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review 2016-11-16 20:26
Have I ever mentioned that I like Mary Calmes, I mean really, really like...
When the Dust Settles (Timing Book 3) - Mary Calmes

I'm sure I have so I'm also sure that it comes as no surprise that I read this story. Now, what some of you may not know is that of all her series 'Timing' is probably my least favorite, don't get me wrong I'm not saying I don't like it as a matter of fact I loved the first book. Book 2, After the Sunset not quite so much it was ok but if I had to re-read a series by Ms. Calmes 'Timing' would not be my first choice. 

 

After having said all that I just need to add "Holy hell, I LOVED THIS STORY!!! It was awesome, it melted my heart...no scratch that it melted me from head to toe. I love, love, love add a few more loves in here for me please...love Glenn Holloway (he's Rand's step-brother, half-brother...he's Rand's brother) He's awesome." I don't really remember much if anything about Glenn from the first two books (please keep in mind that I only read this series once a long time ago) so while he's related to Rand, he's basically a new character for me. I do remember Mac Gentry from the earlier books. He wasn't there a lot but he did show up and yet I didn't see him being the other MC in this story at all...nope, nope, nope Ms. Calmes totally took me by surprise on this one.

 

Glenn's basically estranged from his family. As for whose to blame for this well let's just say there's plenty of blame to go around so it was definitely a group effort with Glenn and his internal rage doing the maintenance work on the estrangement. Thankfully we have Stefan Josh doing his thing and forcing people to sort out their baggage. 

 

Truthfully my one and only issue with this story is that it was too short. I needed more Glenn and Mac time. More after becoming a couple time. I would certainly be on board for another book featuring Glen and Mac with a strong dose of Stefan Josh and Rand.

 

While this story was complete at the same time I was left feeling like there could be so much more added to it and I really, really vote yes for the adding to it option.

 

'After the Dust Settles' was classic Mary Calmes as only she can do and I loved it. Without fail I smiled from start to finish because I knew that at the end of it all I would get the HEA that I can depend on her stories to give me and while this may not be my favorite Mary Calmes series I can honestly say that I'm hoping for more.

 

********************

An ARC of "After the Dust Settles" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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review 2016-11-07 23:44
First off this was an excellent book to read and...
What It Looks Like - Matthew J. Metzger

an absolutely perfect book to buddy read. I truly and highly recommend reading this one with a friend or two. I did and I have zero doubt that the reading experience was made all the better for having done so. Yes, this was another buddy read with my buddy read besties, Christelle and Josy. So thank you ladies once again for a fun weekend.

 

"What It Looks Like" wasn't at all...what it looked like. It was more, way, way more. While the blurb actually only gives us a very general and to be honest in some ways vague story description something which has been known to keep me from reading a book but in this case I had a friend who wanted someone to read it with her...side-eyes Josy...and said friend and I felt compelled to drag Christelle into the experience...kicking and screaming, right Christelle? NOT!!!

 

What we found was a book that on the surface seemed like it would be ok and when we got into it we discovered layers and layers of things that added depth and interest to the story along with the fact that at some point or another one or more of us wanted or needed to talk about.

 

This is the point at which I would love to go into a big long detailed explanation of what I loved about this book and why...however, I'm going to refrain from a lot of it because in order to do that I'd either be giving away...way, way too much information about the story or this review would be one long trail of spoiler tags. So here goes with what I feel I can comfortably say...

 

I loved both Eli and Rob. As a couple on paper I'm pretty sure it shouldn't work but they did. They were like two pieces from different puzzles that somehow slotted together perfectly to create an unexpectedly new and beautiful picture. Yes, I did get a little frustrated with Eli a couple of times but Eli also snuck into my heart in a really big way and I found it easier to see and understand his motivations for some of the things he did, I'm not saying I agreed with him just that I was able to understand. Rob on the other hand for all of his big, gruff, crude talking, street fighting, inked exterior was even easier to love. He was the type of man who loved who he loved and was fiercely loyal and protective of those he loved. While he may not have grown up in the best of circumstances he was so much more than what he looked like.

