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review 2017-07-17 20:55
This one's a little out of order but it still works...
Personal Changes - K.C. Wells

'Personal Changes' is actually book #2 in K. C. Wells series 'Personal' but apparently I'm not very observant these days because I listened to the audio book for this one first. Cornell Coliins is the narrator for this one as well as for books 1 & 3 and he's a new to me narrator. 


The MCs for this story are Rick Wentworth and Angelo Tarallo. We were introduced to Rick in 'Making It Personal' or at least those of us who read or listened to this series in order were. Not being in that group I can officially say 'There's no problem reading this series as standalone stories'. While there is some cross-over with the characters in the stories. As I said Rick was in the first book and Blake and Will the MCs from that story appear in subsequent  stories as do other secondary characters I had no difficulty following who was who and what they did, etc. Blake is Rick's boss and Will who is now his partner was his PA but well get to that in my review for 'Making It Personal'. 


The other thing that we found out in the first book was that Rick had a longstanding crush on Blake, whom he'd believed to be straight and this is part of what leads to Rick's realization that he needs to make some 'personal changes' in his life. Rick's tired of the club scene and one night stand, bathroom hook-ups. He wants what Blake and Will have a real relationship, commitment, someone who looks at him as if he's the center of the universe. in plain English he wants what most of us want...a partner who's as committed to us as we are to them. So he makes the decision to change his lifestyle no more f*cking on the first date with essentially nameless people. He's going to take the time to get to know someone see if maybe they could have more than just one night. It's this decision that brings both Angelo an Julian into his life.


Rick first encounters Julian at a local club and as the evening goes on he begins to wonder if he hasn't met Mr. Perfect. Julian seems to be everything he's looking for and he just seems to do everything right and here is where I need to add that ironically, for me, Julian's voice was the one voice that just didn't work and maybe this is superficial on my part but Julian's voice made me skin crawl it was whiny at times and held an undertone that just make me think 'what are you up to?' from the word go I did not trust that voice and as the story progressed...surprise! I was right, Julian was a sleezeball not to be trusted.


Equally as ironic is the fact that while Rick is being charmed by Julian, he's also being watched by someone who decides from the minute he lays eyes on Rick that he wants to get to know him. Everything that he sees tells him that this could be the man for him. But it's not until Angelo and a friend rescues Rick from the less than welcome advances of the less than Mr. Perfect, Julian that we truly meet him and begin to get a sense of who he is. (This is all in the blurb so have no fear there were no spoilers here).


Now for as much as I didn't like Julian's voice I did like Angelo's. I actually found Angelo's voice to be soothing and comforting and as the story progressed I really came to like Angelo. I liked Rick as well, but I do have to admit in this story Angelo was my favorite. 


Angelo comes from a traditional Sicilian family and unfortunately this is a bit of an obstacle for these two men and also created a bit of a problem for me with some of the ending. Overall the story worked for me. While it was good and enjoyable I wasn't totally enthralled with it. 


I liked Cornell Collins narrations with the exception of Julian's voice the other character voices worked for me and I was comfortable with them. They were definitely expressive and conveyed emotion well. 


'Personal Changes' was an enjoyable story about how what we think we want isn't always what we get but if we're lucky fate will make sure that we end up with who we really need.

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review 2017-07-11 01:39
An awesome summer listening experience...
Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts - Charlie Cochet, Michael Stellman

'Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts' was an adorable and sweet summer audio experience. Quinn is a gruff, tough Miami SWAT officer and he's also Spencer's sexy, nerve inducing neighbor and never the twain shall meet...until Quinn gets hurt in the line of duty and suddenly finds himself housebound and dependent on others for help and still Quinn and Spencer remain strangers...until Quinn's brother-in-law Rick leaves Quinn's pain meds with Spencer and the rest as they say is history.


Quinn and Spencer were just an adorable comedy of errors and getting past Quinn's defenses was more than a little challenging and just when he starts to thanks to Quinn's friends...or at least one in particular...that's right I'm talking about Javier...Mr. Total Jerk it's Quinn's turn to break get past barriers.


However, I did like Quinn's mother she was adorable in a smothering sort of way and then there was also Spencer's friend and neighbor, Danny who apparently likes to hand out Spence's apartment key to wounded, hunky SWAT agents...seriously why didn't I have a neighbor like that when I was single...honestly, some guys have all the luck. 


I really enjoyed this one it was low steam but sweet and fun with a nice touch of heat towards the end.


Michael Stellman was the narrator for this audio book and his voices were well done. I definitely enjoyed listening to him and look forward to enjoying other audio books narrated by Mr. Stellman...as a matter of fact I see 'The High King's Golden Tongue' in my audio book future.

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review 2017-06-28 22:34
The story was good the audio...not so much for me...
Wrapped Up in Chains - Cindy Sutherland

I've been wanting to read this one for ages now so when the audio book became available I saw it as a golden opportunity and said 'yes please' to the chance. 'Wrapped In Chains' is a story of finding love and second chances. 


