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review 2020-05-25 04:46
Second time around for "Second Chance"...turned out to be even better...
Second Chance - Jay Northcote,Hamish Long

Second time around for "Second Chance"...turned out to be even better...

 

"Second Chance" is another of those stories that I read earlier this year and loved. So when I got a second chance to enjoy this one on audio...what else could I do but say yes.

 

If I loved this one the first time around, I'm not even sure what word to use for this second chance with a story that holds a special place in my heart. I have to admit I really wanted to come up with a whole lot of new and creative ways to express my appreciation for this story, but truth be told I listened to the audio book, I re-read my original review and my brain stuttered to a screeching halt as realized two things... 1 that I enjoyed the audio book just a tiny bit more than I had the e-book and that adds up to a whole lot of 'loved this story' right there and 2, I still love this story for all the reasons that I originally loved this story. So, yes I'm going to borrow some things from that review to help me create this one.

 

This book had me not just from the beginning but from the first word of the title..."Second Chance"...we all want them, need them and mostly we deserve them and that's what this story is about...second chances for so many people but mostly for Nate and Jack.

 

At 45 years of age and after a plethora life events, childhood friends, Nate and Jack are reunited. (Ok, let's hear it for mature MCs who can have a relationship with someone their own age) It's not that I'm opposed to age gaps or daddy kink more like sometimes I just need a break from it...anyways, these are mature men who have been through a lot...good and bad and now they've each come home for their own reasons and dealing with the problems of the present brings them both face to face with memories of the past...both the good and the bad.

 

Jack's dealing with a break-up that led to a downward spiral into depression and addiction but with the help of his parents and a lot of determination he wants to change that and regain control of his life.

 

Nate's come home to get his daughter away from life in a big city and the temptations that she was finding around every corner and to help his mom following the death of his father. For Nate there's also the added challenge of the fact that when he lived here before everyone knew him as Natalie...not Nate unlike in the city where everyone knew him as Nate.

 

As Nate and Jack become reacquainted against the backdrop of everyday life the reader gets to know these two men not just through their efforts to reclaim their lives but through the people they love as Nate's daughter Cass deals with her own efforts to put her life back on track, Nate's mom who not only has a second chance with her granddaughter but her son and Jack's parents who as they try in their own way to repair their fragile relationship with Jack.

 

While these are some of the second chances that happen in this story not everything is perfect and each chance has it's own solution and degree of positive outcome which went a long way towards making this story work for me. 

 

Of all these second chances for me the most important one was Nate's...this is Nate's chance not just with Jack, but to live his life as Nate the man, he was meant to be.

 

'Second Chance' is a story that's told from a realistic perspective. It's doesn't come with over the top magical solutions. It's two men dealing with what life has thrown at them...one gay, one gay and transgender...both seeming very real.  The story feels real...there's passion and humor, awkward moments, interruptions and even moments of frustration...yes, folks it's just like real life.

 

Hamish Long's is once again the narrator for this Jay Northcote story and for me, his narration has only helped to enhance the depth of reality that this story contained and when it comes to stories set in the UK, he's fast becoming a favorite narrator of mine.

 

In spite of the fact that each story is unique, we can often see bits and pieces of ourselves or someone we know in a story and it's that commonality that frequently draws us in and lets us relate to what we read. For me, "Second Chance" held small pieces of a story that while it's not mine, it is that of someone so very precious to me. Whose story I know nearly as well as my own and it was these pieces that connected me to this story and kept me listening and wanting to hear it all. 

 

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An audio book of "Second Chance' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2020-05-25 03:37
There are some stories best read, some that are amazing on audio and then...
Falling For My Roommate - Garrett Leigh,Dan Calley

There are those that work incredibly well in either format and Garret Leigh seems to consistently achieve this with her stories.

 

I read Micah's story back in April of this year when it was first released and I knew back then that if there was an audio release that I wouldn't hesitate to revisit it in audio format. 

"Falling For My Roommate" is a story of starting over, second chances, finding love, comfort and healing.

