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review 2019-01-23 15:12
'Don't Let Go' had me holding on until the end and then...
Don't Let Go - Jeff Gelder,Andrew Grey

things went sideways on me and letting go just seemed like the best thing to do...

 

I really enjoyed most of this story it was hella' good...so let's talk about the good and we'll get to the sideways in a bit...

 

Avery Rivers is a star in the country music industry. He's hot and everyone wants a piece of him. The problem is he's only got so many pieces to give and he's running low. If he doesn't catch a break soon, he's pretty sure he's going to become so broken there won't be any putting him back together again. So Avery decides it's time to man up and take control of things and he does. His concert tours done and people are talking about adding dates but Avery knows what his deal is for and he say 'no' just a big fat no, takes care of business, buys himself a pick-up truck and says 'I'll see  ya all in six months.' and hits the road. Along the way he meets Hy Whitely on for him he's just plain old Zeke because Hy Whitely's a top performer on the pro rodeo circuit and if anyone knows how Avery's feeling it's Hy Whitely.

 

Zeke and Avery hook up for a night of good times and then they go their separate ways only to have their paths cross again when Avery's dad unknowingly gives the country star a job working on his ranch...the same ranch that Zeke's heading to for a much needed break.

 

Turns out that for both Avery and Zeke the ranch is just the break that they both need. Things start out good for the two as they work the ranch and get to know each other spending their days out on the range fixing fences, caring for the cattle and horses and their nights wrapped up in each other and sharing a passion that seems incendiary and feels even hotter. As the days pass each man comes to realize that sure the sex it great but they just really, genuinely like and care for the other.

 

So basically this as the gist of everything that I really liked about this book Zeke, Avery and their relationship as well there's a side story going on between Zeke and his father that's good and adds to the overall story and I enjoyed seeing Zeke and his dad work through their issues as the real world creeps back into the comfortable bubble that they've all been surrounding themselves with.

 

When word gets out as to where  country music's hottest ticket Avery Rivers has slipped away to...well sh*t gets real and Avery and Zeke have to face not only their feelings but what the demands of real life will mean to their fledgling relationship and decisions need to be made if they're going to find a way through this.

 

If you plan on reading this book than you may want to stop here because this next part is a bit spoilerish but I'm going to try and keep it as vague as possible so the decisions up to you if you want to finish reading this review...

 

Ok, so far I have to say I was loving this one...it was coming in at a very solid 4 stars and then we got the the ending and I do mean the ending as in 'the epilogue'...it was too much. Here I've been reading this lovely story about two men with successful lives falling in love and struggling to keep their relationship solid and discreet even though they not hiding in the closet, neither are they out, proud and marching in any pride parades and yet when we get to the end we get an over oh so freakin' over the top public declaration. Now I realize that for some this is cool and they really love this kind of thing and to that I say 'cool' but for me it was just a big "No...no, no, no."

 

Things just made no sense since they've been keeping things on the down low and then suddenly this? and no I'm not saying what this was. If you've read the book you'll know and if not well I really don't want to spoil things too much. So in the end my 4 stars went down to 3.5 stars and while I liked most of the story the ending turned out to be a big wet blanket for me. 

 

Jeff Gelder was the narrator for this story and while it's not my first time at the dance with this narrator and for the most part he did a solid job with the narration and certainly I had no problem in terms of understanding and when it came to the character voices things were good. However, when it came to the narration portion at times I found his voice to be a bit stilted and lacking the smooth tone that he had when voicing the characters. It wasn't an overwhelming issue and while it didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the story it was a bit of a minor niggle that was enough to catch my attention. 

 

'Don't Let Go' for the most part was a 4 star listen for me with the ending being such a subjective issue. Unfortunately for me it was a detracting factor from my overall enjoyment of things but for others it could be the reason to add stars not take away...it's all about the personal preferences.

 

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An audio book of 'Don't Let Go' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-01-23 05:14
Some ingredients are harder to substitute than others...
The Missing Ingredient - Brian Lancaster,Seb Yarrick

Marcus Vine is on the cusp of success as a chef, but finds that having only investors  interested in him leaves him with time to spare and following the loss of his best friend Raine, Marcus turns to helping Raine's husband Tom as he struggles to come to grips with losing his wife and the mother of his children...Marcus's godchildren, trying to rebuild their lives to a new normal.

 

Marcus days become filled with childcare and he finds himself becoming a part of a family as little by little Tom and his godchildren begin to rely on him for the stability he brings to their lives. 

 

For Marcus what starts as simply helping his deceased best friend's husband care for his daughters and get back to being a family again puts him and Tom in close proximity to each other on a regular basis and Marcus is faced with his feelings for Tom becoming more than just that of a family friend and ultimately Tom also begins to realize that he has an attraction for Marcus that has nothing to do with friendship or gratitude but he's also not willing to step out of the safety of the closet he's been hiding in.

 

I liked the dynamics between Marcus and Tom. Marcus has an established career and he's confident about his choices. In general I liked Marcus and the fact that while he didn't push Tom nor did he just hide in the closet and hope that things would change. He kept his promises in regards to helping with the children and while he was willing to give Tom time...he wasn't willing to give forever. So while I may not have liked him quite as much as Marcus I did have a lot of empathy for Tom.

