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review 2018-10-23 02:37
ARC Review: Adder And Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns
Adder And Willow - Sam Burns

This series just keeps getting better, with every new book the author releases.

Adder And Willow is the 6th book in the series, and the third book of the 2nd trilogy, in which we catch up with Fletcher and Conner, whose relationship is still growing.

Now Conner's mother and step-father are coming to visit, and Fletcher is dreading meeting them. Not because he doesn't want to meet his boyfriend's parents, but because he's a terrible liar, and he knows that he's no good at keeping secrets. And the supernatural parts of himself and Rowan Harbor must be kept secret from outsiders.

Fletcher is also having meetings with Oak, the Dryad, who have been working with Fletcher to continue the training his mother couldn't. It is during one of these meetings that Fletcher finds out something he may have already sort of known, but that might put his future with Conner in danger.

And, as if that isn't enough on his plate, he also stumbles across two strangers in a stranded car, a mother and son, who are intrinsically linked to Rowan Harbor.

I just adore this series. The characters are complex and fully fleshed out, and each one is so different. There is never any confusing one character with another, because they all have different personalities. Fletcher may be one of my favorites, because while he's timid to some extent, and not assertive, he has much more steel in his backbone than he realizes. 

Conner is still growing into his new powers (you'll have to read the previous book to find out about that), and he's going to be tested here.

What also stands out about the characters is how they're all connected - not only because of their supernatural powers, but also because they feel like family, and they treat each other that way. They stick together, they stick up for each other, and they work together for the common good. 

The book is alternately humorous and serious. There is action, there is danger, and there are sweet moments between Fletcher and Conner that really cement their relationship. 

This series cannot be read out of order - each subsequent book builds on its predecessor - however, each book does end in a satisfying way. There are no cliffhangers. 

The writing style of this author really works for me, and I flew through the pages. 

Recommended! 



** I received a free copy of this book from Signal Boost Promotions as part of this review tour, in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-23 02:27
Book Review: Ripe: Letters by Alan Semrow
Ripe: Letters - Alan Semrow

Definitely not my usual fare, as this is non-fiction, written entirely in memoir-style short letters to the many men the author has met or seen over the course of learning about himself and who he is.

Each letter details a moment, a few days, a few weeks, in the life of the author, ruminating about encounters with men, some with whom he spent some time, and some he never even met, and learning about himself and life in general as he explores the intricacies of intimacy, friendships, relationships, and the difference between lust and love. 

Each letter, whether written to Dear Weekend Love or Dear Athlete or Dear Stallion or Dear Lobster Bisque, provides an honest look at what that particular person meant to the author, how each of these men influenced him in some way, no matter how long or short the encounter. 

Many times we're given hints at bedroom exploits that never become too explicit, but serve to strengthen the intimacy of each letter, as the author reflects back on the encounter. There's poignancy here, many, many times; there's an honest vulnerability, a hopefulness, a youthfulness, a promiscuous recklessness. There is humor, reflection, longing, learning. 

This probably won't appeal to everyone, but I found myself many times thinking back to my own youth, the choices I made, and the letters I might write. This book definitely makes you think. 


** I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-22 18:14
Evil Librarian / Michelle Knudsen
Evil Librarian - Michelle Knudsen

#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).

 

I read this to fill the Cryptozoologist square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

Demons qualify as a paranormal species for my Cryptozoologist square and this book was a charming little jaunt into the demonic scene! I’m always looking for books concerning libraries and librarians and this one delivered a cute story with interesting problems for our heroine, Cyn, to solve. Like how to kiss that cute guy, Ryan, in her high school musical and how to rescue her best friend from the demonic clutches of Mr. Gabriel, the new school librarian.

Cyn and Annie are typical high school girls, at least until Mr. Gabriel comes to their high school and starts to show overt interest in Annie. How can it be only Cyn who realizes that something is dreadfully wrong with the whole scenario? Neither girl has ever had a boyfriend, but thankfully this only worries them peripherally. Cyn is focused on her future in musical theatre and Annie just wants to escape her house full of small children that everyone expects her to take care of while she’s not in school. Annie has the more serious problem of the two girls, being taken for granted by the adults in her life, and is therefore more open to the seduction of the older Mr. Gabriel.

Lucky Cyn gets thrown together with her classmate, Ryan, and she must struggle to maintain her focus—on the school play, rescuing Annie, saving the school, all while enjoying her new proximity to the guy she’s been crushing on. I appreciated that Cyn was written to enjoy the relationship while not basing her entire self-worth on it and that her friendship with Annie continued to be just as important to her as it had always been.

The dialog is sharp and often cute, the situation reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the book is a whole lot of fun. Apparently there will be a sequel and I will definitely be interested in reading it.

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review 2018-10-18 19:44
Sometimes it's a fine line between love and obsession...
No Tears for Darcy - Vicki Reese,Brock Hatton

It's a fine line between love and obsession...

 

Cameron's trying to get over the loss of his loved ones but it's hard when the people you care about keep dying...first it was his parents, then his boyfriend and now his friends seem to be falling victim to this mysterious curse that's following him.

 

Pete Minchelli is recovering from an injury sustained during his job so he's come to visit his family and friends as he heals and begins to consider his growing discontent with the direction his life has been going in. When Pete's friend,Will Carson, from his academy days ask for help with a case that brings Cameron into his life. Ultimately Pete's confusion over things is only compounded.

