiobooks by this narrator...I may even have a couple on my wishlist over at audible...the samples sound good so definite potential here for me.

 

When all is said and done it's 4 stars for the story and 3 for the audio portion and I'm just going to call it a day at 4 because if I take the median number as I usually do it's 3.5 and I'm just going to have to round up when I post this review in other places and I'm feeling lazy today plus truly this story deserves more than 3 stars so I'm not willing to round down...so 4 stars and I'm done here now.

 

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

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review 2017-06-26 17:14
A Good Rake is Hard to Find - The book that made me love historical romance again!
A Good Rake is Hard to Find - Manda Collins

Review first appeared on A Weebish Book Blog.

 

I purchased this book at a time when I was in a historical romance slump because I knew it would be just the novel I would love the minute I found myself interesting in reading the genre again. I was not wrong in thinking this and thanks to Manda Collins I am now craving even more from this genre — and more from the Lords of Anarchy.

 

A DUKE IS HARD TO FIND by Manda Collins is a heart -touching historical romance about the once engaged Leonora Craven and Lord Frederick Lisle, forced to reunite to solve the suspicious death of Leonora’s twin and Freddy’s dear friend, Johnny. This historical romance is the first novel in the Lords of Anarchy series, a book that has sat on my TBR list for over a year.

 

Miss Leonora Craven is a poetess and a bluestocking past the “age of marriage” (boy do I hate that phrase) when she seeks out her old flame to demand his help. She is witty, strong-willed, and not afraid to speak out about controversial topics to change societal justice. Though she has flaws like the rest of us mere mortals, she is not afraid to admit she’s wrong. It is nice to see character growth in a strong female lead, especially since it doesn’t happen as often as it should in romance.

 

“Freddy” aka Lord Fredrick Isle was also a character I was very fond of. He is rather ashamed of his past as a rake, and it was a struggle for him to go undercover as a Lord of Anarchy when all he wanted was to prove he’s changed. However, he’d do anything for the man who was like a brother to him — even if it meant getting close to the woman who broke his heart.

 

The main characters were well rounded and tugged at my heart strings. They’ve been through so much and came out damaged, but resilient. I also liked the secondary characters – the two living close friends of Freddy AND Leonora’s two close friends. I cannot wait to read their stories next!

 

I recommend this novel to historical romance lovers and those who are knew to the genre. This is the perfect novel to for those who are curious to see if historical romance is right for them — just remember to keep the tissues handy!

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