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Search tags: can-be-read-as-a-standalone
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review 2017-09-19 17:32
Well this is a bit of a quandry...
Played! - J.L. Merrow

I was more than willing to give this one a go. It had a lot going for it...I like J.L. Merrow's writing, Mark Steadman is the narrator and I like him, I enjoyed 'Caught' the first book in this series. The blurb sounded cute and Shamwell seems like a quaint little place to visit...so I was all in and while I gave this one 3 stars, I have to admit it probably fell a little bit short of that mark. But between the quality of the writing and the audio narration in good conscience I wasn't really comfortable giving this one less than 3 stars and there were several things that I liked about this one.

 

I liked Con. While he was a bit sensitive about his dyslexia, I can't in all honesty say that he was 'bitter' or 'excessive' about it. It struck me that his attitude was more a case of it was what it was and he just seemed to want to get on with his life. He's had his heart broken before and he's not looking for any one night stands or quick hook-ups. 

 

Tristan on the other hand is just in town for the summer and he's more than happy to do no-strings-attached, commitment free fun as he sorts out the house he's inherited and gets it ready for sale before going to New York to join the family business, give up his desires to perform live theater and fulfill his obligation to the family as per daddy's instructions. 

 

Tristan's also more than a bit full of himself which leads to him being more than a little surprised when Con turns him down and doesn't return his interest. When circumstances conspire to throw Con and Tristan together in an amateur production for the local theater company.  Con and Tristan begin to form a tentative friendship and feelings begin to grow on both sides. 

 

At first glance this had all the makings of a fun, sweet, friends to lovers romance. Unfortunately as the story progressed Tristan went from self-absorbed and bit arrogant to a total, absolute jerk, I started to like him less and less. Now in his defense I will say he had help being such a huge jerk and that was his bbf  Amanda...his Best Biotch Forever...because trust me folks this piece of work was no one's friend but her own. More often than not I found Tristan to be demeaning and condescending in how he treated Con. 

 

As well as just not feeling the love for Tristan, I never really felt the love between Tristan and Con. It just didn't work for me and by the time they got together it was just a bit too rushed for me.

 

While the story overall was promising in the end it just wasn't enough to save it from what wasn't working for me so it ended up just being ok and with the addition of another solid job on the narration by Mark Steadman I'm comfortable leaving this one with 3 stars.

 

In spite of it all I'm hoping to give the next book in this series a try it's Patrick's story and we met him in this book and he had a bit of bad luck happening so with any luck things will go better for him on my next trip to the wee village of Shamwell.

 

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

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review 2017-09-12 03:09
There's no place like home...there's no place like...
Trapped in Oz (Tales from Kansas Book 3) - Andrew Grey

'Trapped In Oz' is the third book in Andrew Grey's 'Kansas' series and at the heart of the story is 'home'. Martin Long has a good job and a good home. At least he did until his dad got offered a promotion that's a huge career opportunity for him...to bad it means moving. Suddenly Martin needs to find a new place to live. 

 

Gary Hunter has a house that was left to him by his grandmother and he has a roommate who's less than ideal and needless to say Gary's more than a little relived when said roommate has to move back home. 

 

When Martin calls in response to Gary's ad both men feel like maybe prayers do get answered. It's not love at first sight for these two but they like each other. Martin needs a home someplace where he's comfortable. He's not looking for a palace just someplace nice to call home and when he sees Gary's house he sees potential and offers to help Gary fix things up turning the house the Gary loves into a home where both men can find love and be safe. 

 

Gary knows what it's like to be rejected his family essentially disowned him when he came out as gay and it turned out that the man he thought he was in a relationship with, only  thought of Gary as a booty call. While Martin's never had a boyfriend he lives in fear of his parents learning he's gay. 

 

As Martin begins to move his things into Gary's house and both men begin working together to fix things up, with more than a little help from Martin's awesome mom, feelings begin to grow, get explored and tested.

 

Along with Martin, Gary, their friends and family we get a chance to see a bit of Lyle and Roger the MCs from 'Dumped in Oz' as they befriend Martin and Gary helping Martin come to terms with his sexuality and sharing stories with Gary about his grandmother. 

 

Once again Rusty Topsfield is the narrator for this audio book and his performance was solid, consistent, expressive and added life to the story creating an enjoyable listening experience for what is probably my favorite story in this series.

 

'Trapped in Oz' is a fairly short but sweet story about finding love, coming to terms with your sexuality, coming out and learning that home really is where the heart is.

 

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An audio book of 'Trapped In Oz' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest return.

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review 2017-09-06 21:34
'Just Desserts' was just yummy!...
Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) - Mary Calmes,Greg Tremblay

So being a good girl I saved my dessert for last and it was worth every yummy last bite. I've come to the end of the road with this series and while I enjoyed them all...yes, some more than others but still I was glad I listened to them all.

