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review 2018-11-19 16:56
If you like hockey and holidays than you need this one on your Christmas list...
Hockey Holidays - RJ Scott,Kat Mizera,Susan Scott Shelley,Melody Heck Gatto,Jennifer Lazaris,Jaymee Jacobs,Jean Joachim,Melanie Ting,Toni Aleo,Stephanie Kay,Lily Harlem,Kate Willoughby,Lisa B. Kamps,Jami Davenport,Stephanie Julian,Shannon Stacey

What can I say besides 'I am Canadian' so when a book about hockey and my favorite holiday came on my radar I could say nothing more than 'please and thank you'.

 

I'd love to say that I read the entire anthology but that was not the case at this time...will I go back and read some if not all of the rest...hopefully at some point I'll find the time to do so but for now lets start with the stories that I read. In all there were 3.  Most of the stories in this anthology are m/f, however, there were 3 that are m/m and two of them are written by a V.L. Locey and R.J. Scott the authors of 'The Harrisburg Railers' a series that I have absolutely loved and the third story is by Susan Scott Shelley author of the 'Buffalo Bedlam' series. So my rating for this anthology is based strictly on these three stories and I will also include a brief review and an individual rating for each of these stories...

 

4 stars for 'A Star-Crossed Christmas' by V.L. Locey

This one is 'A Cayuga Cougars Holiday' short story and while I haven't read that series I really enjoyed this short holiday story and even though I haven't read this series I had no problem following this story as the characters from this story don't seem to have been central to any of the previous Cougar stories. 

 

Mitch was the  back-up goalie for the Cougars after August Miles gets called up to the pros and when he returns home for the holidays he sees the opportunity to re-connect with his best friend Shaun. Someone he shared a kiss with two years early...a kiss that left Mitch in emotional turmoil as he realized that he wasn't as straight as he thought himself to be and maybe it's time he and Shaun found out if a kiss was just a kiss.

 

This one is the quintessential friends to lovers story and was simply delightful. A feel good story filled with the magic of the holiday season and a grandmother with a quilt fabric store...I want Shaun's grandmother to adopt me...I won't even try to be subtle about that one. There's not a complicated or convoluted plot here and for anyone wanting to just read a sweet, feel-good holiday story about two friends finding love together this one's a good choice...definitely recommended.

 

4 stars for 'Dallas Christmas' by RJ Scott

Logan plays hockey for the Burlington Dragons...how can you not like that team name? I mean really, is that the best or what? Anyways back to Logan. It's been about a year since things ended between Logan and Archie brother of the Dragon's Team Captain because you know...you can't play hockey and be gay...a sad but true reality of our world and one that will hopefully disappear from the world of sports sooner rather than later.

 

It's a year later and Morgan finds himself spending the holidays in a rental house with 3 of his teammates when his past walks in looking every bit as hot as Morgan remembers him being. Archie's feelings for Morgan haven't changed. As Christmas approaches and the men do their dance around each other and everything that's between them. Morgan finds himself faced with feelings he doesn't know how to handle and decisions that he doesn't want to deal with but time waits for no man and Morgan has to figure out what he needs and what he can live without now and not when it's convenient for him.

 

Morgan for me was every young gay man who ever laced on a pair of skates wanting to make it in the NHL, wanting that symbol of success for themselves and knowing that to have one dream they needed to deny another...the dream of having that one person in your life who makes your world right and is there for you no matter what. 

 

Archie loves Morgan and he's willing to stand beside him, fight for what they can have if only Morgan will say those 3 precious little words that would let Archie know it's all going to be worth it.

 

I really liked these two and would thoroughly enjoy a longer story about them. One that gives us more of them as a couple dealing with living life on their own terms and not anyone else's...maybe Morgan could go to the Railers...it's just an idea ;)

 

3 stars for Susan Scott Shelley's 'Holding On Tight' a short story from 'The Buffalo Bedlam' series.

 

Ok first off I'm going to say I think a good portion of this is on me. 'Holding On Tight' is about Vince Forsberg and his boyfriend Joseph Parelli as they share their first Christmas together as partners.

 

This one was sweet and had some adorable moments and some holiday moments that I'm sure we can all relate to. Those disasters that try as we might seem to be unavoidable. Again I liked this pairing but I didn't share feel the same connection to them that I did with the couples in the first two stories and I think that's a little bit due to the fact that this is a new to me author...so, I wasn't as comfortable with their writing style as the other two authors...that's not me saying good or bad just not familiar but more importantly Vince and Joseph are the MCs from 'Skating On Chance' the 4th  book in 'The Buffalo Bedlam' series and I think had I read that book at least I would have found a stronger connection with these two MCs. So we're going to wrap this one up at 3 stars with strong potential to have been more. 

