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review 2017-04-07 02:51
I'm a little torn on this one...
Lord Mouse - Mason Thomas

And once again audible has assisted me in getting to a book that I've wanted to read for quite a while now and keep getting derailed on my way to it. 'Lord Mouse' is that little bit of different that I like to get in my reading diet from time to time. 

 

I loved the fact that Lord Mouse, our hero if you will isn't a big, brawny alpha male and while he can hold his own in a fight. He's got brains and knows how to use them and then we have Garron who is the big, brawny, sorta' alpha male that Mouse has been contracted to rescue. 

 

Lord Mouse was an adventure filled with action. This was a mix between the adventures of Robin Hood and a good old fashioned swashbuckler with a touch of fantasy and a dash of romance thrown in for good measure.

 

One of the best parts of this story for me was that even though I knew Mouse and Garron were going to be the MCs in this story and they would end up together. I honestly have to admit at the beginning when they first met I questioned how this would be possible. It just seemed like they'd have an easier time bickering and snipping at each other than actually falling in love. It was awesome...no other word for it, watching these two go from basically wanting to throttle each other to two men in love was more than a little entertaining.

 

My only real niggle was with the ending of the book it was for me a little too predicable and while I liked that our heroes got to be together. I think I would have like it better if things had been a little different...and that's all you're getting about that because it's the ending and I'm going to spoil that for anybody if I can help it and I can.

 

I know the second book in this series has already been released and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I highly doubt that I will seek out the audio book for it...you see this is my dilemma...'Lord Mouse' was narrated by Joel Leslie and for whatever reason and I really haven't quite figured it out. This narrator just doesn't work for me. I'm not saying he's bad because I really and truly don't believe he is but just like with authors, not every narrator is for every listener. I've tried a couple of books by this particular narrator and I end up being not quite happy with the character voices that he gives me and again it's not that I think he's bad. I have friends who have really enjoyed some of his other books and I don't think they're wrong about it. I just think it's not working for me.

 

I guess at the end of it all what I'm trying to say is I gave the book 'Lord Mouse' 4 stars because for me it was a really fun and enjoyable story but for the narration it's just 3 stars...not a bad narrator just not the right one for me. Seriously, if you like audio books check out the sample wherever you buy your books from and then decide. You may love him, I didn't but different strokes for different folks, right?

 

********************

An audiobook of 'Lord Mouse' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-05 23:26
This book...seriously...mind blown!
Misfits - Garrett Leigh

I've been sitting on this review for a couple of days now because I truly don't know what to say about his one. But I'm going to try and say something anyways because this book is to epically awesome to be ignored.

 

Tom and Cass have been together for a lot of years already at the beginning of 'Misfits' and they have what many would call an unconventional relationship. Neither man has any doubt how much they love and are loved by the other and truthfully by the end of this book I had zero doubt as well. However, Tom and Cass don't view their love and fidelity to each other as being tied to the physical act of sex and they both agreed that if they see someone they want to be with they can go for it. It's an open dance card for each of them. They don't have to ask permission each time or let the other partner know ahead of time. That's not how this works for them and they also don't keep their extracurricular activities a secret from each other either. So whether or not it's the type of relationship I'd have is immaterial and irrelevant. This works for them and just like in real life it's not up to anyone else to define what is or isn't right in another relationship and if neither Tom nor Cass consider this to be cheating than who am I to say differently.

 

When Tom meets Jake, he's fascinated by him and he knows he wants him. He's even fairly certain that this is more than a one night stand for him but it also doesn't change how much he loves and still wants Cass. Jake on the other hand wants Tom but he doesn't want to be the tuna in anybodies sandwich...or so he thinks.

 

I wasn't sure how this was going to work for me. One of my biggest issues with menage books is that I never feel the connection between all three partners. I may think partner A & B have a good connection or A and C but it's no that often that I feel the connection between all three or that I feel like A & B, connect as well as B & C and if they do than it's usually A & C who hold the weak link for me. While initially I didn't get all the connections here either at least there was a reason...they didn't exis...yet.

 

While Tom and Cass were an existing relationship and Tom and Jake's connection was a flash, bang. For Cass and Jake at the beginning it was not so much. They started as friends who had one commonality...Tom. Jake wanted Tom and not just for one night but he knew from the first mention of Cass that Tom and Cass were a thing and it wasn't ending and even if it was...he wasn't going to be 'that guy', so how to do this and not get hurt was a little bit unfathomable to Jake. What Jake didn't count on was Cass...you see, Cass loved Tom and he knew that Tom's need for Jake went beyond the usual and that Tom had love to spare so he encourage it. He wanted Tom to explore this thing that was happening with Jake. He loved Tom enough that he was going to try and help make this work by becoming Jake's friend.

 

We often say that if you really love someone than it's their happiness that means the most to you and comes first. It's the strength of Cass and Tom's relationship that gives life to these words and makes this whole story work so incredibly well for me because of how their love supported and helped the bonds between them all to grow and develop.

