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sharing my reviews for Archaeolibrarian and Divine Magazine

very interesting character, is Ivo!

Hellion (415 Ink #3) - Rhys Ford
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gofted my copy of this book. This is book 3 in the 415 Ink series, but you don't NEED to have read books one, Rebel, and two, Savior, before you read this one. You SHOULD though, because it will give you a better picture of this family group and how they work. Plus, they were both 5 star reads. This one?? Not so much. And I cannot figure out why! Well I can, and I'll try to explain in a bit. Oh don't get me wrong, its still a fabulous book, very well written form both Ivo and Ruan's point of view. Its well told, its emotional, its sexy, its a good book! It just doesn't have that sledgehammer to the chest of such heartbreaking emotion that Gus and Mace's story carry. It DOES have deep emotions, especially when Ivo is talking to Ruan about *that* day and how it led him to do what he did and what happened after, but I kept waiting for Ivo to slip back, for *something* to happen to tip him over the edge. Maybe I'm becoming very mean in my old age, and wanting characters to fall apart so badly cannot be a good thing, but thats how I felt here, and I'm all about the book feelings. I loved how Ruan questioned Ivo about his clothes, his image, the way he is, NOT to make him change, but to understand Ivo better. Loved that Ivo gave Ruan the time to process everything. Loved that all the brothers pop up, there is a little bit of overlap to Mace's story. There is also a little bit that gives you Luke and his story. Now, when Ivo was at his tattoo thing, I saw this coming at me, what I did NOT see what how James and Luke knew each other and what happened then. I look forward to reading their story! And Bear? Oh I have a feeling Ms Ford might have saved the best for last. Being the eldest brother in the family looks like he is the last to fall, and I cannot wait for his story! So, I'm sorry Ivo wasn't quite the a**hole I thought he was going to be, given how much trouble he caused Ms Ford, but I did enjoy his and Ruan's tale, I just did not love it like I did Mace and Gus' 4 great, good stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

narrator changed for this one!

Forsaken (The Protectors, Book 4) - Sloane Kennedy
This is book 4 in the Protectors series, but you don’t need to have read/listened to the other three before this one. Also there is some crossover with the Barrettis series by the same author and I am reading that series and listening to this one, all out of the order the author recommends. Spoilers, is all. Mav stops an attack on Eli in the hospital stairwell and is immediately drawn to the much younger man. He tries to stay away, he really does, but he keeps coming back to check on Eli, but he doesn’t want to get too close, because everyone leaves Mav. Everyone. Eli has other ideas, but he doesn’t want Mav to know about his past. He did some terrible things. When those things come back to affect his younger brothers, Eli knows, he KNOWS all will come out, and Mav will walk away. I’ve been listening to this series, rather than reading it and I struggle to split the narration from the book, like I try to do when writing my reviews for audio books. Also, here? This is not the same narrator as the first three books and I wondered how that would come across, how the VOICES, more importantly, would come across. Had I listened to these back to back, I might have noticed some difference in the voices of previous characters, but I didn’t, either back to back them nor notice the difference in the voices, so I really cannot fault the voices of PREVIOUS characters. What I DID struggle with, at first anyway, was Mav’s voice. I don’t think he actually says a word in any of the other books, although he is mentioned. It’s LOW, so very low it dipped in places outside of my hearing range. Which is odd, cos usually it’s the HIGHER pitch voices I lose. But this is a problem I seem to have with Pauley. The dipping of the voices. And since this is written in the first person, there is no reading voice, as such. It’s either Eli, or Mav, with the other voices breaking it up. So struggled a bit, quite a bit at the beginning. It DOES get better, maybe I grew used to Mav, maybe I grew used to Pauley again, after a while. I don’t know, but it did get better. I cannot fault the story line though! SO much pain carried by both men, for so very different reasons, and Pauley does get that across well, the pain these men have. 5 stars for the book 4 stars for the narration (but it was very nearly 3!) 4.5 stars overall **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

it hit THAT spot, good and proper!

