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review 2017-06-24 21:17
Life in the country isn't always as boring as it seems...
A Second Harvest - Eli Easton

David Fisher's lived his life according to everyone else's dictates. His father and then a wife and two kids, following the beliefs of the Mennonite church. But now his wife's passed away, his kids are grown and off at school and David's all but turned away from the church. David finds himself really just going through the motions of running the family farm.  Every days basically the same until the day he meets his new neighbor, Christie Landon.

 

Christie's escaped the city after leading life in the fast lane for years. A friend's close call when he overdoses causes Christie to re-evaluate his life and head for the country where he plans to sort out things at his aunt's house that he's inherited upon her death. Christie's looking to slow down, regroup and re-evaluate his life until he meets his new neighbor, David.

 

David and Christie are total opposites on the surface. David's closeted. He's lived his life in Lancaster County never travelling anywhere or seeing anything of the world. He's dreamed of if...his collection of National Geographic magazines can attest to that. At 40 years old not only does it seem like his life is over...it never really got a chance to start. While at 30 years old, Christie's a college graduate, he's got a solid career as a graphic designer, he's partied, walked on the wild side, seen a bit of the world and reached a point where he just wants to put the brakes on.

 

Neither of these men are really looking for a relationship but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants and common sense doesn't really factor into it. 

 

I liked the slow burn on this one. Seeing David and Christie build their relationship over food and farm work. Watching as Christie slowly draws out David's awakening sexuality until David neither can nor wants to deny it.

 

I really liked both David and Christie. David for me was someone who was thoughtful,  strong and honorable. He stuck by his convictions regardless of how hard it was...when he was confronted by members of the church or his own children he didn't automatically do the easy thing and capitulate to what they wanted. While Christie was out and proud he was also a kind, caring and compassionate person. 

 

"A Second Harvest" had all the makings of an incredibly good story and while I enjoyed it.  It didn't make the same connection for me that other books by this author have. I'm honestly not entirely sure why this one didn't totally work for my but I do think at least part of that was due to the narration. I was fortunate to be able to listen to the audio book for 'A Second Harvest' which was narrated by Will Tulin, who is a new to me narrator and unfortunately for me this narrator just didn't quite work. His voices for the characters weren't the same as how I had imagined they would sound and I found this to be a bit distracting. While he did check off my basic checklist of 'what I look for' in an audio book, the voices just didn't work for me. So I have to caution that this is a very subjective opinion being expressed here. 

 

"A Second Harvest" is a story not just of two men discovering each other but themselves. Other than my issue with the audio, I'm not sure why this one didn't work for me...maybe it wasn't quite the type of story I was looking for at the time...who knows sometimes things work, sometimes they don't and this time was just ok and not 'howl at the moon awesome'.

 

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An audiobook of "A Second Harvest" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-23 20:51
I'm thinking this ones on me...at least partially...
Chief's Mess - L.A. Witt

So far I've really enjoyed this series both 'Just Drive' and 'Fear of Flying' were stories that I really enjoyed and I basically knew what this story was about going in to it. 

 

Noah Jackson is a member of Anchor Point's military police. He's got a stressful job and unfortunately his solution for dealing with the stress of his job comes from a bottle and he sees no problem with this. As a matter of fact he's so on board with this that when a problem results from his drinking his solution is to make his life accommodate the drinking...can't drive home because you've had too much to drink...take a cab...problem solved because drinking less or not drinking doesn't even ping his radar as a reasonable solution. Noah is what is known as a functioning alcoholic. Unfortunately he's not as functioning as he believes people like his best friend and superior officer, Senior Chief Will Curtis see what's happening. I'm sure most of us have met or had someone like Noah in their lives at one time or another, I know I have. 

 

While we weren't introduced to Noah in 'Fear of Flying' we did meet Anthony. Anthony is the supportive brother of Curtis's ex-wife. There was a lot about Noah's behavior that I understood in regards to his mildly paranoid behavior about how much Noah drank. I got that and I remember being so cautious about people in my life and how much they drank wondering how much and how often they truly drank. Honestly, it's not fun living like that doubting and never fully trusting until you're sure really sure that it's safe to trust that person because they aren't going to crawl into a bottle every chance they get.

 

Noah and Anthony start out as a hook-up one night of hot sex. But one night becomes a few more until Anthony has to go home. As time passes Anthony and Noah begin texting and then as they get to know each other and each remembers how good the sex had been they decide to take a shot at a long distance relationship. 

