Tag Archives: widower

Closer by F.E. Feeley, Jr.

💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫

TITLE: Closer

AUTHOR: F.E. Feeley, Jr.

PUBLISHER: Beaten Track

RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2018

BLURB: Maplewood, Vermont is a picturesque town filled with unique shops, unique homes, and a quaint familiarity all centered around a lake with an unusual history.

Legends, old as well as Urban, float around like the mist that hovers above the lake at break of dawn.

But they’re just stories, right?

Hayden Moore’s life was destroyed when his husband, Malcolm, was murdered. Giving up his job as an assistant district attorney in Boston, Hayden moved to the little burg of Maplewood to recover.

A new life.

A fresh start.

However, something underneath the water is stirring. Something rotten. A deadly secret wakes underneath the black waters of Lake Veronica so disturbing it haunts the nightmares of the local residents.

It’s coming closer…

REVIEW: Freddy Feeley has excellent stories to tell. And he tells them with perfection. This book is a full course meal. With almost 400 pages of an excellent storyline, character development and superb editing; this book is really something.

With the hopes that a change in scenery would help him in his grieving process after his husband’s murder, Hayden settles within a beautiful small town in Vermont. On the surface, it’s picturesque, Norman Rockwell painting perfect but under the beautiful veneer lies a dark and disturbing secret.

Hayden purchases a home and hires the town contractor and former soldier Tommy Law to renovate it. Although Tommy’s a loner, he finds himself surprisingly drawn to Hayden. Hayden’s pain and grief positively leaps off the pages at you. You feel every single bit of it and Tommy’s loneliness. It’s a damn good author whose able write a story and stir an emotional response within the readers.

What’s also interesting about this story is that the author didn’t just make the MC’s the main focus of the book. His peripheral characters also had their own vibrant personalities that were also made a part of the story. Their characters were extremely well written. He did a fantastic job of allowing those characters to shine while simultaneously maintaining focus on the MCs and the storyline.

This author is one of those authors that everyone tends to ‘sleep’ on. Meaning, he’s not part of the ‘in’ crown and as such, his work is often overlooked which is crazy. He has a writing style that is complex, cerebral and his writing style is crisp. The way he weaves a story is absolutely amazing.

You had so many wonderful ingredients to this book: grief, pain, love and loss, mystery, suspense, with a big dash of horror thrown in.

I truly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend this book and this author. Don’t sleep on this author, y’all. He churns out the most amazing stories.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Beaten Track Publishing 

 

 

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Signs of Life (Reilient Love Book 2) by Melanie Hansen

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6746

SignsofLifeLGBlurb

A Resilient Love Story

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.

High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.

An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.

Review

The story starts out rough. No holds barred. Rough. Jeremy loses his husband and their unborn child first thing. He goes into a deep depression and loses himself for a year or more. It’s only now, about 2 years later that he’s even beginning to re-surface and re-claim his life.

Kai is a former gang member turned teacher. He works with at-risk kids to give them the chance that he didn’t have. He had some horrible experiences in his childhood that have shaped him, but with the help of his close friend, Loren and some others he’s come around to a full life.

Kai and Jeremy meet as a one time hook up at a club. Jeremy freaks after and makes an ass of himself. Luckily, when they meet again, Kai’s heart is big enough to understand the reasons behind the freak out.

At first it’s a sex only, no-strings arrangement. Jeremy is clear on that. But over time, feelings grow and emotions get involved.

**

This is an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful story. It is so painful at the beginning but it has such a beautiful ending, the pain is worth it.

Melanie Hansen’s writing is perfection. She has improved even since book one (which was great) and there are no rough edges to this book. The story line is clean, thought provoking without being preachy, real and rugged but still very sentimental and romantic. You can see this actually happening but still feel the fairy-tale-ness of the story. (The blazing hot sex helps with that!)

Kai and Jeremy are HOT together. Their chemistry is off the charts. But it’s also really touching and romantic when it needs to be. I loved how they fit each other so well. It’s never a big deal that Jeremy is rich – it’s just there. Kai is independent and always will be so it’s not a big deal. That was very refreshing.

I also loved how Loren and his impact on Kai’s life was handled. Again, it felt really authentic and real. They are amazing friends and I am hoping we see Loren’s story soon.

It was nice seeing the happy Jase and Carey bits, seeing them with more of their HEA.

I really, really loved this story. It will count among the years best for me and I highly recommend it. (It’s absolutely fine as a stand alone, but book one was great, too.  Reviewed here:  http://kimichanexperience.com/everything-changes-melanie-hansen/)

PS Isn’t the cover to-die-for?!?!

