Ghosts (The Power of Zero #2) by Jackie Keswick

Ghosts (The Power of Zero #2) by Jackie KeswickSeries: The Power of Zero #2
on 2016-02-10
Pages: 306
Amazon • (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.

But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.

When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.
three-half-stars

It’s holiday time and 30 year old Jack Horwood is having a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. Christmas time is full of bad memories for him, so this year, his partner Gareth Flynn tried to life Jack’s spirits by reminding him of the good things he has in his life now. Gareth has known Jack since Jack was 17 years old and Gareth used to be his Commanding Officer. So while they have known each other for a long time, but Gareth had hard time trying to decipher Jack’s moods. Adding to Jack’s own issues, was the unease that Nico and Daniel felt with their chief victimizer still on the loose, Jack had a full plate trying to keep his past ghosts at bay.

I enjoyed the story but I had difficulty with connecting with the romantic relationship because it felt like Jack and Gareth didn’t really communicate well other than work related issues. For people who had saved each other from life and death situations, their couple vibe felt superficial. They obviously had a physical intimacy, but their emotional intimacy felt like it was held in place by other things, like a thirst for justice and advocating for the abused. I did enjoy the unraveling of the mystery surrounding Daniel’s parents. It made this story feel like an episode of Law & Order SVU. The crime solving aspect of this book overtook the romance part. Gareth and Jack did love each other, I wish I felt their passion. There were glimpses of it here and there.

“Love is something enduring that lets you deal with your past, live in the present, and look towards a future.”

But I guess Jack’s pasts still ruled him and he hadn’t laid those fears to rest enough to fully let Gareth in. Gareth deserves an award for his patience and steadfast loyalty. Jack’s mom really damaged his trust by selling him to a pimp and the hell Jack endured would be hard for anyone to overcome.

The secondary characters in this story were likeable from Gareth’s mom to Daniel and Nico. I wish I read book 1 for a better understanding of the journey Jack and Gareth took to get Daniel and Nico. I was happy with the placement of these two young boys. The writing style was easy to follow and smooth. I didn’t feel like Jack and Gareth were developed as characters in this book, but I suspect it was done in book 1. At the end of the book, I finally felt that Jack was truly letting Gareth in. It was an HEA so I felt satisfied in the end. The writing was good so I blame myself for not starting at book 1.


*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

About Jackie Keswick

Welcome to my playpen. I’m Jackie Keswick, a writer of suspense, romantic suspense and historical fantasy fiction.

I grew up reading and writing historical fiction, before progressing to sci-fi and thrillers. They’re still some of my favourite ways to relax. More recently, I’ve started to read and write m/m romantic suspense. I’ve no real idea how that happened, but I’m loving it!

I’m also a

compulsive reader and writer with far too many unread books on her shelves and kindle and far too many unfinished stories in her WiP pile
England history and food nut
Tandem and TVR aficionado
Cat Lover
Enthusiastic manga novice
Since you’re already here, why not come and meet my Dream Team and all the other characters prowling around in my head? Jack Horwood and Gareth Flynn, Aidan Conrad and Alexandra Marston, Rafael Gallant, Skylar Payne, Daniel Sears and Nico Rivers, and the enigmatic Julian Nancarrow, CEO of Nancarrow Mining. All ready to step in when the law needs help. Because, you know,

When there’s trouble and the law needs help…
There’s the Dream Team.

Thanks for your company,
Jackie Keswick

Backlash, (Don’t… #4) by Jack L. Pyke

27418455Backlash, (Don’t… #4) by Jack Pyke
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Pages: 357 • Published by: Fantastic Fiction Publishing  • Format: eBook
Purchase Links:  Fantastic FictionAmazon ARe 

In the aftermath of Jack Harrison’s release from the psychiatric unit, Gray Raoul’s first instinct is to take brutal revenge on the one responsible for financing Jack’s and Jan’s torturous psychological reconditioning. However, that person plays the game dangerously well, and knows exactly how to manipulate everyone in Gray’s life. To help negotiate this delicate situation, Gray contacts ex-Diadem Doms Trace and Gabriel Hunter. But the more Gray seems to regain control, the clearer it becomes that there’s something not quite right about Jan Richards. Jan quickly unravels, taking Jack and Gray with him, and bringing out one particularly deadly player. Gray is left with one last defense: break Jack down in order to partner up with his alter ego, Martin. But once freed, Martin has plans of his own, and he wants to make it personal with Gray. Complete trust between Master and sub, between Gray and Jack, will be tested to the absolute limit.