 

Cass and Tom were soul mates with an established relationship and Jake's presence didn't threaten it both men were confident in their love for each other. Tom and Jake were a strong and instant attraction that only grew stronger with each encounter.  Cass and Jake started slowly going from being two men who shared their emotional connection with Tom...to friends...to more than friends...to lovers and while the individual relationships developed I could also feel the shifting of things to create that bond that would take Cass and Tom from a couple with an open relationship to a menage of three men in love. 

 

I was very honestly astounded by how beautifully the relationship played out in this book. The depth of character and relationship development held such a natural and realistic flow for me. While each of these men is so individually unique and strong in their own way, they all share a common trait of wanting to be the one who took care of each of them and was there when they needed someone.

 

There are so many wonderful things to this story. Small subtleties that flowed and wove themselves together creating a visually rich story about three men finding love and creating an unconventional life together in a conventional world. 

 

'Misfits' is the story of three men never quite fitting in until they found each other and realized that fitting in isn't just about where it's also about who. Even if menage isn't your thing check this one out. I think you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

 

Garrett Leigh has to consistently surprised me with every story that I read. Creating characters who are interesting, unique and yet believably real. I'd say I can't wait to read the next book in this series but that'd be a lie because I've already read it. It's part of the reason why this review has taken so long to be written. 

 

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review 2016-11-07 13:00
Bullet-Listed Thoughts: Grave Mercy
Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers
Book 1 of His Fair Assassin
Audio book narrated by Erin Moon

 

 

**See Also:  Collective Updates for Grave Mercy



I liked this book more than I expected to like it, and while there is a lot of monotony to be had between certain events, I surprisingly found those quite intriguing and nice anyway.  Being that this book focuses a lot on history and politics of Brittany during the pre-Renaissance era, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it if only because I’m usually bored by books that are heavy with politics.

So, kudos to Ms. Robin LaFevers.  I really loved this book in spite of the political conspiracies and the drawn out history lessons--in fact, these were the things, aside from the characters, that I found most fascinating.

But anyway, as I had let this book sit on my mind for a long time (a very long time), and then subsequently went back and "skim-read" it (via audio book) to refresh my memory before diving into reading what I thought were the last two books in this series (there have since been two more books added to the series), I really don’t have much in the form of a review.  So I decided to just bullet-list my thoughts and then call it a day.

Actually, a lot of these notes and thoughts had been written back in 2014 when I first finished reading this book.  Following, I decided to wait until the last book of the then-trilogy was published before reading the rest.  Time ended up eluding me and I never got around to finishing the last two books until this time in 2016.

Anyway, moving along now...


The Story:
Escaping the brutality of a forced marriage, Ismae finds sanctuary with the convent of St. Mortain who serves the God of Death.  She learns that she is blessed by the God of Death and that all the sisters of this convent serve Mortain as his handmaidens, meant to mete out his wishes as trained agents in the art of Death.

And thus NUN ASSASSINS.

Ismae receives her most important assignment in the high court of Brittany where she comes across deeper intrigues of conspiracies and deadly games of treason.  Her initial assignment is to uncover a possible treasonous plot taking place at court.   Her overall mission is to serve and protect the Duchess.

Oh yea, and she meets a man named Gavriel Duval who, knowing what she has been trained for, is Ismae’s means of remaining at the court to complete her assigned mission.  There’s also romance, but it’s quite subtle and not at all in the way of the actual conflict taking place in the story.

Meanwhile, Ismae slowly learns that maybe there is more to being a handmaiden of St. Mortain than simply killing in his name, and that her teachers at the convent may not always know what the God of Death truly has plans for.


What I liked:

  • Once again, I give kudos to the fact that the book’s political-historical intrigues managed to hook me rather than put me to sleep.   It’s not the fault of fictional politics, it’s really just me.  While I like a bit of history here and there, I’ve never fully been able to care for politics, so books with court conspiracies and political intrigue tend to become boring to me. (I’ve spent my childhood watching old Chinese historical television series that involve court politics; after a while, every treasonous plot just starts to sound the same.)

 

  • This book was a page turner--I hardly noticed this book was 500+ pages and actually yearned for more when it came to an end.  The "re-read" of the audio book had me hooked as well--I found myself unwilling to stop the player long enough to read other books, or even to go to sleep.

 

  • The subtle romance between Ismae and Duval was sweet and nicely developed.  I like that they started off as friendly rivals in the game of their court-related missions, and I like that they were a witty set of Bickering Romance love birds slowly building their chemistry from friendship to lovers as they continuously got on each other’s nerves.  And I like that once they got over their own stubborn prides and agreed to work together, they made a pretty powerful team.

 

  • Ismae is strong, intelligent, and knows her priorities.  When she realizes that she is in way over her head, she takes her self-proclaimed impatient ass back a step so that she can listen and learn and figure out what she needs to understand before she acts.  To be honest, even though it is described that Ismae is often too eager to mete out death and punishment and too impatient to wait for something to happen, I actually found her to be quite sensible in her actions.  And on top of that, romance does not tie her down and she knows what needs to be done first and foremost to best serve the Duchess and her God of Death.

