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review 2019-02-20 23:03
Running on, running on empty Running on, running blind...
Running Blind (Havoc, #2) - S.E. Jakes,Mark Larchmont

When I saw the title of this book I have to admit one of my first thoughts was I wonder if the author was a tiny bit motivated by the 1977 Jackson Brown song...'Running on Empty' when she picked the title for this book. I don't know about the rest of you but I graduated from high school that year? Anyways, it was just a random thought that floated through my brain when I saw the book title. The story not to confuse anyone is set in the present.


When Bram tries to leave 'The Heathens' Motorcycle Clue he learns the hard way that if getting in was painful getting out will damned near kill him. Bram's not really a biker but if 'The Heathens' find out that he's actually an undecover ATF agent what he will be is a dead man. So after a somewhat failed attempt to leave that nearly cost him his life and finding out that his brother Linc is missing he does the only logical thing he can...he heads to Shades Run the last place where his brother was known to be and in less than a day he captures the attention of 'Sweet', who's not just any Havoc member...nope, turns out he's the president of the Havoc MC and as much as he wants to stay off of any Motorcycle Club's radar finding himself on Havoc's also offers him a level of protection that like it or not he's going to need if he hopes to survive much less make progress in his search for his brother.


As Bram and Sweet work together to try and find Linc while each man tries to keep his secrets hidden both men find that they may be able to hide their secrets but they're not so good at guarding their heart.


Bram and Sweet's relationship is often times a case of come here, come here, get away, get away as both men keep trying to throw  up obstacles to why they shouldn't be together...to be fair Bram does this more often than Sweet, but Sweet manages to throw his obstacles in there as well all the time never letting them got in the way when he thinks Bram needs saving or protection.


And I have to admit that once again I found the Havoc MC to be an oxymoron all on it's own. They're bad-assed bikers who will mess you up in a heartbeat if you mess with them or break their code and all while helping you if you're in trouble and they feel your cause is just...in a sentence 'they are unlike any biker club I've ever heard of' but again it's fiction and the fun thing about that is the story can go pretty much where ever the author wants to take it. In spite of the fact that this may seem a little unlikely for me it's also reflective of the fact that in the real world things are often not always how they appear to be. 


Overall I found that I enjoyed this story a bit more than 'Running Wild' however, I don't think I would have if I hadn't listened to that audio book first since a lot of the characters from 'Running Wild' play a role in this book some more so than others...such as sweet who was secondary character in 'Running Wild' but who's a main character here and while Bram is essentially new to the story Linc is a good friend to Noah and Sean (who is also known as 'Rush') and there are a some others but I'll leave them for readers to discover when they are enjoying the story.


Now about the narrator...I'm one of those people who usually like the consistency of the same narrator from story to story in a series...unless...that's right unless the MCs are different from story to story...of course having said that should a future story have Ryker and Sean as the MCs than I admit it I would be happiest having their voices reprised by Dorian Bane rather than another narrator...that's just how I roll. 


Now back to this book and this narrator...Mark Larchmont is not only a new to me narrator but it would appear that he's new to the world of audio book narrating in general. 'Running Blind' is currently the only audio book he has to his credit on audible, however, when I had a peek at his site it tells me that he's currently working on another audio book for S.E. Jakes and there was a sound clip for a m/f book...that I was unable to find a title for. I found all this because I was honestly hoping that there were other books of his that I could check out. I really enjoyed this one and while I liked Dorian Bane's performance during 'Running Wild' I have to admit I think for me I enjoyed the audio on this one just a tiny bit more...hence the 3.5 stars and I'm definitely going to be looking out for more bu this narrator.




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

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review 2019-02-17 02:51
Oh this was just adorable wrapped up in more adorable...
Love You So Special (Love You So Stories #3) - Christopher Forest,Tara Lain

'Love You So Special' was simply beyond cute. 


Artie's a blue collar worker and he knows there's so much more out there in the world, but it's not for 'average hard working people like him' but when circumstances conspire to present him with the opportunity to hear just a little of the music that makes his heart soar and brings him to life...Artie's no fool either he doesn't pass up the chance to . I really liked Artie with his fish tank full of pet fish and how he looks out for his landlord who is a retired professor of existentialism. If I could pick a little brother I think it'd be someone like Artie. He's just a really awesome guy...he's kind, hardworking and a son that would make any parent proud, he's pretty damned selfless. 


When Artie gets a chance to do some renovation work at the home of Madame Desmarais and more importantly her talented son Francois, who also happens to be a world renowned composer and pianist whose fear of crowds makes performing live an absolute nightmare for him the two become friends and Francois very quickly realizes that not only does he enjoy Artie's company but Artie soothes his soul in a way that no one else ever has and for Artie, Francois sees so much about him that is good and noble. Francois knows that Artie is someone who he would be proud to have not just as a friend, but maybe even as a boyfriend.


