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review 2017-07-19 21:49
I want candy, I want candy...eye-candy that is...
Tartan Candy - K.C. Burn

After being seriously hurt in an accident Raven's career in the adult film industry comes to an unexpected and abrupt end.  Struggling with his battered self-esteem, no job and no interest in sex. Raven accepts an offer to attend a high school reunion with an acquaintance of his former employer as their escort, companion, date whatever title you want to give it but Raven's very clear that there are no sexual favors involved. Sadly his client turns out to be a jerk, cutting the evening short Raven returns to his room only to discover that the air-conditioner in his room has broken down. This turns out to be the highlight of his day when Caleb the HVAC person contracted to service the hotel's system shows up at his door.

 

Raven's libido definitely sits up and takes notice at the sight of the sexy service man and Caleb isn't immune to the dark haired beauty who opens the door when he makes his service call. Problem is awakened libido or not Raven's got issues to get past before he's ready for a relationship that involves getting physical and Caleb needs to find his way out of the closet he's locked himself in.

 

However, whatever the issues may be on both sides them men are definitely attracted and spending time with each other and getting to know each other is not something that either of them truly has an aversion to.

 

Raven's life has been kind of sucky. He got dealt a bad hand when it came to parents. Mom was less than interested in being a decent mother and dad was less than present. So when he came out to his mom at the age of 18 it also meant coming home to his belongings on the front porch and changed locks on the front door. Raven picked up his things and did what he had to in order to make his way in the world. He's not ashamed of his time as a porn star but that doesn't mean he's taking out any billboards for it either. He wants to tell Caleb but not until they've had a bit of time together to cement their relationship.

 

Caleb just needs to man-up and find his way out of the closet. He's convinced himself that he can never be gay because his momma wants grandchildren and it's his duty to provided them and the family would never accept him being gay never mind that they accept his cousin Jamie who is unrepentantly gay and still part of the family and loved.

 

Mostly I really liked this story. I liked Raven and thought he was pretty damned courageous person. I loved how kind and caring Caleb was towards him and how he treated Raven. Taking him on dates and not pushing him for more than he was willing to give. I loved that Caleb enjoyed being able to just curl up with Raven and kiss and cuddle. It was so sweet and romantic and then it fell apart for somewhere around 85 - 90% (sorry, I listened to the audio here to this is a guesstimate).

 

Anyways, this is towards the end and the point at which Caleb finally finds out about Raven's career in adult films. Caleb's reaction blew me out of the water. I went from "I adore you, Caleb" to "Caleb you are a freakin' bag of dicks".  

Not only was he a dick about things with Raven, he even managed to insult his best friend and cousin Jamie and to make matters worse the part where he supposedly 'fixes things' just didn't work for me. It was too easy. Even if Raven didn't make him grovel, he damned well should have and to add insult to injury his line of BS about how once he found out he didn't think he'd be enough for Raven? Seriously...no, just no. There was no coming back from that for me. Up until this happened this story would have probably gotten 3.5 or possibly even 4 stars from me but within the space of a few pages I lost all my feels for this character and I'm still not sure that he deserves Raven's forgiveness.

(spoiler show)

David Ross was the narrator for this audiobook and ironically I've only listened to one other audio book by this narrator and I have to confess it did not go well for me, so this is where the irony comes in because I enjoyed Mr. Ross's narration of this story. His voices were good and they worked for me. They suited the characters and while they maybe weren't totally consistent with what I imagined they still felt appropriate for the characters, so like I said they worked and they were expressive giving depth and feeling to his narration.

 

I have to admit I was looking forward to this story and up until around 85% I was really enjoying it, unfortunately the last part of the story took away from things in a big way.  So I'm going to move on to 'Plaid Versus Paisley' and cross my fingers and hope that things end up a whole lot better.

 

 

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review 2017-07-17 22:11
Of course since I read the second book first I feel compelled...
Making it Personal - K.C. Wells,Cornell Collins

to read the first book second...

 

'Making It Personal' is the first book in K. C. Wells 'Personal' series and it's about Blake Davis the CEO of Trinity Publishing and he's proud of what he's accomplished over the past  6 years turning Trinity Publishing into a successful up and coming publisher.  He's done all this while firmly ensconced in his closet. Stepping out only long enough to utilize the services of a very discreet escort company to fulfill his needs before slipping back into his closet and returning to Narnia.

 

Will Parkinson's life has been less than easy but he's a fighter and he's survived it all to get back on his feet and if that's had to include working as a highly paid escort with benefits well than it is what it is and how bad can it be if you get to spend the night with a really hot and sexy guy the night before going to an interview for your dream job with the head of an up and coming publisher as personal assistant to the CEO...oops...this could be the proverbial awkward moment.

