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review 2020-05-09 01:35
After spending 5 years in jail for a crime he didn’t really commit...
Bishop: A True Lover's Story - A.E. Via,Tor Thom

Bishop’s determined not to mess up his second chance. He’s living with his dad and working at his landscape company. Bishop may not know how to read or write but if you want a landscape that’ll make you the envy of all the neighbours…Bishop’s your man.


Bishop knows that he’s got two things going for him for sure first there’s Mike. They don’t have the perfect parent/child relationship, but they’ve got a solid foundation on which to build one. It’s very clear early on that Mike genuinely cares about Bishop and want’s to be there for him and be supportive. He’s determined to get the dad thing right this time around. He’s also got  Trent…Trent’s that friend that we all want the one who’s there for you in good and bad. It doesn’t matter because you know that friend has your back.


Edison’s not really looking for a second chance he’s trying to use his first one…he just wants someone that he can love and care for and maybe have feel the same way about him. Edison was raised with old fashioned values by a father who taught him how to shine his shoes, shave with a straight razor, be a gentleman, not to swear or judge and most of all to just be himself. Add in that Edison’s cooking skills are amazing and it’s hard to imagine why this man hasn’t been off the market for years. But luckily for Bishop he’s not.


One of the things that Edison and Bishop have in common is that their perception of themselves doesn’t reflect how others see them. Bisop also has a strong tendency to internal things ultimately making issues bigger than they truly were or needed to be.


I loved that Bishop was very upfront with Edison about his prison record but was disappointed about how things were dealt with when it came to Bishop’s reading and writing skills. I get that this was a strong source of insecurity, embarrassment and worry for Bishop. I know I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to be 36 years old and have to tell someone who’s opinion meant everything to me that I couldn’t read…honestly my brain boggles at the mere idea of it.


Rounding out this ensemble we have Skylar…dear, dear die in a freakin’ fire Skylar…let me count the ways that I despise you. I’m not even sure where to begin with this character for he was just to much…he was the little boy who thinks that you tell a girl you like them by pulling their hair and making fun of them only he never grew-up and while I’m not going go get into the details of it, the part he played in the books ending was just so far over the top that to be honest I just couldn’t buy into it because he went from being an annoying jerk to someone who was not just out of touch with reality but violently so.


Bishop is definitely a slow burn especially when compared to previous books that I’ve read/listened to by this author and for me that’s ok since these men are each dealing with their own bundles of insecurities and it’s abundantly clear that neither Bishop nor Edison was looking for a quick fling, but both were looking for a relationship to last so having them spend time together where clothes were kept on and conversations were had felt very in line with the overall theme of the story.


Tor Thom was the narrator for this story and while he’s not quite a new to me narrator…it’s a close call on that as I’ve only had the opportunity to enjoy two other books that he shared in the narration of. I love that his voices are clearly distinctive, and I never had to wonder who was speaking. With his narration of ‘Bishop’ Tor Thom has definitely shown me that whether he’s narrating a book on his own or with someone else he gets the job done and done well. I truly look forward to enjoying future audio books by this narrator…and…

Hopefully, Ms Via has more in store for us from Bishop and his friends.




An audio book of “Bishop” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2020-03-08 17:13
Another one of my favs on audio...
Kiss Me Again - Roy Calley,Garrett Leigh

I think 'Kiss Me Again' has become one of my favorite Garrett Leigh stories. I loved the hell out of this story the first time I read it and now listening to it on audio...well, I think I came to love it even more. I would have added more stars to my rating, if that were possible but sadly it is not.


Dan Calley was the narrator for this audio book and he's a new to me narrator that I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from. For me the voices he created to fill out the image of these characters was very much in sync with what I'd created in my mind when I originally read this story so listening to the audio book was even more enjoyable for me.


At this point I'm going to borrow a couple of paragraphs from my original review of this story because honestly I could write and write and write and not express why I enjoyed this book as much as I did better than I did in my original review (I know this because I just tried and failed) so, if it ain't broke, why try to fix it...


I love stories with characters that aren't perfect...they have weaknesses, flaws, medical conditions... whatever...they're real. They're not outrageously attractive and dynamic with amazingly successful careers or simply loaded with money, etc. etc. in a word they're not perfect, they're just ordinary, everyday people...because that's the kind of characters that I can relate to the best...mostly because..."Hello, ordinary, everyday person right here."


In 'Kiss Me Again' we meet Tree Surgeon Aidan Drummond. Aidan's a loner he doesn't want his life complicated by things and people...until an accident lands him in the hospital in a bed directly across from the bed occupied by Ludo Giordano, the most beautiful young man that Aidan's ever seen. Ludo's in the hospital following surgery and to get his meds regulated. Ludo's Bipolar and that means he's not going to get better, his condition isn't going away at the best of times things will be managed.

