An Ali Audiobook Review: Unquiet (Resilient Love #3) by Melanie Hansen and Michael Stellman (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.

Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.

Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.
This book has the distinction of being both one of the best and the worst books I’ve read in a long time.  The writing in this story is fantastic.  The author makes the characters and their situation so realistic you feel like you’re right there along with them.  This level of top notch writing makes it one of the best books I’ve read this year.
What makes it one of the worst is that this story is just emotionally brutal. It takes a very realistic look at loving someone with a chronic, severe mental health issue. I would go so far as to say it’s a love story but not a romance. If you’re looking for a story with a touching hea this is not it. The book is nothing but pain for these two. They have their moments of happiness but they’re boxed in between really horrible days, weeks, months. When it ended I just felt sad and so, so bad for both of them. I found this entire story to be a giant downer.
If I had known going in how heavy and serious it was going to be I would have been prepared and maybe I would have probably liked it better. Honestly it was just too much for me.  I want my romance stories to have a happily ever after and that didn’t happen here.  They’re together at the end and it’s as good as it’s ever going to be, but their lives are still this roller coaster of emotion.  There was more than once occasion where I wished for something different for Loren.  I had liked him so much in book two.  He was such a great guy.  Then I felt guilty for those thoughts because none of what was happening was Loren’s fault.  He didn’t ask for the life he was given.  My heart hurt for all the pain he had to go through.
This book was narrated by Michael Stellman who is a new narrator for me.  I thought he did a great job on this.  His narration was well done and I liked the way he did both MC’s as well as the side characters.  I think the great narration added another level of emotions to the story.  Normally that’s a good thing but in this I think it made it even sadder.
I struggled with how to rate this.  I think it deserves a 5 plus stars on plot and writing but if I based it on enjoyment level it would be much lower.  I have read and really enjoyed the first two books in the series.  I was expecting something with that same level of angst.  This was just too gritty and too realistic for me.  If you’re looking for something different and on a more serious tone I do recommend this.  If you have read the first two books you will see the other two couples in this a bit and there’s some sweet scenes in regards to some of them.  If you have not read the first two you can read this as a standalone.
This cover was done by Natasha Snow Designs and I think it is really good.  It perfectly captures the mood of this story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio
Published September 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 22nd 2016)
Original Title Unquiet
ASIN B075KFLSC7
Edition Language English

A Kai Release Day Review: Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Well, guys, this story just didn’t work for me.

The premise had such a great potential and although is a really short novella, I was hopeful it would be a good one before I read it. But, unfortunately, the execution fell flat.

Even though I didn’t have a big problem with the writing style, I didn’t like the way the story was developed. Or better yet, not developed enough.

I couldn’t connect with the main characters, and maybe if their personality had been more worked, it could be a little better. 

Mason seemed and acted just like a kid. And I get he had a traumatic experience in the past (that could have been more traumatic in my opinion), but his reaction to everybody and constant helpless characteristic seemed a little unrealistic for me.

On the other hand, Oliver personality wasn’t helplessly at all, but it was flat. He avoided monogamic relationships and, ok that’s his choice, not judgment here for it. But I couldn’t wrap why of it. I mean, he kind of tried to explain himself, but it was dull. It would be nice if we could see more depth in him.

Well, the open relationship Oliver had and the way it worked was intriguing, at least. But I couldn’t connect with Mason and Oliver together. It was really super fast and unrealistic the feelings. Like a super fast kiss and they had feelings for each other? 

I also didn’t like much of the supporting characters. Don’t even let me start with the mom. urgh! She treated her son like a kid and at the same time didn’t see what was in front of her nose. Urgh! 

I’ll stop now before I give you a big spoiler. But go there and read it. I recommend it? No. But I’d like to know if you have a different opinion or maybe agree with me. Let me know what you think about this novella.

Well, the cover art by Brooke Albrecht, is a really generic and a nice picture. But didn’t fit the story and I’m sorry, but it isn’t as inviting to read the book as a cover should.

Sales Links

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/safe-and-sound-by-caitlin-ricci-8948-b

Amazon: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36267337-safe-and-sound?from_search=true

Book Details:

ebook, 1st, 84 pages
Published October 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635337839
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Nosy Neighbors by Nina Schluntz

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Julian is used to drama, seeing ghosts tends to do that to a person’s life, but when he falls for a man known as the neighborhood murderer–the dead help him uncover secrets no housewife could predict.

 

Moving into a suburban, middle class, stereotypical neighborhood was never on Julian’s to do list. When his identical twin brother inherits their Aunt’s house in such a place, then finds a good job, Julian reluctantly follows. He expected to feel isolated by being the only gay person on the block, okay, more likely the zip code, but a few nosy housewives eagerly inform him the neighbor across the street is gay, and punned, Mr. Creepersen, due to several murders that occurred in his basement five years ago.

