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review 2017-08-19 03:17
Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference...
Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay Book 20) - Jaime Samms

'Three Player Game' is a menage story that starts with an established couple who have always wanted a third person in their relationship and they've also known for a while who they wanted that third person to be...the problem here is that maybe he doesn't want to be that person or maybe he's just afraid to allow himself to be 'that person'.

 

Vince and Pete have been a couple for a while now and having a third person in their relationship has pretty much always been a part of their plan. Vince wants that third person to be Lee, a man he has a work history with and while Pete's not as sure as Vince initially that he wants it to be Lee, he's leaning towards 'yes' on the issue and definitely willing to give the man strong consideration.  Lee's the holdout. He's given his trust before it left him hurt both physically and emotionally to the point where he's spent the ensuing years closing himself off from the world believing that he'll only be safe if he's on his own. Vince and Lee have some walls to break down if they plan on making their duo a trio permanently.

 

There's definitely some history here both between Vince and Pete as I said they come into the story as an established couple and between Vince and Lee on a working level only. As well both Vince and Lee have a connection to their boss, Blair Carruthers, whose story is told in Bluewater Bay #12 How the Cookie Crumbles. Which I admit I haven't read yet, however, I didn't have a problem parsing out the connections pre-Bluewater Bay as the author provides the background as the story goes along.

 

I didn't even really have a problem with the fact that this story has a menage grouping...my concern was with the fact that it was an established couple adding to their dynamic. This is probably one of my least favorite scenarios. So I have to admit I waffled on this one for a long time before I finally decided I was going to bite the bullet and read the book. Initially I was a little hesitant but things ultimately clicked into place for me and I ended up really enjoying this one.

 

There were a number of factors that helped to make it work...the first one being the author, I really like Jaime Samms. She's the author of one of my favorite menage books 'The Foster Family' and it's based on the same premise of an established couple adding a third to their relationship. So having already experienced this dynamic with her, I had faith. The fact that in general I've really enjoyed the Bluewater Bay books that I've read so far also added to my faith that this would work. Ultimately though it came down to the story and luckily for me there were a lot of little things that I liked about this one.

 

I was good with the fact that the story started with Vince and Pete already established as a couple since it would have probably made for an overly long story that would have lost my interest if it had gotten bogged down with their beginnings as well

 

For Vince and Pete adding Lee to the dynamics wasn't an easy feat to say the least. Lee was more than a little resistant and there were times that Vince and Pete had their reservations as well, which made sense...since the consequences of adding another person to your relationship is far more life altering than buying a new set of dishes especially when that person 'seems' to be resistant to the idea.  I'd be doing a lot more soul searching and second guessing myself than they did if it was me...just sayin'. 

 

I really liked all three of these men...Vince, whose work and home personas were essentially polar opposites. At work he was the gopher, that Lee bossed around,  he was calm, efficient, organized and incredibly observant, taking orders without hesitation but at home he was the one giving the orders and while he was still all those other things they were expressed differently and utilized to provide the care that his partners needed.

 

Pete like Vince had polar opposite work and home personas only at work he was the one organizing and ordering people around, making sure things got done how and when they needed to be. But at home he was the one who wanted to give up control to let someone else be in charge and care for him but Pete was also a nurturer and caregiver. Pete was also high maintenance and while Vince loved him tremendously taking care of Pete's needs also drained him. A reality that was apparent to both Vince and Pete and one of the contributing factors to their desire to add a third person to the relationship.

 

While Lee was prickly and obstinate hiding his gentler more caring side and his need to give up control and trust someone else to provide him with what he needed and wanted. For Vince meeting Pete's needs was like dealing with a force of nature, Lee's needs meshed more with Vince's and allowed him to restore some of his own balance at the same time.

 

Sexually the dynamics were different between each of these men as a pair and somehow things came together to fill the missing spaces in Pete and Vince's relationship creating a place for each of them that was unique. 

