Audio Review: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Carry the Ocean: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevelt
Release Date: May 29th, 2017
Pages: • Format: Audio
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon Audible

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he has autism.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.

As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

 

five-stars

I am in general a fan of this authors but I think this may be her best work. This was extremely well written. This is an unconventional love story about two young men who are a bit different and have a host of challenges to over come in their lives.

The story begins one summer when the two guys meet at a neighborhood block party. Jeremey is struggling with depression and anxiety and he gets no support from his parents. Due to his personal struggles he is oblivious to Emmet’s existence. Emmet on the other hand has been watching Jeremey across their yards for months. Emmet is on the Autism spectrum and he’s been practicing daily for what will happen when they finally meet. When Emmet approaches him, Jeremey is unsure of him at first. With gentle persistence from Emmet the two of them become friends and then they eventually fall in love.

Their story is not an easy one. The two of them have very different ways of perceiving things which makes them struggle to understand each other sometimes. They are also both different from what mainstream society says they should be and they have to deal with a bunch of outside pressure. Their lives are a roller coaster and things are very hard for them in a few places in the story.

I thought the author did a fantastic job writing this story and dealing with both boy’s conditions. It was obvious she did a lot of research and I think she really presented these characters as real people. She did not sugar coat anything or make it one of those “love heals all wounds” type of stories, but she also did not paint them as people who were less than or who were incapable of having a love story of their own. It may not have been traditional but I think that made it even more beautiful.

My favorite part of the story was Emmet and his parents. I loved all three of them. On the flip side I could barely contain my anger for Jeremey’s parents. Every mother instinct I had came out over his character and I swear I raged every time his parents were on page. My emotions were all over the page. One minute I was laughing and the next I was crying. That, too me, is a testament to a really well written story.

I did these on audio and they were narrated by Iggy Toma. I feel like he also did an excellent job. He does two very different voices for both Jeremey and Emmet. I think Emmet’s was probably a bit challenging as he is described as having a flatter affect and not being able to modify his tones like others do due to his inability to read emotions. The narrator really did a good job with this aspect. There were also multiple side characters and I think those were also all done really well.

I’m sure there a lot better written reviews out there that describe this beautiful story but I will end this is saying that I definitely recommend this audiobook. It is not only a great story but it is narrated extremely well and the narration adds another level of emotion to this story.

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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wildfire: by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Pages: 400 • Format: eARC
Published By: Avon
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleHarperCollins

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

five-stars

 

This is legit my face every time I see Ilona Andrews name coming up with a new books. Its utter joy and happiness. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I’ve never gave Magic Bites a chance. I would have been missing out on pure joy. I would have been missing out on this phenomenal writing team. I can’t stop gushing about this team. I wish I could go back and read their catalogue like its the first time. Of course, I’ve read everything two except The Edge series, and Hidden Legacy but that will be rectified soon.

Now, onto this awesomeness. Wow. Words are escaping my thoughts at a high speed. This review is being written 16 days after reading it. I had a fear that I would forget it, but once I started page one everything came back to me. That ending!!! I don’t know if its the end of the series,and if so we literally need 1 more book. I just need to see this com full circle for the Baylor clan. I need to see the kids come into their own. I really need to see Nevada & Connor HEA. I know they don’t really specialize in it, but its there. This book was amazing. So many big reveals in this book. I won’t touch on them and will like everyone to experience them for themselves. You definitely need a friend to sqee with and fan girl! Call me, I’ll be there.

Loved seeing Nevada and her family becoming a house. Such an interesting procedure, and I wish they were apart of my family. LOL. Seeing this family stand up and survive was super epic. We get to meet Victoria Tremaine, and she might have underestimated this group. Don’t mess them with them, they will overcome at any cost. The dragon Rogan coming out was extremely hot. I really want to see Leon in about 5 years! Goodness that kid is amazing. Never fret, Bern, Catalina, and Arabella are good as well. They definitely take their talents up in this book.

The plot was really good. I enjoyed every single stitch, line, and explosion. I feel like the books get better with each release. I’m choosing to ignore the multiple statements of this being the last book in the series, because I don’t see how could it. It didn’t have the finality to it. Its so much more they can do with this world. I really hope and pray that they will write another story. A definite recommend from me. I <3 Ilona Andrews.

 

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About Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

Hush by Tal Bauer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hush: by Tal Bauer
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 672 • Format: eARC
Published By: Tal Bauer
Purchase Links:
Amazon

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security.

