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review 2019-10-08 16:41
This whole series would make for some awesome Halloween listening...
The Rising - Morgan Brice

‘The Rising’ is the second full length novel in Morgan Brice’s ‘Badlands’ series and I can honestly say without reservation I should not like this series…I mean seriously it’s paranormal, there are ghost and demons and all kinds of things that go bump in the night and yet here I am firmly entrenched in it.

 

If you’re someone who likes all of that stuff with a solid dose of romance added as well than I definitely encourage you to check out this series and honestly you could probably pick up this book and not be lost but my suggestion is to start at the beginning so that you can get all of the background for Simon and Vic and their relationship as well as having a chance to meet the secondary characters who appear throughout ‘The Badlands’ stories, before diving into this latest book but then I’d also say if you like audio books this series is absolutely delightful to listen to on audio with Kale Williams doing an absolutely fan-freakin-tastic job as the narrator for this series, I think for me this is a very solid part of the reason that I’ve been enjoying the series so much.…so I just used the word ‘delightful’ when talking about stories with ghost and demons and who knows what else in them…yeah, my world just tilted on it’s axis a little.

 

Every bit as unusual as the genre for me is the setting. I have to admit when I think of settings for ghost stories…Myrtle Beach is not at the top of my list but that’s where these stories takes place and as unusual as that might seem to some…like me, the author’s made it work…I guess when you think about it you can probably find ghost anywhere if you know how and where to look, but I have to admit when I think of ghost I think of places that resound with age and history…places like New Orleans, Savannah or even older places that you’d find an ocean away in Europe. So even though it’s a little thing taking a location that’s normally associated with sun and fun and using it as the setting for stories about ‘things that go bump in the night’ adds that touch of different that can sometimes make a story stand out a little bit more than it otherwise might have.

 

‘The Rising’ takes place as Myrtle Beach is preparing to face one of the worst storms it’s seen in years...it’s a storm that’s not just promising to cause possible death and destruction in the present but it’s churning up things from the past…things that should have stayed buried in the depth of the oceans waters, things that could prove to be far more lethal to some than a mere tropical storm.

 

It’s going to take Simon, Vic and Simon’s network of friends as well as some help from beyond the grave to put the past to rest this time. I’m very much a fan of Vic and Simon and they’re fast becoming a favorite pairing of mine and while I love the parts of the story that deal with their growing relationship, I have to admit there was more than one occasion when we were getting some Simon and Vic time that this reader was all about getting back to the rest of the story. I was very solidly hooked into what was happening with the storm and all of the ghost…pirates, villains and others. I loved the rich and colorful history that the author created for this part of the story with it’s tale of pirates, intrigue and betrayal and if that’s not enough to make you curious there’s always the curse of the Gallow’s Nine and yes, you’ll need to read the book to find out what that’s all about.

 

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An audio book of ‘The Rising’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

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review 2019-10-08 16:18
Just color me happy when it comes to this series...
The Good Green Earth (Colors of Love #3) - V.L. Locey

‘The Good Green Earth’ is the third book in V.L. Locey’s ‘Colors of Love’ series and when I started reading this one, I expected that I’d enjoy the story. What I didn’t expect was that this would become my favorite story in the series so far, as a matter of fact in all honesty once I actually started reading the story I began to think that this one might not be for me at all. This was mostly due to the fact that Nathan Zinkan and I just didn’t get off to a good start…as in I was really not a fan of his attitude, his behavior…of him in general but I was determined to stick with it on this one. I’ve enjoyed the previous books and a lot of other stories written by Ms Locey, so I decided to go on faith and stick with it for a bit longer on this one…turned out to be a good decision on my part.

 

I loved how the relationship progressed in this story. Specifically, how the age difference was dealt with. There was a time when an age gap as considerable as this one and with the potential power imbalance that could result because of the individual ages of the MCs would have garnered a big ole ‘no thanks’ from me and while I’ve gotten better about this over the past year or two, I have to admit, this one still pushed my limits but sometimes you’ve just ‘gotta have faith’.

