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review 2018-11-15 00:03
Sometimes loosing everything isn't the end of your life...
Patchwork Paradise - Indra Vaughn,Craig Beck

It's just the beginning of a new one.

 

Oliver and Samuel have it all. Their's is a fairytale existence...until it isn't. It can take a lifetime to find love and a moment to loose it. No one knows this better than Oliver. 

 

'Patchwork Paradise' is the story of one man's struggle to survive the tragedy of loosing the man he loves and rebuilding his life only to discover that while he's lost one love there's another one waiting for him...not to replace what's gone because nothing could ever do that. This love is there waiting to fill it's own place in his heart.

 

I've had this one in my audio library for a while now and when I came across it the other day I decided that it was time so I grabbed my handy box of tissues and hit the play button and barely 30 minutes into the story tissue in hand dabbing at the tears in my eyes...I questioned my sanity and kept right on listening because this isn't a story about loss it's a story about surviving it, about moving forward and about paying tribute to the person you've lost by going on and making a new life for yourself. One that's filled with love, laughter and hope.

 

That's what Ollie (Oliver) did of course he mourned the loss of Sam and rightfully so. Sam was his forever love but unfortunately as we all know life's not fair and nothing ever last forever...but, Sam was the person who taught Ollie how to love so a part of him will live forever. Every step that Ollie takes towards rebuilding his life, every time he puts his heart out there it's because Sam's love showed him that he was worth it, he deserved it and in his heart Ollie knew that the last thing Sam wanted was for his life to end with Sam's.

 

I seriously thought Sam was awesome even though we didn't get a lot of time with him. I think the magnitude of what a wonderful man he was came through because of Ollie. It was his memory of Ollie and how much Sam loved him that gave Ollie the strength to keep trying...to remember even after they're gone how much someone loves us is a pretty powerful indicator of what we meant to them and to be able to open your heart up to the possibility of finding love again shows just how positive that love was.

 

There were some surprising things that happened in this story that for me made it all the more interesting and even though I'm pretty late to the party on this one I'm not going to delve into them to deeply because I'm just guessing that maybe I'm not the only one who hasn't read/listened to this book yet.

 

While Sam and Oliver started out as the MCs in the story there was also a core group of friends who were integral to the story and certain events in particular. Within the boundaries of Sam and Ollie's group of friends we have Ollie's best friend (Cloe), Cloe's boyfriend (Imre) and Thomas (Ollie's friend from work and the man who's quietly loved him for years). There's also Sam''s parents and that'll be enough about them and then there's Ollie's mother (most adorable grandma so far this year). 

 

 

While this was only my second time with a book by the author Indra Vaughn. It's the my fourth time around with the narrator Craig Beck and once again this narrator has done an exceptional job of giving this story added depth and breathing life and emotion into the characters leaving me confident that when I see his name listed as the narrator I'm not going to be disappointed with what I hear.

 

"Patchwork Paradise' is a story of pain, lose, friends, family, comfort, healing, second chances, starting over, strength & courage, finding love, having hope...it's about life...the one we have, the one's we lose and all the things in between that touch them.

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review 2018-11-08 05:01
Let's talk about magic...
Alpha Heat - Leta Blake,Michael Ferraiuolo

I'm just going to explain myself a little bit here because otherwise I probably won't be making a whole lot of sense to a whole lot of people and I want to talk about magic for a couple of reasons...

 

One because we're living in troubled times right now and I think we need to find the good and the magic that's in this world where and when we can and because I found some magic right here in a book called 'Alpha Heat' so here's where I get to tell my story of how I came to find some magic...

 

A few years ago my husband and I took our son and his partner out to dinner because it was our son's birthday and it's a thing that we do in our family where the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant that they want to have dinner at thankfully the birthday dinners at McDonald's are long gone. This restaurant is quite well known locally and even on a bit of a national level as well...ok, so you get my point here right...it's a really nice restaurant. Anyways, we all enjoyed an incredible meal and at the end of it I said to our son, "how was your dinner?" and he looked at us and said  "James must be magic because he took everything that I never thought I liked and turned it into the most amazing meal." so having shared this little slice of my life I now feel compelled to say...

 

"Leta Blake must be magic because she took everything that I thought I never wanted to read and turned it into the most amazing story that I loved...and maybe Michael Ferraiuolo helped a bit as well but I'll talk about that a bit more later.

