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review 2017-03-27 22:38
I seem to be getting over my age gap issues...
Just Drive - L.A. Witt

and if I'm not well, I need to be since I keep reading books where the MCs have significant age gaps. 

 

It's been quite a while since I've read an L.A. Witt book and I've had this one on my TBR list since it was released so once again I can thank the joys of audiobooks for helping me take a bite out of that pile.

 

Let's start with the audio portion of this review because that's going to be short and sweet. Nick J. Russo was the narrator and as usual he did not fail me. His voices for both Sean and Paul were spot on for me. I loved Paul's deep voice with it's hint of gravel to it and Paul's voice had a bit of a younger tone to it and matched my minds idea of a twenty-somethings voice wonderfully. I love the emotion he instills in these characters. I don't have to try and imagine Paul's anger, frustration, passion, love for Sean or Sean's emotions as these two men struggle to sort things out and figure out how to be together...Mr. Russo gives those emotions in spades with his narration of this story.

 

As for the story...well 4 standing at attention stars...I think it's safe to say that I really liked this story. The age difference was a definite issue for these men. Paul's the CO of the local navel base...Sean's father is the Senior Chief on said navel base...he reports to Paul...Sean's listed as his dependent...there are rules about this...rules that can end careers if news of their relationship gets out.

 

The age difference on this one is a solid 20+ years and I was ok with it because of how it was represented.  It was shown in where these two men were at in their lives. Sean's in college and yes he still lives at home with his father but he's neither immature nor juvenile. He understands how much Paul's career means to him and he tries more than once to walk away for both Paul's sake and his father's. Paul's got two marriages and a few relationships plus a 24 year navel career under his belt. Yes there's a strong sexual relationship here but there's also a strong sense of mutual compatibility, shared interest and two people who just like each other. As well as a growing romantic relationship there's a bond of friendship and mutual respect developing between Paul and Sean.

 

The fact that the author didn't do the typical stereo-typing of making the older MC always be the voice of reason and the dominant sexual partner was definitely a refreshing take on this May/December romance as well.

 

Sean's relationship with his father was another aspect of this story that added more depth and believe-ability to things. Sean loved his dad and while he loved and respected his father, he also resented the impact that his father's career has had on his life. While his father loves him, they still find themselves at odds over things and they talk. Maybe things aren't always resolved instantly but again the love and mutual respect is evident. I really enjoy stories that give us real parents, not perfect just normal everyday people who love their kids and want to try and do what's best for them.

 

'Just Drive' is a wonderfully balanced story that easily felt like it could have happened at some navel base somewhere. But more than anything it was the ending of this story that tugged at my heartstrings. While our men may have gotten their happily ever after it was earned when changing priorities can only be achieved with compromise and sacrifice from everyone involved. 

 

'Just Drive' was a story that worked 'just right' from start to finish.

 

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An Audiobook of 'Just Drive' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-03-26 19:17
When your world is going up in flames who better to fall in love with than a fireman...
Cleansing Flame - Andrew Grey

'Cleansing Flame' is the second book in Andrew Grey's series 'Rekindled Flame' and while I did enjoy the first book a tiny, tiny bit more it wasn't enough to really make a difference on my rating.  'Rekindled Flame' which is the title of the first book as well as the series was a really solid 4 star read for me while this one was a little bit of a weaker 4 stars but still quite enjoyable.

 

Dayne's life over the past couple of years hasn't been good it started with a car accident that left him seriously damaged and with a new best friend named 'Pain' and grieving the loss of Jeff the man he loved and thought he was spending forever with. Barely a year later he's burying his mother and now at the start of the book he's back in school trying to get himself turned around and essentially remaking his life only to arrive home and find his home going up in flames. Dayne's pretty much at his limit of how much crap he can handle having dumped on him and really 'can you blame him?' I know I couldn't. 

 

I really like Dayne...sure he has the occasional pity party but he keeps going, he doesn't just give up and wallow in it and I think a lot of people would. He's smart and determined. Truthfully he's not really asking for much he just wants to get on with his life and get out from under the damned black cloud that seems to want to follow  him everywhere and it's when he's at his lowest trying to fight back the tears and despair that are threatening to drown him that the world gives him a glimmer of light in the form of an incredibly kind hearted and attractive firefighter named Lawson...someone he'd met earlier that day at the local historical society.

 

Lawson's attractive, friendly and as kindhearted as they come and he doesn't hesitate to offer Dayne a place to stay when he realizes that this sweet attractive man whom he'd had the chance encounter with has no one to call on in his time of need.  It takes a bit of fast talking from Lawson with strong dose of help from their mutual friend Mason to persuade Dayne to at least accept Lawson's offer of a place to stay for a few days.

 

Now don't be thinking that these two men head off to Lawson's house and fall into be and live happily ever after...nope sorry just like real life it doesn't happen that fast for them. There are obstacles both within their control and not and then even when they do begin to work things out it's still not a smooth road but it's not an over the top WTF angst filled one either.  However, have no fear while it took a while for the sparks to ignite between these two once they did things were definitely hot. 

 

We get to see a bit of Richard and Mason, they're the MC's from book 1 and while they by no means over shadowed the story in this book, they were definitely a nice addition to the story. Having MCs and secondary characters from previous books show up in subsequent books is something that I love happening when I'm reading a series.