As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

four-stars

 

HA! Looks like I did like it more then Enemy Within. Its nothing like The Executive Office series, and that’s a great thing. Both guys were super sweet, and while it was action packed the romance was such a sweet balm to my soul. Bauer is very detailed oriented when writing. He explains things to clearly that you can learn so much about each position, branch of office, or civilian duty. I watch a lot of Law & Order: SVU and the prosecution office doesn’t explain nothing like this. Tom & Mike seem to awaken something in one another that they didn’t know they wanted. 

The first half of the story was really slow paced, a lot of buildup between the two characters, and the plot was pretty straightforward. I enjoyed Tom rebirth if you can say. He’s been along for so long that coming out for someone is extremely terrifying. Actions in his younger life impacted his future, and it allowed him to close himself off to love, people, and companionship. It was a little heartbreaking reading to be honest. To think of someone going so long without a hug, laughter, love, and friend. That’s lonely. I loved how Tom made the reference to not being only lonely but being lonesome. He’s basically lived a reclusive life for fear of him being gay getting out. Besides his lovely dog, his career is everything. He didn’t want to take a chance on that until his feelings for Mike couldn’t be ignored and they were reciprocated. Poor sweet Mike! He picks the losers, part of it is his fault seeing as he’s always been afraid to go after who he really wants. He wants the fairy tale and its nothing wrong with it. It was so sweet watching these two fall in love. So many things in common, and their love was genuine and showed across the page.

The plot was interesting. I figured out some of the deception, but didn’t see that ending come by a mile. Bauer does like to write his surprises. Everything was really well thought out and planned. Loved seeing the different facets to the story. A lot slow downed then his previous series, but still good. The ending was really good. Such a solid story, and definitely no cliffhanger. Not to say I wouldn’t mind seeing these two again in the future, and maybe a Kris story. Him and Villegas definitely seemed to know one another. A recommend from me! Bauer does a good job as usual!

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About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Guest Review: Chasing Destiny by Megan Erickson

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Chasing Destiny: by Megan Erickson
Series: Silver Tip Pack #2
Release Date: July 21st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

four-stars

 

I really liked this second book in the Silver Tip Pack series. This one had a different feel to it than book one but was just as good.

This story focuses on Bay who is Dare’s brother. He’s the wise cracking and good natured one in their family but he’s struggling at the beginning of this story. Bay is grieving his second loss of Nash and he’s feeling restless. His were wants him to leave and look for something but he’s not sure what it is. As a result he offers to visit another pack to see if they can set up a trade pact. What Bay finds there turns his world upside down.

This story was more fast-paced and full of action than Daring Fate was. This one kept me on the edge of my seat from almost the beginning of the story. Bay and his pack mates are fighting other pack members as well as the zombie weres. (Can I just take a minute to tell you how much I love the fact that there are zombie werewolves in this series? Zombie! Werewolves!) All kinds of things happen and there are some shocking surprises.

The love story was also good. I love a good second chance story. I also love a good hurt/comfort story. Combine them together and I’m in reader bliss. Bay and Nash are just wonderful together and Bay is full of swoon worthy moments. Some of the stuff he says… *dreamy sigh*. These two are not fated mates as the couple in book one were, but they know they’re meant to be mates and their romance development was lovely.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this series other than the writer is not releasing them fast enough for me. This one hasn’t even been released and I’m already itching to get my hands on the third one. Looks like we know who the next book will be about but I’m not going to tell you. It’s going to be a big surprise.

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About Megan Erickson

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.

Standalone Sunday (7/23/17): By Your Side by Kasie West

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list.

My Standalone Pick this week is: By Your Side by Kasie West. I have read three books by Kasie West and I enjoyed them. They aren't too heavy and I need something light, yet endearing.


BLURB: In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

ADD TO GOODREADS

The Red by Tiffany Reisz

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Red: by Tiffany Reisz
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Pages:212 • Format:eARC
Published By: 8th Circle Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo

Never make a promise you don’t intend to keep…

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

 

 

three-half-stars

I think it still surprises me of how much Tiffany is a writer. Not an author with books, but a writer. Her pen game is sick. I legit after all these books, still get surprised and awed by her writing. Don’t know why, but it is. When one says erotica, I think they picture smut. Plain sex everywhere and all over the pages. When I hear Tiffany Resiz writing erotica, I stop and think what else? Not just smut, but the story. What will she accomplish? What do I expect to feel after reading this? I finished it, and guess conflicted is my feelings. I liked it up until the middle portion of the story, and liked the ending. For me, Mona is not a Tiffany woman in my head. I know many are going to be confused by that. Resiz writes strong women. They are fearless, amazing, and wondrous. I guess I’m thrown because Mona seemed the most vulnerable out the harem of women in Resiz’s work. Again, this is all my thoughts and feelings. I don’t expect people to agree with how I feel, but something was missing to me. I didn’t see her as the strong heroine that I see in other writings. The problem is probably because Mona was dictated to. I didn’t understand the compulsion for Malcolm at times, and it threw me for a loop.

