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review 2017-09-16 19:02
Ruby: A Novel - Cynthia Bond

Well, that was quite a ride. Beautifully written -- Bond is a marvel at the sentence level -- and magical in more ways than one... and thank God for that, because the story itself is brutal. Small towns have never been portrayed more unflatteringly, nor has church life (if you can call it that).  I imagine the author might have taken some flack from some members of the Black community, as Alice Walker did with The Color Purple, and Walker's book is a stroll through the rose garden compared to this one. While I'm not sure it's for everyone, since the misogyny and violence is extreme, but it's an important book, less concerned with entertaining you than with forcing you to bear witness. Bond is one hell of a writer. 

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review 2017-07-31 23:37
Jin and Logan...take 2...
Trusted Bond - Mary Calmes

Ok, sooo...'Trusted Bond' is the second book in the 'Change of Heart' series and overall I enjoyed both the story and the narration better than the first book. 

 

Basically this one continues to explore Jin and Logan's relationship as it changes and we see each man/shifter trying to make sense of what's happening and become the partner that the other man/shifter needs. 

 

Again I read this one several years ago when it was released in e-book format and while this audiobook was narrated by Jeff Gelder and I definitely enjoyed the narration provided by Mr. Gelder. My original rating of 4 stars remains unchanged.

 

Sorry, moving time constraints still have my life in their control. Truthfully my recommendation on this series so far...read the books the audio books really don't enhance the experience at all.

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review 2017-07-31 03:54
Brief Thoughts: Heat Wave (anthology)
Heat Wave: Rex on the Beach/Getting Into Trouble/Shaken and Stirred - Stephanie Bond,Leslie Kelly,Heidi Betts

Heat Wave
-- 'Rex on the Beach' by Stephanie Bond
-- 'Getting Into Trouble' by Leslie Kelly
-- 'Shaken and Stirred' by Heidi Betts

Average Overall Rating:  3.4 Stars

 

 

A little con

Investigator Lucy Bell is looking for a runaway groom.  Fortunately, the almost-best-man (who's tastier than a double chocolate cheesecake) likely knows where he is.  All Lucy needs is a little deception--and a whole lot of hot 'n' sweaty persuasion!

A little magic

Single mom Allie Cavanaugh has played nice with others for too long.  Then Allie finds herself kissing a powerfully magnetic hypnotist at a carnival--in front of an audience!  Sure, maybe she's mesmerized, or maybe the 'real' Allie is finally waking up....

And a little late-night mischief!

Abby Weaver abandons the cool haven of her pharmaceutical basement for a girls-only week of sun, sand and fruity drinks.  That was the plan--until Abby finds herself going solo.  But the beach is a funny place--you never know just what (or who!) will wash up onshore....



It's pretty typical that novella-length stories are usually only good for a fast and breezy enjoyable taste of what an author is capable of.  The three stories in Heat Wave are entertaining, but don't really feel all that interesting, and probably not stories I'd come back to because they aren't entirely memorable.  And maybe a little cheesy to boot.

The beach theme was nice though--it made me want to take a little vacation to relax on a nice, sunny beach myself... despite the fact that I've never really been fond of beaches.

But hey, this sounds kind of nice:

"We'll get a great room with an ocean view, go shopping for sexy new beach outfits and laze around on the sand all day, reading steamy romance novels and sipping umbrella drinks."


Rex on the Beach -- 3.0 Stars

by Stephanie Bond

I have a lot of problems with the premise of this story, if only because I'm not entirely comfortable with how quickly our couple lusts after each other even when they each have their own commitments--one of which is a possible marriage.  But if you can get past that, the development of our main couple had a pretty good amount of potential to make a fun romance.

When two characters carrying secrets hop into a relationship, you're bound to have all sorts of juicy twists and turns to work with.  So maybe if this story had been a little bit longer, it might have been more intriguing.   But otherwise, even the characters as individuals were a little flat.

 

 

Getting Into Trouble -- 3.5 Stars

by Leslie Kelly

Leslie Kelly is always hit or miss with me, and I've read enough of her work to keep her on my radar.  But a lot of her older work, or mainly some of her contemporaries are laden with dated romances, and an underlying sense of judgment towards females and their sexuality--akin to slut shaming, I'd say, but not quite so blatantly.  I say 'dated romance' because it's quite typical to find these themes in older romance novels: a sense that good girls don't talk about sex, don't think about sex, and don't have sex.

Which is in full contradiction of the main female characters in her contemporaries, because they are cast as very sexual people--they DO think about sex, the DO talk about sex, they DO like sex.  Except that there's always that unofficial disclaimer of "I don't always do this."  Because it's quite alright for a woman to have sexual needs and express herself sexually... if she doesn't announce it often, or if it's not in her normal behavior.  I'm not even sure Kelly realizes she does this, because I've read other works by her that don't have this underlying tone of a qualifying a woman's open sexuality.

It bugs me, if only because, even in this day and age, women are hesitant about expressing themselves in a sexual way, because society has taught us that women should not talk about sex nor even like it--that it creates gossip and makes you look bad.  Even though it's perfectly acceptable for men to joke about, talk about, have, and/or even be crass about sex.  On a regular basis.

I have a friend who can't even say the word 'sex' without turning pink and whispering it like it's an evil mantra.

But anyway, let me get back off of my soapbox, because this could go on for a long time.

