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review 2018-09-18 23:13
Let's take a walk down memory lane...
My Fair Captain - J.L. Langley

I have such a soft spot in my heart for this book. The first time I read this story was back in 2010...how do I know this well I remember the house we were living in when I read this and we moved there in October of 2009 and this was one of the first m/m e-books that I ever bought and I got it after Christmas so early 2010.  I know all this really has nothing to do with the story except that as I said I have a real soft spot in my heart for this book and this author. 

 

Truthfully I could probably go through and make a laundry list of all the things that I shouldn't like about it...it's SciFi...so not my thing, it centers around a very patriarchal society...yep, there go women's rights, kids are genetically enhanced to prefer men in the royal families...can someone explain to me how that's even a thing? and then there's the names and I realize that several people have sited this as an annoyance in their reviews but as someone who came from a family of 7 kids let me just say off the top of my head I had no fewer than 3 names that I was called on any given day and that doesn't include those times when the parents ran down the list and threw in the cat and the dog's names for good measure, so it's really a matter of what you're use to for me the names really weren't an issue.  I'm sure there's more but my point is sometimes what shouldn't work does and for me this one worked.

 

Possibly because...it's SciFi set in an alternate reality so I get to leave my moral values at home. I mean this doesn't even take place on earth so why would I expect that the current values and morals of present day earth have anything to do with this world...they don't, part of what the author is doing here is creating an alternate reality so of course a lot of it not only doesn't line up with societal norms of our world but really why should it?

 

Along with the things that shouldn't have worked there are some things that made perfect counterpoints to them. Like the fact that it's the men who raise the children, oh sure they had nursemaids and nannies but that's not unusual for people with money and even better it's the virtue of the young men that needs to be protected in other words...'There will be no catting around here. These young men are to be pure and chaste upon their wedding nights'...come on is anyone but me laughing their ass off right now? I think it's high time that young men had to worry about their reputations...ok, I'll stop.

 

I found 'My Fair Captain' to be a delightful and entertaining wander into the world of SciFi that took me into an alternate world and made me consider how different things could be while telling me a story that had action, adventure and a bit of mystery and intrigue to keep me guessing about some things...things that don't totally wrap themselves up in this first book but the ending of this one is such that if you choose to leave it there you can. Personally, I'm game for the next book if it comes out on audio...I might have read the original series...2 or maybe it was 3 times...really who's counting?

 

Now as for the narration on this one...Joseph Morton is the narrator and while he's definitely not new to the world of audio books he is new to me. I can't say that he did a bad job because honestly he didn't but for whatever reason I just wasn't able to connect with his narration. I think it part it was because some of the voices weren't distinct enough while I had absolutely no problem understanding what was being read the voices just didn't enhance how I imagined the characters to be hence no connection be voice and character for me. I'm definitely not saying that this is a narrator I won't listen to again as it's very possible that with another story and different characters this would be a different audio experience for me. But for my first time listening to this narrator it just didn't work...maybe next time.

 

This one ended up being 4.5 stars for the story and maybe 3 for the narration, but I'm going to call it a day at 3.5 stars and hope that things go better with the next one.

 

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An audiobook of 'My Fair Captain' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-09-18 20:52
Ok ladies and gents I'm gonna pimp the hell outta' this audio book...
Crocus - Amy Lane,Nick J. Russo

So that we're perfectly clear I love this freakin' book...I love this series and no it's not because I got the book or the audio for review...nope, nope, nope...it's because this is one hella' good story.

 

'Bonfires' was the first book in the series and we got to meet Deputy Sheriff Aaron George and high school principal Larx and there kids and there are a few of those Larx has 2 daughters and Aaron has 2 daughters and a son but like all good homes both men have room in their heart for more. 

 

I love this series it's about two men...mature men who have both had to deal with life's challenges before finding what many of us hope for...that person who completes us and whom we want to go through life with...good or bad. 

 

Now in 'Crocus' we get to see their relationship weather yet more of life's challenges. We get to see these men grow and their bond strengthens as they yet again show the strength of their bond as together they work to save a young man and his much loved and damaged brother, to help Larx's daughter deal with her own crisis while somewhere out in the cold, snowy winter night is yet another child who desperately needs to be rescued...It's going to take Aaron, Larx, the children that they've gathered in their home and their hearts along with an interesting collection of friends to juggle everything being thrown their way and make sure that nothing important gets dropped and still have time for them.

