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review 2017-04-27 01:56
Release Day ARC Review: Vodka And Handcuffs by Brandon Witt
Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary's Boys Book 2) - Brandon Witt

The title of this book, much like the first one in this series, plays on the occupations of the two MCs - one a bartender, the other a cop.

Vahin, the bartender, is Muslim, and from India, and gay, and out, which has caused him to be shunned by his family. Marlon, the cop, is black, also gay, but deep in the closet. His partner on the beat is basically a Jeff Sessions wannabe - a racist, homophobic, xenophobic asshole first class, who thinks he can do what he wants because his daddy is a Senator. He's also universally hated by all, including the Chief, and only assigned to Marlon because the Chief figured it'd be best to pair the asshole with his best cop.

Marlon meets Vahin at Hamburger Mary's, they have a night of drunken fun, mostly off-page, and then shit hits the fan, what with the racist cop partner trying to frame Vahin and arrest him, and Marlon being involuntarily outed, and ... yeah... none of it is pretty. This is not a fluffy book. The blurb is a bit misleading. Okay, maybe a lot misleading. Don't expect a fluffy, easy read.

The only real fun on page is when ManDonna struts her stuff - I flove her! She takes no shit, and she will hand you your balls, and you'll thank her for it.

I didn't quite believe the romance in the time line used, and while we get a HFN, I wasn't sure that things were going to last - perhaps we'll see how that goes in a future installment for this series. I do want them to last, I do. I just have doubts that their still fresh relationship can survive the roadblocks that will continue to be in their way, despite marriage equality, and despite the tide slowly turning in their favor. I want to believe that Denver is a bit more enlightened when it comes to racism, homophobia, and xenophobia.

I think this might have worked a little better for me if the book had been longer and had taken the time to really delve into the issues, and perhaps stretch out the time frame a little bit more. The issues raised here are definitely hot topics, and I was a little disappointed that Marlon's forced coming out, and that loathsome, filthy, evil, little cockroach partner's despicable actions weren't given adequate resolutions. Perhaps that is fitting after all - in today's political climate, what with the current administration in the White House, and the "values" for which they stand, it's certainly possible to look at this and realize that, yeah, there won't be any adequate resolutions to homophobia, xenophobia, and blatant racism, until we've gotten rid of the pestilence in orange that empowered this pond scum to strut around with their ignorant flags and "white power" bullshit.

Kudos to this author for making his main characters non-white. I wish there were more books that did that. There is a message within this book too - as a POC, you have to stand up for yourself every damn day, against hatred, against persecution, against blatant ignorance, and if you're POC and gay, your resilience will be tested time and again in triplicate. I commend the author for touching on these difficult subjects with honesty and sensitivity.

The author also sets up the next book toward the end, which will feature Zachary aka Ariel Merman. I had my heart in my throat while reading that bit, and I need the next book, like, now.

This series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, and that's primarily due to what it isn't - lighthearted fluff. I want to read books that deal with current affairs, and this one definitely does.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-04-15 04:42
CELEBRATE EASTER WITH THE RABBIT MAN, AND DUNCAN RALSTON!

cover, where the monsters live, duncan ralston

How far would you go for revenge?

Synopsis:

When a six-year-old girl is abused and left for dead by a pedophile known only as the “Rabbit Man” due to the claw marks left on her body, police follow every lead but reach only dead ends.

Hungry for justice, her grieving father abandons wife and child on a harrowing journey deep undercover into Miami’s sex offender colony under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. His purpose is simple: to find the “Rabbit Man” among them, and put him in the ground.

Months later, with no one to trust and the pedophiles he lives among growing suspicious of his actions, he learns nothing is simple where the monsters live.

 

Hoppy Easter! Come see what I put in your basket...

WHERE THE MONSTERS LIVE is NOT an extreme horror story, but I still want you to have a little ‘heads up’ before you start reading.

The story is not super graphic in an icky way, but it's emotionally graphic. WTML will sucker punch you right in the feels. It's a disturbing story, and the 'uncomfort' level rises drastically if you have a child of your own.
I didn’t notice just HOW 'emotionally graphic' it was until The Dark Defender woke up to ask me what was wrong, and I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

 

At one point I thought I knew exactly how this story was going to end (we’ll talk about that once you finish reading). That wouldn’t have made it a suck story – but I am happy that WTML didn’t go for the ‘ironic twist’, and I’m very satisfied with how it’s wrapped up – there could be a little wiggle room JIC case the story isn’t done with us yet.

 

Full review posted HERE - come join in on the discussion of WTML!

Source: beckisbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/celebrate-easter-with-the-rabbit-man-and-duncan-ralston
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review 2017-04-10 18:42
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Roughneck - Jeff Lemire

 

Set in a cold and bleak Canadian town, Roughneck is the story of a retired hockey player trying to put his life back together.

 

The e-ARC I received is mostly black and white, (except for the first 15 pages or so, which have this nice, light blue, cold feeling to them), but from what I've read the final copy will be in color. For me though, the black and white worked quite well.

 

Derek Ouellette is trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Being that he already is a tough guy, the drinking doesn't bring out the best in him. Then, when his long lost sister Bethy shows up, (on the run from her latest abusive boyfriend), things get even worse. Derek tries to do the right thing, but can he make it happen? You'll have to read Roughneck to find out.