Blue Fire - Z.A. Maxfield
This was a freebie in August 2019. Jared loses his home to a wildfire, and Adam rescues him. Adam doesn’t usually follow up his rescues, but Jared calls to his soul, deeply. When Jared isn’t recovering from his depression, Adam takes a chance and takes Jared to the place Adam calls home. Just when things start looking up, Jared runs. Years later, when Jared finds out Adam has been injured, Jared has moment of clarity, and realises he might have run away from the only person who made him truly whole. Will Adam see him, let alone listen to him? I really rather enjoyed this! It’s not very long, some 80 odd pages, only took me an hour to read, but it was a very enjoyable hour on a wet and miserable Wednesday morning! Jared is still grieving the loss of his husband to cancer, and now the house he built has been destroyed and Jared feels destroyed too. Adam, with his ice blue eyes, rescues Jared from the blaze and visits him in rehab. Adam feels a powerful need to look in on Jared, to look AFTER Jared, and taking him to the cabin in the hills seems just the thing. And it was, till one of them says something, that sends them both into a tailspin and Adam has to return to work. After Jared runs, three years pass, and Jared’s glass work centres around his search for that perfect blue, the one that touches his soul. But it isn’t until Adam is injured, that Jared knows he’ll never find that perfect blue in a glass bauble. I felt for both these guys. Adam, fighting his growing feelings for Jared, and Jared who is still recovering, and fighting all kinds of inner demons of his own. They both have a say, in the third person. It’s hot and steamy in places, and deeply emotional in others. It just hit THAT spot, you know? The warm and fuzzies one. First I’ve read of this author, I’d love to read more! 4 solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

I LOVED THESE!!!

Interludes Box Set - Aliyah Burke
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this box set of three books. Because I read these books back to back, as a set, I’m writing one review for the whole bundle, rather than three separate reviews. And let me tell ya, I loved these books! Well, I LOVED books one and three, two didn’t quite hit that spot, but still! These books landed right in my queue when I needed them the most. I read a lot, A LOT, a lot and a huge chunk of those books are male/male romance of some description or other. Now, I’m not picky, I like to think I’m an equal opportunities reader, I will read most pairings so long as the blurb grabs. But it’s been a while since I had such great male/female pairings that were so bloody sexy! There is instant and powerful attraction between Roxi and Sam in book one. Tuck and Ariel pussy foot around each other for the better part of two years before they act on their feelings in book two. Maya and Brent, in book three, had a one night stand some time (but I was never really clear on how long ago that was!) in Hawaii and when Brent finds himself face to face with Maya again, he wants to pick up where they left off. Each book is well written, with both male and female lead having a say. All the characters have very different voices, and tell their stories in the third person. Each book has a Marine or two as the lead, and there are a whole host of other Marines that pop up in each book. There is a huge supporting cast, spread over the three books, with some very interesting people who I want to have a story of their own. Some massive hints? Clues? Teasers, I think is probably the best word, to their stories and I need to know will there be more in this series?? I read tow of these books in one day, and had I not had to up at stoopid o’clock the next morning, I would probably have read all three! First I’ve read of this author, and now I want to read more. Her back list is massive though, and it may take some time to choose! Like I said, book two did not quite hit *that* spot, but I’m still giving the whole set. . . 5 full stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED book two, yesterday!

The Rogue King (Inferno Rising #1) - Abigail Owen
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Jumping straight in here, cos ooooooeeeee I did LOVE this book!! Brand is a rogue dragon, without a clan. Kasia, a Phoenix without a family. A Phoenix is the only one who can mate with the High King of ALL the dragons, and the makes her valuable. Brand is tasked with delivering Kasia to the Blood King, to his only friend from childhood. But Kasia ignites something in Brand, and he knows he cannot give up his mate. This was, quite possibly, my favourite read this month! I mean, I had a lie in, read a few pages before you have to dig yourself out your pit, and before you know it, 3 hours has past and you've about flung your kindle (but not quite!) at the wall, cos now you NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED book two, yesterday! Everyone, and I mean everyone IMPORTANT has a say: Kasia, Brand, and all those trying to get Kasia (but not saying who!) Not everything is immediately clear, and you put things together all kinds of wrong before things are cleared up. And I LOVE being kept on my toes! It's different, and I LOVE different, with the Phoenix being the key to High King status. With female born dragons being unable to bare children. With Kasia and her sisters having hidden for so long, and Kasia not doing so well hiding herself anymore. There is an ongoing story arc, that makes you NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED book two, yesterday, to see what happens to Kasia's sisters. You can't see what's going to happen, not in the long term, but a massive clue screams at you for one sister, and there is another, much less subtle clue, for another. Whether that pans out how I see it, remains to be seen, but I WILL be reading these books! Thank you, Ms Owen, for proper making my day! 5 bright and shiny stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

I was missing . . . something!

