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review 2018-02-20 21:48
A stubborn modern-day heroine who learns a lesson or two along the way.
The Royal Deal (Chasing the Romantics, a Series of Original Fairy Tales Book 1) - Rosalind Driver

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, check here if you want to get your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for the ARC copy of the book, which I freely chose to review.

I love fairy tales. I know some of the classic ones are cruel, harsh, and less than politically correct, but I do love them. And I am always intrigued by new versions of old fairy tales, or completely new fairy tales.

This short fairy tale has elements of the classics: a King and father, insisting that his daughter must marry the man of his choice (for political reasons); a Princess and daughter, Faith, who wants to follow her heart (she hardly knows Jaeger, the young prince she is due to marry. She always assumed she would marry the older, more mature, Mikhail, who is known for his caring attitude towards his people, although she does not know him well either); a challenge/mission… This time, the princess is not just passively waiting for a prince to come and rescue her (although she hopes Mikhail, who has been missing for a long time, will come back before her 19th birthday when she is supposed to get married). She decides to go to her father and make a deal with him. She wants to prove that she is not a useless thing that needs looking after. Her father agrees that if she can survive for three months in the forest, without any outside help, she will be free to marry whomever, whenever.

Faith is headstrong, rushed, and impulsive. She knows that she lives a life where she is totally dependent on others, (princesses don’t even get dressed by themselves), and has been trying to learn how to do things for herself, but she soon realises she has not thought things through. She should have negotiated the conditions of her deal to her advantage (she does not even have appropriate shoes to wear, does not know how to light a fire, and has no weapons to defend herself from wild animals or any other dangers she might encounter).

Faith learns a lot in the three months she spends in the forest. She meets a hermit who helps her (despite her insistence that she does not want to cheat); she realises that she must think before she acts and that we need to learn to walk before we can run. Her beliefs are put to the test, as are her prejudices, and although she knows she has a specific role to play due to her position in life and she is not free to do as she likes, she cannot help but end up feeling quite close to the hermit.

The story, written in the third person, is made up of vivid vignettes illustrating both, Faith’s life in the castle at first, and then her attempts at survival in the forest (mostly unsuccessful and lucky escapes, including a lovely interlude with a bear cub). This is not a story about a girl who suddenly discovers she is good at everything and has a natural talent to survive in the wild. She makes mistakes, is sorely unprepared, and keeps getting into trouble. She is about to give up but the hermit helps her and convinces her to keep going. The story dedicates much more time to the first couple of days when we meet Faith and she goes into the forest, than it does to the rest of the three months. Although there are some stirrings of a possible romance, and Faith has to admit to having developed feelings for the hermit, she is more passionate about tasting some chocolate after not having tried it for a few months than she is about any of the men in her life.

As some other reviewers have noted, this is no magical fairy tale, this is the tale of a determined (obstinate?) girl who learns the value of being prepared, of working hard for what you want, and of being truly independent.

The big reveal will not be a surprise to most readers, although it does tie things up nicely, and the actual ending, which some readers feel is a bit rushed, I thought made perfect sense and proved that Faith had learned from her experience and grown up.

The actual fairy tale is shorter than the e-book length suggests, as it contains a sample of the next fairy tale in the series (that looks quite good too).

An original fairy tale, which could facilitate interesting discussions about female role models (beware of the mention of her purity, which might be difficult to explain to very young kids), and the first of what looks like a very interesting series.

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review 2018-01-19 00:51
I love it when a series just gets better...
Model Bodyguard: Haven Investigations, Book 2 - Dreamspinner Press LLC,Lissa Kasey,Brian Hutchison

I really enjoyed 'Model Citizen' the firs book in Lissa Kasey's 'Haven Investigations' series this one has definitely stepped things up a notch or two.


While 'Model Citizen' was about Ollie's POV this time around we're given Kade's POV on life with Ollie and I loved it. Kade loves Ollie there's zero doubt about that but he also sees Ollie in a very realistic way which is really, really good for Ollie because Ollie's got some issues that need to dealt with in a realistic way. I just love that I don't feel like Kade views Ollie as a burden to be taken care of. For Kade, Ollie's issues are just a part of Ollie and need to be dealt with in a positive and constructive way which is what Kade does.


Things are going good for Ollie and Kade. As a couple they're on fairly solid ground and the PI business is doing a lot better with the addition of Kade.  Plus the house that Ollie bought for him and Nate to build a family in is getting renovated by Kade as well and even this task shows Kade's love for Ollie with how sensitive he is to how much the house means to Ollie and that there are areas of the house that he knows Ollie's not ready for him to tackle yet because they were meant to be Nate's space and Ollie's still grieving for his brother. He's trying to get on with his life but it's hard and it gets a little harder when questions start arising surrounding Nate's death.


Kade's POV not only gives us a closer look at Kade's life before he came to Haven Investigations but more detail as to how he came to be at Haven Investigations...he had some scary stuff going on and we're not talking PTSD from the war here, ok? 


Ironically it's once again Ollie's past that brings a mystery back to their door along with Jacob...Ollie's ex and a definite contributor to Ollie's issues. Nate's a rock star and a playboy he doesn't do relationships just sex and kink but somewhere along the way he's picked up a stalker...one who's decided that he needs to be punished in a permanent way and there's no limit to the suspects in this one. Jacob's whole family is at the top of the list. This is one serious group of users and leeches and getting to the bottom of things and figuring out who wants Jacob punished may be impossible since Jacob's loyalty is pretty extreme in that he feels that his family is above reproach and would never hurt him...did I mention that Jacob might be a little delusional...trust me he is because I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could throw them.