 

There is just so much that I love about this series...obviously I love Aaron and Larx, their amazing collection of kids...seriously they're damned near as amazing as my own...ok, I'm biased but still they're all amazing. Then there's Yoshi!!!! No not the cute green dino from the Mario game...I'm talking about Larx's VP and best friend. Aaron's boss is also pretty damned awesome. Don't get me wrong this isn't a story about perfect people it's a story about people who are trying to be the best person they can be and give back to their community...something that we all need to strive for if we're going to make the world a nicer and better place to live and best of all there's a lot of humor in these stories because sometimes you've either gotta' laugh or you're going to cry so you may as well laugh about it, put on your big boy or girl pants and get on with life, which is what Larx and Aaron do. Making them a very relatable couple.

 

The icing on the cake for me with this is that it's all wrapped up once again with the narrations of Nick J. Russo. I'm not sure why but lately I've been trying to check out some new narrators so I've kind of been missing Mr. Russo and this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a Nick fix and of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to revisit 'Bonfires' before emerging myself in 'Crocus'. I've said it before and for me it's worth repeating 'I love having the same narrator for a series especially when the characters are the same from story to story. I'm not sure who's up for the next book but when it comes to the audio book if I see Nick J. Russo listed as the narrator it won't break my heart not even a little bit but then if the next book give us more Aaron and Larx that's not going to make me sad either...I just know for sure that whatever book three is I'll read it, I'll listen to it and I'll enjoy it.

 

Seriously if you need a happy place in your life...than you need these men and their family in your life...they are epic and awesome.

 

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

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review 2018-09-17 20:39
This one's got a hot guy and equally hot twins but...
Unwritten Law - Eden Finley

It's also got a definite twist to it, but before we talk about the actual story I just want to be clear there may be twins in this story but what there isn't is twincest.

 

Anders and Law are twins so of course they're close but are they maybe too close if Law is the one breaking up with Ander's boyfriends...they've got their reasons for why this happens and while Law would prefer not to do this but there are reasons and until the day that Anders calls Law to come to a restaurant ASAP and break his blind date it hasn't caused any real problems...but, Reeds not like the other dates and while he's not Anders' type it turns out he's very much Law's type.

 

This one captured my attention from the very start it was good and I enjoyed the concept and the more I read the more I liked what I was reading. "Unwritten Law' is twin story with a bit of a different twist and the story really didn't go as I had expected it would which was definitely a pleasant surprise. While Reed and Law are definitely the MCs in this story Anders plays a very strong supporting role and I came to really like all three of these men but 'Unwritten Law' courtesy of Anders really does belong to Reed and Law and it's their story that we are being given in this first book of Eden Finley's 'Steele Brothers' series. 

 

Reed's new in town and he's been set up on a blind date with his neighbors accountant or so he thinks because what he actually gets is a fellow teacher who happens to be the accountant's twin. While the two hit it off on an intellectual level it's the immediate physical attraction that leads Law astray resulting in what's suppose to be a one time hook-up.For Law it's a chance to explore his long repressed interest in men and for Reed it's a chance to end his dry spell following a bad break-up but ultimately he views it as a chance to make a friend since being new in town he's sorely lacking in the friend department.

 

I found the interactions between Reed and Law good there were serious moments, humorous touches all laced with those moments of awkwardness that comes with the beginnings of a new relationship but there were also secrets...secrets that when kept become bigger and seem to be all consuming...creating a chasm that ultimately Law is sure can never be bridged.

 

 One of the best things about this story for me was the ending...it wasn't so much an HEA as it was an HFN solidly working it's way towards an HEA. Which all things considered for this story is a far more believable ending than a simple HEA would have been. Now all I need to make me really over the moon happy is a story giving Anders some happy because that boy needs some happy and maybe Reed's friend Brody will play a part in it or maybe his happy is waiting somewhere else for him? I know I'm looking forward to finding out especially if their stories as excellent as this one was.