Patron Of Mercy (Lords of The Underworld #3) - Sam Burns, W.M. Fawkes
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. This is book 3 in the Lords of The Underworld series, and it CAN be read as a stand alone. However, personally, I felt I was missing. . . something . . .that I can't quite put my finger on, for not having read books one and two YET. I have them, but I have not got round to them yet! I will do, now though! Lach walked away from Thanatos a milennia ago, because now he was immortal, who wanted to hang aroudn the God of Death? But both Thanatos and Lach lusted after the other for all that time. When Lach discoveres a way to save the world from starvation, he knows he will need Thanatos. Can Lach win back the only man, the only GOD he would ever love? I did enjoy this, apart from the previously mentioned . . .something . . . I really did! All the major players get a say, and you don't see what fate has instore for Lach and his friend till all is made clear in the book. It is HEAVY on the Greek gods history. I *sort of* managed to keep up, because I paid no attention to histoy at school, but I felt I was given enough to *sort of* keep up! Someone else will have paid far better attention, and followed it beautifully. Thanatos and Lach's story, though, I had no trouble following! It;s not overly explicit, but hot enough. There is some detailed descriptions when Lach is in major trouble, though. It is the first book I've read of Sam Burns or WM Fawkes. I'd like to read more, as I said, I have books one and two to read. Their collaboration is really well written, and you really can't tell how they split the writing! (sometimes, it's very obvious!) So, ONLY because of that . . .something . . .I (personally, me, myself, and no one else!) was missing. . . 4 solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

good but not great

Common Powers Box Set - Lynn Lorenz
Indepedent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this box set. Four stories, of men coming together when they need each other the most. Sammi is running away from being a sex slave, can Mitchell keep him safe? Brian and Rush have chemistry, and they haven't even touched, but can Rush step out of the dark for Brian? Edward is in town to visit his grandmother. The Chief of Police, Jack, is so NOT his type. So why is he drawn so badly to the man? After a homophobic attack, Phillip finds himself taken in by Brian and Rush, and Phillip can only hope to have the kind of relationship they do. For the most part, I did enjoy these four books, but maybe reading them back to back wasn't the best idea. The general plot lines are very similar, and some dialogue is repaeted, particularly in the final book, when ALL four guys have a say, and it is especially when the guys are getting down and dirty! And they get down and dirty a LOT in that last book! And I'm not usually one to bawk at a lot of down and dirty but I did feel that it overshadowed Phillip's story. I did enjoy the paranormal aspect: Sammi can read minds, Brian has premonitions, Rush can see in the dark, Edward can heal by touch and Phillip can influence by touch. I liked that all the guys in the pairings have a say, so we hear from everyone and you know that makes me happy. I did not like the SPEED at which things moved for the first three couples. Phillip's tale was a good deal slower, with everyone else having some thing to say. The previous three though?? Very quickly it went from attraction to love, for Sammi and Mitchell, it was the first chapter! I'm all for insta-love in places, but I did not like here, especailly for Sammi because of what he was running from. But equally, Jack and Rush are hiding, deep in their only personal hall closets, and you have expected there to be a bit more reluctancy to fall in love from those two (although they DID fight it, tooth and nail!) It was just too mcuh too soon. It is explicit, heavily so; it also carries references to murder, rape and stalking and deals with the sex industry and being held against their will. Still, a good read, just not a brilliant one. 3 GOOD stars **same worded review will appear elewhere**

 

doesn't quite hit THAT spot!

