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review 2017-06-26 17:16
Surprise...it's my first time reading this author...
Forgotten Paradise (Dreamspun Desires) - Shira Anthony

Ok so I have to admit I was a little surprised when I realized this because truthfully I own more than a few books by this author and have somehow not managed to get to them yet...so many books, so little time...

 

"Forgotten Paradise" is part of Dreamspinner's Dreamspun Desires series and I enjoyed listening to the audio book. It was like being read a sweet, low angst fairytale...of the modern, adult variety, of course. 

 

Adam Preston is enjoying a well earned vacation in the Dominican Republic before returning home to deal with what can only be considered a hostile takeover attempt by Entech a company with a reputation for less than ethical behavior in their business dealings, when he decides to do a bit of scuba diving he's surprised to discover that his instructor is the attractive, charming and somewhat mysterious Jonah, whom he met at the resort bar the night before.

 

It turns out that Jonah's not just a mystery to Adam but to himself as well. Since he only remembers the last 10 years of his life when he woke up on a beach one day with no idea of who he was or how he got there. He's held that secret close until Adam, who for some reason is causing long hidden memories to try and resurface in his mind.

 

As Adam and Jonah get to know each other during their time together, their attraction grows and with each encounter Jonah finds himself recovering parts of a past he thought gone forever and one that maybe he no longer wants. 

 

It's a bit of a whirlwind romance between these two. Considering that they only have one week before Adam has to return to his real life. It works and I really didn't have a problem finding it believable...beautiful tropical setting, two intelligent, attractive, available people (men in this case) drawn to each other and who enjoy each others company.  Honestly no stretch of the imagination required here at all.

 

It's when Adam returns the real world that he begins to discover that his fantasy vacation was far more firmly rooted in reality than either he or Jonah could have ever imagined.

 

I enjoyed the first part of this story which introduced us to Adam and Jonah. Seeing their relationship go from a simple attraction to something so much stronger in spite of the fact that they knew they only had a week before Adam would be leaving.  It was fun and sexy and sweet and so easy the envision with the way that the author wove in the background information to create images of a beautiful tropical setting combined with the adventure of deep sea diving.  

 

However, it's the second part of this book that really won me over. Seeing Adam as he came to the realization of who Jonah was while also struggling to save his company and pull his family back together. More than the company that his father started Adam valued his family and while his relationship with his mother and his sister is fairly solid (his awesome sister, Karen...just sayin' with a name like that how could she not be awesome?), it's his brother Rodger whom he misses. They use to be best friends able to talk to each other about everything. But since their father's death that's changed and Adam wants to fix this. He's willing to do just about anything to have his friend and brother back.

 

Ironically when Adam's vacation ends he's not the only one who needs to return to real world. As Jonah comes to remember his life before waking up on a sandy beach he also comes to the realization that he can no longer hide from who and what he was. He needs to return to the life he's only now remembering and put his own house in order. 

 

While the first half of the book gave me a glimpse into the character of Adam and Jonah and what kind of men they are, it's the second half that really develops them and gives them depth. There are no cake walks here, both men have to fight for what they want. Proving that determination and strength of character is not in short supply where either of them are concerned.

 

"Forgotten Paradise" was narrated by Andrew McFerrin, who is a new to me narrator and while I have to admit I didn't fall head over heels in love with him. His voices were consistent and expressed emotion. While I can't say that any one voice was outstanding or hooked me into the story as I've had happen with other narrators. I wasn't put off by any of them either and I'm definitely willing to listen to future audiobooks by this narrator...I may even have a couple on my wishlist over at audible...the samples sound good so definite potential here for me.

 

When all is said and done it's 4 stars for the story and 3 for the audio portion and I'm just going to call it a day at 4 because if I take the median number as I usually do it's 3.5 and I'm just going to have to round up when I post this review in other places and I'm feeling lazy today plus truly this story deserves more than 3 stars so I'm not willing to round down...so 4 stars and I'm done here now.

 

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An audio book of "Forgotten Paradise" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-08 00:59
This is not the Peter Pan of my childhood...
Peter Darling - Austin Chant

I have to admit I'm not sure quite what I was expecting when I went into this but after sniffing and poking at the book I finally decided I just needed to put on my big girl pants and find out.

 

So what I was expecting...well, I'm still not sure. What I got was a retelling of a childhood story that to be quite honest was never really a favorite of mine. As a child I just never connected with Peter...I'm don't really know why...it could be as simple as he was a boy and I'm a girl...who knows. Needless to say this also contributed to making 'Peter Darling' a bit of a hard sell with me. But I was still curious after reading the blurb and then I started seeing all these awesome reviews being posted by my friends so I figured it was time to find out.