 

While Nathan was a bit of a hard sell for me at the beginning because what we were given was a young man who appeared to have it all including the sense of entitlement that sometimes comes with it. Fortunately as the story progresses, we get a deeper look at Nathan’s past and a lot of what has led him to become the person that he is…some of which is good and some not so good. Most importantly in regard to Nathan though is we see how he changes, and this is a big part of why this ended up being a 5 star read for me. In spite of his faults Nathan is someone who tends more often than not to see the half full part of his glass and he’s definitely not afraid to live life to the fullest and while this maybe needs to be tempered a bit that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad trait…just one that would benefit from some better life choices and a bit more maturity. Both are things that Nate starts to gain as he begins to pursue a relationship with Bran and reflect on the events that have led to his current circumstances taking him from being a character that I didn’t like very much to someone that I was rooting for…a character that I genuinely cared about and wanted to see succeed…in the end Nathan became someone who I’d be proud to have as my kid.

 

Bran is considerably older than Nathan and when they first meet, he sees in Nathan everything he loves and everything he hates. It’s in spite of his reservations that Bran takes Nate on as part of a community service program and on a more personal level this is Bran’s way of keeping a promise to someone who meant everything to him.

 

While Bran’s a bit broken in his own way, he’s also had more time and a better support system to help him deal with things and he’s got a whole lot more life experience to fall back on when it comes to decision making in general. Most importantly Bran’s nature seems to lean towards being compassionate and supportive something Nate’s had little of in his life and here at his personal crossroads it’s what he now needs the most.

 

On the surface Nathan and Bran really don’t seem to have a lot in common, but as the story progresses the reader discovers that each man has a story to tell and each story is heartbreakingly unique and integral to the person that each of them has become and to what they bring to the relationship and each other.

 

There were a few interesting secondary characters in this story such as Bran’s niece, Dixie and the seniors who tended the community gardens at Bran’s garden center. They added an awesome touch of humor, color and insight as many seniors often do in real life, especially Maggie who maybe makes some pretty yummy brownies. As for family Bran as well as his niece Dixie he also has an aunt and uncle who pretty much raised him. While Nate has an ailing father, a major jerk of a brother and a mother…who’s somewhere doing someone…so essentially Nate is on his own. While these characters definitely help to flesh out the story adding to the overall interest from start to finish it’s Nathan and Bran and their relationship that unfailingly remain the focus of things.

 

I loved some of the details that were woven into this story and while they may not have been integral to the story they also added depth and texture to the story and simply put, for me this all added to my overall enjoyment of the story…yeah, I confess I’m totally a Neil Diamond fan…my recommendation put on the Neil Diamond and check out this book it’s a beautiful second chance story even if you haven’t read the first two books in the series you’ll be fine with this one and who knows you may find yourself wanting to go back to the beginning. I know I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

 

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An ARC of ‘The Good Green Earth’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-10-08 15:43
Back in March this was the first of my summertime stories...
Family Camp - Eli Easton,Matthew Shaw

and now as summer comes to a close it seems that I’m going to wrap up the warm weather season with this story on audio.

 

So here I sit at what is nearly the end of summer and the end of this book once again feeling all warm and mushy and a puddle of summer lovin’ goo! I’ve I loved sweet, nerdy, sexy, school teacher, Geo and hot, successful baseball star Travis before I adore them all the more now for the depth that Matthew Shaw has given to them with his narration. These two men are every bit as hot on audio as they were on page or e-reader screen as the case may be.

 

‘Family Camp’ is a story of a summer love that became something more. Geo and Travis meet for the first time when Geo runs out of gas and Travis comes to his rescue. While these men come from very different backgrounds…Travis is adopted and stays firmly in his closet despite having a large and loving family, while may not be leading any Pride Parades he’s also not in the closet and is an only child with loving parents.