 

If you're looking for some short sexy holiday stories to read and especially if you're a fan of hockey, holidays and read both m/f and m/m this one's going to give you a lot of bang for your buck. While 2 of the 3 stories that I read were about characters from existing series they are written to work as standalone stories and while I may have wanted to read the previous story in one case the Christmas story worked on it's own and I had no confusion about characters or events in the Christmas story.

 

In summary based on the stories that I read if you're a fan of hockey and want some short, sexy reads that offer a chance to revisit some favorite authors and check out some new ones...this one might be just the give to give yourself and enjoy on a cold winter's night or two...maybe 3 because it comes in at 755 pages according to Amazon and 930 according to my e-reader...either way it's a lot of reading pleasure! Happy Holidays!

 

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A copy of 'Hockey Holidays' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-11-18 23:33
The Meg
Meg - Steve Alten

This was going to be a 5 star rating, but the book needed editing. There were a few grammatical errors that were easy to spot. Also took half a star for the misogyny. It didn't bother me too much because it was military guys being that way, and that's just the nature of them. My husband tells me stories of his buddies that would make my skin crawl if I knew it wasn't a joke.

 

Anyway, the plot was fast paced, the characters varied, and the settings well described. My recommendation is to not read Meg: Origins first, even though it's in the front of the book. Read the actual novel then go back and read the prequel. It gives things more suspense. 

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review 2018-11-16 22:33
Good Night, Baby Animals
Good Night, Baby Animals You've Had a Busy Day: A Treasury of Six Original Stories - Laura Watkins,Karen B. Winnick

Good Night Baby Animals teaches us what an animal does in six different stories. Sleep is important for a baby and baby animals. This is true for hamans as well. This book show use though the baby animals what they do during there day.

They explore and what they need to rest as well when the time is right. The author does a good job doing this and showing children and teaching children that sleep and rest is important to all including animals.

The pictures are colorful. They are done wonderfully. They also can tell the story for young children. Parents should have this for their young children to learn about animals and rest.

Source: nrcbooks.blogspot.com/2018/11/good-night-baby-animals-youve-had-busy.html
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review 2018-11-15 00:03
Sometimes loosing everything isn't the end of your life...
Patchwork Paradise - Indra Vaughn,Craig Beck

It's just the beginning of a new one.

 

Oliver and Samuel have it all. Their's is a fairytale existence...until it isn't. It can take a lifetime to find love and a moment to loose it. No one knows this better than Oliver. 

 

'Patchwork Paradise' is the story of one man's struggle to survive the tragedy of loosing the man he loves and rebuilding his life only to discover that while he's lost one love there's another one waiting for him...not to replace what's gone because nothing could ever do that. This love is there waiting to fill it's own place in his heart.

 

I've had this one in my audio library for a while now and when I came across it the other day I decided that it was time so I grabbed my handy box of tissues and hit the play button and barely 30 minutes into the story tissue in hand dabbing at the tears in my eyes...I questioned my sanity and kept right on listening because this isn't a story about loss it's a story about surviving it, about moving forward and about paying tribute to the person you've lost by going on and making a new life for yourself. One that's filled with love, laughter and hope.

 

That's what Ollie (Oliver) did of course he mourned the loss of Sam and rightfully so. Sam was his forever love but unfortunately as we all know life's not fair and nothing ever last forever...but, Sam was the person who taught Ollie how to love so a part of him will live forever. Every step that Ollie takes towards rebuilding his life, every time he puts his heart out there it's because Sam's love showed him that he was worth it, he deserved it and in his heart Ollie knew that the last thing Sam wanted was for his life to end with Sam's.

 

I seriously thought Sam was awesome even though we didn't get a lot of time with him. I think the magnitude of what a wonderful man he was came through because of Ollie. It was his memory of Ollie and how much Sam loved him that gave Ollie the strength to keep trying...to remember even after they're gone how much someone loves us is a pretty powerful indicator of what we meant to them and to be able to open your heart up to the possibility of finding love again shows just how positive that love was.

 

There were some surprising things that happened in this story that for me made it all the more interesting and even though I'm pretty late to the party on this one I'm not going to delve into them to deeply because I'm just guessing that maybe I'm not the only one who hasn't read/listened to this book yet.

 

While Sam and Oliver started out as the MCs in the story there was also a core group of friends who were integral to the story and certain events in particular. Within the boundaries of Sam and Ollie's group of friends we have Ollie's best friend (Cloe), Cloe's boyfriend (Imre) and Thomas (Ollie's friend from work and the man who's quietly loved him for years). There's also Sam''s parents and that'll be enough about them and then there's Ollie's mother (most adorable grandma so far this year). 