Black Sky Morning (Mind + Machine #3) - Hanna Dare
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. This is book 3 in the Mind + Machine series, and it's not totally necessary to read the other two books first, but I personally think it would give you a bigger better picture of Jonathan, and his work. I LOVED books one adn two, this one though, did not quite hit THAT spot, you know? And it pains me, deeply, when I cannot figure out why! Jonathan is Rylan's brother (book one, Metal Machine Magic) and Xin pops up on both previous books (I think!) they just haven't crossed paths just yet. Not til Jonathan enlists Xin in a mission that goes a bit wrong. But then Xin enlists Jonathan in a mission of his own and the pair end up stranded on a distant planet, faced with possible death. They have to work together to get free. Neither is used to trusting though. I liked the way the story developed, at an even pace, fast enough to keep up but not so fast you miss something. I liked that there wasn't rally any attraction brewing between them (at least I didn't pick it up!) until Xin brings up a possible physical relationship to get them through their predicament. I liked the way that things crept up on them both. It's well told, from both Jonathan and Xin's point of view, in the third person. Each voice is clear and distinctive, given their very different upbringings. I liked the way their story unfolded. I just didn't LOVE it like the other two! So, gonna leave it with this, a good solid sci-fi read, that I did read in one sitting! 4 solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

Jesse was HARD work!

Enough - Matthew J. Metzger
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Jesse loves Ezra, he just can't say the words while he's waiting for Ezra to realise that Jesse isn't good enough for him. It takes an accident to make him see what Ezra does: that Jesses really is more than enough for him! For the most part, I did enjoy this. Besides one glaring reason, which I will tell you shortly, the other reason is a little less glaring and might just be the reason other people love this book. And it's Jesse himself! You know the saying, if you hear it often enough, you'll start to believe it?? Well Jesse does not believe Ezra when he tells him he loves him. Jesse does not believe Ezra when he tells him he does NOT want his ex. He does not believe Ezra when Ezra tells Jesse that his family are homophobic and will hate Jesse on sight but that's only because Jesse is a MAN and not for Jesse himself. And I found this bit hard to deal with! I mean Ezra tells him often enough, enough to get a little bored hearing Ezra repeat himself time and time again. Jesse talks himself down so much, I started to get negative feelings for him, and wanted to slap him upside the head and MAKE HIM SEE, but it's not until he realises he might actually LOSE Ezra, that Jesse takes stock, and finally, halle-flipping-luiah, prasie the God he doesn't belive in, Jesse FINALLY can see, that he really is what Ezra wants, WHO Ezra wants! It just took him far too long for my liking! And the glaring thing?? Only Jesse has a say. Yes yes I know I say it often enough to be as annoying as Jesse is here, but come on! Ezra NEEDED a say, to balance out how negative Jesse was for most of this book. Ez is quite a chirpy soul, and I think this may well have been a 5 star read, had Ez been given a voice, and we got into HIS head, when he was telling Jesse over and over how much he loved him and wanted him. It's heavy on steam and passion, but at one point I thought it might come out almost clean. It wasn't til it was clear it was NOT going to be clean, that I noticed it had been up to that point, and,to be honest, this book would have been great (previous points aside) had it been totally clean. I didn't dislike that it came out not clean, but I would have liked it just as much if it had, does that make sense? Does to me, so hope it does to you! The after effects of the accident is described in great detail, graphically so, and that really IS needed, to get the full picture. Not easy reading, but you do need it. This is the first I've read of this author, but another of his books is sitting on my "languishing on kindle" shelf. I might pull it forward! So, because Jesse was a little grating on the nerves, adn because ez doesn't get a say. . . . 4 solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

really rather cute!

Hearts Abroad (The Atlas Series #1) - Skye McNeil
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Londyn takes a nanny job, while thinking what to do about her play writing. Since her 'boyfriend' stole the last play she wrote, she thinks she might give up. A summer out of town, looking after two little girls, might give her the clarity she needs. She just never expected to fall in love with the girls or their daddy. Callum is a museum curator and spends a lot of time away from his family. But the new nanny makes him see, really see, what that is doing to his girls. He just didn't see Londyn coming! This was a really great, fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's well told, with both Callum and Londyn having a say, in the third person. We get all of Londyn's stressing about her playwriting, and how much fun she wants the girls to have. We get all of Callum's fretting over his feelings for the nanny, and we get his dawning realisation that it might not just be infatuation. I liked the marked differences between Londyn and Callum, it made me giggle in some places! It's funny, it's witty, it's sexy and it's emotional. It has a little bit of everything! It's one of those books you just fall into, you know, and the book runs out before the afternoon does. It's the first book I've read of Ms McNeil, and I look forward to reading more. A very well deserved 4 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

