Boy’s Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan

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.

Boy’s Don’t Cry: by J.K. Hogan
Release Date: May 25th, 2017
Pages: 230 • Format: eARC
Published By: J.K. Hogan
Purchase Links:
J.K. HoganAmazon

Mackenzie Pratt is having the worst luck of his life. His apartment building is being torn down, and since he’s jobless and just weeks away from graduating college, he can’t find anywhere else he can afford to live that isn’t a critter-infested dump. As he’s lamenting the very real possibility of job hunting while couch-surfing, he gets an offer from the coworker of his best friend.

An in-demand mobile app developer and heir to his parents’ fortune, Laurent Beaudry is literally an eccentric billionaire. Even though Mackenzie realizes he’s basically living the plot of a cheesy romance novel, he takes the proffered room in Laurent’s Baltimore mansion. He finds his new housemate to be grumpy, brooding, and, at times, incredibly kind and endearing.

Raised by his brother after their father’s death, Mackenzie spent his formative years plowing headlong through school, focusing on little else beyond earning his teaching certification. He’s never taken the time to explore love and relationships, much less sexuality, so when he finds himself being courted by another man, he has no idea what to do. And when he realizes he might actually return those feelings, his life takes a whole new direction.

four-stars

I had mixed feelings for this throughout my reading journey. I mean it gave me the FSOG vibes at times. Sure that made me want to gag really hard. Other times, it was a fast paced insta-love story. I mean Mackenzie is a little over the place the entire story. Laurie is kinda boring.

Let me explain, we don’t get to see much of Laurie’s eccentricities. He’s suppose to be this broody billionaire, but besides the billionaire. He does not do much. I wanted to see his quirks or a little of his past. Yeah he’s closed off at times, and a down right asshole but other then that I don’t take much from him.

Mackenzie had so much going on with him, I don’t think he knew anything at all. He’s about to graduate college, his future career, his eviction, his family situation. Why not just throw his sexuality on top of it? From what I’ve read his sexuality never came into play. I didn’t really see the attraction between the two, but I did like what I saw by the end of the story.

It had its quirky parts, and even by the end I enjoyed it. Some parts moved fast, and I wish it was some expansion on certain topics, but overall I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to a potential River & Taylor book. That much UST needs to be written down. I like Hogan’s writing and look forward to more from her.

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About J.K. Hogan

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?

J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit the contact page.

Goodreads Monday (5/22/17): An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links! 

My choice today is An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League #1) by Alyssa Cole.

BLURB: As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . 

ADD TO GOODREADS 

Isn’t that cover beautiful? Alyssa Cole is an author I met at RT 16 in Las Vegas. She was so nice that I told myself when I see an audiobook by her, I’ll snag it. That I’ve done and I can’t wait to listen to it.  This choice is a historical fiction which I enjoy and it is also a series. I will add a review as soon as I’m done. Have you read anything by Alyssa Cole?

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf? 

What Matters by Gracie Leigh

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.

What Matters by Gracie Leigh
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 192 • Format: eARC
Published By: Fox Love Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

“It’s a good fear, Sam. I’d miss it if it wasn’t there…”

Musical prodigy Eddie Dean gets everything she wants. The best violin, the best boyfriend, and a place at the best music school in London are hers until her father goes bankrupt. Once the financial facade comes tumbling down, Eddie’s broke and her boyfriend couldn’t care less.

The doorstep of Jimmy’s Café is the last place she expects to wash up.

Scrubbing dishes and serving fried breakfasts to pay her rent is as hellish as she imagined, and her new life is made worse by the distain of her boss’s sneering grandson. Sam Novak is arrogant, rude, and gorgeous, and if Eddie never sees him again, it will be too soon. Shame she can’t stop thinking about him. Dreaming about him. Craving him.

And then there’s his best friend Dylan.

