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review 2019-08-17 23:42
There's no monkey business here...well, not much...
Paint It Black - Amy Lane

I'm not sure that I'd say you 'have to' read 'Beneath the Stain' to follow this story but I do think it would be very beneficial and honestly, it's such an awesome story and if you're a fan of Amy Lane, I can't imagine that you haven't or wouldn't want to but that's for each of us to decide.


I loved 'Beneath the Stain' I read the book and I thoroughly enjoyed the audio book. No matter what the format this story just worked for me but now we're faced with the second book 'Paint It Black' and I admit I was nervous...could Ms Lane pull it off could she write a second book that was worth of what she started with and the answer for me was...yes. Was it as good as 'Beneath the Stain' I think that's a matter of individual opinion but for me it was and comparing them was also a little bit like comparing apples and oranges. Both had their own strengths and weaknesses and each story brought a different perspective to the same time frame and some of the same events through the eyes of different characters.


In 'Paint It Black' the focus is on Cheever Sanders younger brother to men of 'Outbreak Monkey' whether by blood or of the heart these men are brothers and 'Blake' his membership to this band of brothers was a little harder earned by he's every bit as much a brother as the the others, he just doesn't realize his own self worth.


Cheever has reached adulthood but it hasn't happened without a price and while his brothers have spent the intervening years trying to reach him. He's had his own reasons for keeping them at arms length, they just weren't as good as he believed them to be. it's said that it takes a village to raise a child...well it can also take a village to pull that same child from their path of self destruction and that's where Blake finds Cheever.


'Paint It Black' was an exercise in perspectives. What Blake and the other band members saw as an young man who was acting out and spoiled turned out to be a young man who was struggling to battle his own demons and hold himself together and failing. 


While most of this story takes place at the same time as 'Beneath the Stain' did. Things that happen in this story either weren't reveled in that book or we get to see them from a different (someone else's) perspective.. We also get to know so much more about both Cheever and Blake. I loved having a closer, more intimate look at these two men and their lives.  


Both Cheever and Blake have been showing the world a very different person than the one they truly feel themselves to be and in their own way they have each become their own worst enemy. Cheever feels like he doesn't belong and no one truly cares or wants to know what's happening in his life. Blake feels that he's just never good enough and it's not until each of them starts to see themselves through the eyes of those who love them that they also begin to realize their own self-worth. I loved Cheever's friend, Marcia. She was awesome...it took a lot of guts for her to walk out of rehab because she needed to find Cheever and be sure he was ok. She was totally the kind of friend who'd walk in when the rest of the world was walking out. 


Marcia wasn't the only awesome woman in this story there were more than a few Heather Sanders Mackey, Kell and Jeffereson's mom but really she was mom to all of them. Briony, Kell's wife she was fierce when it came to keeping the household on track and that may not seemed like much but for this group it really was a crucial part of their life. Sheila, Jefferson and Stevie's wife...she was that bit of calm that buffered them all and helped to smooth the edges when things got rough. Each of these women had their own unique super-power that contributed to making the groups world just that much better and they always seemed to have room in their hearts for one more...it's how a family works.


'Paint It Black' was every bit as gut wrenching and emotional for me as 'Beneath the Stain' but each in their own way. While the ending of 'Paint It Black' was maybe a little more over the top than I would have liked it fit the people in this story. This is a bigger than life over the top family and somehow they just seemed to need and deserve that bigger than live over the top HEA ending...so for me it all worked. I really just need one more thing to make this all perfect...does anyone know when the audio book is come out and can I expect Nick J. Russo as the narrator? 



A copy of 'Paint It Black' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-08-17 20:52
It's time to check out the audio version....
Single (Single Dads #1) - R.J. Scott, Sean Crisden

I really enjoyed reading this story in e-book format. I don't imagine it comes as a surprise to anyone who follows my reviews that I'm definitely an RJ Scott fan. While I can't say I've read all of her books, I can say I'm giving it my best shot and I'm doing the same for the audio releases especially when they're narrated by Sean Crisden, who just happens to be one of my favorite narrators.


So here we go once again heading bravely into that scary world of not just new parenthood but new and single parenthood with Ash. Who quite honestly didn't annoy me nearly as much this time and maybe that's because I took a few moments to ponder that same time in history in my life, although I was lucky enough to have a partner to share all the trials and tribulations with and I think remembering that helped me to realize that quite honestly Ash's world was just a little bit scarier than mine. I do know I never owned 4 strollers which I have to admit I found that mildly amusing and not in a bad way. 


