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review 2017-02-25 22:24
Amy Lane does cute and fluffy...
The Virgin Manny (Dreamspun Desires Book 25) - Amy Lane

The 'Virgin Manny' is #25 in Dreamspinner's 'Dreamspun Desires' series and #1 in Amy Lane's 'The Mannies' series and in general this was just a cute, fluffy story about falling in love when you least expect it. But I have to admit I did have one issue that took me the better part of the story to get past and that was...the dreaded age difference. It's not even the fact that it's 10 years. It's the fact that Tino is 22 and Channing is 32 and in the scheme of age differences this is one of my least favorite age gaps because people tend to beat such different points in their lives during this time and while this initially niggles at me a little, as the story progressed my discomfort with this eased and finally just didn't seem to matter.

 

Now about that housekeeper...I don't even know where to begin with her. She gave me rage people total rage. I couldn't stand her, she was a horrible, horrible person. I never fully understood her feelings towards anyone. She was blatantly rude and disrespectful towards everyone in this story and I'm pretty sure that by the second time she opened her mouth I wanted to her kicked to the curb. Seriously I think I did a happy dance when Channing finally got rid of her.

 

I really liked Channing and Tino their attraction to each other was intense but it was also tempered by their mutual concern for Sammy. Sammy is Channing's nephew and following the death of Channing's sister Channing is trying to rearrange is life so that he can become the guardian that Sammy needs to raise him.

 

Sammy is also my one point of contention between the e-book and the audiobook. I get that children's voices are hard to do. I really do and while I must admit Sammy didn't annoy me as much as some of the other children that I've encountered in stories. He did annoy me and that really left me feeling a bit disconcerted because for me Sammy should have been a grief stricken little boy who was acting out due to the loss of his mother and yet, what I felt like I was getting was an obnoxious little sh!t who was use to getting his way and just needed a good old fashioned spanking...let me just tell you if you think this didn't cause me a little discomfort when I realized that instead of wanting to hug him and feed him milk and cookies, I wanted to give him a spanking, send him to his room...you'd be wrong.

 

Simply put I wanted to feel Sammy's grief and pain in his voice and instead it was just a whiny annoying child...sorry but while better than some this kid still just didn't work for me. Maybe I should just give up on audiobooks with children in them because other than that one little thing I very much enjoyed John Solo's narration of 'The Virgin Manny'.

 

So while this probably would have otherwise been a 4.5 star read for me, I'm taking a 1/2 star back because...annoying whiny kids make me cranky and calling it a day at 4 slightly cranky stars.

 

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An Audiobook of 'The Virgin Manny was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-02-25 21:08
Well this was a pleasant little surprise...
Sound Proof - C.A. Blocke

Chris is dumped by his partner of 6 years and let me just say...good thing. I was not a fan of her from the word go. Vanessa basically dumps him when they're out on a date so yes, out in public and of course it's all his fault. Sorry no, sweetie it takes two. I'm not saying he doesn't have a role in this but at least he's not the one who ends the relationship and announces their engagement to someone else on Facebook the same day.

 

That's cold and to add insult to injury she ends the relationship without coming clean about the fact that not only is she getting engaged that day but she's been cheating on him for at least a year, but it's Chris's fault? WTF? I think not. Ok that's all the time we're dedicating to Vanessa, I'm over and done with her. I want to discuss the important part of the story...the part where Chris moves on.

 

Now in case you haven't figured it out yet, Chris is bisexual and I wouldn't say he's in denial, but he's not totally comfortable with his attraction to men either and right now he's trying to get over being blindsided by 'she who shall no longer be named'. Enter Thomas, Chris's best friend who is gay, a bit older than Chris, slightly overweight and truly the kind of friend most of us hope for because while Thomas is in love with Chris, he's never acted on his feelings because Chris was in a relationship and right now he just wants to help him get back on his feel and move forward with his life. He doesn't want to take advantage of his friend while he's weak, he doesn't want to be Chris's rebound.

 

I loved how hard Thomas worked to just be Chris's friend, to not take advantage of him when he was vulnerable. Add to this that Thomas is pretty insecure about his looks not over the top, ridiculous insecure but realistically, I can believe this insecure. 