Dylan is as light as Sam is dark, and Eddie wants him too. She can have him too—according to Sam—but when Sam reveals a vulnerability that could cost him his life, it’s time for Eddie to face the music. Does she still need to get everything she wants, or should she choose what matters?

two-stars

I could not be more disappointed in this book. This author also writes under a different name in the m/m romance genre and in that she is one of my favorite authors. I was SO excited when I saw that she was writing a m/f romance. I expected great things. What I got was a book I barely finished.

The plot is in the blurb (obviously) and the first 15% or so of the book was pretty good. I liked Eddie (the heroine) at the beginning and it seemed like a great set up. The book went bad for me pretty early on because Sam (the “hero”) was an absolute, unmitigated asshole. He was dreadful to Eddie when they first began to work together at his family restaurant but I thought as he fell for her he would show her his tender side and start to be kind and loving to her. Nope. He continued to be rude and disrespectful to her throughout. He insults her every chance he gets. I hated him as much at the end of the book as I did at the beginning. Some examples of Sam talking to Eddie:

“I want you to piss off, but as that’s unlikely to happen, you can go round and fill up the sauce bottles.”

“You think I owe you a conversation, or some shit? Just because I fucked you the other night?”

“You want to feel special? Is that all this is, Eddie? You want the whole world to revolve around you?
“No! That’s not what I meant.”
“Great, ’cause I don’t actually give a shit what you meant.”

“How many times do you need telling before it sinks into your entitled brain?”

“You know what, Eddie? Fuck you.”

Soooo……..as you can tell, Sam’s a prince among men. I guess this is all a matter of perception. Some people may not have an issue with someone talking to them like this but it doesn’t work me at all. I don’t call it romance. I don’t call it a broody hero. I call it verbal
abuse.

I mentioned that I liked Eddie at the beginning and I did. That didn’t last though. While she wasn’t as horrible as Sam was for me, she still wasn’t a very nice person. She treats the people around her poorly, she’s rude and disrespectful to Sam (two wrongs don’t make a right & all that) and she’s dreadful to her mother. Her mother, also not a nice person, is still her mother and I’m not a fan of telling her to “Get the fuck out of my apartment”.

This also contains my least favorite plot devise and that is “The Giant Misunderstanding That Could Have Been Avoided With Communication”. There’s a few instances of it here and both characters are immature and fly off the handle and refuse to speak to each other, say mean things, send mean texts, blah, blah, blah. I’m completely befuddled as to why it’s in this book. I know it’s common in a lot of m/f NA (which is why I avoid them) but I’ve never seen this author use this plot device so I was completely shocked to see it here.

The sex. Some readers will think this next complaint is petty but it really irked me. They’re together for the first time and he asks if she’s on the pill and she says “yes” so they don’t use a condom. They’ve just met and she’s been sleeping with another guy. This drives me insane. Yes, she won’t get pregnant but she or he could get any number of sexually transmitted diseases. Then there is this really odd threesome with Sam’s friend Dylan. It was hot, I’m not gonna lie, but it didn’t fit in the story. I don’t understand why it was there. It really served no point as far as the plot went. And…..for some reason Dylan had to wear a condom??? **best Scooby Doo confused shrug here** Also, the sex was super unrealistic. Eddie’s only had boring, bad sex with her ex before and has never had an orgasm. She’s also never given a blow job. So jump forward to the second or third time she’s had sex with Sam. She’s deep throating him (it mentions his dick hitting the back of her throat more than once) and then she’s doing both him and his best friend, deep throating them both and taking both of their dicks at once. Now I appreciate a girl who throws herself into things but I feel she really jumped ahead of the learning curve. I actually thought at this point that I had misunderstood and this wasn’t supposed to be a romance but was in fact an erotica story. And I was happy. But then sadly, this threesome ended, Dylan just weirdly disappeared from the book as fast as he’d shown up and we were back to the romance portion.

By the end of the book they were all “I’ll love you forever and ever”. I have ZERO idea how they got there. There was no relationship development, no scenes of them being tender with each other, no communication, no feelings whatsoever. This was a huge case of “telling” the reader rather than “showing” them.