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

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Never Let Go of Hope by Edward Kendrick

Smashwords presents http://www.amazon.com/Never-Let-Hope-Edward-Kendrick-ebook/dp/B00ZS5298I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1437867707&sr=1-1&keywords=never+let+go+of+hope+by+edward+kendrick&pebp=1437867709095&perid=1E9MRE83MKNSJVGHK8HE

never let go hopeBlurb

Well-known artist Ellis Williams is in a slump and feeling all his fifty-three years. He’s lost the joy which used to permeate his painting and despairs of ever regaining it. It doesn’t help when he runs into a young man who comes on to him to win a bet, thus destroying more of Ellis’s confidence.

Then, at a party, Ellis meets Martin Lovell, a man his age whose partner died soon after they adopted their son. Will these two middle-aged men learn they should never let go of hope? Or is it too late for men their age to open themselves to the possibility of love and being loved?

 

Review

Ellis is a misanthropic artist, living on his own outside New Orleans. He’s fairly happy to be reclusive, only occasionally feeling that yearning for human (sexual) contact. Lately, though, his art (his true mistress) has been lacking spark, so he finds himself seeking out human contact for the first time in years.

Martin is a widower, father of a 10 year old, and a basically wonderful, big-hearted guy. He meets Ellis after Ellis has just been “played” by a 20-something at a bar and is feeling particularly despondent.

The two start a VERY slow relationship that only very, very gradually develops into something more.

**

This is a slow burn romance that spends more time with developing Ellis than the relationship. It’s terribly sweet, low steam and very nice, but not something amazing or fantastic.

I enjoyed watching Ellis’ art transform as he felt more and more for Martin and I loved that there was no drama with the child.

It’s a nice, short story of love between guys over 50 and I enjoyed it very much.

4 of 5 hearts

4

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Random Acts Audiobook by Mia Kerrick Narrated by Iggy Toma

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6526

random acts audioBlurb

Bradley Zelder can’t find his way in life. After struggling for nearly a decade, he has yet to complete his college degree. Working as a school custodian, living in blue-collar Landsbury, MA, his love life is as empty as the rest of his existence. But on his way home after another disastrous date, his truck breaks down in upscale Oceanside. When he thinks life can’t get any worse, a man who is the epitome of Boston elite and everything Bradley finds attractive and intimidating helps him move his truck to the side of the road. Ashamed of his lot in life, Bradley almost lets the opportunity slip away, but he comes to his senses in time and tracks Caleb down.

From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life—until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?

Review

Bradley had a bad experience with a man in his early years, so he now has sex with women, but can’t connect with them emotionally.

Caleb lost his husband a few years ago and is only recently able to think about moving on.

When Bradley helps Caleb out the two find they have a strong connection that slowly builds from friendship to lovers to permanence.
About 60% through the book the focus of the book shifts to the “random acts” aspect of the title when Caleb is attacked and sinks into a depression. From there the focus changes from their relationship to dealing with life’s “haphazardness” and issues of how people handle things like “accidents” .

**

This is a tough book to review because on the one hand I liked the characters and thought the overall sentiment was really sweet and touching.

On the other hand I find Mia Kerrick’s language sometimes terribly stilted and awkward, especially when it comes to dialog.

I enjoyed the slow burn and the gradual unfolding of the love between the two men – I thought it was awesome that Caleb was able to differentiate his feelings for his dead husband and his new lover and that Bradley didn’t seem to dwell overly much in the land of jealousy for the past relationship.

I wasn’t sure that the attack (especially as it came from left field).
3 of 5 hearts

Audio

I really like Iggy Toma’s narrations and felt he did an excellent job here. He definitely added to the overall experience and I would recommend listening to this above reading it.
5 of 5 hearts

Overall 4 of 5 hearts

4

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Because of Roses by Richard May


Daily Dose Short Story
Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6561

BecauseofRosesBlurb
After the death of his longtime partner, American attorney Dan Evans is reassigned to his firm’s London office. It’s a change his life sorely needs. While admiring roses in a small village in the Cotswolds, Dan meets Martin Saint John. Martin, still fit and attractive at seventy, has also lost his partner, and now spends his time growing roses, meeting friends in the pub, and going to church on Sundays, content with his quiet life. Roses and tea progress to spending weekends together exploring the countryside, but the differences between Dan and Martin go beyond the fifteen year age gap. If they can open their hearts and accept love—instead of accepting its absence—they might find a second chance at happiness. All because of roses.

Review

In this very short story a 50ish year old man moves to England from America after having lost his partner to a heart attack. He meets his neighbor, a 70is year old man, who has lost his partner to cancer.

Over the course of the next 6 months they develop a friendship that turns to more.

It is a very sweet, simple story about finding love at any age. There is no angst, really no hurdle and in a way, the story needed it. I loved it’s simplicity and the message that you are never “too old” but I wasn’t quite sure it was enough…

The writing was lovely and I applaud the author for giving us MCs of that age.

