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review 2017-04-16 21:43
3 stars for what had the potential to be so much more....
The Winter Dark - J.S. Cook

but...I needed more for that to happen.

 

Ok before I get into the actual story I'm going to deal with the audio. K. C. Kelly was the narrator for this book and he's a new to me narrator and one that I'm definitely going to keep an eye on. I really enjoyed his narration on this book but I've also taken the time to listen to some samples of other books he's narrated and I have to say I want to listen to a few of them. I like his voices they're filled with personality and life adding both depth and emotion to the story. So the audio portion gets 4 stars from me.

 

I love a good romantic thriller and this one had all the hallmarks of being just that. Sadly that didn't happen. In short order this story was too short. It almost felt like a detailed story outline rather than a complete story. It felt to me like there were a few opportunities for this story to be fleshed out and turned into a far more detailed novel or novella at the very least.

 

The setting is small town Mississippi and our MCs are the sheriff  Eli Gallagher and his deputy, Stan Leach. I liked these characters and I very much enjoyed the story that was there. The book starts with both Eli and Stan involved with other people. We quickly find out that Eli's current interest is...to put it bluntly a bag of dicks. Seriously this guy is so full of himself it's pitiful and laughable so I did...laugh that is. This was also what made me like Gallagher. Gallagher basically showed himself to be a class act...while Gilbert, Eli's love interest, (or BoD...Bag 'o' Dicks as I lovingly came to think of him...add copious amounts of sarcasm here please) proved himself to be a totally pompous, pretentious, self-absorbed BoD.

 

Seems good old Gilbert wants to get married to a woman because 'it's time to settle down'...no spoiler here it's in the blurb. Seriously this part of the story left me trying to get my jaw off the floor with how astoundingly oblivious and full of himself our man Gil proved himself to be. I was very entertained with how the author wrote this part of the story...loved it.

 

Meanwhile Stan suddenly finds his hands full with Harvey Faber until they're not...this would be one of those chances to fill out the story...oh well opportunity knocked and no one answered the door. This was another part of the story that I really enjoyed I liked how Stan was with Harvey. It was sweet and kind. 

 

So at the end of it all my biggest problem with this story wasn't that I didn't like it. It was that I did. I liked it enough that I really wanted the author to give me more story. More background on both of these men and definitely more relationship time between Eli and Stan because yeah, I liked these two as a couple and I would have loved to have had more time with them both while they're getting together and after they become a couple. By the way everyone did I mention...AGE GAP!!! That's right there's about 15 years between these two and I didn't care...I think I'm cured.

 

Simply put at the end of it all I wanted more. I needed more to take this from 3 "It's ok, I liked it" stars to possibly 5 "HOLY Crap! This was great stars. I definitely feel the need to check out more of this author's books and K.C. Kelly is a yes on my audio narrator list. So while the book wasn't as good as it could have been I'd say this one was a win and if there's ever second release that gets notably revised I think I'm on board for a re-read...eeeerrr...re-listen on this on.

 

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An audiobook of 'The Winter Dark' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-04-09 02:05
I loved this book it was awesome, but...
The Imperfection of Swans - Brandon Witt

It was what came after that brought me to tears...well done Mr. Witt, very well done.

 

 

You'll probably notice that I say this a lot...but once again my decision to start reviewing audio books has enabled me to get to a story on my TBR list that I keep squirreling away from. There's no insult intended to anyone because this is just how I am. I actually do this with some of my favorite authors and have done it for my entire reading life. I read a lot and I also buy a lot of books and I squirrel from book to book a lot. Which ironically in spit of the fact that I own 10 of this authors titles makes this the first story that I've actually read...errr, listened to. 

 

Anyways, enough about my strange reading habits and I'll get back to the real issue at hand here...'The Imperfection of Swans'...wow, what a truly beautiful story. Kevin has always wanted to open up his own bridal store and Casper loves to bake and having his own bakery that specialized in wedding cakes would be a dream come true for him but it's not until these two meet and an acquaintance suggest that they need to partner up that both men begin to believe that they really can have their hearts desires fulfilled.

 

Kevin is both heartbreaking and inspiring. His constant struggle to maintain what he perceives to be the necessary image and to keep himself from falling victim to the harmful effects of his choices made my heart ache for him and in the end his efforts to finally acknowledge and break the cycle of harmful behavior that had ruled his life took so much courage. Yes, he had an amazing support system and I was so happy for that but still ultimately it was Kevin and only Kevin who had the ability to change things for himself and the strength that is needed to do this and succeed is so amazing. 

