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review 2017-08-24 00:51
Thank heavens for friends...
A Little Bit Like Love (South Haven Book 1) - Brooke Blaine

I have to admit I saw this one and I read the blurb saw some reviews and truthfully I was going to take a pass on it but then I kept seeing the reviews and some friends started rumblings about a buddy read and I checked it out again and again and I really thought about it...well then I got to wondering why aren't I reading this book? It's totally in my wheelhouse and the reviews look good and what the hell, right? Sign me up and that was all she wrote, boys and girls. I needed a buddy read and this one filled the bill to perfection.

 

'A Little Bit Like Love' was a lot like awesome. Lucas and Jackson first met when they both attended a private boys school. They started out as friends but after a few months it turned in to more. When circumstances force Jackson to leave without even so much as a good-bye, Lucas finds himself at a loss as to why and after the initial shock wears off. He gets on with his life becoming a well known and sought after local artist and sex god. 

 

it's eight years later and Jackson's returned to the scene of the crime so to speak and through a total fluke he overhears a conversation that brings the name of the boy he left behind to his ears once again. He knows he shouldn't but his heart isn't going to be denied this time and he sets out to see for himself that Lucas has gotten over him and gone on with his life...or at least that's what he tells himself.

 

This book was simply awesome. I loved it and reading it with my buddy read besties Josy, Christelle and Simone only added to the awesomeness of it all. As always you ladies make every read a good one, but this one was definitely better than good and thank you for helping me break my Buddy Read dry spell. it's been way to long since we enjoyed a good book together and I'm looking forward to our next one...see you Friday.

 

I loved the emotional roller coaster ride that this one took us on. There was anger, rage, resentment, frustration...all kinds of frustration, passion, forgiveness, love, happiness and on and on. I have to admit I'm surprised I don't have a bit of an emotional hangover but this one worked. Sometimes it's good to go on those journeys that make us exercise our emotional empathy. 

 

The other thing that really hooked me with this one was the secondary characters...Lucas's best friends Drew (and oh hell yeah, his story is next). Drew's a bit enigmatic and he's also tall and built and covered in tats and damn excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my keyboard, ok? and then there's Lucas's other friend...Sebastian or Bash as he's also known. Bash to me seemed to be his own force of nature...so yeah, you can bet I'm looking for his story too and then we have Sydney. She's Jackson's co-worker/friend/sorta' girlfriend/it's complicated and I won't even lie for a good part of this story I was so not a fan of Sydney but that definitely changed once we got to see Sydney and not just get bits and pieces of her. Sydney's awesome and I would so take her out drinking on girls night and last of all we have Jackson's father...or daddy dearest as I like to think of him...what can I say every book needs a villain.

 

'A Little Bit Like Love' is probably my biggest surprise read so far this year. I wasn't surprised that I liked it, but I was surprised by just how much I loved this book and yes, maybe that's due in part to the awesome company that I had while reading it, but mostly it was because this story just worked for me. It ticked all the boxes and rang all the right bells and I am so ready for book 2 or in the immortal words of Dwayne Johnson otherwise known as 'The Rock', back in the day..."Just bring it!"

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review 2017-08-23 22:27
It's time for a little game of catch me if you can...murder style...
Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior) (Volume 2) - L.A. Witt,Cari Z.

Corliss and Ruffner somehow survived the events of 'Risky Behavior' but at what price? Detective Darren Corliss is barely holding himself together between the injuries he suffered in their last case, going back to work at a precinct that's not only less than friendly but views him and his partner Andreas Ruffner as villains for bringing down enough dirty cops and politicians to cause a staffing crisis at several precincts and city hall. Darren's also got a brother who's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's which has left him with his own fears about whether or not he'll share his brothers condition. Along with a lot of Darren's worries. Andreas has a few of his own but he seems to be holding it together a little better.

 

But both men would definitely agree that what they need is to get back to work...or at least that's what they thought until they were handed some cold cases...cold cases that at first glance only had one connection...the killer. However, once they start to find the connections it quickly becomes clear that there's a clock ticking. One that they have to beat if they want to stop another murder from happening. 

 

The mystery here wasn't really the who did it, I actually figured that part out fairly quickly it was all about the how and why of things. While I really enjoyed the mystery, it was the relationship development between Darren and Andreas that happened in this book that I really loved about the most.

 

Admittedly there wasn't a lot of sex in this story and that's ok because there was a lot going on and honestly in real life chances are pretty good that there really wouldn't be much going on in the romance department between the serial killer case, Andreas's kids, Darren's brother, recovering from injuries and the abuse they're being exposed to from their fellow officers, if they'd been having sex like bunnies I'd have thought I was reading a fantasy story. 

 

I found that the relationship growth was shown in the emotional exchanges and immediate unquestioning support that Darren and Andreas gave to each other...when Darren was there to help Andreas deal with his ex and her problems and I maybe melted a little over Darren's internal and sometimes external gushing about Andreas with his kids and there was Andreas's support of Darren as he dealt with his brother combined with their support of each other as partners at work...there was no hesitation or questioning of whether or not they had each other's backs it was just a done deal.