Mona would do anything for The Red. Its all that’s left of her mother gallery. Its now Mona and she needs to do anything to keep it afloat. Meeting Malcolm wasn’t in her plans. Going along with his plans didn’t seem like the Mona she knew herself. She did it, experienced new highs and lows. The writing draws you into the story and closing my eyes I can picture standing on the outside watching the scenes play out. There are some repeat worthy scenes that I felt myself going back to re-read at multiple times. I love that Mona seems to find herself, accept herself, her wants, desires. I like the Mona chews out this guy in the book. It’s hands down one of my favorite moments in writing, ever.

Erotica is not something I would go to. To be honest, I only requested it was because of the author. I’m disappointed. It wasn’t my favorite thing written but I enjoyed it nonetheless! I think fans of Resiz and erotica everywhere would really like this.

 

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About Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the highly acclaimed series The Original Sinners. Her first novel, The Siren, won the RT Book Reviews Editor’s Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance of 2012. Slightly shameless, Tiffany dropped out of a conservative Southern seminary in order to pursue a career as a writer. This move, while possibly putting her eternal salvation in peril, has worked out better than she anticipated. She lives in Oregon with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer.

Audioreview: Her Ruthless Russian (Karev Brothers #1) by Leslie North

Series:
Narrator: D.C. Cole
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Audiobookworm Promotions

Author: Leslie North

Narrator: D.C. Cole

Length: 3h 34m

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Series: Karev Brothers, Volume One

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Born into a Russian Mafia family, Vlad Karev is no stranger to violence…but this time it’s personal. Someone has murdered his father and Vlad can’t rest until he finds the killer. When the trail leads to an art gallery, Vlad wants to dig deeper, but he needs help from the owner’s daughter. The pretty redhead is far too innocent for a man like Vlad, but he’ll do what it takes to get the information he needs. His obligations are to the family, even if that means using the fiery woman.
Madison O’Connor works hard to keep her family’s gallery going, although secretly she has little interest in art. But when she discovers her father’s been laundering money for the Russian Mafia, she’ll do everything she can to keep him out of jail. She hates to lie, but she has a plan…seduce the Russian bad boy to learn the mob’s secrets. Never mind his dangerous exterior or icy blue eyes, Madison’s going to get her family free of the mob, even if she has to use Vlad Karev to do it.
As the killer gets closer, so do Vlad and Madison. But is their connection just the means to an end, or could their romance be real?

 


Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

D.C. Cole, originally an actor from California, has spent the last dozen years wandering the globe in search of…something. Self-awareness? Eternal truth? Magic, perhaps? (Cheap beer, probably.)

Once, on a Tibetan mountain top, he spent an entire month in silence to better understand the sound of a whisper. He spent a year in a small village in the Shandong Province of China, learning the ancient art of erotic mumbling. And one week out of every year, D.C. travels to Sanchi Stupa Temple in Madhya Pradesh, India, to perform one hundred thousand pushups, using only his tongue. (Actually, none of that’s true, but it sounds better than “He spent twelve years getting drunk in strange places with strange people while wearing a backpack.”)

D. C. has recently settled down in Brazil, where he enjoys collecting tattoos and drinking caipirinhas.

When not telling tall tales, D. C. locks himself inside his closet-sized studio and reads romantic and erotic stories into a microphone. Some people seem to enjoy his voice.


Music Playlist

[Put your playlist here]

 

Madison O’Connor discovered that her father was using their family art gallery to launder money for the mafia family Karev. Madison didn’t want to indebted to the Karev family and she decided to use her charms on Vlad Karev to attain information she could use to either bargain with or blackmail the Karev family to leave the O’Connor family alone. Vlad Karev decided to play along with Madison’s seduction because he was physically attracted to her and he was trying to figure out who murdered his father.

Their little game quickly turned into more and Madison discovered she cared for Vlad. While Vlad’s feeling was changing towards Madison, he suspected her family was involved in his father’s murder so he still guarded his heart. But soon, even he couldn’t deny that they were in love with each other. Would they choose love over solving the problem plaguing their respective families?