Kade's got his hands full as he tries to keep contact between Ollie and Jacob to a minimum because honestly interacting with Jacob really isn't in Ollie's best interest and Kade's got his own insecurities where Ollie's ex's are concerned because Ty...who is also an ex of Ollie's seems to be around a lot more as well, thankfully though this is because he's seeing Tomas so his presence is far less stressful and concerning for Kade. Also let's not forget Kade's still dealing with his own physical injuries and a past that doesn't want to let go of him and may not be over yet.


I loved seeing things from Kade's perspective and I really loved how much Ollie and Kade's relationship has strengthened. Kade is so good for Ollie and good to Ollie. I also felt that Ollie was truly beginning to get past his grief from losing his brother Nate and make a real effort to move forward with is life. I loved seeing Ollie as a capable, contributing partner in Haven Investigations and not some damsel in distress who needs constant rescuing.


Kade and Ollie's relationship may be fairly solid but that doesn't mean that having Ollie's sexy rock star ex in their lives isn't going to be a test for them and sadly for the ready because...holy hell!!! did you see the size of that cliff that the author has left us sitting on? It's a biggie and while I know I could pop the next e-book onto my e-reader to find out what happens I've really been enjoying this series on audio. While the first one was narrated by Mike Pohlable this time around we've been treated to the narrations of Brian Hutchison and I've really enjoyed this one. While I liked Ollie's voice in the first book pretty much everyone else except the annoyingly whiny Donovan was just ok and while this is only my second audio book narrated by Brian Hutchison I have to admit that from an audio standpoint I enjoyed this one a bit more.


I'm really enjoying this series on audio and I admit I'm hoping, really, really hoping that the third audio book isn't too far off but in the meantime because I can't wait to see what's going to happen next with Kade and Ollie but until it arrives I'll just be sitting here over on the cliff's edge...you know that really, really steep cliff that Ms Kasey has left me on passing the time with some more audio books or an e-book here and there...who knows I may even have a DTB or 2 lying around to pass the time with.



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

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review 2018-01-18 23:29
I've wanted to read this one for a long time now...
Model Citizen - Lissa Kasey,Mike Pohlable

Ollie Petroskovic is finally going to pay his brother back for all the years that he's been there for him taken care of him been the parent that they both lost years ago. Signing the papers to purchase the home where Ollie and his brother, Nate will live. Where Nate and his future wife can raise their children. It's a fixer upper but Ollie knows that's what Nate would love a house that's a DIY dream come true.


Ollie's sure that he's finally made their dreams come true. Ollie can continue his modelling and clothing design career while helping Nate with Petroskovic Haven Investigations, a house where they can be happy as a family. What no one saw coming was how the dream would come crashing down when Nate could no longer deal with the nightmare of PTSD and saw taking his own life as his only escape from it.


A year later Ollie's struggling to try and keep what's left of that dream alive as he continues to work at the PI agency that was Nate's dream but without an Investigator's license it's a struggle that he's slowly loosing until Nate's friend Kade Alme arrives PI license in hand and tool belt strapped on. Kade's looking for to honor a promise made to his friend to take care of Ollie but he's also looking for his own fresh start. He's fresh out of the hospital with his own battle wounds but he's determined to make this work because for Kade that fresh start includes Ollie in his life in whatever capacity he can get him...if it's as friend and co-worker than so be it but if Kade has any say in things it'll be a far more intimate relationship than friend and co-worker.


Ollie's pretty resistant to Kade's help and it takes a lot of patience and determination but Kade's got those in spades and before they know it the two men are firmly involved in a case as they try and help an old friend of Ollie's who seems to be in a lot of trouble.


'Model Citizen' is a fast paced story with a lot going on. I loved both Ollie and Kade. Ollie appeared to be androgynous and identified as gender fluid, while his orientation is gay. Kade identifies as male and his orientation might be gay but to me it was more like he was Ollie-sexual because from the word go Kade was all about Ollie or maybe it was just the manties...nah, I'm pretty sure Kade was very into what was in the manties...mind you I'm just guessing.


I loved how supportive he was of Ollie. But that didn't mean that he was a pushover where Ollie was concerned. Kade wasn't the least bit timid about standing up to Ollie when someone needed to but he also stood up for Ollie when someone needed to. 


I enjoyed the mystery in this one while there were things about it that were fairly obvious or easily figured out this story kept my interest from start to finish, so much so that as soon as I was done listening to 'Model Citizen' I jumped right into 'Model Bodyguard' because I wanted more. 


Mike Pohlable was the narrator for this audiobook and I have to admit I'm a little torn on the audio for this one. I really liked his voice for Ollie for me it aligned with Ollie's identity of being gender fluid. 


While Kade's voice didn't work quite as well for me, most of the time it was ok as were most of the other voices in the audio book but then there was 'Donovan' and I guess in some ways I would have to say his voice was good because for me Donovan was just an annoying little sh*t but really did he have to be such an annoyingly whiny little sh*t! Because there were times the whiny  in his voice was way more than I could stand. As far as I can tell 'Model Citizen' seems to be this narrator's first audio book so I think I'm just going to sit back and see what the future brings before deciding yeah or nay with this narrator...who knows I may love whatever he does next or not but for now it's on to 'Model Bodyguard' and another new to me narrator.

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