 

I've not heard of Jeff Lemire before, but I requested an ARC of this graphic novel based on the description alone. I'm so glad I did! I enjoyed the artwork, the isolation of the setting, and the realistic view of the characters. I'm not sure if there are going to be more books about Derek and his sister in the future, but if there are? Count me in!

 

Recommended for fans of cold, bleak settings and tough guy ex-NHL players that can drop the gloves and go in a second's time!

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery books for the free e-ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-09 00:08
ARC Review: Fallen Angel by Eden Winters
Fallen Angel (The Angel of 13th Street Book 2) - Eden Winters

In this sequel to The Angel Of 13th Street, we catch up with Noah and Jeremy shortly after the ending of the first book.

Jeremy is trying to help a meth addict off the streets, Noah is struggling with memories and haunted still by whom he couldn't save while he's trying to save another teenager, and Doc is making plans to turn the mission over to Noah, formalize it more, and get more volunteers.

And Jeremy is about to graduate from high school with plans to attend college on a scholarship, which will likely take him away from Noah.

In this book, Noah stumbles hard and nearly falls, and it's the Angel himself who needs saving this time around. Stuck in the memories from his former life on the streets, Noah lets his anger and his grief nearly consume him, full of doubt that he's doing any good at all, because he couldn't save Billy, not realizing that he's approaching an emotional meltdown.

This book is primarily Noah's story, whereas the first one was primarily about Jeremy finding his feet. We see flashback after flashback to Noah's life with Billy, his time as a rentboy, a drug addict, and the fall that nearly killed him but ended up saving him. We watch Noah fight his demons, and struggle with depression and hopelessness when he can't save Chip from the clutches of his pimp.

Eden Winters doesn't mince words here, and there's no fluff inside either. This is raw and gritty, showing the seedy underbelly of society that most of us don't want to see.

But there's love and hope too, and there are successes, such as Lark, who finds the strength to leave Tina behind and pull himself out of the mess his life has become.

We also get a full glimpse into Noah's and Jeremy's domesticity, and it was lovely to see Jeremy maturity level increase even more. I really enjoyed seeing him be so patient with Noah, not pushing, but also not allowing Noah to completely self-destruct either. I think that Noah's burned out emotionally, and he's not yet fully realized that Jeremy is an equal partner in the relationship, and not just the kid he saved and who's now running the Tub Of Suds next to the bar. The fact that Noah keeps things to himself and, even worse, keeps things from Jeremy is super not cool, but also understandable within Noah's frame of mind.

There are some intimate scenes, and these further the plot, showcasing how Jeremy catches Noah when he stumbles, which really drives home the point how much Jeremy has grown into himself.

Again, this is not a fluffy book, but it feels real, it's superbly crafted, it has fully fleshed out, three-dimensional characters, and the author is never afraid to call a spade a spade. I, for one, appreciate that.

I look forward to Lark's story.


** I received a free copy of this book via Indigo Marketing and Design. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-04-07 14:19
Rarity from the Hollow- Robert Eggleton

   Not everyone will read the story the way I did. In fact, wading through twenty or so of the at this point in time 94 Amayon.com reviews, I couldn’t find any others that were reading the exact same message.

  This is a story that’s omnipresent voice explores the decent of an adolescent girl into madness. At the books end, I imagine her institutionalised, living her conscious life entirely in an invented world of her imagination, while kept ‘physically safe’ by psychiatric nurses.

   The setting of West Virginia is irrelevant, other than that I read that it is a place where the author worked as a psychotherapist. One can read in the deprived corners of any state on Earth.

  The book is comic, by line, sometimes treading in the deep crud of extreme social and physical abuse and poverty, by chapter. Lacy Dawn is the daughter of an abusive PTSD suffering father, and a down-trodden and objectified mother. We read about how, especially after the murder of her best friend she starts to tip over the edge, eventually losing even remote connection with reality. As she descends into the protective cocoon of her imagination she engages in a range of abnormal behaviour typical of traumatised children, and especially of those children that have being exposed to the very worst of adult behaviour. Drugs, guns, and sexual exploitation of all sorts are the bread and butter of everyday life in the neighbourhood of this poor child.

   If one chooses to read that way, she ‘really’ goes on an adventure across space, engaged to marry a robot that is slowly turning into a physically ‘entire’ man. If you don’t, and I don’t. The distant shopping Mall is the furthest she ever gets from home.

For my perspective, this is book is conceptualised brilliantly, and executed well. The writing is good, as is the pace of the plot. Perhaps the ending is a little weak, but by that point where could Lacy Dawn’s mind go that could be more distant from reality, and more protective of what little is left of her sanity. The satirical plot, the harsh existence which became an escape to the stars, or the closed spaces of the mind, is very clever. The ending was appropriate, as Lacy builds her own sanctuary, one in which she is at last in control of her life.

   Where could a sequel go? To rehab from drugs and mental recovery, or further into the stars?

   The message: “however life shits on you, don’t shit on the children” is delivered so harshly that only the comical prose could carry the ‘normal’ reader to the stories psychotic conclusion. If we don’t protect and fight for wholesome family values, our societies will all decay into an impoverished, disease ridden, Hobbesian Hollow.

Lacy Dawns mental space may be unique, but unfortunately isn’t that abnormal. Well, that is the view of a relatively sane man who only understands one psychology, my own.       Get well, Lacy Dawn and let Faith rest in peace, but never her death be hidden from the judgment of society.

AMAZONLINK

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