Tied Up in Knots by Mary Calmes: Release Day Review

tied-up-in-knotssynopsisMiro Jones is living the life: he’s got his exciting, fulfilling job as a US deputy marshal, his gorgeous Greystone in suburban Chicago, his beloved adopted family, and most importantly, the man who captured his heart, Ian Doyle. Problem is, Ian isn’t just his partner at work—Ian’s a soldier through and through. That commitment takes him away from Miro, unexpectedly and often, and it’s casting a shadow over what could be everything Miro could ever dream of.

Work isn’t the same without Ian. Home isn’t the same, either, and Miro’s having to face his fears alone… how to keep it together at the office, how to survive looming threats from the past, and worst of all, how to keep living without Ian’s rock-solid presence at his side. His life is tied up in knots, but what if unknotting them requires something more permanent? What would that mean for him and Ian? Miro’s stuck between two bad choices, and sometimes the only way to get out of the knot is to hold tight to your lifeline and pull.

Title: Tied Up in Knots
Series: Marshals: Book Three
Author: Mary Calmes
Release Date: September 16, 2016
Category: Mystery/Suspense
Pages: 260

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Alright…. First I have to say I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review… Okay, now that that’s out of the way… I’m gonna fan girl-and fan girl HARD…. Prepare and Beware, there might be some mild spoilers….

I have been in love with Mary Calmes stories since the day I picked up “A Matter of Time”.  Jory and Sam have been my favorite m/m couple since the history of ever…only slightly ahead of Ian and Miro, they’re my second favorite ever, so when I saw that this story was up for review, I almost wanted to beg for it.  Having read and then re-read the first two in this series, I was ready to get my hands on this one and let me tell ya, after book 2, it had some tall shoes to fill. I had very high expectations for this one.  The emotion I felt all through the last one when Ian got deployed and the suffering of Miro when he was with Hartley and seeing Ian suffer through that… Man, this one would have to top that one, ya know?

It did.

In the beginning, we had a lot of new people, since Miro was loaned out while Sam was on vacation, that’s a big no-no with Sam and the situation Miro found himself in was exactly why. Ian was currently deployed again, which sucked because, they work best when they work together, he and Miro… There were a lot of new guys, of course, being in a different place with all new players but I have to tell you, I was interested in getting to know them all! The guy who approached Miro to work with him, he was hot and reminded me a lot of Ian, his brother, the SWAT guy who was like G.I. Joe and the Terminator all in one, and the Sam Cage of their department, Xavier Vance’ and of course Morgan and his Miki… I’m hoping there’s a new series for all those guys cuz I’d love to read about ALL OF THEM! Just take a second and get the visual….. I know, right!?!

We also get a little background on Miro’s ex partner (actual partner on the force) his betrayal and we get some cross over guys!! It took me a minute to remember the names and where they came from, like Tony Strada and Andre Fiore from “Acrobat”… I love when we get crossovers, because I loved Professor Nathan Quells and his Andreo, and Dreo’s nephew Michael… might have to go back and re-read that one as well, just cuz! (sidenote: the homecoming with Chickie was so cute, I giggled myself sick, I love that puppy and brace yourself for an emotional scene or two with him)

Next, we get the homecoming of Ian, and that is always emotional for me, this author has a way of pulling you in emotionally, I love missing these fictional people when I read that they’re away and I love getting choked up when they return to their partners, happy and healthy and in love. I love watching them stand up for each other, like Miro did Ian at the funeral of one of his old team members from military past, and I loved watching that guy get his face bashed in for the things he was saying about Miro’s, Ian. That’s what it feels like too, when you’re so neck deep in a book and it’s like you can see it while it’s happening. I got a sick satisfaction from that broken nose and I wished for a lot more, especially those bigots that Ian used to work with. I wanted retribution for the gross crap they spewed, something painful to make them beg to take it back… didn’t happen though, unfortunately…. That’s probably something I should keep an eye on eh?

Now, with Ian being home, let me tell you how that lasts for like a minute, and it’s with all kinds of drama in between… I won’t go into too much detail because it’s intense and kind of heartbreaking and so many things thrown at them at once, and then Ian has to leave again and I cried during the whole scene… Do you see what you do to me, Mary Calmes? Do you? …. Sigh…. I love it and hate it all at the same time but it keeps me flipping pages almost faster than I can read them.

Now….now Miro, as punishment from a job well done in my opinion, he’s got to go to Vegas and pic up a WITSEC dude, who let me tell you, is so freakin cute. He reminds me of Jory in a way, just because of the stuff that comes out of his mouth. It was refreshing and so random, Miro was the perfect person to put him with, but I was glad he got to be friends with Cabot and Drake…. although with those two… I didn’t like where that was heading, I know they love each other and was planning on getting married in the spring, I know they’re young, but I’ll be devastated it doesn’t work out with them. I have so much hope for them.

