Audiobooks – My latest Obsession. February 2015

This year I have embraced audiobooks.  I had tried them in the past and I just couldn’t get excited about them.  I found out that I 1) prefer to listen to books that I have already read. and 2) that audiobooks are great for traveling and working around the house or yard. And 3) the narrator can make or  break the way I feel about an audiobook – even if I adore the written word.

So far I have not had too many experiences that have turned me away from an audiobook, but there have been a few.  Those tend to be books that I have a definite voice in my mind for the characters in the book.

I found some wonderful audiobooks in February.  The first being:

Sinner's Gin cover Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford.

Narrated by Tristan James.  

Listening Length: 7 hours and 57 minutes

4-star  Amazon US

Note: When I read the book, I had just finished her Cole McGinnis series and was in love with Cole and Jae and the other wonderful cast of characters in that series.  I was not immediately enamored with Micky and Kane.  As the series progressed I fell in love with these characters too.

Blurb: There’s a dead man in Miki St. John’s vintage Pontiac GTO, and he has no idea how it got there.

After Miki survives the tragic accident that killed his best friend and the other members of their band, Sinner’s Gin, all he wants is to hide from the world in the refurbished warehouse he bought before their last tour. But when the man who sexually abused him as a boy is killed and his remains are dumped in Miki’s car, Miki fears death isn’t done with him yet.

Kane Morgan, the SFPD inspector renting space in the art co-op next door, initially suspects Miki had a hand in the man’s murder, but Kane soon realizes Miki is as much a victim as the man splattered inside the GTO. As the murderer’s body count rises, the attraction between Miki and Kane heats up. Neither man knows if they can make a relationship work, but despite Miki’s emotional damage, Kane is determined to teach him how to love and be loved – provided, of course, Kane can catch the killer before Miki becomes the murderer’s final victim.

Review: (Of the ebook (February 22, 2013 – see above note) I enjoyed this book. I was not as enamored of the characters or story as I am of the Cole McGinnis series. I will read the next one to find out the story behind the last chapter. It is not a cliffhanger per se, more a set up for the next book.  Sinner’s Gin is gritty and deals with some pretty tough issues.   It also has moments of humor, tenderness and steamy sex.
Audiobook review: February 2015
OK. In my original review, I guess I was lukewarm. As the series continued, I came to love these guys. Having just finished the audiobook, I can say that once again, listening to the story was a different experience. I enjoyed Micky even more this time and of course Dude is awesome. The Irish accents for all of the Morgan’s could get a bit confusing, but not enough to take away from the enjoyment of listening to the story.
About that ending – loved hearing the voice of the person brought in at the end and I was so much more excited this time around knowing where we would end up.

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Next up is one of my favorite romances.

Brute by Kim Fielding Brute by Kim Fielding

Narrated by K.C. Kelly

Listening Length: 11 hours and 14 minutes

LYLBTB 50 star  Amazon US

Blurb: Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths – dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

Review – Ebook then audiobook:

A friend of mine highly recommended this book and for some reason it kept being pushed down my tbr list. Finally I had a chance to sit and enjoy this gem.

It is a fantasy told in vivid and sometimes, raw, heartbreaking detail. It is also beautiful and filled with wonderful moments that made me pause and savor the moment. Brute has suffered so much for being different, a giant of a man, feared and mistreated but his heart is even bigger and he does what he feels is right even when the consequences may not be in his best interest.

One such heroic deed changes his life in ways he never imagined and leads him to meet the love he never dreamed he could have.

I admit I kept having visions of Andre the Giant while reading this story, especially his role in The Princess Bride. Andre was always my favorite.

Wonderful story. (December 28, 2014)

Audiobook review February 24, 2015

I can not say enough good things about this book.  It is one of my favorite romances. I loved the narration. Most of the characters fit with my own voice for them except for Lord Maudit, but it was not an issue as far as listening pleasure. I especially loved the voice for Kashta.