 

Making their relationship work turned out to be a learning experience for all three of these men.  Vince had to learn to trust in himself when it came to Lee. That he would be able to make things work without Pete as their buffer. Pete had to learn to step back and allow Vince and Lee find their own way to each other and Lee...well, Lee had the most to learn. He had to learn to trust not just Vince and Pete but himself...that he could make choices that weren't always going to get him hurt and to trust that he was not only worth being loved and cared for but he deserved it.

 

There was a bit of a BDSM flavor to this one and I am admittedly not an expert on this lifestyle by any means based on other stories that I've read I'd say it was more like an appetizer than the entree which I have to admit works just fine for me.  

 

This one worked for me and while I can't define one major reason. I would have to say that it was more a case of a bunch of little things coming together to take me back to Bluewater Bay for yet another enjoyable reading experience.

 

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A copy of 'Three Player Game' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-08-18 22:01
Well that was interesting...yeah, let's go with interesting...
Dim Sum Asylum - Rhys Ford

I read 'Dim Sum Asylum' back in June when the e-book was first release...what can I say it's Rhys Ford so I'm all over that stuff. Plus...hello? Dragons. Needless to say I was not disappointed and I loved it 5 dragon stars worth. So when the audio book became available and it was narrated by Greg Tremblay...who was I to turn the opportunity down...my momma didn't raise no fools...ok, maybe one or two of them but trust me I'm not on that list.

 

So not to re-invent the wheel or anything but here's the link to my first review...

Dim Sum Asylum Book Review

 

Now that we've got that out of the way lets talk about the audio book. As I said it's narrated by Greg Tremblay so what makes this interesting is that this is the first time I've listened to an audio book from this narrator that hasn't quite worked for me and honestly that's not even how I want to phrase this because overall he did an awesome job and I loved his character voices...all except one and that was Roku. Don't get me wrong here, the voice that Greg Tremblay used for Roku wasn't a bad or annoying voice by any means. It just didn't quite work for me and by didn't quite work...I mean it changed my rating from 5 dragon stars to 4.5 dragon stars.

 

So really not a huge impact...I still loved this book and I still think Greg Tremblay is fantastic when it comes to narrating. I think this is more a case of subjective opinions and mine was a little bit different. Was Mr. Tremblay wrong...no, was I wrong...again no. We just viewed the character's voice differently. 

 

Once I settled in to the narrator's interpretation of Roku's voice I also settled in to enjoying this story all over again. I don't tend to do a lot of re-reads because honestly...I get bored but that doesn't mean I don't like to enjoy a story more than once so what I've discovered is that for me audio books are a wonderful solution to being able to enjoy a well liked story and it also allows me to enjoy other past times such as my quilting, cross-stitch, unpacking boxes...because this is a thing in my live right now and whether it's something I want to do or something I have to do, enjoying an audio book really makes it a much more enjoyable experience. for me, especially if it's a book by a favorite author being read by a favorite narrator.

 

If you enjoyed reading 'Dim Sum Asylum' than check out the audio book it's so worth going back to Chinatown to be able to spend time with Roku and Trent. 

 

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

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review 2017-08-17 00:06
I admit it...this was not the Ethan Day that I was expecting...
Northern Star - Ethan Day,Jason Frazier

Before I start this review I would like to offer sincere apologies to the author for having taken so long to get this review done. Unfortunately sometimes real life refuses to co-operate. I started listening to this story back around mid-July and then there was a move...so when I was finally able to resume the story in fairness to the author, the book and the narrator I felt I needed to start all over again so I did and I'm glad I made that choice because it allowed me to take the time to enjoy this one from start to finish allowing me to make a much fairer assessment of both the story and the narrator.

 

'Northern Star' is not my first book by this author. I've read his 'Summit City' series and some of his standalones and 'To Catch a Fox', the first book in the 'Fox Mysteries' that he co-wrote with Geoffrey Knight is definitely one that I'm be happy to read more of. But I will be the first to admit none of them prepared me for this one.

 

I guess I've come to expect a solid dose of humor in Ethan Day's stories and while there were some humorous moments in this story...honestly that bar-b-que conversation between Steve and his friends got more than one laugh out of me. So yes, there was a touch of humor in this story but 'Northern Story' was definitely darker and more introspective than what I've normally come to anticipate from Ethan Day.

