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review 2020-01-30 05:50
There are short stories and then there's 'The Layover'...
The Layover - Roe Horvat

For me reading a short story can be a bit like maneuvering a field of landmines. If you're lucky each step takes you closer to a happy and successful ending but one misstep and things go sideways leaving you feeling like you don't quite know what happened and you've missed something important. While 'The Layover' is less than 100 pages long it packs all the emotional depth and intensity of a story that could have been much longer but didn't need to be.

 

Ondro Smrek left Slovakia eight years ago in search of a new life. Now after 8 years of trying to outrun his demons he's decided it's time to go home and face them. 

 

Jamie's returning to Edinburgh from a convention.

 

Both men suddenly find themselves stranded in Basel, Switzerland when their connecting flight is cancelled due to a snowstorm. Brought together by circumstances the two men find themselves having to spend more time together than either had anticipated. 

 

I found myself liking both of these characters quite a lot especially Ondro. While he seemed very cold and even distant, we're also shown his struggles and his pain not in an overly dramatic way but a very human and heartfelt way. In spite of what was a very clear attitude of indifference at times it was also very clear that Ondro was a kind, caring and essentially decent person. Through his thoughts we are also shown a man who struggles with his own insecurities and personal demons. 

 

Jamie is a more open and friendly personality but he's also young and he's been hurt before and while part of him wants to take a chance another part of him is afraid of having his heart broken again but the more time he spends with Ondro the more he comes to believe that Ondro may just be the one person his heart is safe with.

 

There comes a point in the story when Ondro does return to his hometown and as heartbreaking as that visit was, for Ondro it also became the affirmation that he needed that the choice he made when he left Basel, Switzerland was the right choice for him... the choice that would truly take him home.

 

Anyone who's ever been in a relationship will tell you that it takes two and just like in real life, here in the end it took both men making a leap of faith to bring them together so they could make the home they'd both been searching for.

 

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

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review 2020-01-20 21:45
If you're looking for that next happy, happy, joy, joy feel good story...keep going, because...
Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat,Vance Bastian

...this is not that story.

 

Thankfully I knew that going into this, so I was prepared and able to appreciate this for what it was...a deeply painful and emotional story not about finding love but about surviving it.

 

Dr. Simon Mraz keeps the world at a distance. He can cold, aloof even abrasive at times. He's not a happy go luck guy...that's just not who he is or will ever be. But still he has a solid career as a specialist and lecturer at Prague's Charles University and he has friends who can see beneath his icy exterior. 

 

As a student Matej is off limits to Simon or 'The Cruel Dr. Frost' as he's called by students. But Matej isn't worried about a bit of frost...no he's fascinated by it and determined to get 'The Cruel Dr. Frost's' attention.

 

"A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat" is the story of what happens when he does. This is a story that's filled with pain and heartache, but it's also a story that's filled with love. 

 

Simon knows he shouldn't get involved with a student but when it comes to Matej, he's drawn to the colorfully dressed, tattooed young student like a moth to a flame and just like that moth when he gets to close, Simon's knows he's going to get burned but still finds himself helpless to resist.

 

I basically listened to this book in one sitting and I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me when I say that finding nearly 7 hours (6 hrs., 52 min.) to just and listen to an audio book isn't always the easiest thing to do but just like Simon and his attraction to Matej, I found myself helpless to do otherwise. Every time I considered stopping so that I could get some things done I found that leaving whatever I needed to do for another day so that I could listen to..."Just a bit more" became the logical course of action.

 

While I'm not normally a fan of stories that jump around their timeline the way that this one did. I found I was a little more challenged keeping up with things on the audio version that I would have If I'd been reading the e-book but still I never felt like I'd really lost track of what was going on and when either so a bit of a niggle but for me not a really big deal either.

 

Surprisingly I never found myself in need of tissues with this story but I think that's mostly because I went into it knowing it was 'that kind of story'. However, what I did find was that most of the time I was left with a dull, empty ache inside of me like something was missing and I realized at the end of it all this was very much because of Simon and how strongly I related to his character, I imagined that to some degree this was how he often felt. 

 

I have to admit that bringing me to tears isn't really a big challenge, however, making me feel such a deep emotional connection that it's like an actual physical ache, as I did with this story is something that rarely happens. 

 

Roe Horvat is quickly becoming a writer who's stories I find to be incredibly compelling whether I'm reading them or listening to them on audio. Once I begin a story, I find that setting it aside is not acceptable. They are for want of better words 'deeply intense, and compelling often times speaking straight to the readers heart'. 

 

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review 2019-09-23 18:16
The Other Book by Roe Horvat
The Other Book - Roe Horvat

I picked this up two months or so ago to give my brain a little break from all of the darkness I read. It was getting some amazing reviews but alas this isn't going to be another of them.