 

five-stars

How am I supposed to review this book when I can’t get my thoughts straight? When I can’t stop crying?

I thought I wanted Gray’s POV and I did, but oh it hurt me so much and you know what? It’s the best kind of hurt.

First, this book CAN NOT be read as a stand alone, it must be read with the series and in order.

That being said, this takes us into Gray’s head and all that this man is. All that he loves. All who he  holds close and all that he keeps inside. OMG! Gray just about killed me with his need to take care of those he loves and take care of those who hurt the ones he loves, but good lord, mukka… who will take care of you?

This series, it is gorgeous and brutal but I love being hurt by it. The triad of Jack, Gray and Jan is so beautiful and I love how their strengths are coming forward and presenting themselves as strongholds to this relationship. The respect these men have for one another, it’s exquisite.

Jan, he has taken on so much and we know he loves the bones off Jack and Gray but he has internalized so much from the rape and torture he and Jack endured. He’s not handling it well and the way he is handling it, shocked me. There were a few things that shocked me about Jan with this but none of it was bad. Just a shock and awe of the vanilla man with soft brown eyes and a sacred love for two kinky men.

Jack, he is trying so hard to deal – leaving the MC, handling Ed, wanting to be handled by Jack and being close again to his soft lad… you kill me, stunner over and over again. I don’t think… I can’t… I mean… Jack leaves me speechless. He really does and while he never got in his head with Backlash, we get so much of him and the lengths he will go to, the boundaries he will push for his loves. I know you don’t do casual Jack, but dammit, I need a hug.

Gray, yeah I still love the bastard and being inside his head was so overwhelmingly emotional. I cried so much through this book and I’m still crying as I attempt to write this. Gray, he does so much and he is so much to everyone but he needs help and that help, comes from across the pond with Trace, Gabe and Dare.

I admit to not reading Ms. Kelling’s series and properly meeting these three men, but I can assure you, that will soon be rectified. I adored Trace and the way he takes care of Gray even via text message. He is there for Gray and will drop everything to help him and then there is Gabe and Dare. OMG! Those two! I need their story STAT (trust that I broke my no book buying mandate and just bought Deliver Us) because, because… they are beautiful.

These books, this series and its mystery are so well done. Pyke knows how to tear you down, tear her characters down and build everyone back together. There is so much hurt and pain revealed in this, so many new WTAF? moments and there are still secrets that need to be told, but Jack, Gray and Jan, they just work together to make it. Just to make it and to be together.

I am an emotional reader and this book tore my heart out. It’s heavy, that’s a given with the series but there are some lighter moments that made me smile but the heart of this series, it really is the love and respect between Jack, Gray and Jan. Oh and holy hell are there some moments that sat me on my ass and made me sob at my desk while I read this. The endearments alone slowly gut me and my entrails are strewn across the room as I think about them as proof.

I have so many highlights that I could share in this review but after looking them over, they are mine right now and I am not ready to share them. I can’t. Sorry.

Now, the blurb does include Martin and I’m kinda digging him now. I mean, see him through Gray’s eyes and you get him, to a point. But all that happens with Martin, all that happens for Gray to nail the bastards that touched what’s his… it’s a roller coaster of intrigue and emotions that was amazing. Truly amazing and that end?

Sweet Saint Brigid!

I am scared to go on but that fear, it will be culled because I can’t leave my boys. I can’t.

I’ll be there. I promise.

