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review 2017-06-05 19:40
No Ifs, Ands, or Bears About It by Celia Kyle
No Ifs, Ands, or Bears About It - Celia Kyle

This book starts out adorably. Mia has just inherited her grampa’s home and is moving in when she discovers a baby bear cub running for cover.  He’s scared and, awww, he’s crying huge, scared-to-death tears. He’s no regular bear either. He’s a shifter cub.  She tries to soothe the baby bear but soon someone comes a-knocking. It’s the baby’s big, bad uncle and the cub is so terrified Mia decides to keep him (and by keeping him, I mean forever, seriously, she wants to keep him forever) and she tries ignore the clamor. Fortunately the police arrive after a nosy neighbor calls and this is how Mia meets Officer Ky.

 

Ky is also a shifter and leader of his clan. He is immediately smitten with a bad case of the insta-love for the curvy lady and tries to keep it professional but has a hard time controlling his urges. He wants her and he knows she wants him because he can smell her creamy desire . . .  They are drawn together and things are going great but then clan politics and baddies instigate to make their lives and new-found love difficult.

 

I don’t know how to say this kindly so I’m just going to be blunt. This book had zero romance development.  It relied almost entirely on the old “you were made for me, I was made for you” trope. Except in this case, it was more of the “my inner bear approves, that means you’re the One!”  If you like that, you’ll love and adore this book. Me? I’m grumpy and I need a pair to work for it. A little side of suffering never hurts either. I’d also like to get to know a bit about them in the process too. None of this happens here. The only thing keeping them apart were the clan wars, the fact that the clan members didn’t welcome Mia because she was too human and the constant coitus interruptus by clan members who kept busting in with some oh-so-important announcement or another. I need more than that for conflict and when I don’t get it this is the kind of review I have to write.

 

Narration Notes: The audio is read by Kendall Taylor. She has a happy, perky voice well suited to Mia and does a capable enough job with the many grumbly bear-men. She was great. In fact, if it weren’t for her narration, I know I would’ve put this down at the 50% mark.

 

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media. I hope they don’t regret it!

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review 2017-05-31 18:53
Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen
Her Name in the Sky - Kelly Quindlen

This book started out so slow for me. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and crotchety but reading about a group of beautiful, popular, well to do, catholic high school students getting reading for parties, ditching classes to get beignets and hanging out and getting drunk was not my idea of a good time. Nah, who am I kidding, it wouldn’t have been a good time no matter my age. I’ve always found this kind of thing boring. Give me messed up people and sticky situations any day. Somewhere along the line, maybe about a third of the way in, feelings started getting complicated and messy and I was finally all in for the angst and I am glad I stuck with it.

 

Hannah and Baker have always been the best of friends but in-between the pep rallies and beignets, Hannah starts to develop feelings for Baker, feelings she doesn’t want and doesn’t know how to deal with. She’s supposed to grow up and marry a boy. She's not supposed to fall in love with a girl.

 

Stuff and sexy times happen and that’s when things get really messy. Neither Hannah nor Baker are ready to admit that they might be falling in love and start doing what is “normal” and expected and begin dating boys but that only makes things oh-so-much harder for all of them. Oh the angst. I loved it.

 

It’s a raw and painful read and there is a lot of God talk (so if that’s not your thing, be warned) and the kids, as kids will do, make terrible choices that cause them so much inner torment. But it’s honest and the characters always felt real. Hannah, especially, feels incredibly genuine as she lashes out at those closest to her because she is in such a state of anguish over her feelings. Feelings she can’t share with anyone out of fear of being looked at differently. She tries in vain to wish it all away but life is never that easy.

 

I’m glad I stuck with the story, despite the draggy beginning, because it turned out to be a beautifully written book.

 

 

Narration Notes: Piper Goodeve has a youthful voice that suited both the female and male characters which is quite a feat. I always knew who was who even though there were many characters in their little circle of friends. If you're into audio, this is a good one!

 

I received an ARC from Tantor Media. Thanks, Tantor!

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review 2017-05-18 18:31
Puss in Prada by Marie Jacquelyn
Puss in Prada - Marie Jacquelyn

This is an adorable little fable. It’s about a man named Alex who was turned into a talking cat by an irate witch. He’s been this way for a few years when the book begins and is living the cat life with his ex-boyfriend Ethan. Ethan was kind enough to take him in even though they were already broken up at the time because Alex was sassy, sarcastic, self-centered and snobby and an all-around dreadful boyfriend. Oh wait, he’s still all of those things! Except he’s no longer the boyfriend (that’d be too weird even for me) and now that he’s a cat, he makes good company for Ethan who prefers to stay in and watch tv after a long day of work. But Alex doesn’t want Ethan to turn into some lonely, antisocial cat man.



Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .



Still, it’s time for Ethan to put himself out there and find a boyfriend– even if the thought of Ethan with another man makes Alex a little queasy.

This story is simply delightful. If you are not a fan of m/m romances because most tend to be heavy on the angst and the sex, this is one that isn’t like the rest. It’s sweet and funny and I really enjoyed the characters. I think it will charm even those who think their heart is dead (not that I’d know anything about that . . .)

