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review 2017-05-25 17:47
Straight
Straight - Seth King

Perhaps the word “straight” doesn’t even mean anything at all, and we are being killed by the categories we force ourselves to live within. In fact, the only thing that scares me about the word “straight” is living my life in a straight line, too terrified to jump off the beaten path and explore something that might light me up inside.

 

So I started this knowing really nothing about this book or this author at all.  And while this starts out with a few awkward moments and exchanges, this grew on me with every page.  This was ultimately quite a beautiful journey into understanding what happens when you fall in love with someone of the same sex…fall in love with your soul mate…someone who in the end is just another human on this planet that you connect to with your whole heart. 

 

Because love does not exist between men and women. Love does not exist between blondes and brunettes. Love does not exist between Caucasian people and Asian people. Love exists between humans.

 

 

And Henry’s journey, while frustrating at times, seemed real to me.  From realizing his attraction, through the ABC’s of being gay and what is involved in having sex with another man, to understanding prejudices, and hatred based on who you love…this was incredibly thought provoking.

 

While I have no idea the journey the author himself has taken, this felt very much like the lifting of a weight that had been carried by him for years and years.  The depth at which this author explores sexuality, labels, the perception of others, religious beliefs and ultimately just the dropping of all preconceived notions of what a relationship means, it was all just incredibly touching. 

 

Overall this was just beautifully written.  The few uses of the word “kid” (cringes) faded in importance and while their ages seemed off to me, it really mattered less and less as the story developed.  I look forward to following this author and seeing what else he has to offer.

 

*Highly Recommended*

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review 2017-05-24 07:41
Review 4/5 stars: Lord of Chance (Rogues to Riches, #1) by Erica Ridley
Lord of Chance (Rogues to Riches Book 1) - Erica Ridley

This is sort of a re-release since it first appeared in the Scandal’s Daughters Anthology, but fret not as this “is an expanded ‘Author Edition.’"

Charming and complex characters, well-told story, and not your usual rags to riches plot make this a delightful and engaging story. Anthony was a gambler down on his luck and up to his neck in debt when he met Charlotte. They were both fleeing from a dark past at the same time that they were looking for a different, brighter future. Unfortunately a play of words in a foreign place bound them together into marriage and their hopes at a brighter future just tumbled down.

The romance itself was emotive and believable. They grew to care for each other over a feasible amount of time to the point of willing to sacrifice their love for the sake of each other’s happiness. If anything, the only thing I didn’t find plausible is that they spent a lot of time together, alone, in a bedchamber, and there was no mention of any kind of sexual frustration. There were plenty of good reasons why the deed wasn’t done but I would have thought some tension would have been more palpable. Other than that, I loved their relationship because more than anything they were friends and they supported each other, even when they could become pariahs in society.

The settings were rich in detail and the story had that fluidity that I love because it keeps me engrossed in the story. I also loved that it dealt with deep themes such as addiction and prejudice yet it kept a light side and didn’t turn into a sob-inducing story. I do believe addiction is a tough subject and even harder to overcome however I’ve also witnessed that given the right circumstances and for the right reasons a person can actually beat it. That’s one of the reason I don’t think Anthony’s recovery was that far-fetched and it could very much have happened quickly indeed.

Twists and turns and the fact the story definitely did not have the ending I expected make this a most delightful and entertaining read and I definitely recommend it to those looking for a well-told, unique, romantic story.

*** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

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review 2017-05-21 15:06
The Dead Zone ★★★★☆
The Dead Zone - Stephen King

Random thoughts about this book:

  • It’s very dated, but in a way that’s amusing and a little thought-provoking. The inner thoughts of a man on hold, at a time when the telephone “hold” function was new and before the now-ubiquitous hold music or recorded messages, when being put on hold was like a little death: “The line was darkly, smoothly, blank. You were nowhere. Why didn’t they just say, ‘Will you hold on while I bury you alive for a little while?’”
  • As per King’s usual, the romantic relationship with the main character is awkward and unconvincing, as was their weird little sexual interlude.
  • But his portrayal of religious fanaticism *is* convincing, especially in this book, where he treats it with some sympathy rather than just as a motivation for evil deeds and rude behavior. He is savage with those who exploit the believers’ needs for relief of pain and grief, all for a price, of course.
  • Oh, and Greg Stillson. Chilling description of a power-hungry sociopath who wears the mask of respectability and presents himself as a hard-hatted, patriotically flag-draped champion of the working class, promising jobs and security, while employing thugs as “security” and “campaign managers” to pave the way forward through nefarious means. King seems to have been prescient. For who would have seriously thought that a populist buffoon like that could actually rise to national power in a democratic America?