 

What I found was a story about a child who essentially came from a good home, but not the right home. Not a home where he was loved for who he was and allowed to be that person. Feeling frustrated, angry and alone Peter runs away to Neverland a place where he can be himself, where he has friends and goes on adventures...fighting Pirates and accomplishing brave and heroic deeds. But as with most children, Peter also begins to miss his family. Remembering not just the bad things but the good...his brothers, Michael and John, his parents and how much he misses everyone. Ultimately Peter realizes that it's time to go home.

 

Ten years have passed since Pan has left Neverland and they haven't turned out to be ten good years for either. No longer able to deal with the real world...Pan returns to Neverland...to his friends,Tinkerbell and the lost boys and to continue his battle with his nemesis...Hook. Only Peter's grown up and things aren't quite the same in Neverland. Peter begins to wonder if returning was the right choice but he knows staying with his family wasn't an option either.

 

Peter Darling in many ways felt more like a continuation of the original story than a retelling...more like 'What if Peter Pan returned to Neverland when he was grown up?' While the author did put a bit of a spin on the original story, he also held true to a lot of it as well creating a smooth and seamless version of the story that is with the story that will be.

 

I found myself being drawn into the story of 'Peter Darling' far more easily and readily than I was ever drawn into the original story of Peter Pan. I was fascinated with both the characters and this version of Neverland. While Hook has always been my least favorite character in this fairy tale, this time around not only did I like him, but for me, he was the most captivating character in the book.

 

The Hook we meet in 'Peter Darling' displays far more depth than what I've come to expect from this character in previous versions of the story. While he can be cruel, ruthless and greedy there were also moments of depth that tempered that side of him...we were shown intelligence and understanding, emotions such as compassion, grief, sorrow, regret, caring and yes, even love.

 

'Peter Darling' was not a happy go light tale. It was at times a bit sad with a touch of a dark side to it, that in truth, I always felt was also contained within the original story. For me 'Peter Darling' was also a beautifully told story by a 'new to me author' whose talent for crafting words into images left me more than a little impressed.  While "Peter Darling" isn't the only thing written by this author, it does appear to be their first novel...which leaves me to wonder if their first novel is this good...what's coming next?

 

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

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review 2017-05-01 20:35
Ok, so I'm really, really late to the party on this one...
Everything Changes - Melanie Backe-Hansen

I bought this back in 2015 when it was first released and then I squirreled...what can I say it's a thing that I do...frequently. But I've been reading long enough that I know a book that I want to read when I see it so I get them and when the timing feels right I drift back and read them. 

 

In this case I was motivated by the opportunity to listen to the second book in this series on audio. While these books can be done as standalones, if I'm going to read a series I like to at least try and start at the beginning and I had a little time so I decided to squeeze this one in and I'm glad I did. 

 

'Everything Changes' is a friends to lovers, GFY story about two men who meet during their military enlistment. Jase is a medic assigned to Carey's marine corp. It's during their enlistment that they develop a strong bond as friends. It's also during this time that Carey losses his lower leg and gets shipped home early.

 

When Jase is finally discharged he goes in search of Carey and helps him through his recovery before returning to his life in California, while Carey ends up in Colorado counselling vets. Still in spite of the distance their friendship continues. 

 

Things Change during Carey's visit and Jase ultimately confesses that he's been in love with Carey for a long time. When Carey's time with Jase comes to an end Carey chooses to return to Colorado under the premise of needing time because 'he's not gay'. 

 

'Everything Changes' was well done and I enjoyed it, but I have to admit for some reason it just didn't put me over the moon the way a story like this usually does and I truly think that it's totally on my this time because I've been pondering this and I have yet to come up with anything that I didn't like or that spoiled the story for me...I got nothin'. However, I can come up with a nice list of what I liked...

 

I like both of the MC's. Yes, I got a little frustrated with Carey, but I could see where he was coming from.  All his life he'd believed he was straight and suddenly he's having not so straight feelings about a guy...yes, it was his best friend, but still it's a guy...so for him it was a bit disconcerting. It wasn't that he was homophobic or anything just really surprised by his feelings and honestly, if I was Carey I'd probably have the same reaction.

 

I liked Jase. He was such an amazingly good friend and so in love with Carey. More than what he wanted for himself what mattered for Jase was Carey's happiness. I loved that for Jase it was about attraction to the person, not the gender. Truthfully the world could use a whole lot more people like Jase.

 

I liked Jase and Carey together. They were awesome friends and scorching hot as lovers. I had zero doubt that once Carey got his mind around things they'd be an amazing couple. I loved that while the epilogue was short we saw that they weren't perfect just two men in love, dealing with life and it's challenges the best they could.

 

In general I liked this story it worked for me...so you see nothing that really stands out in my mind as being wrong or offensive or spoiled the story in any way. Lots that I liked but whatever the reason this didn't go from good to great for me. But I did like it reading was no hardship so I'm looking forward to checking out more by this author and I've got 'Signs of Life' the second book in this series all quayed up and ready to go on audible.

