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review 2020-04-05 21:14
And that's a wrap...
Sink or Swim - L.A. Witt,Nick J. Russo

'Sink or Swim' is the 8th and possibly final book in L.A. Witt's series 'Anchor Point' and it's also the book that I held the most apprehension about reading...now let me just explain this...

 

When I was growing up my parent's raised us with the belief that there are two topics of conversation that one should always try to avoid... one was politics the other was...you guessed it 'religion'. As I got older I learned that it wasn't necessarily about avoiding these topics so much as entering into them with courtesy and respect for the opinions of others and if that fails...well, then it was simply time to follow Elvis and leave the building. Politics and religion in general are topics on which most people have a very firm mindset and entering into a conversation can be more dangerous than walking through a field of landmines...leaving me to wonder what I was getting myself into with this one since I've had past experiences with books that have had a heavy focus on religion that...well, quite honestly didn't go so well for me.

 

Dylan is a Protestant Naval Chapel, however the place of worship that he presides over is maintained as a place that welcomes all faiths even that of Islam giving Alhazar a safe place in which to practice the teachings of his faith and this is the point at which I knew that if nothing else I would truly like these two people because for me faith is something that each person should be free to find in their own way and their own time while respecting the rights of others to do the same, so I immediately felt that these men and  I were of like minds on this subject and needless to say I was comfortable with the characters from the word go.

 

While Dylan and Alhazar's faiths were integral to who they each were and to the story in general it was not the story and was one of a number of issues that the story touched upon...there was an issue of psychological abuse for one of the men in regards to a previous relationship, the story also touched on the subject of harassment (I use this in a general term as this was touched on from more than one aspect), the challenge of being in the military and coming out even after DADT for both men and women. I'm sure there are other things that I'm leaving out here. The list may seem daunting and maybe even a little bit depressing. I felt like it was dealt with in a way that brought attention to the issues without adding an overly somber note to it as well as maintaining a connection to the central theme of things which was the relationship between Dylan and Alhazar. 

 

For as much as I liked Dylan and Alhazar there was a scene in the story that left me feeling very frustrated with and disappointed in Dylan, however, I also understood his feelings at the time...not saying he was right just that I could see where he was coming from. Of course this didn't make me not want to give him a good shake and tell him to get his head out of his pulpit. But the ending more than made up for this and after all was said and done I and more importantly Alhazar happily forgave him.  

 

Once again here in the eighth and maybe final 'Anchor Point' story we're given the consistency of having the same narrator take us from start to finish and while this isn't always the case and sometimes in a series where the main characters change from story to story having different narrators isn't as much of an issue but for me having just marathoned through this series I can honestly say having Nick J. Russo as the narrator for each story was simply and purely an auditory delight that only added to how much I enjoyed the entire series. 

 

As I've indicated this may be the final book I truly don't have any insider knowledge on the yes or no of that but if we're taking votes I have to admit I'd love one more and in the ideal world it would be an anthology of all the couples we've met along the way giving a glimpse into their lives maybe a little further down the road in time to see what's happened and how their lives have changed...so there you have it my wish for what would be the ideal final book to this series but for now I'm on to other things and if you're looking for something to do while waiting for the world to get better...hot men in the military right here...it's worth a peek.

 

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

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review 2020-04-05 03:30
Not quite a wash out...but...
Wash Out - L.A. Witt,Nick J. Russo

This one just didn't work as well for me as previous stories have. But it also surprised me a bit in that between Logan and Casey...it was Logan who I liked the most. If you had told me that he would be my favorite after reading 'Afraid to Fly', I probably would have looked at you like you had two heads and neither of them was working right.

 

Seriously when I started listening to this one and realized who Logan was I paused the audio book for a moment and asked myself... "Really? Do I really want to listen to a story about this asshat?" and surprisingly my brain said "Yes, Karen. Yes you do, because everyone deserves a second chance even those who live in books." So I continued and "SURPRISE!!!" what I discovered was that Logan wasn't who he had seemed to be. Logan for one was ex-military and as is too often the case with those who have seen combat, Logan has his own demons to battle. So getting to see him here in a different light as someone who was fighting to be a better person to get his life back on the rails was very much a good thing and it didn't take long before I was a confirmed Logan fan.

 

Casey...for me Casey's a mixed bag on one hand yes, I did feel bad for Casey. All he ever wanted to be was a Navy Seal and he was working so hard to make his dream come true and to have that dream taken from him so suddenly and so unexpectedly is nothing short of heartbreaking. But, I really needed for Casey to get over it sooner than he did. I know it's not easy to go through something like this and a person needs time to re-evaluate their life and make new plans but Casey almost seemed to me like he was overthinking the things that people were saying to him and looking for a reason to be offended by it...which is code talk for he was looking for an excuse to vent his frustration and again I get that but 'Dammit Casey, you wanted to be a navy seal than show us that you had what it takes to have been one. Put your bit boy panties on and refocus on the new mission...creating a new career path for Casey.

