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review 2018-09-18 23:13
Let's take a walk down memory lane...
My Fair Captain - J.L. Langley

I have such a soft spot in my heart for this book. The first time I read this story was back in 2010...how do I know this well I remember the house we were living in when I read this and we moved there in October of 2009 and this was one of the first m/m e-books that I ever bought and I got it after Christmas so early 2010.  I know all this really has nothing to do with the story except that as I said I have a real soft spot in my heart for this book and this author. 


Truthfully I could probably go through and make a laundry list of all the things that I shouldn't like about it...it's SciFi...so not my thing, it centers around a very patriarchal society...yep, there go women's rights, kids are genetically enhanced to prefer men in the royal families...can someone explain to me how that's even a thing? and then there's the names and I realize that several people have sited this as an annoyance in their reviews but as someone who came from a family of 7 kids let me just say off the top of my head I had no fewer than 3 names that I was called on any given day and that doesn't include those times when the parents ran down the list and threw in the cat and the dog's names for good measure, so it's really a matter of what you're use to for me the names really weren't an issue.  I'm sure there's more but my point is sometimes what shouldn't work does and for me this one worked.


Possibly because...it's SciFi set in an alternate reality so I get to leave my moral values at home. I mean this doesn't even take place on earth so why would I expect that the current values and morals of present day earth have anything to do with this world...they don't, part of what the author is doing here is creating an alternate reality so of course a lot of it not only doesn't line up with societal norms of our world but really why should it?


Along with the things that shouldn't have worked there are some things that made perfect counterpoints to them. Like the fact that it's the men who raise the children, oh sure they had nursemaids and nannies but that's not unusual for people with money and even better it's the virtue of the young men that needs to be protected in other words...'There will be no catting around here. These young men are to be pure and chaste upon their wedding nights'...come on is anyone but me laughing their ass off right now? I think it's high time that young men had to worry about their reputations...ok, I'll stop.


I found 'My Fair Captain' to be a delightful and entertaining wander into the world of SciFi that took me into an alternate world and made me consider how different things could be while telling me a story that had action, adventure and a bit of mystery and intrigue to keep me guessing about some things...things that don't totally wrap themselves up in this first book but the ending of this one is such that if you choose to leave it there you can. Personally, I'm game for the next book if it comes out on audio...I might have read the original series...2 or maybe it was 3 times...really who's counting?


Now as for the narration on this one...Joseph Morton is the narrator and while he's definitely not new to the world of audio books he is new to me. I can't say that he did a bad job because honestly he didn't but for whatever reason I just wasn't able to connect with his narration. I think it part it was because some of the voices weren't distinct enough while I had absolutely no problem understanding what was being read the voices just didn't enhance how I imagined the characters to be hence no connection be voice and character for me. I'm definitely not saying that this is a narrator I won't listen to again as it's very possible that with another story and different characters this would be a different audio experience for me. But for my first time listening to this narrator it just didn't work...maybe next time.


This one ended up being 4.5 stars for the story and maybe 3 for the narration, but I'm going to call it a day at 3.5 stars and hope that things go better with the next one.



An audiobook of 'My Fair Captain' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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quote 2018-09-18 21:38
“He said his sister would have a chip on her shoulder. Knew right away who he was talking about.” Air escaped me. Gage was a shithead.
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review 2018-09-18 20:52
Ok ladies and gents I'm gonna pimp the hell outta' this audio book...
Crocus - Amy Lane,Nick J. Russo

So that we're perfectly clear I love this freakin' book...I love this series and no it's not because I got the book or the audio for review...nope, nope, nope...it's because this is one hella' good story.


'Bonfires' was the first book in the series and we got to meet Deputy Sheriff Aaron George and high school principal Larx and there kids and there are a few of those Larx has 2 daughters and Aaron has 2 daughters and a son but like all good homes both men have room in their heart for more. 


I love this series it's about two men...mature men who have both had to deal with life's challenges before finding what many of us hope for...that person who completes us and whom we want to go through life with...good or bad. 


Now in 'Crocus' we get to see their relationship weather yet more of life's challenges. We get to see these men grow and their bond strengthens as they yet again show the strength of their bond as together they work to save a young man and his much loved and damaged brother, to help Larx's daughter deal with her own crisis while somewhere out in the cold, snowy winter night is yet another child who desperately needs to be rescued...It's going to take Aaron, Larx, the children that they've gathered in their home and their hearts along with an interesting collection of friends to juggle everything being thrown their way and make sure that nothing important gets dropped and still have time for them.