 

These stories aren't connected by the place or character...no they're connected by a cookbook...a cookbook that contains not just recipes but recipes that bring magic into the lives of the people who make them and eat them. In 'Just Desserts' the curious cookbook offers a recipe for chocolate mousse to Boone Walton and his best friend, chef Scott Wren as they find their way from friends to lovers. I loved these two men and their story. It ticked all my hot spots and throw in Greg Tremblay as the narrator and of course it was a surefire win for me.

 

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review 2017-09-06 01:04
I think I got a little 'Lost Along the Way' with this one...
Lost Along the Way - Marie Sexton,Jeff Gelder

'Lost Along the Way' is Marie Sexton's contribution to the 'Curious Cookbook' series and I have to admit that while I like the premise of the story. It just didn't quite work for me and honestly it was due more to the narration than the story.

 

Jeff Gelder was the narrator for this installment of the 'Curious Cookbook' series and I've listened to 3 or 4 books by this narrator in the past and I've enjoyed them. Unfortunately that wasn't the case this time and I have to admit I was thinking maybe it was me so I peeked at a couple of reviews...specifically I spotted my friend Heather's review and lo and behold she actually had the same problem as I did. It seems we both found the narration on this one to be both stilted and a bit devoid of emotion. Unfortunately given that this is a story that easily lends itself to some emotional moments...a 15 year committed relationship ends, one of the MCs falls in love and even he thinks that maybe it's a bit soon, he parents are both dead and he's got issues...seriously he'd been estranged from them for years and was just starting to rebuild the relationship...I mean come one this ones filled with emotion and it just wasn't coming across in the narration.

 

I enjoy Marie Sexton's writing and I know I'm sure that Mr. Gelder will entertain me again with other stories but for now...we're done here and I'm calling it a day at 3 stars and moving on to the last book.

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review 2017-08-24 23:10
Get a grip doesn't mean what I thought it meant...
Get a Grip - L.A. Witt

I was actually going to take a pass on this one. I'm not even really sure why probably more a case of 'so many books, so little time'. Anyways, somewhere along the way during my reading of 'Three Player Game' book #20, this one keep niggling at my brain and I peeked at it more than a couple of times finally deciding that if I was going to spend this much time reading the blurb and starting at the cover, I needed to read the book and just get it done.

 

What I discovered was that I would have missed out on a really good story if I'd kept to my original plan and skipped this one. Sometimes changing your mind really is a good idea.

 

Shane's works as a 'grip' on the set of 'Wolf's Landing', he's bi and the father of 3 a teenage daughter and twin boys. It's been a long time since he's dated and after his last divorce he's decided that his relationships needed to be attachment free.

 

Aaron own's a local garage, he's a volunteer firefighter and adrenaline junkie. He's also a confirmed bachelor who belongs to a large dog named Jack and three cats...Snowball, Oreo and Tiger and luckily he likes his relationships attachment free as well. It's a match made in heaven, right?

 

Or at least it should be. But when what you think you want suddenly becomes what you have and the last thing you need. Things can get a little confusing. Shane just wants some no strings attached sex and the chance to relive his youth...the one that he missed because he was busy being a single dad raising his kids. But now that they're getting older and don't need him there quite as much...maybe, it's time for Shane to take a walk on the wild side.

 

When Aaron shows up on the Wolf's Landing sound stage following a storm that's done some serious damage. Both men are interested but work is neither the time nor the place in either of their opinions.  Later that day when Aaron spots Shane on Grindr, Aaron's surprise is quickly replaced with renewed interest leading to what's suppose to be a one time hook-up that quickly turns into more taking things from one-time to as often as they can.

 

My biggest reservation with this one was that it was going to be over the top sex that would have me rolling my eyes and the story getting lost because of it...not an unrealistic expectation given that this relationship is very much a 'lust-at-first-sight' situation. But sometimes ya just gotta' have faith and I've read enough L. A. Witt books lately that I've really enjoyed to realize I should have known better.

 

Shane and Aaron definitely have their share of sexy times but I'm good with the how the author handled this. Not all the sex is on page, or given in totally graphic detail, but don't panic, we're given some very good sexy times with these two. The not graphic and off page is well balanced with the hot, steamy times that are very much present and on page and along with this we're given two men getting to know each other. Sharing time together that doesn't always involve getting naked but talking and cuddling and kissing these two love to kiss...which for me can be every bit as hot and sexy as getting naked when there's hearts involved.

 

I loved Shane and Aaron. I loved that they were both older. Shane is in his 40s and Aaron is in his early 30s, so they've both been around for a while and have a bit of life experience under their belts. I was thoroughly take with their relationship from how it started to how it grew and changed and ultimately how things came to be resolved between them. it was a hard earned HEA for these two and one that I was so happy to see them finally get.

 

'Get a Grip' is book #20 in the Bluewater Bay series and while I've only read 11 of them (including this one)...yes, I have some catching up to do and I'm looking forward to it. I've enjoyed reading this series and although it goes against my 'must read in order' compulsion I've come to really appreciate how easily these books can be read out of order and still fully enjoyed.

 

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An ARC of 'Get a Grip' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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