The story is short so there wasn’t a lot of character or plot building. But the attraction and banter between Madison and Vlad was delightful. Everything happened pretty fast but I found the story interesting. The narrator is new to me but I can’t say that the narration added or detracted from the story. His voice was just okay. I did like the author’s writing. I found it was quick and to the point, even though left a couple of the subplots unfinished so I look forward to getting more answers in book 2.

 I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Leslie North. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Her Ruthless Russian Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Jul. 19th:
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The Book Junkie Reads
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Jul. 21st:
Book Reviews by Jasmine

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The Book Addict’s Reviews
Between the Coverz

Jul. 23rd:
Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

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Haddie’s Haven

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Tales of the Ravenous Reader
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About Leslie North

Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

The Layover by Roe Horvat

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Layover: by Roe Horvat
Release Date: July 19th, 2017
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either….

 

four-half-stars

 

Stop. Whatever you are doing stop and go grab this book.

New Author Alert!!!! Roe Horvat is a bloody good writer.

We all know I’m a fickle reader. I’m loyal to my authors to a fault, even when they are write less then my expectations. Sadly, I’ve had a few of those happen in the last year and its only 2 authors at the #1 stop. Stop distracting me. Last year I read a book by a new author on the recommendation by Josh Lanyon, and loved it. If you haven’t picked up Dal Maclean’s Bitter Legacy then you’ve been sleeping under a damn rock or just stupid. Either option is fine with me. What I’m trying to state is this author came out of nowhere with a big recommendation by a really big named author in the genre for support, and her work was brilliant. When I requested this book I had no idea what I was getting. I had no idea what to expect, and honestly I was dreading reading it. I had all these thoughts in my head about how bad it would be. Well color me surprised when it was the EXACT opposites of those thoughts. It was beautiful, endearing, inspiring, and lovely. It was about pain, fear, real life and love. It was eloquent and I wish it would have been a full length novel. I mean you can’t give me this scrumptious morsel, and cut me off. I need more woman. Roe Horvat came so left field for me, that I was gobsmacked at how much I would like this book. I literally just finished and haven’t reviewed a book  in 2 weeks, and this got me back on the horse so pleasantly.

The first thing that I realized that I love was the setting. I don’t read too many books in this part of the world. I enjoyed the authenticity feeling  I get while reading this. I can close my eyes and picture parts of the book. I really liked the cultural difference that each guy has. Its easy to fall for someone in a similar situation, but from a different walk of life is hard. Its hard to compromise, to explain, to enjoy, and to try to mend worlds. Trust me, I’m married to an Irish man who morals & values are just as important as my African American Baptist roots. Its hard, its invigorating, and scary. 

I don’t know which character I’ve enjoyed more Ondro or Jamie. Both were really good, and I’m going to beg the author for another update with these two. 128 days later wasn’t enough. I’d like to see them 529 days later or more & more. Ondro, poor sweet Ondro. He’s kind, cynical, fearful and brave. He’s from Slovakia, a place that isn’t kind to him based on his sexuality. Not on the place but his family. Leaving at 22 was the one way that he thought he would gain some semblance of happiness. Years later he realizes that running has done nothing but let me win. Running has not helped in his love life, and some part of him wants to come to terms with his past there. Jamie is the sweetest ever. He’s fiery once meeting him, and I thought his stands & values were so endearing. Ending up together longer then their expected layover wasn’t in their plans but they made due with it. I don’t want to go to much into the plot, but I got this feeling while reading this book. It wasn’t about the physical aspect of the book, but all the emotions, tears, fears and hope. My favorite trope ever, realistic fiction is the best. The circumstances that they both go through can be someone you know, love, spouse, brother, father, or friend. Right now I feel like I’m rambling because I can’t put in words what made this book magical. It just felt raw, it felt real. It felt like people still have morals, dreams, and people don’t know the difference between lonesome or lonely. 

I’m going to end my review now, and say just buy the book. I’m looking forward to more writing from this author. If you want to try a new author, with a brilliant love story then try this. Try this for love, try this for Ondro & Jamie. Highly recommended!