As with my ebook review, I love Aeric. His character speaks to my heart. He is lovely.

What I have found with audiobooks, is that if I love the story and the narrator fits with the story, the listening experience is just another level of the heaven I felt when I was reading the book.

This narrator fit this story and it was wonderful. Recommended

bludrgnNext up are the first three books from Amy Lanes’ Johnnies Series, which are now on audiobook.  I Love this series.  Amy Lane is one of my favorite writers.

Chase in Shadow audiobook cover Amy LaneChase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Sean Crisden – Narrator

4,5 starsAmazon US

Listening Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes

Blurb:

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Book Review:

Book read July 19, 2012. I am not sure why I did not write a review at the time. It may have been too much, too raw. Chase in Shadow is a heart wrenching experience. It is so well written. Chase is a complex character filled with so much sorrow and anger and hurt. He is this little boy inside this beautiful man that is trying to please everyone but himself.

I have read the entire Johnnie’s series by this point. Of all Amy Lane’s characters in this series, I think Chase is her most broken, the one that pulled me to the dark places with him. There is a point in the story that is devastating but a pivotal moment. Ms Lane wrote it with such feeling, and Chase and I had been working towards this moment, even though it is something that is feared and yet Ms Lane brings humor into the situation, not to be funny, it felt real and like something that this character and his friends would say. Even though my heart broke, it was freeing for the character as well as for me as the reader. I knew we would be ok.

AND this is why I love Amy Lane’s writing. It is gripping and wonderful and tragic and humorous and makes me feel her characters.

Now for the audiobook review:

Not all narrators capture the character’s voice or the feel of the story. At least that has been my experience and I think it is a very personal decision on what a person thinks the characters should sound like.

Sean Crisden managed to take this already wonderful story and bring it to life for me as a listener. I can not imagine reading this and giving voice to some of the scenes in the book. I actually had to giggle after some because I was imagining this voice actor making these intense, emotional sounds and thinking, wow, that sounds way better than it did in my head when I read it.

Sex sounds aside, it is well done, and I was able to relive the characters and have a new experience of a story I was already familiar with.books that I have already read. It is just something that I prefer.

Loved this book and loved the audiobook too.

Note: These books need to be read in order.  If you have not read the series. Stop here. Go to your favorite book or audiobook store and buy Chase in Shadow. When you have finished reading it, come back and let’s talk about it. 🙂

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Dex in Blue by Amy Lane audiobook coverDex in Blue by Amy Lane

Narrator: Sean Crisden

Listening Length: 10 hours and 28 minutes

4,5 starsAmazon US

Blurb:

Ten years ago David Worral had plans to go to college and the potential for a beautiful future in front of him. One tragic accident later, he fled to California and reinvented himself as Dex, top porn model of Johnnies.

Dex’s life is a tangled mess now, but the guys he works with only see the man who makes them believe even porn stars can lead normal lives. When Kane, one of Dex’s coworkers, gets kicked out of his house, the least Dex can do is give him a place to stay. Kane may be a hyperactive muscle-bound psycho, but he’s also a really nice guy. What could be the harm?

Except nothing is simple—not sex, not love, and not the goofy kid with the big dick and bigger heart who moves his life into Dex’s guest room. When they start negotiating fractured pasts and broken friends, Dex wonders if Kane’s honest nature can untangle the sadness that stalled his once-promising future. With Kane by his side, Dex just might be able to reclaim the boy he once was—and if he can do that, he can give Kane the home and the family he deserves.

Book Review: I love the way this book took my expectations and tossed them out the window, then proceeded to exceed them in ways I had not imagined. I loved Dex from Chase in Shadow. I wanted him to have his his story told and get his happy ending. I just did not know what the journey would be like. It was better than I hoped for. I enjoyed seeing the characters from Johnnies again and a glimpse of what they were/are doing. Amy Lane is one of my favorite authors. Her books are a sensual experience. I can’t wait to see where she takes us next. (October 09, 2012)

Audiobook review: 02/24/2015

Once again, I am blown away with the audiobook. Love the narrator and listening to the story allowed me to pick up on things that I had forgotten from when I read the book. It gave a slightly different nuance to the characters. This is especially true for Kane and Dex’s brother Travis.

