31 August 2014

The Family Series Tour Stop!

Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.
I teetered between three and four stars till the last half of the book.  The intensity that I felt made it an easy choice to give it four stars.  I have read other books from this author before and I didn’t feel the beginning lived up to the reputation I had in my head for this author but that was quickly diminished when Asher figured out what a fool he was and went after Daniel.  I was left on the edge of my seat flipping those pages fast to see how this would end up for those two.
Asher is an organized, play it by the book cop who happens to be a Dom.  Taking control of the situation and bringing peace to chaos is what he was born to do.  When he arrives at a friend’s party, he had to take a breather from the excitement that the party brought and he comes across the man who is going to betray ever single rule Asher has set up in his organized life.  Daniel is not only one of the messiest, free spirited people ever; he is also related to Asher’s friend.  Worse than that, he is the man who knocked Asher off his feet and made him realize that maybe rules were meant to be broken. 
The two are going to have to make some compromises if this is going to work.  Asher isn’t going to be able to be the Dom in a BDSM lifestyle and he will need to learn to accept a bit of vanilla flavoring in his world.  Daniel will learn soon what sends Asher over the edge and work around his regimented world and bring some easy going fun into the picture.  When Asher asks Daniel to come back and stay with him after the wedding they are attending, I am not sure who was more shocked Asher or I as the reader.  He really gave the vibe that he was a one nighter or scene player, not someone who would open his heart and home to a stranger and think about forever so quickly.  Daniel is trying to make amends with some family members and develop a stronger bond between them.  This could work in helping that situation but more important, this could be his forever.
When Asher makes a choice to show the upper hand he risks losing Daniel forever.  Thank goodness Riley is there to help shove Asher over the edge and realize that Daniel IS the man for him.   By this time the author had redeemed him with me and this story and captured my heart once again with characters I grew to care about.  Asher is the pain in the butt you want to be happy, Daniel is the mess you want to be safe and secure for once.  I wanted both of them to finally lay down the past baggage and embrace their future.  If you love an M/M book then I would say give this series a few hours of your time and love Asher and Daniel.  I will be reading the next book in this series and I hope these two make appearances because I am not over wanting to know how they are and where they have taken what they found.  
When twenty-two-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn’t difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.

Spencer is surprised when he’s approached by the gorgeous construction worker he’s admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his thirty-eight years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he’ll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.

Strong Enough, while can be read alone, is the second book in the Family Series and a solid four stars.  If you read my review for the first book I was a bit set back in the beginning of that book because it didn’t live up to what I had come to expect from this author.  This was a constant, steady story for me that hooked my interest early and kept me emotionally involved in the characters. 
I LOVE Emilio, he works with his brothers on a construction team and he loves life and goes after what he wants.  When he spots Spencer he knows this is a man that deserves his attention.  Nothing was going to stop him from talking to this man.  After giving it some thought he comes up with a unique way to get a few words with Spencer.  Hopefully he can get the man to agree to spend at least the day with him but heck a weekend would be awesome as well.  When he approaches Spencer he gets the sense that Spencer isn’t as lively and willing to open up to new experiences as he had hoped but Emilio was willing to give it his best. 
Spencer is a timid man who made me want to comfort and encourage him.  He gave the impression of a scared and hurt puppy who wanted to be loved and cared for but too afraid to risk his heart for it.  With the demons he lives with from the past, he was taken by Emilio and considered the chance that this could be safe and fun.  When people continued to push and shove Spencer, Emilio realized that trust was what he needed to build in Spencer but it was also the one thing that verged on impossible. 
With ups and downs, one step forward, two steps back throughout the whole story we watched Emilio try to build up Spencer’s confidence and self-esteem.  He tried to prove the only thing he wanted to take and give to Spencer was love and devotion.  I found my heart breaking for both of them and angry at what others had done to Spencer that tore him down to feeling like he was nothing.  Both are mature men, successful in their jobs, liked by friends and worth a happy ending but the author didn’t make it easy for them.  I can’t give more details because you need to feel the emotional angst in this story to appreciate their strength and story.  
I felt the author came out of the gates strong on this, giving us two characters who are so opposite that it made the story interesting and endearing.  To watch the two come together, be torn apart only to try and find their way back together again, ripped my heart out at times and left me feeling sad because they deserved the best life had to offer.  I really recommend this book, it is a great M/M book that will make you feel emotions and invest in the characters.  
As a teenager, Charlie "Chase" Rhodes meets Scott Boone and falls head over heels in love with the popular, athletic boy next door. Charlie thinks he's living the dream when Scott says he feels the same way. But his dreams are dashed when Scott moves unexpectedly and doesn't return.