 

While I liked Marcus I wasn't quite as overly taken with Tom.  I think he was trying but sometimes pride goes before the fall and that's what happened with Tom. He was so determined to care for his children without anyone's help that he let his pride get in toe way and lost sight of what was truly important...the well being of his children, but I don't think it was because he didn't love them...I think maybe he was just a little misguided about the fact that needing help and being weak aren't the same thing.

 

One of the best parts of this story for me was that so often in a story like this one MC or the other losses themselves in the life of the other as they try to help but that wasn't the case with Marcus. He didn't lose himself and we were shown more than one side of  him as he helped take care of his godchildren, tried to be a friend to Tom and worked to pursue his own career goals.

 

I liked the story but for the most part it was just a case of like i wasn't until the last 10 or 20% that I really got enchanted by the story...especially the epilogue...it was freaking adorable and definitely added to the overall story for me...seriously cute stuff at the end.

 

'The Missing Ingredient' is only the second book that I've listened to by Seb Yarrick and once again he's done a solid job of creating an enjoyable audio book making a solid contribution to my enjoyment of this story and certainly keeping him on my radar as a narrator that I'll enjoy hearing more from in the future. 

 

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

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review 2019-01-21 17:35
The thrilling sequel to ‘Reign of The Fallen’ takes us back to a very different Karthia; this time foreign invaders, political unrest, and Odessa’s relationship take center-stage
Song of The Dead - Sarah Glenn Marsh

This is the thrilling sequel to ‘REIGN OF THE FALLEN’, a novel that introduces us to Odessa, a necromancer in Karthia, where she has the special magical ability of raising the Dead. She is able to cross into the spirit world called the Deadlands, and she also is a fierce fighter; when monsters called Shades start kidnapping Dead nobility, Princess Valoria has Odessa and her fellow necromancers investigate (including Evander, someone who she loves deeply).

Odessa and her friends do all they can but  it’s not enough to save someone she loves; a Shade rips apart and kills Evander, and Odessa turns to ‘potions’ to cope with her loss.

 

Without revealing ALL details of the book (because you need to be reading THAT NOW before you read ‘Song of The Dead’!), by the end of the novel we have Odessa leaving Karthia aboard The Paradise to pursue Evander’s dream of seeing unknown. So where will the sequel lead us?

 

SONG OF THE DEAD

 

With Karthia behind them, Odessa and Meredy are aboard Kasmira’s ship The Paradise, ready to discover new lands and bring word back to Queen Valoria about the new world. They discover a friendly land, Sarral, where people keep dragons, and the Dead only come out at night, and before they get a chance to get settled, news of unrest back in Karthia has them back on their ship sailing for home, their long trip cut short.

Instead of the threats of the past, open borders  means the threat of foreign invaders, on top of political unrest, and Valoria is hoping that one of her mages can create a new weapon good enough to fight it all now that the Dead can’t help them win this battle.

 

While ‘Reign of the Fallen’ was filled with monstrous death and loss on account of the bloodthirsty Shades, giving the book a very dark tone, ‘Song of the Dead’ begins with a feeling of hope despite all that the Karthians have gone through. 

The beginning ocean voyage initially made me feel as though Odessa and the crew were going to be gone long from the difficulties of their homeland, and I was worried that things had got too easy for them (!), but the adventure of this book, while quite a departure from ROTF, quickly takes off. The book actually goes through several different ‘phases’, with the ocean voyage, the time in Sarral, the return back to Karthia, and because of the vivid world-building, you will be easily carried through them, experiencing all the different chapters and introducing new characters along the way.  

 

There is a lot of internal drama due to the political unrest in this book (the Karthians start to rise up against the changes that Valoria wants to make) as well as thanks to the new emotional ups and downs experienced by Odessa. The outside foreign threat and new civil crisis are a great juxtaposition, and I actually it think could be seen as a bit of a gamble when the first book was almost entirely  about the Dead and then they barely appear in the plot of the second. I personally think the gamble works.

 

But the biggest twist of all comes late in the novel, and while Odessa is not having to fight Shades or something as gruesome, she finds herself fighting something harder and puts her life on the line to save everyone. I think this twist is especially clever, particularly with how it ties in with the first novel and how Odessa’s magic works. 

 

At the heart of this exciting novel is the relationship between Odessa and Meredy, despite both of them reeling from the loss of Evander. Author Marsh, who champions LGBT romance, devotes plenty of page time to the complicated ‘keep us guessing’ relationship between the two girls. Marsh also includes a number of other characters with relationships on the LGBT spectrum, and the representation feels positive and realistic and actually as though it’s quote/unquote ‘normal’ (whatever that is!). This is a breath of fresh air, because it just feels like it ‘fits’ and there isn’t a lot of posturing or trying too hard. Marsh just gets it.

