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review 2017-08-15 20:13
So just add me to the list...
Illegal Contact - Santino Hassell

What list you may wonder why the list of people who loved this book of course...yeah, that list.

 

First off let me just say I'm not much of  a fan of football, sorry I am Canadian the hockey arena is more than likely where you'll find me if sports are involved, but for me, when it comes to books it's the story that matters and the subject doesn't always have to be a favorite topic of mine. Santino Hassell is one of those authors whose name on the cover takes precedence over what the story is about...in other words a good book, is a good book, is a good book and I've learned that there are certain authors who I can rely on to deliver a good book no matter what they're writing about. Santino Hassell's name is on that list for me.

 

ICoS was my first reading experience with this author and he and Ais totally blew me out of the water with that series. So much so that after reading it I was compelled to buy the Director's Cut copies for Evanfall. I own the e-book copy or I own the book I don't make it a habit to own both and if  you know me than you know that doing so speaks to how incredibly much I enjoyed them. Next I discovered the awesomeness that is his 'Five Boroughs' series and enjoyed these as audiobooks and now this author has again shown his diversity with 'Illegal Contact' the first book in his latest series 'The Barons' again...mind blown! I have yet to enjoy his paranormal story 'Stygian' and his other new series 'The Community' but trust me, I have them all waiting for me on my e-reader...it will happen.

 

Gavin Brawley has it all the successful football career, the money, the huge house that you can get lost in, fame, success...so it begs the question 'Why is someone with all this so unhappy?'

 

Noah Monroe is a college grad, he's buried in debt, lives with his dad who is jobless after being on the wrong side of his employer's latest downsizing efforts and yet, in many ways he's happier than Gavin and would be even happier if he could just find a job that allowed him to earn enough money to pay his bills. 

 

Thankfully Gavin's misfortune is about to become Noah's golden opportunity. When the successful football player ends up under house arrest and needing a Personal Assistant. 

 

This one's a slow burn to be sure. There may be a bit of lust at first sight but Gavin and Noah have more of an oil and water mix going on at the beginning. Watching these two maneuver their way around each other as they slowly work their way past the barriers each of them have built is more than a little entertaining. 

 

As Gavin and Noah spend time together Noah begins to see past the gruff and rude exterior that Gavin has put up to the man...the man that no one but Gavin's friends and teammates, Simeon and Marcus, ever see and even they don't get to see the person that Noah ultimately uncovers. 

Noah’s lips stretched into a smile, and his eyes twinkled behind his glasses. “I feel like four and a half months ago those words would never have come out of your mouth.”

 

“Heh. Maybe. Four and a half months ago I didn’t see a need to not drive people away.”

So much of Gavin and Noah's story feels real, like maybe we could have read this in the tabloids. There's a lot of unvarnished truth in the story we're being given and much of it is a sad commentary on how we...and by we, I mean society in general, view celebrities. Whether they're actors, singers or sports figures...if they're in the limelight we tend to feel that their private lives are meant for public viewing and this is the issue that drives Gavin's actions both at the beginning of the book and at the end and how Gavin deals with the circumstances during both events shows his growth as an individual and how much Noah has influenced his life, which for me was definitely in a positive way. 

 

The secondary characters in this story as always were given enough depth and dimension to make them feel real...some of them were totally likable, such as Jasmine. Noah's best friend who calls him on his BS and isn't afraid to keep it real as well as Simeon and Marcus who do the same for Gavin. There was also Gavin's agent Mel, a tough, no non-sense businesswoman but then there was Joe Carmichael, Gavin's manager who was admittedly not very likable but he truly cared about Gavin and had his best interest at heart...likable but not. But when it came to secondary characters my personal favorite was Case the guy from the autoshop who befriended Noah. I totally want a story for him...please? There must be a quarterback or a linebacker somewhere in need of an awesome, sexy and genuinely nice guy to work on his care and maybe him? Just offering that one up for the powers that be to consider.

 

As for the sexy times in this one...well all I'm going to say is 'good things come to he or she who waits and this pair are so worth the wait...Gavin and Noah are seriously hot...I'm pretty sure that some circuits got scorched in my Kobo, but hey, don't take my word for it. There are lots of other awesome reviews you can read or better yet just read the book.