 

I am afraid I may be broken. This book was 90% sexy times and 10% everything else and it bored me to tears. *cries inconsolably* What has happened to me?

 

This one didn’t work for me at all. I tried and I tried but every time I came back to it I found myself wanted to read anything but this boring romance. Not helping matters was the sickly sweet repetitious dialogue of “my baby”. It lacked a believable romance for me which made the love scenes a snooze. Bummer but there’s no pleasing everyone. This gets great reviews so maybe it’s me?

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review 2019-09-04 03:42
I think I'm a little off my game on this one...
Dirty Mind - Roe Horvat,Vance Bastian

First let me just say a lot of my friends really, really liked this one...I mean 4 and 5 stars worth and while I wouldn't call 3.5 stars bad by any means, I have to admit I was sure this was going to work better for me than what it did. 

 

But let's start with some good stuff...Roe Horvat's writing...it draws me in. Whether I'm listening to an audio book or reading an e-book. There's a flow to things that just makes me want to keep going...keep reading or listening...find out what happens next...while this is by no means an excessively long story at 5 hours and 10 minutes listening to a story in one sitting can present challenges, but what can I say...challenge accepted because listen to this in one sitting is exactly what I did. 

 

Like so many others the beginning of the story worked for me. It wasn't until Alex got on the 'I'm to old, you're to young' merry-go-round that I started to get a little antsy. I got where he was coming from truly I did and especially when you throw in the fact that he's a university lecturer as well...let's face it like it or not sometimes it is about how things appear...how they're perceived and if a person is in a position of authority when it comes to young people it's something that they need to be especially cognizant of, but with Alex it became a case of 'Seriously? Who are you really trying to convince here because I don't think it's me.' and truthfully I think if truth be told Alex would agree with me on that point as well. The only person Alex was trying to convince when it came to the age gap was Alex.

 

I was also a fan of Christian. He very much seemed to be an old soul in a young man's body. Christian was sweet and he had an innocence about him but he never struck me as being naive or gullible and he often seemed to know what he wanted much to the chagrin of those around him who felt that he was too young and innocent to know his own mind...yes, I'm looking at Alex and Christian's momma right now.

 

While Alex may be the older one in this pairing, it's Christian who has the confidence and maturity to know what he wants and go after it. I liked that in the end it was Alex who had to examine his actions and take the first step towards reconciliation. That he had to figure out how to fix things between himself and Christian and how to make things work going forward. While it's often the younger person in an age gap story who has to grow the most in terms of maturing that's not always the case in the real world, so once in awhile it's a nice change to get a story where the old dog has to learn a few new tricks.

 

Vance Bastian is once again the narrator for this Roe Horvat story and once again for me, he has captured the voices of these characters perfectly. Christian's voice while that of a young man still conveys the calm and steady demeanor that we are told he has and Alex, while a bit older is the more emotional of the pairing but not to excess...in other words there are no drama queens here.

 

In hindsight I have to admit I'm already wondering if this isn't going to be one of those audio books that will sneak up on me and I'll find that after listening to it a couple more times and picked up some of the nuances of the story that I've maybe missed the first time around...well, I have to wonder if I won't also find that I like it a whole lot more than I did on this first time...I guess time will tell.

 

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An audio book of 'Dirty Mind' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-06-30 23:20
Adam Only (Those Other Books #2) by Roe Horvat 4 Star Review!!
Adam Only (Those Other Books #2) - Roe Horvat

On stage, Adam lets his passion drive him. All his secret desires, everything nasty, dirty, and beautiful flows freely through him, for once in harmony. His soul thrives when his body moves, but only on stage. Adam’s passionate nature makes him a great dancer…and a failure at life. He’s a lonely, emotional mess. Going home with a man far out of his reach is the last thing Adam should do. Christoffer represents everything Adam isn’t: strong, independent, educated, and rich. His kind eyes, at odds with his brutish form, make Adam’s knees and restraint buckle.

Once Christoffer sees Adam dancing, he’s lost. The young man is mesmerizing, otherworldly, and unpredictable. Whatever might happen between them, it will be transient, and Christoffer will most likely get hurt. The temptation is too great, however, and the sex explosive. He might as well enjoy every moment he’s given, even if it’s just one day, maybe two. If Christoffer treads carefully, Adam might stay until Monday.

 

Review

 

This erotic romance between Christoffer and Adam is the best I have read in a long time.

It is burning hot and about sex in a lot of ways but really character driven and each sex scene develops the heroes relationship. 

This book has a size kink in it if you like that as well as a class difference and age difference but what matters most is the connection between these too.

They both have been hurt and aren't sure this super nova chemistry can be more. There is play with power dynamics as Chis should be more powerful but really Adam holds his heart and Adam needs to really believe that he can have all that he wants.

This is an intense romance that is very closed in between our leads but they both are very talented and well supported outside this bubble so that you can believe in this scorching HEA.

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