 

I liked this book a tiny bit better than 'Personal Changes'.  I really liked both Blake and Will. While Blake maybe needed to loosen his tie a little, Will was definitely the man to do it. I really liked that Blake accepted that Will did what he did to survive but he never felt the need to pass judgement or make will ashamed of himself. If anything as their relationship progressed it felt more like Blake truly respected him for having the strength of character to do what he had to, to survive get ahead in the world but still maintaining his integrity and dignity.

 

'Making It Personal' is the story of a CAO and his PA who really know how to put the 'personal' into things. Woven in between the relationship developing between these two are the threads of their personal lives and those of their friends...creating a fun and interesting background for their story to play out against.

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review 2017-07-17 20:55
This one's a little out of order but it still works...
Personal Changes - K.C. Wells

'Personal Changes' is actually book #2 in K. C. Wells series 'Personal' but apparently I'm not very observant these days because I listened to the audio book for this one first. Cornell Coliins is the narrator for this one as well as for books 1 & 3 and he's a new to me narrator. 

 

The MCs for this story are Rick Wentworth and Angelo Tarallo. We were introduced to Rick in 'Making It Personal' or at least those of us who read or listened to this series in order were. Not being in that group I can officially say 'There's no problem reading this series as standalone stories'. While there is some cross-over with the characters in the stories. As I said Rick was in the first book and Blake and Will the MCs from that story appear in subsequent  stories as do other secondary characters I had no difficulty following who was who and what they did, etc. Blake is Rick's boss and Will who is now his partner was his PA but well get to that in my review for 'Making It Personal'. 

 

The other thing that we found out in the first book was that Rick had a longstanding crush on Blake, whom he'd believed to be straight and this is part of what leads to Rick's realization that he needs to make some 'personal changes' in his life. Rick's tired of the club scene and one night stand, bathroom hook-ups. He wants what Blake and Will have a real relationship, commitment, someone who looks at him as if he's the center of the universe. in plain English he wants what most of us want...a partner who's as committed to us as we are to them. So he makes the decision to change his lifestyle no more f*cking on the first date with essentially nameless people. He's going to take the time to get to know someone see if maybe they could have more than just one night. It's this decision that brings both Angelo an Julian into his life.

 

Rick first encounters Julian at a local club and as the evening goes on he begins to wonder if he hasn't met Mr. Perfect. Julian seems to be everything he's looking for and he just seems to do everything right and here is where I need to add that ironically, for me, Julian's voice was the one voice that just didn't work and maybe this is superficial on my part but Julian's voice made me skin crawl it was whiny at times and held an undertone that just make me think 'what are you up to?' from the word go I did not trust that voice and as the story progressed...surprise! I was right, Julian was a sleezeball not to be trusted.

 

Equally as ironic is the fact that while Rick is being charmed by Julian, he's also being watched by someone who decides from the minute he lays eyes on Rick that he wants to get to know him. Everything that he sees tells him that this could be the man for him. But it's not until Angelo and a friend rescues Rick from the less than welcome advances of the less than Mr. Perfect, Julian that we truly meet him and begin to get a sense of who he is. (This is all in the blurb so have no fear there were no spoilers here).

 

Now for as much as I didn't like Julian's voice I did like Angelo's. I actually found Angelo's voice to be soothing and comforting and as the story progressed I really came to like Angelo. I liked Rick as well, but I do have to admit in this story Angelo was my favorite. 

 

Angelo comes from a traditional Sicilian family and unfortunately this is a bit of an obstacle for these two men and also created a bit of a problem for me with some of the ending. Overall the story worked for me. While it was good and enjoyable I wasn't totally enthralled with it. 

 

I liked Cornell Collins narrations with the exception of Julian's voice the other character voices worked for me and I was comfortable with them. They were definitely expressive and conveyed emotion well. 

 

'Personal Changes' was an enjoyable story about how what we think we want isn't always what we get but if we're lucky fate will make sure that we end up with who we really need.

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review 2017-07-14 19:14
Tissues were required for this one...
Unbreak My Heart - K-lee Klein,Nick J. Russo

While K-lee Klein's not exactly a new to me author 'Unbreak My Heart' is the first novel that I've read and really I'm just wondering...what the hell was I thinking taking so long to enjoy one of her novels...ok, I admit it was once again a case of so many books, so little time and thank heavens for audio books and Nick J. Russo because once again he's done a superb job with narrating this audio book resulting in the fact that I'm actually kind of glad that I didn't get to this book sooner...nah, that's not true because I'm sure I would have totally enjoyed reading this and still would have made grabby hands for the audio book. But all that's neither here nor there because what's done is done and I totally and thoroughly enjoyed the audio book.