 

I am fortunate, nay, blessed, to be immortalized in this book as Baroness Katerina (along with my cat), and then to be acknowledged at the end. I will be forever grateful to Sarah for this. I am also so very sad that my trip to the magical Karthia and the Deadlands is now over, but I enjoyed it enormously. I can’t wait for another bookish adventure at the hands of Sarah Glenn Marsh, and I hope many YA fantasy readers enjoy these two books as much as I have.

 

‘Song of The Dead’ is available from Penguin Teen on January 22nd, 2019!

You can buy it right HERE!

 

*Warning: you will want a pink dragon after reading this book.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/40125269-song-of-the-dead
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review 2019-01-21 02:18
This review is brought to you by the puddle of goo that use to be me...
Criminal Intentions: Cult of Personality - Cole McCade

This one melted me...I use to be a real person but now I'm just a puddle of goo in my office chair.

 

To start with we have yet another crime for our intrepid couple to solve and this one is every bit as disturbing as previous cases. While we have the similarity of a father and son being involved that's where it all ends and the only clue that Mal and Seong-Jae have to help them solve their case is "he pushed me." not a lot to go on. As Mal and Seong-Jae begin their investigation a suspected suicide starts to look a bit suspicious as it looks more and more like their victim might have had a helping hand. Without fail I have been enthralled by each and every case that we've been presented with.

 

And as always in between the demands of their jobs and life in general there has been Seong-Jae and Mal exploring their relationship as both men admit to their feelings and their willingness to see where things can go. But of course this isn't going to happen without the usual banter and snark that flows between these two men as easily as breathing. I was honestly worried about how things would change once they became more involved and while it has changed especially with Malcolm it works...it works so wonderfully well. I think it's as much of a surprise for Seong-Jae as it was for me to discover that his 'old wolf' is  a cuddler and maybe a bit on the sappy side but it all seems to be such a part of him. If I was enamored of these two before they actually started being a couple it's only gotten better with this episode.

 

I know I've indicated in previous reviews that there's also a bigger picture story being woven throughout this series from episode to episode and it's still there and with each episode it's moving more and more to the foreground and in very surprising ways it's also becoming entangled with each episode's storyline as it draws the reader into a spiderweb that's threatening to trap everything that it touches. So far there have been hints of where this threat has originated from but the real mystery isn't where it's come from, but where it's going and how it's all going to end.

 

Ok, so I'm trying not to gush too much here but seriously I'm not sure how to refrain from this or how to explain just how incredibly hot these two men are...honestly, I've read entire stories that haven't been nearly as incendiary as one simple moment between these two men and I'm talking about moments that did not involve anyone getting naked...there have been simple moments of a hand straightening a tie, a kiss, a look that promises steam and heat and passion and then there are the promises...promises that speak of knowing each other of caring of never letting the other fall.

 

Criminal Intentions is by no means a conventional love story but these MCs are to say the least by no means a conventional pairing and at the end of the day it all works and just like a favorite television show I look forward to each new episode and finding out what unexpected surprises it's going to hold for me. 

 

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An ARC of 'Criminal Intentions: Cult of Personality' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-01-21 01:06
The Other Book is also a different book...
The Other Book - Roe Horvat

I'm fairly new to the writings of Roe Horvat...as in this is my second book by this author and honestly what I'm left wondering at this point is "damn, girl what the hell have you been waiting for?". 

 

'The Other Book' is one of the few books that I've read that while it has a fair amount of sex in it there are two things that I found to be very different from most other books that can make this claim...one...the sex is not gratuitous, it is an integral part of the story and two...it never felt excessive or unnecessary at any given time and I almost forgot there's a very solid story that it supports...not the other way around.

 

Tyler and Joel are two incredibly different men. Tyler's comfortable in his own skin he knows who he is and he's more than good with it. He's been raised by a mother who's both loving and supportive and I suspect a bit of a free spirit...she was a delightful addition to this story.

 

Joel is like a spring that's been wound too tight and one touch and it's going to fly out of it's casing and go in a million different directions. Joel's been raised by his father who to say the least is the polar opposite of Tyler's mother.

 

Tyler's convinced that Joel hates him and frustrated by his inability to figure out why he finally confronts the Joel only to discover that Joel feelings are driven more by desire than derision leading to the beginning of a relationship that at the beginning is entirely sexual and about Joel ceding total control of things to Tyler allowing him to let go and just feel without the responsibility of making the decisions. 

 

As time passes Tyler begins to realize that Joel isn't entirely what he seems to be and that he's a man in need of someone to love him and Tyler also begins to realize that he's the man that Joel needs.

 

I loved the journey that took Tyler and Joel from essentially being enemies to lovers. I loved that while there was a lot of sex in this one because of the nature of their relationship quite honestly it was a very sexual relationship and a story about two men involved in a relationship that starts out as purely sexual and then not to have any sex or at times a lot of sex would have seemed a little strange and while it's a fine line between a lot of sex and too much sex that like was walked perfectly this time around.

 

I'm looking forward to delving into more of this authors works in the near future. I've become enchanted with the authors writing, with the locations and the wonderful characters who inhabit them and last but not least with how the author brings it all together to create a story that captures me mind, heart and soul.

 

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An ARC of 'The Other Book' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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