 

Pete and Cameron are drawn to each other from the moment they meet and as the story progresses their attraction grows increasing Pete's resolve to keep Cameron safe and find a way for them to remain in each other's lives. Along with his growing attraction Cameron is trying to deal with his past and the wreckage of a relationship that

he's quickly beginning to realize is was even more less than ideal than he had ever thought it could be...as an ever increasing number of lies and deceptions are revealed. As the number of lies and deceptions his relationship was based on increases, so do the number of bodies. It begins to seem like there's one secret that someone's willing to do anything to hide...leaving everyone wondering if anyone is safe from Cameron's stalker...even Cameron himself.

 

There was a lot about this story that I really enjoyed but unfortunately for me there was one thing that really detracted from it and that was the fact that I figured out who the stalker was far to early. While this doesn't always bother me in this case the story was too dependent on the mystery aspect of things and I really needed for the story to have kept me guessing longer than it did. 

 

I liked both of the MCs and as a couple, for me, they worked. Next add in some interesting secondary characters and this should have worked better than it did. However, even though I was able to figure out the mystery part of it earlier than I would have liked and for me that did take away from my over all enjoyment of things I also think the fact that I still gave this 3.5 stars speaks to the fact that there is still a good and enjoyable story here.

 

Now at this point your probably thinking 'who the hell is Darcy?' or maybe even 'Is there a Darcy?' well I will tell you there is a 'Darcy' in this story but what I'm not going to tell you is who they are or what role they play. So if you're curious about Darcy you'll need to either read the story or listen to the audio narrated by Brock Hatton.

 

As well as my first time with this author 'No Tears for Darcy' was also my first audio experience with Brock Hatton and it appears to be this narrator's first audio narration. I have to say I was suitably impressed and look forward to seeing what future efforts will produce. I think my only real concern with this book from an audio perspective was that at times, mostly at the beginning of a chapter, it felt like the narrator was reading a little fast almost like his voice was in a race with a stop watch. This was not a really big variance and honestly some people may not even notice it, nor was it consistent which is probably why I did notice it because as the narrator progressed in the reading his voice seemed to level out into a slower more natural rhythm that combined with the individual voices and their expressiveness that I quite enjoyed. While I was definitely impressed with this first time effort, I'm also looking forward to following this narrator and seeing how he progresses and what future narrations his talents will enhance.

 

The ending for this story is more of an HFN (Happy For Now) with strong potential for an HEA (Happily Ever After) and while I would have preferred a more solid HEA I can see it happening based on where this story leaves us but I can't say I wouldn't be interested in reading a little more about Cameron and Pete and finding out just what else might happen on their way to happily ever after.

 

*************************

An audio book for "No Tears For Darcy" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-10-18 00:20
ARC Review: Lincoln's Park by Parker Williams
Lincoln's Park - Parker Williams

I read this book, finished it, and then immediately read it again. That basically NEVER happens, but with this book, I couldn't help myself.

Noel is a young man who was kicked out of his home by his ever so loving parents when he told them he was gay. He was lucky in that he found a place at a local shelter, where he's been living and helping out for the past three years. In need of a job, any job, he stops in Lincoln's diner.

Lincoln is quite a bit older than Noel, with a very different backstory, which we find out as the book progresses. He loves cooking and taking care of people, and he treats his employees like family. One look at the forlorn young man asking for a job, and Lincoln can't help himself - the need to pull the young man into the folds is immediate. 

Noel has no idea what hit him - surely nobody can be that decent and kind to someone they don't know at all, right?

I liked both characters immensely, and also the supporting cast - the other employees at the diner, especially Katy, and Robert who runs the shelter where Noel has been staying. However, Lincoln's brother and father - I wanted them to hurt, and badly, but obviously I wasn't supposed to like them. 

Noel is still young, and despite the last three years being really rough, he hasn't lost his sweet kindness, his youthful innocence, his positive outlook. He's fascinated by the older Lincoln, but also has no intention of falling for his boss and being out of a job. Except he doesn't realize that Lincoln feels the same, and that they are well matched despite the age difference and the difference in their life experiences. Lincoln's history plays a huge role in who he became, and he's reluctant to reach for Noel, scared to some extent that he's no good for the younger man. Thank goodness for Katy who gives them the push they both need. 

What struck me most here is that the author created complex and fully developed characters - Lincoln had some layers that ran much deeper than I initially expected, and Noel has an inner strength I didn't expect from someone so young. 

There's a moment toward the end of the book that may be confusing for some - without giving away the plot, I can't really say much about it, but suffice it to say that if you pay attention to what comes before, you will not be confused at all, or even wonder what just happened. 

The BDSM-Lite aspect of the relationship was well done and rang true, and I liked that the author utilized it as a source of some conflict that the two men have to work out, which actually strengthened the relationship.

What is emphasized time and again is family - the one you're born to and the one you choose and make for yourself. Family, even if not by blood, is what binds Lincoln and Noel and Katy and Jesse and Robert and all the others. Even Lincoln's brother, who by book's end seemingly has second thoughts about how he's been acting. I have it on good authority that his story will be told in a future book. I cannot wait! 

But what really permeates this book is love. There is so much tangible, obvious love in every word on every page, and you are cocooned by it, warmed by it, embraced by it. 

I think it's that feeling of love that prompted me to read the book twice in a row, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

It's available now.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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