 

There's also a secondary part to this story that relates to Dayne and Lawson's first encounter at the local historical society that I really enjoyed I found this part of the story to be incredibly sweet touch adding an opportunity for Lawson and Dayne to get to know each other better and help their relationship grow. 

 

Like the first book in this series, 'Cleansing Flame' is a sweet, low angst, romance that makes for a relaxing and enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to seeing whose story is next in this series and how hot those flames will burn.

 

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

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review 2017-03-20 22:33
Definite cuteness factor here...
Adrian - Caitlin Ricci

I liked this one probably more so than the first one. Technically we've got an established couple here. Adrian and Corrin were matched up six months ago (before the start of the story) by the Faeted Agency and none other than Dyslander, himself did the matching and Dyslander never...never makes mistakes and yet, something has gone wrong and Adrian is going to make him fix it.

 

It seems Corrin has cheated on Adrian. Sadly Adrian knows he still loves Corrin but he also knows that when Corrin kissed that Dragon shifter...dragons!!!! I love dragons...wait, he kissed Corrin and Corrin's with Adrian...oh, bad, bad dragon. You need to go back to your cave until you can learn to behave...now, where were we? Oh, yes Corrin kissed the dragon and Adrian was standing right there...this did not end well. But I had faith in Dyslander, he'll fix things but his fix was totally not what Adrian had in mind but then again when faced with a naked and restrained Corrin, Adrian soon realizes that maybe this wasn't what he had in mind but he can be as open minded as the next dryad when it comes to matters of the heart.

 

So basically that's our premise and it was cute. I really enjoyed it. My biggest issue this story comes in at about 21 pages (the story started on page 7 and finished on page 28 of my e-reader) I really would have loved more from this pairing. In the supernatural world how often do we get stories about a Dryad and a Fire Mage? Cute and unusual make for fun and there really was more to the dragon than it seemed but you'll have to read the story to find out and the next one too...because Caldren is next and he's a Brownie and Dyslander seems to think that his Faeted mate is...a dragon...a dragon who maybe kissed someone he shouldn't have...is there any doubt that I am so there?

 

If you like stories that are cute, light, fluffy and just a bit of fun reading check out Caitlin Ricci's 'Faeted' Series the matches are interesting and there's dragons...really, you can't go wrong with dragons ;)

 

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

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review 2017-03-17 17:34
Canada + dragons = fun times!
Never Lose Your Flames - Francis Gideon

I really enjoyed revisiting this story. 'Never Lose Your Flames' is just a really fun read for me and in a way even more so this time around because just after I read this book last summer hubby and I went on vacation and we drove through the Alberta Badlands and spent an afternoon driving around Drumheller and visiting the Hoodoos  which I have since learned that Blackfoot and Cree traditions hold that these are petrified giants who come to life at night to protect the land around them by hurling stones at intruders and this is way more intriguing than how they actual came to be so I'm sticking with this story. Anyways, back to my review. Needless to say revisiting this story and having seen many of the locations that were mentioned not just the natural geographical ones like The Alberta Badlands and the Hoodoos around Drumheller but places such as Drumheller, Saskatoon and Winnipeg just added to how much I really enjoyed revisiting 'Never Lose Your Flame' so my original review really is unchanged and if you want to have a peek at it, here's the link...

Never Lose Your Flame - original review 

 

Unfortunately while it wasn't a huge detraction from the book neither did this narrators add to my enjoyment of the story this time around. I found that the voices for many of the characters seemed to be so similar that had I not already read this book I would have found it a bit confusing at times to know who was speaking and at times the continuity of how a voice sounded wasn't as consistent as I would have liked. However, as a friend of mine who listened to the sample pointed out this could very possibly be a case of 'not the right book for this narrator' because in spite of these issues I wasn't annoyed or irritated by his voice, it simply wasn't working for me. 

 

This was my first venture with an audiobook narrated by Kevin Chandler and I'm certainly open to giving another book narrated by him a try. But for this time around I'd have to say that while the book still gets 4.5 stars from me the audio portion sits between 3 - 3.5 so I'm going to call it a day at 4 stars in total and we'll see what the future brings.

 

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

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review 2017-03-03 21:19
Another audio success...
Winter Ball - Amy Lane

Once again I'm reviewing an audio book that I've already read in e-book format and once again in regards to the story I'm sticking with my original rating and review. So here's the link...Winter Ball - original review

 

Now as for the audio portion of this review. It was Nick J. Russo on the mic, so no worries there. Mr. Russo did an awesome job of narrating and kept me engaged from start to finish. I have very quickly become a fan of this narrator.

 

Venturing into audiobooks this time around has definitely been a far more positive experience for me and it is very much due to this narrator right here. He consistently gives me voices that work and are identifiable so that I'm able to effortlessly enjoy the story without have to do a lot of mental gymnastics to keep track of who's saying what.  

 

Since starting my foray into audiobooks I have so far listened to 18 different narrators on a total of 27 audiobooks of which 6 have been narrated by Nick J. Russo and I have enjoyed every one of those books so much so that I have listened to them more than once.

 

At the end of it all this was a total win for me...a really sweet story by one of my favorite authors and narrated by someone who has quickly become one of my favorite narrators. I highly recommend this one. It's a sweet story that's well narrated and I just can't imagine not enjoying it and being left smiling.

 

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An audiobook of 'Winter Ball' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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