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review 2018-08-17 19:42
Some times you have to walk away from what you don't want, in order to walk towards what you do want...
Running to You - Andrew Grey,Jack Richmond

 

After witnessing Billy Joe an act of cruelty and prejudice that has Billy fearing for his life, he realizes that home is not the place where he and his young son would be safe...no, he needed to run...to run far and fast if he was going to keep himself and his little boy safe. So that's what he does. In the middle of the night Billy Joe packs up their lives, takes his boy and quietly gets the hell out of Dodge or in this case Mississippi.

 

Billy Joe gets as far as Pennsylvania when his luck seems to run out...or in fact his car dies during a snowstorm, but maybe his luck is just beginning when a passer-by stops to offer help...a passer by in the form of Carlos.  Carlos shows Billy that there is kindness and good in the world when he goes out of his way to help him without any ulterior motives...just the honest desire of a good and decent person to help someone in need.

 

There was a lot that I liked about this story first off I liked both of the MCs and I really loved them together as friends and as a couple, I loved how their relationship progressed and seriously we're not talking about insta-love here...did their attraction to each other happen fairly quickly...yes, but it was attraction not love and I think we can all think of at least once in our life that we felt attraction to someone as soon as we saw them...whether, or not that attraction deepens and becomes more and how long it takes is what determines  whether it's insta-love or just lust at first sight and whats fast or too fast or slow can be such a subjective issue.

 

For me the relationship between Billy Joe and Carlos didn't feel like it was developing at an overly fast pace but I think a lot of that was due to their circumstances. Billy Joe didn't know anyone else and Carlos initially seemed like he was just trying to be a genuinely good person and help them out, which brought these two into close proximity a lot faster and more often than probably would have been the case under other conditions...so given the circumstances for me it worked and while the relationship may not have progressed at a slower pace at times the overall flow of the story was honestly a little slower than I would have liked but in the end I liked it, I guess sometimes it is slow and steady that wins the race or in this case it was the slow and steady that allowed me to truly enjoy the story.

 

Ok, this is where I'm going to share the biggy the one thing that took away from this being a 5 star read for me and that one little thing was...Tyler...yep, the kid. I love kids truly I do but this one just didn't work for me and I'm going to try and explain without going into excessive amounts of detail why...and yes this is my third try at this, so sorry to say or maybe not so sorry, you got spared the first two rants because I'm trying to keep this somewhat reasonable...so here goes again...in quick summary...

 

I just wasn't able to buy into Tyler his behavior and development was too erratic. Honestly I had initially thought he was a baby and then it seemed like 'oh, I guess he's maybe 4 or 5 years old and then I just kind of threw my arms in the air and said 'what the hell ever, he's Billy Joe's kid and I care not how old he is.' I know his age was clearly defined as 2 going on 3 at one point but I just wasn't feeling it and by this point I no longer cared, so I basically sidelined Tyler and focused on everything else in the story. I cannot lie Tyler is essentially the full reason that this story got 4 stars and not 4.5 or even 5 from me...sorry, Tyler but as a 2 year old...you were fail for me.

 

Ok, let's move on from poor little Tyler because now I'm feeling like a bully and maybe I need to send Tyler a teddy bear to say sorry...I'll ponder this.

 

As for our MCs...there was so much about Carlos that I really liked. How he was basically able to keep such a positive outlook on things in spite of his family and yes, it was very much a case of 'in spite of' and not 'because of', I loved how supportive both he and Billy Joe were of each other which I think was due, at least in part, to the fact that they understood each other in a very basic way...both men had crap families. Sure maybe the circumstances and dynamics weren't identical but at the heart of it both men were failed by their families and they recognized this in each other...reasons and events may be different but at the core it's the same kind of hurt.

 

While it may have taken Billy Joe time to get there...this guy had strength. From taking Tyler and leaving behind everything that he knew to his determined efforts to make sure that Tyler had a better life, to acknowledging who he was and finally doing what he knew was the only thing he could do to ensure his and his son's safety...Billy Joe had strength. If it took him time to get where he was going I can totally deal with that he had to make the hard choices just as Carlos did in dealing with his family and these two both met the challenge. Sure it wasn't without pain, heartache and a few mistakes but who among us can say differently. We may make different choices and our mistakes aren't always the same but at the end of the day we're all human and we all follow our own path. 

 

Last but not least I want to talk about the narrator...Jack Richmond. I liked his character voices especially for the MCs they were both distinct making it easy to distinguish who was speaking and while I had an issue with Tyler's character in terms of age development unfortunately Tyler's voice didn't really help with this because for me, Tyler's voice was more reflective of that 4 or 5 year old that I thought he was a one point than that of a two year old, but on the upside it was a child's voice that didn't feel like nails on a chalk board which many of my friends will tell you with me that's a definite win.