Because this was an audio book and both the author and narrator are new to me and unfortunately also because my rating for the book and for the audio portion are very distinctly separate I'm going to try and do this review in 2 parts. First the story and then we'll deal with the audio...


I really liked the story overall there was only one thing that I had a tiny niggle with so for me the book was 4 stars. 


Devon West runs his own BDSM club and he's a DOM with very strong ideals and beliefs about a D/s relationship especially the DOM's responsibility towards the sub. I liked Devon. I liked that he was someone who basically lived and breathed his moral values in all aspects of his life both as a person and a DOM. Needless to say it made it easy to believe that he would go to the extend that he does to protect Chase, a young sub whom he finds being violently beaten when he walks into his club one night. Devon's immediate actions are strong, confident and all focused on protecting Chase and ensuring that he is safe from the DOM who Chase suffered years of abuse from.


Chase ran away from home afraid of how his family would react when they discovered he was gay. It was a young, naive, scared Chase who is taken in and abused for years by James Kingston. Someone whom he believed was really a DOM but in fact is only an abusive, sociopath who's spent his life being protected by his wealth and privilege as well as several years being obsessed with Devon. Kingston's convinced that Devon is his perfect sub he just needs "proper discipline". 



Initially Chase felt so much more submissive than the personalities that I'm use to in BDSM stories but as the story progressed what had initially seemed like a totally submissive personality started to feel more like a combination of a sweet and gentle soul whose nature leaned towards submission and Chase went from seeming like someone whose nature was so totally submissive that he didn't seem to be able to make his own decisions to someone who as I said was sweet and gently and very capable of making his own decisions but also someone who craved the sense of balance and security that submission could give him. 


Devon and Chase worked well for me as a couple in that their personalities meshed well. Devon was a DOM but not one who wanted to control his sub 24/7 he wanted the control in regards to the sexual aspect of their relationship but outside of that he fostered and encouraged Chase to be independent and his actions always seemed to be geared towards what was best for Chase and while this initially wasn't always a matter of what Chase wanted he truly did seem to have an ultimate goal of Chase becoming confident and self sufficient in his day to day life but more than willing to also be the DOM that Chase so obviously craved.  


My one little niggle with the story was how quickly Chase became attached to Devon and yet, in some ways it was not really a stretch to accept this could happen given that Chase was held hostage for years and endured cruelty and abuse at the hands of the only person he's really had contact with for the past 7 years and suddenly he's rescued and cared for by someone who is his captures polar opposite. Someone who cares what he thinks and feels and treats him like his comfort and well being truly matters. it's like getting rain after a drought how can you not enjoy and appreciate it?


The other thing that balanced the immediate sense of attraction between Devon and Chase was Devon's sense of responsibility towards Chase and what had happened to him. While it wasn't Devon's fault in any way, I like that he realized that what Chase really needed wasn't being in another relationship but having help with dealing with the damage that being held hostage and abused for years did to him physically, emotionally and mentally. 


While the story had a bit of a fairy tale feel to it in the handsome knight (Devon) rescues the damsel in distress (Chase) and vanquishes the evil villain (James Kingston) way. It was still a very enjoyable and well done story and I really liked it. 


However, what really didn't work for me was the audio on this one. John Anthony Davis was the narrator for this book and while I liked his voice in terms of it's tone and that the voices were distinct and easily discernible in terms of who was speaking. I found that at times it was slow and almost hesitant or stilted when it came to fluidity and unfortunately that made it feel almost monotone at times. While Chase's voice for me had a too young sound to it that made me think of a young boy in his early teens rather than a young man of 23 or 24 which he was suppose to be. This unfortunately happened enough that I found it was a definite distraction from the story for me. So while the story was 4 stars for me...the audio was at best 2.5 stars. So over all this one's getting 3.5 stars from me.



An audio book of "Wrapped Up In Chains" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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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.



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

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review 2017-05-15 23:26
I like antiques...
The Mystery of Nevermore - C.S. Poe

I really enjoyed 'The Mystery of Nevermore' it's C. S. Poe's first book in her 'Snow and Winter' series and I enjoyed this first time offering from a new author, so needless to say when the audio book was made available for review I was more than willing to take revisit the world of Sebastian Snow and Calvin Winter. 


As tends to be the case with me, because I really enjoyed the book my original review is a bit on the longer side so here's the link for anyone who's curious...

The Mystery of Nevermore - original review


Derrick McClain is the narrator for this audiobook and over all he did a solid job with this one. His voices ticked all of my basic requirements they were consistent, unique for each individual and expressive with the added bonus that while in general Mr. McClain's voices worked for me, I really liked the voice that he put to Calvin Winter. Calvin's voice in the audiobook was a very close match to the Calvin who occupied my head when I first read this one.


So over all my rating for this one hasn't changed it's still a 4.5 star experience that I very much enjoyed and look forward to seeing where things go in future with this series.



An audiobook of 'The Mystery of Nevermore' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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