I had forgotten Kane’s childlike quality to embrace the little things, love life, be thoughtful, caring and forgiving. He may come across as simple but he is much more, he just doesn’t like complicated. He is passionate and I got a kick out of his love for bugs and reptiles. (Gotta Love Tomas)

Dex’s need to take care of everyone shines in this book and the story that his brother Travis tells, really grabbed my heart and I found myself saying – Yes, that’s Dex/David, exactly.

It had been a while since I had read this book and I had forgotten the specifics about a couple of characters and well, it provoked less than kind thoughts about those characters.

I already loved this book and the audiobook only helped to reinforce that feeling.

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Ethan in Gold by Amy Lane Narrated by Sean Crisden audiobook coverThis is my favorite character.  I reviewed the book for Live Your Life Buy the Book.  I am including a link to the full review with the audiobook review.

Ethan in Gold by Amy Lane

Narrated by Sean Crisden

Listening Length: 10 hrs 46 min

4,5 stars   Amazon US

Blurb: Evan Costa learned from a very early age that there was no such thing as unconditional love and that it was better to settle for what you could get instead of expecting the world to give you what you need. As Ethan, porn model for Johnnies, he gets exactly what he wants – comradeship and physical contact on trade -and he is perfectly satisfied with that. He’s sure of it.

Jonah Stevens has spent most of his adult life helping to care for his sister and trying to keep his beleaguered family from fraying at the edges. He’s had very little time to work on his confidence or his body for that matter. When Jonah meets Ethan, he doesn’t see the hurt child or the shamelessly slutty porn star. He sees a funny, sexy, confident man who-against the odds-seems to like Jonah in spite of his very ordinary, but difficult, life.

Sensing a kindred spirit and a common interest, Ethan thinks a platonic friendship with Jonah won’t violate his fair trade rules of sex and touch, but Jonah has different ideas. Ethan’s pretty sure his choice of jobs has stripped away all hope of a real relationship, but Jonah wants the whole package-the sexy man, the vulnerable boy, the charming companion who works so hard to make other people happy. Jonah wants to prove that underneath the damage Ethan has lived with all his life, he’s still gold with promise and the ability to love.

Audiobook Review: Loved the audiobook as much as the ebook. Ethan is still my favorite character. There is something about him that I connect with.

Listening to the series has allowed me to reconnect with the other characters as well and I have found that I had forgotten some details or it may be just the experience of listening to it rather than reading it brought a new appreciation for the story.

The narrator does a wonderful job with the characters and I love the voice he uses for Ethan. I had encouraged my friend to listen to the Johnnies series after she got me hooked on audiobooks, when she got to Ethan’s book this was what she said about the narrators voice for him: “His Ethan sends shivers down my spine and melts my cold, cold heart into a puddle of warm gooey…um goo?”  I think that says it perfectly.

Each book in the Johnnies series builds on the previous books. There is an overlap of the timelines and I think they really need read or listened to in order.

I originally reviewed the book for Live your Life Buy the Book. If you want to know more about what I thought of the story click the link below:

Live your Life buy The Book

Reading Highlights from February 2015.

February has been another awesome month for reading and listening.  The first book I read was:

Black John (Johnnies #4) by Amy Lane        LYLBTB 50 star     amazonBuyButton Black John by Amy Lane

Blurb: John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible—and left John to clean up his mess. Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John’s craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory’s neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen’s been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory’s life. The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative—and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.