 

I loved Casper...was he perfect...no, but, he was perfectly wonderful and most important of all...he was perfect for Kevin. He loved and accepted Kevin warts and all and really can any of us every truly ask for more? 

 

There were more than a few awesome secondary characters in this book and for the most part I loved them. From Kevin's family to his ex, who I was happy to see wasn't portrayed as a bad person so much as the wrong person for Kevin. I'd actually like to see that character have a novel where he gets his own happily ever after. I'd also like more about Kevin's Uncle Tony and his husband and Casper's ex not-ex Brent just needs to go away...like I said a lot of interesting secondary characters in this one...the guy that ran the Sushi place? Seriously what was up with him?

 

I'm sure it's no real secret by now that the character of Kevin is based on the author's best friend and while the story got more than a few tears from me it was the comments of the real Kevin and the author that were read after the story that brought even more tears to my eyes because I was yet again reminded that Kevin, the real Kevin is truly a brave soul to share what was both a difficult and trying experience with the world is not something that a lot of people would be comfortable or willing to do. It takes strength to do this especially when you consider that the handsome young man on the cover is the real Kevin. So admittedly the story itself was probably a 4 star read for me but when all this is factored in I can in all honesty give this no fewer than 5 glowing 'you've wowed me' stars.

 

So where does that leave the audio book? Kirt Graves was the narrator for this one. His voices are expressive and have the discernible difference allowing me to listen without difficulty or losing track of who's speaking and questioning which voice is whose, I had no problem staying engaged with the story. In general this narrator works for me and while he's another new to me narrator, based on this book and the samples from a couple of his other books that I've listened to he's someone that I'll look forward to hearing more from in future.

 

'The Imperfection of Swans' is a story that deals with some really tough issues with insight and sensitivity by a 'new to me' author and narrator who made for a really enjoyable combination. 

 

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

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review 2017-04-07 02:51
I'm a little torn on this one...
Lord Mouse - Mason Thomas

And once again audible has assisted me in getting to a book that I've wanted to read for quite a while now and keep getting derailed on my way to it. 'Lord Mouse' is that little bit of different that I like to get in my reading diet from time to time. 

 

I loved the fact that Lord Mouse, our hero if you will isn't a big, brawny alpha male and while he can hold his own in a fight. He's got brains and knows how to use them and then we have Garron who is the big, brawny, sorta' alpha male that Mouse has been contracted to rescue. 

 

Lord Mouse was an adventure filled with action. This was a mix between the adventures of Robin Hood and a good old fashioned swashbuckler with a touch of fantasy and a dash of romance thrown in for good measure.

 

One of the best parts of this story for me was that even though I knew Mouse and Garron were going to be the MCs in this story and they would end up together. I honestly have to admit at the beginning when they first met I questioned how this would be possible. It just seemed like they'd have an easier time bickering and snipping at each other than actually falling in love. It was awesome...no other word for it, watching these two go from basically wanting to throttle each other to two men in love was more than a little entertaining.

 

My only real niggle was with the ending of the book it was for me a little too predicable and while I liked that our heroes got to be together. I think I would have like it better if things had been a little different...and that's all you're getting about that because it's the ending and I'm going to spoil that for anybody if I can help it and I can.

 

I know the second book in this series has already been released and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I highly doubt that I will seek out the audio book for it...you see this is my dilemma...'Lord Mouse' was narrated by Joel Leslie and for whatever reason and I really haven't quite figured it out. This narrator just doesn't work for me. I'm not saying he's bad because I really and truly don't believe he is but just like with authors, not every narrator is for every listener. I've tried a couple of books by this particular narrator and I end up being not quite happy with the character voices that he gives me and again it's not that I think he's bad. I have friends who have really enjoyed some of his other books and I don't think they're wrong about it. I just think it's not working for me.

 

I guess at the end of it all what I'm trying to say is I gave the book 'Lord Mouse' 4 stars because for me it was a really fun and enjoyable story but for the narration it's just 3 stars...not a bad narrator just not the right one for me. Seriously, if you like audio books check out the sample wherever you buy your books from and then decide. You may love him, I didn't but different strokes for different folks, right?