Years later, Chase meets brash and confident Adan Navarro, who claims all he wants is a round between the sheets. When they're still together after eight months, Chase is convinced Adan returns his love. But then the time comes to be open about their relationship, and Adan walks away instead.

Time heals all wounds, but when Charlie runs into Scott and Adan and realizes the only two men he's ever loved are now in love with each other, his heart breaks all over again. Scott and Adan tell Charlie they want him back, but Charlie doesn't know if he can trust two people who have hurt him so deeply. And even if he can, why would Scott and Adan want Charlie when they already have everything with each other?

Wow, talk about a mind warping and intriguing story, you have it all here with these three men.  I grew to love and hate each of them at one time, my heart broke for one while at the same time I wanted to slap him upside the head and tell him to wake up and not risk it.  Good thing I wasn’t in charge and he followed his heart.  I don’t think he would have ever been happy if he was left to wonder why his life turned out empty if he hadn’t taken a chance.
Charlie met his best friend Scott as a teenager.  They became close and loyal as all best friends do but eventually it evolves into a love that both felt for each other.  After a meaningful amount of time being each other’s partners, Scott declares he is leaving Charlie and moving to Vegas.  Charlie is broken hearted and alone, vowing to never invest more of his heart into another relationship again.  Focusing on life and jobs, visiting one night stands for release, Charlie slowly becomes bitter with being left behind by the man he loves. 
One day he runs across Adan and even though it wasn’t love at first sight, it grew into attraction that deserved some attention.  Adan had a completely different view of being a gay man than Charlie but they made it work for a long time.  Charlie never felt complete, there was still a void that Scott left but he finally felt he could be happy, or at least pretend easily to be happy.  Adan took his views and feelings in a different direction and left Charlie as well.  This added to Charlie’s bitterness and desire to be alone.  He would create himself into a person that no one would want to take in to a relationship again.
Life doesn’t always go as we plan and Charlie meets Adan and Scott again down the road.  Imagine his surprise when he learns that Adan and Scott know each other.  You must read the story to feel the tension and emotions the author created in this book.  The words jump off the page and land in your heart and create a tidal wave of feelings and understanding.  At one point while I was upset with Charlie for how he was acting, I could understand it.  I felt horrible for him, to live his life being alone and abandoned by two men he loved only to find them again later happy and living life to the fullest. 
I think the author took this story and twisted it just enough to mess with the reader’s mind and tangle their heart.  The human nature in me wanted to pick sides, but that was impossible because I could see each person’s point of view and emotions.  I was torn because I wanted this book to end so I could see what happens, but I wasn’t ready to let go of these three by the end of the book.  I so recommend this book if you love a ménage with three men who have flaws and scars but long and search for the missing pieces that will fill the voids left by choices of the past.  To watch forgiveness take place and the heart becoming humble at recognizing the pain in which you have caused.  Trust is another aspect of this book, especially for Charlie.  It wasn’t the kind of trust you would expect, it was more trusting that Adan and Scott really wanted Charlie for who he was, not because he filled a need in the bed room or out of guilt for the choices they made regarding Charlie’s future.  So many issues to address, the author did a great job as engaging the reader into this twisted and shocking story.   
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset. Cardeno's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."


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