It makes me sad to say this cuz I’m usually such fan girl for this author but I really disliked this. A lot.

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Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline CareySeries: Kushiel's Legacy #1
on 2002-03-15
Pages: 704
AmazonNarrator: Anne Flosnik
A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy... and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice.Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm's deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess... all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

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: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Series: Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1
Release Date: March 15, 2002
Format: e-book (929 pages); Audiobook (31 hrs and 6 mins)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Erotica,
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: Amazon US
 
The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good…and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission…and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair…and beyond.

Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart – a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new.

three-stars
4-stars for the plot, writing and characters, but 2-stars for my enjoyment. Thus a 3-star rating.

Holy cow. I felt every bit of this 31 hour book. It was slowly and methodically developed as all really good fantasy novels are. I will say that the writing was really well done and the characters were developed with care. The author wrote an interesting story but I was just too long.

At the heart of this story was a young girl discarded from her family because she had a flaw ~ birth defect in her eye. Her parents eloped after her mother fell in love with a man below her station. They had hoped their child would mend those fences and restore them to their respective families.

Unfortunately Phaedre was not born flawless. The disappointed parents gave her away to a group that rehomes (sells) the unwanted. The glorified brothel is where Phaedre met Lord Anafiel and began to learn about her own sexuality. Basically she needed pain with her pleasure.

Instead of the options she got, Phaedre wanted to be trained as the best courtesan/hooker ever. On some level I get that she felt empowered and like she controlled her own destiny. But I felt she devalued herself just as her parents did.

Many more things happened but I lost interest early on. The story brought it more characters who impacted Phaedre’s life, and a few events really tugged on my heart strings. The ending was a cliffhanger, but I wasn’t moved to continue right away. I have to be in the mood for such a big epic fantasy to pick up the sequel.

Ezi

Review: Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

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: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #2
Release Date: May 16th 2017 by
Format: Paperback (ARC) 417 pages; Audiobook (13hrs)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published By: Forever; Hatchette Audio
Purchase Links: Amazon US • AudibleBarnes & Noble

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

four-half-stars
And Rebecca Zanetti Slays Again!

Rebecca Zanetti is a master of weaving thrilling stories full of suspense, romance and mystery. When you begin her books, be prepared to get caught up in a sexy romantic suspense with an incredibly developed storyline. She is an auto-buy for me because her books have everything I love, family, romance, suspense, mystery, and most importantly, a happy ending. My favorite thing in her stories is the unshakable bond of family loyalty. It is really the glue that makes the characters lovable. They have this all for one, one for all attitude that is so endearing.

Book 2 in the explosive Blood Brother series, was no exception. Remember, this series is the spin-off from the Sin Brother series and contrary to what some say, this series SHOULD be read in order to truly appreciate the character’s journey as well as the underlying plot because the same villains have been plaguing the various main characters.
The prior book, Deadly Silence, introduced a serial killer dubbed the Copper Killer because he hunted red heads and the Lost Bastards Detective Agency (Ryker, Heath and Denver) were on his tail. Also, investigating the case was a profiler, Anya Best, a professor in criminal psychology. The serial killer has been sending her letters showing that he was fixated on her but Anya has no clue who he could be.  Heath Jones was working with FBI agent Loretta Best, Anya’s older sister, who became the killer’s latest victim. So, Heath decided he would protect Anya and avenge Loretta. It was clear the author was setting the stage for this book’s main couple.

I really enjoyed Anya because she was strong, smart and capable. She didn’t let her fear stop her from trying to figure out the killer. It also amused me that she was trying to shrink the Heath because those brothers have so many issues and secrets. Heath is an alpha male with a tender heart. He saves animals for crying out loud. How can you not love a strong, capable man who is so conscious of the pain and suffering of those who are wounded? Heath and Anya worked as a couple because they had this simmering chemistry.

