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review 2019-03-16 23:46
If I'm going to keep reviewing this series...
Collateral Damage (Criminal Intentions, Season One #8) - Cole McCade

than I think I need to invest in a Thesaurus...because really how many ways can one say "I f*ing love these men, these stories...I can't get enough of them." I mean come on I admit it I'm even starting to sound like a broken record to me...but, facts is facts and fact is I'm a fan of 'Criminal Intentions' 100% bona fide fan.


'Collateral Damage' is Episode 8 of Season 1 and  more than any thing that's come before this story it has a much more relationship driven plot...one that shows Mal and Seong-Jae's relationship becoming more solid...

"So," Malcolm drawled, "you're admitting you actually like me, instead of just tolerate me because I cook for you."

"You are beginning to grow on me."

"Yeah?" Malcolm's grin widened--and he nosed past Seong-Jae's hand, nudging it out of the way as he leaned in closer. "I'll call that progress. Just last week you hated me."

Must be love, right? right? Well at least it is on my part because I love the banter (insert pillow talk) between these two men. It's affectionately snarky as only Mal and Seong-Jae can do.


And to top it all off they work well as a team when they're outside of the bedroom too. This episode may have been a bit more relationship driven but there was still a solid crime to be solved as well. As well as some smaller threads that are carrying forward from previous episodes...things like how's Gabi doing with her new job and roommate? What's up with that guy who's still working at the DAs office? Are Mal and Sade ever going to get their friendship back on track? And what's up with Sade and Huang...ok, this one wasn't touched upon in this episode...but inquiring minds really do want to know? and there are things more things...but you have to read the episodes to find out.


Once again the criminal case involved a parent and child and while I don't want to spoil this for anyone who hasn't read it yet, I will say that the ending had a bit of a surprise to it and thankfully I had episode 9 ready to go on my e-reader.


So what didn't I like about this story...it was too short...sorry, but that's really my only problem and thanks to episode 9 being available it quickly became a problem solved.



An ARC of Criminal Intentions: S1, E8: Collateral Damage was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-03-16 22:55
Well that was...different...interesting and...
Far From Home (Belladonna Ink #1) - Jill Eileen Smith,Lorelie Brown

a big step outside of my comfort zone, which is something that I think does a mind, body and soul good from time to time. 


So what was so different about this story for me, you might ask yourself...well there are two things...

1. It's narrated by a woman.

2. It's a f/f story of which I've only ever read one other. 


f/f stories as a rule just aren't my thing which is the biggest reason why I haven't listened to many...ok, any female narrators. I tend to listen to audiobooks from the m/m genre and for me listening to a woman do the voices for an audio book that's predominantly m/m doesn't work any more than listening to a man do a f/f story would...so this is totally on me...personal preference and nothing else...no good or bad involved here.


And now here I sit having listened to an audio book that for a few reasons caught my attention...

The first one being the narrator...seriously this was the FIRST TIME EVER!!! that I listened to the full audio sample on the first try with a female narrator...so good on you, Jill Smith... I was impressed and my attention was captured.


The next reason being the story...it sounded sweet and pretend girlfriend/boyfriend is  one of those tropes that I like and in this case it was more like pretend spouses giving it the potential for some really cute and humorous moments to balance out the more serious issue which was Rachel's struggles with anorexia.


As with any story there were things I liked and things I didn't...I liked Pari and I especially liked the relationship between her mother and her. It wasn't perfect but there was a definite sense of a strong and positive mother/daughter bond between them even when they were not of like minds.


I liked that while Pari might have been living in America we were given a successful and strong female character who wasn't 'simply an American' but an immigrant who came to the the United States to follow her dreams...novel concept there...I'm sure it's never happened in the real world, right? ;)


Ok, so as much as I like Pari and her mom and I also enjoyed some of the interactions between Pari and Rachel...what I struggled with was Rachel. I really wanted to love this character. I know I felt bad for her...she struggled with her anorexia and she was trying so damned hard to beat it and maybe if the story hadn't come strictly from her perspective I would have seen her as a really courageous young lady rather than having her turn into someone who for me started to sound a bit whiny and seemed to be experiencing a bit of 'poor me' syndrome. I really, really didn't want that image of her but that's what I ended up with.


Even more than the overkill on the anorexia, sorry but really sometimes less is more and if Rachel had a bit more diversity to her thoughts than 'musings on her anorexia' and all the reasons that she was attracted to Pari...because yes we have a case of insta-lust with a good dose of GFY going on here. Rachel was straight...not bi...straight as can be attested to but the considerable number of men she's slept with...hey, those are basically her words not mine.


I actually finished this book a couple of days ago and was left with a ratings quandary because if I rated this with total honesty and accuracy it would probably go something like this...

Story concept...4 stars

Story execution...2.5 stars

Narration...5 stars (ok, a little biased here because first time ever female narrator that I liked enough to listen not only to the sample but the whole damned book!!!)


So at the end of it all I'm calling it a day with an overall average of 3 stars which still when you think about it for someone who rarely and I do mean rarely ventures into the world of f/f and who was listening to an audio book narrated by a woman for the first time EVER!!! I think this ended fairly well...will I suddenly start listening to this genre on a regular basis...I doubt it...will I venture out of my snugly little m/m box to try something else in future...why not? One never knows what they'll find if they just step out side of the box.



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

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review 2019-03-15 03:52
Desperate times, call for desperate measures...
Wanted - Bad Boyfriend - TA Moore,Michael Mola

at least that's what Nathan Moffatt decides when he gets fed up with everyone and I do mean everyone because Nathan lives in a small town on an island...Ladies and Gentlemen...let the gossip begin...


