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review 2018-07-23 22:00
Nowhere Ranch
Nowhere Ranch - Heidi Cullinan

Gets better every single time I read it.  

 

***

 

“Roe. Monroe Harold Davis. You are not a piece of shit. You are not garbage. You are not less than anybody. In fact, I think you’re probably better than most people I know. I know for a fact you’re a better person than me.”

I love this book more and more with each read and each time I am more surprised by that. This includes scenes that for me are so kinky and yet the characters are developed in such a way that you totally understand every situation, every touch and every need. Roe is such a beautifully rich character and so amazingly depicted and Travis is so loving, caring and just exactly what Roe needs. Yeah...I love a good swoon.

description


****

So yeah...I've now listened to the amazing narration by Iggy Toma. Just fabulous...and I am left as emotionally impacted as I was the first time (I know...it's only been two days...but still). What unbelievable characters. I still can't write a proper review so I will just continue to ramble with each re-read until my thoughts begin to make sense.

***

Well so I said I would write a review. For 24 hours now I've thought of nothing but this book and what the hell to say about it.

Yes it's kinky kinky but boy did it work here...and boy did it work for me. I truly believe this book has to land on the reader at just the right time on their MM reading journey. Too soon and the kink could scare the reader off because all they would see is the kink. Well I'm here to tell you that the kink is necessary here...it works and it's not what the book only consists of. The relationship and character development of our two men was unbelievably rich and beautiful to watch unfold.

Plus add one of the most passionate best friends that I've seen. Haley is sweet but fierce and her scene near the end of the book had me cheering her name through the tears on my face.

Now...is this the review I wanted to write??? NO. Is this my final review??? NO. So, what am I to do?? Well...how about I buy the audio and start the beautiful story all over again. Yes. Yes. That's exactly what I will do.

Until then..here are a few quotes in addition to the beautiful quotes below in my updates that left me pretty breathless.

He came in slow. He had his eyes on me the whole time, hard and strong, which was the only thing keeping me from turning away. Until the last second I thought he was going to do something kinky, like bite me or lick my lips. That would have been fine. But after he bent down, my unsteady breath against his mouth, he kissed me. Soft. Sweet. Unbearably gentle. It made me feel jangly and strange. Made me ache, made me hurt. Made me want to turn away, and I started to.

My whole body gave over to him. My body trusted him, not just my mind. Trusted him with everything.

I was never the devil, and I didn’t deserve to be treated like one. Hate can never be love, not for any excuse.




And I failed to mention that the cover of this book so beautifully represents the story within. I love it.


Reading Updates:

2%

When they turned me loose for good, I got out of Algona.
I was tired of it. Tired of letting other people make me feel like shit. Tired of people treating me as if I had the plague. Tired of alternating between blaming everybody else for my problems and thinking if I acted guilty enough they might forgive me.
I got tired of waiting for home to come to me.

I like Monroe already.

10%

All the bad things everybody had said about me back home were true. I was degenerate and fit only for hell. Because if this was hell, then fucking sign me up.

Me too. *fans self*

17%

Kayla...you bitch...


27%

“You were beautiful. You made my teeth ache just watching you.”
Right then I felt beautiful. Sore and tired and beautiful. And not lonely. Not lonely at all.

Totally falling hard for these two. ❤️❤️

43%

“I want you to work for me and cook for me and talk with me. And then I want to fuck you, Roe. I want to fuck you so good I ruin you for anybody else. I want to make you mine. Mine. I want to brand you like the cattle. Not because I’m in love with you. Because I want you, and because I don’t want anyone else to have you.”
Phew.

56%

Goddamn it, I needed to run so bad it was a knife in me. But I couldn’t. Couldn’t go home. Couldn’t run. Couldn’t cook. Could only stand there, bleeding out but never dying.


71%

There, on Christmas Day up in my apartment holding Haley while she cried with the dogs by us, that was when I had my first glimpse of home.
Gaaaaahhhhh. I'm a fucking mess.

84%

I reached out, fingers shaking. He met my hand halfway, and he gripped it tight. I felt his strength come into me, and I think I took my first real breath in ten minutes.
Yeah...still a fucking mess.