 

Watching them go from friends to lovers as they both deal with their insecurities and just the awkward moments of a changing relationship as each person tries to get comfortable with the changes and what they mean. I liked that while Chris may not be fully out of the closet about his bisexuality, he wasn't so deeply entrenched in it that he refused to explore how he felt about Thomas nor did he try to deny that things were changing between them.

 

For a short story containing only about 50 pages I was impressed with the detail and the amount of emotion it contained.  The story started with the end of Vanessa and Chris's relationship and this was okay because I so did not need more of her, but I would have liked a bit more Chris and Thomas at the end after they were well and truly a couple. That would have made me a very happy girl.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing future stories from this author and who knows maybe somewhere in there I'll get to find out a bit more about this pair as well. I don't think I can call the ending a HEA but it's definitely a strong HFN with a lot of promise for that HEA.

 

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

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review 2017-02-25 19:54
What do you get when you take...
Imago - N.R. Walker

Butteflies, a border collie, an office manager named Karen and two of the cutest, dorkiest, sexiest men known to fiction...well it's obvious, you get N.R. Walker writing IMAGO, one of the sweetest books I've read in a long time.

 

Oh I really, really loved this one. I started smiling somewhere around page 1 and I'm still feeling a little flutter in my heart.

 

First off there's zero angst folks, so if you like angst free just stop here you've found it. This is a story about two men and one of them, Lawson Gale just happens to be a freakin' genius who likes to wear bowties and study butterflies while the other one, Jack Brighton is a tall, muscular, cool drink of water who works as a Parks and Wildlife officer, lives with a Border Collie named Rosemary and finds bowties to be a turn on. 

 

These men meet on a flight from Australia to Tasmania where Lawson is heading to search for a rare breed of butterfly and Jack is returning home from a conference. 

 

IMAGO is the story of how Lawson and Jack meet and their courtship and yes this is a sweet old fashioned courtship complete with dates and flowers and a bit of adventure thrown in. It's levels of sweet, dorky, adorableness are off the charts and will melt your heart. There really are no words to explain how much I enjoyed this story except maybe...'when can I get the next book?'

 

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An ARC of 'IMAGO' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-02-25 19:16
Songs for everyone...
Bitter Legacy - Dal Maclean

I'm going to try not to be too spoilerish here but be warned I'm not using spoiler tags on this one so please proceed with caution if you haven't read this book and plan too.

 

I'm not really sure what to say here because if you go over to GR you'll see a whole lot of reviews for this book a lot are good like "I seriously loved this book" good and admittedly I'm in that group. So I'll start with what I know...
 
A huge, ginormous thank you to Wonder Woman & Supergirl (Josy & Christelle) my BR Besties. This book was good, really, really freakin' good but as always reading it with you two made it amazingly better.  Sometimes when we do a buddy read between the three of us we find songs...songs that work for a certain scene or a character and this time we found songs for Ben, Jamie and Steggie (the neighbor and while not an MC a very strong secondary character) so if you want something to listen to while your reading here are the links...

 

Ben's song... Leave Out All the Rest by Linkin Park

Jamie's song...Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse

and Steggie's song...What I've Done by Linkin Park

 

Now about the book. While 'Bitter Legacy' isn't a straight up romance it's not lacking in that department either. It's really more of a mystery/romance so at times the romance takes a bit of a back seat but there were also times that the mystery took a bit of a backseat as well. Maybe not everyone's cuppa' but I liked...really, really liked it. 

 

Let's start off talking about the elephant in the room or in this case the elephant in the story...that's right let's talk about the 'cheating'. I know it's a real stumbling block for some and a deal breaker for others and I'm not trying to change anyone's ideals or concepts here. I'd say it's more a case of explaining why at the end of it all even though I don't condone Ben's behavior for me technically I can't say he cheated either and I think that this is something that maybe needs to be determined by each person's concept of what truly constitutes 'cheating' in a relationship. So here goes...