 

For all their exterior differences both Eli and Rob knew what it was like to not be accepted for who you are, to have people pass judgement on you solely based on superficial reasons rather than because they took the time to get to know you. To be rejected by their family...the people who should love you the most. But it was from these things that each man learned to look deeper and see what others had missed. 

 

Rob and Eli shared a relationship that was not always defined by what most would consider to be 'normal' or 'traditional' guidelines but by what Rob and Eli felt worked for them and this prompted much discussion during our buddy read. Discussions that had me and I'm sure my reading partners stepping back and viewing things from different perspectives and seeing things hopefully in a new and different light...see reading with friends is a good thing. 

 

The dynamics between Eli and his family and Rob and Eli's family are to say the least precarious at the best of times and were very central to the story line and the tentative ending that was given to this part of the story was so well done. It wasn't suddenly a Christmas card family scene but it was a very believable scenario that left this reader feeling like maybe things would never be great but they could at least have a chance at getting better.

 

This was my first time reading this author and I was 100% impressed. For me 'What It Looks Like' really wasn't it was so much more and so much better. Like my friend Christelle,  I was taken on a veritable emotional roller coaster ride and I was wonderfully surprised by how much I loved this book...seriously LOVED this book. 

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review 2016-11-01 22:35
Let's ponder some words...
Murmuration - T.J. Klune

Let's ponder some words...

 

So in my ponderings some of the words that have gone through my brain have been...interesting, unusual, unique, disturbing, thought provoking, gripping, emotional, happy, depressing and talented (this one applies to the author).

 

I read this book and I finished it about a day and a half ago. My problem is how do I review it. I've been giving this a lot of thought...seriously a lot...ask my hubby, he's had to listen to my ramblings enough that he can probably tell you what the books about.

 

What I'm going to talk about here isn't what the story was about because that's what the blurb is for. What I'm going to try and share is how this story made me feel. 'Murmuration' was for me a distinctly 'unique' reading experience. In terms of reading choices it was a bit of an 'unusual' choice. It felt like 'The Twilight Zone' meets 'Mayberry, RFD' (if you're not familiar with this than might I suggest google...is your friend) and while I liked 'Mayberry, RFD' in all it's idealistic representations of life when mixed with the 'Twilight Zone' my brain conjures images that while 'interesting' they are also a bit 'disturbing'. Do I have you feeling totally confused? If so it's ok because at the end of this in some ways I was too.  Ok, I'll stop with the word game and see if I can explain why I read this book and why ultimately I enjoyed it and was incredibly impressed by this author's talent.

 

'Murmuration' is a story set in the small town of Amorea during the 50s and it's about Mike Frazier and Sean Mellgard or at least it seems that way. But as the story progressed I quickly figured out that there was more so very, very much more to things than what it seemed and this is the part that I'm not talking about because this is the part that each reader needs to discover on their own. 

 

The romance between Sean and Mike is sweet with a slow build-up to it. It's so fitting for the era that these men are existing in. Ironically it's not the sweetness of the romance between Mike and Sean that made their love so endearing for me...no, it's the secret surrounding the town or Amorea itself. It's all the things that aren't in the blurb that made me want them to be together.

 

Early into the book I figured I knew what was going on or at least had the gist if what was happening and by the end of the book I figured out that I'd known everything and nothing all at the same time. I can't say that 'Murmuration will go down as one of my favorite books of this year but it will definitely be at the top of the list for 'unusual books that I read and liked' because I did like it. I liked that even though I thought I knew what was happening, it still kept me guessing right up until the very end. I like that even though I finished this book a day and a half ago I'm still reflecting on it, still considering much of what happened and the moral implications of a lot of things. 

 

To say the least 'Murmuration' may be a love story, but it's not your typical love story, it's more so much more and I found myself reflecting on a lot of different things...I guess at the end of it all the one thing I feel fairly certain of is that this is a book that each person needs to experience for themselves because I really get the feeling that more than most books this one will offer each of us a different story.

