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review 2018-06-04 23:35
Some journeys are made in a plane, on train or even in a car...while others...
Watching and Wanting - Jay Northcote,Lewis Carter

 don't require you to even leave the comfort of your home.

 

For the past month I've been on a journey that was made mostly in a vehicle towing our home on wheels but while I've been doing this I've made so many other trips and some of them like this one have been journeys of discovery...

 

Shawn's a recent grad, who's fallen into a bit of a rut. His job's a dead end and it barely pays the bills, his girlfriends called it quits between them and his friends have all moved on but here he is still in Plymouth and at a loss as to which way to go and to make things worse Shawn's roommate Jude is out and proud  and for Shawn he's everything that Shawn's tried to run from for most of his life. But try as he might Shawn can't help but look back over his shoulder as he runs from Jude because he may be pretending that he's not interested in Jude but his hearts telling him a totally different story and when he finds out that Jude works as a cam boy, he also sees an opportunity to explore what he's tried to deny for so long.

 

Most of my friends read this one back when it came out as an e-book but I have to admit I've been holding out for the audio book. I'm not sure why I really like Jay Northcote's stories and I've read several but for some reason I seem to enjoy them even more on audio especially his 'Housemates' series. We've met Shawn in previous books so I was happy to seem him get a story of his own this time around. I can't honestly say that he's a favorite character for me but I really enjoyed seeing him discover more about himself and his sexuality and I liked that while Jude was patient and gave him the time and space that he needed to figure things out he didn't do it at the expense of his own self-respect and dignity. It was close a time or two but when push came to shove so to speak Jude know he had to put himself first...that he deserved to be more than someone's dirty little secret and maybe at times it felt like he was pushing Shawn but in truth there were times that Jude and Shawn's objectives were in conflict so in a way it was probably inevitable that one or both of them would become a bit defensive and while the other would seem to be overly assertive about what they wanted. 

 

Woven throughout Shawn and Jude's story are brief glimpses of characters from previous books in this series, which anyone who knows me will tell you that having characters from previous books or even other series that I'm familiar with is like giving me catnip. It's inevitable that I will end up rolling on the floor and purring like a kitten, figuratively speaking...mostly. So even though this story can easily be read as a standalone...really, why would you want to miss out on all those hot, fun stories that come before this...just puttin' that out there for the universe ;)

 

I'm fairly comfortable saying that the one thing that anyone who's read this would be more than likely to agree on is that these two men are off the charts when it comes to the sexy times. Jude and Shawn are smokin' hot together especially when they discover that they each have a bit of a kink for D/s that's very compatible. Jude likes to be the boss and Shawn he's more than willing to let Jude boss him around...and tie him up...and who knows what else they'll discover they enjoy these two are really just getting started.

 

But the real surprise for me this time around was the fact that Mark Steadman wasn't the narrator. I've gotten use to hearing this narrator when I'm listening to one of Jay's books but this time around I was treated to a new voice...that of Lewis Carter and I'm happy to say I enjoyed the narration as much as I always do. The list was checked and things went a long swimmingly well. While I've enjoyed Mr. Steadman's narrations in the past and I do hope that I'll get to enjoy them again in future I won't be disappointed to hear more from Lewis Carter as well. When a series as multiple MCs I actually find that having more than one narrator helps to keep the variety of the voices fresh and can avoid having the MCs sound too much alike. When the MC's are the same from story to story I admit it's a very different thing and I like the continuity of the same narrator from book to book but in the case of Jay Northcote's 'Housemates' where the MCs are changing from story to story the voices need to do the same as well and so far Mark Steadman and Lewis Carter are keeping things fresh and different in the voice department and I'm looking forward to what comes next from this author and these narrators.