One of the things that I noticed with this story was that I felt a bit more engaged with the secondary characters such as Francois' mother, Artie's landlord...I think he was totally adorable and Artie's family in general ended up to be a pleasant surprise.


'Love You So Special' was a nearly perfect blend of romance, drama and comedy that kept me engaged from start to finish and it seems that for this listener it was the perfect entertainment for a Valentine's Day afternoon. At 5 hrs. and 18 mins. it was long enough to provide an engaging and well filled out story but not so long that it became boring at any time. 


Admittedly there's a bit of a plot twist towards the ending of this story that was really a bit of take it or leave it for me, I can honestly say that I'm torn on how much I really thought this helped the story but in the end it was there and I guess more than anything I viewed it as a bit of a speed bump something that was on the path and while it may have slowed the journey down a bit, it wasn't enough to stop things completely and once your past it you carry on and the rest of the trip is a smooth ride.


As with the previous books in this series the narrator was once again Rys Forest who once again has given substance to the characters of this story and created a very enjoyable listening experience that I look forward to revisiting in the future along with the previous stories in Ms Lain's 'Love You So' series.




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

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review 2019-02-17 01:48
Harry got an angel but it seems that...
Familiar Demon (Familiar Love #2) - Amy Lane

Edward has lost his heart to a demon. I loved 'Familiar Angel' it contained just that little bit of different to it that makes a story interesting for me. While I'm not a huge fan of paranormal if it's done right I can totally get on board and enjoy it and with her 'Familiar Love' series Ms. Lane has given me a series that offers me that little touch of the different. In 'Familiar Angel' we watched as Harry...no not Harry Potter or even Harry Dresden...who know apparently there is more than one Harry...but what they all have in common is magic and this Harry along with his brothers uses his magic to do good things in the world and they have done those good things for 140 years...so if you want the full story on how this happened definitely read 'Familiar Angel'. 


In 'Familiar Demon' we get to learn more about Edward...no not Cullen...there are no sparkly vampires here...there are vampires, thankfully they don't sparkle though and Edward he's not one of them. No Edward is Harry and Francis's brother of the heart and he's also one of Emma's familiars plus like Harry and Francis, Edward's has his own magic and Edward's sweet on Mullins. We met both of these characters in the first book but briefly...Mullins is Leonard's friend (Emma's husband) and like Leonard or at least like Leonard until he was rescued from hell by Emma, Mullins is a demon. But Edward sees Mullins...not the demon but the man that the demon hides and over the years Edward has fallen in love with Mullins and he's decided that just as Emma rescued Leonard, the man she loved from the clutches of hell. It's time that he did the same for the man that he loves. 


While I really loved 'Familiar Angel' this second installment of Ms Lane's ' Familiar Love' series really stepped up the game for me. The first part of the story was very much on a par with 'Familiar Angel' but when it came to the second half of the story, I can honestly say I'm not sure what I was expecting, but, I'm pretty sure this wasn't it, although what I was expecting was definitely surpassed by what I got. I just loved the last part of 'Familiar Demon'. While the pace stepped up a bit I had no problem keeping up with happenings and the characters that were introduced.


It's here in the last part of 'Familiar Demon' that we are given a very strong connection to one of Ms Lane's early series 'Little Goddess' as well as the indications of a link to Francis's past and while I don't think that it's necessary to read Little Goddess before reading this book...like seriously not required, I can't say that I haven't added the 'Little Goddess' series to my list of books I'd like to read some day.


Whether it's 'Familiar Angel' or 'Familiar Demon' both stories contain a very strong theme of second chances. The Youngbloods are to say the least an interesting and unique family forged from time, fate and circumstances.


So far these men have battled the forces of heaven and hell to be able to claim the men they love and they've done it with the love and support of the family that they've created with Emma and Leonard as their parents and Beltane, Emma and Leonard's biological son.


Not to sound like a stuck record but when it comes to paranormal/fantasy I really love it when I find something that give me just a little bit of the unusual...I know it's urban fantasy/paranormal and by virtue of that it should be unusual, but for a long time it really wasn't. All the vampires, werewolves and witches, etc seemed to have the same rules/characteristics/restrictions/whatever. So, it's awesome to see authors taking a second look at this genre and saying 'hey, my vampires don't have to be confined during the daylight hours, my werewolves/shifters can have different rules...these things aren't real and the only rules are the ones that I make...even if it means that they sparkle...please no, but even it if does at least it's something different and lately I've found myself more willing to take another look at what's going on in the world of paranormal and/or urban fantasy. 


I'm really looking forward to the next book which I'm hoping and which logic tells me will be about Francis and there was just enough about Francis in this story to tell the reader that there's more to Francis than meets the eye but not enough to make the reader feel like they got anything close to the whole story.


In 'Familiar Angel' we saw Harry get his angel and here in 'Familiar Demon' we watched Edward get his demon...so this begs the question...'What will Francis get?'