 

I'm not really sure that I can say a lot more about this book except maybe...read it and if you want after that we can chat.

 

********************

An ARC copy of 'Murmuration' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-11-01 18:05
How to make an awesome book even better...
Torch (Unbreakable Bonds Series Book 3) - Rinda Elliott,Jocelynn Drake

Make it a buddy read with two of your besties of course...So a huge thank you to Christelle for once again jumping into this with me and Josy for taking the time to read the first two books so she could join us on this adventure. You both rock and I seriously can't imagine reading the next book, Devour...Ian and Hollis's story without you! Also yes, Christelle we totally need a story for Geoffrey and Sven. We haven't been given a lot about these two but what we have gotten makes me want more.

 

Before I start this ramble of mine, I need to say if you haven't read either of the first two books and plan to, especially, 'Shatter', the second book, you may want to stop reading now because I will definitely be mentioning some spoilerish things here, sorry, it's impossible to review this book and not do this.

 

Admittedly my expectations on this one were not high. I went into 'Torch' thinking that I was going to have a fun buddy read and get this one tucked away so that when Ian's book came out I'd be ready to read it because there was no way I was going to be happy about Rowe getting involved with someone after losing Mel...nope, not possible...well what can I say except 'never say never' because apparently not only was it possible but it happened. I'm still not happy that Rowe lost Mel but it happens in real life too people lose the one they love and if fate is kind they are given a second chance with someone else and just like in 'Torch' that someone is sometimes a part of their past. I'm still not happy that Mel died but I am happy that Rowe is moving on with his life and has found the right person to do it with...again. 

 

While Snow and Jude are still my number one couple in this series, I have to admit 'Torch' is my number one book so far. 'Torch' starts about 9 or 10 months after events that took place in 'Shatter'. Rowe is still grieving the loss of his wife, Melissa or Mel, as are all of the group. I can't say that Mel was ever intended to be a permanent character in this series but I will say that I liked Mel a lot as did many of my friends who have read these books. Mel was feisty and full of life and none of these men intimidated her no matter how alpha they were, not even Lucas. She was Ian's best friend, shared dirty jokes with Snow and actually all of them, she loved watching gay porn...see how can you not like this woman? 

 

I cried when we lost her in 'Shatter' my heart ached for Rowe and all of them losing someone who clearly meant so much to this group and I have to admit I'm left wondering if the authors had any idea that she would become as popular as she seems to be. I also have to admit that as much as it saddened me to lose this amazingly, strong and positive female from this series I also respect that this is the story that Ms Drake and Ms Elliott wanted to tell us and I was pretty much blown away by how much I enjoyed seeing things play out between Rowe and Noah. 

 

Noah is a part of Rowe's past. They were Rangers together and best friends. They have a past together one that we are shown is unresolved as are many things for not just Rowe but Lucas, Snow and Ian as well. The danger for this group that started in Shiver and carried over to Shatter has not yet ended and while 'Torch' has given us the answers to a lot of questions, I still feel like this story has a ways to go before we truly reach the ending.

 

I was pulled into this book from the word go and the minute we were introduced to Noah I knew I liked him. The interaction between him and Rowe felt so natural. Yes there was tension and a lot of push and pull and as my friend Christelle mentioned in her review 'Noah had the patience of a saint', but that was also part of his charm. The biggest and most important reason this worked for me was because from start to finish Mel was never lost or diminished for how much she was loved and missed by Rowe and his friends and Noah got it he understood and respected how much Rowe loved her and how hard losing her was for everyone. So often when a story deals with this type of loss it gets shuffled to the back burner and I feel like the love died with the person and that's not how it works for me (and I'm betting for a lot of people). The other part of this equation that really won me over was the fact that Noah wasn't some-never-met-him-before-now-insta-love-stranger who wandered into Rowe's life. Rowe and Noah had a history, they were friends and there was a history there that brought clarity to things about Rowe that had been hinted at in 'Shatter'.