As cliche as this may sound being a parent is both the hardest and most rewarding challenge a person can ever have. if you're lucky and you get a few things right than you get see a cute and very dependent baby grow and become this amazing person before your eyes it's a pretty awe inspiring event. So for Ash to be nervous and worried and yes...even a little bit paranoid really isn't an inappropriate response to whats going on in his life. He simply wants to be the best parent he can be for little Mia and it's a lot of responsibility for two people much less one. 


I found myself becoming even more of a fan of Ash's neighbors Ash's love interest doctor Sean and his housemates paramedic Eric, officer Leo and his dog Cap. These men were all simply awesome I'd love to have them for neighbors. I mean seriously how safe would you feel with this trio living right next door? and the author's created a trio of genuinely nice guys...hot and sexy, nice guys but definitely nice guys.


Sean's gently patience was the perfect balance for Ash's new parent paranoia and anxiety and I loved the interactions between these two men. Theirs was a sweet and low angst story of romance meeting the real life of being a parent.


With Sean Crisden as the narrator and the sweet and slow burn that Ash and Sean's (the character not the narrator) relationship developed at, Ms Scott has once again created a series that I'm already a big fan of and looking forward to enjoying more of. 



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review 2019-08-09 02:18
I love a good mystery so it only stands to reason that...
Cash Plays - Cordelia Kingsbridge,Wyatt Baker

I loved this book...


Detective Levi Abrams and PI Dominic Russo are back...and so is the Seven of Spades...he's back with a vengeance.


Things have taken a turn for the worse and the Seven of Spades (SoS) steps up his game. The murders are becoming more violent, more frequent and just more. While Levi and Dominic's relationship seems to be fraying at the seams. 


Levi's control over his rage is slipping and Dominic's control over his gambling addiction is following down the same slippery slope. Neither man seems to realize what's happening to the other and to them as a couple. The comfort and support that they want to give each other is slipping away and if something doesn't give soon Levi's going to lose more than his temper and Dominic's going to find out that it's not just his bank account that's empty.


I keep thinking that circumstances can't get more dire...things can't become more tenuous than they are but at the end of each book I realize that if it's always darkest before the dawn than it's still just the middle of the night.


This series is quickly becoming an absolute favorite of mine and I'm totally addicted to it on audio. Wyatt Baker is doing an absolutely superb job as the narrator and I've got my fingers crossed that this doesn't change. 


As for the stories I can't  believe how emotionally invested I find myself getting in them. I was hard pressed to set this aside for anything...even sleep was sacrificed for a time. Between Levi and Dominic's relationship issues and the SoS there's no end to the suspense in this one and if the first two books were good, ok they were actually better than good...this one was abso-freakin-lutely fantastic!!! I loved it. 


While I could probably go on and on about how much I'm enjoying this series. I really think the best thing I can say is if you're looking for a good and I do mean seriously good murder mystery series to listen to check this one out you won't regret it and if audio's not your thing than there's always the e-books. No matter what the format this one is worth the listen/read.



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

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review 2019-08-09 01:22
If you read 'The Last Grand Master' then...
The Eye and The Arm - Andrew Q. Gordon,Seb Yarrick

you're going to want to read this one.


In 'The Last Grand Master' the author introduced us to Farrell, who is not just one of...if not the most powerful wizards of his time...but he is also 'the Champion of the Gods' ...albeit some what unwilling at times but as with any true hero...it's not about how willing you are to do the right thing but doing it whether or not you want to but doing it because it needs to be done. 


In 'The Last Grand Master' Farrell defeated the evil wizard Meglar with a little help from his friends, allies and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior and the man who will become Farrell's partner...and this is only scratching the surface of events that happened in the first book and I highly recommend reading or listening to this series from the beginning.


In 'The Eye and the Arm' Farrell and MIceral find themselves with a new mission from the gods...specifically from Khron the god of war.  A mission that requires them to free the survivors of an ancient dwarf civilization, fight pirates and ultimately leaves Farrell trapped within his own mind and his only hope lies with Farrell's mate and the Peregrine King Rothdin and it's more than Farrell's life that's in the balance should they fail.