 

*************************

An audiobook of 'Watching and Wanting' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-03-13 18:01
Great Story and Characters
Watching You - Leslie Kelly

A red headed woman jogging in the beach and the entering the gallery caught Reece’s attention. Reece’s Aunt Sharon had no idea who she was Sharon checked with Sid and the girl was trying to help sister have a profession show of her sculptures.. Jessica was the redhead and her adopted sister was Liza. Jess’s mom had died when she was nine and she went into the system and luckily eventually she was adopted by Liza’s family. Sharon looked at the pictures of Liza’s work and thought they were really good. Reese was a famous film director. He had backed Sharon in the gallery and was a silent partner but Sharon had an eye for good work but Reece and his brothers would do anything for their Aunt Sharon. Sharon had helped raise the brothers after their mother had been committed. Liza was the person Jess cared most about in this world. Jess had not dated anyone in a long time as her last relationship hadn’t ended very well.her ex Johnny had been unhinged and stalked Jessica.But it had been quiet for two months. Jess was still in college as she had to go part time at “ Hot buns”   and worked at bar Reece had been in New Mexico when he got a call from his brother Rowan who was a cop that his house had been burnt down and the fire inspector said it was arson. Luckily he had given the Scots who worked for him two weeks off and his brother had his dog. Reece flew back and then Reece wanted to go see his aunt. Reece had abad stalker who had found out where he lived and had been leaving notes for him in his security gate. Reece and Rowan were twins and had a younger brother Raine who owned a security business they protected young stars. Rowan asked Reece if he thought they were charmed and reese said not to say that. The brothers had a rough past and Rowan did a better job moving beyond the dark episodes of the past then Reece. Reece was a man of long vision not the quick immediate scene. Jess’s dream was to be an academy award winning original screenwriter. Then there was the show for Liza at the Gallery Jess could feel someone watching her and it had been Reece. He finally came up behind her and talked to her and offered to show her the piece he had already bought of Liza’s art but it was upstairs. Jess did go upstairs with Reece and the piece was a nude sculpture as that is what Liza did and it was Jess pleasuring herself except Jess would only let her use her from the neck down as her model. But Reece had instantly knew it was Jess. Reece had inspired dreams and fantasies through out Jess’s teen years when she used going to the movies to get away from the foster house she was in until she got adopted by Liza’s family. Being Reece Winchester's unfiltered interest was a feeling unlike any Jess had experienced before. There was something magnetic about this man. Jess had been the object of reese.s object of fascination for two months since seeing her jogging. When Reece and Jess were upstairs close to having sex Sid brought a photographer up but Reece handled it and had Sid fired. Then Jess realized there was a security camera in the room and she had seen Reece look at it, Jess was furious and felt Reece was no better than Sid the pervert. Reece tried to tell Jess he was going to have the camera erased as soon as he could. Jess wouldn’t listen then a shot came through the large glass window Reece covered Jess with his own body and all he cared about  was protecting Jess and her safety.

I absolutely loved this book. It was a great read with everything you could want in it as far as i am concerned. I loved the plot and the pace. I loved how Reece and his brothers were so close and always there for each other no matter what. This caught my interest from the beginning to the end. I loved the drama and mystery and danger in this book. I could find nothing to criticize in this book. I loved Reece and Jess together. .I loved the characters and the twists and turns in this book and I highly recommend.

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review 2018-03-13 12:38
Watching You - Leslie Kelly

I have been a fan of the romantic suspense genre since I first discovered it years ago. I love when I find an author who does it well, and Leslie A. Kelly is absolutely a master at her craft. Watching You is the first book in her Hollywood Heat series that centers around the Winchester siblings, with  eldest brother Reece getting his story first. I will put it out there that the mystery of the Winchester siblings will span the series, but the set up is done so well in Watching You, I can't wait to read the next 2 books in the series.

 

I have to say that initially Reece Winchester worried me a bit when he first saw Jessica Jensen. I honestly expected to see him be more upfront about his attraction rather than having a few stalker-like tendencies. I got with him being Reece Winchester, he had to be extra careful, but it seemed like he was almost trying to direct their first meeting. As Jessica was willing to accept his apology, I was able to let it go as well. I really loved the chemistry between Reece and Jessica, as they were smoking hot together. I found myself loving how protective Reece was of Jessica without being too over the top. 

 

I loved that Jesica was an aspiring screen writer. I knew as soon as we met her advisor I didn't trust him not to screw her over. I hated her first experience with someone in the Hollywood writing world was so unscrupulous, but was really glad she had Reece in her corner to make sure her ideas and interest were protected. I honestly expected Jessica to be a bit stronger than she appeared based upon past female characters written by Ms. Kelly. I knew based upon her past, she was a very strong person to survive and flourish as she has. I just wanted her to take control a few times rather than let Reece step in.