 

Overall, it’s not the great book that I remember reading as a young teen, but it’s entertaining and it still has some very relevant things to say about the danger of allowing our pain and fear and need cloud our judgement so much that we make ourselves vulnerable to those who would use us to enrich or empower themselves.

 

Audiobook, via Audible. James Franco’s performance grew on me a little, but not all talented actors make great audiobook narrators. Few characters had a distinct voice, and his New England Yankee characters had oddly Southern accents.  

 

Previous Updates:

5/7/17 5%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1560788/the-dead-zone-progress-5

 

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review 2017-05-20 08:21
Arc review: Indiscretion: A Standalone Forbidden Romance by Lane Hart
Indiscretion: A Standalone Forbidden Romance - Lane Hart

 

Not what I was expecting! 

Although I’ve heard great things of this author this is actually my first book by her. I’m not much of a contemporary romance reader unless it’s packed with action and suspense but there was something about the blurb that caught my attention and I just couldn’t pass the chance to read this book. 

 

So, for starters, Clark Kent as my physical therapist? Sign me up!

 

 

 

The story begins with what Sam thinks is a little white lie to her PT, Dr. Grant Matthews, never imagining it could potentially ruin the man’s future. What starts as silly flirtation and later sizzling make-out sessions turns into something deeper and more meaningful before either one of them realizes it.

 

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not too fond of stories told in the present tense or in the first person POV but that didn’t even bother me here because it was just that well-told. All characters’ personality jumped out of the pages and that’s something I can always appreciate. Sam was innocent without sounding dim-witted; I think she was just a woman acting her age. Grant on the other hand kind of grew on me because when the story started I sort of hated the man, like big time, sexy glasses and all.

 

The story had plenty of twists and turns that I did not expect, some that I could see coming but were still interesting, plenty of laugh out and tear-jerking moments, and some that had me cheering for love and justice to triumph over everything. I’m not so sure about the ending because I thought it was tied up way too nicely however overall it was a great story and I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.

 

 

 

** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

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review 2017-05-14 01:25
Infected: Bloodlines (Infected #2)
Infected: Bloodlines - Andrea Speed

If you read the first book, none of this should be a spoiler, but if you haven't, then proceed with caution.

 

Let me get my one gripe out of the way first. Paris is pretty. Like, really super duper fantabuloso everyone-with-eyes-wants-to-bang-him sexy hot. I know this because the author reminds the reader of this repeatedly. If I cut and paste all those passages together, it would probably take up five pages minimum. I vaguely remember being annoyed by this in the first book, but in this book, we're told that Paris's tiger virus has reached critical, that he's lost 50 pounds and is only 150-something, pale, always cold - he's sick, chronically so. So I don't need to hear about how super duper mega hot sex-on-legs he is every other page. One, I actually remember that from the previous book. Two, he's SICK! And at over six feet and only 150 pounds, he's not broad-chested. He's a toothpick. I just found the constant fascination with his sex appeal to be really shallow and misplaced in this book, and I could've done without it. Especially since the author could've gotten the same point across by showing and not telling...and telling...and telling...and telling...

 

Moving on to the actual story:

 

On the mystery front, I give this one three stars. The mystery wasn't really that involved here, and the revelation of the whodunit comes almost by accident. Almost. And since Roan's in an emotionally unstable place, that outcome isn't what you'd expect it to be - and that's all I'm saying about that. 

 

On the personal story front, I give this five stars. Read this with a box of tissues close at hand, because you're going to need it! In only two books, or two and a half if you read the novella "Infected: Paris" before this one, Ms. Speed created a beautiful couple in Roan and Paris. They're flawed, they're sometimes stupid, they're occasionally too sweet to bare, and they're real. And in this book, they're raw. They both know what's coming, and while Paris is preparing for the inevitable, Roan's living as close to denial as he can get for as long as he can, because to face reality would be the end for him as well. The supporting cast is all back. Dee is a saint of an ex-boyfriend, and Kevin's still a mess. Matt's much more prominent here. We don't see as much of the coppers, but when we do we get to see their concern and support. 

 

There are a couple of things that are brought up and then dropped, and some things are mentioned that happened between books that I would've liked to see on page. The editing is better than the first book but could still use work on making the "he's" and "his" more clear on who is being talked about. Still, the editing here is better than many. 

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