 

Book #1 Risky Behavior laid the ground work for this series and the relationship between these two men as they dealt with corruption and found their way together as partners both on and off duty and now with book #2 Suspicious Behavior we're given more action and a closer look at Darren and Andreas as they deal with life as a team both on a personal and professional level.

 

I was totally hooked on this series with the first book and this one has not changed that decision even slightly...except for the fact that if anything I'm even more anxious to get my hands on the next book. I just read the blurb and holy hell, it's going to be good...seriously good.

 

I love a good steamy romance story as much as the next person but what I love even more is a story with substance...characters with depth who grow, a plot that I can follow but that also challenges me and most of all one that leaves me wanting more. 'Suspicious Behavior' does all this and then some.

 

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An ARC of 'Suspicious Behavior' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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review 2017-08-23 01:37
One last trip to the candy store...
Tart and Sweet (Candy Man) - Amy Lane

I loved reading this series from start to finish each story had something sweet and  unique to offer and this last book in the series was no exception. It was a 5 star read for me and thanks to Philip Alces, it was a 5 star audio experience.

 

So let's start with the original review...no changes there loved it, loved it, loved it and here the link to my original review to verify that...Tart and Sweet - Original Review 

 

'Tart and Sweet' was my first listening experience with this narrator and I definitely appreciated it. I enjoyed the character voices as interpreted by this narrator and my basic list was ticked.  

 

The voices gave me depth of emotion, they were expressive and unique to each character so that I knew who was speaking without being told.  I honestly felt like Mr. Alces was enjoying this story as much as I was and that's an important quality for me. I love it when it feels like the narrator's just a friend in the room telling me the story.

 

Most of the time when I'm listening to an audio book I'm also doing other things...cross-stitch, quilting, etc. but sometimes it's nice just to sit back and listen and it's when I'm enjoying a story as much as this one that I feel most inclined to do this. Just sitting back, relaxing, closing my eyes and letting things come to life. It's a really relaxing way to pass the time on a hot summer's afternoon.

 

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

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review 2017-08-19 17:01
So maybe I should have just read the book...
Legal Tender - Andrew Grey

I'm really torn on this one because in all honesty I wanted to really love this story. The blurb sounded so good that I couldn't really imagine not loving the story...and although I didn't love this quite as much as I'd anticipated there was a lot about the story that worked for me and I truly enjoyed.

 

While the story worked for me overall my biggest distraction came from the audio side of things and this is where I'm really torn...you see, I like John Solo. I sort of have a soft spot for him because it was his narration of Marie Sexton's 'Trailer Trash' that made me decide to start listening to and reviewing audio books. However, with this one the narration just didn't work for me and in all honesty I have to say I think this was a little bit me as well, but we'll come back to this later.

 

'Legal Tender' is the fourth book in Andrew Grey's 'Art Series' and while the blurb for the story intrigued me and sounded really good. In the end it turned out to be just 'ok'. Timothy has returned to his Grampy's home after finding out that his grandfather had left everything to him and not his drug addicted mother. Timothy left home at an early age after his mother betrayed him in the worst way possible. He's cut her out of his life and I say good for him on that one. She didn't deserve to be anyone's mother let alone someone as sweet as Timothy.

 

Coming back to Grampy's house has also reunited Timothy with his childhood friend, Dieter (one of the MCs from the first book in this series). Timothy also discovers that his Grampy's stories from his childhood were clues to a heritage that he'd been unaware of. Discovering a cache of old coins brings Timothy to Dieter's door in need of help from Dieter's partner, Gerald and introducing him to Joiner, whom Gerald task with finding out how they can enable Timothy to keep a rare coin that the American Government claims belongs to them as it was never monetized or so they claim.

 

As Joiner works to find a way for Timothy to keep his grandfather's coin the two men get to know each other and their initial attraction to each other becomes more, but the real question is will what they have be enough to keep them together when Timothy finally opens up about why he refuses to have anything to do with his mother. 

 

I loved all the different aspects of this story and how things played out slowly revealing the connections. 

 

Ok now for the audio portion of this review. As I said before I have a bit of a soft spot for John Solo so this pains me a little to say but for me the biggest problem was the audio. Overall the voices just weren't clicking for me. Gerald's voice was stilted and just seemed to have an arrogant tone to it and while I like confident...arrogant just doesn't do it for me and I found myself not liking Gerald a whole lot and then there was Timothy.  I wanted Timothy's voice to reflect my image of a man in his twenties who was sweet and while confident at times held a hint of insecurity especially when confronted with his past. I wanted to hear all the emotion in his voice when he spoke about his grampy, his mother, the things that happened to him as a child. What I felt like I was getting was a pre-pubescent boy. I liked Timothy and his voice just wasn't what I was envisioning it to be. So truthfully this wasn't a right or wrong thing it was just a case of it didn't work for me. However, on the upside Joiner's voice was ok for me, but still the over all narration just didn't work for me. 

