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review 2017-07-19 18:45
Well this one caught my attention...hook, line & sinker...
Setting the Hook - Andrew Grey

'Setting the Hook' is the first book in Andrew Grey's latest series 'Love's Charter' and I do have to admit it's been a while since I've enjoyed one of this author's books as much as this one.

 

William Westmoreland has a high pressure life in Rhode Island. Helping his father run the family business and trying to live up to the expectations of his parents. Who I have to admit in spit of everything else were at least accepting of William's sexuality.  William's only bit of self indulgence is his twice a year trips to Florida to charter on Mike Jansen's fishing boat where he can relax, catch some fish and enjoy the scenery...all of the scenery.  But he's never done more than look.

 

Mike runs his charter fishing service so he can provide for his mother and daughter and he keeps everything else firmly locked in the closet to ensure that they stay safe. Following his heart isn't an option in Mike's eyes. 

 

Neither of these men are looking for a relationship. For different reasons each man's life is ruled by fear making love a complication that they just don't have room for. William doesn't have time and lives in fear of letting his father down...Mike lives in fear of what he could lose if he follows his heart. 

 

When Mother Nature steps in and forces these two men together they begin to realize that they can no more fight their feelings than they can the storm raging outside and keeping William in Florida.

 

The relationship between these two wasn't a direct line to happily ever after for either of them. There was the real world to deal with, choices and decisions to be made and none of it was easy for them. William returned to Rhode Island to the life that he felt he couldn't escape and this was when he realized that it was a life he couldn't and didn't want to continue to live. At the same time Mike began to realize that while he loved his mother and daughter and wouldn't change anything that had happened in the past he needed to find a way to redefine his future and still provide for them and keep them safe.

 

These men and their story worked for me. Things weren't easily resolved for them and at times the floundered but I loved that they were both willing to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep trying, keep working to find a way to be together and create a life together. 

 

As well as letting their fears rule their lives, both William and Mike treasure their family in their own way. Mike's mom is loving, strong and supportive and does her best to help him raise his daughter. At the same time she sees so much more of her son and who he is than he realizes and truly wants the best for them. 

 

William's parents were a bit more complicated and at the beginning I can honestly say I was not a fan and while I never fully warmed up to them as the story progressed I came to appreciate the potential that was beginning to grow as his parents began to change and see that the life there son was leading was neither the life he wanted or needed. Throughout the story there was conflict between William and his parents as he struggled to change his life so he could be with Mike. I liked that we got to see things between William and his parents start to improve. It was nice to read a story where a child and his parents were able to work through their conflicts come out on the other side with a stronger relationship rather than being alienated from each other.

 

Greg Tremblay was the narrator for this story and as always he did not disappoint. The voices worked for me, they were expressive and conveyed emotion giving depth and life to the story.  Mr. Tremblay is definitely one of my favorite narrators, his audio books without fail 

 

'Setting the Hook' has given a solid start to this series and I'm definitely looking forward to continuing with 'Love's Charter' and seeing whose story will come next.

 

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

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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 21:15
Ok so Garrett Leigh is officially on my 'must have' list...
House of Cards (Porthkennack) (Volume 4) - Garrett Leigh

I wasn't going to tackle this series not for any reason in particular just because I have so many books...specifically series on the go right now that I thought I'd try and behave because seriously the books in this series have gotten some really good reviews but I was trying to behave myself and then I saw "House of Cards' by Leigh Garrett...what can I say, willpower...I has none. 

 

Add to this the fact that Calum's last name is 'Hardy' and seriously how could I ignore a book with such an awesome name in it? Well obviously I couldn't.

 

'House of Cards' was one of those books that grabbed me from the start, as seems to be the case with me and Garrett Leigh stories.  First off for me this was not a romance story...it was more...so, so much more. This was friendship, love, second chances, starting over all wrapped up in a beautiful gift of words. 

 

When Calum Hardy's life takes a very rapid nose dive he gets on a train and heads out of London neither knowing nor caring where he's going. When Brix Lusmoore spots a familiar form at Truro station it doesn't really enter his mind not to stop. It's been years since he's seen Calum but he'd know him anywhere. Calum's hit rock bottom both in his life and in the bottle he's been consoling himself with on his train ride to who-know's-where so he's pretty sure he's imagining seeing the friend who disappeared from his life years earlier the friend he's missed every day since.

 

Brix loads Calum into his van and takes him home but for Brix and Calum this is only the beginning. Both men have a lot to sort out and work through before they can find their way home to each other.

