Tag Archives: genre: contemporary

Kairos, by Mary Calmes, Narrated by Michael Fell

 

Blurb:

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

Buy Links:

Audible

Dreamspinner Press

Published:

March 16, 2018
Dreamspinner Press

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Kairos is a book that I liked when I read it, but I think I liked it more on the listen. There’s something about the pacing that Michael Fell has that kept me more interested in the story than I was before. His character voices for Joe and Kade were good, but it was more about the tone, the way he was able to tell this story with feeling, bringing the entire story into my ears and making it more visual than just reading did. His female voices were also very good, something I really appreciated.

The story itself it typical Mary Calmes. It’s fast paced, packed with a ton of characters (some important, others not so much), lots of UST, and it left me wanting more. Add in the excellent narration and I was even more greedy for a sequel than I was before. It’s a fun read, but for me, even more fun to listen to. All of the Mary Calmes fans out there who love audio books will love this. There is a brightness to the story that brought a smile to my face.

~kristie

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Filed under Dreamspinner Press, LGBT, MM Romance

Twisted and Tied (Marshals, #4) by Mary Calmes

 

Blurb:

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones finally has everything he ever wanted. He’s head-over-heels in love and married to the man of his dreams, his partner Ian Doyle, he’s doing well at work, and all his friends are in good places as well. Things are all tied up nicely… until they’re not.

Change has never been easy for Miro, and when situations at work force the team he’s come to depend on to break apart, and worst of all, his and Ian’s individual strengths put them on two separate paths, he’s pretty certain everything just went up in smoke. But before he can even worry about the future, his past comes for a visit, shaking his world up even more. It’s hard to tell what road he should truly be on, but as he learns some paths are forged and others are discovered, it might be that where he’s going is the right course after all. If he can navigate all the twists and turns, he and Ian might just get their happily ever after. 

 

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Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

kobo

 

Published:

March 12, 2018
Dreamspinner Press

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“Hold me tighter, ‘kay?”

So this is it. The end. Not the end of the Marshals, but the end of Miro’s story. The end of his tale… and what a tale it has been.

I met Miro, Ian, and Chickie Baby in September of 2015. I picked the Marshals series up a little bit late. I’d been a fan of Mary’s work for a while, but for some reason I’d just never had the opportunity to start this series. Once I read the first book, I was hooked forever. In the years since, I’ve read and reread all the books more times than I can count. I’ve listened to the audio books even more. The audio is my go-to for listening while working, cleaning the house, working out… pretty much anything. I love the voice Tristan James gives to the boys, but I just also love having them with me. I’m serious when I say that this is one of my all time favorite series. I’ve already read Twisted and Tied twice, and starting on release day, I’m going to read it again because now I need to read it with my friends who also have a healthy love for all things Marshals.

Twisted and Tied is a wonderful ending to Miro’s story. I know that we’ll see him again… him, Ian, and hopefully, Chickie Baby. But for them as main characters, this is it. I think Mary not only made me happy with this finish, but surprised the heck out of me. I went into this expecting one thing, and while I got that (sort of), I really ended up with something else altogether. I had expectations for a wedding and having this pick up right where Marshals 3 left off. That’s not what happens really, but I did get some wedding action. It was better than I’d hoped and I had tears running down my face forever because of it.  I had expectations for what the family of Miro, Ian, and Chickie Baby would end up looking like. what I got was even better. It feels better. I mean I really feel good about there they are both personally and professionally. I also had a super massive expectation for what happened to Dr. Craig Hartley. I can’t spoil you but let me just say, what happens shocked me big time. I was blown away because of my reaction to it. I’m happy with what goes down, I will say that. The feelings that were pulled out of me while reading this book, especially the Hartley stuff… I never thought I’d have those feelings. Not ever.

