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review 2017-07-19 21:49
I want candy, I want candy...eye-candy that is...
Tartan Candy - K.C. Burn

After being seriously hurt in an accident Raven's career in the adult film industry comes to an unexpected and abrupt end.  Struggling with his battered self-esteem, no job and no interest in sex. Raven accepts an offer to attend a high school reunion with an acquaintance of his former employer as their escort, companion, date whatever title you want to give it but Raven's very clear that there are no sexual favors involved. Sadly his client turns out to be a jerk, cutting the evening short Raven returns to his room only to discover that the air-conditioner in his room has broken down. This turns out to be the highlight of his day when Caleb the HVAC person contracted to service the hotel's system shows up at his door.

 

Raven's libido definitely sits up and takes notice at the sight of the sexy service man and Caleb isn't immune to the dark haired beauty who opens the door when he makes his service call. Problem is awakened libido or not Raven's got issues to get past before he's ready for a relationship that involves getting physical and Caleb needs to find his way out of the closet he's locked himself in.

 

However, whatever the issues may be on both sides them men are definitely attracted and spending time with each other and getting to know each other is not something that either of them truly has an aversion to.

 

Raven's life has been kind of sucky. He got dealt a bad hand when it came to parents. Mom was less than interested in being a decent mother and dad was less than present. So when he came out to his mom at the age of 18 it also meant coming home to his belongings on the front porch and changed locks on the front door. Raven picked up his things and did what he had to in order to make his way in the world. He's not ashamed of his time as a porn star but that doesn't mean he's taking out any billboards for it either. He wants to tell Caleb but not until they've had a bit of time together to cement their relationship.

 

Caleb just needs to man-up and find his way out of the closet. He's convinced himself that he can never be gay because his momma wants grandchildren and it's his duty to provided them and the family would never accept him being gay never mind that they accept his cousin Jamie who is unrepentantly gay and still part of the family and loved.

 

Mostly I really liked this story. I liked Raven and thought he was pretty damned courageous person. I loved how kind and caring Caleb was towards him and how he treated Raven. Taking him on dates and not pushing him for more than he was willing to give. I loved that Caleb enjoyed being able to just curl up with Raven and kiss and cuddle. It was so sweet and romantic and then it fell apart for somewhere around 85 - 90% (sorry, I listened to the audio here to this is a guesstimate).

 

Anyways, this is towards the end and the point at which Caleb finally finds out about Raven's career in adult films. Caleb's reaction blew me out of the water. I went from "I adore you, Caleb" to "Caleb you are a freakin' bag of dicks".  

Not only was he a dick about things with Raven, he even managed to insult his best friend and cousin Jamie and to make matters worse the part where he supposedly 'fixes things' just didn't work for me. It was too easy. Even if Raven didn't make him grovel, he damned well should have and to add insult to injury his line of BS about how once he found out he didn't think he'd be enough for Raven? Seriously...no, just no. There was no coming back from that for me. Up until this happened this story would have probably gotten 3.5 or possibly even 4 stars from me but within the space of a few pages I lost all my feels for this character and I'm still not sure that he deserves Raven's forgiveness.

(spoiler show)

David Ross was the narrator for this audiobook and ironically I've only listened to one other audio book by this narrator and I have to confess it did not go well for me, so this is where the irony comes in because I enjoyed Mr. Ross's narration of this story. His voices were good and they worked for me. They suited the characters and while they maybe weren't totally consistent with what I imagined they still felt appropriate for the characters, so like I said they worked and they were expressive giving depth and feeling to his narration.

 

I have to admit I was looking forward to this story and up until around 85% I was really enjoying it, unfortunately the last part of the story took away from things in a big way.  So I'm going to move on to 'Plaid Versus Paisley' and cross my fingers and hope that things end up a whole lot better.

 

 

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review 2017-07-19 20:38
A horse trainer and a retired surgeon...how could things possibly go wrong?
An Unexpected Truth - S.A. Meade

‘An Unexpected Truth’ is my first book by this author…definitely not my last. I was pretty much enchanted from the word go when I realized that the story was set in England. I have a definite fondness for England…maybe, my in-laws are from there and maybe my mother’s family is from there and maybe it’s just a beautiful country but whatever, I love it so reading a book with England as the setting was definitely no hardship add in that it’s set in the countryside and there are horses and things are just getting better and better.

 

Brendan Matthews trains racehorses for a living and he’s happy with his quiet life but he’s also not a foolish man so when opportunity brings 6 yearlings that display more than a little potential to him and they happen to be owned by a man who’s ‘not to shabby either’. Who is Brendan to not open the door when opportunity knocks.