 

Having said all that Casey did redeem himself a bit at the end but by then...it was to little, to late to make him seem anything more than ok for me. 

 

Once again with this story as in previous stories we are treated to a peek here and there of previous characters such as Clint and Travis (not so much on page but for me where there is Clint, Travis is close behind), Diego and by virtue of Diego it felt like Mark was also close at hand.

 

Of course all of this was once again brought to auditory life by the talented Nick J. Russo.  I know there are other really awesome narrators out there but for me this series belongs to this narrator and he's brought it to life and added depth and personality to the characters in a way that few others are able to. 

 

Overall this series has definitely been a success with me and while I've still got one last audio book to go I'm fairly comfortable saying that I see me revisiting the men of 'Anchor Point' again in the future and if we all have to hibernate for much longer the future may be closer than I think. 

 

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

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review 2020-04-05 02:35
This is it...that's right of all the books in this series...
Once Burned - L.A. Witt,Nick J. Russo

This is the one that gave me that "Daaammmnnnn!!!...I love this story" feeling.

 

There was just a whole lot here that pushed the right buttons for me. Diego is a character who I'm pretty sure has shown up on the fringes in most of these books as he's one of the regular bartenders at 'The High & Tight' but it really wasn't until 'Going Overboard' book #5 that we saw any real interaction with other characters from him. He was Dalton's best friend and they have a bit of a history and Diego also has a bit of a history with the navy. A history that's left him angry, frustrated and bitter.

 

Diego's problems are multi-faceted but for the most part things stem back to his time in the navy, his green card and his immigrant status. I think this part of the story for me was a bit easier to get through because one I'm was born in Canada so natural citizen and two born in Canada so no prior knowledge of U.S. immigration laws which allowed me to avoid the mental conflict of what the story contained vs what I maybe knew to be fact.

 

For me Diego's issues were used as a representation of the issues that immigrants can face more in response to the challenge of trying to achieve citizenship in another country more so than as realistic reflection of those challenges. 

 

For me one of the things that I enjoyed most was seeing Diego work through his feelings about the navy and how it contributed to his situation and come to terms with the events of his past so that he could try to build a future.

 

Captain Mark Thomass is in a very different place in his life and he's had a very different experience with the navy. Mark's career in the navy is winding down and he's getting ready to face retirement when he suddenly finds himself receiving a divorce, a promotion and a ship to command...one would think it was Christmas. Marks a navy man through and through and if the navy's taught him anything it's how to deal so for him...while the divorce may have been a surprise the promotion and the ship were the solution to the dilemma that it created allowing him to move to Anchor Point and start over.

 

"Once Burned" was a story of opposites attract and starting over. Diego and Mark are two very different people with very different lives and experiences leading to two very different outlooks on life and the navy. Outlooks that more often than not clashed when it came to...you guessed it...the Navy...oh and baseball...come on you didn't really think they'd cheer for the same team now, did you?

 

I loved the back and forth between these two men as they each found themselves stepping back to look at situations from the other's perspective and found themselves questioning how they thought and felt about things and coming to the realization that more often than not the solution to a situation didn't come from being right or wrong but from compromise.

 

For me there was a lot of growth for both of these men and sometimes it seemed like one step forward and two steps back but that's a feeling that I think most of us have felt at one time or another in our lives so it was very relatable.

 

I think this probably would have been a solid 5 star read if the ending had been filled out just a tiny bit more. Compared to the rest of the story I felt like it held a bit of a rushed feeling to it and I admit it I would have liked a bit more happy together Diego and Mark but all in all I connected really well with this story and with Nick J. Russo on board once again for the narration it was a very solid 4+ story and one that I plan on enjoying again in future.

 

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

 

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review 2020-04-04 03:44
If I hadn't of already listened to the next book in this series...
Going Overboard - L.A. Witt,Nick J. Russo

I'd probably be saying that this one is my favorite so far but because I'm ahead of the game and have actually taken a break to catch up on the reviews I know that this one was close but it's not 'the one' for me but still a really, really good listen and the first one in the audio series that I did't read the book before listening to the audio.

 

So once again we have Nick J. Russo as the narrator and can I just say that he did a really superb job on the narration of this story...I would have to say that while it didn't end up being my favorite story so far when it comes to the narration this one tops the list.

 

'Going Overboard' has it's own bit of uniqueness as far in comparison to the other stories in this series...we haven't met either of the MCs prior to this story and they have no connection to any of the MCs in previous stories, this is also the first biracial couple in the series, compared to the other stories there's not really an age gap or an issue with their rank and both men work in the same section. So all in all a number of small details that help to give this pairing their own unique place in this series. 

 

Dalton and Chris actual met for the first time off page and prior to this story as they became best friends when the attended coxswain's school which is to say driving school...for boats/ships, just a bit of extra info here but boats and ships are not the same thing. In really, really simple basic detail boats are little, ships are BIG! Anything with an overall length of 197 ft. is considered a ship. Ok, that's it for the added info portion of this review.