 

This story sounded interesting and I couldn’t resist reading this.  Julian has been with his brother since forever but truly lives a lonely life.  Keeping his “gift” a secret and his general shy personality makes it hard for him to open up or get to know people.  Neil has quietly lived his life since his husband’s death but live with reminders all the time with how all those in the neighborhood treat him.

 

Neil lives with the invisible scars from his marriage and the fallout that he lives a quiet life not really allowing anyone in.  He opens up to Julian a bit but quickly makes assumptions of his feelings.  While Julian opens himself up to the ghosts in order to help Neil get some closure he also opens himself up to more pain and is trying to figure out how to navigate through it.

 

While I’m not quite as sympathetic towards Neil as I thought I would be I understood what happened to him and how that affects what he does now.  His insecurities almost push Julian away but Julian isn’t willing to just give up when he finally found the kind of relationship he has been looking for.  While I enjoyed this story I connected with Julian way more than I did with Neil.  They seem to be heading off into the future together which was nice but more of a conclusion for these two would have been nice.

 

The cover art by Melody Pond is nice and gives some good visuals from the story.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages

Published: September 1, 2017 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

 

A Free Dreamer Review: Golden by R L Mosswood

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Harem boy might not be the most appropriate role for someone who’s never really seen the appeal of sex, but Elin’s status as dahabi: golden in a land of tan and brown, has marked him for The Dragon’s service since birth. He’s content enough with his life of uncomplicated, if restrictive, luxury, until an unremarkable chore becomes a case of love at first sight.

Mysterious newcomer Hathar, a roguish “merchant adventurer” from far-off lands, ignites an exploration of Elin’s first taste of physical desire, as well as a desire to experience life beyond the palace. Now, they must find a way to escape before Hathar’s ship departs, stranding them forever in The Dragon’s harem.

I love long books and I absolutely don’t mind if a book has 500 or more pages. So it’s very rare for me to pick up a book with less than 100 pages, because I often feel like there aren’t enough pages for the story to completely unfold. The blurb of “Golden” sounded too good to simply pass up because of its length, though. I’m glad I picked it up but at the same time I had my usual issues with short stories.

The premise of the book is intriguing. The Dragon, the empress of a secluded island, has a harem full of golden men. Every male person with a certain hair and skin colour is sent to her harems. She has several dozen men at her beck and call. Elin is one of them. But unlike the others, he’s only ever visited The Dragon once. He’s never really understood why everybody makes such a big deal out of sex. I thought that was a really interesting feature for a harem boy. Definitely unusual.

I was a bit disappointed at how he immediately felt sexually attracted to Hathar, I must admit. The whole lust at first sight just didn’t really fit my idea of Elin. First he’s repulsed by anything sexual and then he meets Hathar and just like that, he’s no longer disgusted. Instead, he’s all too happy to have sex with him in no time at all. There was no real time for the of them to form an emotional bond that might have justified Elin’s change of mind. They barely knew each other.

The whole plot felt a bit rushed. It all plays out in the span of a few days. Aside from the insta-lust, the romance was a bit rushed too. Within those few days, Hathar and Elin develop deep feelings and fall hard for each other. There was no real development of feelings. A little too close to insta-love for my tastes. It didn’t help that none of the characters had all that much depth. They were a bit underdeveloped.

The world building was seriously lacking. It was practically non-existent, really, and that’s a huge no-go for me.

Having said all that, I did enjoy reading this book. It’s short and sweet and it’s a fun read. It could have been great, I think, if the author’s ideas had had more room to fully evolve.

The cover by Natasha Snow is pretty cool. Love the dragon scales and the fire, though there’s not much of that in the actual book.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 92 pages
Published September 25th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139916
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz and Giveaway Tour – Deacon’s Law (Heroes #3) by RJ Scott

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Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Heroes Series
 
A Reason To Stay (Book #1) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Last Marine Standing (Book #2) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

How can you trust the man who tried to kill you?

Undercover cop Deacon Shepherd lost everything trying to maintain his cover – the man he loved and the future he craved. He walked away and never looked back because it was the only way to keep Rafael alive.

The last thing he needs is to be dragged back in that world, but an attempt on Rafael’s life is enough to make him risk his heart again.

Rafael ‘Rafe’ Ramirez wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a hit and run. He’s horrified when the first face he sees is that of the man who betrayed him and left him for dead three years before. Witness protection had stripped Rafe of his family and friends, and now it seems his sacrifice to bring his Uncle to justice was for nothing.

