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review 2021-01-18 11:03
Review: Escape With Me (The O'Callaghans; With Me in Seattle) by: Kristen Proby
Escape With Me (The O'Callaghans; With Me in Seattle) - Kristen Proby




Escape With Me by Kristen Proby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartache goes a long way to get under the skin. Escape With Me is a celebration of love that proves itself to be an empowering experience. Keegan and Izzy are a beautiful contradiction that will leave a searing imprint on the soul.

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text 2020-08-14 02:04
'The Austen Escape' by Katherine Reay
The Austen Escape - Katherine Reay I picked up the audiobook of Katherine Reay’s‘The Austen Escape’ because I was looking for something fun and familiar. It’s a feel-good contemporary fiction book about a Mary Davis, a young American woman, leaving her home in Austin Texas to accompany her childhood best friend, Isabel, on a two week, Jane Austen-themed, trip to a manor house in Bath. Isabel is an Austin scholar doing her PhD on the appeal of Austen as an escape from the twenty-first century. Mary is an engineer in a high tech R&D company that she’s been in since it was a garage start-up but is now struggling to cope with a boss who wants to introduce standardisation. The two are supposed to spend a two-week vacation at a Georgian manor house, dressed in costume and are supposed to take on the persona of one of Austin’s characters. What neither of them expects is that Isabel will fall into a fugue and truly believe she is the character that she’s adopted. I live in Bath and have spent a lot of time working with R&D engineers so I expected to have a good context for this story. It turned out that that wasn’t always a good thing. I was distracted by small details that didn’t make sense at the start of the story – you don’t go from Heathrow to Bath via Oxford – you won’t encounter cobbled streets in the roads above Bath – you can’t walk from The Royal Crescent to Assembly Rooms via The Circus and pass the Marlborough Arms along the way – English limo drivers are unlikely to have missing teeth. None of these things is important but they pushed me out of the story at first. By comparison, the description of how R&D teams work, especially the cross-fertilisation of ideas between engineers and physicists, and the challenges in scaling up from start-up to major player while keeping an innovation culture were described very well. The heart of the book doesn’t lie with Bath or Austen or Engineering. It’s really about two of Mary’s relationships: the relationship with Isabel which Mary has outgrown but not outlived and her relationship with a consultant advising on the growth of Mary’s firm. The relationship with the consultant is a well-done romance trope with all the frustrations and miscommunications you might expect. I particularly liked how this romance trope avoided clichés and was built around Mary’s personality, accepting her introversion, her avoidance of conflict, her obsession with engineering design and her uncertainty about her own future and turning them into reasons why the romance should work. Mary’s relationship with Isabel was more complicated and more substantive. I won’t give the details here because discovering them is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book. I found the relationship to be much more complicated than it at first appeared and I liked that both Mary and Isabel went through some difficult but plausible changes. The Austin context of the novel is more than decorative. Austin’s observations and characters help Mary to look at herself and Isabel differently. The dressing up and role play really did provide a form of escape from their pasts that allowed them to make some choices about their futures. Overall, I had fun with this book. It was the gentle, positive read that I’d been hoping for.
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text 2020-06-15 07:50
PM's BL-opoly - Update #4

Welp, that Krakauer book really slowed me down. I'm halfway across the board at least. 


Books Completed/Bank


Total Bank







Starting bank




The Stay-cation 8: Everneath, by Brodi Ashton; 370pg. ★★☆☆☆ (DNF)




Mountain Cabin 15: Dear Life, by Alice Munro; 319pg ★★★★☆




The Lake House 19: Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer; 399pg ★★★☆☆


Game Play



And my first Le Guin book! I've been meaning to read her forever, but just now getting around to it. I don't know much about this one, but "coming of age" is one of the popular shelves for it, so it must fit the BL lot. 

A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, #1) - Ursula K. Le Guin 


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review 2020-06-12 06:50
The Great Escape by Natalie Haynes
The Great Escape - Natalie Haynes

TITLE:  The Great Escape


AUTHOR:  Natalie Haynes



"It's the summer holidays and Millie's bored stiff. Every week, she has to clean windows with her dad at a nearby laboratory. But she's sure something weird is going on inside. Then, one day, a cat comes hurtling through the lobby towards her and asks her for help."




Enjoyable and entertaining.  Light and fluffy.  Kids and cat to the rescue!

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review 2020-06-07 01:00
Review: Trick Play, Fake Boyfriend Series #2
Trick Play - Eden Finley,Alexander Cendese,Iggy Toma

This was more a sister story than a sequel to the first book in this series. They have many of the same characters, but the main protagonists change. This one flows Noah and Matt. Noah is the biracial son of a rich politician... he's also gay, so of course his father uses his mixed race and sexual orientation as a campaign tactic, which Noah clearly resents. As a way of irritating his father he agrees to be the fake boyfriend of Matt. Matt is a pro football player who was forcefully outed by the tabloid media. He loses his job with his current team on a morality cause, but everyone knows he was because Matt is gay.


His friend and agent Damon convinces him that he needs to clean up his image and portray himself as someone in a relationship rather than a guy who has random hook-ups at clubs.

Matt and Noah struggle to be fake boyfriend, mostly because they are both attracted to one another and it frightens them.


What I liked about this book was the backstory for the main characters as well as the struggle. Again, it wasn't overly angsty. There was time to develop the plot and relationship without it being too quick or drag on too long. Very good narration; I felt the characters come through.

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