 

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An ARC of 'Illegal Contact' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-08-13 17:48
Ok...so daddy kink...still not my thing, but...
Permanent Ink - Avon Gale,Piper Vaughn

A good story, is a good story, is a good story and this one was for me a step above good. When i can read something that contains a topic that I have to be honest is one I tend to avoid and really enjoy the story anyways and not be bothered by that particular aspect...well, for me it says a lot about what an amazing job the authors did with this book.

 

Ok, so confession time. I took a short break here and went poking around at some other reviews because I have to admit as much as I enjoyed this story I was surprised by the fact that the 'daddy kink' didn't really bother me and I think I found my explanation in reviews written by fellow reviewers whom I respect and definitely consider to be more knowledgeable about this topic and according to those reviews the 'daddy kink' in this story is 'mild' and/or not representative of 'true daddy kink'. This makes sense to me so I'm good with that and since I wasn't really looking for 'daddy kink' it in no way changes how much I enjoyed the story. 

 

The age gap here is 17 years and even though I've essentially gotten past my whole age gap issue. I have to admit this is a big gap in my eyes but things worked. it was a combination of the blind optimism of youth that was exhibited by Poe's belief that age is just a number and don't misunderstand in many ways it is and in all honesty thank heavens for the optimism that we have in our youth it's what frequently gives us the faith and courage to step beyond the boundaries that we set for ourselves as we get older. We got to see Poe do a lot of growing up in this story. He learned from his mistakes and as he did he also redefined who he was and what he wanted from life. He went from being a son who Landon loved but was at his wits end as to what the do with him to being a son, Landon could be proud of and a man that Jericho could truly love and be partners with. 

 

I also totally understood Jericho's perspective while the age gap frequently bothered him and he was the one who more often than not brought it  up. I liked that he also seemed to come to the realization that sometimes when something works and it feels right you just have to go for it. Let it happen, seize the day whatever adage you want to apply. Jericho finally accepted that he and Poe were good for each other and they were good together...it worked for them and really at the end of the day isn't that what matters most that a relationship is good and the people involved are happy and where they want to be. 

 

Along with Jericho and Poe who I truly would love more of we are given Poe's father Landon and honestly I'd love a story for him. Landon...hot men, fast cars...I can so get behind this idea...mmmmmmm...yummy and then there's also Callum. Callum strikes me as someone who's story could be fascinating to say the least. Along with Landon and Callum we are given Poe's best friend Blue, I'm really torn on how I feel about Blue part of me wants to just smack him upside the head and tell him what a total douchecanoe he was for the things he did another part of me wants to feed him milk and cookies and help him see that he's worth so much more than he gives to himself and that he deserves some happy and love too but maybe he needs to learn to value and respect himself first so that other people will value and respect him as well.  Lastly we have Pete one of the tattoo artist in Jericho's shop we don't really see much of the grumpy dude but again I think there might be an intriguing story there. 

 

'Permanent Ink' was an excellent start to 'Art & Soul' a new series by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn and I'm really looking forward to adding this to my reading list.

 

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A copy of 'Permanent Ink' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-07-19 18:45
Well this one caught my attention...hook, line & sinker...
Setting the Hook - Andrew Grey

'Setting the Hook' is the first book in Andrew Grey's latest series 'Love's Charter' and I do have to admit it's been a while since I've enjoyed one of this author's books as much as this one.

 

William Westmoreland has a high pressure life in Rhode Island. Helping his father run the family business and trying to live up to the expectations of his parents. Who I have to admit in spit of everything else were at least accepting of William's sexuality.  William's only bit of self indulgence is his twice a year trips to Florida to charter on Mike Jansen's fishing boat where he can relax, catch some fish and enjoy the scenery...all of the scenery.  But he's never done more than look.

 

Mike runs his charter fishing service so he can provide for his mother and daughter and he keeps everything else firmly locked in the closet to ensure that they stay safe. Following his heart isn't an option in Mike's eyes. 

 

Neither of these men are looking for a relationship. For different reasons each man's life is ruled by fear making love a complication that they just don't have room for. William doesn't have time and lives in fear of letting his father down...Mike lives in fear of what he could lose if he follows his heart. 

 

When Mother Nature steps in and forces these two men together they begin to realize that they can no more fight their feelings than they can the storm raging outside and keeping William in Florida.