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About Roe Horvat

Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. They love Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Menace (Scarlet Scars #1) by J.M. Darhower

Series:
Narrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Title: Menace by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars #1
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 51 mins)
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: • Tantor Audio
 

three-stars

J.M. Darhower is my one of my favorite writers when it comes to Mob stories so I was so stoked when this audiobook was released. I may have had Sempre in the back of my mind, or something similar in plot. This was far from it and this one didn’t grip me like that story. J.M Darhower is a great storyteller so I knew if I hung in there, I would be rewarded.
The story starts with dancer/hooker Scarlet (Morgan Myer) selling herself for protection and information from powerful underworld bosses. I couldn’t figure out the significance of the information other than she was hiding from another boss. But it was clear most of her actions were motivated out of an extreme amount of fear.
The hero Lorenzo Gambino vacillated between being a sociopath to a moody/angry mobster. You can’t be unfeeling if you are in a constant state of rage. Just sayin’. Anyway, I am unclear of Scarlet really sought him out as a protector or just picked the pocket of the wrong dude. But that moment seemed to bind them and despite several attempts to pull away from each other, they always drawn back to the other. The sex scenes were definitely the best part of this book because they were steamy, fascinating and provocative.
I couldn’t decide if Lorenzo’s curiosity was based on the great sex or the Russian monster that scared Scarlet more than him. It was like a pissing contest because Lorenzo wanted to meet the Russian who thought he was thought his game was gangsta than Lorenzo’s.
Honestly, the author took her time in getting to the heart of the plot. I prefer faster paced stories or at least great character development to compensate for slower paced yet suspenseful accounts. I didn’t feel that the characters were fleshed out that well but the author did enough to get me to like them.
I was hoping the book would get better and the last two chapters were probably the best in the book and made everything make more sense. It made Scarlet make more sense to me and then I felt empathy for her plight. Lorenzo remains an enigma for me so the jury is out on his character. The writing and the narrators kept my attention and I really need book 2 to be released as this one ended on a cliff hanger.

Ezi

Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana #1) by R.J. Scott

Series:
Narrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Signal Boost Promotions

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Crooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott
Series: Montana, Book 1
Release Date: November 16th, 2015 (first published on December 13th 2013)
Format: Audiobook (6 hrs and 20 mins)
Genre:
Published By: Love Lane Books Ltd
Purchase Links: •  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Audible UK

When a cowboy, meets the guy from the city, he can’t know how much things will change.

On the spur of the moment, with his life collapsing around him, Jay Sullivan answers an ad for a business manager with an expertise in marketing, on a dude ranch in Montana.

With his sister, Ashley, niece, Kirsten and nephew, Josh, in tow, he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life on Crooked Tree Ranch.

Foreman and part owner of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Todd has been running the dude ranch, for five years ever since his mentor Marcus Allen became ill.

His brothers convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the business grow. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow – he just isn’t prepared for how much.

four-stars

This story was very sweet and satisfying. It wasn’t overly dramatic and angsty but it was emotionally engaging enough that I listened to the book in one day. I have to be honest, I am on the fence about Sean Crisden, but his narration of this story was spot on. The author told the story in a dual POV and the voices the narrator used for the characters fit my image of them. This one was one of Sean Crisden’s better performances.

Jay Sullivan worked for a marketing firm while taking care of his sister Ashley who has a history of falling in love with abusive guys. Currently, Jay was standing as a male figure for his 15 year old niece Kristen and 6 year old nephew Josh as Ashley’s husband was serving time in jail for abusing them. When Jay is laid off from his firm, coupled with Ashley’s husband was released from jail, Jay quickly accepted a job to be a business manager for a ranch in Montana and they quickly flee New York City.

Crooked Tree Ranch was hemorrhaging money so they agreed to trying marketing the Ranch differently to attract new customers. The Ranch is owned by three families, The Todds, The Allens and the Starachs. Nate, Gabe and Luke represent the Todd family and work on the Ranch. They were skeptical about the City boy Jay being in charge of creating a marketing plan, but they were low in funds and they were desperate.
Nate is the oldest and he used to work in the rodeo circuit so the city boy just rubbed him the wrong way. But Nate accepted that Jay’s expertise was necessary so he tried to tamper his irritation with Jay. What Nate couldn’t ignore was his attraction to Jay and vice versa. Soon, the two agreed to try a relationship. Nate and Jay were a delight because their attraction was clear but they were so supportive and accepting of each other and their respective families.

I though the author did a great job in building up the relationship so while it was short amount of time, it didn’t feel like insta-love. RJ Scott’s writing appeals to me because she focuses on the family, their interactions and their emotions more than the physical acts between the couples. I prefer a juicy story over copious amounts of sex so this audiobook was so good. There was a number of subplots, but the pace at which the author tackled them was comfortable so the reader never felt bogged down with angst or overly emotional scenes. I am looking forward to finding out more about the second family of the Ranch trifecta, The Allens.

Ezi

About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.