Retro Read: Blood and Rain(Book 1) by Shira Anthony

Blurb

Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.

After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.

Review

First, I think anyone interested in this series should be PSYCHED to know that all 3 books are finally released. I didn’t touch this because I didn’t want to be in cliff-hanger torture while waiting for the series to finish. So…. Once I saw book 3 released I said – at last! – I can begin this series!

Second, this is Shira Anthony. So… you know you best be prepared for in depth world building, complex characters, lots of angst, and pain, and maybe some not-so perfect MCs.

I think, as someone who has enjoyed her other series – Blue Note and Mermen of Ea – that this (so far) seems to follow in their footsteps. Book one is all about the back story and world building and introducing us to all the myriad characters. Right now my interest in piqued with Charles and Francois more than Adrien – but time will tell…

I’m not a big fan – ok I hate – cliff hangers, and I’m actually more attracted to short stories than I am to epic multi book series – but – I’m looking forward to starting book 2. I do love Shira’s writing style and though I’m not loving the flashbacks and there was a lot of the time that I was really confused as to who was where and when but… – I love me some biting and vamps who like biting and all the magic – so….

4 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

Steamy Romance: Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform #6) by Annabeth Albert narrated by Greg Boudreaux

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40769198-tight-quarters

Blurb

Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

Review

This was a wonderful addition to the series Annabeth Albert has given us – filled with angsty, hot, military men and plenty of complicated drama, emotions, hawt sex and heas.

It literally took me months, however, to get through this and it took the coming out of the audiobook for me to actually make it through. This is in no way a reflection of the “goodness” within the book, only a reflection of my willingness to subject myself to more angst.

Without getting on a soapbox, I have found myself with only the barest, most minimal ability to tolerate angst and discord in my reading these days because I am so seriously mind-fucked by how awful the real world is under our current administration. Every day I am reminded that we are one day away from another world war and I just can’t tolerate any fictionalized angst when the current world is full of so much real angst. None of this is pertinent except to explain why it took me so long to get into this.

There is a fair amount of real angst in this and though the solution our boys agreed to in the end – to solve the big dilemma – seemed obvious – I could see how egos getting involved might have made this seem impossible – until it wasn’t.

In any case, I think fans of the series will really like this – I found it to be as enjoyable or more enjoyable than others in the series once I made myself get into it.

Highly recommended for fans of the series, military drama, may/December, angsty reads, hot reads, opposites attract, OFY.

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

As a side note, Greg Tremblay/Boudreaux did another really great job with this. There are a LOT of people in the story and he really strove to make each a unique person/character and he managed to make the hot smexy times even hotter!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

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Copy purchased for review