 

 

While this was only my second time with a book by the author Indra Vaughn. It's the my fourth time around with the narrator Craig Beck and once again this narrator has done an exceptional job of giving this story added depth and breathing life and emotion into the characters leaving me confident that when I see his name listed as the narrator I'm not going to be disappointed with what I hear.

 

"Patchwork Paradise' is a story of pain, lose, friends, family, comfort, healing, second chances, starting over, strength & courage, finding love, having hope...it's about life...the one we have, the one's we lose and all the things in between that touch them.

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review 2018-11-09 20:54
Sometimes it's not about who did it, it's about why...
Criminal Intentions: Changing Faces - Cole McCade

Ok, I'm going to try and share something new and fresh here but I have to be honest this is book #4 Criminal Intentions Changing Faces, for this series and 'other than "ohmyfreakin'godthisis hella,hellaGOOD" I'm starting to feel like a stuck record but I'll give it a go anyways ok.

 

'Criminal Investigations' is a series with a slightly different form to it. The author's plan is to write this  with a format that more strongly resembles a television show than a book series. As most of us know book series can vary in terms of when and how often they're released.  I've read series where the books have been released almost all at once as was the case with Brent Weeks 'Night Angel' trilogy these books were originally released within weeks of each other (and no that wasn't an intentional play on words) other series may have months between each book or sometimes even years (let's think G.R.R. Martin here and still others have totally erratic release dates). Whereas with a television show we know that basically we're getting 13 episodes per viewing season (it use to be 22 but these days 13 seems to be the average). So the plan for this series as I understand is a possible 5 seasons with 13 episodes per season. So if you're planning on seeing this through to the end, as I and some other souls are want to do it's going to be like making a commitment to G.R.R. Martin himself the endgame is not for those in need of immediate gratification. 

 

In order not to spoil this for anyone with a potential interest in following this series let me just say that...I'm not going to write spoilerish things in my reviews anything that I use that directly pertains to the events in an episode will also be found in the blurb.

 

Ok, so what am I going to talk about well the obvious of course why I'm reading this series. I love a good crime drama story, especially if it has a personal connection to it. With each episode of CI (yep, we're going to save me some typing and refer to this as CI for Criminal Intentions) anyways, with each episode there's a different crime being resolved and by different I don't mean same crime different faces I mean different crime with different faces and here in CI #4 what we were given was a case of domestic violence and while the who and why of who done it was apparent fairly early in the story. I was ok with that because while this was a part of the story it wasn't the focus this time around the focus was more about the impact that the case has on Seong-Jae one of the MCs in this series as he works to resolve the circumstances surrounding the victims murder... because we don't always live in a world of clear absolutes and sometimes upholding the law doesn't always mean adhering to the letter of the law and as an officer of the law Seong-Jae not only has to resolve this murder but he finds he needs to come to terms with that resolution...it's good stuff folks seriously thought provoking stuff because if you've read this and heard any news stories over the past few years I'm sure you'll agree with me that much of this story could have easily come from the pages of any newspaper.

 

And this leads to the next thing that I really like about this series and that's the strong undertone of realism that runs through these stories. This is not a light and fluffy series with sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. These stories deal with the dark side of human nature sometimes the lines between right and wrong become pretty fuzzy...just like in the real world.

 

So now onto my favorite thing about this series or I guess I should say things...Seong-Jae and Malcolm...these two men...sweet baby jebus!!! Let me just say this will test the patience of even the staunchest slow burn fan but it's going to be worth it...of this I feel certain.

 

These two men...I don't even know how to explain the dynamics between them other than to use a very cliche phrase and say 'It's complicated'. Seriously we're 4 books in and we'v basically gotten a couple of kisses that's it but..DAMN!!! I've read full on sex scenes that didn't radiate the heat that these two just begin in the same room...or even on a telephone together.

 

With every story we're given a crime drama that's resolved from start to finish but with each story we're also given a little more about Seong-Jae and Malcolm's past as they continue to dance around each other and there's an overlying storyline that's building and it's the one that keeps me coming back because in spite of the crime that's resolved the author leaves us with just enough answers to pique our interest while also adding just enough questions to tease the readers curiosity.

 

While this was probably the weakest of the stories in terms of the crime that was committed and resolved for me it was in fact one of the better stories from the perspective of personal relationships. It also seems to be a pivotal point as things seem to be changing both for and between Soeng-Jae and Malcolm.

 

I'm not sure what comes next for this series but I do know I'm on board to find out...episode 5 everyone 'It's Witchcraft' and it's happening tomorrow (November 10) and I'm so there! This series...very highly recommended! and definitely best read in order.

 

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A copy of 'Criminal Intentions: Changing Faces' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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