 

In the life lottery, Deacon Miller did not get the winning ticket...hell, he didn't even win a consolation prize. Thankfully what he did get even though he doesn't realize it is a backbone of steel. Born to a homophobic, alcoholic mother whose luck with men rivals that of a passenger on the Titanic. Deacon has survived a life that would have very possibly crushed others...not unscathed, but he has continued to dust himself off and get back up each time life has tried to knock him down.

 

Making a hasty retreat from the the family holiday from hell only to get dumped by his boyfriend and dragged back home by his little sister when their mother ends up in the hospital and then jail after causing an accident and being charged with a DUI infraction for the third time, but not before sharing an incredible interlude with the much older and incredibly sexy Steven Steele. 

 

Neither man can forget their time together nor does either man make the first move to contact the other. It's up to fate to bring these two men together and she does. Both men are trying to leave behind a past filled with mistakes and heartache and the comfort and passion that they shared in that one interlude stays with each of them despite the passage of time.

 

Deacon's around 27ish and Steve's around 44ish so approximately 17 years...there's a definite age gap here and it seems to be a theme with my reading these days. Surprisingly in a lot of ways this age gap doesn't seem so glaringly huge because while Deacon's only 27, his life experience has definitely aged him beyond his years and broken him in ways that no 27 year old should be broken. He's sad, there's really not another word for it and Steve wants to fill some of the empty spaces in his heart with love and maybe even a bit of happiness.  Deacon thinks Steve is amazing and that he's just not good enough for someone as wonderful as Steve...this is not a helpful idea and one that Steve would like to change Deacon's mind about.

 

'Northern Star' was my first audio experience narrated by Jason Frazier and I have to say, for me, he definitely delivered. I enjoyed his voices , they were distinctive, consistent and expressive...at times seriously expressive...just saying fanning myself may have been involved during certain scenes.  

 

This wasn't an insta-love, magical peen fixes all kind of story. It was more like insta-lust to attraction, to friendship to love...it was believable and felt like it could be a real life relationship. 

 

Being together isn't something that comes easily for Deacon and Steve but then anything worth having never comes easy does it?  I have to admit at the beginning I wasn't quite sure if this was going to work for me, but the more I listened the more it drew me in and the more I wanted to hear in the end I really enjoyed this one...I think that's the sign of a good story...isn't it? 

 

'Northern Star' isn't quite the usual Ethan Day fare, but still it was an emotional and touching story that I enjoyed every bit as much as his other stories and while it didn't leave me in fits of giggles, it did touch my heart and let me believe that happiness is there for anyone who's willing to fight for it. 

 

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

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review 2017-08-15 20:13
So just add me to the list...
Illegal Contact - Santino Hassell

What list you may wonder why the list of people who loved this book of course...yeah, that list.

 

First off let me just say I'm not much of  a fan of football, sorry I am Canadian the hockey arena is more than likely where you'll find me if sports are involved, but for me, when it comes to books it's the story that matters and the subject doesn't always have to be a favorite topic of mine. Santino Hassell is one of those authors whose name on the cover takes precedence over what the story is about...in other words a good book, is a good book, is a good book and I've learned that there are certain authors who I can rely on to deliver a good book no matter what they're writing about. Santino Hassell's name is on that list for me.

 

ICoS was my first reading experience with this author and he and Ais totally blew me out of the water with that series. So much so that after reading it I was compelled to buy the Director's Cut copies for Evanfall. I own the e-book copy or I own the book I don't make it a habit to own both and if  you know me than you know that doing so speaks to how incredibly much I enjoyed them. Next I discovered the awesomeness that is his 'Five Boroughs' series and enjoyed these as audiobooks and now this author has again shown his diversity with 'Illegal Contact' the first book in his latest series 'The Barons' again...mind blown! I have yet to enjoy his paranormal story 'Stygian' and his other new series 'The Community' but trust me, I have them all waiting for me on my e-reader...it will happen.

 

Gavin Brawley has it all the successful football career, the money, the huge house that you can get lost in, fame, success...so it begs the question 'Why is someone with all this so unhappy?'