 

The suspense elements in Watching You were absolutely perfect. I loved at least part of the mystery will last over the entire series. I will say there was not a cliff hanger feel to the mystery, even though certain aspects were revealed at the end of the book. Ms Kelly kept me on the edge of my seat through much of Watching You. I absolutely can't wait to see where Ms. Kelly takes us in the next 2 books in this series. I already have Wanting You, book 2 in the Hollywood Heat series on my to-be-read list.

 

Rating: 4.5 Stars (B+)

Review copy provided by publisher

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review 2018-02-10 12:42
I Am Watching You - Teresa O'Driscoll

Don't eavesdrop and then you won't find yourself in Ella's situation! She's on a train, en route to London, and watches and listens to 2 teenage girls being chatted up by a couple of older men - what should she do? She's then horrified the next day to discover that one of those girls has been reported missing, then someone starts sending her messages. Told from several points of view, all of whom had something to hide. I wasn't much interested in the floristry sections nor those about one of the characters wife and baby, so skimmed them. Ella seemed to be on a huge guilt trip for someone who was a complete stranger to the girls which did get a bit tiresome! However the book was easy to read, enjoyable and kept me intrigued, and involved in the story.

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review 2018-02-08 05:24
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: Re/Reading the Classics Project
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston

 

“She had an inside and an outside now
and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.”

― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

 


There's a reason this is on virtually every "classic" list you can find. I could fill a hundred pages with nothing but gloriously human quotes and still not convey the beauty or truth found between the covers of this book.

 

I've set a goal to both read more "classics" and reread the classics I encountered when I was far too young to appreciate them as I enter my older years. I first read Their Eyes Were Watching God when I was ten (I think. I didn't keep a reading journal in those days, but my old copy seems to indicate something like ten.) I read it then because my neighborhood friend, Becky, who was a few years older than me, told me it was "great." I don't know if she really thought that or just was parroting someone older than her, but I wanted to be Becky, so I read it and readily agreed. I didn't let on, but I didn't really get why it was so great.

 

Luckily my own plan to reread classics coincided nicely with one of my book clubs. So I reread this in January. Coming back forty years later, I can now agree wholeheartedly with Becky. But it's so much more than great.

 

The most special part of Zora Neale Hurston's writing is that she takes subjects our society wants to segment into "good" or "bad" and shows us how they are simply human ― thereby complicated. Subjects like infidelity, domestic abuse, killing for self-protection, killing as an act of mercy, colorism, white savior complex, poverty, female pride, female submission, moral relativism... You name a tough topic, and Hurston handles it in this book with a deft touch rarely found in today's world. Luckily we find it in more literature than regular life.

 

She handles all of these topics and more with a grace and kindness in her writing that comes off the page. Reading this book has, I think, made me a more generous person. (Perhaps I should schedule it in regularly.)

 

I can't go through all of the situations portrayed in the book. I'm not as good a writer as Zora Neale Hurston, so it would just be ugly. All I can do is implore everyone to read this book, probably more than once. You may find it hard to get past the phonetic dialect. I got past it quickly by reading aloud to start. Within a few passages, I could hear the words without needing to read aloud, and I had no problem with the phonetic spellings. (This is a trick I learned years ago when I read Trainspotting.)

 

One sad note about this novel and all of Ms. Hurston's writing is because it didn't fall within the political standards of the time, her works all went quickly out of print and stayed that way until the 1970s when thanks to the concerted efforts of Alice Walker and others, including her biographer Robert Hemenway, her books came back into circulation. Zora Neale Hurston died in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave, despite two Guggenheim awards and a prize-winning autobiography among her many other literary and artistic feats. Alice Walker found her grave and marked it.

 

Recently, upon another reread of another classic, Wuthering Heights, I commented to someone one a GR group that while I don't have to like every character to enjoy a book, I do reserve the right to judge them. What's so amazing about this story and nearly every character in it is no matter what they do, they are so fully realized that I could empathize with and understand nearly everything they did and said. So while I may not respect the choices of every woman who walks away from marriage into another, I felt no animosity or judgement when Janie walked out on one man to marry another. I felt no moral outrage at anything anyone did, and this includes some very touchy subjects.

 

I hurt for the characters and felt the angst that must have accompanied their actions or choices, but I never found myself truly upset with any of them for long. Zora Neale Hurston must have been a remarkable woman to be able to write these very real, very strong, very fallible and very sympathetic characters.

 

This one is definitely worth a read or ten.

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