 

About Jack L. Pyke

Jack blames her dark writing influences on living close to one of England’s finest forests. Having grown up hearing a history of kidnappings, murders, strange sightings, and sexual exploits her neck of the woods is renowned for, Jack takes that into her writing, having also learned that human coping strategies for intense situations can sometimes make the best of people have disastrously bad moments. Redeeming those flaws is Jack’s drive, and if that drive just happens to lead to sexual tension between two or more guys in a D/s relationship, Jack’s the first to let nature take its course.

Thoughtful (Thoughtless #1.5) by S.C. Stephens

Thoughtful (Thoughtless #1.5) by S.C. StephensSeries: Thoughtless #1.5
on 2015-02-24
Pages: 560
AmazonNarrator: Jeremy Arthur
In Thoughtless, Kiera told her story. Now it's time to hear from the sexy rock star who captivated us all . . .THOUGHTFULThe only place Kellan Kyle has ever felt at home is onstage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around three things: music, his bandmates, and hot hookups. Until one woman changes everything . . . Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting-smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera's own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing-he won't let Kiera go without a fight.
three-stars

Thoughtful (Thoughtless, #1.5)Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, except the tree in the middle, you must not touch it or you will die!”
description

I read this book because I was told that it would change my perception of Kellan, from a snake in the grass, to a misunderstood nice guy. 21 hours and 15 minutes later, Kellan is still snake to me. Out of all the fruit in the garden, Kellan had to have the forbidden one, despite the warning he received.

Kellan’s “POV” starts with a history lesson of his relationship with his parents and how he became “mates” with Denny. I definitely felt bad for him for getting abused. Kellan’s parents were terrible people and were the root of his lack of sense of worth. It does not however excuse how easily he overlooked his band mates’ loyalty to him. It doesn’t excuse that almost from the beginning, he coveted what his mate Denny had with Keira. In Kellan’s frequent monologues, he whined about how he wanted someone to look at him like that, hold him like that, love him like that etc. So I would call that ENVY—coveting what someone else has.

As the lead singer of the D-bags, Kellan had so many girls after him. He slept with a lot and discarded the m like used tissue. The minute Keira did that to him, Kellan was pissed. Never once did he reflect on how many women he had “used” but he dwelt on how painful it was.

Frankly, I don’t see what’s so lovable about Keira because she seemed more like a cute puppy needing to be stroked all the time than a partner who could support, comfort and encourage a loved one.
puppy dog photo: Bentley, puppy, dog, Maltese IMG_8520.jpg
This cute and messy little bitch was just a taker. Well actually, she laid down and gave it up to Kellan when he wanted to stroke her. But other than sex, I don’t see anything of value she contributed to her relationship with both Denny and Kellan. I also resent that everyone made excuses for her instead of making her own active and continual deception.

It begs a brief mention that even Kellan’s bandmates knew enough of his character to feel the need to Warn him against betraying Denny. The whole Bros before Hoes things, but Kellan had already fixated on what he desired, and to hell with the awkwardness it would cause between Kellan, Denny and the Band.

I get the author’s message though, that Kellan was broken and lacked a sense of self-worth. He just wanted to wanted as a person and needed to matter to someone else. I just don’t see it as a viable reason to encroach on the relationship of the guy he claimed he loved as a brother. His inner musings told the reader that he knew this betrayal would “kill Denny” but that wasn’t enough to make Kellan stop. He was just not a likeable guy to me, and this book didn’t improve him in my estimation.

As far as the writing goes, it was intriguing just not entertaining. This book was too long and most of it was a regurgitation of book 1. So I felt that I have heard all this before. I applaud the author to tackling such an angst-filled and emotional topic, but I won’t be continuing with the series.