 

 So back to Dalton and Chris who met at coxswain school and now find themselves stationed at NAS Adams. They're both working hard to gain their rank of MA1 (Master at Arms First Class) time is running out for both of these men as their nearing the end of their qualifying period. But they're studying hard and they're determined. Things are actually looking good until the night that Dalton goes out on patrol and through the negligence of the coxswain in charge that night during incredibly bad weather and rough waters Dalton is thrown overboard, it's only because of the heroic actions of the MA2 on board with him and the coxswain that he's saved...this is where everything goes to hell.

 

This is also where Dalton and Chris realize that they mean so much more to each other than just friends. This is also where li'l 'ole me starts to feel rage. You see Dalton and Chris have the misfortune of being under the command of the navy's prime example of "if you can't be a good example than you might as well be a horrible warning" Chief. I had rage so much freakin' rage for this man so much rage...I can't even begin to explain mainly because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read/listened to it yet. 

 

The upside of this is that while I really despised this character he achieved two things... one he solidified my connection to the MCs and my desire to see them beat the obstacles and thank to him they had a few but a side benefit of this was that it also created a situation whereby characters from previous stories were required to be involved in the resolution of events and two while I very much enjoy Ms Witt's stories having a character such as this gave an added level of emotional involvement to the story for me. I seriously raged against this man...much to my husband's amusement.

 

Thankfully at the end of it all I was left satisfied with the outcome of most things with one exception and that was in regards to what happened to the coxswain who was driving the boat the night Dalton was injured but sometimes things just are what they are and for the most part things wrapped up in a fairly realistic manner. So, I'm going to take the win and move on to the next story...which by the way turns out to be my favorite one in this series...although I'm not done listening to the eighth and final book so there may be some wiggle room yet...only time will tell.

 

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

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review 2020-04-04 02:21
If it's not the age and it's not the gender...in the military it must be the next obvious thing...
Rank & File - L.A. Witt,Nick J. Russo

it's the 'Rank & File'.

 

Senior Chief Will Curtis has spent his military career doing what's right and always keeping the big picture in front of him...his goal has always been to make master chief and retire  after 30 years of service. All it takes is one call out to a domestic disturbance and his world gets upended and he begins to question if the prize is worth the price. We first met Will in 'Chief's Mess' where he helped his friend Noah with some tough love and proved what a truly good friend he was.

 

Lieutenant Brent Jameson's a navy brat, he's lived and breathed the navy for his entire life. He's done Annapolis and now he's paying his military dues to get him off the bottom of the ladder and on to better things...but, when Brent gets tangled up in a domestic dispute that threatens his career plans and meets the very sexy senior chief that he can't seem to get out of his mind. He begins to question whether or not the life plan that he's been following is truly his or just what he's been told he wants.

 

Brent's an officer. Will's enlisted and never the twain shall meet unless they'd like to be court-martialed. Ya' gotta love the military they may have gotten rid of DADT but they've still got lots of rules and regs to keep their people from pursuing happiness...you know that thing that they keep getting sent off to fight for everyone else to have. Don't get me wrong I get it when the people in question are in a direct chain of command...that only makes sense but there are ways around that too...anyways back to Will and Brent. 

 

Here we have two men one an officer, one enlisted not in each other's chain of command but they can't be together because rules. The other problem is they can't seem to stay away from each other. I liked Will and Brent and the dynamics between them as well as the dilemma they faced.

 

On a lot of levels this just generally worked for me. I know it's easy to say well that's just dumb but reality is if you're in the military that's also life...rules and regs, they are the military's lifeblood and if you don't know that when you enlist you learn it really fast. 

 

If you like your men hot blooded and sexy this is definitely a series to investigate because so far the one thing that all of these couples have in common besides the fact that one or both of them are in the military is that the sexy times are sexy...like seriously keep your cold shower on standby sexy.

 

Will and Brent spend a good portion of this story trying to stay away from each other and quite honestly they repeatedly fail to succeed. But what I really enjoyed where the in between moments when we got to see them try quite honestly with more success and more heartfelt effort to be together...there's a weekend spent in Portland that was of course very hot and steamy but it was also incredibly sweet and tender and there may have been some hotwings...seriously hot wings involved in this.

 

It's not until the ending that we see these two find their way through and while the ending didn't necessarily have the obvious conclusion it was for me the one that suited the story.

 

In spite of the fact that each of these stories could stand on it's own without benefit of having read/ listened to the previous stories I've really been enjoying the audio books and as well as the fact that the stories are ones that I enjoy a solid part of that is also attributable to the fact that the series has the consistency of the same narrator who happens to be an absolute favorite of mine making this an even more enjoyable experience and a truly delightful way for me to fill my days of self-isolation and social distancing.

 

Seriously if you can't go out into the world...and we all know we shouldn't, audio books are a great way to fill the time and if you don't like audio books there's always the tried and true method of 'reading' and yes, I've been doing this as well.

 

So I'm on to the next book in this series and here's hoping that if we all do our part the world will feel better soon.

 

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

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