Someone wants Rafe dead, and the only way he can stay alive is to go with the murdering drug dealer who broke his heart. But how can he ever trust Deacon, and how can Deacon protect Rafe without falling in love all over again?

Excerpt
 

Rafe opened his eyes, attempting to focus on the ceiling above him. He tried to lift his hand, but it felt as if there was lead in his veins, everything heavy and he couldn’t move. They’d told him he was getting better, so what the hell had happened? Had he relapsed? Why was he convinced that they’d taken him somewhere in an ambulance? That he’d leaned against a leather jacket that smelled of sunshine and soap? He blinked until the ceiling finally coalesced into the tiles he was familiar with.

Only there were no tiles.

Instead, the ceiling was a smooth white, and there were no strip lights, just a lampshade in a curious shade of blue. He blinked again. This didn’t make sense. 

But when he opened his eyes, nothing had changed. The ceiling was still white, the lampshade blue, and the drapes at the window matched the shade. The drapes. There were drapes at the window. Confusion morphed into panic and he turned his head to the right to get a better feel for where he was and he saw…him.

Sprawled awkwardly in the chair, his head back, long limbs this way and that, clearly too big for the chair, was a specter from a past that wouldn’t leave him alone.

Deacon.

Intense fear sliced into Rafe.

They’d found him, had him strapped to a bed…was it Deacon who’d tracked him down and driven a car at him? He was paralyzed with a fear that made it hard to breathe, and he yanked at his hand, hoping to escape his restraints, only he wasn’t tied down, there was no rope. Instead his hand came up fast and he rolled sideways. Catching himself and coming off the bed, forgetting the fact that his leg was in a cast and toppling sideways, falling with a crash into a cabinet. He flailed but couldn’t stop himself falling, and he knew this was it – this time he was really going to die.

Deacon was up and at his side in an instant, and Rafe wanted to shut his eyes, wanted to block out seeing Deacon’s face again as he died, but he had to watch. He wanted Deacon to see his fear, and maybe that would stop him; maybe he could make Deacon stop and think.

“Shit, Rafe— Craig,” Deacon said, and reached for him, grasping his arms.

Terror became ice inside him, and Rafe stopped fighting; like a deer caught in headlights, he froze.

“What happened?” A second man stood in the doorway, someone Rafe didn’t know – tall, dark and dangerous-looking. Maybe this new arrival could stop Deacon?

“Help me,” Rafe forced out, looking past Deacon, scrambling to stand as the ice melted and he pushed himself to move.

“He woke up, saw me, and fell out of bed,” Deacon said, and the other man came right in. There were two of them, and there was little Rafe could do to get away. There and then, he screwed his eyes shut; nothing was going to save him now.

But there was no pain, no bullet. Instead, the two men helped him to stand, and then he felt the bed at the back of his thighs and they sat him down.

“Are you okay?” Deacon asked. Even with his eyes shut, Rafe recognized his voice. He would never forget the tone of it, or the coldness of the man who’d tried to kill him. He said nothing.

“Open your eyes,” the other man asked.

No.

“Craig? Rafe? My name is Mac. We’re here to help you.”

But fear was choking him and he couldn’t breathe. “No,” he managed between attempts to inhale enough oxygen not to pass out.

“He’s panicking. What the hell did you do, D?”

“Tried to fucking kill him three years ago, remember?”

Author Bio


RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a weekís break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldnít defeat.


mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
www.rjscott.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/author.rjscott?ref=ts&fref=ts
www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott
twitter.com/Rjscott_author
www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

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Release Tour and Giveaway: Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad #2) by C.B. Lee

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Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad #2) byC.B. Lee

Publisher: Duet, the Young Adult imprint of Interlude Press
Cover Design: CB Messer
Release Date: October 5, 2017

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press | Amazon |Barnes & NobleAppleKoboSmashwords

Book DepositoryIndiebound  

 

 


SUMMARY

Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants and, if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges.

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.

SBN (Trade)  978-1-945053-25-2

ISBN (eBook)  978-1-945053-43-6

Pages:  320 (79,500 words)

Price:  $16.99 print/$6.99 multi-format eBook

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer based in California. She is a first-generation Asian American and holds a BA in sociology and environmental science, which occasionally comes in handy in her chosen career, but not usually. Lee enjoys reading, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits.

Not Your Sidekick (2016) was named a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Awards and the Bisexual Book Awards. Lee’s first novel, Seven Tears at High Tide (2015), was also a Bisexual Book Awards finalist. She is a Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow.

Giveaway

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Not Your Villain // Five winners receive the multi-format eBook
Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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