 

You see the fact is that while I've known Noah, I've been Anthony...been part of the rubble left behind when the landslide stops. I've lived through the lies, the deceptions and justifications, the heartbreak of knowing you can't fix them. That they're the only person who can fix themselves and not until they're ready to.  The frustration of knowing that you've reached the point where the only thing you can do is walk away and save yourself.

 

The one real issue that I had with Anthony in fact actually goes back to the events of 'Fear of Flying' and Anthony's lack of basic compassion and understanding for his brother-in-law Curtis. Logically I knew where it came from, but, I still can't say I liked it.  

 

The concept for this story was good and while I liked it, I think maybe for me it came just a little to close to a reality that I've known which was a big part of the reason that I didn't enjoy 'Chief's Mess' nearly as much as the first two books.  However, I am looking forward to the next book in this series...'Rank & File' is Senior Chief Will Curtis's story and while we did get a bit of Will's background in this book, I'm hoping that 'Rank & File' 

will give us a all of Will's story and a peek at how things are going for the other men of 'Anchor Point'.  

 

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A copy of "Chief's Mess" was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-23 16:50
Love with all it's dings and dents...
Afraid to Fly - L.A. Witt

'Afraid to Fly' is the second book in L. A. Witt's series 'Anchor Point'. We were briefly introduced to Travis Wilson in 'Just Drive' the first book in this series as best friend of Paul Richards one of the MCs from that story.

 

In 'Just Drive' Travis encouraged Paul to take a chance on love and now it's Paul's turn to do the same for Travis. While the author didn't really tell us a lot about Travis in 'Just Drive' we were told enough to know that Travis deals with chronic pain and in 'Afraid to Fly' we are given a much clearer picture of just how bad that chronic pain is and insidiously it has invaded every aspect of his life. Along with the chronic pain Travis deals with PTSD and shares his home with his adult daughter who also deals with her own PTSD.

 

Clint Fraser works down the hall from Travis and he's got his own case of PTSD to deal with...one that's cost him a marriage and time with his 3 kids.

 

It's always interesting when I finish a book to reflect back on the why I did or didn't like a book. Sometimes, I'm not really sure why and it's just a case of the story worked and I connected with it sometimes there's something very specific that I liked or several things and in the case of 'Afraid to Fly' while there were several things that I liked about this story the number one reason was Travis. I connected with Travis. I totally understood what his life was like. As someone who also suffers from chronic pain, while thankfully mine is rarely as extreme as Travis's is. It does affect my daily life. So I understood what it was like to always be thinking ahead wondering can I do this? How much more will I hurt? How can I manage the pain? and on and on. It's just what you do and how you have to deal with things to try and have as normal of a life as possible. To keep as much independence as possible. I got this, I understood his mindset and I really got his insecurities about his and Clint's relationship and how much it meant to him to have someone who accepts him with all his 'dings and dents' just as Travis does with Clint and his PTSD and the fact that he's a 'recovering' alcoholic. 

 

As well as how Travis's chronic pain and PTSD was dealt with how we saw Clint's medical issues, both the PTSD and the alcoholism dealt with for me was well done. It was an important part of the story but it never felt like it overpowered the development of their relationship but just like Travis's chronic pain and his own PTSD these were things that both men had deal with, it was all a part of the relationship dynamic. 

 

For me 'Fear of Flying' was about finding that person you connect with, want to spend your life with and loving them not in spite of their 'baggage' but because it's a part of them and who they are and ultimately you come to know and accept that the love they have for you is as strong as what you feel for them.

 

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review 2017-06-20 22:34
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch...
Noble Intentions - Andrew Grey

When Robert Ashton's uncles dies. Robert is in for a surprise when the will is read and he learns that he's the Earl of Hantford and that title comes with a couple of money pits. The family estate Ashton Park and a place in London which he quickly decides he'll probably sell but Ashton Park has been in his family for generations and it would break his mother's heart to see it sold and Robert's not sure selling Ashton Park is something that it's in his heart to do. But the problem is he doesn't have the money for the much needed repairs. However, Robert's thinks she has the perfect solution...she's sure that Robert just needs to marry someone with the much needed money.

 

Putting her plan for her son to marry someone with money into action. Robert's mom signs him up for a matchmaker service and before Robert knows it he's meeting Tech Wizard Daniel Fabian for dinner while on a business trip to New York. Danial has his own reasons for using a matchmaker and what he's looking for someone with a title so that when he goes to his high school reunion filled with old money snobs he can show up as a member of the aristocracy.

