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review 2017-10-04 02:10
This was surprising little gem...
Out of the Shadows (Dreamspun Desires Book 40) - K.C. Wells,Finn Sterling

I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect with this one  but it's K. C. Wells so I felt fairly certain that at the worst I was going to at least like this one. Well I did and I was even more pleasantly surprised to realize that I more than liked it. 

 

'Out of the Shadows' turned out to be a sweet story about a Christian Hernandez, a man who is left severely scared on the right side of his body...specifically his face and arm and how he comes to see that while the scars he was left with are a part of him they don't have to define him and Josh the sweet man who enters his life due to renovations that are being made in the apartment complex where he lives who sees beyond how Christian looks to the man he is. One of my favorite things about this story is the banter between Josh and Christian. From their first conversation I found them to be totally charming and adorable.

 

While there's not really any angst in this one neither does Josh's entrance into Christian's life magically fix things. This is a slow burn as Josh and Christian go from strangers to a very tenuous relationship as acquaintances and with time and patience they become friends as Josh slowly and persistently strives to bring Christian out of his shell and help him accept to reclaim his life...a life that can exist outside of the walls of his apartment.

 

I think for me this was a case of right story right time. I loved the simplicity of this story that was quite honestly filled with a whole lot of people who seemed really nice and had the ability to see beyond the surface and appreciate the person inside. I also liked that this was not a story filled with insta-love, insta-fix...insta-anything nor was it a story of overly complicated and convoluted solutions. Sometimes the solutions in life are straightforward solutions that just need time and effort which is how things felt in this story.

 

'Out of the Shadows' was narrated by a new to me narrator named Finn Sterling and I have to admit that not all of the voices he created for these characters matched what my mind conjured but I was ok with this because while they didn't match my imaginings they were unique and expressive to each character. 

 

This book #40 in Dreamspinner's Dreamspun Desires series and can easily be read or listened to on audio as a standalone story.

 

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

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review 2017-10-03 23:03
Well this was a cute way to pass a bit of time...
Horny - Anne Tenino,Nick J. Russo

'Horny' was a cute story that took more than a little poetic license with Greek mythology. When Ryan Caulfield ends up with a group of supernatural law enforcers in his bar hunting for a less than law abiding Zeus the last thing Ryan expects to happen is that he'll be attracted to one of them and even more surprising they're attracted to him. As a paranormal investigator and an eroté, Leander's use to not having to work for his conquest but when it comes to Ryan things just are coming easy to Leander and not everything's as it seems to be.

 

With a title like 'Horny' the one thing that you could reasonably safely assume is that this is not a serious story and you're right. There were some funny and entertaining moments in this one unfortunately they were interspersed with moments of what felt a little bit like the story was maybe trying too hard. While the first half of this story waffled between 2 and 3 stars the second part made up for it and was a little more consistently on a 3 star level. I found myself far more interested and invested in what was happening and where my mind had wandered a bit at the beginning I found myself paying closer attention to what was happening and enjoying myself a bit more during the last half of the story.

 

While the story started out feeling very much like insta-love/lust at first things became far more interesting when it got dialed back a notch and Leander had to start working for what he wanted and both men are taking the time to get to know each other along with still having a wayward Zeus to bring to justice.

 

Nick J. Russo was the narrator for this light and amusing story and his voice added depth and character to the story and making for yet another entertaining listening experience.

 

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

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review 2017-10-03 18:39
“…Nothing worth anything was ever easy…”
First Season - V.L. Locey,R.J. Scott

And for Layton Foxx and Adler Lockhart it’s going to be an uphill battle. Layton’s a spin doctor, PR troubleshooter…whatever title you want to use he’s the man you need when things are going FUBAR for you and/or your organization. He comes in and does damage control, makes a plan and fixes things, handles the media. He’s all about the success both for his clients and himself but don’t make it personal he doesn’t do personal. His past has taught him where that road leads and it’s a trip he doesn’t want to take again any time soon or ever. But he’s not a coward by any means either and letting his past rule his future isn’t something he’s prepared to do.

 

Adler’s had life handed to him on a silver tray. The best of everything…cars, homes, schools, whatever he’s wanted…whatever’s kept him out of his parent’s lives because they don’t do kids. Adler’s grown up feeling like he’s never good enough, no matter what he’s done, it’s not enough to get him the love he wants from his parents and it’s left him feeling more than a little inadequate about himself so he tries to fill the void with his gruff joking exterior and following his parent’s role model that ‘love comes in a box with a fancy price tag’. Adler for me was like that puppy you see when you enter the pound the one that looks at you with hope and optimism in his eyes because each new person that enters his world is another opportunity to find his place, but it’s not until he encounters Layton that he begins to learn that it’s not about finding your place in the world it’s about creating something new…(I admit it, you’ll have to read the story to fully understand this quote and how it came to be.)

“I want to be paint with you.”

 

“Oh…kay. I want to be paint with you too?”

 

A raspy, coughing laugh rolled out of me. “Cool. We’re going to make one truly vibrant and unique color, Layton.”

On the surface, this is probably one of the most unlikely pairings that I’ve encountered in a while but at the end of it all, it’s also one of the sweetest.

 

I really enjoyed ‘Changing Lines’ the first story in this series and with this story while we have new MCs in Layton and Adler and they really are the focus of the story we also get more about Jared and Tennant, which I really liked since they’re story really isn’t finished. I have to admit I’m more than a little impressed with how well balanced this story is the events of the story that pertain to Jared and Tennant neither overwhelm nor get lost in what’s developing between Layton and Adler and if you pay close attention the groundwork is laid for the next book in this series.

