'Set Ablaze' is essentially a second chance romance with some mystery woven in. When Hayden's best friend, Miguel, asks him to take in Jez, his younger brother, Hayden's not thrilled with he idea but it's his best friend and he gets it...Miguel lives in a small one bedroom apartment while Hayden has a two story house all to himself. So reluctantly he agrees. After all how bad can it be it's just until Jez gets his own place and it's not like he doesn't have the room.
For Jez seeing Hayden again brings back memories of his teenage crush, but he's sure that Hayden's straight...until he discovers that he's not. As Hayden and Jez get to know each other again both men struggle with their attraction.
Jez is hasn't been totally honest with either his brother or Hayden about the real reason that he's run to California. He's running from a relationship that's gone bad and left him with more than a couple of issues of his own. Plus there's his other secret an adorable, small, furry secret named Fang...Jez is sure that Hayden hates dogs and Jez needs a place to stay...at least for a little while.
Hayden may be out about his sexuality but that doesn't necessarily mean he's currently in or has had any relationships because even though he doesn't consciously admit it he knows that telling his fellow firefighters he's gay is one thing having them see it in the form of him in a relationship is totally another issue. Some of the men who Hayden calls 'friends' are to say the least less than friends and more than a little homophobic and it takes Jez's determination to never again be anyone's victim and his courage to speak out to make Hayden see that his feigned indifference not only isn't what's needed but it's in fact endorsing their behavior. Being out while still in the closet isn't Hayden's only issue and Jez is going to have to be both patient and persistent if he wants to get to the heart of Hayden's compulsive tidy/cleanliness.
I definitely appreciated that the author addressed this issue because too often society would rather feign indifference...don't make waves, don't cause a scene...does any of this sound familiar? I think we've all heard something like this before and while the author didn't delve into this intensely it was part of the story but not an overwhelming part of the story and that's as it should be because it's the relationship between Jez and Hayden that's the story's focus. The social issues are wrapped in with this and definitely a driving force contributing to things ending up where they did. Just as in real life neither of these men have been molded by any one particular incident in their life but they are an amalgamation of events both big and small.
The relationship between Hayden and Jez was to say the least built on a lot of awkward moments, definite miscommunication or more accurately a lack of communication because that's what happens when people keep secrets...poor communication and this wasn't helped by Miguel's lack of information sharing. Sadly both of these men have experienced abusive relationships of a very different nature this is far more reflective of the real world than it should be and as is often the case real life is stranger than fiction but fiction is frequently a reflection of real life.
Just like his brother and friend Miguel is also a creation of experiences and circumstances and while he initially seemed like a member of Hayden's Asshat Brigade, he turns out to be a big brother who just wants to protect his brother and his friend from them.
Admittedly there were some things about the story that could have been better or different but overall this for me was a sweet story about two men finding comfort and healing together allowing themselves to move on and build a life together.
Darcy Stark was the narrator for this audio book and while this was only my third time listening to this narrator. It was also the third time that I've been treated a very enjoyable audio experience. I enjoyed his voices and the expressiveness of his voice. This is definitely an author & narrator combination that I'm looking forward to hearing more from in the near future...I mean I might have 'North on Drummond' cued up in audio list...I guess you'll just have to wait for the review.
An audio book of 'Set Ablaze' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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So recently I found myself having to spend some times...ok, a lot of time off of my feet as the result of a fall that left me with an injured knee...so what better use of times was there than books and so I indulged both in e-books and audio books but for now we're going to focus on the audio books and specifically the Abigail Roux's 'Cut & Run' series...so here's what I'm going to do because this series consist of 9 books narrated by 3 different narrators...so first things first...this is truthfully one of my least favorite things. This series consist of the same MCs from start to finish and I won't lie my preference in a situation like this it to have the same narrator from start to finish. Which makes this a case of 'I really loved the stories'. So I'm going to break things down by narrator and talk more about that than the stories because this series has been around for quite a while and between the reviews that are out there and the book blurbs I can cheat and save myself the time and typing...so here we go...