 

Of course it goes without saying that I've already reviewed this story and I admit I'm not above borrowing from that review in my efforts to once again explain why and how much I've enjoyed this audio book. 

 

As I said in my original review "Falling For My Roommate" may not be my favorite Garrett Leigh book but given that I happily gave it 4 stars, I'd hardly call it anything less than enjoyable.

 

Micah's story is one that we've all seen to one degree or another in today's headlines...a well known athlete who looses his focus on his sport to the glitter and gloss of fame and all that it brings...sex, drugs, booze, parties, faceless and meaningless sex all combining in career ending tragedy. 

 

Ready to restart his life as just another regular guy Micah finds himself sharing an apartment with Sam...a well packaged, gay, book-nerdish, bartending, English Lit student who doesn't see Micah the sports star. He sees Micah the man and he falls and falls hard. But Sam also recognizes that Micah's still fragile so he's determined to be the friend that Micah needs. While Micah sees himself as unworthy of someone as wonderful as Sam and is determined to keep his feelings to himself and just be Sam's roommate and hopefully a good friend.

 

Dan Calley was the narrator for this story and while he's not entirely a new to me narrator. I've also listened to 3 previous books of Ms Leigh's that he's narrated and I've found everyone of them to be well done and extremely enjoyable. Mr. Calley gives these characters depth and personality adding yet another layer to an already rich and evocative story.

 

"Falling For My Roommate" was neither a sweet nor fluffy story but it was a story with the best kind of HEA...one that could happen. Micah had to slay his own dragons and for as much as I appreciated Sam it wasn't because he was someone's white knight charging to the rescue. It was because he was strong enough to be there for someone he cared about, not just the man he loved but the man he considered to be his friend and he knew that he couldn't be Micah's salvation but rather a loving and supportive friend. 

 

For me this story felt real...it's out there and one has only to look for it and some have already lived it.

 

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An audiobook of "Falling For My Roommate" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2020-05-15 04:07
Sometimes you have to walk through hell to get a little heaven...
Forgotten - Colette Davison,Piers Ryman

Review has temporarily been taken down and will be back soon!

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review 2020-05-13 20:39
So here's the thing...
To See the Sun - Kelly Jensen,TJ Clark

I absolutely loved this book and while I have to admit there are a lot of books that I can say this about for many reasons. I mean let's face it, I'm probably not the hardest sell around when it comes to books. So chances are...if you give me characters that I can truly love or even hate with a passion, good dialogue, settings that are richly described, a story that holds my interest...well, chances are your books are going to be in the 'I loved it' category and if it's an audio book add in a well delivered narration and that makes you golden in my world. 

 

Before I begin I'd also just like to ask that you please forgive any spelling mistakes I may make as this is the one downside of audio books you can't check your spelling on words specific to a story.

 

Much to my surprise and delight "To See the Sun" has fallen very solidly into the 'I love it' category for me. Kelly Jensen has given us a complex and interesting world first in the planet Zimosen, a planet where much of the population lives below the surface never able to see the sun, just to dream of it as they struggle to survive. We first meet Gael as he in caught in a situation that no matter how it ends...won't end well for him and could possibly be even more disastrous than he's able to anticipate and when things go sideways Gael does what any reasonably intelligent person would do...he runs and he runs for his life.

 

It's as these events transpire and we are following Gael on his flight through the lower levels of Zimosen that the author also creates the world Gael survives in. Things are frantic and terrifying for Gael as he struggles to stay ahead of the law and find a way out. It's during this struggle to survive that Gael is offered the chance to escape to another planet via what is essentially a mail-order-bride program and with little to no hesitation he takes the opportunity and this is how he meets Abraham (Bram) Bauer and finds himself on an journey to an outer colony on the planet Alkirak to become Bram's companion.

 

I loved Gael and Bram together. They so easily filled the spaces in each other that had been empty, although this was not done without some hesitation, effort and a bit of miscommunication on the part of both men and I honestly would have been surprised if there'd been none considering they started out literally thousands and then some miles apart. These men weren't different worlds, they were from worlds that were vastly different. 