There is just so much that I love about this series...obviously I love Aaron and Larx, their amazing collection of kids...seriously they're damned near as amazing as my own...ok, I'm biased but still they're all amazing. Then there's Yoshi!!!! No not the cute green dino from the Mario game...I'm talking about Larx's VP and best friend. Aaron's boss is also pretty damned awesome. Don't get me wrong this isn't a story about perfect people it's a story about people who are trying to be the best person they can be and give back to their community...something that we all need to strive for if we're going to make the world a nicer and better place to live and best of all there's a lot of humor in these stories because sometimes you've either gotta' laugh or you're going to cry so you may as well laugh about it, put on your big boy or girl pants and get on with life, which is what Larx and Aaron do. Making them a very relatable couple.


The icing on the cake for me with this is that it's all wrapped up once again with the narrations of Nick J. Russo. I'm not sure why but lately I've been trying to check out some new narrators so I've kind of been missing Mr. Russo and this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a Nick fix and of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to revisit 'Bonfires' before emerging myself in 'Crocus'. I've said it before and for me it's worth repeating 'I love having the same narrator for a series especially when the characters are the same from story to story. I'm not sure who's up for the next book but when it comes to the audio book if I see Nick J. Russo listed as the narrator it won't break my heart not even a little bit but then if the next book give us more Aaron and Larx that's not going to make me sad either...I just know for sure that whatever book three is I'll read it, I'll listen to it and I'll enjoy it.


Seriously if you need a happy place in your life...than you need these men and their family in your life...they are epic and awesome.



An audio book of 'Crocus' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-09-18 15:50
different,very different but brilliant!
Five Minutes Longer - Victoria Sue
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. Some 30 years ago, children began waking up with a mark on their faces and enhanced abilities: speed, strength, mental abilities. Talon, now given the job of setting up a human/enhanced task force within the FBI, was one of the first. He doesn't want to work with normals on his team, but this task force is his, and the other enhanced team members, last chance at becoming a useful member of society, not just a mark on his face. Finn wanted to join the FBI forever, and worked hard to get to apply, but he is not accepted. Instead he gets a cryptic phone and flies to Florida, and finds himself face to face with several huge enhanced, one of whom makes Finn want that boyfriend he never had. They have four weeks to make this team work, do or, quite possibly, die. Oooooo-eeeee! Loved this! Different, very different and different is always good in my book! The guys on the team really don't want Finn around, but know they gotta put up with him, at least for a little bit, but he grows on them, Talon especially but Talon fights that attraction all the bloody way, and when he finally gives up the fight?? Oh yes ma'am, that boy falls hard and he falls FAST! And when Finn gets caught in the cross fire at a bank robbery?? Talon goes all MAJOR Alpha-Male- Protect-What's-Mine! I loved that not everything is fully revealed about the guys abilities, I think there is quite a bit more to come! Nick J Russo narrates and he does a sterling job! He's a firm favourite of mine, and each and every time I listen to his work, it becomes my NEW favourite! Russo's voices are clear and distinctive, even in multi person conversations. He reading voice is deep and even and I had no trouble, not at all, keeping up. He gets cross all of Finn's emotions and his reactions to the guys, to Talon. His intense dislike of his brother and how his mum was with his dad. Russo gets across all of Talon's fighting, and that boy fights hard, his feelings for Finn, and you get just how much Finn means to him, when he thinks Finn is lost. This is book one, there appears to be an underlying story arc running through these books, and I look forward to watching that unfold, and to watching these guys fall, like dominoes, one by one. Off to listen to book 2, which is a continuation of Finn and Talon's story. 5 stars for the book 5 stars for the narration 5 stars overall **same worded review will appear elsewhere**


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text 2018-09-18 10:53

A reader on the crowd-sourcing platform Quora asked a question about how to deepen their reading practices and read beyond just mere plot. Here’s a post I made in reply that provided some hints and strategies for deepening one’s reading practice and becoming more profoundly engaged with the literary world. ((Quora is top-heavy with tech-focused people, so I oriented my thoughts around technology examples.))

Here are some strategies used by English majors, as well as active readers.


