Daily Archives: February 25, 2015

Love & Loyalty Audiobook (Faith, Love, & Devotion book 2) by Tere Michaels Narrated by JP Handler

Dreampsinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5828

love & loyaltyBlurb

Detective James “Jim” Shea is a Seattle homicide detective who has never taken his work home with him – until now. A case has gotten under his skin and though it’s “over,” it isn’t for Jim. The emotional toll has left him vulnerable and tied to the victim’s dying father.

Meanwhile, Hollywood comes calling for a hot story, and screenwriter Griffin Drake sees the tragic case as his ticket to more serious fare than his usual action blockbusters. But to get the whole story he needs to win over the stoic and protective Detective Shea.

Neither man has had much luck when it comes to romance or long-term relationships and neither is particularly looking but there’s an attraction from their first meeting that can’t be denied. Their impromptu first date seems to have no end in sight – quickly becomes a barreling freight train of romance.

Looming problems outside threaten their relationship – death, secrets and broken trust – and they’ll have to learn loyalty to save their newfound love.

Review

We met Jim in book one. He’s the guy Matt has the one night “fling” with and with whom he is now friends. He gives Matt “tips” on being gay.

Jim’s been working on a very tough/sad case that is now suddenly being turned into a movie.   (You will be surprised at who wants this done and why!)

While working on the film he meets Griff, a Hollywood director, and though he’s everything Jim swears he’s opposed to, the two set off sparks. Suddenly a short fling is looking more and more like something permanent.

**

This is almost a stand-alone in that if you haven’t read book one you wouldn’t miss much (if anything) and it doesn’t really need to be read to move on to book three. (However books 4 & 5 won’t be as impactful if you skip this one… so go on read it!)

Jim and Griff’s story is a lot different from Matt and Evan’s story and that’s a good thing. Their story is not a repeat of Matt and Evan with different names, but instead completely unique to them.

I really love Tere Michael’s characters. She’s taken a side character and made him a MC but he already had such depth that she was able to run with it seamlessly.

Griff is great. I typically don’t like Hollywood type stories but I really loved Griff and all his drama with Daisy. He was a great contrast to the tough cop trio of Matt, Evan and Jim.

Kudos to Tere for also giving us an interesting murder mystery as well. It definitely added to the story and highlighted the romance well.

I think this is another great book full of humor and wit and a sweet but realistic romance.

Audio

The narrator is JP Handler and as I have mentioned in the previous reviews, he is not my favorite. I just don’t get involved in his narrations as much as I’d like and as a result it detracts from the overall experience of listening to this great book in audiobook format.

Writing/Editing 5

Romance 5

Sex/Heat  5

Storyline 5

World Building/Characterizations 5

Audio 2

Overall 4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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Better Than Good Audiobook (Better Than Book 1) by Lane Hayes Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Better-Than-Good-Audiobook/B00J5REHHQ/ref=a_search_c4_1_4_srTtl?qid=1424491337&sr=1-4#publisher-summary

better than goodBlurb

Matt Sullivan understands labels: law student, athlete, heterosexual. He has goals: graduate and begin his career in law. One fateful night, Matt tags along with his gay roommate to a dance club and everything changes. Matt finds himself attracted to the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. All labels go flying out the window.
Aaron Mendez doesn’t believe in labels, and he’s leery of straight curious men. He makes it clear that he’ll hide his fabulous light for no one. While Aaron can’t deny the attraction between him and Matt, he is reluctant to start anything with someone who is still dealing with what this new label means–especially when that someone has a girlfriend.

Review

Matt is a straight guy (ok, he’s maybe looked a time or two, maybe more…) who meets Aaron at a club one night. He’s immediately hooked. They dance and then … sort of date for awhile, but Aaron is skeptical. He’s been burned by men “experimenting” before and doesn’t want a closet case relationship either.

At first Matt is in agreement with Aaron. He’s straight, Aaron’s gay. What was he thinking? But as they get to know one another the feelings he’s feeling don’t go away, they grow stronger.

After what feels like a long time, they do finally agree to give things a chance and thus starts the beginning of a lovely relationship.

(There are many novellas Lane Hayes has updated us with – little stories about Christmas and Valentines day etc that showcase the couple later down the road.
https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/better-than-candy-part-1-a-better-than-short-repost-nsfw/)

**

I just love Aaron. He’s a mostly, very self assured person. And, really, so is Matt. Once we get over the rocky start their romance is just so lovely and  very tender.  The smexy times are hot and them as a couple is great.

I loved the GFY/OFY exploration we get to see and the evolution as Matt identifies himself as gay.

As we get to see the couple evolve over time, they only get better and better!

Audio:

Tyler Stevens is an excellent narrator. I love the emotion and rhythm of his narrations. He does a tremendous job with this and makes the story really come to life.

Writing/Editing 5
Romance 5
Sex/Heat 4.5
Storyline 4.5
World Building/Characterizations 5
Audio 5

Overall 4.8 of 5 hearts!

