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Audiobook Review – Trust – Ella Frank

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trustTrust
Author: Ella Frank
Series: #3 in the Temptation series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Shannon Gunn
Run Time: 11hrs 2min
Audiobook Producer: Audible Studios
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Audiobook Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
TRUST – verb: to believe in the reliability, truth, or strength of another.
Up until now, Logan Mitchell has never had much of a reason to trust anyone.
Having struggled with a self-identity crisis throughout college, he’s spent the years since then creating a sophisticated facade to present to the world. It’s an armor he thought was impenetrable—until he met Tate Morrison. The gorgeous, headstrong bartender he’d sat across from only months ago has taken a tight hold of his heart, and Logan is discovering that it’s time to let go. It’s time to let someone inside.
After years of placing his dreams on hold for his family, Tate has finally chosen to do what makes him happy and follow his heart. The one thing he never would’ve imagined was that it would lead him into the arms of a man—and not just any man—the striking, never-takes-no-for-an-answer Logan Mitchell.Tate has fallen hard, and as his world is turned on its axis and they move forward together, he finds his life becoming more entwined with the confident, successful lawyer.
Even though neither man expected the other, it’s time to trust in their relationship — but not everything comes so easily…

Review:
Trust is the 3rd book in the Temptations series by Ella Frank – each book has covered a different phase of Logan and Tate’s relationship – from Try and the beginning of the relationship, to Take where they took control of their feelings toward each other and finally, Trust, the last stage in the relationship development. Knowing that they have to trust each other in order to more forward and have a future. For the most part I enjoyed Trust, although I will admit that there were a few times that I got bored with the storyline. It felt like certain parts of the story just drug along and I have to wonder why the trilogy couldn’t have been edited down to fit into 1 or 2 books. It just seemed to meander quite a bit and I even toyed with the idea of increasing the narration speed on the audible app to get it going (unfortunately, i discovered that that just doesn’t work for me). I think for me the biggest issue overall, while I found the books to be well-written was that I struggle with multiple books about the same characters, in the same story arc. I think it is the reason that I have steered clear of serial type books, even though the Temptations series was more like 3 full-length novels.

Maybe it was my preconceived notion, but when i saw the name of the narrator, Shannon, I immediately assumed female – because I honestly don’t remember the last time that I came across a guy with that name (maybe it college…). So I was totally expecting a female narrator when i started Trust, and was pleasantly surprised when a very melodic masculine voice came across my car speakers – totally woke me up for the commute into work. One of the problems with picking up a book to listen to after reading the previous two, is that I have voices in my head of what I think the characters sound like and while initially, I had a hard time reconciling Gunn’s narration of Tate with my imagination, but it grew on me. I found his narration of Logan to be well done and he had a wide repertoire of voices for the various secondary characters. I know for sure that I will be looking to see what else is available by him in the future.

Overall, I gave Trust 3 stars and Shannon Hale’s narration 4 stars – so 3.5 overall. Anyone who likes m/m romance and wants to branch out into audiobooks for that genre, this would be a series to maybe look at.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Review – Try – Ella Frank

try ellaTry
Author: Ella Frank
Series: #1 in the Temptations series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case…someone.
Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and…tried?

Review:
So this is probably a book series that I never would have picked up, if one of them hadn’t been nominated for an Audie in the erotica category. However, when I saw the nominees and noticed that this was #3 in the series, I asked around to find out if that nominated book could be read alone, or if i needed to read the previously 2 first. the overwhelming response was that the series needs to be read in order because its one continuing storyline, although, several of my friends prefaced their comments with, “logan is a total man-whore” – which I’ll admit made me kind of skeptical. So i’ll admit to being pleasantly surprised when I actually sat down to read Try, so much so that I read it in like a day.

It’s been a while since I’ve found a m/m series (or trilogy) that I could get invested in, i think because I got partially burnt out, but there was something about Ella Frank’s writing that just sucked me in. I’ll admit that Gay For You is a harder trope for some authors to write, in that, its hard to make it believable…but I found Tate’s reactions to Logan’s advanced to be what I would think is realistic to someone faced with a similar dilemma. Especially since in the beginning of the book, he was just getting divorced. I think my one complaint is that once again, an author writing a m/m romance resorted to a female character being a bitch and playing an integral role in the story – which annoys me beyond all reason.