1. Journal

Write down ideas, and phrases that are meaningful to you, and try to describe how they impact your life. This will help you to understand yourself and literature on a deeper level. Writers and active readers often refer to this type of book as a “commonplace book” because it is a special name for a scrapbook or set of notations about your reading.


2. Read beyond plot.

There are many books out there that have a very thin plot, but instead focus on character development language and big ideas. Read some of these and you’ll begin to see the possibilities of literature beyond plot. Toni Morrison. Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Ray Bradbury all use language and metaphor to make points that can’t really be represented in a straightforward plot. Read Borges. Read Kafka.


3. Re-read

Read again books that have been meaningful to you, and look for other meanings that you missed the first time around, or structural items that strike your fancy. If you are an astute reader, every time you re-read a book, you’ll notice new and different things. (For years, Hoffman would re-read Lord of the Rings for example. That book has metaphorical layers miles deep, and it’s not just a simple story about a hobbit.)


4. Read across genres.

Today, we compartmentalize books into “genre” categories: science-fiction, literary fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery and children’s books. These are publishing categories designed for effective marketing — they have nothing to do with the value or the meaning that is found between the covers. Would you let some junior marketing flunky tell you what to read? I didn’t think so. So don’t allow yourself to be constrained into one genre or type of reading. If you’re reading all science-fiction, read some romance. If you’re reading all literary fiction, read some fantasy. If you’re reading all fantasy, then go read some crime novels. If you only read romance, read a horror novel. It will be challenging to read outside your chosen genre, and you might not like it at first. That’s kind of the point. Find works that help you grow as a reader and expose you to new ways of storytelling. Again, these are arbitrary categories, and any great work will end up not categorized in the minds of readers like you.


5. Challenge yourself.

Read books that are classics, that do not fit into your typical modern marketing genres. Read a book by Dickens (I recommend A Tale of Two Cities). Read poetry by John Milton (Paradise Lost). Read Dante. Read some Chaucer. Read Rudyard Kipling (Kim is a great read). Read Plato (his work is surprisingly readable, even now!). Read Louisa May Alcott. Read George Eliot or Jane Austen. The reason to read these classic writers is that their vocabulary and perspective will open your eyes to new possibilities. Reading older works will also teach you that human beings speak to each other across centuries, and the same questions recur, time and again. I have a friend who was saved from suicide by reading a philosopher… who wrote in the 1500s. Writing always communicates, across time, across space, and across different experiences.


6. Keep challenging yourself.

Read writers that are not of your race or gender. Read Langston Hughes, Maxine Hong Kingston, Octavia Butler, and Salman Rushdie. Read Radclyffe Hall. Read Samuel R. Delaney. Read William Burroughs. Read Sandra Cisneros. Read Katie Kitamura. Read Justin Chin. Read Min Jin Lee. Read Christine Hyung-Oak Lee. Read Nicola Griffith. Read Junot Díaz. Reading these writers teaches you about the human experience, and that it might be broader, richer and deeper than your experience (or my shallow pool of recommendations). If you are in a reading rut, and are only recalling plot, you’re reading at a low level, and reading writers who challenge cultural and gender assumptions can break you out of that mindset.


7. Engage with other readers.

Find a book group or book discussion group at a bookstore or other local venue. Read a book together, and understand that other people have different perspectives on the same books that you’ve read. Their perspectives will enrich your reading.


8. Write

Try your hand at a short story or poem. Even if you’re terrible – especially if you are terrible –this activity will help you understand some of the decisions that go into crafting a piece of prose or poetry. You can begin to see the skeleton underneath the flesh of the words.


9. Read critics.

Read what other people have to say about contemporary writing. By doing this, you are entering a decades long (sometimes centuries long) conversation about a piece of writing, a book series, or the intentions of a writer.


10. Write your own thoughts down and share them.

If you are brave, you can even add your own voice to this critical conversation. Keep in mind that reading a book critic and engaging with them is to be one yourself, so your opinion should be factually supported, and should be substantive. Be willing to engage thoughtfully with people who disagree with you. Find a rationale for your ideas. Most online argumentation today is shallow raw opinion without deep thinking. Most people who write seriously about books do the opposite: they go deep and look for meaningful interactions with big ideas. Be worthy of this conversation.



A literary update from NedNote.com
Readers can find my books at these bookstores:

Amazon bookstore Barnes & Noble Indie Bookstores



Source: nednote.com/reading
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