 

While Rowe and Noah did have a lot of page time, which I was totally cool with since this was their story and all. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the time we got to spend with Snow & Jude, Lucas & Andrei and Ian & Hollis...and can I just say that it may have only been once scene but HOLY HELL!!! these two men are hot together. I may need to read their story standing in a cold shower.

 

Seriously if you haven't read this series I apologize for the spoilers but you were warned at the beginning and they really were only the very, very tip of the iceberg, so, I strongly encourage that you read 'Shiver' & 'Shatter' before tackling this book. This is not the type of series that allows for the books to be read as stand-alone stories. You need to read them from the beginning in order to fully understand what's happening. Not to mention hot men falling in love, why would you want to miss out on that?...just putting that out there for the universe.

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review 2016-10-13 19:34
Sometimes the hardest books to read tell the best stories...
Out of Nowhere (Middle of Somewhere Book 2) - Roan Parrish

'Out of Nowhere' is the second book in Roan Parrish's 'Middle of Somewhere' series and very possibly not only the best one yet...but the best one...period...end of sentence. 

 

This is Colin's story and Rafe's. But it's more than that. This is about family. Something we all want and we all get but for each of us it's never the same. The word family can mean so many different things to a person and when it works and it's right, it's the best thing ever, but when it doesn't work it can tear you apart leaving nothing but broken pieces in its wake, pieces that may never fit back together no matter how hard you try. 

 

For Colin his family ceased to work when his mother died. Life became an endless cycle of working in the auto shop with his dad and brothers, trying to avoid panic attacks and control his rage. Running helps, lifting weights helps and when those things fail there's drinking. For him admitting he's gay isn't even on his radar let alone an option. Colin lives and breathes for his father's acceptance...something he knows he may never have no matter how hard he tries...but it's his father and do any of us ever really give up trying to have that one thing that we should all come into the world with...the unconditional love and acceptance of our parents? I'm not sure that I truly believe we do. I think if we don't have it we either learn to live with the conditional love and acceptance that we're given or we find a way to live with the fact that it's something we'll never have. 

 

Little by little we are shown how Colin's soul is being shredded and he's losing  himself in his efforts to gain his father's approval until Rafe finds him. Rafe sees past Colin's misery and self-destruction and the man that's hiding there calls to him. Rafe's not perfect he's got his own set of problems but he's a fighter and he knows how to wage a war. He's done battle with a past that he wants to leave behind to create a future worth having. Rafe also knows about family because unlike Colin's his understands about loving and supporting each other when the chips are down.

 

I first encountered Colin towards the end of book 1 'In the Middle of Somewhere' and if you had told me then that this author could make me even like him. I would have laughed so much...seriously ROFLMAO!!! that would have been me and now I have to say I would have been wrong. I definitely like Colin...a lot. I wanted to feed him milk and cookies and give him a teddy bear to hug along with a bit of tough love because it may be the hardest thing in the world to do but sometimes it's what our kids need from us the most.

 

'In the Middle of Somewhere' showed us a glimpse of the Colin that is but 'Out of Nowhere' showed us the the Colin that was, more of the one that is and wrapped up with the Colin that will be and this is the Colin that I came to adore and think any parent would and should be proud of.

 

More than anything what I loved about this book was that Ms Parrish gave us such a real person in Colin. There are a lot of book characters that I can think of that I love, whom I really enjoyed reading about but very few felt as real to me as Colin did. He could so easily be my neighbor, my friend's brother,  my brother.

 

'Out of Nowhere' wasn't an easy story to read it was dark and heartbreaking and had such a strong dose of realism to it for me. Sometimes I needed to just put it down and take a break but always I needed to see it through because for all it's darkness and heartbreak at the end of it all was love and hope and promise for Colin and Rafe and the future they were both willing to fight for together.

 

If you read the first book and you didn't like Colin try this one. I think he'll change your mind about him and if not at least you'll gain some insight about the ending of 'In the Middle of Somewhere'.

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