Review: Amy Lane has once again brought me into the lives of her Johnnies characters. I felt anger, sadness, frustration, guilt, tenderness, compassion and forgiveness just to name a few. What I am trying to say, it she makes me feel. Her characters are real to me, not the part where they are porn stars or porn magnate (lol) but they are people who make mistakes, aren’t perfect, figure out what to do to fix it and sometimes need help. Some work it out, some don’t. In Black John, It had been long enough that I had forgotten what John had put Dex and Kane through. I enjoyed watching John figure out what love is, what real friends are and what makes family. Galen was a wonderful character and good match for John. Galen’s journey was poignant and his determination to be the best man he could be for John (and himself) showed so much strength. The back story for John and Tory helped me to understand why John behaved the way he did – not to make his behavior acceptable just where he was coming from. John’s friends Brandt and Zion were also a nice addition and I enjoyed seeing them grow across the time span in the story and they helped flesh out Tory’s character too. If you have not discovered the Johnnies series, I highly recommend it. It will rip your heart out sometimes, but don’t worry, it will be ok. bludrgn

Next is:  Just Jack by Meridith Russell      4-star     amazonBuyButton Just Jack by Meredith Russell

Blurb: When the line between fairy tales, magic, and the real world become blurred, can love really conquer anything? Leo Marsh is having a bad day. He just caught his boyfriend cheating on him, and not for the first time, then he falls, quite literally, for a man who has to be too good to be true…. When Leo slips and falls on some ice in front of Jack, Jack sees something all too familiar in Leo’s eyes. For over fifty years, Jack has existed in a solitary life of ice and bitterness. Just like Leo, he was betrayed by a man he loved, and swore no one would ever break his heart again: he gave up on love, and it seemed love had given up on him. But if by fate or magic, Jack and Leo find their paths crossing for a second time, and with a little guidance from friends, dare to take a chance on each other. The problem is, Jack isn’t the charming and uncomplicated guy Leo thinks he is. When Jack gave away his ability to love, he became something else, someone cold and unloving. He became Jack Frost. As Jack and Leo get closer, Jack is left torn and confused. Jack yearns for anything that reminds him of his humanity, but the truth is, he feels nothing, not warmth, not love, and he knows he might never be able to love Leo the way he deserves to be loved.

Review: This is a wonderful cover. It is beautiful and captures Jack. I enjoyed the take on the Jack Frost mythology. Jack is not a very likeable trickster in the beginning, but after he manages to hurt a man and actually feels compelled to help this person, something changes. He sees some of who he was before. The characters are not perfect and they made mistakes and there were moments I wanted to shout at them, but overall, they managed fine without my help and I enjoyed experiencing their journey with them. It is a sweet, romantic tale, with a bit of magic.

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OK – Looking for fun, sweet, feel good romance?  I saw this novella mentioned by  someone whose reviews I respect and has similar taste in books. I decided to give it a go. I was very happy I did. If you are not familiar with Goodreads, it is a book review site that you can list your books, review them, make friends, see what others are reading, etc.  They also have groups.  One of the Groups is the  M/M Romance Group.  Every year they put together a theme and authors will have a prompt, a letter and/or photo, then they write a short story about it in the theme of the series.  These are published to the group , then as a collection and sometimes they wind up on Amazon.  Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins is one of those.  It was written for the Love’s Landscapes Series 2014   You need to be a member of the M/M Romance Group to be able to access these unless the author publishes them to another site once the series is complete.

Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins  4.5stars    amazonBuyButton Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins

Blurb: Helping his sister Lucy raise her kid has put Devin’s love life on hold. When he loses a bet to her and the penalty is to go out on five dates with men she’s chosen from Guys4Guys.com, he thinks that’s bad enough. Finding out she used a thirteen-year-old picture of him to score a date with a young guy who looks like a rock star? Epically bad. Jay thought he wanted to fall for an older man. But his last boyfriend left him feeling humiliated and determined to stick to guys his own age. When he realizes he’s been conned into a date with exactly the kind of man he’s sworn to avoid, he’s ready to walk away on the spot. Only Devin’s swift apologies convince Jay to accept dinner to make up for the deception. “The date doesn’t count for the bet unless you get a goodnight kiss.” After one not-a-date dinner with Jay, Devin isn’t worried about his sister’s rules. He just wishes he could convince Jay to go out with him for real. Jay wants no part of Devin, but Devin wants every part of Jay . . . so he asks Jay to help update his look for the rest of his dates. But once Jay’s made Devin over into the perfect date, will he be able to let him go?