If I had one thing I questioned the need for, it’s the very end. Some things happen that felt like they came out of nowhere and I struggled to find the reasoning. And maybe not even the reasoning, but the placement. I don’t think I’m ruining anything by saying this book takes place over the span of like 3 or 4 days. It’s quick, as most of their stories are. They’re moments in the life of… but this is fast moving and high energy. And then the last two chapters happen and they sort of didn’t fit where they were. At least for me. Maybe they would have if there was an Epilogue. That would have been good because those last two chapters, while good and fun and important because this is their family, the family they’ve chosen, I’d wished maybe that it wasn’t just thrown in at the end… maybe spread out a bit.

BUT. With all of that, I can still say I’m so happy with this book. So very, very, very happy.

Twisted and Tied ends a story, but one, or two more will take over. We have Redeker and Callahan coming. We also have something going on with Eli.  Sigh… I do love Eli Kohn. I’m really looking forward to where Mary goes with is story, particularly because he’s become so close with Miro. Out of all the guys, Eli has been a real stand out character. So more Marshals are to come! They really can’t get here fast enough. Until that time, I’m going to keep rereading this one, as well as the others. I’ll keep relistening. I won’t be patient though. Never that.

Fans of the Marshals series, hurry and get this book so we can all talk about it. You’re really going to be delighted with the story, how it things play out. You’re going to smile a lot. You’re going to cry… sometimes in unexpected places. Your heart will be as full as mine is. So to Miro, Ian, and our favorite dog, Chickie Baby… all the love.

~kristie

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On the Edge of Scandal (Snow & Ice Games, Book 3), by Tamsen Parker

 

Blurb:

Bronwyn Perry is the star of the US women’s hockey team, and she and her boyfriend Brody Hill have been hockey royalty since they’ve been in high school. Brody unexpectedly fails to make the men’s team but still comes to Denver to support his girl at the Snow and Ice Games. Or so Bronwyn thinks.

Ash Levenson is the coach of the women’s SIG hockey team. His primary responsibility is to keep his team happy, healthy, and primed to win. Though he’s close in age to his players, he’s been doing this for a while and mostly, it’s easy to keep his eyes on the puck. He’s always been able to discard any crush he might have on any of the women he’s coached…until Bronwyn.

When Bronwyn and Brody’s romance comes to a very public and very ugly end, Ash has to get his star player’s head back in the game and ready to dominate on the rink. Which may mean spending a little time off the ice…

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AMAZON

kobo

Published:

February 6, 2018
St. Martin’s Press

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This started out really great. A story that builds on the the development of the characters is almost always going to win me over. The character build up for coach Ash Levenson is really solid. I felt like I had a good handle on who he was, where his feelings were coming from, and I really saw the affection he had for Bronwyn. The same could be said for Bronwyn, but not at the same level. With Bronwyn, I felt like I started to understand her, only to be infuriated by her decisions. 

Bronwyn is a really strong female character, excellent hockey player, with a great personality… when she’s not second guessing herself or hanging around her boyfriend. The times where she’s strong are counterbalanced by the times she’s really not, and when she looses confidence in herself she becomes this other person all together. And honestly, to me, she read as really immature and childish at times. The more I read, the more I started to dislike her. It was like I had this instant affection towards her, only to have it turn around rapidly.

And speaking of her boyfriend… for someone who comes off as strong willed, sure of herself in almost all things, and a fierce competitor, I could not figure out why she put up with so much shit from that dude. Yes, they’d been together for a really long time, since both were really young, but how she was able to be so independent and amazing in every other aspect of her life, and then let him walk all over her, belittle her, and treat her like shit was beyond me. This made it even harder for me to connect with her.

The times when I really disliked Bronwyn were when she’d talk about how Ash was not her type, not the greatest looking guy, yet something made her want to “board that train”. When Bronwyn and Ash do get intimate, it really felt like he was using him. And in reality, she was at first. She had no idea of his true feelings, and that’s not her fault, but the way she comes off in her POV really rubbed the wrong way. The way things start between these two didn’t sit well with me.