90%

I swear this Haley's last name should be Covington!!! ❤️❤️❤️


2nd Read: 2015, September 28th -29th

1%

Yeah work be damned...I am starting the audio. <3

2%

5 minutes in and Iggy Toma is absolutely perfect.


18%

...it messed me up something awful to have someone look at me with love and tell me how wrong I am. They act as if there’s a Monroe Davis who is good somewhere, and I am the demon in his way. Like I have to die so he can live.

28%

I was getting lost again. Every time I was with him, I could let go.

45%

This wasn’t any asking. This was claiming.
I wasn’t sorry. I felt like that crazy sea inside me was settling into a calm. He had drawn it out of the bottle I kept it in, but when I looked up at him, it eased, because if my wild insides were a sea, his gray eyes were the world’s biggest fucking bowl, and they held me. Caught me and held me and bore me up.


59%

He grabbed me around the waist, and when I tried to fight him, he pulled me back and wrestled me to the floor. I kicked and clawed and swore, but he held me down. He pressed his body against mine and held me to the carpet while I shouted and cursed and tried to fight. Held me until I stopped fighting.

60%

"...They want me to be a Roe I can’t be, and it will only hurt everybody more if I go back. But it’s hard to hear him asking and not answer.”
It seemed so damn simple when I said it like that.
“Who’s the Roe you can’t be?” he asked.
I was still staring at the wall, but it was fading, turning to gray mist. “Straight.”


78%

I shouted and slammed at gates, pushing deeper and deeper into the ranch. Past the barn, out into the pens we had sorted the pregnant ewes into. I didn’t even check on them. I just kept going. There was this whisper gnawing on me, asking me where the fuck I thought I was going, but that made my chest tighter, and I shook my head, clenched my teeth and whispered, “Nowhere. I ain’t going nowhere.”
Then I realized I was already there. I was such shit I fucked up nowhere.

Oh, Roe.

82%

“You really mean it. You really do think you’re garbage compared to other people.” When I tried to turn my head away from him, he held my chin fast. “Roe. Monroe Harold Davis. You are not a piece of shit. You are not garbage. You are not less than anybody. In fact, I think you’re probably better than most people I know. I know for a fact you’re a better person than me.”
Yep...cue the tears...again.

91%

“Listen.” Kayla was back on her feet and pissed as hell, but Haley rounded on her, pregnant belly and everything.
“No, you listen. You too, Pastor. You listen, and you listen fucking good. You get your ears turned all the way on, because today I have the gospel for you, and you had better fucking take notes.”

Love Haley!

3rd Read: 2016, February 1st - 3rd

1%

Yeah I need some kinky Heidi to balance out the Disney one. Sue me.
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7%

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18%

But it messed me up something awful to have someone look at me with love and tell me how wrong I am. They act as if there’s a Monroe Davis who is good somewhere, and I am the demon in his way. Like I have to die so he can live.

29%

I find myself wanting to repeat the same posts I already have posted previously. Oh well...at least I'm consistent. :)
“You were beautiful. You made my teeth ache just watching you.”
Right then I felt beautiful. Sore and tired and beautiful. And not lonely. Not lonely at all.


43%

He came in slow. He had his eyes on me the whole time, hard and strong, which was the only thing keeping me from turning away. Until the last second I thought he was going to do something kinky, like bite me or lick my lips. That would have been fine. But after he bent down, my unsteady breath against his mouth, he kissed me. Soft. Sweet. Unbearably gentle. It made me feel jangly and strange. Made me ache, made me hurt. Made me want to turn away, and I started to.

45%

"I want to make you mine. Mine."

54%

He pulled me down and held me tight, so tight I almost couldn’t breathe. He kissed my neck, nuzzling it with a tenderness that almost broke me.

57%

Run.
Goddamn it, I needed to run so bad it was a knife in me. But I couldn’t. Couldn’t go home. Couldn’t run. Couldn’t cook. Could only stand there, bleeding out but never dying.


gaaaaahhhh :-(

83%

He put it around my neck and told me it was to remind me I belonged at Nowhere and Nowhere belonged to me. Which I knew was his way of saying he belonged to me.