 

I loved, loved, loved everything about this book...well, everything except Rob and Jordan they can go die in a fire both of them. They are the dickiest of dicks...yep, I hated them both.

 

Ok enough of that on to better things like Calum. He's so broken seriously, I didn't think a vat of crazy glue was going to put him back together but still there was also such a sweet and decent man there. Thank heavens Brix is better than crazy glue, but sadly he's got his own problems and issues and yet, he's got a strength of character that's amazing. He's a fixer, a nurturer. He takes Calum back into his life and he gives him the a home and the strength to he needs to start rebuilding his life and in doing this he finds the strength to begin fixing his own fragmented life.

 

As well as Calum and Brix there's a wonderful collection of characters in Porthkanneck who definitely keep life interesting, so needless to say I was more than a little happy to learn that book #6 in the Porthkannek series will be Kim's story. We met him here in 'House of Cards' and I have to admit the blurb for his book promises to be every bit as good as this one.

 

'House of Cards' is a story that will make you both smile and cry.  It will leave you wishing that you could visit this quirky, fictional place where people can nurse their wounds and make themselves whole again and at the end of it all it'll leave you feeling like you went to Porthkanneck without leaving your favorite reading chair.

 

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 A copy of 'House of Cards' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-07-11 23:20
Matt was straight...until he wasn't...Jon was commitment phobic...until...
Pounding Skin - L.A. Witt

I'm totally loving this series...military men...fighter pilots...think 'Top Gun'...tattoos...tattoo artist and a peek at Colin and Daniel from the first book and these boys are still together and in a good place. This makes me happy. 

 

Now as for Matt and Jon...

 

If you asked Matt he'd tell you he's straight or at least that's what he believed until an encounter with a friend and her boyfriend makes him realize that he was as into the boyfriend as he was his friend...maybe, even a little more so. Matt's spent most of his life claiming he's straight. When in fact he's so far in the closet that his emergency exit opens smack dab in the middle of Narnia. 

 

While Jon's not hiding his sexuality, he's not advertising either at least he's not hiding the fact that he's gay but when it comes to relationships and commitment he's about as phobic as a person can get. 

 

When Jon loses a bet the term 'you bet your sweet a$$' takes on a more personal meaning and when he enters Skin Deep Inc. he discovers that while he may not want a tattoo, he definitely wants the tattoo artist.

 

What starts as friends with benefits for both Matt and Jon slowly slips into something more and Matt's ok with seeing where things go but Jon's determined to keep it casual...no strings attached.

 

I really liked both of these men. Matt may have spent years denying that he's bi but when push came to shove he manned up and faced the facts acknowledging that he was bi and not straight and facing the fact that you've been lying to yourself for most of your life isn't the easiest thing in the world to do. There were a couple of times when Matt spent a bit too much time in his head but all things considered that's a pretty human failing. I think most people are guilty of doing this from time to time. 

 

Jon's a good guy and try as he might to deny it his actions scream loud and clear that he cares for Matt as way more than a f*ckbuddy. But it's not just how he is with Matt that shows how good he is. Jon's RIO is also his best friend Nate and I like the interaction that occurs between these two and happily we get to see more of Nate in 'Cover Up' the next book in the 'Skin Deep Inc.' series and one that I'm really looking forward to. 

 

I have to admit as much as I liked Jon, I didn't really get why he was so commitment phobic but when I thought about it I realized that we don't always get why people do what they do or why someone likes what they likes and hates what they hate. it's part of what makes us individuals. So, Jon being commitment phobic for whatever his reasons were was just a part of who he was. Luckily he has a good friend who was willing to call him on his BS. 

 

Matt and Jon were to say the least one sexy couple both in and out of the bedroom. Without a doubt L. A. Witt knows her way around the sexy times and I don't mean just the physical aspect of things, although she's nails that as well but she also makes the connections for her characters on an emotional level and for me that's the difference between an ok or good story and something that totally melts me makes me love the story.

 

I just want to add one last little comment here and that's about the cover. I love covers...no, I don't factor them in to my ratings that's strictly based on the story but for me the cover is like the blurb it's a promotional tool for the story and I'd be lying if I said that the cover for these books didn't grab my attention because...seriously, have you seen these covers? Do I really need to say more?

 

'Pounding Skin' it doesn't mean what you think it does...but, you'll have to read the story to find out because I'm not telling ;)

 

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A copy of 'Pounding Skin' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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