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review 2017-04-30 16:42
That cover! The Blurb! The book :/
Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs) - Sam Argent

I was really excited to say the least when I stumbled across this story the blurb sounded awesome and the cover...I mean seriously? Who doesn't want to read this book once they've read the blurb and seen that cover so on a promotional level this book nailed it because really that's what the blurb and the cover are...they're promotional materials meant to draw the reader in and gain their interest in the book and if I was giving stars for that this book would probably get at least 4 out of 5. But that's not what I'm giving stars for...nope, those two stars are for what comes after the cover and the blurb.

 

Sadly what came after the blurb for me was a bit confusing. 'Witches for Hire' is the first book in Sam Argent's series 'Odd Jobs' unfortunately for most of this book I felt like I'd been plunked into the middle of a series without the background info that often helps things make sense. As the story progressed I was given a fair bit of background that did help sort out much of my confusion but I would have really liked some of this info to have come sooner than it did. 

 

'Witches for Hire' was a bit of a mixed bag for me because while there were things that I liked about it, there were also things that just didn't work for me and as much as I would like to go into more detail about what I didn't like, I don't feel that I can do this without divulging some pretty pertinent information in regards to the story's plot. So, I'm going to focus a little more on some of what worked for me.

 

One of the things that worked the best for me were the characters. I liked Jeremy. He was interesting and far more complex than he initially seemed. Many of the secondary characters were also rather interesting and what we were given of their background hinted at strong potential for their own stories...Simone, Witches for Hire's receptionist, a witch who is married to a werewolf and has no coven and also seems to be far more powerful than she lets on, Clive a knight from another realm who is the new owner of 'Witches for Hire' who is extremely powerful running out of realms he can go to. Clive's friends Mia and her husband, Raj, who run their own magical detective agency, also knights and seem to show up when they're least expected. The Amazon, Edarra, who works at 'Witches for Hire' and has some heroic deeds she needs to accomplish. Senator Ragsdale, Jeremy's father. Desmond the Great, Atlanta's star magician and someone with much stronger ties to Jeremy than most realize, council member Salvatore someone who wants much stronger ties to Jeremy. 

 

It all sounds so intriguing and has the potential be one hella' good read but somewhere along the line the waters got muddied and things were oftentimes confusing with POVs jumped around and scene changes happening in such a way that I was left wondering if I was missing pages or paragraphs, at least, because I'd find myself going back and re-reading to try and figure out when and how I suddenly went from point 'A' to point 'E' and what happened to the stuff in between.

 

So in summary this wasn't so much a bad story as one that simply didn't work for me. There was strong potential and I did find the last 20 to 30% far more cohesive and interesting. Most of all I really wish that this had felt more like the first novel in a series with stronger background and world building rather than leaving me feeling like I was reading the third or fourth book in a series that needed to be read in order.

 

The result for me was that rather than enjoying what should have been a fun and interesting story, I was often left frustrated and disappointed. However, in spite of the potential for future stories I'm not really sure whether or not I'll continue, I definitely need to give that a lot of thought...but in truth...I doubt it, the again one never knows... never say never, right?

 

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

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review 2017-04-29 23:50
I'm a little late to the party on this one...
In The Absence of Light - Adrienne Wilder

I've had this book floating around on my e-reader for a while now and I keep squirreling off to other things but when it came up in a conversation with my buddy read besties, Josy, Christelle and Simone. I didn't hesitate to say yes and I am so, so glad that we did this. Thanks ladies once again you made an amazing story so much better. 

 

'In the Absence of Light' isn't just a romance or a love story. it's a story about loving someone who's different and what that means both to love them and be loved by them. Morgan is autistic and he's amazing. He probably shouldn't be as highly functional as he is but because he was raised by an amazing woman who refused to give up on him, he has never given up on himself.

 

Grant has moved to Durstrand in the hopes of living a quiet life for a few years before slipping away to some place with sandy beaches and warmer climes or at least that was the plan until he meets Morgan. 

 

I was totally enchanted with Morgan from the beginning. He's open and honest and he sees the world in a way that others wouldn't even consider trying to look for. He's creative and fiercely independent and the moments that we spent seeing the world through Morgan's eyes were like small gifts the kind that touch your heart and warm you from the inside because of the impression it leaves on your soul. 

 

i didn't warm to Grant quite as quickly but I did like him. I liked that he allowed himself to see Morgan. Not just the Morgan with the ticks who threw out thoughts and seemed to ramble random ideas into the world. Grant was able to see past that to the strong, intelligent, creative man who wanted him and was willing to share himself with Grant and show him what was hidden by the light.

 

'In the Absence of Light' shows us that it's not about who we love but that we love. When that person who adds color to our world and makes us see things in ways we never thought to before comes along we need to grab onto them and love them with all we've got and make them our home so that we can be theirs.

 

For more really awesome reviews on this book you should check these out...

In the Absence of Light - GR book page

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