So when wedding planner Nathan Moffatt decides he's had enough of people trying to marry him off, logically his solution is that he needs to change their thinking and make everyone want him to stay single and the solution for this problem is to get himself a bad boyfriend...you know the type...that person who takes advantage of you, treats you like a doormat and is constantly reminding you of how lucky you are that they're willing to date you...I think we've all either dated or know someone who's dated this person. 


Needless to say for Nathan it's a case of good in theory doesn't always work well in practice and when he approaches the one person that he thinks can help him meet his objective he fails to consider the fact that Flynn Delaney who seems to be the least liked person in town is also his childhood crush and it just may turn out that while Flynn's considered a bad boy this doesn't necessarily make him a bad boyfriend. So what started out as a simple plan to solve Nathan's meddlesome matchmaker problems turns out to be a bit more complicated than a simple pretend boyfriend solution when feelings become involved.


T.A. Moore has given us a delightful story of small town life with all of it's meddlesome and well meaning characters. While we didn't get a lot of bad boyfriend opportunities for me it came down to the fact that Flynn was genuinely attracted to Nathan so his heart just wasn't into the whole 'bad boyfriend plan' and when they were alone both Nathan and Flynn were giving the whole 'bad' boyfriend idea a totally different spin.


For the most part the residents of 'Ceremony' struck me as a bunch of uniformed, bored, petty, gossip mongers. They loved to gossip about Flynn's so called past but in fact they collectively had no clue if there even was a past. Flynn left the island for a number of years and those years were what the locals were speculating (read gossiping) about they were clueless and as will frequently happen in small towns they simply made up stuff to entertain themselves...small towns sadly as often as not are comprised of small minds. But that's a conversation for another day. 


Now as for the secondary characters in this story like so many others who read this one...I also felt that Nathan's mother was delightful and when it comes to best friends...well can I just say I'm more than happy to let Nathan find his own boyfriend but holy hell can we hold auditions for a new best friend for him? Because seriously Max was definitely a horrible warning and not a good example but then lets take a look at who his father was...yep, the biggest waste of oxygen in the whole damned town...the owner of the Granshire Hotel and Nathan's boss...Teddy.


I'm not sure that I would have found this story as entertaining as I did if I had read the book but listening to it on audio narrated by Michael Mola was for me an entertaining experience...between Nathan trying to stave of meddlesome matchmakers by putting his 'bad boyfriend plan' into action as he tries to plan a wedding that's rapidly turning into a comedy of errors, while Flynn's sometimes unusual search and rescue missions keep disrupting his and Nathan's efforts to 'date' as a town full of small minded gossip mongering, well intentioned citizen's watch on......geez, now where does that road that's paved with good intentions go to, I just can't seem to remember now. I'm sure it'll come to me eventually... 


I have to admit while I haven't read a lot of books by this author...ok, I haven't read any, but I have listened to a few on audio and I've enjoyed them all and look forward to enjoying more in the future.



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

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review 2019-03-15 02:45
Look out James Bond...Jaxon Powers is on the case...
The Spy's Love Song - Kim Fielding,Drew Bacca

Jaxon Powers is famous the world over and has fans even in small unheard of Vasnytsia wjith its tyrannical dictator and its this fame that the state department wants to use to get one of their agents into Vasnytsia on a covert op. There are just a couple of obstacles that could prove problematic to the mission the first one being that Jaxon can only take one person with him and that person needs to be Reid Stanfill and the second one is that being 'gay' in Vasnytsia can get you thrown into jail.


To say that Reid and Jaxon don't start off well is more than a bit of an understatement, but as they travel through Vasnytsia and come to depend on each other for their very survival they also begin to realize that there's more to each of them than the other realizes. Reid quickly realizes that Jaxon isn't an overindulged, success story who never really outgrew the life of privilege that Reid believes him to have grown up surrounded by. Just as Jaxon also comes to realize that there's more to Reid than his near military precision hair cut and stuffy suits.


Jaxon and Reid's story was a case of opposites attract...with just one catch Jaxon is on the cusp of what basically amounts to a mid-life crisis when he wakes up in a hotel room that looks like the Armageddon has happened and Jaxon slept through it. 


These men definitely locked horns on more than one occasion leaving both men angry, frustrated and maybe knowing the other just a little bit better.


When a failed attempt at murder quickly makes Reid realize that he was the intended victim and someone is definitely on to who he truly is and why he's in Vasnytsia with Jaxon. Reid's first priority becomes to convince Jaxon to get out of Vasnytsia as quickly as possible, but Jaxon's determined not to abandon the man who he's beginning to feel a very strong attraction for so leaving is not on his agenda. 


As Jaxon and Reid work together gaining the help of some of Vasnytsia's citizens who want to see their government over thrown they devise a plan that will hopefully see Reid's mission goal accomplished, but it's going to take the determination of both men to see it through if they have any hope of getting out of Vesnytsia alive.


'The Spy's Love Song' was one of those stories that is best enjoyed with a moderate suspension of belief and the desire to read an entertaining story that leaves reality behind at times...but not too far  behind...and weaves in a touch of  romance.


While this is by no means my first time reading/listening to a Kim Fielding story, it was my first time listening to an audio book narrated by Drew Bacca and thankfully I'm pleased to say that Mr. Bacca has one of those voices that add character, depth and emotion to a story making for an enjoyable listening experience and I'm looking forward to hearing more from this narrator in the near future.



An audio book of 'The Spy's Love Song' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-03-14 01:11
How to Fix You (more or less)
How to Make Disease Disappear - Rangan Chatterjee

Was recommended this by a clinical psychiatrist at University of Oklahoma Children's unit. Her words were "You cannot be a good mother unless you take care of yourself." So I audiobooked it. Less than 5 hours and very insightful. It's a lot of things I already knew but with a few new additions and put into terms I understand. I will be beginning this new journey tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

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