Review: This is a fun, light, humorous romance, with very little angst. This is my first story by this author and I enjoyed her writing style and the voice she gave her characters. It flowed easily and the banter between the characters felt natural. Jay and Devin and their “not dates” were fun. Perfect for a quick romantic, feel good read. ❤

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Guarding Morgan Sanctuary #1 RJ Scott

I entered a drawing from RJ Scott celebrating her upcoming 75th book release.  I had a choice of books and after much debate I chose:

Guarding Morgan (Sanctuary #1) by R.J. Scott   4-star    amazonBuyButton

Blurb: Morgan Drake is the only witness to a murder in an alleyway. Nik Valentinov works for Sanctuary, a foundation offering witness protection to anyone whose safety is compromised. Morgan discovers a bodyguard’s arms can offer more than protection. Morgan Drake witnesses a murder in an alleyway. He is the only person who can give evidence in prosecuting the cop responsible for the crime. When the FBI safe house where he’s being held is compromised, he follows the instructions of the agent in charge and runs. Nik Valentinov works for Sanctuary, a foundation that offers witness protection when FBI security is questionable. When Morgan’s handler sends him to Nik for safety, neither Morgan nor Nik could imagine that two weeks alone in a cabin in the woods would have their hearts racing with something much more than merely trying to keep Morgan alive. Love.

Review: Guarding Morgan is an enjoyable, mystery/suspense romance. Despite it centering around a character that is in witness protection because he witnessed a brutal murder, the story is not heavy. Morgan’s FBI bodyguard sends Morgan to find Nik, his ex partner, who now works for a group called Sanctuary, when Morgan’s safety is compromised. Morgan’s character is sweet and nerdy while Nik is tough and serious (but apparently a softy for Morgan) The build up of the relationship is nice and the ending left us with a mystery to resolve with out it being a cliff hanger. Overall, I really enjoyed this story, the writing style and liked the characters. I definitely plan on continuing with the series.

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On a whim, I saw this book recommended and I had read a book that he co-authored a while back.  I had enjoyed that book and decided to buy this one.

Chance of the Heart by Kade Boehme      LYLBTB 50 star       amazonBuyButton Chance of the Heart by Kade Boehme

Blurb: The path to happiness isn’t always the easiest. Chance Becket’s life was mapped out. He’d one day own the ranch he grew up on, have a family, and be the son he was raised to be, like all good boys in Small Town, U.S.A. When his high school sweetheart calls for a break during her last semester of college, the last place Chance thought he’d end up was in his old friend Bradley’s bed. Bradley Heart blasted out of the closet before his family could name him heir apparent to his father’s church. After six years away, a job layoff has him coming home to work behind the scenes. He and his father have little interaction and he’s fine with it staying that way when he returns home. Going back into the closet, for any reason, is not on his list of things to do. But Chance may prove too much a temptation, especially with the simmering feelings they’ve had for one another since they were teens. Confused over his sexuality, Chance has to decide what’s more important — loyalty to his family and the path set forth, or the promise of happiness with not just the only man, but the only person, he’s ever really wanted. Includes a very toppy accountant, a cowboy who’d rather be in the kitchen, porn positions, some spanking, and absolutely zero religion other than worshipping… You know.