I also loved the two guys, Callahan and Redeker… I’m hoping they also come to Chicago, I think they’ll fit in with the rest of the bunch just fine.

Now… Hartley…. We know how horrible he is, we know what he’s done and who he’s done it to and we get a recap when Kage tells Miro he’s back, through no fault of any of them, a stupid decision from the FBI and of course, he escapes. Again, the way Miro needs Ian and the way he feels is so expertly portrayed that, you can’t not get mixed up in that. You just can’t. Man, I felt for Miro so bad, all the crap he’s been through and then this falls on his lap… it’s the last thing he needs right now, especially since Ian isn’t there for him to lean on. He comes back just right on time of course, and we have some nice, funny, family time, everything is easy and sexy with Ian being back and Thanksgiving coming up with everyone and their brother coming around…. But then…. Utter chaos….

Friends who you think are friends are not, and puzzle pieces are getting clicked into place and then enter… Dr. Craig Hartley… I swear my heart stops every time he makes an appearance, it was no different this time. I was so wrapped up when everything was going down, I was crying for Chickie and the agony from Miro, I actually audibly gasped and let fly some colorful F bombs laced with anger and emotion that is just plain ridiculous for fictional people….But I love it…. I love every single nail biting, hair pulling, hot and steamy, man loving second of it. I love Sam Kage and all the guys who have Ian and Miro’s back, I love the family and brotherhood and unity they all have. I love this author and everything she writes and I absolutely love and cherish and adore, this series…. I love how this one ended and I can say with absolute certainty that I will be waiting on pins and needles until we get the next one, and I can see Ian and Miro’s wedding. I have wanted that so bad and man, it will be a bittersweet happiness when we all get it.

If there is ever any doubt about reading his book or reading this story… get rid of it. In my honest opinion, it’s simply one of the very best, m/m series’ I’ve ever read.

Don’t pass it up!

5 pieces of eye candy

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Cupcakes by Sean Michael: Quick Review

cupcakessynopsis

Allen Jameson had it all—the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect life—until his partner, Gary, died suddenly, leaving him alone in the real world, where life isn’t so pretty and people make mistakes. Now Allen is the owner of Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Cupcake Shop, a cute boutique downtown, where he invents delicious flavors like strawberry and French meringue. Between working long hours and making special orders, Allen barely has time to think.

Then a hunky contractor walks into his shop looking for a treat. Allen and Byron Bannigan are total opposites, but they’re perfect together—salty and sweet like Allen’s signature peanut butter and chocolate ganache cupcakes. But as Allen struggles to juggle his business and his boyfriend, he learns he can only handle so much. He may have to choose between the cupcakes in his store and the cupcake in his bed.

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Okay, now, here we have Allen, who is the one man bakery owner. He makes cupcakes and quite well if his regular’s have anything to say about it. He was just looking for something to do after losing his partner of 10 years a couple years prior. Gary, was 30 years his senior and Allen took joy in taking care of him. We don’t see any of their relationship because the story takes off when hunky construction man Byron or “B” as he’s called; comes in and is instantly taken with Allen.
Because we didn’t see Gary or how his relationship worked with Allen; we only see it from how Allen describes it; and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way Gary’s friends treated him or the way he thought of himself when something didn’t go right. He was constantly putting himself down and thinking the worst of himself and really the bad things that happened were due to the people he trusted; one in particular that I really wish would have gotten a karmatic kick in the teeth… He didn’t and I didn’t think it was fair; although I will say it worked out for the better for Allen; I didn’t like seeing him get away with being such a nasty person.

Now, let’s talk about “B”, or “Bit” as he was sometimes referred to, a.k.a. “Byron. He was the epitome of patient and understanding; he was thoughtful and selfless, he just wanted to spend time with Allen and once he did and started seeing how run down and exhausted Allen was for trying to take on too much himself, he really tried hard to help out as best as he could. He was incredibly understanding and I can’t imagine it would be easy being the follow up of a long term partner that passed away. Gary was everywhere and for a new relationship he was brought up A LOT….. It didn’t bother him though, he understood. He also was subjected to ALL Gary’s friends; most of them not worth getting to know, they were critical and condescending towards Allen and I didn’t like that either. I wasn’t even sure how to like Issac but he eventual redeemed himself, I felt like. I just felt like he was up in Allen’s business and the things he sometimes said were hurtful and he was completely off… he didn’t know what he was talking about and I can’t stand when friends give horrible advice when they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m glad Allen didn’t listen and he stood up for his relationship with Byron. Byron deserved that because he was pretty close to perfect; especially when it came to all things Allen. He really cared for him and let it show in his actions. For once, Allen was the one being taken care of instead of the one taking care of someone else.