View all of Ezi’s reviews

The Bold and the Dominant (The Doms of Her Life, #3) by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl

The Bold and the Dominant (The Doms of Her Life, #3)  by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearlSeries: The Doms of Her Life # 3
on February 10, 2015
Pages: 373
AmazonNarrator: Christian Fox
 
After spending weeks trying to reach Raine Kendall, Dominants Liam O’Neill and Macen Hammerman have finally broken past the walls to their submissive’s wounded heart. Before they can enjoy their newfound closeness, Liam’s past comes back to haunt him when his ex-wife drops in—with a secret that could tear his world apart. Forced to leave Raine in Hammer’s care, Liam is stuck on the outside, stewing in frustration and insecurity…and wondering if Raine no longer needs him or if Hammer alone completes her.Always the pillar of strength, Hammer tries to help Liam while sheltering their woman. But Raine soon discovers the truth that threatens the trio’s chance of a happily-ever-after. Determined to hold them together, the two men cook up a scheme to uncover the ex’s secret. When an old nemesis returns and targets Raine, can Liam and Hammer come together to slay the danger and save the woman they both love?
three-half-stars

Now this book had the full package of what I was waiting for. I think if this book was first, I would have had a greater understanding of Raine. This book is the first where I felt like I saw this “strength” that Hammer and Liam kept touting in the prior books. This book really allowed me to see her journey and I finally got a chance to connect with her. I admired her perseverance and her behavior finally made sense to me. Everything fell into place here.

Hammer and Liam definitely made strides towards making this relationship work, so I enjoyed them here as well. It’s clear to me that Liam and Hammer should continue to be together because they are the better halves of each other. Hammer is brute force, lacking tact and take charge whereas Liam is finesse, refinement and patient. I think they make crappy doms apart from each other, but together, they are the full package. The guys finally grew up. YES!!!!

As I have said before, I liked Liam but I couldn’t understand how he ended up with his ex-wife. It didn’t make sense. Hammer/Marcus was straight forward and what you see is what you get. The choices of wives threw me for a loop. No wonder Raine was confused. That barracuda of an ex-wife was a conniving witch. What a Jezebel!

This book was definitely the best in the series. It had action, hot sex, real emotion and finally character growth. I hope Seth and Beck gets their own books soon because they were the unsung heroes in the series. They are funny, smart and seem to understand their roles as Doms a lot better than Hammer and Liam.

 

Special Thanks to Tantor Media for the audiobook review copy

Fly Away (Firefly Lane #2) by Kristin Hannah

Fly Away (Firefly Lane #2) by Kristin HannahSeries: Firefly Lane #2
on 2013-04-23
Pages: 400
AmazonNarrator: Susan Ericksen
Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. Tully and Kate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . . Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate---to be there for Kate’s children---but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people. Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.Dorothy Hart---the woman who once called herself Cloud---is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another---and maybe a miracle---to transform their lives.An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day. 
four-half-stars

This was an excellent sequel. I initially decided I wouldn’t read it because I thought the author was going to try to “fix” things from book 1. For instance, I thought she would put two of the main characters together to help the cope their loss, and then a romance would blossom.

Thank goodness the author wasn’t so cliché. Instead she took us on the journey of how loss can break you down and eventually you can climb that mountain of depression until you get to the other side. I am glad we saw how traumatic a loss can be and showed us how each character could get lost in grief. What I loved was the foundation of family gave everyone something to come back to. It was like the centerpiece they all rallied around as they started accepting life without their loved one.

I have to tell you. I couldn’t stand Tully much in book 1 and most of this book. But Mara, though she was sixteen is the one who really grated my nerves. I tried to make allowances for her age, but she was a brat in book 1 as well so her behavior was par for the course. The second half is when Tully and Mara hit rock bottom and then the narrative of their life started changing. I appreciate characters that evolve as the story develops and I was able to end this book liking both characters a little bit. Tully’s rock bottom was a doozy. I was feeling uncomfortable for her. It was actually heart-rending.

Mara’s father, Johnny, was the character I related to the most with because he had a lot to balance. He also stayed true to his wife and I respected him so much for that. His mother Margery and Dorothy’s friendship was almost like a Kate and Tully, the Senior citizen’s edition. I liked it because this friendship formed between women who had been through some things and the support they gave each other was phenomenal. Dorothy (Cloud) was victimized repeatedly and couldn’t be there for her daughter. Dorothy got her second chance and she took it. Bravo!