 

I loved how instinctively supportive Geo and Travis were of each other…neither of them had to ask for this, it was instinctive for them…if you love someone, then you’ve got their back. It’s not a ‘lover’s thing or a married couples thing…it’s a sibling thing, a parent thing…ultimately it’s a friend thing and for as fast as the romance happened it was grounded in friendship, one of the best foundations for any relationship that I can think of.

 

‘Family Camp’ is a sweet, low angst story and while there was a little bit of miscommunication between our MCs it didn’t  become over the top, blown out of proportion drama because the MCs were adult enough to talk it out, rather than ass-u-me they knew everything. So, in the end it all came down to a case of miscommunication without lack of communication to blowing it out of proportion and for me this felt like a real-life thing.

 

As well as the romance between Geo and Travis the story focuses on Geo’s efforts to solidify his relationship with Jayden and Lucy. Geo’s whole being resonated with not just how much he wanted a family but how much he wanted that family to begin with Jayden and Lucy.  He’s someone that any child would be blessed to have in their lives.

The fact that I frequently found myself sitting back, closing my eyes and picturing the whole summer camp scene and letting much of the book playout like a movie in my mind’s eye speaks to the fact that the narrator did a solid job narrating this audio book, since one of my favorite things about audio books is that I can listen to them while I’m working on one of my craft projects whether it’s needlework or quilting.

 

Even though I missed out on the camp experience as a child Matt Shaw’s narration of Ms Easton’s ‘Family Camp’ has made my experience at ‘Camp Evermore’ with it’s s’mores, campfires, scary stories and campy camp songs one of the highlights of my summer reading experiences.

 

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An audio book of ‘Family Camp’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-10-05 18:33
Sometimes it's the things we want the most...
Stand In Place - Mary Calmes,Greg Boudreaux

That are the hardest things to keep...

 

There's a romance in this story and it's sweet and I enjoyed it a lot but what really captured my attention and my heart in this story was the other part of this story...the one about family.

 

'Family' is really such an abstract word. It holds different meanings for all of us. For me it's that group of people who are there for you no matter what, it's your shelter from the storm that can be the rest of the world...family it's unconditional love and acceptance...it's something that we all want but don't always get. So yeah, I could go on and on about how important...how special I think family is but I think I've made my point...family when it's the way it should be is magical.

 

Kaenon thought he had that special family until they threw him out but that was also when he learned that sometimes the family we have isn't the one we need and just like so many other things in life...families shift and change. 

 

When Kaenon's family threw him out it was his grandparents and his aunt who were there to create an new family for him...to be the family that he needed to take him into adulthood and give him the love that he needed to go out into the world and make a life for himself...to leave Braxton, Texas and not return...until over a decade later when his grandmother...the last member of the family that saved him calls him home, to spend her final summer with her.

 

'Stand in Place' is set at the beginning of that summer and Kaenon's determined to spend that summer with his grandmother and then return to his home and the life he's made away from Braxton. What Kaenon doesn't realize is that his grandmother's plans for the summer don't include just sitting around waiting to die. Nope, grandma's determined to make sure that Kaenon's family once again shifts to make sure that the grandchild she helped raise isn't alone that he has a family to love him...to give him back the family that years ago failed him.

 

I have to admit I don't think I would have been as quick to forgive as Kaenon was especially towards his father and having brothers and sisters of my own I get why he might have been more willing to forgiving his brother and sister, I get how much he missed having them in his life.

 

There's a fine line being walked when someone is seeking/giving forgiveness...how soon is too soon? and at what point has it gone from giving forgiveness to handing out retribution? and those are questions that have to be determined by each person on an individual basis. 

 

This story held a plethora of secondary characters that were all intriguing in their own right but most of all I was enchanted with Keanon's grandmother (Jo as she preferred to be called) this woman is the grandmother we all would love to have and she was delightful and not to forget Kaenon's love interest 'Brody'.