Getting Into Trouble was the longest, most in-depth novella in this collection.  A lot happens that really DOES create a well-rounded romance, with conflict, angst, and fun.  I just got a little irritated with both of our characters:  Allie for being so wishy-washy with her actions; Damon for taking rejection so personally that he acts all butthurt and kind of douchy about it.

But in the end, everything comes together and it's a pretty nice and enjoyable romance.  My spiel about the whole 'dated romance' thing came mainly, because there were points in the book where Allie finds herself having to justify her attraction towards Damon, and it bugged me.  The word 'scandal' got tossed out there, and suddenly I'm thinking, "What is this, a historical?"  That people would disapprove of her getting close to a strange man because she's a single mom.  That it was okay when all the other women did it, but NOT Allie, because she's the virtuous main character.

That she feels she can't be attracted to, start a relationship with, or get to know this passerby in town, otherwise she'd get judged for it.

Of course, it might also have to do with the fact that Damon is traveling with a carnival, and carnies really do get a bad rep, more often than not.

Otherwise, the story was pretty good.

 

 

Shaken and Stirred -- 3.5 Stars

by Heidi Betts

The honest truth is that Shaken and Stirred was the better written of the three stories, with a cute and sweet romance, a slight amount of conflict, and a Happily Ever After™.  The relationship developed in a mature, fun, honest fashion, if a little too fast for my liking.  There was a cutesy, breezy feel to the story's progression.  And there weren't any overly complicated twists.

It was just a sweet little chick lit piece about a woman breaking out of her normal, shy and closed-in personality, and having a fun vacation; meeting a man, having a fling, and generally enjoying herself.

It was simply a contemporary romance, about a man and woman who meet during a summer vacation, have a fling, and start developing deeper feelings.  The sex might have happened a little too quickly, and the "I love you's" were flung out faster than I expected, but it seemed like a pretty decently outlined, down-to-earth romance.

If only it hadn't been so boring.  Which is probably why it felt like the shortest of the three stories.

But, nonetheless, it was still very enjoyable, and readily likable.


***

 

Roll #33:  "Read a book with water on the cover, or where someone turns on the waterworks (i.e., cries) because of an emotional event."

The cover features water from a beach and ocean.

Page Count:  320
Cash Award:  +$9.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $258.00

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/brief-thoughts-heat-wave-anthology.html
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review 2017-07-19 16:41
Saving Paradise by Mike Bond @mikebondbooks
Saving Paradise - Mike Bond

Saving Paradise…..

 

I would like to thank Mike Bond and Mandevilla Press for the opportunity to read and review Saving Paradise.

 

Saving Paradise

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

A tropical island location and murder, I can hardly wait for my journey to begin.

 

The opening page brought to mind the beauty and wonder of Oahu, Hawaii.

Surfing zero. Dead body one.

 

Sylvia, literally, bumped into Pono Hawkins, as he hit the surf. But she wasn’t breathing any more.

 

I love everything about the guy. He’s rough around the edges, loves critters…and the ladies…he served in Afghanistan and even did time in prison, but he is not the bad guy.

Love he’s got a surfing dachshund. Imagine heading off to the beach, two boards strapped to the top of the car, head hanging out of the window, the dog’s head not his, just two ‘guys’ going surfing.

 

I can visualize that now. Come on. Close your eyes, smell the salty air, hear the crash of the waves and see Mojo, riding the waves, with his tongue hanging out and his tail wagging a mile a minute.  Mojo even liked to have a drink and a puff or two of Maui Wowie.

 

I loved the story about Prima, the cat, moving in and taking over.

 

The trouble began when he decided it was up to him to find Sylvia’s killer himself.

 

The danger mounts but he can’t figure where it’s coming from. Neither can I, but I do have a list of suspects. My head is spinning as I try to keep pace with him. I am confused with all the misinformation and setup going on.

 

Mojo…well, I sure didn’t see that coming. and I’m more pissed than ever.

 

Who to trust? Is everything a lie and everyone a liar? When he talks about vets, marijuana and the government, it makes me angry. We don’t take good enough care of the people who lay their lives on the line for us and we do own them a good life…no matter the cost.

 

The war talk made me angry but that’s for another day. We are here to solve the murders and expose corruption.

 

Big government, big business, greed and disregard for natural resources. Could it be the end of Paradise? How can you fight billions of dollars with nothing?  How much is someones life worth? I get angry when corrupt government, big business and the greedy people involved think that money is worth more than someone’s life and our environment.

 

I liked the glimpse of Hawaiian history, the characters and the storyline. The story seemed a little rushed and fell a little flat, but Mike Bond did keep the mystery going and who doesn’t want to visit a tropical island and do a little surfing.

 

This isn’t my first Mike Bond read and it won’t be my last.

 

Hang loose.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of Saving Paradise by Mike Bond.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/saving-paradise-mike-bond
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review 2017-06-08 17:24
A Bear Called Paddington
A Bear Called Paddington - Michael Bond,Peggy Fortnum

I picked this one up because Paddington was the answer to one of our trivia night questions. I missed this one and realized I didn't know anything about Paddington beyond darkest Peru, marmalade sandwiches and the train station.

 

It's a marshmallow book (sweet and light). Each chapter reads almost like a short story. Paddington has some interesting adventures, but I wasn't interested enough to seek out any more of his books.

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