 

Adam Ahmadi is a wealthy orthopedic surgeon who’s looking for something to do with his time and money after an accident damages his hand forcing him to retire early. He was thinking horses but one look at Brendan and Adam’s interest go beyond having Brendan train his horses.

 

I really enjoyed this story from start to finish. The first part of the story focused on Brendan and Adam’s relationship and it was wonderful. These two men getting to know each other was sweet and a slow burn. They spent time together taking care of the horses, cooking for one another, taking walks, getting to know one another. There was no insta-love here and while there’s a bit of an age gap it’s not a big deal…so much not a big deal that I really can’t remember exactly how big of an age gap it was…so definitely not an issue for me.

 

The relationship between Brendan and Adam unfolded beautifully and was definitely one of my favorite parts. Also, there was a bit of drama and suspense unfolding in the background and while this part of the story was more prominent in the latter part of the book and for a while it was the dominant part of the story it was necessary in order for things to play out to a conclusion that brought us back to Brendan and Adam’s relationship and the HEA that these men so deserved.

 

As Brendan and Adam’s relationship deepens Adam’s past rears it’s ugly head forcing them apart and leaving Brendan more than a little mystified about what Adam’s feelings are and whether or not the future he wants with Adam can be a reality or not.

The ending of this one worked for me. There was just enough going on to hold my interest but not enough to make it overwhelming or confusing since most of what happened around Adam’s past wasn’t really revealed or dealt with until the last half of the book.

 

For me ‘An Unexpected Truth’ was a story that I was easily able to slip into reading and enjoy. The writing style was so enjoyable and easy to follow, the characters worked well together and I found myself enjoying all aspects of the story…the romance, the suspense, the little bit of a plot twist that I didn’t quite see coming. It all came together to create an unique and enjoyable reading experience that I look forward to experiencing again.

 

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

 

A copy of ‘An Unexpected Truth’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-07-19 18:45
Well this one caught my attention...hook, line & sinker...
Setting the Hook - Andrew Grey

'Setting the Hook' is the first book in Andrew Grey's latest series 'Love's Charter' and I do have to admit it's been a while since I've enjoyed one of this author's books as much as this one.

 

William Westmoreland has a high pressure life in Rhode Island. Helping his father run the family business and trying to live up to the expectations of his parents. Who I have to admit in spit of everything else were at least accepting of William's sexuality.  William's only bit of self indulgence is his twice a year trips to Florida to charter on Mike Jansen's fishing boat where he can relax, catch some fish and enjoy the scenery...all of the scenery.  But he's never done more than look.

 

Mike runs his charter fishing service so he can provide for his mother and daughter and he keeps everything else firmly locked in the closet to ensure that they stay safe. Following his heart isn't an option in Mike's eyes. 

 

Neither of these men are looking for a relationship. For different reasons each man's life is ruled by fear making love a complication that they just don't have room for. William doesn't have time and lives in fear of letting his father down...Mike lives in fear of what he could lose if he follows his heart. 

 

When Mother Nature steps in and forces these two men together they begin to realize that they can no more fight their feelings than they can the storm raging outside and keeping William in Florida.

 

The relationship between these two wasn't a direct line to happily ever after for either of them. There was the real world to deal with, choices and decisions to be made and none of it was easy for them. William returned to Rhode Island to the life that he felt he couldn't escape and this was when he realized that it was a life he couldn't and didn't want to continue to live. At the same time Mike began to realize that while he loved his mother and daughter and wouldn't change anything that had happened in the past he needed to find a way to redefine his future and still provide for them and keep them safe.

 

These men and their story worked for me. Things weren't easily resolved for them and at times the floundered but I loved that they were both willing to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep trying, keep working to find a way to be together and create a life together. 

 

As well as letting their fears rule their lives, both William and Mike treasure their family in their own way. Mike's mom is loving, strong and supportive and does her best to help him raise his daughter. At the same time she sees so much more of her son and who he is than he realizes and truly wants the best for them. 

 

William's parents were a bit more complicated and at the beginning I can honestly say I was not a fan and while I never fully warmed up to them as the story progressed I came to appreciate the potential that was beginning to grow as his parents began to change and see that the life there son was leading was neither the life he wanted or needed. Throughout the story there was conflict between William and his parents as he struggled to change his life so he could be with Mike. I liked that we got to see things between William and his parents start to improve. It was nice to read a story where a child and his parents were able to work through their conflicts come out on the other side with a stronger relationship rather than being alienated from each other.

