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review 2019-05-15 03:15
There are a lot of reasons why...
Out of the Shade - S.A. McAuley

I shouldn't have liked this one and I do mean a lot. So let's get on with this and start a list...

first off there's the whole neanderthal caveman mentality, copious amounts of alcohol consumption, there's a group of men that in some ways don't seem to have really made it past their high school or college days...yeah, let's be generous and say college days...so, in truth I could probably go through the first part of this book and by part I mean about 30 probably 40% and pick out all kinds of details that made me crazy, annoyed the hell out of me or at the very least had me using some very unladylike language. So to those who dnf'd before the halfway point, in all honestly I get it I really do and another time I very probably would have done the same. 

 

But right now in this moment for me it turned out it was a case of the right time for the right story and the second half of this book was the right story, for me. It was the story that I was looking to read.

 

In the first part of this story we meet Jesse Solomona and to be honest the only thing I was definite about during the first part of the story was I did not like Jesse. He was someone with addiction issues...sorry, I don't care what Jesse wants to tell himself. He's an alcoholic add in some definite anger issues...the man was at times abusive towards his friends..seriously I did not like Jesse and if I had done a dnf on this one he would have been the biggest reason.

 

Then we have Chuck Dunn a tattooed and pierced sports photographer who's walked away from a very successful career and while he doesn't advertise it, he also doesn't hide in the closet.

 

We also meet the Kensington Boys and their wives. These are Jesse's friends. He's grown  up with these men and they play league sports together they go drinking together, celebrate holidays and special events together, go drinking together, go on vacation together, go drinking together...are you seeing a pattern here? I have to say I'm not really sure how many Kensington Boys there are but this group is beyond important to Jesse...they're so important to Jesse that being who he thinks they want him to be is far more important to him than being who he wants to be.

 

While I wasn't a fan of Jesse this was not the case with Chuck. I liked Chuck and honestly I was definitely not a fan of Chuck with Jesse because, for me, Jesse just did not deserve someone like Chuck...nope, not even a little bit.

 

So here I am not quite halfway through the story and honestly leaning towards moving on but there's this little voice that whispers in my ear and says..."But what if you're suppose to read this one...what if it's the last half of the book that's important...that's the story you're looking for...what if you're missing out but not finishing this." and I have to admit that voice whispers in my ear quite often and most of the time I do listen to it...every once in a while I tell it to shut up and go away but somewhere in the clusterf*ck that was the beginning of this book there were a few little things that resonated with me and made me want to know a bit more...like Jesse's sister and some of the Kensington Boys and their wives were interesting and yeah, I admit it Jesse and Chuck just weren't quite working for me so I wanted to see how this could ever possibly work.

 

I picked through what worked and what didn't and weighed the pros and cons of it and at the end of it all I thought "What the hell, I've come this far. Why stop now?" so I didn't and here's what I found...

For me the second half of this book is about what happens when you hit rock bottom and realize that you've basically destroyed your life and lost what matters the most. It's about second chances and what it takes to deserve them and me, I love second chances. 

 

For everything that drove me crazy about the first half of this book there was equally as much that made me so glad that I stuck with it in the second half of the story. For me the last half of this book is about change, it's about life and it's about love. Jesse is a man who needs to change to get the future that he wants instead of the one that's being created by his destructive behavior, Chuck needs to let go of his past if he's going to have a chance with the man that he's falling in love with and even with some of the secondary characters there's growth and change...maybe not as dramatic or as obvious as that of Jesse or even Chuck but it's the small things the subtle things that often happen in day to day life...somethings may only be a blip on the radar while other things can mean so much more than we realize at the moment...but still it's change and change is life.

 

I've always said that if we don't go through the bad times, how can we truly appreciate and know how special the good times are and I feel like that's what happened here the beginning of this story is Jesse's bad times and in order for the reader to truly appreciate the good times and what it took for Jesse to get to them we needed to go through the bad times with him.