Their relationship was an insta-attraction, not necessarily insta-love because Heath fought himself because of the past monsters (Dr. Madison and Sheriff Cobb). The danger, intrigue, suspense and being on the run certainly created an atmosphere that would be sexually charged. Plus, Ryker, Denver all approved so we got another addition to the family.

Rebecca Zanetti delivered an intense romance with lots of moving parts. That’s why I think it’s really imperative to start with Forgotten Sins (Sin Brother #1). Thats the best way to truly enjoy this quilted novel’s family theme as well as the super villains.  If you enjoy series like Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalkers series, you will love this one as well. I can’t wait to continue with Book 3, Twisted Truths, which will finally address Denver and Noni’s story.

Ezi

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

If Not for You (New Beginnings #3) by Debbie Macomber

Series:
Narrator: Khristine Hvam.
Source: Netgalley

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: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber
Series: New Beginnings #3
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Format: e-ARC (432 pages) • Audiobook: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Ballantine Books
Purchase Links:  Amazon US Audible

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam—who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived—Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital—even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.

three-half-stars

This book was in the usual Debbie Macomber style. A nice contemporary romance with ordinary and relatable characters. While you may not love the characters, they typically remind me of people I know. It’s like watching a Saturday afternoon show on Lifetime. In fact, this one would make a good movie.

Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney were set up on a blind date by mutual friends (Nichole and Rocco from Book 2: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On) and that first dinner was a disaster. Both of them came to the date with preconceived notions, so nothing really clicked for them. One the way home, Beth got into a car accident and Sam was one of the first people on the scene. Beth’s misfortune paved a way for Sam to connect with her in a new way. As Beth recovered, Sam came to visit and keep her company in the hospital. They began looking
forward to spending time together.

I thought it was sweet that Sam kept coming to check on Beth, but I had issues with both of them. How could a grown twenty-five year old teacher be so completely under the mother’s thumb? Beth seemed to be a sixteen-year old girl at times where Sam had the jaded attitude made him seem really old. Sam had a painful experience with a woman, so he swore off love and relationships. Yet, he went to visit Beth every chance he got because he just wanted…what exactly did he expect?
Each character seemed to be the opposite of their counterpart. Beth as sweet and flexible, Sam was gruff and inflexible. Beth’s mom Ellie was pushy and judgmental while Beth’s dad seemed like he took things lighter and respected the autonomy of others.

I liked Sam but didn’t feel like his past gave him a pass to be so mean and unforgiving. I had a harder time liking Beth because she was pretty weak as a heroine, yet nosy as hell with other people’s issues. Her mother was annoying and rude. I am glad Beth’s dad was in the story to balance out the mother’s prickly personality. It’s obvious that Beth wouldn’t even live on her own if not for her dad.
I liked the side story of the Aunt Sunshine, which ended well after 30 years. I also had issues with their communication or lack thereof, but it did end well, so I had to be content with that.

Overall, the story was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Ezi

Fair Catch (Players of LA #2) by Leigh Carman

Series:

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: Fair Catch by Leigh Carman
Series: Players of LA
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Pages: 200• Format: e-ARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner Press Amazon US

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.

*The Players of LA Series are standalones, but characters from each book to appear in subsequent novels. It is recommended to read in order to maximize the reading experience*

two-stars

This was a big miss for me.

This book featured a yoga instructor, Tobias Bennett and an injured football player Sullivan Archer as they first met as an anonymous hookup, and then later as a part of injury therapy. Toby was out and Sullivan wasn’t, so there was the secrecy thing as they sought to protect Van’s successful football career. I had to put this one down several times because it just didn’t engage me at all. I really hate the non-communication thing between grown people. Seriously, people can’t be this averse to talking or asking for what they want. Instead of talking, they humped each other silly.

The writing just didn’t flow, the characters weren’t developed enough for me to feel a connection, and there was way too much sex in it.

I didn’t read book 1, but I was expecting more substance than I got in this book. Van and Toby were nice guys but the actual story is didn’t impress.