 

Greg Tremblay was the narrator for this story and as always he did not disappoint. The voices worked for me, they were expressive and conveyed emotion giving depth and life to the story.  Mr. Tremblay is definitely one of my favorite narrators, his audio books without fail 

 

'Setting the Hook' has given a solid start to this series and I'm definitely looking forward to continuing with 'Love's Charter' and seeing whose story will come next.

 

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

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

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review 2017-07-18 00:37
Well this one was aptly named because it seems "You Never Know"...
You Never Know - Mary Calmes

I freely admit with me when it comes to Mary Calmes they all start as 5 star reads and often stay that way or they may slide down to 4.5 or 4 stars. It's not very often that things slide below that. 

 

I was pretty conflicted on this one. I liked the overall concept of the story but for me the devil was in some of the details.

 

Now for the best part of the story...Hagen. I loved Hagen...as did everyone else. But Hagen is that person that you just can't help but love. He's good and kind, gentle, loyal and way, way more forgiving than most people but at the same time he really wasn't a pushover. He stood up for himself when he truly needed to and did it without using threats, intimidation or humiliation. 

 

The first problem I had was Ash. I did not like this man. He was not nice. He was self-centered, self-absorbed and just totally selfish. He wanted Hagen on his terms with no consideration to what Hagen really wanted or for the life that Hagen had made for himself. He got himself caught in more than one lie. He was manipulative and try as I might I could not see him as someone who was nice, so the fact that he was such a strong presence in the story truthfully irritated me. I honestly just wanted Hagen to tell him to go away. 

 

I definitely liked Mitch more than Ash. While I got why things happened the way they did between Mitch and Hagen. There were glimpses of Mitch being sorry and regretting what happened but I just felt like there needed to be more than a glimpse of regret from Mitch. I think he missed Hagen, but it felt more like Mitch did what he did because he had to and he thought Hagen should understand and be willing to move forward from there and I have to admit if I was Hagen it would have been a big 'Oh hell no!' no matter how much I loved or wanted to be with the other person.

 

I honestly can't say what would have made this part better for me. I believe in second chances and that's one of the things that really appealed to me about this story so of course, I was cheering for Hagen and Mitch from the start and I loved the ending of the story it was awesome, but the middle where Mitch's "I'm sorry" just didn't feel as epic as his "mistake" was where I needed more, I needed the "I'm sorry" to be at least as grand as his "mistake" and it just didn't happen.

 

I enjoyed this one but for me it definitely wasn't another 'Frog' or 'Acrobat' or my personal favorite 'Mine'. But then if they were all 5 stars how would anything ever be special for us and at the end of the day, I'm still waiting for my next Mary Calmes story because even the good ones leave me happy.

 

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

An ARC of 'You Never Know' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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review 2017-07-17 22:11
Of course since I read the second book first I feel compelled...
Making it Personal - K.C. Wells,Cornell Collins

to read the first book second...

 

'Making It Personal' is the first book in K. C. Wells 'Personal' series and it's about Blake Davis the CEO of Trinity Publishing and he's proud of what he's accomplished over the past  6 years turning Trinity Publishing into a successful up and coming publisher.  He's done all this while firmly ensconced in his closet. Stepping out only long enough to utilize the services of a very discreet escort company to fulfill his needs before slipping back into his closet and returning to Narnia.

 

Will Parkinson's life has been less than easy but he's a fighter and he's survived it all to get back on his feet and if that's had to include working as a highly paid escort with benefits well than it is what it is and how bad can it be if you get to spend the night with a really hot and sexy guy the night before going to an interview for your dream job with the head of an up and coming publisher as personal assistant to the CEO...oops...this could be the proverbial awkward moment.

 

I liked this book a tiny bit better than 'Personal Changes'.  I really liked both Blake and Will. While Blake maybe needed to loosen his tie a little, Will was definitely the man to do it. I really liked that Blake accepted that Will did what he did to survive but he never felt the need to pass judgement or make will ashamed of himself. If anything as their relationship progressed it felt more like Blake truly respected him for having the strength of character to do what he had to, to survive get ahead in the world but still maintaining his integrity and dignity.

 

'Making It Personal' is the story of a CAO and his PA who really know how to put the 'personal' into things. Woven in between the relationship developing between these two are the threads of their personal lives and those of their friends...creating a fun and interesting background for their story to play out against.

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