 

Brody was the high school football star, best friend to Kaenon's brother and Kaenon's had a crush on Brody that goes all the way back to high school...it's a crush that Kaenon doesn't realize has been reciprocated for years. But now that he's got a second chance Brody's not going to let Kaenon slip away without putting up a fight.

 

Last but not least there's Jo's garden...over the years it's gone to ruin and now Jo want's Brody to restore it to help bring it back to its former glory. There's so much symbolism to this garden. The connection that Kaenon's family holds to the land...the connection they hold to the community and so many other things. I enjoyed the potential sybolisms that are loosely woven into the is part of the story allowing the reader to put their own interpretation on them.

 

Ok, so by now it's pretty obvious that for me this story just worked and I really enjoyed it, but I need to add that this was also due in no small part to the wonderful narration provided by Greg Boudreaux. I have no doubt in my mind that when I do my annual... semi-annual...quarterly...re-listen of my Mary Calmes audio collection, this one will be on my list...I don't have them all if her books on audio but I'm working on it!

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review 2019-10-05 05:19
I may have been late to the party for this series...but...
One-Eyed Royals - Cordelia Kingsbridge,Wyatt Baker

I'm so glad I came. 'One-Eyed Royals' is the fourth book in Cordelia Kingsbridge's 'Seven of Spades' series and once again I've enjoyed listening to Wyatt Baker provide the voices and narration for the fourth book in this series.

 

One of the things that I always hope for when I'm listening to a series on audio is that I'll have the same narrator from start to finish...well, provided I like the narrator that is and suffice it to say that here I am with just one more book to go and after very happily having the same narrator for the first four books, I definitely have my fingers crossed that this doesn't change. I've not only enjoyed Wyatt Baker's narration for these stories so far but for me his voices have become the voices of Levi and Dominic and I'm really hoping that this won't change.

 

This one started just a few weeks after the ending of 'Cash Plays' where we were left with Levi and Dom's each struggling with their personal demons and a relationship that was in shreds. While some time may have passed between then and now, it's not been enough to change anything for Levi and Dom or the Seven of Spades, who's still terrorizing the city of Los Vegas. Only this time the SoS is taking things to an even more personal level, where Levi's concerned, when it comes to their victims.

 

Originally my plan as to read this series but as is sometimes the case time got away from me and the next thing I knew the audio books were available, so with all the awesome reviews out there the one thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted to enjoy this series and the other thing that I knew for sure was that I'd get there quicker with the audio books so here I am all caught up...hush now, book 5 isn't on audio...yet, so yes I'm technically all caught up. But rest assured when that 5th book is released on audio, I will be all over that one.

 

While I ended up enjoying this story just as much as the previous books, I do admit that 'One-Eyed Royals' got off to a bit of a shaky start for me. While I had thought I was prepared for the relationship angst that would come in this one and for the most part I was I found both Levi and Dom's behavior a bit frustrating at the beginning of the story. Don't get me wrong neither of them really behaved any differently than I'd thought they might but it seems that didn't stop me from being frustrated with their behavior. Fortunately this didn't last and before I knew it I was back on board with things and totally enjoying the story.

 

'Seven of Spades' is one of those series that the reader needs to read in order and start from the beginning to really grasp all the details and intricacies of the story and for me that was made vividly clear with the change that occurred in the SoS's choice of victims. The killer's always had a special affinity for Levi but this time around things become even more personal for Levi, making him even more determined to bring the Seven of Spades killer to justice but there's another case that keeps Levi and Dom crossing paths and ultimately has an equally strong personal connection for Levi. 

 

This one was action packed and busy...at times I needed a score card to keep track of who was killing whom but in the end once the dust settled it was the 'Seven of Spades' who stepped into the spotlight and set everyone straight. 

 

There's just one more book to go in this series to find out how things end for Levi, Dom and the Seven of Spades killer and as disappointed as I am to have this end because it's been a hella' good ride. I'm equally as curious to know the things...all the things.

 

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An audio book of 'One-Eyed Royals' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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