 

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An ARC of 'Unwritten Law' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-09-17 19:47
Parable of the Sower / Octavia Butler
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler

In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.

 

What a powerful view of a dystopian near future! Just like Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler was able to scan the news of the time (early 1990s) and extrapolate from those stories to produce this tale exploring where North America might be headed. Her version of a United States that has been reduced to third world status is striking for how possible it feels. Although Canada features as a desired destination for the economic refugees, Butler tells us nothing of what is really happening north of the border, content to show us the plight of regular Americans.

The trends that she was working with? Effects of drug use (made me think of our current fentanyl crisis), the growing rich/poor gap, the precarious nature of employment, the willingness to build & fill prisons, the unwillingness to build & repair schools & libraries, the tendency to value the economy over the environment, and climate-driven weather change (and the resulting change in what crops will grow and food price inflation). Butler could foresee this twenty years ago—how much closer are we today to this exact situation? Oh, this makes me think so much of Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale, where you can really feel like the whole book scenario could easily come true.

Of course this wouldn’t be Octavia Butler if there wasn’t some exploration of the power dynamic between people and groups of people as well. The main character, Lauren, progresses from childhood, governed by her Baptist father, to leader of people migrating north and founding her own religion. We get to see Lauren and her brother Keith struggle with their father’s authority in different ways and the outcome of those struggles. Butler certainly makes the reader see the value of having a community—a chosen circle of people who both give & receive support.

My only complaint might be that it is so United States focused, rather like Stephen King’s The Stand. It could have been even better, in my opinion, had she widened the scope to include other parts of the world, rather like Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.

This is book number 295 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-09-17 02:29
Sometimes it’s what we find when we’re not looking that brings true change and love into our lives.
Butterfly Hunter - Julie Bozza

 Dave wasn’t looking for Nicholas…much less love. Everyone knows he’s a one-woman man and when Denny decides that he’s not the right man for her, Dave resigns himself to being her friend and living a life alone running his tour guide business. 

 

Dave’s not gay so the last thing he expects is to develop feelings for the son of a British Earl who’s hired him to help find an elusive blue butterfly located somewhere in the Australian Outback and it’s as the two men go on this journey together in search of Nicholas’s elusive butterfly that Dave begins to develop feelings for the unusual Brit feelings that inevitably go beyond friendship and ultimately beyond a vacation fling for both men.

 

I loved how fluidly both parts of this story melted together. The romance and the journey to find the butterflies. Two different parts of the same story that worked together beautifully, each side working to enhance the other part.

 

I also loved the setting for this story…Australia. It’s one of those places that while I’ll probably never get to go there, it’s always captivated me so reading stories set in Australia is my way of visiting a place that I’d love to visit but may never get a chance to.

 

It’s been a long time…maybe ever, since I’ve found a story that felt as genuine and organic in its progression as this one. I never found myself questioning that Dave, who was for all intents and purposes straight was feeling an attraction for another man or anyone for that matter given that until Nicholas he’d only ever loved one other person.

 

‘The Butterfly Hunter’ is a story that while as beautiful and timid as the insect that it’s named for is also the kind of story that eases into your mind and soul with such a gentle touch and captures the readers attention and left me wanting more, which I will get, hopefully soon…or at least as soon as time allows.

 

I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to my book choices and while I love a good murder mystery or what I lovingly call a ‘blow sh*t-up’ book, fantasy, urban fantasy, romance, paranormal, I’ll even do shifter books, seriously you’ll find a little of just about everything on my bookshelves including books like this…books that are soft and gentle, books that sooth my soul and bring out the romantic in me…they may even garner a few tears from me and while this one didn’t quite get the tears flowing there was definitely a point at which I felt my heart being tugged on as I held my breath and waited for what would happen next. ‘The Butterfly Hunter’ isn’t a fast moving action packed adventure or a hard-hitting mystery, it’s not even a gut wrenching romance…nope this one’s a sweet, gentle story not about finding what your looking for but about realizing what you need and letting it into your life.

 

For anyone who’s looking to read a book that’s sweet, romantic, has zero to no angst, gives you a peek at someplace you’ve never been all while telling a story that will warm your heart and leave you smiling.

 

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A copy of ‘The Butterfly Hunter’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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