"You are not a piece of shit."


description

85%

I reached out, fingers shaking. He met my hand halfway, and he gripped it tight. I felt his strength come into me, and I think I took my first real breath in ten minutes.

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91%

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4th Read: 2016, July 24th - 25th (BR/Audiobook with Marco)

 

Nothing more to really say that I have not already said above.  I absolutely love this book.

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review 2018-07-11 01:17
Family...can't live with them...can't live without them...but sometimes...
Family Man - Heidi Cullinan,Marie Sexton,Colin Darcy

the choice isn't always ours.I think we can all agree that in general stereo-types suck and while some are worse than others in terms of their implications, some can also have a basis in reality...like the fact that some cultures place a great deal of importance on things like family, which isn't to say that they're the only cultures that value family and honestly, try as I might I can't see this as a bad thing. But as much as a person can love their family sometimes, that same family can have expectations that aren't fair or may even have just been misinterpreted...hey, it could happen.

 

For Vincent Fierro family means everything and as an Italian man, he's sure that being gay isn't an expectation his family would have and certainly not something that they would accept from him but after 40 years and 3 divorces Vincent is starting to realize that he needs to find a way to live his life for himself and hopefully...maybe if the stars aligned he'll still get to keep his family. 

 

Trey on the other hand doesn't have a lot of family and maybe that's a good thing because all he's got is his gran and his mom...and mom...to say the least is sucking the life from him. Mom's got an addiction issue and we'll talk more about that later.

 

'Family Man' isn't a new story by any means it was released in e-book format back in 2013 and it's been on and off of my radar on a somewhat consistent basis every since but when I saw that it was out on audio I decided that this was a sign that it was time for me to check this one out.

 

Colin Darcy is the narrator and this was my first time listening to a book narrated by him and not my last. Mr. Darcy impressed the hell out of me. Overall I enjoyed his narration but I have to admit I quickly became a fan of Vince's voice. It was so perfectly the voice that I imagined Vince would have and I was simply delighted with Vince and while I hadn't really given as much consideration to Trey's voice once again things worked and in general the same can be said for the secondary character voices as well. It all just worked.

 

Ok, so without spoiling this for those of you who haven't read or listened to the audio on this one...overall I liked this story. I liked the way that Vince grew and developed as the story progressed seeing him come to terms with his sexuality and while it was a struggle for him at times and he didn't always do the right thing at first he still kept trying and it never felt like he was giving up on himself or on being with Trey in spite of what he thought he was risking and I loved that when Trey needed him the most he was there for him and while their relationship was definitely a work in progress neither of these men were afraid of a little hard work if it meant having what they wanted.

 

Now I can't say this was the part of the story that I liked the best because that's not the case but I had a definite appreciation for how the author's dealt with Trey's mom's addiction issue. It wasn't glorified in that she magically got better and everyone thought she was wonderful for it and all of the damage that she caused with her addiction suddenly disappeared or was forgotten and without giving away specifics of the story I'm not going to go into this any deeper except to say that as someone who has had the experience of being involved with a person who had addiction issues as with most things in this world each person, each disease, every issue is unique and while there may be commonalities there are also things unique to that person and their situation and while I saw the commonalities in Trey's mom to the situation that I was in I also saw the things that were different and unique to this characters story and for me that was a a touch of realism that came naturally to the story. 

 

Ironically as much as I enjoyed this story I can't say that I"m sorry it took me so long to get around to this one because I thoroughly enjoyed Colin Darcy's narration and again...the voice of Vincent...it was so worth waiting for, but even if you're not a fan of audio...hey, it can happen the story is a worthwhile reading experience.

 

*************************

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

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review 2018-04-09 22:45
Double Blind (Special Delivery, #2) by Heidi Cullinan Review
Double Blind - Heidi Cullinan

Know when to show your hand…and when to hedge your bets.