my STAND OUT book of the year

Digging Deep (Digging Deep #1) - Jay Hogan
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. I want to just say a few words about this book, cos if I let myself have free reign, the review might be as long as the book! Outstanding! Brilliant! Best book of the year! Drake is a midwife with more than a few problems, most of them centring around his Crohn’s. When he gets arrested for using the loo, Caleb is the arresting officer and is immediately and totally smitten with Drake. Drake, though, holds Caleb at arm's length and then some. Making sure Caleb knows exactly what he is getting into with Drake is the only way to make Caleb see that Drake is not boyfriend material. But Caleb? Batchelor that he is, he doesn’t back down from Drake’s all doom and gloom and it takes a flare up for Drake and a shooting for Caleb to make both men see that they are perfect for each other. So, picture the scene. It’s miserable out, you’ve a glass of wine, and an early night and a new book to start. Bear in mind, you have to be up at 6am for that darn day job and it is already after ten. And the next thing you know, the book is finished, the wine sat untouched, it’s 3am and you just put your kindle down and go “oh.my.god” There are no other words that floated in my brain when I finished this book, none at all. All I could think was “oh.my.god” just that! And trust me when I say, that is a very VERY good thing! Drake is a prickly sort, he’s a male midwife, he’s gay and he has a life altering condition that requires a huge amount of adjustment for him, let alone anyone else. Caleb is happy, plodding along with his very uncomplicated life. And Drake knocks Caleb for six, quite literally. Drake also pushes Caleb away so darn hard, I felt it. But Caleb, he’s a stubborn sort, and when Drake wants wooing, Caleb woos! Oh yes, that boy does wooing beautifully! There is a huge, massive, MAHOOSIVE amount of talk about what Crohn’s means to Drake and what that would mean to a prospective partner. And really, it is absolutely needed here. Caleb needs to know, right down to the itty bittiest detail what it means to live with this disease, and what Caleb should expect. And Caleb?? Caleb laps it all up and throws the hole darn pile of poop right back at Drake! The level of research into Crohn’s is amazing and either the author worked her bloody socks off, and/or has first hand experience, because it shows! There is a lot of information, yes, but the way Drake delivers it to Caleb, it’s all absorbable for the lay person to take in. I loved these two! So very different, but so very matched. They are funny in places, and deeply emotional. Sexy in places, and downright filthy too. Oh I could rant all day about this book, I really could! This is only the THIRD book that Hogan has written, and the second I have read. I need more! I really do! Cos if Hogan can deliver THIS level of writing after only 3 books, I’ma on the end of the next one, oh yes, yes I am! So, in case you did NOT get how I felt about this book, and ya’ll know I’m all about my book feelings: This is my outstanding book of the year! I’ve filed it on my “Masterpieces” shelf too. And as if I could give it anything other than: 5 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

loving this series!

Justice Prevails - Morticia Knight
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. This is book 3 in the Sin City series, and you don't NEED to have read boks one and two before this, to follow this one. You should, though, cos I said so! They are rather good! Beau is in the middle of a serial killer investigation, and bumps into Austin when he is trying to drown his sorrows after he loses his childhood friend. Austin pulls a blinder and kisses Beau and Beau is, for want of a better word, smitten with the geeky young man who he keeps bumping into! Taking a 5 hour trip to interview someone turns out to be a bust for the case, but somewhat of a revelation for Beau and Austin and their relationship, if they can stay alive. Like I said, book three and I don't *think* Trent and Shawn (book one) are even mentioned here, but Parker and Lonnie (Slade, book two) do play a part here, so I repeat, not totally necessary for you to have read the other books. Serial killer aside, I found this a much lighter read, and I'm not entirely sure WHY, since both men have their own demons to battle, as well as the killer, but that's my thought on finishing and ya'll know I'm ALL about the sharing of my book thoughts! Beau is smitten with Austin but he is NOT he usual type. And that's what sort of bothers him the most, this attraction to a geeky guy he never even looked at before, even though he had seen him around the station. Austin has admired Beau from afar, for a while, and getting his hands on Beau, even for a short time, to scratch the itch that burns when they are together, will be enough, for now at least. The killer story line worked itself into Beau and Austin's life really well, and actually, I had no clue how that was gonna play out! I thought it might be carrried over to the next book, but it's all wrapped up in a big fat Austin shaped bow here. Well played, Ms Knight! Brett (Parker's ex from book two) is up next. Be nice for him to have his happy ever after, after what happens to him in book two. Loving this series, please keep them coming! 5 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