Books 1 & 2 (Cut & Run, Sticks & Stones) are both narrated by Sawyer Allerde. Ok, let's start here at the beginning...first thing none of these people are bad narrators as far as I'm concerned. I've listened to one other book narrated by Sawyer Allerde aside from these two books and that was the first book in Josh Lanyon's 'All's Fair' series and I really enjoyed that one. However, this time around things didn't go quite as well and there were times when I felt like the narrator was racing to get through the book which tends to spoil things for me.
When I'm listening to an audio book I like to feel that the narrator enjoys reading the story as much as I enjoy listening to it. So from a listening stand point books 1 & 2 were not my favorites, however, things were not so bad that my enjoyment of the story was spoiled by any means...what can I say it takes a lot to spoil Ty & Zane for me...A LOT!!! And this was not it. So for the narration on these two books I would probably say things sat in the 3.5 to 4 star range.
Books 3, 4 & 5 (Fish & Chips, Divide & Conquer, Armed & Dangerous) are all narrated by Sean Crisden. Now I have to admit I am no stranger to the narrations of Sean Crisden, I've listened to approximately 20 books narrated by this particular person and some of them more than once...so in case you're still wondering yes, I really like Sean Crisden and I very much enjoyed these next 3 books but and I have to admit this still strikes me as being a bit unusual things just weren't quite right for me. I have no distinct issues here and can only say that for whatever reason while I enjoyed listening to Mr. Crisden's narrations he just wasn't Ty and Zane for me...so, good performance but not the connection I'd thought I'm make with things.
and books 6, 7, 8 & 9 are all narrated by J. F. Harding. Again this is not a new to me narrator as J.F. Harding was the narrator for the 2nd & 3rd books in Josh Lanyon's series 'All's Fair' another series that I very much enjoyed but that for me would have been so, so much better had there only been one narrator for all 3 books. But on the upside these last 4 books were definitely the most enjoyable of the bunch as I found that J. F. Harding's narrations for the C&R books was the one that I related to the best.
Also, I think what made this all more palatable was the fact that the switches in narrator didn't jump all over the place and it was done with clean breaks. Book 1 & 2 were narrated by the same person and then it switches to someone else for 3 consecutive books and the final 4 were also the same narrator. Had the narrators been allover the map and by this I mean Narrator 'A' did books 1 & 6, while Narrator 'B' did books 2, 5 & 9 leaving narrator 'C' to pick up 3, 4, 7 & 8 I probably wouldn't have been able to stand things no matter how good any of these narrators are.
Ok that's my ramble on the importance of consistency in narrators and while I probably should have reflected this in my rating rather than just give all of the books 5 stars. I just didn't have the heart. I ploughed through these books in barely a week so as much as I would have been over the moon to have the same narrator for all of the stories...I can't say that I was deterred by not having that or that it even slowed me down...sometimes as much as we would like something to be a certain way it doesn't mean it has to be...just that this is how we'd like it to be in an ideal world.
I will also freely admit that there is a mainstream series that I would give just about anything to listen to on audio if it wasn't for the fact that there are 7 books/novellas in this series and no fewer than 5 narrators and yes, they are all over the board...limits, I has 'em and this series definitely hits them...so, I'll just carry on reading this one the old fashioned way and making sad faces over the lack of consistency that went into this series and how sad that makes me...
Whether you like audio books, e-books or both like me...keep reading and keep enjoying.
Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?
Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.
But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants.
For some reason, I had a hard time convincing myself to pick this book up—it had been sitting & staring at me for just over 2 weeks. Look at that gorgeous cover! All of the covers for this trilogy have been absolutely lovely, but this one is the best in my opinion. I love that exploded pomegranate!
Once I got past the first two pages, I had no more problems. I was right back in Wallachia with Lada and in Constantinople with Radu and Mehmed. I knew enough about the actual historical events that I was aware of how things would have to end—but Ms. White gave me the best possible ending given the circumstances. [I think she jiggered with the facts just a bit to improve Lada’s death, but why not, when you’ve already made Vlad Tepes into a woman?]
I have read that the people of Romania still honour Vlad as a harsh, but fair ruler. White definitely stays true to this notion. A great story, told well in a new & interesting way, and the best possible ending. Certainly a trilogy that I’ll be recommending to others.