 

It's usually at this point that I really know whether or not an audio book truly worked for me because if it worked for me the audio book gets an overall rating but in this case while the book would have gotten 4 stars from me. In all honesty the audio sits somewhere around 2.5 - 3 stars. So I'm calling it a day at 3.5 stars and having faith that my next John Solo audio book will be a better experience.

 

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

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review 2017-08-19 03:17
Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference...
Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay Book 20) - Jaime Samms

'Three Player Game' is a menage story that starts with an established couple who have always wanted a third person in their relationship and they've also known for a while who they wanted that third person to be...the problem here is that maybe he doesn't want to be that person or maybe he's just afraid to allow himself to be 'that person'.

 

Vince and Pete have been a couple for a while now and having a third person in their relationship has pretty much always been a part of their plan. Vince wants that third person to be Lee, a man he has a work history with and while Pete's not as sure as Vince initially that he wants it to be Lee, he's leaning towards 'yes' on the issue and definitely willing to give the man strong consideration.  Lee's the holdout. He's given his trust before it left him hurt both physically and emotionally to the point where he's spent the ensuing years closing himself off from the world believing that he'll only be safe if he's on his own. Vince and Lee have some walls to break down if they plan on making their duo a trio permanently.

 

There's definitely some history here both between Vince and Pete as I said they come into the story as an established couple and between Vince and Lee on a working level only. As well both Vince and Lee have a connection to their boss, Blair Carruthers, whose story is told in Bluewater Bay #12 How the Cookie Crumbles. Which I admit I haven't read yet, however, I didn't have a problem parsing out the connections pre-Bluewater Bay as the author provides the background as the story goes along.

 

I didn't even really have a problem with the fact that this story has a menage grouping...my concern was with the fact that it was an established couple adding to their dynamic. This is probably one of my least favorite scenarios. So I have to admit I waffled on this one for a long time before I finally decided I was going to bite the bullet and read the book. Initially I was a little hesitant but things ultimately clicked into place for me and I ended up really enjoying this one.

 

There were a number of factors that helped to make it work...the first one being the author, I really like Jaime Samms. She's the author of one of my favorite menage books 'The Foster Family' and it's based on the same premise of an established couple adding a third to their relationship. So having already experienced this dynamic with her, I had faith. The fact that in general I've really enjoyed the Bluewater Bay books that I've read so far also added to my faith that this would work. Ultimately though it came down to the story and luckily for me there were a lot of little things that I liked about this one.

 

I was good with the fact that the story started with Vince and Pete already established as a couple since it would have probably made for an overly long story that would have lost my interest if it had gotten bogged down with their beginnings as well

 

For Vince and Pete adding Lee to the dynamics wasn't an easy feat to say the least. Lee was more than a little resistant and there were times that Vince and Pete had their reservations as well, which made sense...since the consequences of adding another person to your relationship is far more life altering than buying a new set of dishes especially when that person 'seems' to be resistant to the idea.  I'd be doing a lot more soul searching and second guessing myself than they did if it was me...just sayin'. 

 

I really liked all three of these men...Vince, whose work and home personas were essentially polar opposites. At work he was the gopher, that Lee bossed around,  he was calm, efficient, organized and incredibly observant, taking orders without hesitation but at home he was the one giving the orders and while he was still all those other things they were expressed differently and utilized to provide the care that his partners needed.

 

Pete like Vince had polar opposite work and home personas only at work he was the one organizing and ordering people around, making sure things got done how and when they needed to be. But at home he was the one who wanted to give up control to let someone else be in charge and care for him but Pete was also a nurturer and caregiver. Pete was also high maintenance and while Vince loved him tremendously taking care of Pete's needs also drained him. A reality that was apparent to both Vince and Pete and one of the contributing factors to their desire to add a third person to the relationship.

 

While Lee was prickly and obstinate hiding his gentler more caring side and his need to give up control and trust someone else to provide him with what he needed and wanted. For Vince meeting Pete's needs was like dealing with a force of nature, Lee's needs meshed more with Vince's and allowed him to restore some of his own balance at the same time.

 

Sexually the dynamics were different between each of these men as a pair and somehow things came together to fill the missing spaces in Pete and Vince's relationship creating a place for each of them that was unique. 

 

Making their relationship work turned out to be a learning experience for all three of these men.  Vince had to learn to trust in himself when it came to Lee. That he would be able to make things work without Pete as their buffer. Pete had to learn to step back and allow Vince and Lee find their own way to each other and Lee...well, Lee had the most to learn. He had to learn to trust not just Vince and Pete but himself...that he could make choices that weren't always going to get him hurt and to trust that he was not only worth being loved and cared for but he deserved it.

 

There was a bit of a BDSM flavor to this one and I am admittedly not an expert on this lifestyle by any means based on other stories that I've read I'd say it was more like an appetizer than the entree which I have to admit works just fine for me.  

 

This one worked for me and while I can't define one major reason. I would have to say that it was more a case of a bunch of little things coming together to take me back to Bluewater Bay for yet another enjoyable reading experience.

 

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A copy of 'Three Player Game' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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