BUT! All of that was this back of my mind, simmering dislike for some things. For the rest of it, I found the story good. I liked the way Ash is so passionate about the way he coaches, how the women on the team play, that he is a positive coach for them, and his dedication to them. I wished there was more hockey in the book because those couple of times we get them on the ice were really fun. And while Bronwyn ends one long lasting relationship and dives head first into another the very next day without even realizing it, finding love after only a couple of weeks, I appreciated that Ash had this long budding crush on her. It helps the insta-insta love aspect of their story go down easier.

All in all I suppose this was not my favorite of the series, at least I don’t think, but it’s not my least favorite either.

~kristie

 

 

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Zero Hour (Wired & Dangerous, Book 1), by Megan Erickson

 

Blurb:

The Fast and the Furious meets Mr. Robot in USA Today bestselling author Megan Erickson’s sexy new romantic suspense series.

Hacker extraordinaire Roarke Brennan lives each hour – each breath – to avenge his brother’s murder. His first move: put together a team of the best coders he knows. They’re all brilliant, specialized, and every one an epic pain in his ass. Only now Wren Lee wants in too, threatening to upset their delicate balance. The girl Roarke never allowed himself to want is all grown up with sexy confidence and a dark past … and she’s the wild card he can’t control.

Roarke might still think she’s a kid, but Wren’s been to hell and back. Nothing and nobody can stop her – especially the tatted-up, cocky-as-all-hell hacker. But when years of longing and chemistry collide, Wren and Roarke discover that revenge may be a dish best served blazing hot.

Buy Links:

AMAZON

kobo

Published:

January 30, 2018
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

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When I got this, I knew I’d like it because it’s Megan Erickson. She’s just a great storyteller, you know? What I didn’t expect was just how much I’d love it. And I’m not surprised so much as really fucking pleased.

Zero Hour has this exciting thriller/mystery/revenge plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was difficult to put down as each chapter lead into the next, leaving me wondering what the heck was going to happen to my heroes, how they were going to get out of the mess they were in, and when we might get Jock’s book. Well, as it happens, I know that Jock’s book is next in this series, and I could not be more excited. As for the rest? Lets just say that yea, they get into it. Really into it. The problem is, it’s never just hacking that needs to happen. Sometimes, to do a a job, you need to actually talk to the bad guys in person, go undercover, plant a virus, and do other various highly illegal or suspicious things. So this team of hackers not only need to know their way around a computer, they need to be willing to go all out.

All out is what this team does best. Sort of… I mean, they’re not perfect. They really are hackers first, so all of those things that also need to happen don’t come easily and problems pop up. So one of the things I absolutely loved about this book is the fact that they make mistakes, they get out of situations by the skin of their teeth, and not everything runs smoothly.

Another thing I loved, loved, loved, is the balance between action/hacking/romance. Because in all honesty, at its heart, Zero Hour is a romance novel too. Erickson does a great job of keeping the romance in balance with everything else, giving readers a chance to take a breath, just not too long of one, before the next batch of action takes place. And these characters, Wren and Roarke, they are really well developed. Past history is clearly and succinctly explained, lending to the way the romance plays out. So when these two are having all the feels, and trying to deny them, it feels right. Having the history so well laid out made for a more believable connection. They’re also seriously hot together. Steaming. Add in the rest of the team, all of whom have interesting backgrounds I’m wanting to explore, and I’m a happy camper. Wren and Roarke also butt heads… a lot. But my dude seriously has a boundaries problem and when he oversteps them, he really oversteps them. Having Wren put him in his place was a thing of beauty.

Speaking of the team… Not only does Jock, new love of my life, get the next book, but also coming will be Erick, Wren’s brother. His story is one I’m also very excited for based on all the information we learn in Zero Hour. To say I have a bunch of theories about how his book will play out is an understatement. I’m also crossing my fingers that other team members Marisol and Dade get their own book(s). They’re both mysterious and compelling, so help me convince all who need to be convinced to make this happen, would you?

To close, I loved this book, in case you couldn’t tell. This was a lot of fun to read and I’m adding this to my reread rotation.

Cheers Megan! You knocked this one out of the park.

~kristie

 

 

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Filed under Advance Reader's Copy, Mystery-Thriller, NetGalley