not enough for me

The Mischievous Maids of Master Marius: A Collection of Erotic Flash Fiction - Ruby Marley
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book Ten maids to Master Marius tell their story, identified only by the job and the colour of their underwear. This was an easy read, erotic flash fiction, 49 pages. It didn't do very much for me, though, and I found 9 stories almost identical. The tenth is different in the the Maid is in control, rather than Marius but there was still the reference to her colour underwear, and what she felt about the other maids. It was reasonably well written, and delivers what it claims to be: short erotic fiction. It just wasn't ENOUGH for me, but I did finish it. 3 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

3 very good shorts

Dark Encounters Box Set - Jambrea Jo Jones
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this box set of three short stories. I can't write three individual reviews for such short stories, the whole box set is 130 pages, and it took my an hour to read, but I will write a general one, encompassing what I thought about the three tales, which all take place within the BDSM club, Dark Encounters There is Elizabeth and Ren: She goes to the club open night, but ery nearly walks out without speaking to anyone, but she catches Ren's eye. He doesn't play very often, but felt a need to come to the club this night. Elizabeth is a sub, and Ren, a Dom and their night goes pretty much how you expect it to. Well written, from Elizabeth's point of view only. All three tales are single point of view, actually! then we have Franco and Trevor: Franco works at the club and has had a crush on Trevor who owns said club, forever. But trevor doesn't play with his staff. A sex carnival gives Trevor the opportunity to finally act on his desire. They start at a Ferris Wheel spanking and things move quickly after that. And my favourite of the three! Kameron wants one thing, well TWO really. Theodore and Beck fit all the requirements Kameron has, but will they want him for more than one night? Can he really be the middle of a bear sandwich forever? Three well written, well delivered but far too SHORT stories, that hit just the spot they need to. I read this in the tub, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I haven't read anything else by this author, but I would like to now. Something longer, maybe a full length book. Something that shows off what she can do with more words and pages to play with! 4 very good stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

4 solid stars!