I’ll totally agree with my friends who referred to Logan as a man whore in the beginning but I loved seeing him change as he fell more and more in love with Tate as the book progressed. There was something so honest about it, I couldn’t help but like Logan. And while the focus of the book was Logan and Tate, there was something about the cast of secondary characters, specifically, Logan’s brother and his wife that made the store even more engaging. I was going to put something here about loving to read a book about the 2 of them and just found out that that book is already available (yes, I might be a dork and way excited about this).

Ella Frank had an engaging writing style that just sucked me in. I found that the story flowed well, with limited redundancy in the writing (something I’ve started noticing a lot more lately). I gave Try a solid 3.5 stars and definitely looking forward to seeing where the other two books in the trilogy take me.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Book Review

 

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Review – Unsaid – Avery Aster

unsaidUnsaid
Author: Avery Aster
Series: #3 in the Manhattenites series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author Via Netgalley

Description:
Chelsea’s hottie Blake Morgan III has reemerged from a nasty breakup. His marriage was a frigid disaster beyond repair, and he vows to be single—forever. Bruised, but still hot in Prada, he creates his Seven Desires wish list, his sexiest imaginings. Blake soon realizes there’s only one man he may trust to make these uninhibited intentions come to fruition: his best friend Miguel Santana.

Lower East Side multimedia artist extraordinaire Miguel Santana may be known as the cocky Latin stud in the city, but all he’s wanted since college was Blake’s hand in marriage. He was livid when Blake walked down the aisle with the wrong guy. Miguel has his own list titled the Seven Needs, which are quite contrary to Blake’s dirty-boy deeds. They involve serious commitments, which may leave his new-to-the-singles-scene buddy sprinting for the door, destroying any hopes Miguel has for happiness.

Can these two hunks conquer their intimate fears and love one another as only best friends can? Join the star-studded cast in The Manhattanites series and see for yourself!

Review:
Have you ever picked up a book and felt like you were coming in at the 4th quarter of a game with no idea of what had happened in the previous 2…yes? because that is how I felt while reading Unsaid. I had previously read the first book in the series (Unscrupulous) and so when the author approached me and marketed it as bk 3 in the series but able to be read as a stand-alone, I figured what the heck…I have bk 2 on the TBR pile, and looking back, I REALLY wish that I had made time to read it first, because there were so many events that occurred in Unsaid that had a basis in events from Undressed that I felt lost a good portion of the way through.

On its own, I liked Blake and Miguel’s relationship and how their relationship developed…it was all the extra story lines with Taddy (from bk 1) and Lex (bk 2) that had me lost and scratching my head. That being said, I know how bk 2 ends (well, obviously) since Unsaid is basically a spoiler-fest for the previous 2 books.

I will say up front, if you don’t like a raunchy style of writing, then Ms Aster’s books probably aren’t for you. There is nothing prim and proper about her writing style, you know exactly what the characters are thinking, with swearing built in. Don’t get me wrong, bad language normally doesn’t bother me, but at times while reading Unsaid, I felt myself getting tired and skipping through scenes – which for me is the death knell of a book.

Normally a book like Unsaid would take me maybe a couple of days to read (depending on how my schedule looked), but I struggled with it and I think it was closer to a week before I finished it – there was even a few times where i considered putting it on the DNF pile, but I decided to stick it out. I’ll admit that I’m kind of conflicted on knowing whether or not I’ll read any more of Ms Asters stuff, I liked the first book I read by her, but this one not so much – I guess it is something that I will have to ponder in the near future. Overall, I gave Unsaid 2.5 stars but those who have read the previous 2 books in the series may enjoy it more than I did.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Baked Fresh – Annabeth Albert

baked freshBaked Fresh
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #2 in the Portland Heat series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

Description:
From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, Portland, Oregon, has a lot to whet the appetite, including the hard-working men who serve it all up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter.

When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

Review:
**This Review Includes SPOILERS**
When I picked up Baked Fresh, it had been a while since I had read any m/m romance because I had felt myself getting burnt out on it. However, a friend proposed Baked Fresh as a group read in one of my Goodreads groups and I was sufficiently intrigued that I decided to request it via netgalley. Unfortunately, my interest based on the description and cover soon waned…I had a hard time figuring out why but ultimately, I realized, that I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters/couldn’t emphathize/sympathize with them. Added to that, my mental image of the 2 characters didn’t match with what was on the cover – specifically, one of the charaters had weight loss surgery and was described as being cuddly and that isn’t a term I would use to describe either guy on the cover.

