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review 2017-07-26 00:47
The Fallen Angel
The Fallen Angel - Daniel Silva

The Fallen Angel is a mid-series entry (#12) in Daniel Silva’s long-running series about Israeli spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon. At the beginning of The Fallen Angel, Gabriel is retired from the intrigue business and at the Vatican to restore a painting by Caravaggio. He is drawn into an investigation of the death of a female curator who was investigating malfeasance in the Vatican collection by his friend and occasional ally, private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII, Monsignor Luigi Donati. Of course, Donati knows more than he initially reveals and soon Gabriel is off to the Italian countryside followed by St. Moritz to investigate. It being a Gabriel Allon story, there can’t be just one villain, just one plot, and soon enough the story circles back to events in Israel and the clock is ticking as Gabriel races to save the world in the nick of time.

 

Read by iconic narrator George Guidall, The Fallen Angel, like many thrillers made an excellent audiobook. While The Fallen Angel can stand alone, I would have benefitted from a more recent memory of the previous volume in the series (which I somehow appear to have missed). Gabriel has been aging in real time and would be in his late 50s at the time of The Fallen Angel. He is still, barely, young enough for the high jinx to be plausible. While Daniel Silva continues to turn out one well researched Gabriel story a year (#17 was published earlier in July 2017), the stories since The Fallen Angel just haven’t been quite as compelling.

 

Read for  Fantasyland 6: Read a book set in a Western European Country or with a wintry scene on the cover

 

 

  

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review 2017-07-25 10:50
so freaking awesome!!!
Unbreak My Heart - K-lee Klein,Nick J. Russo
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. I usually write a blurby bit but for this one I'm gonna jump straight in, with an apology up front if I gush too much. So, I went on holiday, and there I am, poolside, listening to this book. Oh, I CANNOT separate the book from the narration, I simply can't!. So, I'm poolside. I'm thinking this is good, I like this. Then I really don't like this, its making me cry! Its making me cheer, and making cry again, and its making sit straight upright, and shout, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! And its making me cry again. And people came up to me, asking if I was okay, cos let me tell ya, I was bawling my bloody eyes at this book!! Brett's heart break at losing Walt 3 years ago jumps off the page from the very beginning. His battle with himself comes over with every letter and song he wrote after Walt's death. It comes over with every emotion as Nick J. Russo narrates them, and reads the letters and songs. Brett's fight with himself to give in to love again, to let someone else in, after so much heart ache comes at you, in random places along the way, that just breaks your own heart for him! JT, the kid, has attraction for Brett from the beginning, and I loved that he lets Brett take the time he needs, that JT is so patient with Brett and his yoyo-ing back and forth. Loved how JT himself was so heart broken when Brett found out what JT had done. As I said, I simply CANNOT split the narration from the story itself. I have no doubt, none at all, had I READ this book, it would still have been a 5 star read, but so much of the emotions can't be portrayed when reading. THAT can only come from a highly skilled narrator, and Russo is such a master at his craft. I have listened to his work before, and loved all of them, but this one has to be my all time favourite. Its the way Russo reads Klein's work, because, without HER words, Russo wouldn't be able to give over such emotion and heart break, and such joy again, once Brett finally, FINALLY lets JT in. There is, at the very end of the book, a song Brett writes for JT. I don't usually use bits from books in my reviews, but I felt the need to do it here. These words touched me, possibly more so than the rest of the book, no idea why, but they did, and they NEEDED to be included. SO I give you... A Song For The Kid, by K-Lee Klein One hundred miles from Dallas On a ranch southwest of town An old heart battered and broken Was somehow saved and found They had nothing much in common A burnt-out musician and a college boy One from California And the other Southern as a belle is coy But an interfering mama And an old cowboy with a quiet way Saw fit to toss them together And the rest is history as they say Well, the musician he was stubborn, Determined his heart would never beat again But the kid was kind and patient Didn’t give up on what could have been I was lucky to find true love once When I was barely that California boy’s age Self-condemned to toss my heart and soul Beside my lover in his dark, lonely grave But now I understand the meaning Behind it’s better to have loved and lost Because there’s room in my heart for my beloved departed And for the new feelings that kid has caused So it’s with a hopeful heart and willing spirit I’m begging for a lot more time Because there’s nothing as important in my life Than needing that kid to be mine. And though I don’t believe in marital bliss Or in ceremonies trumped up for show If you’ll take my hand I can promise you I’ll never let you go I don’t have a whole lot to offer Someone with so much potential drive Just a bare-open, battered heart And an old guitar with a long-ago country vibe But I can vow to love you With every inch of my soul With this bandaged heart And just one important goal Please be my partner in life My friend at my side The one I turn to during the day The one I hold at night I wanna make you feel as loved As the warmth I have inside I wanna hold you so close to me Our hearts beating side by side I promise to love and honor And try to see things your way I promise, Darlin’, to love you Forever and a day So please be my partner in life My friend at my side The one I turn to during the day The one I hold at night ’Cause without you I’m cold I’m shut down and alone I can’t seem to function And my heart turns to stone So please be my partner in life My friend at my side The one I turn to during the day The one I hold at night I’ll hold back the sun Or steal the moon from the sky I’ll sail you round the world And together we’ll fly So will you be my partner? Will you be the love at my side? Will you be the one I turn to all day? Will you be the one I hold at night? I love you, kid, with all my heart From morning to night, from dusk to dawn All I need is a chance For our hearts to become one Let me show you how much love You make me feel every day I’m completely in love with you, Darlin’ So please—what do ya say? And FIVE full stars for the book AND the narration. I cannot express who much i freaking loved this book!!! ** same worded review will appear elsewhere** and now I'm blubbering again, just reading the song words!!