The writing in this book was remarkable. I couldn’t stop listening to this audiobook. Kristin Hannah is one of the best writers I have ever read. This book played like a movie in head. I love her work. I didn’t cry in this book, but I definitely experienced more emotion in this book. I am glad I did read this sequel because it really highlighted the need for a good support system or family.

Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

Sweetwater by Lisa Henryon September 29th 2014
Pages: 240
Amazon
Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.
three-half-stars

This book was definitely in the vein of the others I have read by this author.

It featured a young man with some hearing impairments, Elijah Carter, and his need to punish himself or be punished for not deserving the love of his adoptive father.

Of course, the town bad guy, Harlan Crane takes it upon himself to engage with the young Elijah and debase him as often as he can. That is until a drifter Grady Mullins notices Elijah and decides that what Elijah needs is someone to care for him.
Harlan and Grady engage each other and of course there was collateral damage

This book was dark, but like most Lisa Henry books, she always cracks a window to let in some rays of hope. Harlan made my skin crawl and Grady made me feel relaxed. Poor Elijah had to fight and dig deep to find strength and survive.

If you are looking for a romance with flowers and dinner, this isn’t it. It is about pain and a struggle to will oneself to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. But I was satisfied with the ending.

*Thank you to Netgalley for the reading copy

No Boundaries (Phoenix, Inc. #1) by S.E. Jakes

No Boundaries (Phoenix, Inc. #1) by S.E. JakesSeries: Inc, Phoenix
on 2014-11-04
Pages: 210
AmazonB&N
When your past closes in, running isn’t always an option...Phoenix, Inc., Book 1The jobs Marcus Lowry works for at Phoenix, Inc. Investigations are quick and easy, and they don’t give him the nightmares his days as a CIA operative did. That is, until he gets involved in a case that grabs him by the throat and won’t let go.Cole Jacobs left behind his old life as a rent boy to make a name for himself rebuilding high-end and vintage cars and bikes. But when a stalker threatens to kill him—and to hurt anyone who stands in his way—his past closes in on him, and he’s not sure where to turn.The last thing Marcus wants to do is take on a charity case, and to say that he and Cole don’t see eye to eye at first is putting things mildly. But when the first attempt on Cole’s life nearly kills them both, Marcus realizes that Cole is in real danger, and Cole is forced to reveal everything. Almost everything. Because Cole’s deepest secrets could destroy them both. Warning: Contains a secretive mechanic with a talent for spotting a diamond beneath a beat-up exterior; a hard-nosed investigator who isn’t so rusty he doesn’t recognize instant attraction when it hits him in the gut; and hot sex spiced with trust issues and danger.
three-stars

I really wanted to love this book because Bound by Law (Men on Honor #2) was my favorite book in the series, and this spin-off was like a sequel.
But I was faced with similar issues I have had in most of the books I have read by SE Jakes: The character building was sub-par, her transitions are jarring (not fluid), and the storyline itself are generally weak. Things just happen and then I find myself in a new scene. Unfortunately, I tend to feel like that when reading this author. But there is such potential in the story and I keep reading because I feel like one day, we will get there. But we didn’t get there in this book.

What I liked:
* More Paolo, Law and Styx and the hotness! Oh yes! The author manages to nail the chemistry with this trio. This is a menage that works and works well. did I mention Paolo, Law and Styx had an anniversary?  Plus, was Styx such a sweetie or what? His guys have really brought out his tender side.
* A Clint and Jace sighting (though brief), it was nice to see C&J are still together.
* I loved the community service that Law is involved with. That was a nice touch to the story.

What I didn’t like: 
* I found The MC’s chemistry was lukewarm. I didn’t buy Marcus and Cole’s passion. I just didn’t “feel” their connection.
* I also disconcerted by Law, the jackass, who suddenly morphed into Cole’s fairy godmother.
* The bad guy—how he just appeared out of nowhere, outsmarted 2 ex-special ops guys and a detective time and time again didn’t do wonders for my confidence in Phoenix inc. It was just too easy for the antagonist.
* And then the showdown with the bad guy…*yawn* Seriously? I really was expecting fireworks, but got such an anti-climatic ending. It was just a build up to nothing. At the end, I felt unsatisfied–like I just engaged in really boring sex.

