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review 2017-03-13 18:47
Can't Touch This by Tess Hunter (audio)
Can't Touch This - Tess Hunter,Pepper Winters

I cannot lie even when I receive free things. This book and I did not start off well (but it did get better!).

Vesper is a young, beautiful woman dedicated to her veterinarian practice. She doesn’t want a man messing up her life. Ryder is a dedicated dog rescuer living off of an inheritance. He drops in whenever he needs assistance because he’s cocky, has a crush on Vesper and her website does say drop-ins are welcome, after all. Vesper is instantly annoyed every time he appears without an appointment and demands all of her attention. He once told her, “If you save my wiener, I’ll bring you 20 more” and he wasn’t kidding. But she’s sick of him dropping in whenever he pleases. They bicker, they make totally unprofessional sexual comments and I was quickly getting sick of both of them. Of course, I’ve also been told that I have no sense of humor. So there is that.

Once he brings in said wiener dog, the wiener jokes start. Now, humor is a very funny thing. What some might find LMFAO hilarious can make someone else go all cringy.

I’ll let the doggies express my feelings.

After I read the first wiener joke I was all.



When it was quickly followed up with another.



And just when I began to think that I was finally safe from the wiener and the salami and all of the hotdogs, a ridiculous thing happens with the wiener and the heroine’s face.



Ok, I absolutely had to get that out of the way. The first few chapters are awesome if you love wiener jokes. I’ve discovered that I do not. I only plowed on because the hero rescues dogs and because I’m so good natured, ha. And do you know what? It got better. It really did get better.

The unrealistic banter calms down, the forced funny scenarios smooth out and what follows is a lusty, sweet confection that I’m glad I continued to read. It even managed to make me LOL at one point. I never LOL in real life. There isn’t a heck of a lot of conflict keeping the two apart and I enjoyed that. There is a lot of coitus interruptus and delayed sexual gratification but that only served to add to the sexual tension and didn’t bug me. Ryder is actually a decent guy who is devoted to his calling of doing good for the animals who need him and it added a level of emotion to the story that worked for me. After the rocky beginning was but a memory, I pretty much fell in love with the rest of the book. I say “pretty much” because there was one irritating bump in the road which I will not spoil. All ends HEA and I’m glad I didn’t DNF after the fifth wiener joke.

Narration Notes: The story is told from both the heroine and hero’s POV and is narrated by two voice actors, CJ Bloom and Eric Michael Summerer, who both do a decent job but because the story is told in the first person it was sometimes a little difficult for me to discern if the person was speaking out loud or thinking to themselves.

 

So, how'd I feel about it all in the end?  Just like this . . . 

 



Thank you Tantor Media for sharing this audio with me. I hope you don't regret it!

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review 2017-03-01 19:03
Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier, Narrated by Pam Ward
Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs - Suzanne Clothier,Pam Ward

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media. Thanks Tantor!

I’ll be real here. I requested this audiobook because of the cover. I had a vague idea that this was a book of dog stories and had seen the title around for years (yikes, I just realized this is likely because the hardcover is sitting in my tbr pile!) but I had to have it because that cover called out to me.

Come on now, don’t tell me you aren’t tempted by that lovely cover because I won’t believe you.

Dog trainer and author Suzanne Cloutier loves animals.

“To travel in the company of animals is to walk with angels.”

If you feel the same, you’ll benefit in some way from reading this book.

So what’s it about? Well, the author is an experienced dog trainer and here she shares stories and lessons that she has learned over the years while working with dogs. This isn’t a book about how to train your dog to sit or heel or down-stay. This is a book on how best to deepen your relationship with your dog and how to learn to look at life through their eyes. I found that advice and those vignettes the most important take-away from this book. It’s easy to get stressed and irritated when your dog misbehaves and ignores your commands/demands/frantic pleas but taking a moment to calm yourself and see things from their perspective (and the author shows several examples which were so incredibly helpful) may help improve both their behavior and yours. I am totally guilty of being impatient and anxious and giving my poor dogs mixed signals and then I’m left wondering why they’re not doing what I think they should be doing. It also made me more aware of being present, instead of being all up in my own head (hey, I’m a Pisces) and then wondering why my dog has nearly taken my fingers off to get to the chicken in my hand. This book opened me up to my behavior and has made me stop and pause on several occasions.

The author comes across as human, sprinkling in some humor and admits to some of the terrible mistakes she’s made. She owns them and she’s learned from them and she is not perfect. She goes into in-depth discussions about aggression and the mislabeling of aggression that often results in tragedy and how to read warning signs before things escalate. I learned more about aggression and reading signals from this book than I did from any of the training manuals I’ve read in the past.

