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review 2018-06-19 19:05
If fantasy's your thing...you won't want to miss this one...
Counterpoint - Rachel Haimowitz,Craig Beck

I've had this story on my radar for a while now and when the opportunity arose to review the audio book I was just all over that one. Craig Beck is the narrator for this story and he's definitely one of my favs when it comes to narrators...so, this all felt more than a little promising.

 

Usually I try to give a brief synopsis of the story in my review but to be honest I really couldn't figure out how to do that without 1. including any spoilers. 2. ending up with a really long winded review and 3. there's this thing called 'a blurb' so my brief explanation comes down to 'please read the blurb for this book' it'll make your life and mine simpler...thank you.

 

I know I've said this on more than one occasion but I'm going to be a bit redundant when I say that the fantasy genre was where my love or reading truly got it's roots. From authors such as Terry Brooks and Jacqueline Carey to Sharon Shinn and Brent Weeks, I've dedicated many hours to enjoying their writings. I have to admit though I am really, really picky about what I read when it comes to fantasy. I'm not saying that what I read is 'the best' or that I'm any kind of expert on anything other than what appeals to me and what I know I'll enjoy...

 

Sure I might think that some of the fantasy books that I've read are among the best that are out there but I'm pretty sure that's something that we all feel about some of the books we've read and if we don't than really, why did we bother to read those books?...just a thought and it was that desire to read some more awesomely good fantasy that brought this book onto my radar and I'm glad that it did because I really do believe that this one is among some of the best fantasy that I'm had the good fortune of encountering.

 

It has so much of what I enjoy in a good fantasy novel. Of course there are elves in this one...hey, sue me I like elves. It has a huge and epic adventure with smaller subplots that are part of the overall story arc. The characters are interesting and have depth and the world building is incorporated as a part of the story and not an info dump so the reader gets to absorb the history and geography of the world in digestible pieces and if it's done right it's at times when the information is relevant to the events occurring at the moment.

 

There's a war brewing between the humans and elfkind and it stems back to events that transpired before so long ago the humans now weren't around so for them the events that are leading up to this are more legend and lore than actual history...but Ayden remembers...after all 300 years really is less than half a lifetime ago to an 800 year old elf. But it's also a long to time for hatred to burn in a heart...even the heart of an 800 year old elf. But even a heart filled with hate has room for love and Ayden loves his sister above all else and when the only way to save her is to indenture himself to  the very race he hates he's willing to do it, if it means saving his sister from the humans. 

 

Ok, so that's all the babbles I'm going to have about this story. Now, let's talk about what I liked, well honestly...pretty much everything except for the fact that as a race...the humans were pretty much a big ole' bag a dicks...seriously the only one I had any use for was Prince Freyrik and even he had his moments and as much as I might have occasionally wanted Ayden to kick some human butt and escape...I got it really I did. His sister was there as well being held hostage and if he was going to just cut and run without a care for what might happen to her...well, really why bother? Ayden's actions were very much driven by his concern for his sister's safety and well being. So frustrating but also as I said 'I got it'. 

 

I think for me one of the best parts of this story was the relationship between Ayden and Freyrik. This was not a case of insta-love or lust at first sight or any of that...nope this one was enemies to tentative friends to maybe a bit more than friends and finally lovers...seriously SLOW burn here folks these guys were not rushing into anything and quite honestly had thi sbeen handled any other way and I would have been calling b*llsh#t! really fast because we're talking about a war between races that's centuries old and bone deep. Ayden hates humans and for him to go from 300 years of hatred to caring about much less loving even one human is not going to be an overnight event especially given the fact that for his sister and especially for Ayden there's a lot of bad sh*t happening in their present. 

 

Ok so here's the deal because I can already see that this is turning into a very long  review and I haven't even begun my spiel about how much I loved Craig Beck's narration of this story and I did. The man does not disappoint. I loved his voice for Ayden and Freyrik sounded so much how I would imagine him to sound a bit of an snooty English lord sounding  voice...it worked for me it just freakin' worked.

 

I'm pretty sure that I could go on for at least a few more paragraphs about how much I enjoyed this first book in Rachel Haimowitz's 'Song of the Fallen' series, but you see I did and I think that's become abundantly clear by the 4.5 stars and the somewhat lengthy review that's happening here and the more time I spend rambling on about 'Counterpoint' the longer it's going to take me to get to 'Crescendo' and a few other awesome stories that I've got lined up so I'm simply going to summarize here and say 'If you love fantasy and you're looking for a new author to check out seriously give this one a shot. It's available on audio but you can also get the e-book if audio's not your thing but really...Craig Beck...just sayin' either way it's a story worth reading.