 

So here I am back in a world that includes MPREG, knotting, fisting and more, but I read 'Slow Heat' and I didn't even bat an eye once I got into it,I was all in and I enjoyed the hell out of that story. I also admit that i got it because I was asked if I wanted to review the second book, 'Alpha Heat' on audio and I saw that the narrator was once again Michael Ferraiuolo so I said 'hell yeah' and once again I was all in I mean it's not like this was going to be my first MPREG story right? What I didn't expect was the fact that while it wasn't the first one for me...it was by far the better of the two. Not that 'Slow Heat' wasn't good...I gave it 4 stars so I think we can put that idea to rest but in my mind 'Alpha Heat' totally kicked it up a notch because...

 

While we've still got MPREG, knotting, fisting (off page thank you very much Ms. Blake) we've also got two MCs that honestly when I met them in the first story I wasn't feeling any warm fuzzies.  You know the old saying take them or leave them...well if you'd asked me before I listened to 'Alpha Heat' I would have said ok, leave them. But having made the commitment to give this a fair and honest review I'd essentially taken that option off of the table for myself. 

 

So now  that I've had that lovely little ramble let's talk about the story and why I wasn't suppose to want to read this, much less enjoy it...first off there's Urho and Xan. We met both of these characters in 'Slow Heat' if you read that then you can probably jump ahead a little bit here but if not than just know that Urho is a doctor and trust me when I say for the purposes of this story that's a very good thing and while he's friends with both Jason and Vale (read 'Slow Heat) he originated as Vale's friend, while Xan was Jason's best friend and roommate at college and continues in this story as Jason's best friend.

 

Throughout the course of 'Slow Heat' I just never warmed up to either of these men and that was fine with me they were secondary characters but all that has changed here, because in this story they're the main characters...well them and Caleb...Xan's asexual and aromantic Omega and here's where I'm going to reinforce what the author has already said 'there is no cheating in this story.' 

 

So what else wasn't I suppose to enjoy in this one well...one of the characters has a bit of a kink for rough sex and humiliation and all I can say is holy crap this is SO NOT MY THING! more so than anything else but I was determined to see this one through and in spite of this I was really getting into this story plus I was starting to really, really like Urho and Xan and then we met Caleb and damn, Caleb fascinates me. I'll be the first to admit for a lot of the story I ran hot and cold on whether or not I liked him but I was always fascinated by him so continuing became a non-issue I was in it for the long haul.

 

Now what else didn't I like...well, there was Xan's father and let me just say if you've read or listened to the audio book, I can't imagine that I'm alone on that one. Next we have Xan's cousin, Janice and while I can't exactly say that I didn't like Janice, I can very truthfully say that I didn't like his behavior and I think this is as good a time as any the segue into what I did like about this story...

 

So let's carry on with Janice because like Caleb I think there's so much more to Janice than meets the eye.  Honestly I'm hoping that Janice will find himself some redemption in another story and Caleb I honestly can't imagine that there isn't just so much more to Caleb than what we've seen here.

 

In general there are so few stories with characters who are asexual/aromantic that I'm fairly comfortable saying that this is maybe the second or possibly third book that I've read with an asexual/aromantic character who has a fairly important role in the story and for myself I liked the way that the author handled this. I never felt that Caleb was being ignored or that his importance to Xan was ever diminished but at the same time the author didn't take things too far the other way making it feel like Xan was being patronizing or condescending when it came to Caleb. To say that I found Caleb to be a unique and fascinating character is probably understating things a little but we'll go with that.

 

It's also been a while since I've read a book that left me wanting more about as many secondary characters as this one has...there's Janice, Caleb, Wren (or Ren, I'm not sure how that was spelt) and Xan's brother Ray. While I wasn't exactly a smitten kitten when it came to Xan's father his brother Ray was an entirely different story. I feel like I'm leaving someone out in all of this but I think you get my point which is that the author has created a number of characters that have depth and dimension creating characters that compelled me to want to know more about them. 

 

There were a couple of births that happened during this story and once again Ms. Blake's balancing act of giving just the right amount of detail was spot on for me and I wasn't even a little bit squicked out about them.

 

Ok at this point I'm going to talk about the narrator because damn, this reviews getting long...I mean seriously I'm cutting into your reading time here and that's just sad and wrong so I'm going to just say a couple more things and then I'll shut up, I promise...

 

First about the narrator...Michael Ferraiuolo...I mean really do I need to say more? The man is a consummate professional when it comes to audio books he not only gets the job done but he does it with flare bringing life and depth to the characters and the story.

 

and last but not least in a time when we need all the magic moments we can get thank you, Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo for giving me over 15 hours of magic. 