 

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review 2017-07-25 10:00
loved this, excellent narration
Setting the Hook - Andrew Grey
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my AUDIO copy of this book. William hires Mike's fishing boat twice a year to just get away from it all., from the job he has begun to hate. Running the family business was never what he wanted to do. His time on Mike's boat is precious, because it's MIKE he comes for, not really the fishing. Mike looks forward to William's visits, because he has had feelings for William since that first time. But he could never act on those feelings. Living and working in a small town has major draw backs and he has his daughter and his mother to look out for. It takes a hurricane for these men to act on their feelings and there is a lot of water to cross before they can be truly happy. Andrew Grey has a way of writing that no other has, and I LOVED this first book in a new series. William has feelings for Mike and vice versa. One bolt of lightening, one heated look and its only a matter of time before they finally give in to their feelings. I understood Mike's hesitancy to out himself, he has his daughter and his mother to look after but it had been so very very long since Mike allowed himself to feel, to have a connection to a man, and he really couldn't fight any more. And its beautiful, their coming together, really it is!! I love William's mum and dad turning up on his "vacation" and Mike's reaction to William telling his parents of their relationship was a priceless moment! I also love the unexpected turn of events for his parents, and how that made William see them in a different light. Couple questions I am left with though. It never fully explains about Mike's friend in the Navy, and what happened to him. While I can piece it mostly together, I would like to have had the full details. And the coin Mike's daughter found? What happened with that. Bonus points for not shortening William to Will, not once! AUDIO review. Greg Tremblay narrates. And, really, need I say more? I mean, the man could narrate the bloody phone book, and I'd love it! I love the way Tremblay has with voices. William and his parents are very proper and upper class, and Mike, his daughter and mom are much softer, smoother voices. It makes for easy listening, because I don't have to concentrate too hard on making out who is speaking and I can just lose myself in the narration. Tremblay's reading voice is clear and even, and you can feel the emotions coming off each man. A true joy to listen to. 5 stars for the book 5 stars for the narration 5 stars overall. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2017-07-24 23:51
All American Boys
All American Boys - Brendan Kiely,Jason Reynolds

All American Boys follows two young men - one African American, one Caucasian - after an incident of racist police brutality.  Rashad, who is innocent, is beaten severely enough to be hospitalized by a White police officer who claimed he was stealing a bag of chips from a convenient store.  Quinn observes the incident and then struggles with whether to let people know that he was there.

 

Set in a generic small city or large town named Springfield, the story could be taking place anywhere in today’s America.  I’ve been hearing about this book from teacher and librarian bloggers since its release in 2015 and thought it would be a good fit for the optional 4th of July Booklikes-opoly Americana book selection.

 

Co-authored by African American author Jason Reynolds and Caucasian author Brendan Keily, All American Boys could qualify as an #OwnVoices book.  However, I feel like All American Boys was written more as a parable to explain to Caucasian readers why this topic is important than as a book for African American readers to see themselves.  While I found the book compelling, at times All American Boy almost crosses the line to polemic and the moralizing is a bit too blatant to these adult eyes.

 

In the end, All American Boys is a timely memorial to Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tarika Wilson, Keith Childress and the countless other young African Americans who are disproportionately dying at the hands of police. Despite my quibbles, All American Boys admirably serves as a potential avenue to start the conversation with young adults about this complex topic.

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review 2017-07-24 10:01
awesome narration of an awesome book!
Wrapped Up in Chains - Cindy Sutherland
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. Devon finds Chase, tied to a St Andrews Cross, in his club, being badly whipped and Devon sees red. After taking Chase down and looking after him, Devon gets some of why Chase was being punished so harshly, and again sees red. Because the man who has held Chase as nothing more than a slave and prisoner for 7 years, is the same man who beat Devon to a pulp when he was just starting out in the lifestyle. What started as a case of after care, quickly becomes something much more, for both men, but Devon knows, to keep Chase safe, he is going to have to let him go. Don't you just LOVE it when a book totally surprises in ways you didn't see coming!! I knew this was going to be a painful listen, both physically and emotionally, but i didn't fully understand just how painful it was going to be. Written from both Devon and Chase's point of view, we get it all. We get deep into the emotional scars Chase from his 7 years at the hands of Kingston. We get deep into Devon's psyche as a Dom and a Master, but equally, as just a man, who finds himself letting go of the one man who could make him whole, just to keep Chase safe. I was shocked how it all went down with Kingston, but given the level of madness that man possessed, I don't think either Chase or Devon would have been really safe had it gone down any other way. And I love loved LOVED that it was CHASE who pushed Devon to come get him! Loved that Chase corned Devon, come get me, or I'm moving on. And THAT was what Devon needed to hear, to make him see that that he needed Chase in his life, his bed and his heart. First I've read/listened of Ms Sutherland's work, hope it's not the last! AUDIO REVIEW John Anthony Davis narrates. This is, as far as I can see, the first of Davis' work I've listened to. Other than a tendency to pause in random places, in the middle of sentences, I loved the way he performed this book. His reading voice is deep and clear, and I had no trouble catching everything he said. His voices are distinctive and easily definable, making it easy to know who was talking without being told. And it seemed to me, while very VERY young sounding at the beginning, Chase's voice became older in the time he was with Devon. Like he grew up really quickly. I liked that, might just be me though! Davis pulls off the intense emotions in this book incredibly well. It was painful listening, I can only imagine how painful reading it would be. I will certainly look for more of Davis' work to listen to. 5 stars for the book 4.5 stars for the narration, but only because of the random pausing rounded up to five stars overall. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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