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Search tags: Heidi-Cullinan
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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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review 2018-03-19 04:01
Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1) (Audiobook)
Carry the Ocean - Heidi Cullinan

This was amazing and I'm kicking myself for taking so long to get to it. Except by waiting, I got to listen to Iggy Toma's brilliant narration which made the book that much more special. He really studied and got lots of advice from people with autism on how to portray Emmitt and it really shows. He voices Emmitt and Jeremey perfectly. Toma and Cullinan are proving to be a match made in audiobook heaven.

 

Emmitt has autism and Jeremy has major depressive disorder with extreme anxiety disorder. This isn't a book about "love cures all" because there are no cures. Instead, this is a book that respects both the struggles and the accomplishments of these two amazing young men, and how they have learned to manage the world around them and navigate a new relationship with each other at the same time. They're oddly perfect for each other, because Emmitt is calm and controlled when Jeremey is not, and Jeremey can understand the emotions that Emmitt has a hard time expressing. But their disabilities can also aggravate each other as well, so they have to learn how to talk to each other and when to give each other space. 

 

I really liked Emmitt's family. His parents and aunt were a great support system for Emmitt and later for Jeremey. Jeremey's family were not understanding about his issues at all, but they're allowed their time to be humanized as well. They're not bad parents because they don't love their son. It's clear they want the best for him. But they're misinformed, sometimes purposely so, but there's more to it than just that.

 

Then there's Derek, who we meet later in the book and really shines instantly as a great friend to Jeremey, even if he's something of a foil for Emmitt, at least at first. 

 

I can tell that an amazing amount of research went into this book, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

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