 

I love stories about damaged men putting themselves back together and grabbing the second chance that life has given them and if at least one of those men happens to be a cowboy well...happy me and ironically while I'm not a huge fan of stories with rock stars in them for some reason country and western singers totally do it for me which is hilarious because I'm really not a big fan of the music...go figure we like what we like.

 

My only niggle with this story was the use of the endearment Darlin', it was used by Brett both in his letters to his deceased lover Walter and with JT and I have to admit I would really have preferred if Brett had used another endearment for JT...even the dreaded Babe...maybe. However, while this was as I said a bit of a niggle overall it didn't really spoil how much I enjoyed this story. 

 

JT Campbell is looking to get away from his life and ends up at Brett Taylor's farm when Brett's mom picks him up at the side of the road. Brett's mom to say the least is a character. Despite his reluctance Brett gives JT a place to stay and a job.

 

Brett and JT have a few things in common not the least of which both men are looking to escape their past. JT's doing it by leaving his home in California and Brett's choice of escape lies in the bottom of a bottle that he keeps in his office where he hides out most evenings. Brett's days as a country music star ended when he lost the love of his life three years ago and he's spent the time since swirling in the pain and grief brought on by that loss and he's more than willing to let life go on in this mode.

 

I totally appreciated the fact that 'Unbreak My Heart' isn't a 'love-at-first-sight-story'. Brett and JT start out essentially as two men who are brought together by circumstances and initially Brett's really not in a place for any kind of relationship. It takes time and effort on JT's part for Brett to even really consider a relationship as a possibility and while JT's patient, he's not perfect making a few mistakes of his own as things progress between the two men.

 

Much of Brett's story is shared with us through his letters to Walter, letters that were both touching and heartbreaking and along with his time spent getting to know JT a sweet slow building romance is created...one that was made even more enjoyable through Nick J. Russo's  skilled narration of the audio book.

 

While there was a definite age gap here of 13 years once again it wasn't an issue for me. JT was 28 to Brett's 41. I liked both of these characters and the fact that while JT was in some ways in a better place in his life he wasn't perfect, but he did have a maturity that helped him to realize that more than anything Brett needed him as a patient friend...a friend who was willing to wait for Brett's own feelings to catch up with JT's growing feelings.

 

I loved the ending of this book or maybe I should say the beginning of Brett and JT's life together. I'm looking forward to more of their story as I continue with this series my only quandry is do I want to read the e-books or hopefully wait for the remainder of the series to be released on audio...decisions, decisions...really whatever is a girl to do?

 

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An audio book of 'Unbreak My Heart' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-07-12 22:40
This was a happy little interlude...
Again - Mary Calmes

This was a happy little interlude...

 

Ok, so we've got Mary Calmes and it's narrated by Nick J. Russo so you can pretty well assume there were no surprises here. It's been 6 years since I read this story so the opportunity to review the audio book was a task I was more than happy to take on.

 

'Again' is a short sweet story at just over 100 pages as an e-book and 2 hrs as an audio book. When Noah shows up at the airport to meet Dante his partner and the love of his life only to find Dante kissing someone else and telling him that he loves her. Noah goes home alone with the sonogram pictures of the child that he and Noah had planned on having. 

 

Years later Noah is on vacation to attend a friend's wedding and of course he has his daughter and his current boyfriend with him and this is the perfect time for him to encounter Dante's family and eventually Dante, himself. Needless to say this is when the real fun begins. I love Dante. He's totally over the top and he knows what he wants and of course what he wants is Noah and their daughter...and he's determined to get them.

 

Anyone who's read even a few of my reviews will know I am a dedicated Mary Calmes fan and Nick J. Russo is totally one of my top 5 favorite narrators...actually it's more like he's one of my top 3. So needless to say my only real issue with this story is I needed more...not that the story needed more, but I did.

 

There were a few wonderfully over the top moments but one in particular when Noah and Dante enter Noah's hotel room to find Noah's current boyfriend in bed with someone who's obviously not Noah. Dante's reaction is to cover Grace's eyes and laughing declare that it was awesome...my sense of humor is just warped enough that I was right there with Dante. Granted there's a bit more to it than this but you'll need to listen to the audio book or at least read the e-book for all the details...because it was awesome.

 

'Again' is a short, sweet, adorable over the top romance about second chances as only Mary Calmes can write and Nick J. Russo can do justice to.

 

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

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