 

I loved the ending of this one, especially when it came to Carlos and Billy Joe's families and how things worked out with them and while I'm not sure I'd call this an HEA it's definitely a strong HFN that's heading towards HEA and I'm good with that.

 

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

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review 2018-07-18 15:46
What happens when the person who should be on the right side of the law turns out...
Fire and Flint - Andrew Grey,Greg Tremblay

to be the one who's breaking it.

 

When Pierre Ravelle is assigned to keep an eye on Judge Crawford because he's been receiving threats in the mail he quickly discovers that he'd much rather keep an eye on the judges clerk, Jordan Erichsohn. 

 

Jordan just wants to stay under the radar. Nothing's more important to Jordan than finalizing his adoption of his young son, Jeremiah and while he doesn't want to sit by while his boss gets away with who knows what but he's pretty sure whatever's going on isn't legal. But he the one thing he knows for sure is that his boss has the power to keep this from happening. 

 

As Pierre and Jordan work together to unravel the facts and find crucial evidence to prove what Judge Crawford is doing Pierre's feelings for Jordan and the young Jeremiah grow and as well as finding evidence against the judge, Pierre becomes determined to make sure that Jordan and Jeremiah not only stay together but that they see him as a part of his family too...one day.

 

I really enjoyed this story. I loved both Pierre and Jordan. Pierre was solid and reliable both things that Jordan needed in his life. Pierre was a calming force for Jordan. He may have worried about Jordan's situation but he also thought things through and was calm, rational and planned a course of action that not only got the job done but helped to protect the two people who he'd come to care so much about. 

 

And then we have Jordan and he was this awesome, sweet guy that had this amazing heart and ultimately he stepped up and did what needed to be done despite the risk to himself and Jeremiah. I have to admit this really endeared this character to me. As a parent I understand that dilemma that can come from having to decide between doing what's right and what's going to keep your child safe...nothing's more important to me than the well being of my kids and I think most parents will tell you this, but sometimes in the long run what will keep our children safe and make the world a better place for others has a risk attached to it and choices aren't always as clear cut as we'd like them to be.

 

While the part of this story pertaining to the judge's illegal activities really wasn't very detailed or complex truthfully, I was ok with this. For the most part crimes of this nature are proven and tried based very largely on evidence and gathering this kind of evidence quite honestly can be a long, arduous and boring task...so truthfully I was glad to be spared the details on this.

 

'Fire and Flint' is a sweet, uncomplicated romance and I think for me it was just what I needed at the time. While Andrew Grey's stories don't tend to be long, complicated or convoluted stories and although stories like that can have their own merits, sometimes what's nice to read or in this case listen to is the type of story that's just sweet and simple and as a reader I can follow along without having to create a flow chart to keep track of who's who and what's what and just find myself lost in an enjoyable romance with a touch of mystery or intrigue to keep to add a little excitement. 

 

I have to admit the icing on the cake for me with this one was that it was narrated by someone who is without a doubt one of my favorite audio narrators...Greg Tremblay. I'm not sure if I've got any glowing descriptives left unused when it comes to this narrator. Honestly he's one of maybe 3 or 4 narrators whose audio books I'll buy or ask for to review without having to listen to the audio sample. I have zero doubt as to the quality of what I'll be hearing when I see that Greg Tremblay's the narrator and for me that pretty much says it all as to how much I like and respect him as a narrator.

 

'Fire and Flint' is for me a perfect example of what I would call a 'summer read' it's interesting, with very likable characters an solid but not overly complicated plot and a very sweet and happy ending...summer reads, they're a good thing.

 

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

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review 2018-06-19 23:58
Release Day ARC Review: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey
The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever - Andrew Grey

I've never been to Bonaire, but after reading this book, I want to go. There are quite a few sections inside that read like an advertisement for the place, and I want to go. If you pop over to my blog, you'll see a couple of images of the reefs as well, taken by none other than the author.

Here's a link.

Tommy Gordon is getting ready for his wedding, straightening his tie just moments before the ceremony is supposed to start, when his groom-to-be tells him the wedding is off. Xavier (remember the name of the rancid jerkface) has cold feet/second thoughts, and it's goodbye, Tommy. 

Heartbroken, Tommy wants nothing more than to hide, but there's the honeymoon trip, already planned and paid for, and what shall he do with that, amirite? Who wants to go alone on what's supposed to have been the honeymoon?

Tommy's best friend Grayson, who made the suggestion that Tommy take the trip anyway, finds himself and his young son Petey invited to join Tommy in paradise for a bit of snorkeling, relaxation, and enjoying the scenery.

Grayson's had a crush on Tommy for a long while, but he hasn't been a position or brave enough to change the status quo and ask for more.

And off they are, because when you have money, last minute ticket changes are not a hindrance, and thus the romance begins.