 

While Robert and Daniel ultimately ended up enjoying their first date in spite of it's awkward start and it did lead to arrangements for a second date. Thankfully it wasn't a case of insta-love. 

 

Overall I enjoyed the story and I liked that while it wasn't long before Daniel and Robert found themselves falling for each other it wasn't insta-love and they did take time to get to know each other. While neither of them confessed to their reasons for using the matchmaker service it was shared fairly early in the relationship so there wasn't any unnecessary miscommunication issues.

 

While there was the occasional bit of over the top sweetness it wasn't in excessive amounts and overall it didn't detract from the story for me. 

 

Robert Nieman was the narrator for this audiobook and while I really loved his narration for the previous audiobook that I listened to by him. This one wasn't working as well for me but I can't really say that has as much to do with the narrator as it does with the fact that while I liked this story I didn't fall over the moon in love with it. The only thing that bothered me that is directly related to the narration was the fact that while Robert was suppose to be British he really didn't have a British accent nor did his mother or any of the other secondary characters who were suppose to be British. The voices were distinct just not British.

 

'Noble Intentions' was a sweet standalone story about two men looking for solutions to the problems in their lives and what they find is that sometimes the answers to our problems come wrapped in love even when we aren't looking for it.

 

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An audiobook of 'Noble Intentions' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-19 22:48
The story was good but it was what came after that really got my attention...
Forest of Thorns and Claws - J.T. Hall

Having read the first two books in 'The Oddities' series by this author I decided that I'd like to try something different by the same author so when I saw 'Forest of Thorns and Claws' on NetGalley, it was like opportunity was knocking.

 

I liked the story well enough. It's got a solid plot about conservationist fighting to protect what is suppose to be federally protected land inhabited by rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna and unknown to the world of man it's also the home of a clan of tiger shifters. 

 

Donovan McGinnis is a veterinarian and Conservationist who along with his friend and business partner, Roark run a conservation center in Sumatra. Donovan becomes injured by a tigress when his patrol group rescues her from a poacher's snare. Donovan's life becomes even more complicated as he fights with the bureaucracy of local government to keep even more of 'Gunung Leuser National Forest' from disappearing into the pockets of big business, all while trying to understand his rapidly growing attraction to Kersen a member of the local were-tiger clan and adjust to the reality that he himself is now a were-tiger.

 

While I really enjoyed the part of the story that dealt with the battle to save the forest I think that if there had been a bit more focus given to the growth and development of the relationship between Kersen and Donovan it would have changed how much I enjoyed the story. I felt like the bond between these two men was meant to be really strong and intense and I just didn't get a sense of this from the story, so from this aspect things just didn't quite come together for me.

 

Although the book was only an ok read for me at the end of it all. What I really, really want to rave about for a minute here, if you'll just bare with me, is the fact that much of this story is based on real world events and the author has outlined it in the pages immediately following the story, something that I have to admit I read with a lot of interest. I love tigers and other wildcats. Whether it's a lion or a tiger, a cheetah or a jaguar these creatures have a beauty and grace that is incomparable. Needless to say the next thing I knew I was lost in the world of google. Learning things that quite honestly broke my heart...

 

Things like the fact that there are 5000 tigers in captivity in the United States but there are only an estimated 3,890 tigers living in the wild world wide. There are 9 different sub-species of tigers and 3 of those are extinct. Of the less than 4000 tigers, only an estimated 400 are Sumatran tigers. The Sumatran tiger is not the only tiger sub-species at risk, however, it is currently the most critically endangered.

 

What I also discovered was that while this seems so hopeless for these beautiful big cats, in 2007 the world population for the Amur Leopard numbered 30...just 30...3-0,  that's all that were known to exist and they were in Russia's 'Land of the Leopard National Park'. in 2014 that number was up to 57 plus another 8-12 were found to be living in adjacent areas of China. While this is still such a small and precarious number it gives hope that if we all take responsibility for guardianship of this world this can change for the Sumatran Tiger, the Amur Leopard and so many of the other animals of this world that man's thoughtlessness has endangered. 

 

This is just a small sample of the information that I discovered in my google research that probably never would have happened if I hadn't read this book and any book that motivates me to learn more about the world I live in is a book that I'm glad I read.

 

So in spite of the fact that this book was only a 3 star read for me. I give this author 5 stars for what motivated them to write this story and for sharing this information with the reader. It's a wonderful reminder that we all need to be conservationist in this world if we want to protect it for future generations. 

 

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A copy of "Forest of Thorns and Claws" was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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