Aside from the whole cover disconnect, I felt like Robin and Vic just didn’t talk – there were so many discussions they should have had, that never occurred. For example, Robin is an ex-drug user, but you never find out when/why he became addicted or how he kicked the addiction. Or Vic, who had had the lapband surgery, never really addressed his personal issues with Robin – he was so insecure about who he was (I guess in part due to his size/weight issues), but for me, it just wasn’t enough. I felt empty when it came to their relationship. There was also a really quick transition in the relationship between Robin/Vic that just felt empty – it went from them not dating (or not wanting to date), not dating, not dating, don’t want to have sex, to jumping each others bones – I just wanted more.

Overall, I was disappointed in Baked Fresh because I was hoping for so much more – I don’t know if its because I hadn’t read the previous book in the series that may have set the scene a bit more…Overall, I gave Baked Fresh 2 stars

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Wood, Screws & Nails – Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme

wood screws nailsWood, Screws & Nails
Authors: Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme
Series: #1 in the Hard Hats series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.

As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. “Look but don’t touch” becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.

Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.

Review:
As I look back on this book, I wonder where to begin because for the most I really enjoyed the experience reading this writing venture between Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme. This wasn’t my first time reading Piper (and I’ve highly enjoyed her previous books), but it was my first time reading Kade’s stuff. I will say looking back, that the writing styles between the two blended together so well, I honestly had no idea who wrote what parts (which I loved). I’ll also point out that I loved the double entendre in the title – Wood, Screws, & Nails – not only did it fit within the whole construction theme of the book, but also within the romance and dirty talk (and I am a sucker for dirty talk among couples).

I’ll admit the whole age different between the two main characters at first kind of squicked me out – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the age-gap idea in romance, but I think it was more the younger guy being the same age as his son. I know that shouldn’t have bugged me, but at first it did. Thankfully, as their relationship started to develop, those feelings that I had dissipated and I liked seeing their love for each other blossom. But I won’t ever be able to look the same way at a construction site if I ever get my house re-done because of one particular scene about ¾ of the way through (but don’t worry – I’m not going to spoil it for you guys who haven’t read it yet).

While not a dislike, per say, I had visualization images of Malachi/Mal – mostly because (and I know this is weird), but I have a friend from the Navy, Malachi, who also goes by Mal – so I kept seeing him when the authors were trying to paint a different image. I know that is probably weird, but mostly, I think its because Malachi isn’t a real common name, so it was natural for me to draw (or not draw similarities)

Most of my dislike from the book stemmed from my dislike of Julian. In general, be it books or real life, I hate seeing people who get away with whatever actions they want with no consequence. I spent a good portion of the book, alternating yelling (mentally) at Aaron to do something about him and hoping that nothing serious would actually happen. Even at the end, I felt that the resolution was just too nice and tied up in a pretty bow. That part of the book needed just a little bit more to fully-flesh out the conflict.

Aside from the whole Julian issue, I really enjoyed Wood, Screws, & Nails and am interested to see how the next book in the series (Hook, Line & Sinker) plays out – even if it appears as though it has different characters. I like the pairing of Piper and Kade in writing and think this is a partnering that could last through a few more books (pretty please!).

Overall, I gave Wood, Screws, & Nails 3.5 stars.

~Dee

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – A Forbidden Rumspringa – Keira Andrews

forbidden rumspringaA Forbidden Rumspringa
Author: Keira Andrews
Series: #1 in Gay Amish Romance series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name.

Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community.

Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?

Review:

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

I’ll be the first to admit that ever seen I saw The Witness with Harrison Ford as a kid the Amish culture has intrigued me. Reading Amish inspirational romances as a teen was a standard and even now they still catch my eye (plus I get really interesting Amazon recommendations when you mix Anish romance and GLBT searches together). So when I saw Keira Andrews was writing an Amish M/M romance I was like – got to read!

This was my first time reading Ms Andrews (although I think I have at least one other book by her on Mt TBR). And I will admit that at first I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to get the depth of the culture in a story that was ultimately a romance but as soon as I started reading the book I was sucked in. I was sneaking reading chapters of this whenever I had a few moments to read – just a little bit more seemed to be my mantra while reading.

