Audiobook: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/On-Davis-Row-Audiobook/B07FK3X4W3?qid=1533353429&sr=sr_1_10&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_10&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=W1E89REAYVSSRC54DJ64&

Blurb

Nearing the end of a suspended jail sentence should unlock a brighter future for CJ Davis, only the chip on his shoulder is as hard to shift as his bad reputation. Born into a family of career criminals who live down Davis Road, an address the cops have dubbed Davis Row, his name alone is like a rap sheet that makes optimism impossible.

Brand-new parole officer Noah Huxley is determined to see the good in men like CJ. After all, he knows firsthand that bad things can happen to good people. His colleagues mock his doe-eyed optimism, but Noah soon sees CJ’s bad attitude and bravado are weapons he uses to keep people at a distance.

Both men know one simple mistake can change a life forever. At first glance, they might seem to be polar opposites. Yet underneath, they’re not that different at all.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This is such a wonderful, heartwarming story. It’s not Christmas themed, but it is absolutely something you’ll want to enjoy during the holiday season.

NR Walker is the MASTER at giving us characters who tug at your heartstrings, whom are prickly on the exterior and marshmallows on the interior. That’s CJ. Noah, of course, is undeterred by all the bluster and sees the man on the inside.

In addition to these guys really clicking in terms of personality, we’re also given an absolutely gorgeous chemistry that is also very sweet and tender.

If you’re a fan of the author, of underdog stories, or simply a person who wants a lovely happily ever after – this is the story for you!

5 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Joel Leslie does another fantastic job – not only giving us Australian accents but different variants of Australian accents! I can’t imagine the research he must do!

In any case, he gives us – again – a wonderful portrayal of both the fear of falling in love for the first time as well as the emotional freedom that comes from being true to yourself.

Highly, highly recommended.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Steamy Romance: Unforgiven By: Ruth Clampett Narrated by: Eric London, Iggy Toma

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Unforgiven-Audiobook/B071X7VW49?qid=1532034461&sr=sr_1_4&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QRVS6K5PXVWC340YMVBR&

Blurb

Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?
Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?
Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.
When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?

Review

This was a mixed bag for me. First, through no fault of the author, this is a really bad time for me to read anything remotely “angsty”. When I asked to review this – more than a year ago – I wasn’t as worried about our world – as I am today. Unfortunately we had some miscommunication and it took over a year for me to get the audio code and now… well, I’m in a different place.

 

However, the story itself is really good. There’s no denying that. The author does not pull ANY punches and if you have triggers – especially around molestation – please read the reviews that allude to the triggers. I don’t consider these things triggers for me personally but they were VERY disturbing and hard to read.

 

As for the romance – well- Dean is kind of a dick throughout most of the story and Jason is a pushover. That made it hard for me to root for these guys as a couple. Though I love the whole “discovering your gay side” stories – and that part was usually pretty dang hot! – the way Dean treated Jason before and after made it less … good.

 

The ending definitely ties things up for these guys and leaves us with a pretty solid HFN if not HEA.

 

What saved this – for me – was the dual narration. I think, had I been reading it, I’d have bailed. However, the narration was awesome! I really love dual narrators as I think they really help to differentiate the MCs so nicely!

 

I thought Eric London and Iggy Toma were well suited to their MCs and did an excellent job with the emotion, the timing and helping to immerse the listener in the story. For that reason I’d definitely recommend this, though I had reservations about the story itself.

 

 

Story 3 of 5 stars

 

Audio 5 of 5 stars

 

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

GRL Author: Strong Medicine by JK Hogan

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51VdAcWF-FL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Blurb

Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn’t possibly find happiness together—could they?

The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work release program at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.

Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret—one he refuses to speak about in therapy.

Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness—and find a new normal together.

Review

Cameron is what I would call a “B” list celebrity. He WAS a child star and now he’s in a band with his family and they are fairly popular but not “big stars”.   When he gets a DUI the judge gives him a year of working at Riverbend, a psychiatric home as work release (at his father’s request). To make matters worse, Cameron’s dad kicks him out of the band for having a “bad image” and Cameron suspects that this image is not the DUI but the being gay.

Jonah is a voluntary resident at Riverbend twice a year. He has a past that is horrifying and it every once in awhile rises up to make him unable to cope with life on his own. The therapists there want him to go on medications, but he refuses and as such they feel he “doesn’t want to get better”.

When Jonah sees Cameron he remembers the character Cameron played on TV as a child and remembers that character as being special to him when Jonah was a child, too. This helps them to form an instantaneous bond that they build on from there.

Cameron’s life is in major flux right now, he sees by being at Riverbend that there’s more to his life that was wrong than right and now he wants to make things right. Jonah can’t keep doing what he’s doing and he certainly can’t keep doing it if he wants to be in a relationship with Cameron. The two men will have to decide what they want from life and what they’re willing to do to get it.

**

This book surprised me! I’d read the blurb, read a couple reviews and was expecting a very angsty and dark read. And it is BUT it’s also a very sweet and tremendously touching love story that (to me) really overshadows the dark.

I have to admit that I skimmed most of the spots where Jonah is trapped in his mind and “remembering” the horrors of his past. I just didn’t want those images in my mind.   I skimmed them and got the idea, but I didn’t need the specific details haunting me! Hogan is a great writer and she does a fantastic job of putting the reader in Jonah’s mind space and that can be an awful place – so be warned – it is a dark read.

However, Cameron, for all his fucked-upness – is a really wonderful counterpart for Jonah in that he’s like a naïve new man looking at the world with fresh eyes. His life hasn’t been bad but it hasn’t been good but it hasn’t ever been as bad as most of the people’s lives at Riverbend. He’s smart enough to realize that really quick (no spoiled super star here!) and that really helps him do good things for himself and the residents of Riverbend. Since he’s in such a better place (mentally) he can be the support Jonah needs and yet Jonah helps Cameron make decisions about his own life, too. As a result they were a really well balanced couple by the end.

This is a fairly low steam story. There’s a couple hot and heavy scenes toward the end but most of this story is about Jonah and Cameron finding their way and finding one another. The smexy times were just icing on the cake!

I enjoyed this book and thought it was really interesting. I’d recommend it only if you’re prepared for dark and angsty but I’ll also say you get rewarded with a lot of warm and fuzzy – so it’s worth it!

4.25 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Amazon Link

(Coming out May 18th 2016)

https://www.amazon.com/Strong-Medicine-J-K-Hogan-ebook/dp/B01FEH1GL0/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1463063692&sr=1-3&keywords=strong+medicine

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

SignsofLifeLGBlurb

A Resilient Love Story

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

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

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

Review

I loved this book – see my review here:

http://kimichanexperience.com/signs-of-life-reilient-love-book-2-by-melanie-hansen/