5

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Inclination by Mia Kerick

inclinationBlurb

Sixteen-year-old Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio is a nice Catholic boy with a very big problem. It’s not the challenge of fitting in as the lone adopted South Korean in a close-knit family of Italian-Americans. Nor is it being the one introverted son in a family jam-packed with gregarious daughters. Anthony’s problem is far more serious—he is the only gay kid in Our Way, his church’s youth group. As a high school junior, Anthony has finally come to accept his sexual orientation, but he struggles to determine if a gay man can live as a faithful Christian. And as he faces his dilemma, there are complications. After confiding his gayness to his intolerant adult youth group leader, he’s asked to find a new organization with which to worship. He’s beaten up in the church parking lot by a fanatical teen. His former best pal bullies him in the locker room. His Catholic friends even stage an intervention to lead him back to the “right path.” Meanwhile, Anthony develops romantic feelings for David Gandy, an emo, out and proud junior at his high school, who seems to have all the answers about how someone can be gay and Christian, too.

Will Anthony be able to balance his family, friends and new feelings for David with his changing beliefs about his faith so he can live a satisfying life and not risk his soul in the process?

Review

There are a few things to know before you decide if this is the book for you.

First, this book is written as a first person present narration. For some people this is hard to read. (Read a sample before you buy it if you are picky about writing styles.) It’s well done here. It reads sort of like a diary or journal, but in the present tense, sort of like you are just glimpsing into the brain of Anthony as he goes through life.

Second, this is definitely a YA novel. There is almost no intimacy of any kind, a little bit of kissing but even a hand-job is aborted because “it’s not the right time for that”.

Third, this is all about being Catholic and/or devoutly Christian. Not just that Anthony is those things, but this is about his struggle with being gay and a Christian.

Fourth, it is written very well and would do well to be read by any young gay person or parent of a gay child who struggles with merging ideas from the church with being gay.

There were parts I really enjoyed. I loved the progression along the fear axis Anthony takes, from denial, to anger, to regret, to anger again, etcetera. I loved how supportive his family and his (to-be) boyfriend were in this struggle.

I didn’t grow up Catholic, never attended Parochial schools, did not have that vision of God as it was described in the Bible or in this book… so I couldn’t really relate to this story personally. But, I could totally see how it would be wonderful if that was your history.

As for me, I got mired down in the religious stuff and was disappointed the romance wasn’t a bigger part of the story.  That’s just my personal preference.

However, knowing that this is a coming of age story about a gay boy dealing with his religion and there is a little romance thrown in, I think if you choose this book based on that information you will be quite pleased with your choice.  Note:  This story is very respectful of religion and does not bash any religion.

Writing/Editing 5
Romance 3
Storyline 4
World Building/Characterizations 4

Overall 4 of 5 hearts

4

Buy from Amazon

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Emi-chan’s thoughts:

I’m almost 14, so I’m probably looking at this book differently than most reviewers (they seem to be mainly adults). There were a lot of things I liked about this book, and there were things I felt irritated about. First off, I am going to admit to being an atheist, so my reaction is probably not the same as a kid who is a Christian.

I was very angry with the kids and youth leader at Anthony’s church. While I don’t understand the need to believe in some invisible god being in the universe, I do firmly in one’s right to do so as long as they a aren’t hurting any with how they express that belief.  Telling people they are awful, perverted, and going to hell to suffer an eternal torment? Yeah, that’s seriously uncool. Also, being a kid is hard enough and becoming a teenager and having to deal with crushes and stuff is even harder without people adding more for us kids to have to agonize over.

I felt bad for Anthony’s family too. I could tell his family really loves Anthony, without any strings attached. To find out your kid is gay and you’ve raised him to believe wholeheartedly that to be a Christian means following doctrine so closely because it’s “the way”, only to discover you’ve unwittingly led him to soul deep despair? That had to be hard, especially given that Anthony felt as if he’d be a huge disappointment to them. I really liked how his family  rallied around him, knowing that Anthony was the same “perfect” son they’d always had, and that meant he couldn’t be wrong for being born gay. That it wasn’t wrong for him to be made, by their God, to love another male.

The romance in this isn’t the usual sort found in YA books. Anthony is terrified and spends a lot of the book trying to reconcile his faith with his gayness. He’s literally terrified that he’s going to go to Hell. It’s eating him up inside. When he crosses paths with David and finds they have this as a common ground, their relationship grows. It’s based on faith and mutual respect. I quite liked how the boys’ stopped themselves from going too far with their feelings. They recognized they weren’t ready yet for sex, so stopped. I did feel awful that they seemed to feel a bit of shame, because sex shouldn’t come with a shame tag. I guess that religiously, they have issues with sex before marriage though.

The overall message that love is love, and that if God is love, he can’t hate you over love, is something I think more people need to accept. Too much hate is spread around and wars happening because people want to use God as an excuse. I don’t think if God is actually out there, he’d be too happy with that. I may not be a Christian, but I study religion (a school subject here in the UK) and Jesus seems to say a lot about loving one another and not being judgmental. This book is good for pointing out how wrong that is, using the Bible itself to show why Christians who think being gay is a sin are wrong. Every person who is even slightly religious should read it, as well as anyone who is trying to understand what the religious fuss is all about.

emi-chan

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