I had heard the term Rumspringa before- I mean, there is that horrible show on MTV (I think) about the Amish teens in New York while on Rumspringa (don’t hate me – I had a chunk of down time because of surgery earlier this year and maxed out on my normal shows). what I didn’t realized was that communities can control how/when and if even if their young people can have that experience prior to taking their vows. In this instance, I could see the logic behind why the community didn’t (very Footloose-ish) but ultimately, I didn’t feel that was a good enough reason/logic – there is only so much you can protect children, but where do you draw the line.

I felt connected to David and Issac – their story was just written in a way that you can’t help but feel for them. You could feel how they tried to battle their feelings for each other, because they believed it was wrong because of their religious teachings, but that ultimately, it came down to how they felt for each other. There was a lot of conflict between different characters – not totally over the top, but enough that I found it to be believable – between siblings, between friends, between the religious leaders and their followers. I didn’t realize that different sects (for lack of a better word) in the Amish community existed (stricter, more lenient etc – this was really highlighted in one scene with something simple like a buddy with a reflective sign on it so people in cars can see them on the road).

I will admit that I kept waiting for David and Issac to be betrayed by someone – I know that is probably very skeptical of me – but I just had this feeling – thankfully it didn’t in this book…but who knows in the later ones…I knew going in, based on the limited reviews/discussion that I had seen, that there was going to be a bit of a cliff-hanger, and normally I’m ok with that – but ugh – I can’t believe that I have to wait until JANUARY to find out what happens! (I’m doing the stamp my foot that isn’t fair action right now).

I will say wow – the level of research that went into this book was beyond what I expected – you could see how much time the author put into developing the story and community. i Overall, I gave A Forbidden Rumspringa 4 stars and recommend if you like stories where conflict between religious beliefs and love are key to the story.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Spokes – P.D. Singer

spokesSpokes
Author: P.D. Singer

Description:
Pro cyclist Luca Biondi lives for the race. For the star of Team Antano-Clark, victory lies within his grasp—if he can outdistance 200 other hopefuls, avoid suspicion from race officials, and keep his lieutenant more friend than foe. Luca also has secrets, and eyes for amateur cyclist and journalist Christopher Nye.

Christopher understands Luca’s need to keep their relationship under wraps, but chafes at hiding in the shadows of his lover’s career. He’s ready to cheer Luca’s victories, but he knows too well how triumph can turn to tears. While Christopher’s heart sees Luca the man, his inner journalist—and his editor—sees the cycling world’s biggest scoop.

From the jagged curves of the Colorado Rockies to the viciously steep Belgian hills, Luca can ride out any bumps—except rumors.

A few words in the wrong ear could crash everything. With miles between them, hints of scandal, and Luca’s fierce need to guard his reputation, a journalist might have to let go of the biggest story of his career or risk forcing his lover to abandon the race. Christopher and Luca face a path more treacherous than any road to the summit in the Italian Alps.

Review:
A lot of my friends who read m/m romance rave about PD Singer, but until now I had never actually tried anything by her. So when my friend Frances offered to let me borrow her copy of Spokes, I took her up on it. And then I’ll admit, it got added to Mt TBR and it loitered there for a while…lol (what can I say, too many books, too little time). But then one day, I picked it up thinking that I would just read a chapter…boy was I wrong.

I was immediately sucked into Christopher and Luca’s relationship, or rather lack thereof at the beginning. I loved the whole cycling team set-up, or rather the cycling team, and a wanna-be cyclist who needs help – I mean, I’m a sucker for a guy who will actually ask for and accept help (no comments from the peanut gallery!). And I could really tell that the author had done her research into the world of cyclists – yes, she had the major things down, but it was the small things like when Luca explained to Christopher how to improve his stroke on the pedals to give more power while riding.

The story itself was pretty action packed without being too angsty – although, there were a few moments where I wanted to slap both Christopher and Luca upside the head. It was like talk guys!! But thankfully, everything did work out and the ending was happy, albeit bittersweet. Overall, I gave Spokes 3.5 but rounded up to 4 stars on GR and I’m looking forward to checking out more books by PD Singer in the future.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Book Review

 

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