 

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

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review 2018-06-19 01:30
Finding the right person is hard at the best of times, but when you've got a kid...
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

it's a whole other level of challenging. 

 

Joel's life isn't quite what he imagined but still he wouldn't change a thing especially the part that gave him an adorable daughter named Evie.  He's got a boyfriend named Dan that Evie seems to really like. So while life's not quite what he'd imagined Joel's got a job he enjoys, a boyfriend he thinks might be the one, he shares custody of his daughter with her mom and while it wasn't what he thought it would be, life was turning out to be ok for 23 year old Joel.

 

But it only takes a moment for things to change and when that moment comes Joel finds that he's suddenly the sole guardian of his beautiful little daughter and that maybe Dan's not the one, as the pressure of full time parenthood begins to shine a bright light on the cracks in their relationship and an accidental encounter with a stranger named Liam gives him more comfort than all the time with Dan possibly could. After yet again encountering Liam, Joel comes to the realization that he and Dan really weren't meant to be and ends things. After encountering Liam yet again Joel gives in to his attraction and he and Liam begin to get to know each other.

 

'The Little Things' isn't a love story or even a romance in the typical sense of the word but what it is, is a story about finding love and not the magical romantic stuff of fairy tales no this is the love that exist in the everyday world and sometimes it's scary and it doesn't always fit into our lives but if we want it than we find a place to squeeze it in and we work at keeping it.

 

Joel's got his hands full and truthfully while he may have wanted a relationship between his job, shared parenting duties and the other demands that life makes on us actually having a relationship is more than a bit challenging but if it's worth having it's worth the effort and he's certainly willing to try but when things change and he's suddenly a full time working parent, Joel begins to think that maybe he's not relationship material...but then there's Liam...Liam's a temptation that Joel just can't ignore and really does he want to? Hell no.

 

I loved this story. Joel's a real person with real problems. I've known more than one single parent trying to do the juggling act with life where they give everything they've got to their kids, to being good parents and then they're left trying to squeeze just a little something out for themselves from the time that's left and it's hard, seriously freakin' hard.

 

Partially because of the whole time issue and partially because most single parents have a story to tell and more often than not that story isn't a sunshine and roses story with a cutesy happily ever after. It's a story that has some level of pain, struggle and heartache in it. Sure some people choose to have kids without a partner but more often than not the  reason that a single parent is a single parent is one that's not entirely of their own making as was the case for Joel. So by the time Liam came into Joel's life...well, Joel was well into having issues about people leaving his life, so I have to admit I found Joel's treatment of Liam frustrating at times to say the least but as frustrated as I was I could see where Joel was coming from and basically I sat on my hands and growled at Joel to man up.

 

One of the things that I liked the most about this story was surprisingly...Dan. I admit when I read the blurb I was anticipating not liking Dan...yep, Dan was going to be my bad guy...well, surprise, he wasn't. Dan was 19 to Joel's 23 and he and Joel had very different backgrounds so realistically Dan was an average 19 year old. He wanted to go out and have fun. But he did man up a couple of times when Joel really needed his help and support and he did it of his own accord but I have to admit I honestly can't find fault with a 19 year old who isn't ready for the kind of responsibility that a relationship with Joel would entail so I liked the way Dan and Joel's relationship went. I liked that there was no over the top drama between the Joel and Dan even when things were ending between them.

 

'The Little Things' was a warm and heart melting story about someone that felt like they could have been your neighbor or mine, an average person that we might all know. It's an everyday story about an everyday person...that any of us could know and sometimes those are the best kind of stories to read.

 

This is a re-edited, re-released copy of 'The Little Things' and aside from the new cover the book blurb tells us that there are no real changes made to this story.

 

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A re-edited copy of 'The Little Things' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-18 23:52
Whether somethings a good surprise or surprisingly good...
The Werewolf's Fae Mate - Liv Rider

it's still full of goodness. When I read the blurb for this it just sounded like too good of a story to pass up on, so I didn't. 

 

Oscar's never known anything about his past and when he suddenly becomes the focus of attention for more than a few members of the paranormal community...vampires, elves, werewolves. His life becomes a whole lot more adventurous and luckily it's one of those members who turns out to be his salvation. 