Slowly, of course, because Tommy is still mourning what might have been, and kicking his own rear end because he's just so pathetic and worthless that not even a gold digger like Xavier would want him. 

Grayson is no gold digger, just a dude with a heart of gold, and while he has his son to think of, he is all on board with wooing Tommy, with Petey's encouragement. 

I really, really want to go to Bonaire. The descriptions in the book are vivid and enticing, and the author did a fine job transporting this reader into paradise with his words alone. 

Obviously, there's a bit of angst, what with Tommy's self-doubts and Grayson's fears of losing his friend, but they overcome all that. They overcome Xavier showing up at the resort uninvited (the nerve of that guy) and threatening Tommy (the NERVE of that guy), and Grayson making the unwilling acquaintance of a Man O' War (ouchie) and a bit of drama at the end just before all is well and they live happily ever after.

So yeah, this is fluffy fluff, with a wee bit of angst, and beautiful scenery, and would someone please invite me to go to Bonaire? 

It's the perfect beach vacation read, so get this book and enjoy it on a day in the sun.


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

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review 2018-04-09 23:57
Firemen, dalmatians, sick kids...
Smoldering Flame - Andrew Grey

This one had potential...so much potential and then...it didn't.

 

Dean's a firefighter whose life revolves around the two things he loves most...his job and his son, Sammy.  Sammy's illness doesn't leave Dean time for anything else...like dating, falling in love, having a relationship. So when Sammy drags his father into Marco's photography studio the last thing he wants, needs or expects is to be attracted to said photographer. 

 

Marco's not looking for anything other than to make a sick little boy happy when he offers to take some pictures of the young child who's barged into his studio wanting to see the big stuffed fire dog that Marco uses as a prop during his photo shoots with kids. Marco knows what Sammy's going through and while Marco knows he can't fix things for Sammy if he can bring a smile to his sweet little face for even a moment he'll do what he can and taking a few pictures is definitely not a hardship for him especially if some of those pictures include Sammy's sexy, fireman father.

 

Dean's got more than his son to be concerned about though when it comes to him and Marco. His parents have been a godsend for him while Sammy's been sick and while his mom's more than happy to see him find someone he might be happy with, his father's a whole different story. Dad's ex-military and he hasn't a made it out of the dark ages with some of his ideas...like demanding that Dean 'find a nice woman' because he needs to settle down Sammy needs a mom.

 

I really liked the overall concept of this story. There was a lot of potential for this one to tug at my heartstrings and leave me with all the warm fuzzies. Unfortunately when it came down to the actual story well...it got bogged down in a lot of flowery descriptions and conversations that quite frankly had me rolling my eyes...sorry, but there's only so much 'gosh, darn melodic sex' that a girl can handle. 

 

I'm a fan of descriptions that paint a picture and draw me into the story...truly I am. But and here is where things get really subjective...there's this fine line that goes from creating a story...painting an image and when it gets crossed well the story gets lost in an excess of descriptions that become distracting and that's what happened for me with this one...so as I said this is entirely subjective and other may find the descriptives in this book to be perfect...I'm just not part of this group.

 

Michael Pauley is once again the narrator for this story and I have to admit I'm not really sure why but like the story and maybe because of the story I didn't enjoy the narration quite as much has I did the previous two stories also narrated by the same person and once again we are left with a very subjective viewpoint here so please keep this in mind. Just one more note about the narration there's a child in this story and as my friends will tell you me and children's voices in audio books do not have a very good track record however, I do want to give a nod to the narrator on this one. While it maybe wasn't the best child's voice I've ever heard it was considerably better than many others that I've heard. 

 

I've been a fan of this series from the beginning and while this one didn't work so well for me the first two stories worked much better for me and I really enjoyed them...enough that I'm more than willing wait and see what's next in this series...hopefully for me it'll be a return to the story style that I've come to enjoy so much. 

 

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

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review 2018-04-09 02:20
Personal Training (Work Out, #6) by Andrew Grey Review
Personal Training - Andrew Grey

Determined not to end up like his seventy-year-old diabetic father, Holton knows he needs to make a change. His quest to improve his health drives him to the gym, where he meets Marcus, a trainer with the body of a demigod. For three months Holton works hard, watches what he eats, drops a few pounds—and catches Marcus's eye not only for his slimmer body but for his dedication.

Holton can barely believe it when Marcus asks him out, but he isn’t about to say no. Despite several common interests, though, Marcus and Holton have some roadblocks to overcome. A harrowing event from Holton’s past has made him gun-shy, and Marcus has insecurities of his own. If their relationship is going to work, they’ll have to get past their hang-ups and prove that what really matters is the man inside.

 

Review

 

Holton and Marcus have a romance that is pretty touch and go because they both have lots of things to wade through.

I rooted for them but wanted more emotionial intimacy. I liked the world and cast a lot and will read more in the series and I am a fan of plainer heros.

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