Daily Archives: August 4, 2015

Against the Grain (THIRDS book 5) by Charlie Cochet

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6635

AgainstTheGrainBlurb

As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.

Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.

(Thank you to Karrie Jax for this beautiful fan art!)

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Review

Taking a slightly different turn, this book is about Ash and Cael (yay!) centrally and Dex and Sloane only peripherally. We get to learn a lot more of the back story about Ash and why he acts like he does as well as some of Cael’s (sad) romantic history.
Though the two have already admitted they love one another, Ash continues to balk at the intimacy he so clearly craves. Poor (sappy) Cael puts up with it over and over because he just loves Ash so much.

There is a little drama with Austen and the team’s boss and some strange Therian drug making the rounds and somehow Shultzon is involved (of course!).

Most of this was fairly low angst and low drama, relationship building and watching Ash work through his personal demons.

**

I love this series and find it hilarious! Charlie has a gift of creating this alternate world you totally want to live in and then giving us fully formed three dimensional characters with flaws and eccentricities who are lovable at the same time you want to strangle them!

I don’t think this was the strongest book in the series – possibly because both Ash and Cael made me crazy. I never quite understood Ash’s motivation for avoiding intimacy. He seemed to flip flop from admitting his interest in men from an early age – then having that bad experience – then finding Cael – so the “gay” part shouldn’t have been the issue – but allowing himself to act on it should have been. But he seemed relatively fine acting on it in private just not public and since when does Ash care what the public thinks of him? I didn’t get it… I might have missed a nuance, but it bugged me that I couldn’t figure it out.

Cael – who I love – I definitely wanted to strangle and then tell him to get a back bone. I would have at least shoved Ash out the door once if not a hundred times until he could prove that he wasn’t a dick! But Cael just kept accepting it and it made me frustrated!

I loved the back stories – especially the baby stories! I also can’t wait until we get to see more about Calvin and Hobbs’ love affair – Woot!

The other great part of this book was seeing the fully developed relationship between Sloane and Dex. It’s so NICE to see them happy for a change.

Overall I still loved this book very, very much and was psyched to read it but I didn’t love Cael and Ash as much as I love Dex and Sloane.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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The Lion and The Crow Audiobook by Eli Easton Narrated by Scott Richard Ehredt

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6736

LionandtheCrow[The]AUDMEDBlurb

In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.

Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.

Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Review

Christian and William are both sons of nobility and live in a time (Medieval) when the church and society fear homosexuality (while ignoring it if Royalty are involved.) There is absolutely no way these two can be a couple – except that Eli Easton manages to find a beautiful solution to their problem.

The romance is slow to build but hot and tender. Eli is a master at making us fall in love with her characters and given the time period and constraints it was a daunting task but she did it!

I even loved Christian’s wife – yes wife!- and thought that aspect of their lives was really depicted marvelously.

In the end we see our lover with a HEA and …. Well… I’m not so sure why the end needed to go beyond the HEA – I suppose ripping my heart out was a requirement! – but it was beautiful even if I’d wished I’d never read it.

**

I love this author, she is absolutely gifted in her ability to draw you into a story and immerse you in the POV of her characters. She is never too wordy and chooses her words with the utmost care.

I am NOT a historical romance fan, and I put off reading this for a long time. When it came out on audio and I listened to a sample I just had to have it!

I was not disappointed. The narration coupled with the expert writing are superb. Truly an immersive experience.

The narrator does all kinds of wonderful voices – appropriate to the time and place of the story – and makes you feel like you are watching a movie or something similar. He’s a new narrator to me and I hope to see more from him in the future.

I have to subtract a little bit – one smidge down from perfect – only because I’m not sure I needed the Epilogue with all it’s … completeness. It was very, very touching, but I enjoyed thinking of the lovers in their happy glory and didn’t really need anything else to make me appreciate their love – though it was magnificent.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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