 

When Mahon investigates mysterious happenings at a dance club and follows the magical trail that's been left expecting to find an arrogant and powerful paranormal he's more than a little surprised to find an unknowing, innocent and utterly adorable elf named Oscar along with his small, furry and fearless cat.

 

I loved Oscar. He was this adorable guy who while totally clueless about his heritage, totally knew what he wanted to do with the big, hunky alpha male who came knocking on his door.  He also had the best cat ever...seriously that little furball had no sense of self-preservation...zero, zip, zilch, nada! But his protective instincts were awesome...Oscar was his people and he was going to protect him no matter what.

 

Next we have Mahon...the big, tough, alpha male who while he was initially clueless as to why his instincts about Oscar were so strong it didn't stop him from acting on them...sort of because heaven forbid he let Oscar know how much he cared. 

 

These two guys were so worried about scaring each other off that...well, that's what they did. Luckily for Mahon, he has a twin, Aidan who's more than happy to talk some sense into his head...and there's another story that I want to find out more about but hopefully Aidan will be another story and who knows maybe we'll find out more about Zeke as well...I mean what's a paranormal story without a Succubus, right? 

 

Liv Rider is a new to me author and I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this story my only regret like some of my friends is that there wasn't more. This is a short read at somewhere around the 100 page mark and it has the potential to be longer...with a lot more character and world building before it even begins to wear thin. There are more than a few interesting secondary characters whom I would love to see the author give stories to and just to see the world that's begun in this book expanded would definitely be an enjoyable adventure, but in the meantime if you like paranormal and you're looking for a fairly fast paced and enjoyable story I definitely recommend 'The Werewolf's Fae Mate'.

 

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An ARC of 'The Werewolf's Fae Mate' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-18 20:15
Wolves on audio...it's a thing...who knew...
Once Upon a Wolf - Rhys Ford

Well actually I'm pretty sure we all did but for me this one was a must...it's by Rhys Ford and she's totally a favorite of mine. So needless to say there were no real surprises here because...I've read the book already and as far as the story goes as far as the story goes my original review still holds true so, I'm going to borrow from it in regards to the story...here goes...

 

First off let's chat a bit about the main characters and their relationship...I liked the way Gibson and Zach's relationship developed as a slow burn against the backdrop of event's that while not connected to Zach and Gibson held a loose tie to Gibson and Ellis's family history on the mountain . Ellis grabbed my curiosity fairly quickly and I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed that there's a story coming for him soon.I really enjoyed the banter between Zach and Gibson and with Ellis as well...

“You’re really going to attempt to make pancakes?” The mock horror in Zach’s grimace was a clear indication he’d picked up more than his share of sardonic expressions from the brothers. “Aren’t you happy with trying to kill me just at dinnertime? Now you’ve moved on to breakfast?”

With less than 100 pages to this story there's a lot happening and lot of groundwork is being laid out for not just this story but I suspect some of it will become more relevant as the series unfolds. As well as Ellis who I'm hoping that we'll see more of some of the secondary characters like Ruth and Martha, the two women who are looking after Zach's B&B, then there's Pat Brown the son of the former sheriff and currently working for the sheriff's department himself and there's some interesting history between the Kellers and the Browns to be sure.

 

I'm hoping that as things progress in this series we'll learn a little more a bout Zach's life before he came to own the B&B. We've gotten some glimpses of his life, enough to know that Zach was in a accident, that his family relations are strained to say the least.

 

While this one got off to a bit of a slow start for me. I have faith in Ms Ford's ability to draw me into her stories and make me not only glad I'm reading them but want more and more...and yes, more and so far I definitely want some more of Gibson and Zach but I'd also like to find out more about Ellis and while he really didn't seem to be a nice guy much less a good one. I have the feeling that there's possibly more to Pat Brown than we know and I'm sure that it could make for an interesting story as well. I think at the end of it all for me I'm on board with this series not because of where Ms Ford has taken us but because I'm curious to see where we have yet to go.

 

Now on to the audio portion of this audio book...

Derrick McClain was the narrator for this audio book and overall I enjoyed things except for the minor glitch that Zach's voice wasn't quite what I had imagined it would be. 

 

My previous experiences with this narrator have varied and while a couple of the audio books that I've listened to haven't worked really well for me the opposite is also true and I've really enjoyed others.