Randy Jansen can’t stand to just sit by and watch as a mysterious man throws money away on the roulette wheel, especially since Randy’s got his own bet going as to the reason this guy is making every play like it’s his last day on earth. The man’s dark desperation hits Randy right in the gut. Half of him warns that getting involved is a sucker’s bet, and the other half scrambles for a reason—any reason—to save the man’s soul.

Ethan Ellison has no idea what he’s going to do with himself once his last dollar is gone—until Randy whirls into his life with a heart-stealing smile and a poker player’s gaze that sees too much. Randy draws Ethan into a series of wagers that leads to a scorching kiss by midnight, but he isn’t the only one with an interest in Ethan’s vulnerability. Soon they’re both taking risks that not only play fast and loose with the law, but with the biggest prize of all: their hearts.

 

Review

 

I love this author and I really like Randy and Ethan and Mitch and Sam. All the romance and sexy times are great. It is intersting look into poly love as well. 

However, everything outside the relationship was way less interesting to me. I didn't care about the secondary characters and much of the action was opaque. I couldn't settle and found myself skipping around. 

Not my favorite.

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review 2018-03-30 02:36
Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt #2) (Audiobook)
Shelter the Sea - Heidi Cullinan

I was worried at first when I realized this book was going to get political. Not because of the focus of the politics - America's dismal record with mental health illness - but because the last time Ms. Cullinan went political with her story Enjoy the Dance she forgot she was writing a story. The characters took a back seat to the politics, and the story suffered for it. I'm glad to say that was not the case here. She remembered to tell an engaging story this time, she kept Emmett and Jeremey front and center, and we got to see how their relationship continued to progress.

 

It's been a couple of years since the end of Carry the Ocean, and Emmett and Jeremey are still living in the Roosevelt. Emmett's working now and doing well. Jeremey however is still struggling with his anxiety and depression and has entered a dark period that he tries to hide from Emmett. Emmett wants to help him and also wants to take their relationship to the next level. On top of that, the Roosevelt is facing funding problems, that exacerbates everything and highlights how easily law makers overlook the mental ill and physically limited when it suits them. 

 

Emmett though doesn't give up easily. He and the other Roosevelt Blues Brothers come up with a plan to try to defeat the legislation to privatize mental health care and along the way he figures out how to help Jeremey too. It was great to spend time with these characters again, and to see David and Darren again. We meet some great new characters, and Mai is especially a sweetie. 

 

Iggy Toma was, as always, perfect. He's four for four in the audiobooks I've listened to so far. He really brings Emmett and Jeremey and the rest of the characters to life, and lets their humanity shine through. 

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review 2018-03-26 02:37
Special Delivery (Special Delivery #1) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review!
Special Delivery - Heidi Cullinan

When your deepest, darkest fantasy shows up, get on board.

Sam Keller knows he’ll never find the excitement he craves in Middleton, Iowa—not while he’s busting his ass in nursing school and paying rent by slaving away in a pharmacy stockroom. Then Sam meets Mitch Tedsoe, an independent, long-haul trucker who makes a delivery to a shop across the alley. Innocent flirting quickly leads to a fling, and when Mitch offers to take him on a road trip west, Sam jumps at the chance for adventure. Mitch is sexy, funny and friendly, but once they embark on their journey, something changes. One minute he’s the star of Sam’s every x-rated fantasy, the next he’s almost too much a perfect gentleman. And when they hit the Las Vegas city limit, Sam has a name to pin on Mitch’s malady: Randy.

For better or for worse, Sam grapples with the meaning of friendship, letting go, growing up—even the meaning of love—because no matter how far he travels, eventually all roads lead home.

 

Review

 

Through the powerful of Heidi Culliman's writing, I believe in these characters. I want Sam and Mitch to find their way into joy.

This is a compelling exploration understanding one's sexual desires. Sam aches to be more and to have what he wants and large life and Mitch hurts from not finding the right balance of kink and love and communication.

I love the sensuality between the heroes and the love. I adore Sam coming into his own and reaching for what he wants and Mitch making himself vulnerable and finding an abiding love. 

The plot is very good and I love a road story. The secondary characters are less well drawn and complex but the core love story is so very good in this erotic romance

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