 

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An ARC of "Out of the Shade" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-05-14 03:14
While there were several things about this story that I liked...
The Color of Summer - Anna Martin

what there wasn’t, was a lot or even much that I really loved.  So let's just chat about this for a bit...in fact let's start with Max and Tyler, the MCs of this story. Both of them very likable people.

 

Max left his hometown of Sweetwater for college and other than to visit his mom moving back was never a plan until his mom has a stroke and Max finds that he needs to change direction with his life.  Max decides it’s time to return home to be closer to his mom during her recovery and takes advantage of the opportunity to open his own tattoo shop.

 

Tyler left Sweetwater too, but he’s been back for awhile. However, Tyler’s return was prompted by an entirely different set of circumstances.  Six years earlier Max suddenly finds himself a single parent with a daughter to raise and decides what better place to raise a child than the place that held his own happy childhood memories and a loving family to help him. Max readily sets aside the dreams of his youth for the reality of his current life.

 

If it hadn't been for a tense and dangerous situation that happened towards the end of the story I'm not sure if Tyler and Max would have actually progressed to an actual relationship and even then I just didn't feel the connection between them...truthfully, I felt like Max had a stronger commitment to Juniper and I had no problem imagining him as her other dad.

 

I liked that the setting was a small town, but somehow I just didn’t get that small town vibe that tends to just draw me that little bit further into the story…so yeah, liked but for me the small town love just wasn’t there.

 

I love that both of these men were older Max was nearly 30 and Tyler was just a few years older and I’m a fan of MCs who have a bit of life under their belt. I also loved that both of these men had pretty awesome families. While not everyone is blessed with a loving and supportive family sometimes it’s nice to read stories where it’s more the norm than the exception. Also high on the me-likey-list was 'Juniper', Tyler's adorably precocious daughter. 

 

At the end of it all we've got a sexy guy with tats, a hot cop with an adorable daughter, two men with very likable families an definite plus for me and yet in spite of all this the connection between Tyler and Max that should have been there wasn't and the sex that should have been scorching hot really just wasn't.

 

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An ARC of 'The Color of Summer' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-05-14 00:56
I tried...really I tried so freakin' hard but...
Where Death Meets the Devil (Death and the Devil #1) - L.J. Hayward,Rowan A. Scott

Ok, before I get to far down this rabbit hole I just need to say...no matter how hard I tried this one bored me. But in fairness to the book I think a solid part of the blame for this rest on my shoulders as well.

 

Honestly I've seen so many amazing reviews about this book that I'm not sure if any book stood a chance of meeting my expectations...yes, even my absolute #1 go to favorite because every book he writes is amazing author...Greg Iles, for those of you who don't already know this about me...well, I think even he may not have been able to meet the expectations that I had by the time I finally got to this audio book.

 

This was spies/hired assassins/espionage and I usually enjoy stories along these lines. But this time around the pacing was off and I just found that things were getting drawn out and taking to long to progress. I felt that this was at least due in part to the fact that things jumped back and forth along the time line on a fairly regular basis and for me the whole keeping track of whether events were in the present or the past just got to be a bit tedious and distracting resulting in me being distracted from my overall enjoyment of the story.

 

As for the characters Jack was ok. I didn't mind him nor did I really like him...he was there and as for the secondary characters they were there and truthfully no one really stuck out in my mind.

 

There were three things that were saving graces for me with this story...the first one was Ethan Blade. He was definitely both an interesting and unique character for this story. I love it when a character is morally ambiguous leaving the reader to wonder who is truly the hero and who's the villain or is it really a question that has a clear answer.

 

Overall the story line was solid and the connection between Jack and Blade lends itself quite nicely to future events both throwing these two men together as allies or possibly leaving them on opposite sides of a conflict. Whichever way it happens there are definite possibilities.

 

Last but not least Rowan Scott, a new to me narrator, did an excellent job of narrating this 10 hour and 31 minute story that was also by new to me author L.J. Hayward and played a very definite role in getting me through this one from start to finish.

