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review 2017-07-18 00:37
Well this one was aptly named because it seems "You Never Know"...
You Never Know - Mary Calmes

I freely admit with me when it comes to Mary Calmes they all start as 5 star reads and often stay that way or they may slide down to 4.5 or 4 stars. It's not very often that things slide below that. 

 

I was pretty conflicted on this one. I liked the overall concept of the story but for me the devil was in some of the details.

 

Now for the best part of the story...Hagen. I loved Hagen...as did everyone else. But Hagen is that person that you just can't help but love. He's good and kind, gentle, loyal and way, way more forgiving than most people but at the same time he really wasn't a pushover. He stood up for himself when he truly needed to and did it without using threats, intimidation or humiliation. 

 

The first problem I had was Ash. I did not like this man. He was not nice. He was self-centered, self-absorbed and just totally selfish. He wanted Hagen on his terms with no consideration to what Hagen really wanted or for the life that Hagen had made for himself. He got himself caught in more than one lie. He was manipulative and try as I might I could not see him as someone who was nice, so the fact that he was such a strong presence in the story truthfully irritated me. I honestly just wanted Hagen to tell him to go away. 

 

I definitely liked Mitch more than Ash. While I got why things happened the way they did between Mitch and Hagen. There were glimpses of Mitch being sorry and regretting what happened but I just felt like there needed to be more than a glimpse of regret from Mitch. I think he missed Hagen, but it felt more like Mitch did what he did because he had to and he thought Hagen should understand and be willing to move forward from there and I have to admit if I was Hagen it would have been a big 'Oh hell no!' no matter how much I loved or wanted to be with the other person.

 

I honestly can't say what would have made this part better for me. I believe in second chances and that's one of the things that really appealed to me about this story so of course, I was cheering for Hagen and Mitch from the start and I loved the ending of the story it was awesome, but the middle where Mitch's "I'm sorry" just didn't feel as epic as his "mistake" was where I needed more, I needed the "I'm sorry" to be at least as grand as his "mistake" and it just didn't happen.

 

I enjoyed this one but for me it definitely wasn't another 'Frog' or 'Acrobat' or my personal favorite 'Mine'. But then if they were all 5 stars how would anything ever be special for us and at the end of the day, I'm still waiting for my next Mary Calmes story because even the good ones leave me happy.

 

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An ARC of 'You Never Know' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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review 2017-07-12 22:40
This was a happy little interlude...
Again - Mary Calmes

This was a happy little interlude...

 

Ok, so we've got Mary Calmes and it's narrated by Nick J. Russo so you can pretty well assume there were no surprises here. It's been 6 years since I read this story so the opportunity to review the audio book was a task I was more than happy to take on.

 

'Again' is a short sweet story at just over 100 pages as an e-book and 2 hrs as an audio book. When Noah shows up at the airport to meet Dante his partner and the love of his life only to find Dante kissing someone else and telling him that he loves her. Noah goes home alone with the sonogram pictures of the child that he and Noah had planned on having. 

 

Years later Noah is on vacation to attend a friend's wedding and of course he has his daughter and his current boyfriend with him and this is the perfect time for him to encounter Dante's family and eventually Dante, himself. Needless to say this is when the real fun begins. I love Dante. He's totally over the top and he knows what he wants and of course what he wants is Noah and their daughter...and he's determined to get them.

 

Anyone who's read even a few of my reviews will know I am a dedicated Mary Calmes fan and Nick J. Russo is totally one of my top 5 favorite narrators...actually it's more like he's one of my top 3. So needless to say my only real issue with this story is I needed more...not that the story needed more, but I did.

 

There were a few wonderfully over the top moments but one in particular when Noah and Dante enter Noah's hotel room to find Noah's current boyfriend in bed with someone who's obviously not Noah. Dante's reaction is to cover Grace's eyes and laughing declare that it was awesome...my sense of humor is just warped enough that I was right there with Dante. Granted there's a bit more to it than this but you'll need to listen to the audio book or at least read the e-book for all the details...because it was awesome.

 

'Again' is a short, sweet, adorable over the top romance about second chances as only Mary Calmes can write and Nick J. Russo can do justice to.

 

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

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review 2017-07-07 03:26
There's more than just coffee brewing at Joe's, that's for sure...
Something's Brewing at Joe's - SJD Peterson

Murphy and Joe first meet when they hook up at a club shortly after Murphy has arrived in Tampa. Neither man is looking for more than a little no strings attached stress relief.

Joe's frustrated with his 'forced' vacation and he's decided that a night out for a few drinks, some dancing and with any luck a little something more with a hot body is just what the doctor ordered. 

When Murphy moves to Tampa on the promise of his dream job being told that said job is on hold is not what he's expecting to hear. He doesn't want to go back to Michigan only to hear a chorus of 'I told you so's' from his family and friends and decides that he's going to find something to keep him afloat until things get sorted out, but being a little frustrated and stressed out over the news pushes him to decide he needs a night out to relax, unwind and just forget about everything for a few hours. 

Needless to say there wasn't a lot of personal information exchanged during their one night stand so it's no wonder that Joe's more than a little surprised when he returns to his coffee shop and finds out that his assistant Kallie has hired someone to renovate the upstairs apartment that Joe's been talking about fixing up for as long as Kallie can remember and that someone turns out to be none other than Joe's one night stand Murphy. 