 

Ben and Jamie (Posh Boy, I love that nickname) hook-up, they have some time together but Ben made no promises, in fact he's pretty clear about his 'promiscuity'. Jamie made assumptions and we all know about the word ASS-U-ME, right? It makes an ASS-out of-You-and-ME. Also Jamie never in fact verbally clarified the parameters of their relationship he just hoped and assumed. Honestly when it came to Ben, Jamie wasn't always thinking clearly. However, having said this I do think Ben was aware of the fact that Jamie was more emotionally invested in the relationship than Ben seemed to be and Ben could have handled things better with more consideration to Jamie's feelings and having said all that sometimes things aren't always what they seem and that's as spoilerish as I'm getting on this issue.

 

While there may have been parts where the story seemed to progress at a slower pace those times also gave us insight into the characters and their relationships. Ben and Jamie come from such different backgrounds and their lives at present are different in so many ways.

 

Jamie's a police officer on the fast track for promotion. His job is his focus and basically his life. He's practical, analytical and his social life is non-existent. Ben is a photographer he works in the world of advertising so his world is filled with models and 'beautiful people' of which he's one and his social life is prolific.

 

There were so many secondary characters in this story who added to everything that I'd practically need to write another book to be able to cover it and while Jamie and Ben were obviously very central to the story it was the addition of people like Jamie's father, Steggie who was Ben's downstairs neighbor, Jamie's boss...Herself (or Detective Chief Inspector Ingham), Jamie's co-workers Scrivenor & Kaur and a veritable entourage of others. Each with their own role to play and each adding something to the overall story whether it was a little or a lot they all added to the depth of the story and the events that played out on these pages.

 

I was immediately drawn into this story from the very beginning. There was so much about this story that wasn't simple, easy or straight forward and the relationships were very much entangled with the case that Jamie was working that in order to truly understand the personal aspects you had to solve the mystery. This was a book well worth the time needed to read it and while I felt that I knew much of what was happening it wasn't until the end that everything totally fell into place.

 

Dal MacLean is a new author and based on this book...this is an author that I look forward to seeing more of.

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review 2017-02-21 21:26
Have you ever wondered about the one that got away or...
Dating in Retrospect (States of Love Book 1) - Lila Leigh Hunter

Have you ever wondered about the one that got away or...

                                   maybe it was the one that you let slip away...

 

It's been 15 years since Clint last say Aaron and in all that time he's never forgotten the man that he'd planned to spend the rest of his life with.

 

Clint went off to California and Aaron was suppose to join him there. They were going to start their life together...follow their dreams and make their fortunes and all their dreams come true. But as can sometimes be the case with distance dreams fade and become little more than memories. Aaron never joined Clint in California...it was just never the right time and there was always something keeping him in Iowa. Eventually Clint decided that he needed to let Aaron go so they could both move on but neither time nor distance has changed how Clint feels about Aaron and after 15 years he's ready to go back and hopefully reclaim the love he gave up.

 

I liked that Clint was determined to win Aaron back and that he wasn't wishy, washy about it. Their relationship wasn't a one night stand or a weekend fling. They were together throughout most of college and for him to show up after 15 years of basically silence between the two of them was a pretty ballsy move and to do anything less than believe that Aaron still love  him, as much as he loved Aaron just wouldn't have been very convincing, but he was also smart enough to know that he could only push so far and his plan of them dating over the course of a year to give them a chance to become re-acquainted and re-build their relationship just seemed perfect because it also gave Clint the time to show Aaron that he was serious and committed to making it work and last between them.

 

I enjoyed the dates that Clint arranged for these two they had meaning and relevance to their shared background. I also appreciated that while Aaron didn't give in right away he also didn't play games and keep Clint dancing on pins and needles when he knew that in his heart he still loved him. He was cautious and rightfully so but he was also willing to take that second chance.

 

I also very much appreciated that both of these men were un-apologetically bisexual, yes they were both male and in a relationship but there was no instances of 'I'm gay because I'm with a guy'. They were two bisexual men who happened to fall in love with a guy. 

 

Unfortunately I didn't feel the over the top passion that I wanted to with Clint and Aaron. I really wanted to and when you have someone making the grand gestures that Clint was making I think the emotion between the couple needs to be reflective of that so for that reason this was a sweet story with little to no angst and while I really liked it. I wasn't over the moon blown away with it. But still a sweet, little second-chance story that gave me some laughs and allowed me to relax for a while as Aaron and Clint fell in love all over again, how can that be bad?

 

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An ARC of 'Dating in Retrospect' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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