Goodreads Monday (5/15/17): The Year of Loving by Traci L. Slatton 

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links! 

My choice today is The Year of Loving by Traci L. Slatton. 

BLURB: Art gallerist Sarah Paige’s world is crumbling. One daughter barely speaks to her and the other is off the rails. Sarah is struggling to keep her gallery afloat in a tough market when she learns that her most beloved friend has cancer. In the midst of her second divorce, two men come into her life: an older man who offers companionship and stability and an exciting younger man whose life is as chaotic as hers. 

Sarah’s courage, humor, and spirit strengthen her, but how much can she bear, and what sustains her when all else falls away?

Traci L. Slatton wrote the After series, one of my favorite Dystopian series. See my Review of Fallen (Book 1). Every time I read a book by her, I am so drawn into the story that I read them in one sitting. I’m amazed that her books fly under the radar. Her writing is so visceral to me. 

So Today’s choice is a contemporary novel she releases recently and it’s been languishing on my TBR because of Goodreads challenges that dictate my reading choices. I will add a review as soon as I’m done.

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf? 

Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon

Series:
Narrator: Kevin Chandler
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)

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: Never Lose Your Flames by Francis Gideon
Series: New Canadiana #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 9 mins)
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon USAudible

Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

two-stars

This one was a pretty dry audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t engaging enough to save this plot or make it interesting.

Gabe Dominguez was a bounty hunter hired to capture Nat Wyatt for his crime of arson. Gabe at first seems like a stoic character but clearly certain things about Nat chipped away at Gabe’s façade. As Gabe made his way with his captured prisoner in tow, Nat revealed more and more truths to where Gabe began questioning his sponsor’s intel.  There was a lot of world building as well as various supernatural characters but I didn’t feel the romance enough amongst the plot. I was hoping to “feel” instead of being told about their attraction. There were too many creatures and the author could have gradually introduced them in subsequent books.

I liked Gabe more than Nat but both characters were likeable. The story just wasn’t smooth and engaging enough and I had to really push myself to finish the audiobook. The premise was interesting but execution was a fail for me.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

The Perfect Play (Play by Play, #1) by Jaci Burton

Series:
Narrator: Lucy Malone
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: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play, #1
Release Date: March 4, 2013
Format: Audiobook (8 hrs and 36 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Published By: Tantor Media
Purchase Links: Tantor Audio Amazon US

 

The last thing event planner Tara Lincoln needs is the jet-set lifestyle of a football pro like Mick Riley, even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand proved that Mick is an all-star—both on the field and in the bedroom.

Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn’t intend to put herself out there again, especially with a certified heartbreaker. But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind to catch this sultry vixen.
two-half-stars

Aside from this book being uninteresting, I was baffled that two grown-ups were having such simple misunderstandings when they can just text or call each other.

Tara Lincoln was an event planner who was trying to make a name in San Francisco when she landed a huge contract to plan a preseason party for a professional football team. There she met a nice guy Mick Riley and they ended up in bed together. She later finds out that Mick is a quarterback for the professional football team, but they didn’t really discuss this “thing” being anything more. And that was part of the problem for me. There was very little or unclear communication about anything other than sex and career aspirations. Tara and Mick were good at having sex but discussing life and how to have adult relationships, they were quite juvenile in their actions.

Well, mostly Tara was the annoying character as she was full of assumptions and didn’t give Mick a chance to explain himself. She was just one of those heroines you want to slap. I liked Mick but their relationship seemed so shallow that I wasn’t sure why he would even want to put up with her drama.

The characters were not developed that well and the writing was so inconsistent for me. The narration made the story worse that I considered quitting on the audiobook several times and just reading the paperback. Honestly, this book was forgettable because there are plenty of better done sports romances with single parents finding love. I will try book 2 before I decide on this series but I will likely not listen to the audio because the narrator’s tone grated my nerves.

Ezi