Will I read book 2?
*covering my face* Probably, but I won’t be in a rush to get it when it is released.

 

***Special thanks to Netgalley for the reading copy

The First Three Rules (My Brother’s Keeper #1) by Adrienne Wilder

The First Three Rules (My Brother’s Keeper #1)  by Adrienne WilderSeries: My Brother's Keeper #1
on March 25th 2014)
Pages: 266
Amazon
Marshal Jon Foster lost his purpose and his sanity the day he saw the image of his dead brother. The distraction saved Jon’s life but cost the lives of innocent people including his best friend and partner. It was a price for survival Jon couldn’t live with and was sure he’d never understand.
Driven by grief and guilt he tried to escape his past by fleeing to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Only instead of peace, the memories festered.
Then the offer of a stick of gum from a stranger changes Jon’s life and puts him on a road out of the nightmare he’s trapped in.

Ellis Harper has lived the past twenty years isolated from the outside world and sole caretaker for his mentally disabled brother, Rudy. While Ellis loves his brother, he longs for a life he’ll never be able to have.
Shut away, his days consist of chores, endless cartoons, and games of Go Fish. A world that seemed to have no end until an innocent misunderstanding turns Ellis and his brother into a target for a town bully.
It’s a fight Ellis can never win on his own but thanks to a chance meeting with a stranger, he doesn’t have to.

What begins as a new journey in love for both men quickly unfolds into something neither of them could have ever imagined
four-stars

Marshal Jon Foster decided that he couldn’t go on living and so he went to a park to end it. As he sat on the bench ready to pull the trigger, a man sits next to him and offers him some gum.
That small kindness by Rudy pulled Jon from the brink and into Rudy’s life with his brother Ellis.

Rudy is mentally disabled and his younger brother Ellis takes care of him. Watching how selfless Ellis is with Rudy makes Jon see the world in another life. As Ellis lives only to take care of Rudy, Jon find that he also now has a purpose to live again, Rudy and Ellis.

This new journey was not an easy one. This book was emotionally and sad. It also ended in a cliff hanger for me. I liked it but there was a lot of unfinished business here. I was conflicted on the characters.
1. I was unsure if Ellis was just so selfless or if he was also hiding from life.
2. Jon, I didn’t truly understand the extent of his demons, because at times I felt like he was schizophrenic as opposed to having PTSD
3. Rudy was a little frustrating but it’s just because of his condition. I don’t know how Ellis does it. I am amazed because just reading it I wanted to scream “Don’t Freaking Touch things”. It was like dealing with my 3 year old. So Ellis is definitely worthy of “Big Brother of the Year” Award. Wow. I was so happy that Jon gave him something to smile about.

I thought the writing was very fluid and vivid. I had physical reactions as well as emotional, so the author definitely had me glued. I want to stomp on all the Lenny’s of the world (Bullies) because their act and enjoyment of terrorizing others makes me sick. This story continues so I have gotten book 2 and I hope that everything works out well for Jon, Rudy and Ellis.

A Sinner Born (Brooklyn Sinners, Book 3) by Avril Ashton

A Sinner Born (Brooklyn Sinners, Book 3) by Avril AshtonSeries: Brooklyn Sinners #3
on 2013-06-19
Pages: 215
AmazonNarrator: Renard Pasquale
Book three in the Brooklyn Sinners series. Syren Rua is at war. He battles painful childhood demons and his intense need for the first person who makes him feel. As Faro, Syren makes deals with the worst while taking the steps necessary to bring his family's killer to justice. He isn't one to indulge in selfish needs, but he'll make the time in this instance. Syren has been watching Kane Ashby, craving the grieving man for his own. He's always stayed away from temptation, but that's about to change. Kane isn't over the death of his longtime partner. He's certainly not ready for a relationship, sexual or otherwise, but Syren isn't a man who takes no for an answer. The unpredictable Syren offers nothing but secrets and brings with him memories so dark, they could wipe out any chance the two might ever have. Syren brings Kane's heart back to life. But it is also Syren who could inflict the most damage. Inside Scoop: One of our heroes has a panty fetish. And it's hot. This book also contains brief references to rape and child abuse. A Romantica(r) gay male/male erotic romance from Ellora's Ca
four-stars