Review: Love the play on names for the title. I enjoyed the setting being in central Texas where I’m from. The growing up doing what is expected, hiding oneself because it is just what one does, then finding that reason to live out loud made for a beautiful, sweet and very sexy story. The angst was minimal. I love the mix of foodie and cowboy, country life and urban living. The characters were easy to like and I read the story in one sitting because I did not want to put it down. *** I also want to note that this book was edited by Ally Editorial Services  .  If you are an independent author looking for editing services, be sure to go to her website and take a look. ***

bludrgn Off Campus (Bend or Break #1) by Amy Jo Cousins Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins  4.5starsamazonBuyButton

Blurb: Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide. With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that. But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed. Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging. Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.

Review:

4.5/5.0

When I finished reading Off Campus I had mixed feelings. I enjoyed the book. The characters are both struggling with what life has thrown at them. Tom’s father is in prison for a scheme that left many people destitute and Tom homeless. He has gone from a life of privilege to sleeping in his car and driving a taxi to get by. He doesn’t trust anyone and this includes himself at times.

When he is allowed back into university, he is happy to have a room in a dorm for older students. He is not expecting to find a younger man, openly gay with a caustic attitude as his roommate. Reese, the roommate, does not want Tom there at all and goes out of his way to run him off.

Gradually we get to know Reese better and see why he has built this persona around himself. It is easy to care for these characters. There are times I wanted to tell Tom to stop. Stop the self-doubt and lack of trust in others and in his self. Everything centered around the turmoil of his father’s criminal trial and the way his father taught him to interact with people. These were a constant soundtrack for Tom as well as the badgering from the media after his father’s arrest, that forced Tom to become reclusive.

If it had only been the two main characters it would have felt pretty angsty, but these guys have some good friends and Cash and Steph are awesome, “I have your back”, best friends. I think Cash was my favorite character when it was all said and done.

The back and forth between Reese and Tom, the careful dance they did with one another felt realistic. It was sweet and beautiful with sexy moments that were tender and raw with emotion. They were both brave and fragile and I wanted things to work out for them so much as I was reading.

I also loved the contrast between Tom’s father and Reese’s father. I have to say, Reese’s dad was awesome.

I guess the mixed feelings came from the angst but after I sat and thought about those feelings, I came to the conclusion that I really enjoyed this book, it captured my heart and made me care for the characters. This is my second Amy Jo Cousins book, it will definitely not be the last.

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How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton  How to Howl at the Moon (Dog Shifters of Mad Creek #1) by Eli Easton 4-star

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I started this one on the last day of February and finished it on the first day of March.  I could not leave this for a march Highlight.  It was just too much fun.

Blurb: Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

Review:  I saw a couple of reviews for this book and being a fan of Eli Easton’s writing, I decided to give it a try.  You would think being a fan would be reason enough (I have loved everything I have read from her so far) My issue was shifters, not my favorite sub-genre, but this was dogs.  I love dogs and I thought it would be fun.  It was!

I enjoyed the way the author took a dog breeds characteristics and mixed them into the personalities of the Quickened (Those that are shifters) There is also a twist to the ability to become a shifter that I thought was nicely original.  It was also the source of some of the more somber moments in the book. Overall, the story is humorous and playful.  Tim is a sweet, damaged man who although cautious, is optimistic, hopeful and easy to like.  His shyness and love of gardening are endearing.  Sheriff Beaufort was less loveable in the beginning, all business and protective of his town, his pack.  When Lance allows his inner dog (a gorgeous Border Collie) to come out, we gradually get to see another side of the Sheriff, and I liked him.  The romance is sweet and gradual and does not follow the usual shifter mythology.  The Sheriff’s mother was a bit over the top as the meddling mom with good intentions. There are some rough spots in the relationship, thanks to mom and some misunderstandings but it was not overdone and I thought it helped show Tim’s inner strength. There are some interesting secondary characters, Daisy – a retriever shifter, Gus, a bulldog shifter, Fred Beagle who I assumed is a Beagle shifter and Roman, a German Shepard shifter.  Of the secondary characters, Roman was my favorite and I hope to see his book soon.

If you are looking for a fun, sweet story with an unusual take on shifters, I recommend How to Howl at the Moon.

Happy Reading,

Melyna

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