There is so much fun dialogue packed into this little novella but I think this line from Ethan describing cat Alex’s faults was my favorite.

"You also yell at the pigeons outside, watch too many cooking shows, and have a blog entirely dedicated to pictures of yourself."


Honestly, the only thing I’d change about this book is the cover. This is a book that features a talking cat who wears designer clothing and it has a generic cup of coffee on its cover? A pretty cup of coffee, sure, but seriously, what is up with that? So much opportunity squandered! I say ignore the cover and picture any of these dapper fellows on the cover instead.



Much better, right?

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review 2017-05-16 18:03
Touched by Passion by Megan Hart
Strangers of the Night: Touched by PassionPassion in DisguiseUnexpected Passion - Megan Hart

I requested a copy of this book from Netgalley because of the author’s previous book “Lovely Wild” . That was such a unique book. What I didn’t realize was that I was requesting only one novella in a collection called “Shadows of the Night”. From my 30 seconds of internet research, I learned there may be two other stories included in the book that I did not receive for review.



My review and my rating is for Touched by Passion and only for Touched by Passion. Sadly, this story feels like a set up for the other two and it left me hanging, not the main romance, but all of the woo-woo stuff. I have MANY questions and I hate when that happens. If you purchase the finished book you may not have any of my issues.

Because it’s roughly 100 pages, I’m going to keep most of my words to myself. Things start out fabulously with echoes of an X-Files-like plot. Samantha is a nurse (who may or may not really be a nurse) who is caring for a handsome young man who has special powers. Powers that make others very fearful of him. But she likes him and she doesn’t mind his not so covert touches to her bare skin as she examines him. His arousal kind of her turns her on, truth be told, and she takes her sweet time taking his vitals each day. Well, wouldn’t you?



Anyhow, he was apparently part of a cult where all of the children had super powers and he’s spent his life being a guinea pig and is nearing the end of his usefulness to the Powers That Be. Samantha may be the only one willing to save him.

What follows is some action, some scatterings of plot breadcrumbs and a rushed and rather disappointing sexy time but then again, I have been reading a lot of pervy books lately! It all ends rather abruptly, most likely because there are two other connected stories that I was not privy to. As a standalone? It doesn’t entirely work for me so I’m giving it a three.

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review 2017-05-05 18:34
Strays by Garrett Leigh
Strays - Garrett Leigh

Strays is a sexy little romance with a slight hint of danger. I needed a mini horror break but wasn’t in the mood for hearts and unicorns and this one came through for me.

Nero splits his time working at several restaurants. His life consists of waking, prepping, cooking and sleeping and he likes it that way. He’s grumpy and a workaholic and his routine keeps him from thinking too hard about anything – especially about that awful thing in his past. His grumpiness keeps most people at arm’s length which is just fine by him. When his boss (who he owes) asks him to take in a stray named Lenny his routine is about to get all kinds effed up.

“Keep Lenny close, if you can. Don’t let him be scared.” What the fuck did that mean?

Lenny is on the run from a persistent, super creepy stalker whose last letter to Lenny included Lenny’s own blue painted toe-nail clipping (ugh). The cops won’t help and he has no family support so when his kind boss finds him a safe place to land and a new place to work, he doesn’t turn down the offer. Had he known he was going to be holed up with such a prickly dude he might’ve reconsidered.

As Nero shows him the ropes, the two become friends and Nero (who is bi) finds himself wildly attracted to Lenny and quickly gets used to him being around. Wherever Nero is, Lenny is but their fast friendship and obvious adoration of each other might not last if Nero continues to keep his guard up even when it comes to Lenny. And, of course, there’s that nasty stalker . . .

Lenny is an open book and easily shares his past hurts and life with Nero and finds Nero’s crabbery amusing. He’s vibrant, artistic, sassy and used to be the life of any party. Now he’s afraid to look outside. Nero doesn’t know what to make of him and all of these feelings he’s stirred up.

Nero hung up and stared at his phone screen, wondering why Lenny’s voice twisted his insides so much. He’d started walking again while they’d talked, but he drifted to a stop now, feeling somehow . . . lighter? What the actual fuck? Nero was used to trudging through life under a cloud of temper and sarcasm, his only shield between him and a world that had fucked him over more times than he could count, not spinning giddily because of the way a bloke he hardly knew said his name.

Ah, poor Nero is a goner.

I really enjoyed this book and both of the main characters. Nero is young but very much like a crabby old man and he does not care.

"Sorry I screeched at you.”

“Don’t be. I’m a dick.”


He’s like many people I’ve met in real life and I can easily picture him as an old guy screaming at brats to get the hell off his lawn. His thoughts, his cursing and his whole way of dealing with people were very real and often funny to me. People are annoying and Nero doesn’t hide his annoyance with them. The romance builds naturally out of friendship and doesn’t suffer from the dreaded insta-lust/love thing that drives me insane. Together they are lovely and somehow their very different personalities work together.

This is book 2 in the "Urban Soul" series and there are appearances by characters from a previous book but it stood on its own just fine. I hate mid-series books that don’t make sense unless you’ve read them all and this isn’t one of them.

I may even seek out the first book now.

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