 

While there were a number of secondary characters that we saw glimpses of. There were really only 4 other characters who played prominent roles in this story and they were Price who turned out to be a better friend than Gael had realized, Aavi a sweet and precocious young girl with secrets that could be dangerous for everyone, Maia who a close friend of Bram's and ultimately Gael's as well and Maia's brother Orfeo, mayor of Alkirak and Bram's use to be friend with benefits. While I really enjoyed the depth and extra that other characters added to this story it was these four who helped to support the foundation of events that transpired and to keep things flowing at an enjoyable pace.

 

As for the steam and sex in this one it was  slow burn that felt right and worked well with both the character of these two men and the circumstances of their meeting and coming together. 

 

TJ Clark was the narrator for this story and while he's not quite a new to me author this was only my second audio book narrated by him and so far TJ's a definite win for me. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him as he took me on this amazing adventure with Gael, Bram and their friends. 

 

Putting this one off like I did was definitely not one of my better ideas but finally getting down to it has proven to be a decision that I'm really glad I made. I'm planning a return trip to Zimosen and Alkirak in the near future because as with any good story...this one's worth enjoying again and possibly again.  Definitely recommended.

 

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An audio book of "To See the Sun" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2020-05-09 03:54
Jag's running, he's not planning on stopping but...
Broken - Colette Davison,Piers Ryman

He's getting tired and when the sexy owner of the club he's working at shows an interest in him...one that Jag returns, he may not be willing to stop but maybe...just maybe, he could slow down for a while.

 

Michael's been on his own since loosing Edward the love of his life. Not that he hasn't tried but the right person just doesn't seem to be there for him...not until Jag. Jag may be young but he's had to endure his own heartaches and pain making him a lot wiser than someone of his years should be. Jag's not looking for a relationship but a bit of no strings attached sex with the attractive older club owner would suit him just fine as long as none of the rules get broken because Jag's rules are what keep him safe.

 

Overall, I liked Jag and Michael together. Given Jag's past he needed someone who had the maturity to be patient and understand that while Jag wasn't totally broken, it's still going to take him some time to get regain a healthy out look about the world and himself. But in spite of what he'd been through Jag was also able to help Michael find a better out look when it came to the loss of Edward. Not only did he help Michael see that it was ok to grieve but that it was ok for him to still love Edward even though he was moving on and had found room in his heart to love Jag too.

 

In some ways 'Broken' was a bit out of the ordinary in terms of a book with this type of setting. I was expecting some background to be laid with other characters such as some of the dancers and even the punters (Brit speak for 'customers) but for the most part things were confined to Jag, Michael, Michael's best friend Matt and his partner and even their on page inclusion was very limited. While this worked in some ways in others I felt like the characters were a bit flat. I like it when I get to see interaction between not just the MCs but with other secondary characters and I found it strange that there really wasn't any. I mean really Michael's a bar owner and there was never really a conversation between him and any of his employees other than Matt or Jag or any of the customers. The same with Jag we got to see him talking to Michael and Matt that's it. We were told that he talked to other dancers but we never got the conversations. I'm not saying that there needed to be a lot of talk between Michael and/or Jag and other people just that some would have seemed a bit more natural. 

 

And before I forget just one itsy, bitsy note about Jag's parents...these are the poster parents for how not to parent...basic rule of thumb people if your kid's first instinct is to run from you. You're definitely doing things wrong...I'mma just sayin'.

 

Minor niggle aside I enjoyed listening to the audio book for this story. Piers Ryman was the narrator and while he is a new to me narrator, I do have a couple more books narrated by him on my audio book shelf that I'm looking forward to enjoying soon and one of them might just happen to be the second book in 'The Heaven and Hell Club' so who know's with any luck we'll get to see more Michael and Jag giving their characters a chance to develop more depth. I'd like top see how things progress between these two now that Jag's decided to stop hiding from his parents and stay in one place to make a life for himself.

 

Maybe not a Canada Day fireworks start for this series but definitely solid enough that I'm curious enough to stick around to see what's coming next and then as with every new series I'll see where things go from there.

 

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