I had more than a little appreciation for Aidan's struggles and determination to understand what being bipolar meant for Ludo and how it could impact his life...as someone who spent 15+ years working in community healthcare I found this to be dealt with in both an effective and compassionate manner.


From the first time they lay eyes on each other Aidan and Ludo connect. The connection that they share isn't a 'love-at-first-sight' connection. This is about two people who get each other they understand how the other's brain works, what makes them tick, what soothes them, what irritates them...they just get each other it's a bit of an inexplicable thing that just happens. It's like meeting someone for the first time but feeling like you've known them for years. That's how things start for Aidan and Ludo and during their hospital stay the bond that they felt when the first saw each other begins to strengthen.


'Kiss Me Again' is a story about a friendship that found it's way to love. What captured my heart the most about these two men was how they fit, how each of them wanted to care for the other not by changing them but by being able to give them strength when they were weak, by quietly filling their moments of need with strength.

From start to finish I was enchanted with the quiet and simplistic beauty that was Ludo and Aidan's relationship. 'Kiss Me Again' is about the magic of love in an ordinary world between ordinary people to create something extraordinary in their lives.



An audio book of 'Kiss Me Again' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-07-02 18:59
I've been thinking about this one...
Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela - Felicia Watson,Jeff Gelder

and I have to admit I'm still feeling a torn about how I feel about this story. I think it's admirable that the author tackled the subject matter that she did and yes, this was a longer than usual story, but, I think it needed to be in order to appropriately deal with the issues. At just over 9 hours it was by no means the longest audio book that I've encountered and overall I didn't find my attention wandering so definitely points in the books favor.


There were aspects of the story that I struggled with and I think that at least some of this is a case of geographical issues. I'm from Canada so I'm really not well versed in the differences in laws and guidelines followed by agencies in the US but in my part of the world Logan would never...I repeat never have been allowed to run a class for victims of domestic violence as he was in this story...regardless of whether it happened one time or a dozen he abused his wife and 'anger management issues' does not excuse it. If anything it increases the odds of the abuse being repeated.


Yet at the same time I felt badly for Logan...he's a character who is very much a product of his environment and sadly had he been raised in a different environment than he was it's very possible that for one thing the abuse might never have happened and two...Logan wouldn't have been raised in an environment that fostered homophobia and in his own way Logan's behavior was motivated by homophobic ideals but thankfully he was also able to re-evaluate his ideals and see them for what they were.


I also had an issue with Trudy, Logan's counselor...truthfully more often than not I felt like she was pushing her agenda more so than helping Logan to deal with his problems and work through his issues and while he was in counselling because it was court mandated I never seemed to reach that point where it felt like Logan was beginning to understand that he did have issues that he needed help dealing with and that things were shifting from a must do situation in Logan's mind to a situation of 'I need this and it's helping me'. Logan's relationship with Trudy never held the positive or constructive sense that a patient/counselor relationship should hold. Logan consistently conveyed a sense of resentment when it came to Trudy with his anger at having to attend the sessions and at Trudy's 'intrusive' questioning of how he felt about things and for less tangible reasons I found that I wasn't overly impressed with Trudy and quite honestly if I'd been Logan I'm not sure that I wouldn't have asked for a change of counselor... overall this relationship just didn't work for me.


While some things didn't work for me there were also things that worked such as how much Logan wanted to be able to see his daughters again and ultimately his realization of how his behavior could impact his daughter's ideas of how a relationship should be. The picture we are given of how much Logan's children meant to him was for me a really big redeeming quality in his favor along with his realization that irregardless of how he felt about his wife, he wasn't the only one who deserved better...so did she.


Nick's relationship with his mother and how things between he and his father were portrayed along with this the part of the story what really worked the best for me was the relationship development between Nick and Logan. Overall, I was comfortable with how things played out between them and that it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows made for a very realistic relationship between these two men and yes, I have to admit it 'thank the writing gods it wasn't insta-love, it seems like a number of the books that I've read lately have been based on this and it was just really nice to read a story where it took some time and effort for the MCs to get to know each other, like each other and have that become something deeper with a stronger bond. I'm not saying there's no such thing as love-at-first-sight but sometimes the things that are real and worth having also take time and effort and that's what it felt was happening in this story.


Just one more thing to mention before I chase move on to the next story and that's the narrator for this one...it was Jeff Gelder and while Mr. Gelder isn't a new to me narrator this is somewhere around the 8th of his audio book narrations that I've listened to and while I've enjoyed them all this one for me was definitely one of the better ones and he truly did an awesome job with the narration. I don't doubt that I'll listen to this one again in future.