An ARC of 'Familiar Demon' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-02-06 02:01
Let's start with the stars...
Road of No Return - K.A. Merikan,Wyatt Baker

I cannot lie I struggled with this one...more so than I've struggled with any book in a while...so at the end of it all I'm giving the story 2.5 stars because...it was ok at best and 3.5 stars are for Wyatt Baker. The narrator for this and a new to me narrator at that. Mr. Baker gave this story character, color, depth and definitely added to the interest.


To say that there were things I liked and things I didn't enjoy in equal measure is a definite understatement. So let's start with one of the MCs...'Stitch' I had a lot of thoughts about Stitch...most of the time I found him to be annoying, irritating, self absorbed beyond belief and from start to finish I never warmed up to this character even when we got those glimpses of him with his little girl...truly the only redeeming moments that Stitch was given...well, those and the occasional interaction with with his ex-wife...but still when all was said and done for me Stitch's annoying as hell factors were more and far greater than the few moments of 'hey maybe...just maybe there's a decent person here...nah, forget it the moment passed.'


Now I have to say for the most part I did like Zak a lot more than Stitch but still not finding my self to be overly concerned with his happiness and well being. Truth be told I was kind of hoping that Zak would cut his losses and move on where Stitch was concerned...needless to say I was disappointed.


The overall plot of a biker trying to leave his gang and find a better life for himself was what intrigued me and had me wanting to listen to this audio book and while the story didn't work as well for me as I'd hoped it would I am more than willing to give props to the authors for not shying away from the fact that life as a biker is violent, brutal and dangerous in ways that few of us can truly imagine...it's not glamorous and fun, there are no heart and flower moments to be  had and often times it's a life that's almost impossible to escape.


I once had a friend tell me about how his sister left home with a biker when she was sixteen. He also told me about how she came home a year later...just a year and at the end of it all how he explained it was that she came home 'a lot older and a lot wiser' and maybe it wouldn't have seemed so bad if he didn't have tears in his eyes when he told me this. We never talked about it again but it always stayed with me and I found myself remembering that conversation as I listened to this book and as I listened to the last part of the story I really didn't need to use a lot of imagination to imagine the level of violence portrayed as being something that could be possible...so while there were a lot of reasons that this wasn't a viable story for me it was definitely a story that I could imagine as being something firmly entrenched in reality.


So in spite of my dislike of Stitch and a couple of the other members of the 'Coffin Nails' I can definitely respect the effort that went into creating this story and as I said at the beginning the narrator absolutely did the story justice so props to all...this one may not be my thing...it's definitely a thing and if you're a fan of these authors and this series you should probably check out the audio and decide for your self whether or not it's your thing.



An audio book of 'Road of No Return' was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-01-27 04:24
So turns out this wasn't quite lucky number 13 for me...
Cash - Garrett Leigh

'Cash' is the 13th story by this author that I've read and while it was a good read and I liked it for me it just wasn't quite what I was anticipating.  I was really looking forward to this one. I read 'Lucky' the first book in this series and I absolutely loved it. Plus I don't think I would have enjoyed this one even as much as I did if I hadn't read 'Lucky' since the MCs from the first book are fairly present in this story as well. So yes, you can read this story without benefit of having read Lucky but again having read the first book it helped me to make a stronger connection with the characters here in Cash.


We first met Cash in 'Lucky' when he starts to work at the same garage as Lucky and Lucky later becomes his roommate. Plus we do actually met Rae in that book as well...sort of and if you read Lucky you'll know what I mean but if not...see what I mean about stronger connections?


Rea's life is that of a 'Saboteur'. Saboteur's are another level of animal rights activist and while this story focused on their work in protecting foxes by sabotaging fox hunts,as well as badger culls and other small game species for the purposes of this story the author has focused on fox hunts and on a practical level I understand why animal culls are sometimes done but would I ever go hunting...no, do I think that hunting especially in the manner that is used for a fox hunt is justifiable or in any way humane...no, never. Personally I'd be out there with Rae if I could.


While there were times that the issue of the fox  hunt overshadowed Rae and Cash's story and I did feel a tiny bit frustrated by it on occasion, I also saw how integral it was to their story for the author to make us understand the passion, intensity and dedication that the saboteur's life demands from a person and I don't think I would have felt that as much if Ms Leigh hadn't taken the time to emerge me into their world.


However, while this gave me a better understanding of both men and their values as well as filling in some gaps in Cash's background, it did come at the cost of my connection to them as a couple...which still not a total loss here because when all was said and done I still really liked both Cash and Rae.


In summary maybe I didn't find this one quite as riveting as...say 'Between Ghost' or 'Misfits' this was still an above average read for me at 3.5 stars and I'm looking forward to continuing this series with the hope that along with a new pair of MCs we'll also get to see more of Lucky, Dom, Cash and Rae...even if it's just a peek to see how they're doing now.



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

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