 

So far I’m a fan of the characters we’ve been given…not just the MCs, there are lot of awesome secondary characters in these stories…Adler’s best friend Apollo was intriguing, I love Landry’s family. They were big and loud and in your face protective of him and with good reason and all the players that we get little glimpses of both from the Railers and other teams.

 

While I’m not a huge fan of sports themed stories this series was just too tempting to resist. It’s hockey and I am Canadian…so the least I could do was give it a try, right? But what’s got me wanting more isn’t the hockey it’s the wonderful stories that the writing team of R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey have produced. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for this team because so far it looks like the Harrisburg Railers are shaping up to be a winning team.

 

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An ARC of ‘First Season’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-09-29 01:17
This one absolutely gutted me...
Unquiet (Resilient Love #3) - Melanie Backe-Hansen,Michael Stillman

I don't think I've ever read a book where a couple deserved a 'happily ever after' more. "Unquiet" is the third book in Melanie Hansen's 'Resilient Love' series and I've enjoyed each of these stories so very much but this one...damn, it seriously broke my heart. It's one of the few books where I can honestly say I think I spent at least as much time crying as not. Sometimes it was happy tears...othertimes not so much.

 

We first met Loren in 'Signs of Life' book #2 in this series. He's the former boyfriend of Kai, who was one of the MCs in that story and while he and Kai are very good friends who still care for each other a lot. What they share is a strong and secure friendship and they've each moved in. Kai's story was in 'Signs of Life' and at the end of it we were given the indication that Loren was going to go after the man who held his heart. 

 

Loren and Elliot have been friends all their lives and they've loved each other that long. Unfortunately love's course is never easy and when one of the people involved is a cop and the other deals with mental health issues...you see Elliot is bipolar...if you're not familiar with this condition...take a minute before reading this book and remember google is your friend. I was fortunate in that because I've worked in health care for over 15 years, during that time I had the experience of working with several clients who were bipolar and the one thing I know from that experience is that it takes an incredibly strong person to be the partner of someone who's bipolar and it takes an even stronger person to not just survive being bipolar but to thrive, to make a good and productive life for themselves and that's what Elliot wants but it's not easy. It's so far from easy there aren't even words.

 

There's no perfection between these men they both make mistakes such huge mistakes but it's never done with the intent to hurt the other person. Loren struggles to be the supportive partner that Elliot needs while still trying to pursue his career goals as a police officer. Elliot fights so hard to manage his condition and be what Lauren needs...they both stumble and have to find ways to pick themselves back up and put themselves and their relationship back together...it's heartbreaking, gut wrenching and seriously if you can read this book without shedding any tears, without feeling their pain...well, you're a tougher person than I.

 

I had times when I was frustrated with Loren and Elliot but honestly never was there a point at which I didn't want them to find a way to be together. Melanie Hansen has created two incredibly amazing men in this story...not perfect but strong, resilient men who were willing to do what it took...anything it took to be together because when you love someone whose bipolar..."You're either all in or all out."

 

All of this was made even more vivid for me with the addition of Michael Stellman's voice narrating this story. He gave such depth and emotion to these men and to the people in their lives allowing me to connect with the story on an emotional level that I'm not sure I would have felt had I just been reading the book. I'm not saying I wouldn't have still loved this book no I think it's more a case of Michael Stellman took a book that I would have loved regardless and simply made it that much better.

 

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

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review 2017-09-26 16:21
This time around, it's not a gender thing...
Rank & File - L.A. Witt

or even really an age thing...nope, this time around it's all about the 'Rank & File'. 

 

'Rank & File' is the fourth book in L. A. Witt's 'Anchor Point' series and so far I've enjoyed them all. But this one's got a little bit of a twist to it...one that probably wouldn't occur to a lot of people. You see, Senior Chief Will Curtis is enlisted and he's got his eye on the prize making Master Chief after 30 years of enlistment and Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a navy brat who's graduated from Annapolis with a life in the military laid out for him. A life that he's never questioned but one that's slowly suffocating him. 

 

Will and Brent meet under less than auspicious circumstances and while both men feel a definite physical attraction. They also know it's neither the time nor the place to act on that attraction and then there's the whole issue of fraternization...because while DADT may have been repealed fraternization between officers and enlisted is still a career ender in the military.

 

Only it's a week later and neither man has been able to stop thinking about the other and a chance encounter at local bar only reaffirms that they liked what they'd seen and really one night to get it out of their systems isn't going to hurt anyone right? As long as no one finds out and it's only one night...right? Until it isn't because neither man is ready to walk away. 

 

This ones strong on the sex but given that this a relationship that starts based on mutual physical attraction, would you honestly expect anything different? I know I didn't but for me this was a case of the sex being a part of the story and not just a lot of gratuitous sex for the sake of sex. This was a relationship that didn't start with 'love at first sight'...but 'lust at first sight' and from there as these two men came together they got to know each other, find out about each other and take comfort in each other allowing other feelings to develop and grow until they were both blindsided with the knowledge that their hearts were involved and walking away would mean more than losing a 'friend with benefits' it would mean losing the man they'd come to love.

 

The choice between love and career isn't a new one to a lot of people...military or not, but it can be one of the hardest ones a person can make and I have to admit I held my breath for a while as I devoured this story wanting to know how these two men would ever find their happily ever after and in the end I wasn't disappointed. It took some time, personal growth on the part of both men and definitely hard decisions and change were involved but in the end for me it was the decision that I think made the most sense and probably the one that I'd been hoping for in my heart.  

 

I've enjoyed the stories in this series so far and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next in this series...'Anchor Point' is definitely recommended if you like stories about broken alpha males in the military who have what it takes to deal with whatever life throws their way as they pull themselves up, put themselves back together and fight for the love they never thought they'd find.

 

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

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