And here I am at the end of things and finally feeling like I can give this a rating that I'm comfortable with so I'm going to go back up and give this 4 stars because when I compare this to other stories that I've given 3.5 stars to for me it's really a bit better than that so we're going with 4 well thought upon stars.

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review 2019-06-17 17:20
It's been quite a while...
Clockwork Tangerine - Rhys Ford,Greg Tremblay

...since I read this story and revisiting it through the narrations of Greg Tremblay was as always purely delightful. This one's short at just over 2 hours but if you like steampunk and a slow burn with just a bit of steamy smexy times check it out. It's an enjoyable way to pass a bit of time. Definitely recommended.

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review 2019-05-15 03:15
There are a lot of reasons why...
Out of the Shade - S.A. McAuley

I shouldn't have liked this one and I do mean a lot. So let's get on with this and start a list...

first off there's the whole neanderthal caveman mentality, copious amounts of alcohol consumption, there's a group of men that in some ways don't seem to have really made it past their high school or college days...yeah, let's be generous and say college days...so, in truth I could probably go through the first part of this book and by part I mean about 30 probably 40% and pick out all kinds of details that made me crazy, annoyed the hell out of me or at the very least had me using some very unladylike language. So to those who dnf'd before the halfway point, in all honestly I get it I really do and another time I very probably would have done the same. 


But right now in this moment for me it turned out it was a case of the right time for the right story and the second half of this book was the right story, for me. It was the story that I was looking to read.


In the first part of this story we meet Jesse Solomona and to be honest the only thing I was definite about during the first part of the story was I did not like Jesse. He was someone with addiction issues...sorry, I don't care what Jesse wants to tell himself. He's an alcoholic add in some definite anger issues...the man was at times abusive towards his friends..seriously I did not like Jesse and if I had done a dnf on this one he would have been the biggest reason.


Then we have Chuck Dunn a tattooed and pierced sports photographer who's walked away from a very successful career and while he doesn't advertise it, he also doesn't hide in the closet.


We also meet the Kensington Boys and their wives. These are Jesse's friends. He's grown  up with these men and they play league sports together they go drinking together, celebrate holidays and special events together, go drinking together, go on vacation together, go drinking together...are you seeing a pattern here? I have to say I'm not really sure how many Kensington Boys there are but this group is beyond important to Jesse...they're so important to Jesse that being who he thinks they want him to be is far more important to him than being who he wants to be.


While I wasn't a fan of Jesse this was not the case with Chuck. I liked Chuck and honestly I was definitely not a fan of Chuck with Jesse because, for me, Jesse just did not deserve someone like Chuck...nope, not even a little bit.


So here I am not quite halfway through the story and honestly leaning towards moving on but there's this little voice that whispers in my ear and says..."But what if you're suppose to read this one...what if it's the last half of the book that's important...that's the story you're looking for...what if you're missing out but not finishing this." and I have to admit that voice whispers in my ear quite often and most of the time I do listen to it...every once in a while I tell it to shut up and go away but somewhere in the clusterf*ck that was the beginning of this book there were a few little things that resonated with me and made me want to know a bit more...like Jesse's sister and some of the Kensington Boys and their wives were interesting and yeah, I admit it Jesse and Chuck just weren't quite working for me so I wanted to see how this could ever possibly work.


I picked through what worked and what didn't and weighed the pros and cons of it and at the end of it all I thought "What the hell, I've come this far. Why stop now?" so I didn't and here's what I found...

For me the second half of this book is about what happens when you hit rock bottom and realize that you've basically destroyed your life and lost what matters the most. It's about second chances and what it takes to deserve them and me, I love second chances. 


For everything that drove me crazy about the first half of this book there was equally as much that made me so glad that I stuck with it in the second half of the story. For me the last half of this book is about change, it's about life and it's about love. Jesse is a man who needs to change to get the future that he wants instead of the one that's being created by his destructive behavior, Chuck needs to let go of his past if he's going to have a chance with the man that he's falling in love with and even with some of the secondary characters there's growth and change...maybe not as dramatic or as obvious as that of Jesse or even Chuck but it's the small things the subtle things that often happen in day to day life...somethings may only be a blip on the radar while other things can mean so much more than we realize at the moment...but still it's change and change is life.


I've always said that if we don't go through the bad times, how can we truly appreciate and know how special the good times are and I feel like that's what happened here the beginning of this story is Jesse's bad times and in order for the reader to truly appreciate the good times and what it took for Jesse to get to them we needed to go through the bad times with him.



An ARC of "Out of the Shade" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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