 

Noah Monroe is a college grad, he's buried in debt, lives with his dad who is jobless after being on the wrong side of his employer's latest downsizing efforts and yet, in many ways he's happier than Gavin and would be even happier if he could just find a job that allowed him to earn enough money to pay his bills. 

 

Thankfully Gavin's misfortune is about to become Noah's golden opportunity. When the successful football player ends up under house arrest and needing a Personal Assistant. 

 

This one's a slow burn to be sure. There may be a bit of lust at first sight but Gavin and Noah have more of an oil and water mix going on at the beginning. Watching these two maneuver their way around each other as they slowly work their way past the barriers each of them have built is more than a little entertaining. 

 

As Gavin and Noah spend time together Noah begins to see past the gruff and rude exterior that Gavin has put up to the man...the man that no one but Gavin's friends and teammates, Simeon and Marcus, ever see and even they don't get to see the person that Noah ultimately uncovers. 

Noah’s lips stretched into a smile, and his eyes twinkled behind his glasses. “I feel like four and a half months ago those words would never have come out of your mouth.”

 

“Heh. Maybe. Four and a half months ago I didn’t see a need to not drive people away.”

So much of Gavin and Noah's story feels real, like maybe we could have read this in the tabloids. There's a lot of unvarnished truth in the story we're being given and much of it is a sad commentary on how we...and by we, I mean society in general, view celebrities. Whether they're actors, singers or sports figures...if they're in the limelight we tend to feel that their private lives are meant for public viewing and this is the issue that drives Gavin's actions both at the beginning of the book and at the end and how Gavin deals with the circumstances during both events shows his growth as an individual and how much Noah has influenced his life, which for me was definitely in a positive way. 

 

The secondary characters in this story as always were given enough depth and dimension to make them feel real...some of them were totally likable, such as Jasmine. Noah's best friend who calls him on his BS and isn't afraid to keep it real as well as Simeon and Marcus who do the same for Gavin. There was also Gavin's agent Mel, a tough, no non-sense businesswoman but then there was Joe Carmichael, Gavin's manager who was admittedly not very likable but he truly cared about Gavin and had his best interest at heart...likable but not. But when it came to secondary characters my personal favorite was Case the guy from the autoshop who befriended Noah. I totally want a story for him...please? There must be a quarterback or a linebacker somewhere in need of an awesome, sexy and genuinely nice guy to work on his care and maybe him? Just offering that one up for the powers that be to consider.

 

As for the sexy times in this one...well all I'm going to say is 'good things come to he or she who waits and this pair are so worth the wait...Gavin and Noah are seriously hot...I'm pretty sure that some circuits got scorched in my Kobo, but hey, don't take my word for it. There are lots of other awesome reviews you can read or better yet just read the book.

 

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An ARC of 'Illegal Contact' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-08-15 04:07
Review: Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Ok, I think I’m traumatized now! Believe it or not, I read this book for the first time without knowing much about the story or anything about how it ended.  There was enough foreshadowing that I felt pretty sure something horrible would happen by the end, but it ended up being a bit beyond what I had expected. 

 

I really enjoyed reading it, though. This is probably one of the more accessible classics I’ve read, and not just because it’s so short.  The story quickly captured and held my interest, and I could sympathize with the characters.  Steinbeck did a great job of making the characters’ motivations clear without spelling everything out in excruciating detail.  I felt like I understood exactly how and why everything happened the way it did.

 

This could easily be read in a single sitting, although I read it in three. I started it late last night, and then I read a little more while I was eating breakfast in the hotel lobby.  (Yes, I’m on yet another business trip.)  Thank goodness I didn’t finish this while I was eating breakfast.  I’ve never tried it before, but I suspect bursting into tears over one’s oatmeal would draw strange looks.  I finished it later in the evening, safely tucked away in my hotel room.  This book is not safe for reading in public places.

 

This was my first Steinbeck read. It may take me a while to cycle back to him, but I’d definitely like to try some of his other work in the future. 

 

Next Book

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf.

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