 

The relationship between these two wasn't a direct line to happily ever after for either of them. There was the real world to deal with, choices and decisions to be made and none of it was easy for them. William returned to Rhode Island to the life that he felt he couldn't escape and this was when he realized that it was a life he couldn't and didn't want to continue to live. At the same time Mike began to realize that while he loved his mother and daughter and wouldn't change anything that had happened in the past he needed to find a way to redefine his future and still provide for them and keep them safe.

 

These men and their story worked for me. Things weren't easily resolved for them and at times the floundered but I loved that they were both willing to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep trying, keep working to find a way to be together and create a life together. 

 

As well as letting their fears rule their lives, both William and Mike treasure their family in their own way. Mike's mom is loving, strong and supportive and does her best to help him raise his daughter. At the same time she sees so much more of her son and who he is than he realizes and truly wants the best for them. 

 

William's parents were a bit more complicated and at the beginning I can honestly say I was not a fan and while I never fully warmed up to them as the story progressed I came to appreciate the potential that was beginning to grow as his parents began to change and see that the life there son was leading was neither the life he wanted or needed. Throughout the story there was conflict between William and his parents as he struggled to change his life so he could be with Mike. I liked that we got to see things between William and his parents start to improve. It was nice to read a story where a child and his parents were able to work through their conflicts come out on the other side with a stronger relationship rather than being alienated from each other.

 

Greg Tremblay was the narrator for this story and as always he did not disappoint. The voices worked for me, they were expressive and conveyed emotion giving depth and life to the story.  Mr. Tremblay is definitely one of my favorite narrators, his audio books without fail 

 

'Setting the Hook' has given a solid start to this series and I'm definitely looking forward to continuing with 'Love's Charter' and seeing whose story will come next.

 

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

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review 2017-07-02 17:12
A Rustle of Silk
Rustle of Silk, A: A new forensic mystery series set in Stuart England (A Gabriel Taverner Mystery) - Alys Clare

A Rustle of Silk is ... OK, I guess.

 

It's 1603, Elizabeth I is dead and England awaits the arrival of their new king, James VI of Scotland, who will be James I of England.  Meanwhile, Gabriel Taverner, a former sailor in the Royal Navy, and now a doctor (he claims to be a physician, but knows more about surgery), is trying to set up a practice in his old home town.  Someone's leaving him vile little "presents" of dead animals on his doorstep, and they don't suspect a cat.

 

And then a man is found dead.  It turns out to be his brother-in-law, a silk merchant.  Was it suicide, or murder?

 

The prose style and characterization were good. 

 

On the other hand, the mystery didn't make much sense at a certain level, and we had a villain with talking disease.  (No cat in his lap this time, though!)  Taverner seemingly can't decide if he's a physician or a surgeon, which were two very different jobs in the period, performed by different people of different experiences and social ranks.  (A physician learned his craft at a university, and observed clients and made prescriptions.  He might inspect their urine, but physical interaction with patients' bodies was usually limited to bleeding them due to an "inbalance in the humors."  A surgeon, on the other hand, was of a lower class in society, did not need to go to a university, and had the practical experience of removing limbs, with more or less success.  Physicians were far more respected than surgeons, who often did double duty as barbers.)

 

Also, the occasional word choice struck me as non-period ("opportunist" would not be in use for some 200 or 250 years after this is set), and in the understandable desire to avoid info dumping, Clare has Taverner unaware of some things he really should have known, despite having been 15 years at sea.  (In particular, that suicides could not receive a decent Christian burial in a churchyard.)

 

I might read another in the series, but I doubt I'd go out looking for one in particular.

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review 2017-06-24 01:28
Excellent End to an Excellent Series
New Moon (Moon Series Book 8) - Lisa Kessler

Jaguar shifter Sebastian Severino is a loner. Having been his father’s assassin for years, he trusts nobody and nobody trusts him.  Isabelle Wood is a wolf shifter and a bounty hunter. She’s determined to take down the evil organization that was responsible for her father’s death, starting with it’s crown prince. When her wolf claims him as her mate while her knife is at his throat, she can’t bring herself to kill him even as she denies what her wolf is telling her.

This is the final book in Lisa Kessler’s Moon series and I think it’s my favorite. I simply fell in love with Sebastian and Isabelle. They book had to go through so much to find family and love in the end, especially Sebastian. It makes me sad that this is the last of a great series. A great book. I highly recommend.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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