 

  • The writing is beautiful.  Descriptions are vivid.  The historical atmosphere is palpable.

 


What I didn’t like:

  • There isn’t as much action as I would have liked.  Because the book deals more in politics and history and world-building, the amount of fighting and action and even the number of people Ismae has killed in this book seem quite sparse for a book about NUN ASSASSINS.

 

  • This wasn’t the gritty, gory, badass NUN ASSASSIN book I had been expecting.  It’s much better than the other nun assassin book I had read previously, but it’s a lot calmer than I had expected.  In fact, if the whole NUN ASSASSIN thing hadn’t been my first “OMG!  I want this book so badly!” tagline, I might have just read it as a historical with political intrigue and there'd be no capitalization of NUN ASSASSINS to be had.

 

  • As much as I liked the sweet and quiet, friendly bickering chemistry between Ismae and Duval, in an overall romance rating, the love story was actually kind of lukewarm.  In fact, the two seem to mesh well better as friendly partners in crime with a sizzling undertone of attraction and unacknowledged chemistry.



Final Thoughts:
I had decided that was probably time for me to fit in Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart somewhere (this will happen soon)--it has been a very long time since I finished Grave Mercy (see above introductory confession).  I need to be able to, like, read twenty books simultaneously and take about two months worth of vacation to finish my reading list.  Because while I found Grave Mercy to be immensely enjoyable, despite being a genre I don’t normally touch at all, I’ve noted that many reviewers have stated that the next two books are supposedly even more awesome.  And so I really should have made time to finish reading the next two books to join and bask in the glory of having read the His Fair Assassin series.

Anyway...

This is a book I would definitely reread over again, to be totally honest.  And it got me curious enough about the history of Brittany as well as the Duchess Anne to want to do some genuine research.  Of course, so far, I’ve only done a Wiki search...

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/bullet-listed-thoughts-grave-mercy.html
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review 2015-05-29 04:06
Rock Bottom-Just not good
Rock Bottom - Erin Brockovich

I went into this book not expecting much and got what I expected. I found this to be a hot mess.  You can't just slap the word "environmentalism" on a book and assume that wipes out all its flaws.  It just isn't a good book. It didn't bore me but it wasn't good and I just about rolled my eyes out of my head at the absurdity of it.

The premise is that A.J. Palladino left her home in West Virginia, the coal-mining community of Scotia, years ago when she was 17 under a cloud of disgrace.  She has since then become an environmental activist with a disabled son. She had some successes but is now out of work and a lawyer in Scotia offers her a job to help with his case against the big coal mining company in the area which is removing the tops of mountains to get at coal more cheaply.  It just so happens, of course, that the son of the owner of this mining company is also the father of her son. She comes back to town, has run-ins with everyone including her parents and finds the lawyer who hired her has been murdered.  Fortunately, the lawyer's daughter, who is also a lawyer, is in town and decides to stay and finish the case her father started.

The book is full of stereotypical characters and shallow plot lines.  A.J. brings her son, who is twelve or so, to her hometown and immediately introduces him to his father who is married to someone else.  No build up, just bam, instant love between father and son.  The people that run the coal mine are evil to the core with no redeeming qualities and the good guys are shining lights of humanity.  The handicapped son is smarter and more heroic than all the adults put together.   The coal miners come across as terrible people just for needing to put food on the table for their children.  There's no depth or subtlety.  There are black and white cardboard figures and through all of it, you are being pounded on the head with the hammer of "environmentalism." I don't read mysteries to have my head bashed in.  

I read this because our library discussion group is going to discuss this next month.  I'm very interested to hear what the other readers thought of it.   

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review 2015-05-16 15:48
Review: Seraphina!
Seraphina (Seraphina #1) - Rachel Hartman
At A Glance

Genre:
Young Adult; Fantasy; Dragons
Love Triangle/Insta Love?: Slight love triangle.
Cliff Hanger: nope
Rating: 3.5 stars.

Score Sheet
All out of ten

Cover:
8
Plot: 7
Characters: 7
World Building: 7
Flow: 5
Series Congruity: n/a
Writing: 7
Ending: 5

Total: 7

In Depth

Best Part:
There's dragons!
Worst Part: Drawn out writing.
Overall Feels Felt: What is going on?!; Ohhh...; Dragon fight!

Conclusion

Continuing the Series:
yes
Recommending: eh.
Misc.: Buddy read!

Short Review: I struggled to get into this book! The writing is weird to me. It's very drawn out. Details everywhere. It was until about 40% in that i actually started getting what was going on. The first half was just all over the place. I liked it after the 40% mark thou! The thing that really killed me thou was that Seraphina is treated beyond well by the princess and that seems to mean nothing to Seraphina, and she proves that in the last few pages. Also why does the music assistant have such pull in the royal family? what too unrealistic for me.

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