I really enjoyed this sweet little story; sometimes I felt the dialogue was a bit cheesy; I don’t like the whole “lover” pet name, it sounds like bad porn.. It makes my skin crawl, ick… but some feel that way about “honey” or “baby” so maybe it’s just me….. It definitely put a damper on the steamier scenes for me and I literally winced every time it was said. Other than that, I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind a follow up about these two 🙂

*Let me say I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

4 pieces of eye candy

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Fire and Snow by Andrew Grey: Quick Review

fire and snowsynopsisCarlisle Cops: Book Four

Fisher Moreland has been cast out of his family because they can no longer deal with his issues. Fisher is bipolar and living day to day, trying to manage his condition, but he hasn’t always had much control over his life and has self-medicated with whatever he could find.

JD Burnside has been cut off from his family because of a scandal back home. He moved to Carlisle but brought his Southern charm and warmth along with him. When he sees Fisher on a park bench on a winter’s night, he invites Fisher to join him and his friends for a late-night meal.

At first Fisher doesn’t know what to make of JD, but he slowly comes out of his shell. And when Fisher’s job is threatened because of a fire, JD’s support and care is more than Fisher ever thought he could expect. But when people from Fisher’s past turn up in town at the center of a resurgent drug epidemic, Fisher knows they could very well sabotage his budding relationship with JD.

Book – Fire and Snow (Carlisle Cops #4)
Author – Andrew Grey
No. of Pages – 200
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What an excellent addition to this series!

First I want to say I was very luckily given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review…. Lucky me indeed. I adore this series, although I’ll find it almost impossible to top to Carter, Donald and little Alex’s story, this one was just as heart wrenching.

First, we had JD, we’d seen him in previous stories but didn’t know much about him. He’s a good cop who left his hometown when a scandal and his family turning their back on him made him want to start over somewhere new. Having an aunt he was close to give him the strength and encouragement to be who he is was amazing. I was sad he lost her and even sadder that his mother was so awful about her and their relationship. They got the last laugh though and it ended up being what brought them together. I didn’t care for his mother AT ALL in the beginning but I’m glad she eventually saw what was most important in life. Having two young kids myself (actually, not so young anymore, my oldest turned 13 today… whaaaaat?)
I don’t care what my kids do, who they choose to love or what they choose to do with their lives as long as they’re happy and decent people…. that’s enough for me. (Although, I’ll strive for them to be a little more than decent.. I mean, I’ve put a lot of hard work into them haha) Still, I hated that JD didn’t have the support that he needed from his family but was glad he had his aunt.

Then, we have Fisher. Fisher broke my heart and continued to do it. After a car accident leaves him with some mental disabilities, bipolar, depression, bouts of paranoia and panic and anxiety attacks, he’s just looking to settle into a routine that keeps him balanced. Everyone in his life turned against him and maybe some of it was justified, certainly not the abandonment of his family. Again, as a mother myself, shame on his family.
He pulled himself out of the depths of all things bad though and worked everyday to be a better person. That’s admirable and hard to do. I liked seeing someone less than perfect, striving to be better, it was real and genuine and an every day problem for some people. I love stories that people can relate to and this one was perfect.
It was hard for Fisher to get close to JD and accept that he was good enough and that JD liked him for him. He was constantly thinking that JD deserved better and sometimes tried to push him away. I was glad JD put up a fight and went after what he wanted.

The plot twist and darkened story-line was easily guessed by the first few chapters. I knew who was behind everything I was just waiting and page turning to see how it all played out, so while it was angsty to an extent, it wasn’t a mystery and it made me antsty because I just wanted to get to how it played out. I didn’t like the weasly boyfriend of the ex and I wanted to see him get what he had coming to him. For everyone who follows my reviews, you’ll know I hate when the bad guys get away with being bad guys… I need them to get their karmatic kick in the teeth or I don’t feel vindicated… is that weird? Probably… do I care? Nahhhh

Other than that, I loved seeing Carter, Donald and Alex, I love that Alex is a happy kid now with his Daddy and Papa, I love seeing the progress they made as a family and that everyone is still, happy and healthy and together.
I loved seeing Terry and Red, Red was another of my favorites and I enjoy reading about he and Terry whenever they come up, and even Jos and Kip even though they weren’t mentioned a lot in this series I was happy to see everyone doing well.
I adore this author and I adore this series but that doesn’t mean I’m biased, it means I have heavy expectations and every one of them were met in this story….

Overall, this was a great addition to an already fantastic series and I can’t wait to read more!

Cover – Hot!
POV – 3rd person, dual POV
Would I read it again – Absolutely!

4 pieces of eye candy

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.