 

While this wasn't an "over-the-moon-5-star-oh-my-god-give-me-more!" story for me. It was a story that turned out to be 'just ok' and also held some potential and I think for me the question is does it hold enough potential for me to want to continue with this series...right now my honest answer is "I don't know." but I will say if you liked this story I strongly encourage checking out the audio book...story aside I very much enjoyed the narration on this and I'm looking forward to opportunities to enjoy future narrations by Rowan Scott and as for the story mine is only one very dissenting opinion among the many who have read and truly loved this story so, in fairness to this story and yourself...sit back and check out the many other awesome reviews here on Goodreads before deciding.

 

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An audio book of 'Where Death Meets the Devil' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-05-12 23:49
The Blue Sky by Galsan Tschinag
By Galsan Tschinag The Blue Sky (First Trade Paper Edition) [Paperback] - Galsan Tschinag

This is an interesting, evocatively-written short book about the life of a young shepherd boy belonging to a nomadic people in Mongolia. Set in the 1940s, the book is based on the author’s own life – the boy has his name, and in the author’s note (which puts the book in context) he refers to the character as himself; reading this alongside a memoir with numerous fictionalized elements highlighted the existence of that grey intermediate zone between fiction and nonfiction. The author – who grew up in a yurt, was educated in Europe, then returned to Mongolia and became a tribal leader and shaman – has certainly had a fascinating life, though this book focuses on the narrow world of a child, consisting of his family, the sheep and his dog. The boy faces a number of losses in his young life that leave him questioning the divinity of the sky, which his people worship.

It’s an interesting book, and while there’s no overarching plot, its relatively short length and the variety of its episodes carry it along fine. The translation is fluid and readable, and the glossary, author’s note and translator’s note at the end are all helpful. The book didn’t strike any deep chord with me, but it did expand my mental map a little bit further, which is exactly what my world books challenge is intended to do. The author himself discusses this in the afterword:

“Humankind, which for me in the beginning meant my small tribe of Tuvan people, has grown larger and richer in my heart with the addition of other peoples. Now, the publication of The Blue Sky extends it for me even further by including the peoples of North America. I am mightily pleased, not least for these peoples themselves, whose world, in turn, will now include the mountain steppe of Central Asia, and whose awareness of humankind will embrace the nomadic people from that corner.”

Indeed.

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review 2019-05-09 20:10
All those other reviews that you've read...
Adam Only (Those Other Books #2) - Roe Horvat

well...turns out they're true. This book is sexy as f**k!!! So if sex is something that bothers you or makes you squirm maybe this isn't the book for you...or maybe it is?Maybe it's time to let go of some inhibitions. 

 

Adam is a very tactile person or at least he is when Christoffer's around but it seems Christoffer has the same affliction and he takes every chance he can to touch Adam the sweet, magical man who has captured his heart. 

 

This is the second book in the author's series entitled 'Those Other Books' and each one can be read as a  standalone with the exception of 'Joel' from 'The Other Book'  the characters in both books do over lap and the events from 'The Other Book' actually take place after the events of 'Adam Only' and yes, I know this sounds confusing but whether you've read 'The Other Book' yet or not it's really a non-issue...really read them in whatever order makes you happy and everything will be fine.

 

'Adam Only' is similar to 'The Other Book' in that it's a love story that's both romantic and incredibly sexual...Adam and Christoffer's story is uniquely their own and there's a very natural ease with which Adam submits to Christoffer that feels both incredibly sensual and right. Don't get me wrong this wasn't a D/s relationship nor was there any real kink involved, what there is though are some very hot, sensual and romantic encounters between two men with a definite age gap.

 

'Adam Only' is about two men with different needs who feel like they don't fit...that the world doesn't really hold a place for them until they meet and little by little each man begins to realize that...one man's needs is another man's wants and it just takes the right man with the the right wants to make things fit creating a place where they are both loved, wanted and safe. 

 

To echo the sentiment of more than one review 'Adam Only' is a book that is deserves being read without interruptions and probably best not at work, or the local Starbucks or even on the transit ride home at the end of the day...seriously alone time it's a thing and in this case it's a good thing.

 

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An ARC of 'Adam Only' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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