 

Regardless of whether I've enjoyed it or not I do find that in general this narrator ticks the basics on my list of 'must have's for an audio book'. His voices are varied, expressive and words are pronounced clearly and concisely but not to the point of being monotone or stilted.

 

So overall Derrick McClain produces an audio book that can readily be enjoyed and beyond that when it comes to things like how a voice sounds we're talking about a purely subjective issue that's a matter of personal taste which to me means that it's not an issue of right or wrong, good or bad just what works for one individual and not for another. This time around things didn't work as well as they have other times, but that doesn't mean that the next time won't be an entirely different experience. While he's not on my 'must listen' list neither is he on my list of 'not in this life time' more like 'let's take this one audio book at a time'. 

 

Still at the end of it all I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to read/listen to what comes next from Ms. Ford's band of 'Wayward Wolves'. 

 

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An audio book of 'Once Upon A Wolf' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2018-06-16 19:39
Have you ever wondered...what happens when worlds collide?
Rogue in the Making - T.J. Nichols

'Rogue in the Making' is the follow up to 'Warlock in Training' and the second book in TJ Nichol's series 'Studies in Demonology' and the first thing I want to say is 'If you haven't read 'Warlock in Training' you probably should. I honestly can't say that you can't read this one without having read the first book but having read it and having read this one...I think I can safely say you'll probably find it a whole lot less confusing if you do.  Both the characters and the overall story ARC carry through each book so these are not standalone stories.

 

I absolutely loved the first book in this series as in I devoured it like a demon (tee, hee did you see what I did there?) anyways, I loved it and the second book couldn't come out fast enough and yet, when it did and I was there with my greedy, grubby little hands I jumped in and part way into the story I just came to a screeching halt...like squealing brakes on a rain slick road screeching and honestly I'm not exactly sure why because I kept going back to the story and finally after stopping and reading a couple other books I dove back in and finished it and truthfully I loved it, this one was easily as good as the first book. I think for me it just came down to a case of right book, wrong time because I am so on board for the third and final installment in this series...hell, I was ready for the next  book before the final chapter in this one. Now don't tell me that doesn't speak to a good book when it can take me from "I'm not sure I can do this." to "Sweet  baby jebus can someone give me more."

 

We're back in the worlds of Angus and Saka. The college is still hoarding magic and creating an imbalance in both worlds. The rebels are still fighting it...or are they? Angus is becoming very unsure as to who the bad guys are and who are the good guys? or are there any? Who should he trust? 

 

Saka is faced with acknowledging his feelings for Angus...at least to himself. Things are becoming precarious on demonside and friends are becoming foes. Nothing seems to be what it is and everything is becoming suspect to both Angus and Saka. 

 

As Angus goes back and forth between his world and Saka's he gets answer to questions that don't quite add up and more questions arise while amidst all of this he realizes that he's also developing feelings for Terrence a friend from his days at the college.  As Angus's feelings for Terrence grow people notice and the relationship becomes his weakness...a tool for those who would control Angus to wield against him. 

 

While the relationship growth between Saka and Angus was slow it was also loaded with obstacles not the least of which was human? demon? Need I say more? I've liked the interaction between these two from the first book and while it occasionally felt slow to me there was still lots of interest to keep me reading add in the dynamics of Angus's growing feelings for Terrence and the prospect of his worlds colliding should Terrence and Saka meet, how's it even possible to not be interested? and for those who are wondering...Saka...well, he's got a tail and if you want to know more well then you'll just have to read the books, lol!

 

Ok, back to the books...the plot in this series is hella', hella' good. We're talking about two different worlds here but worlds that are connected and while they are in a way dependent on each other they also require a balance to be maintained but what happens when it's not? Well that's what we're finding out, it's not pretty and the possibilities are frightening because if somebody doesn't find the right solution the only question that will remain to be answered isn't who will survive? it's will anyone survive?

 

Whatever the reason that I struggled with this one I do know it wasn't the book and I am all in for this series...maybe, this one wasn't 5 stars for me, but 4 stars for a book that I had a bit of a struggle says a lot to me and mostly what it says is that I need to read the next book and find out what happens to Saka, Angus, Terrence, Lizzie and Wek. They've already lost some of their band of renegades...friends have died, lives have been sacrificed now what remains to be seen is 'was it worth it? or was it all in vain?' I for one want to know.

 

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

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