 

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

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review 2018-11-06 22:14
Well all I can say is never say never...
Slow Heat - Leta Blake,Michael Ferraiuolo

Before I get into my actual review for this book I really need to explain a thing or three...I am so not a fan of MPREG ore even knotting for that matter...it's just a no thanks, never going there for me and yet somehow here we are. I'm also not a fan of fisting and thankfully while that's mentioned in this book it's not an on page thing...thank the wolf gods.

 

For as much as these things are on my 'no thank you' list when it comes to a good story my resistance has it's limits and when the opportunity to review the audio book for 'Alpha Heat' crossed my path I read the blurb and then I looked at the blurb for 'Slow Heat' and then I went and dug out my big girl panties, my grabby hands and said 'bring it on' and that's how I came to be here. Listening to a story on audio that I've repeatedly said 'No thanks' to and to be honest I don't regret it in the slightest because in spite of all the things I don't like about this there was so much more that I ultimately made me want to give this a chance.

 

First of all is the fact that this is one hella', hella' good story. I was gobsmacked by how much I enjoyed this one. Seriously folks I did not see this one coming. I figured it'd be different and at the very least I'd enjoy it and I definitely did.

 

I'm not sure I can really explain this story without turning this into a very, very long review. So I'm just going to try and touch on what really stood out for me and first off it was the world that Leta Blake has created with this first story in her 'Heat of Love' series. 

 

Let's start with the fact that this is not a shifter story...oh, there are alphas, betas and omegas but what there isn't are shifters. But in their place we're given a society that reflects the hierarchy of the social order of wolves as well as being reflective of gender to a degree. 

 

Leta Blake has managed to create a very different world than what I've come to expect when the words 'Alpha, Beta and Omega' are involved and really to go into the details of some of the things that I really liked about this story would require some pretty wordy explanations to allow me to make some kind of sense so I'm going to try and talk more n generalities of the story rather than specifics.

 

At not even 20 years old Jason Sabel is just coming into his own and learning what it means to be an alpha. So finding his erosagape (destined mates) may be what he thinks he's ready for on a physical level but when his mate turns out to be Vale Aman, someone whose approximately 15 years his senior and seems t have a past the real question becomes 'is he mentally and emotionally ready?'

 

Jason and Vale have a lot of strikes against them and in spite of the fact that they're 'destined mates' it really doesn't mean love at first sight. There's definitely a slow burn going on here as well as that unwilling attraction that comes with being 'destined mates' you know that purely biological attraction that happens when genetics are involved. 

 

Jason may be young but he's determined to be the alpha that Vale needs and to make Vale see that they belong together, while Vale wants to do what's best for Jason...his Alpha and Vale's sure that he's not what's best for his alpha.

 

I loved the interaction between Jason and Vale as they got to truly know each other and developed a relationship that was based on more than biological attraction.

 

'Slow Heat' is on the surface a simply romance set in an alternate reality but when you look beyond that what becomes clear is that there is nothing simple about this story...sure there's romance, there's also a complex society with it's own rules but it's  society that like the one we live in is slowly changing. .It's judgments and values are being questioned by the people they seem to be restricting and even by some of the people who seem to benefit the most from them. It's also as about family the ones we're given and the ones we make. Jason has is father and his patter (equivalent to a mother). While Vale's family is gone and he's been left to cobble together a family of a different kind but no less of a family. Both of these men have lives that will be drastically affected by their union.

 

While I only gave 'Slow Heat' 4 stars, for someone who had 'MPREG' firmly planted in the 'no go' zone this one was a total success for me. Am I off to search out more MPREG stories...no, they're still not something that interest me...in fact I'm actually off to finish listening to 'Alpha Heat'. So probably not more MPREG but always more really awesome stories and speaking of really awesome have I mentioned that Michael Ferraiuolo is the narrator for this book and as narrators go I'm not really sure they get any better. Without a doubt he knocked it out of the ballpark on this one. His voices were unique, superb, consistent and gave the story the depth and emotion it so richly deserved. There are more than a few awesome narrators out there and for me Michael Ferraiuolo is absolutely one of my top 5 and nope I'm not even trying to rank them anymore because there are five of them and they're all #1 to my ears. 

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review 2018-10-31 15:05
It's a bundle of cuteness...
Love You So Madly - Tara Lain,Christopher Forest

"Love You Madly' is the second book in Tara Lain's 'Love You So' series and while I enjoyed the first one and liked that the MCs from that story made a bit of an appearance in this story but their role was't such that you'd need to read it before reading this one but it is a sweet story that makes for a light, pleasant read, however, I definitely enjoyed this one more and really it's not about one being better than the other...it's really just a case of this one appealed to me and I connected with it more.