This story featured Syren Rua (the man with many identities) and his quest for revenge and reclamation of his true self. We learned in the prior books that Syren was working as a double/triple agent against his employer, Ricardo De la Torre, who murdered his family and sold him to slavery. As Syren worked as Faro, he had come into contact with Federal Agent Kane Ashby (brother of Gabe Ashby). Kane was still mending from the death of his partner. But the both of them shared an attraction that they couldn’t deny. Once again, this series pits two men who are on the opposite sides of the law with each other, and like the prior couples, Syren and Kane work.

Out of all the books I have listened to so far, this was the most pain-filled by far. A lot of people were hurting, from Isa, Syren, Kane, heck even Marshal Jack who made an appearance. What I love is the author gives each couple a unique journey to their HEA, and makes it enjoyable for us to follow.

My only complaint was the narrator’s Syren’s voice wasn’t good at all. I realized he was trying to give Syren a whimsical, almost effeminate voice, but it didn’t work for me. But I loved his personality, his fetish and his flight or fight responses to Kane. The chemistry was there, the story was entertaining and I am so glad I discovered this series this month.

Jane’s Melody (Jane’s Melody #1) by Ryan Winfield

Jane’s Melody (Jane’s Melody #1) by Ryan WinfieldSeries: Jane's Melody #1
on 2014-04-08
Pages: 336
AmazonB&NNarrator: Emily Beresford
WHAT BOUNDARIES WOULD YOU CROSS FOR TRUE LOVE?

That’s the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter’s death—only to find herself falling for him. A sexy but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane’s Melody follows a forty-year-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone. Sometimes our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain. And now Jane must decide if it’s too late for her to start over, or if true love really knows no limits.
four-stars

This book was very engaging and I couldn’t stop listening to it. The narrator did an excellent job convey the tone and emotion of this book. I will list my issues, but I want to be clear that I really liked the book, the story, the flow and the characters. It was pretty well written but it just felt a little incomplete, that’s all.

Jane McKinney decided to piece together the last year of her daughter Melody’s life before Melody died. She tried to connect with any of Melody’s friends and she ran into a young guitar player who seemed to have a connection to Melody.

Jane invited the young Caleb Cummings to her home in hopes of getting Caleb to tell Jane all he could share about his time with Melody. She offers Caleb a job as her gardener so Caleb could feel like he was earning his keep.

Jane quickly found herself attracted to Caleb, who was 15 years her junior at 25 years old. Plus, with Caleb’s connection to Melody, it just didn’t seem like a good idea for Jane and Caleb to become involved. But soon, they can’t help themselves as their attraction grows everyday.

Two people who had been in a lot of pain, found comfort in each other, and they had to decide if this was something to balm their current hurts or if they had something that was lasting?

I really liked this book but I always felt a little something was missing. First of all, I kept waiting for more information on Melody AND the family. I realize this book was about Jane’s journey, but Melody was a huge part of this walk and I would have liked more background information on Melody’s illness, Jane’s parents and John. There was so much animosity there and it was just glossed over by the author. Also, the perfection of a 25 yr old homeless boy was a tad too unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Caleb. But he kept the place nice, he cooked, he was sweet and always had the most supportive words…yea, the only thing he was lacking was a halo.

I also wanted a little more with Grace and Bob. Especially since Grace preached the no-secret thing, I just felt that the author should have delved into that friendship a little more.

With all that said, I can’t wait to see the next phase of Jane’s journey as she starts anew.