Both men decide this isn't going to be a problem...after all they're mature adults right? And just because Joe wants a repeat of what he and Murphy shared and Murphy's determined that things need to stay strictly business...*spoiler alert* willpower...Murphy has none...seriously NONE!!! his determination didn't last a day...wait, I'm not even sure it lasted an hour forget a day. As soon as these two laid eyes on each other again it was game on.

Now I realize this kinda' leads to the thought of 'what the hell?' these two can't keep their hands off of each other and there's roughly 200 pages here, but there's more to this story than just a case of boy-meets-boy, boy-jumps-boy and they all lived happily ever after because let's face it that's sweet but pretty dull when you've got 200 pages to fill, so luckily there's that job...you know the one that Murphy moved to Tampa for...yeah, it's a bit complicated and makes things a little tense between Murphy and Joe. 

I really enjoyed this part of the story...or at least the idea of it and to a degree the execution of it worked. More often than not when a story has this type of plot line to it I like a bit of tension and conflict...more so than what was here and while this was ok, for me it would have worked better if things had been not quite so easily resolved. 

So along with that, here's the reason this one only got 3 stars from me...it was the sex...seriously 'you know you have too much sex in a story when one of the MCs is complaining that the other MC 'broke his wanker'? and then cuts him off for a couple of days because 'said wanker' is sore...ok, he tried but it was Murphy and as I've already said "Willpower...he has none." I can honestly say I'm not sure that I've encountered a lot...if any stories where an MC is complaining about too much sex and trust me there was...even the bunnies of the world were cringing...forget jealous I'm pretty sure they were with me wondering 'How the hell does anyone have this much sex and accomplish a damned thing?' Thankfully some of it...just some mind you, was not actually on page for which I am grateful because I can honestly see how poor Murphy's wanker got broken...just sayin' 

I loved 'Plan B' and 'Override' book 1 of 'The Underground Club' and I have several books by this author from her backlist that I am dying to read but this one just really didn't go so well for me, it was a case of sometimes less is more and in this case a little less sex could have made for a little more story and that would have been just fine with me.

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An ARC of 'Something's Brewing at Joe's' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-30 23:15
This one's a re-release...
Finnegan's Promise - Carol Lynne

'Finnegan's Promise' was originally released in 2007 and has found a new home with Pride Publishing who are re-releasing it on July 18th and while I've read a lot of Carol Lynne books over the years I've managed to have missed this one. So when I was given the opportunity to review it...how could I resist. 

 

I felt like this was a story with a lot of potential. Calder Finnegan is a pro-football player whose father owns Finnegan's a neighborhood pub in Calder's hometown. When Calder's father Sean ask him to come home and help out with the pub during the off-season so he can take a much needed vacation and return to Ireland to see family... Calder's torn he hasn't been home since his ma passed, but while he's not happy about it, Calder shows up thinking maybe it's time to confront his dad and put their past to rest. What Calder isn't expecting is the sexy and talented as hell bartender named Mick that he finds tending bar when he arrives unannounced at Finnegan's Pub.

 

Sean vacation is cut short when gets worse and doctors advise him to return home while he still can. While Sean and Calder (or Fin as he's usually called). As Sean and Fin begin to work on healing the rift between them, Mick finds that he's also able to confront and deal with his own issues. 

 

I have to admit I was surprised that this didn't end up being a 4 maybe even 5 star read for me, unfortunately it just didn't happen. This one just didn't give me the depth and emotion that I felt the circumstances warranted.

 

There were pieces missing that would have helped me to become more invested in the story line. For example the books starts with Calder showing up unexpectedly at the pub and from there it basically jumps ahead 10 days to Calder and Mick jumping each other's bones after the pub closes one night. There's very little story covering that 10 day span of time and most of what there is relates more to Calder and his da than Calder and Mick and most of the relationship development between Calder and Mick either revolves around sex. Either they're having it or the conversation occurs before, during or after sex. While I'm not prudish about sex what really makes it work for me is when I feel the connection between the MCs is based on more than sex. I need to feel something that's emotional and intellectual and doesn't necessarily have it's origins in sex and when this doesn't happen for me neither does an emotional connection with the MCs or the story in general and for me this means it's going to be an ok or a good read but not a 'melt my heart leave me in a puddle of happy goo on the floor' amazing read that can happen.  

 

While 'Finnegan's Promise' turned out to be a good read instead of the awesome one I'd hoped I'm still a fan of this author and her stories many of which have an underlying theme that 'love is love and we should all be free to love who we want' and that's an idea that I totally support being put out into the world at every opportunity.

 

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A copy of 'Finnegan's Promise' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-30 22:02
No surprises here...
A Day Makes - Mary Calmes

It was an audio book written by Mary Calmes and narrated by Greg Tremblay...so no surprises at all I wanted it and it was awesome.

 

I read this book when it was released back in April of this year and I loved it...5 stars worth, that hasn't changed and has become my habit I'm not going to waste time re-writing what I've already written, so here's the link to my original review...

Original Review: A Day Makes by Mary Calmes

 

The only change here is the addition of Greg Tremblay's voice as the narrator and as seems to have become the norm, Mr. Tremblay nailed it.

 

I'm pretty sure that Greg Tremblay could read the phone book and make it sound amazingly interesting. His voices are smooth, effortless and natural. They're unique and express emotion drawing the listener into the story...getting and holding their interest.

 

I have no doubt that he works hard at his craft and the end result from Mr. Tremblay's efforts is an incredibly enjoyable audio book that I as a listener can listen to and enjoy not just once but numerous times.

 

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

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