Runner - Parker Williams
After being assaulted when he was a teenager, Matt retreats into himself and uses habits and cleaning to get through. When a jogger starts running past his house every day, Matt calls his brother, the police chief, to talk to the jogger. But Clay is worried about Matt and says he will, if Matt asks the jogger his name. When Matt manages to do just that, he is surprised how easy he finds it to talk to Charlie. Then one day, Charlie doesn’t come, and Matt goes into a tail spin. Can he leave his house, to see what happened to Charlie? Ordinarily, I would write a bit about the book, then about the audio but I might not be able to do that here. Since this book is written in the first person and ONLY from Matt’s point of view, the book and the narration kinda merge into one, and so I’m sorry if this review goes a little off tangent. Right from the very beginning, we are made aware of what happened to Matt, and what happened after. We get his slow spiral into a smaller and smaller world, and what that does to Matt, and how he deals with things. He is a recluse and does not like people in his space. The jogger throws Matt off, even though said jogger is only going past his house, and not coming NEAR it, Matt struggles. Talking to Charlie, though, was surprisingly easy for Matt, once he got over that initial. . . hiccup. Getting used to Charlie helps Matt in ways he didn’t know Charlie could help him, in ways he didn’t know ANYONE could help him. Charlie not coming one day, well, that messes Matt right back up, and Matt is pushed way beyond his self-imposed limits. Matt voice is clear throughout most of the book, but this is where my review bits merge. At points along the way, especially when Matt is *thinking* the narrator dips his voice, low, so very low. I usually have no problem with low voices and speech tones, but the narrator also lowers the volume of his voice, and I’m sure I missed some important musings from Matt because of this. Patrick Zeller is a new to me narrator, not having listened to his work before. For the most part, it was very good, with Zeller getting all of Matt across at some difficult points, emotionally devastating points to be fair, and you do get all that. It’s just the DIPPING I struggled with. Therefore I gave the narration 4 stars. His voices for all the characters are very different and clearly defined, and I had no trouble differentiating between who was speaking in multi person conversations. I won’t write him off, not just yet though. I went and had a look at his other work, and while nothing jumps out at me there, should another book narrated by him become available, I would give him another go. Parker Williams is also a new to me author, although I have listened to a couple of his collaborations before. Runner is the first book of Mr Williams I’ve read/listened to and I hope it’s not the last! I like the way he tells this tale. It’s not overly explicit, but then again, Matt is suffering from a sexual assault. It is extremely well written, though, the blossoming relationship between Matt and Charlie, and there is a good deal of evidence of research by Williams in Matt’s . . . .what’s the best way to put it. . . .coming out of himself, and beginning to live again, I think best fits. Recovery isn’t quite the right word, but very nearly. My only reason for giving the book 4 stars, was only MATT has a say. Because of COURSE I needed to hear from Charlie! Ya’ll know I need to hear from everyone, but especially here. I wanted to know what Charlie was thinking when he actually meets Matt, rather than just waving at him in the window, even if that first meeting is a little bit of a hiccup. What he was thinking when Matt finds him when he doesn’t come by the house, and when Matt discovers what Charlie and Clay did. I needed Charlie and I don’t get him, even if it would have been in the first person. So, 4 solid stars for the book, and for the narration too. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

really kinda cute!

Nothing Serious - Jay Northcote
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. Mark finally admits to himself and his partner of 9 years, that he is gay. While Rachel is devastated, she knows things have not been right between them for a long time. Mark moving out of their home seems the best thing to do, but they will remain friends. On moving day, Jamie shows up with his brother, and Mark feels an immediate attraction to the younger man. When Jamie drops a box contains some. . .personal items, Mark is mortified but Jamie finds the blush on Mark’s face adorable, and all kinds of sexy. But neither man is looking for anything serious right now, so they can just help each other out, right? This book, right here, landed in my queue just when I needed it to, cos its far too stinking cute for its own good! It’s a wonderfully well written tale of a newly out of the closet man, finding himself and all about his sexuality, with a willing young man who wants to help. Jamie finds Mark attractive, but he doesn’t want anything serious, last time he ran away when *serious* was talked about, so helping Mark explore all the joys of sex with a man, seems a good way to get close to Mark, while keeping his distance. Mark has an immediate attraction to Jamie, and when Jamie suggests a friends with benefits type arrangement, Mark is keen to get to know Jamie. What neither man expected, or wanted, was their emotions to get involved, and when they both realise this is what was happening, Mark and Jamie struggle with ways to talk to each other about it! It’s not overly explicit, but it is all kinds of sexy! There is no real drama, save the guys finally admitting to themselves, at least, what they feel for each other. It really is one of those books you just fall into and lose a few hours. It’s only short, some 154 pages, but it packs a hefty punch of cuteness! I listened to this, it’s just over 4 hours. Michael Pauley narrates. I have, in the past, found Pauley a bit hit and miss, for me, personally. Here, however, he really nails it! Pauley’s voices for Mark and Jamie are different enough to be easily identifiable when they are talking, for all the characters, actually. His reading voice is clear and even, and I had no trouble keeping up. There were no dips in the sound to put me off, which has happened with Pauley before. It’s just where he lowers his voice, for thinking or musing, really but here, there is no dipping. I loved how Pauley gets all the things running around in Mark and Jamie’s heads across, you genuinely sort of fall in love with them, as they fall in love with each other! I’ve shelved it on my *kinda creeps up on ya* shelf, simply because, that’s what happens! Love creeps up on Mark and Jamie and it was a pleasure listening to that happen. 4 stars for the book 5 stars for the narration 4.5 stars overall. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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