3.5 of 5 hearts

Sultry Sunset (Mangrove Book 3) by Mary Calmes

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6387

SultrySunsetBlurb

Hutch Crowley is well-liked in the small resort town of Mangrove—he’s got friends in his new neighbors, he’s the owner of the town grocery, and he’s building a community center—but he’s still unlucky at love. Every man he’s attracted to is either taken or simply not interested, including his best friend, Mike Rojas.

When Mike came to Mangrove two years ago, Hutch gave him a job and a place to stay in his guesthouse, where Mike has remained ever since. Despite the rumors circulating about them, Hutch knows Mike is straight and looking for the right woman. But his friends disagree, and after some hints to the contrary, even Hutch finally has to admit that maybe the rest of the town sees something he’s been missing. If Hutch wants to spend each sultry sunset with the man of his dreams, it might be time to figure out what’s going on with his best friend’s heart.

Review

If you’ve been reading the series (which you should, but don’t have to), you know Hutch is our grocer, and so far he’s been “interested” in every gay man the town has to offer, but has failed to find “the one”.

We find out that for the last two years he’s had a best friend, Mike “Don’t call me Michael”, living in his guest house and taking up most of his free time.

As you can predict, there is more to them than friendship, despite the fact that up til now Mike has always been straight.

**

I compare these Mangrove stories to cotton candy – one of my all time favorite foods – because they are wonderful, light, sweet and just a touch unsatisfying. Because they are so short, we don’t get a lot of lead-time to develop the tension between our MCs. Sure, Mary always gives us wonderful characters and an amazingly sweet love scene or two, but I really miss her ability to create that heat and draw out the sexual neediness between her characters that she’s just so great at.

I still love these stories, don’t get me wrong – but boy I wish they were longer.

In this case the secondary characters of Ivy and Essien almost – almost! – steal the show, but Mike and Hutch are terribly sweet together and I love them as a couple.

The mangrove series is fun because the small town and the recurrence of previous characters feels like coming home and I eagerly await the next installment.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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Ever The Same by BA Tortuga

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6096

ever the sameBlurb

Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

Review

Dixon has had to move in with his parents after losing his husband and his sight. His parents are supportive – to an extent – but there is an underlying tension in the house that keeps Dixon on the edge of miserable.

Audie is a young, single father, working his family ranch because he knows nothing else. His mother is somewhat supportive of him, but doesn’t approve of his being gay and isn’t shy about letting him know it.

Dixon and Audie meet when Randi (Dixon’s daughter) punches Grainger (Audie’s son). Audie pretty much immediately falls for Dixon but it takes awhile for that to play out.

The romance between Dixon and Audie is fairly easy going, their relationship is not. Dixon is a widower, well meaning friends and family worry Audie is a rebound man. Dixon is blind, family members worry that he won’t be able to contribute and that he might not be the best man to raise his own daughter, much less two children. Audie is a landless cowboy (he’s mother won’t put a gay boy in her will) with a child of his own.

Despite all the various obstacles and reasons why this shouldn’t work… it does and it does so beautifully.

**

I really enjoyed this country mouse/city mouse story. The immediate attraction and the acceptance of their romance between themselves let the rest of the story be about each of their own growth.

For all intents and purposes, one wrong decision led to Audie being a single dad, trapped on his family ranch at the age of 25. He’d never gotten to be a single gay man or do any of the other stuff that we do when we are young and carefree. As a result he’s older in some ways but still has a lot of that youth and inexperience in him that was a perfect mix for Dixon.

Dixon had been there and done that. Though he was only 33, he’d had a much more varied life, though not on a ranch! He was a bit jaded, a bit spoiled, a bit insecure, a bit self involved, but so brave. His family didn’t support him – not really – and he felt totally lost.

What I loved was that both men saved each other and the kids helped too. It’s hard to write kids because no two kids are a like and it can be hard to represent that mix of surprisingly mature things that sometimes come out of a young mouth along side the more immature tantrums and such. I think Randi and Grainger are excellent examples of kids done well. Though there were times I thought they were a little too mature, most of the time I really thought they were great.

I loved how the families were represented. They both felt very “gray” to me, meaning not all good and not all bad. So often the family is this all or nothing evil villain when in reality there is usually a mix. Dixon’s parents are well meaning if not fully supportive. Audie’s mom isn’t all bad, though she is pretty judgmental and petty.

Dixon’s reaction to being blind felt pretty appropriate as well, though I did wonder at his relative ease at getting over Ron. I also wondered why Ron’s family was so intent on keeping Randi when Dixon was the biological father, why weren’t his parents taking over?

Overall I thought this was a riveting and wonderful book and I highly recommend it.

Writing/Editing 5
Romance 4
Sex/Heat 4
Storyline 5
World Building/Characterizations 5

Overall 4.6 of 5 hearts!

4.5

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