 

Ben Shane has it all...not because he was born to wealth and privilege...which he wasn't nor was he born to poverty. Ben's parents have worked hard to have a comfortable life and in the process given Ben role model's that he wants to emulate. He's grown up in a home with parents who love him and each other, who have worked hard to earn the successes they've had and always wanted better and more for him so when he becomes engaged to Alan whose family are regulars on the society pages. On the surface it's everything that Ben's parents have ever wanted for him.

 

At 23 years old Dusty seems a bit unusual to the rest of the world...he doesn't drink or drive and he's way more diet conscious than the average 23 year old. Dusty also the sweetest young man you could imagine meeting but trust me this in no way makes him a pushover...oh no there's so much more to this young man than meets the eye. To say that I like Dusty is a bit of an understatement.  Dusty is a young man who in spite of the challenges that he's faced in his life has turned into a kind, sweet,  young man but also someone who can be strong and confident when needed.

 

Ben and Dusty made for an adorable couple and I loved that neither of them was trying to change they other but just wanted to spend time with and get to know each other for who they were.

 

My biggest issue and the problem that took away from this story for me was the length of time that Ben's ex was involved in the story because seriously this dude was annoying as nails on a chalkboard and I have to say that Ry Forest who was the narrator for this audio book captured not only 'Alan's annoying personality perfectly...nails on a chalkboard perfectly along with some of the other characters like Ben and Dusty but also the lovely Anastasia who was definitely a larger than life character and who without fail made me smile...I wasn't really fond of her laugh but that's life right, I mean really do any of us always like the sound of someone's laugh? No, I think not. I can honestly think of a couple of people I know who's laugh is worse  than Anastasia's so it is what it is.

 

'Love You so Madly' is my third time around listening to this narrator and so far definitely so good. I'm looking forward to future stories narrated by Ry Forest. I've enjoyed his narrations and while he hits all the basic check marks on my list of 'what I want in an audio narrator' I also find that as a narrator he imparts a feeling for depth to the characters making an enjoyable story even better.

 

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An audio book of 'Love You so Madly' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-10-31 02:03
Lights, Cameras...Action!
Action - Quinn Anderson,Nick J. Russo

'Action' is the second book in Quinn Anderson's series 'Murmur Inc.' and while 'Hotline' dealt with the phone sex side of Murmur Inc. there's more to this company than a few ringing phones...there're lights, cameras and more than a little action that takes place on film.

 

Pete Griflow is quiet and gawky. At times he's more than a little awkward when it comes to talking to men...so not happening at least not until he steps in front of a camera and becomes power-bottom...Jaden Prime.

 

Pete got into porn as a way to help pay for his education and help his mom. He's a college student, a porn star and a coffee barista...Pete's a busy guy so when he's offered the chance at a regular role in a new project...a chance for some extra money...he's tempted but when he gets a look at his possible co-star, Pete finds that he's tempted by more than a chance to earn some extra money...he's tempted by a man that's sex on legs and not only pushes all his buttons...but sets off all his bells and whistle like a 5 alarm fire. 

 

Kyle's the very opposite of everything that Pete is. He's confident, daring, sexy and the sex industry is where he want's to make his home...professionally speaking. Kyle has no problem with being a porn star and when he makes his move to acting in 'gay porn' turns out he's one hot commodity that's making Pete weak in the knees.

 

I liked Pete and Kyle together their personalities played well off of each other and while Pete was by far the less confident of the pair he had fleeting moments of confidence and adversely we got to see Kyle struggle with moments of insecurity.

 

While I'd have to say there was probably a bit more sex in this story than was maybe necessary, I'd also have to say that given what the MCs did for a living I would have found it to be rather unusual if there'd been little to no sex in this story as well.

 

Regardless of the 'too much sex' this story was really saved for me by Pete and Kyle I liked them and as a couple I found them to be really sweet as a couple in spite of what they both did for a living I loved that for each of them sex wasn't just sex when they were the parties engaged it meant something because it was more than the physical there were feelings and their hearts were involved.

 

'Hotline' was a good start to this story but for me 'Action' was just a tiny bit better and gave me the push I needed to keep this one on my radar...of course I'll be waiting for the next book when it's released on audio and without a doubt I'll have my fingers crossed that the narrator's the same because really...Nick J. Russo...need I say more? maybe not but I'm going to...

 

Once again Nick J. Russo was the narrator for this story and once again 3.5 stars became a little more...a little better so at the end of it all 3.5 stars becomes 4.

 

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

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