 

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An audiobook of 'Lord Mouse' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-02 02:56
Sinclair (Tales of Tooley Street Book 1) - Julia Herdman

As a debut novel, Sinclair boasts the musical language of a practiced craftsman.  The characters are vibrant, each man and woman is lovely, but terribly complex.  Although it is fiction, the struggles of the human heart are illustrated with great care.  James Sinclair is driven by his need for acclaim, only to discover that the love of a good woman suits him fine. Charlotte Leadam is a hard-headed widow, sure she will never love again, only to discover that she has the heart for new romance.  The sinking of the Sherwell, a ship from the East India Company's fleet, sets off a tale about the human capacity to make mistakes, to love the wrong people, and to ultimately find forgiveness in seemingly impossible circumstances.

 

I was enraptured by the multitude of plots that intercepted each other with grace. Much in the same style as the prolific Diana Gabaldon, Herdman made true on her statement to write stories of love while simultaneously introducing characters and story lines one after another.  Written in third person omniscient, the reader is privy to the internal turmoil of all the characters, eliciting, for me at least, a strong affinity with the honorable Frank Greenwood, James Sinclair's loyal companion.  Although the novel is entitled after the dutiful doctor from Tooley Street, Herdman divides her attention among his friends, his relatives, and the neighboring English milieu.  I was surprised that she had not elected to tell the tale in first person, but I was pleased with the final product nonetheless.

 

In conclusion, the story moved at an easy pace, made all the more enjoyable by Julia Herdman's humor and her careful execution of historical fact telling.  I can easily see how further stories may be written to expand on the lives of minor characters like Lucy and the rest of the family at Beverly, Connie and her new role as wife and mother, and William's crush on Alice.  All in all, it's safe to say I'm in need of book two!

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review 2017-03-30 20:13
This is definitely not Puff the Magic Dragon...
On Wings of Thunder - M.D. Grimm

There's a dragon in my story!!! So you know I'm already a happy, happy girl...but damn, this dragon is HOT!!! He's big and black and has piercing blue eyes and if he says he's going to set the world on fire...than you can be sure things are going up in flames. I know I damned near did.

 

"On Wings of Thunder" was my first time reading this author and quite honestly they impressed the hell outta' me. Not only was there an amazing dragon in the story. A dragon who was suppose to be 'the bad guy' but we've got angels and while I like angels...I mean they're not as cool as dragons...or should I say hot. Since in this story it's the angels who are cold blooded...whatever, angels are ok, dragons are amazing!!! I have to admit while I'll jump into a dragon story without hesitation, I am usually a little more reserved when it comes to angels. I like my angels to be the angels of fantasy and not theology and happily they were.

 

Asagoroth was imprisoned by the angels but what no one knew was that he cast his own spell one that would eventually free him when the right time came. It is Trystan one of the 'unchosen' who unknowingly sets events in motion that bring about Asagoroth's freedom. The angels are ready to go to war and Asagoroth tells them 'give me the one who freed me and we shall leave you alone'. The angels refuse, but Trystan has his own ideas about this and he chooses to go with the dragon.

 

While the sex between these two was scorching hot and I totally approve. The one thing I do wish was that there'd been a little bit more story because what we got was awesome and I admit I'm being greedy when I say that I would have been willing to sacrifice a itsy, bitsy amount of the sex if it would have gotten me a tiny bit more story. Not because I didn't enjoy that part of the story trust me...I did, I was just really, really into this story and these characters...so yeah, it just comes down to "Please sir, I want more."...did I mention I'm greedy that way, when it comes to an awesome story?

 

This may have been a story about 'angels' and 'demons', but, what it wasn't was your typical...'angels good, demons bad' concept. There really wasn't a clearly defined good and bad here...more like a lot of misguided souls. People who believed what they were doing was the right thing but sadly their beliefs were also based on some bad information. This story was like catnip for me...dragons, demons, angels, fantasy, battles, love, passion...serious catnip here folks.

 

Add in Pavi Proczko, a narrator who totally rocked that dragons voice. Don't get me wrong I liked all of the books narration but the dragon's voice for me was absolute perfection...it was deep, gravelly, filled with power and passion, fearless...see totally a dragon's voice, I loved it. This was also my first time listening to this narrator and I was impressed. I found that his narration of this story contained the elements that I've come to look for and enjoy in an audio book. The reading was well paced, his voices were distinct and consistent, they conveyed the characters emotions whether it was happiness, sadness, anger, passion, love, etc. The continuity of what I was hearing and how well it blended with the words of the story simply made my audio experience with this new to me author and narrator a total pleasure.

 

All in all I'm definitely putting this one firmly in the win category...awesome story, excellent new author and narrator. If you like fantasy and dragons as much as I do...check this one out. I think you'll be impressed.

 

 

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An Audiobook of "On Wings of Thunder" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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