'Champion of the Gods' is an epic fantasy and one that takes the reader on a grand adventure with each story and while each book so far has held a self contained adventure/mission/quest/thing...it's all part of a bigger...more epic story.


So far only the first 2 stories for this series are available on audio but so far everything that I've heard has drawn me further and further into a world that's filled with epic adventure, amazing creatures...unicorns! peregrins! no dragons but hey, you just can have everything! There are wizards, immortal warriors and an ancient race of dwarves, the 7 gods of Nendor...but one of those gods wants to rule them all...oh and pirates!!! but these aren't the 'Jack Sparrow' kind of pirates,..nope, these are the pirates that you never want to meet on the high seas. 


Just like the first book the world building and character development in this book are solid and the author has done a superb job of weaving things into the story. 


Ironically my biggest disappointment with this story was the change in narrators. 'The Last Grand Master' was narrated by Joel Leslie and it's with the utmost respect that I say this but Mr. Leslie as a rule is not my first choice of narrators for audiobooks except...very ironically for this series. I very much enjoyed his narration of 'The Last Grand Master' and I was honestly looking forward to a repeat performance from him with this story, however, that was not to be as this book was narrated by Seb Yarrick and for me this was a bit of a disappointment that for me resulted a slightly lower rating of the story...3.5 stars rather than the 4 or possibly higher that I would have given it. 


While the narration wasn't quite what I had hoped for with this story...the story itself was every bit as good the first book and while I'm hoping that the next audio book sees a return to the original narrator...I know I'm looking forward to enjoying 'The Kings of Lore and Legend' on audio sometime in the near future...hopefully!



An audio book of 'The Eye and the Arm' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-07-30 23:20
The best birthday presents aren't always the ones you ask for and they don't come all wrapped with a pretty bow...
Mad About the Boy - Beth Laycock

Eli's just an average guy who's trying to get his life together. He works as a waiter and spends as much of his free time as he can with his dog Zeus,volunteering at 'Muddy Paws' a local dog shelter and with what little time he's got left over he plans on going back to school with the hopes of one day running his own dog shelter...just an average guy who's about to go out with some friends for his birthday.


Dominic's a cop who's day hasn't gone well and he's just wanting to have a few drinks and forget about things for a while...well, everything except the cute guy at the bar who's celebrating his birthday. But Dominic's not the only one who's watching the birthday boy...he's just the only one who may be able to keep him safe.


'Mad About the Boy' is only the second story by this author that I've read but it's also the second story that I've really enjoyed...so far, so good. This one was definitely what I would call a romantic thriller. It seems that it's not just Dominic who finds Eli to be attractive and as these two men try to get to know each other not only are they being watched but things that are both unusual and frightening begin to happen. 


When it comes to relationships Eli and Dominic are polar opposites...Eli is commitment phobic and tends to run when things begin to go from 'casual' to 'relationship possible', while Dominic is more decisive and not afraid to go after what he wants and express how he feels. It felt like this difference was partially due to the age gave between these two men but it was also partially due to their life experiences. 


I was definitely impressed with how the mystery/thriller part of the story played out because it wasn't until the person was revealed that I knew who it was...I had my suspicions more than a couple of times. I just wasn't ever right.


The only thing that didn't quite work for me was that at times there was just too much focus on the dog shelter but at the same time I don't think it would have worked if this had been pushed to far to the  background since 'Muddy Paws' was a really important part of Eli's life and had been for a number of years so while a little less focus on it might have been nice, at times it truly was an important part of Eli's story. Also in regards to the dogs...just a heads up for all of my animal loving friends there are a couple of scenes that involve violent acts perpetrated against dogs while the actual act doesn't transpire on page the results are clearly evident.


One of the things that I've encountered in this book that worked really well from my point of view was the fact that we were told parts of the story from the villain's perspective... not a lot but enough to really bring him into the story.


There's a couple of interesting characters in this story besides Eli and Dominic that I'd like to see more of...I liked Dom's friend and fellow police officer Theo. Most of what we saw of this character was on a professional level but still I think there's potential for more with him as well as Dom's brother Keiran...we're given really strong potential for more about Keiran at the end of this story...as in I for one want to know what kind of trouble Keiran's gotten himself into. So while this book seems to be a standalone story it's left room for Ms Laycock to give us more about this group of Brits.



An ARC of 'Mad About the Boy' was graciously provided by Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

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