It’s not a read in one sitting kind of book, unless you’re really into this kind of thing, because some of this information needs to be digested and given a little time to sink in. At least that was the case with me. The ending made me weepy, as she recalls some of the stories of illness and death which is inevitable when you love any living creature but it’s not of the dragged out “Marley & Me” variety. There are beautiful insights about animal and human behavior inside the pages and it basically comes to down to treating those you love with kindness, empathy and sharing all of your love in order to strengthen your relationship. That’s advice the world needs to hear. This book will be a yearly reread for me, for sure.

The version I read was narrated by Pam Ward who has a strong, clear, accessible voice that fills with emotion when the words call for it. If you dig audio, Buddy, Bailey and I highly recommend reading this version.

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Challenge Update:
Audiobook Challenge: Book #7
HA Mount TBR Challenge: Book #11
HA Pages Read Challenge
2017 Horror Reading Challenge Book #8 Not a horror novel


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review 2017-02-17 20:01
Fellside by M.R.Carey
Fellside - M.R. Carey

Once again I am disappointed due to my own stupidity. For some reason (not reading the blurb, perhaps?), I assumed that this novel was set in the same world as The Girl with All the Gifts. It was not. There is no zombie plague here, if that’s what you were hoping for. But I'm probably the only dummy who didn't read the blurb.

Jess is a heroin addict who is sent to Fellside Prison after an unfortunate event ends with a child’s death. Jess has no recollection of his death but is filled with remorse and guilt. Alex was her friend, her only friend, and she felt protective of him. Now she doesn’t seem to care what happens to her and has given up on living. As she nears death from a self-imposed hunger strike, she sees Alex in ghostly form and realizes there is quite possibly a lot more to the story of his death than she was led to believe.

What follows is a story that I wouldn’t consider horror at all. It’s more a story of prison corruption, evil doers and innocents caught up in a big old mess. Jess struggles to discover the truth about Alex’s death while she also has figure out how to survive prison life. Jess is a great flawed character and the plot, for the most part, was gripping and grueling but I wasn’t really in the mood for this type of story when I picked it up and found myself a bit bored here and there.

The good? Flinty Williams narrates the audio and you can’t go wrong with that accent.

The bad? It’s a little slow and unless you’re into reading about prison politics you may find yourself a little bored too. There are a lot of characters and many are called by their first names and their last names by other characters. I had a hard time keeping them all straight and, in the end, I am not sure I did.

I’m giving it a three because it didn’t grab me but I didn’t despise it either.

 

Challenge Update

Audiobook Challenge: Book #6

HA Mount TBR Challenge: Book #9

HA Pages Read Challenge

2017 Horror Reading Challenge Book #6

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review 2017-02-16 19:04
Sweetheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor (audio)
Sweetheart, Sweetheart - Bernard Taylor,Michael Rowe

4 1/2 Stars

 

David has an ominous feeling that his twin brother Colin is in serious danger so he leaves the US and heads off to England to see what’s what. He discovers terrible things have indeed occurred. As he attempts to figure out exactly what has happened, he finds himself residing temporarily in Colin’s gorgeous cabin and meeting some interesting characters along the way who clue him in on Colin, Colin’s wife and the home’s ominous past. He is left to ferret out the rest of the secrets on his own. He is tenacious. I would've been scurrying back home after a few events but that's just me.

 

 

This book was a beautiful example of the atmospheric, slow burn ghost story. Why it isn’t better known is beyond me. It was leagues better than most of the recent novels I’ve read. It actually gave me the creeps a time or two and that almost never happens.

 

It is a product of its time though (the 70’s). David is one of those stubborn guys who keeps everything to himself (oooh, how that makes me crazy!) and tells the love of his life next to nothing. I’d strangle a guy like that in real life or at the very least drive him crazy with my questions but here it works well enough. I suppose if he shared everything things would’ve ended very differently and I thought the ending was dark perfection.

 

The characters are engaging and some of the dialogue between David and his love just hit me in all the right ways.

 

"You could bring me a good book.

 

Right, I'll bring you a good book. Your usual taste and nothing to get you too excited. Just sex, lust, rape, mayhem . . .

 

And murder” she finished for me."

 

I listened to this book as an unabridged audio and you will feel that ominous feeling of dread that accompanies David wherever he goes as soon as the narrator begins to speak. His voice seems made for this kind of story.

 

I can’t tell you any more without spoiling everything for you. I hate when that happens so I am stopping here. Just know that the buildup is slow and worth the wait. You are left, just as David is, to attempt to make sense of the strange goings-on occurring at the beautiful cabin. I didn’t figure it out before the reveal but I’m not very good at these things. If you like an old-fashioned, get under your skin ghost story listen to the audio or read the book. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

 

Challenge Update

Audiobook Challenge: Book #5

HA Mount TBR Challenge: Book #8

HA Pages Read Challenge

2017 Horror Reading Challenge Book #5

 

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review 2017-02-02 01:16
Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay
Disappearance at Devil's Rock: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

This is a slower paced mystery about a missing 14-year-old boy, his devastated mother and his heartbroken sister. It is a good story but it is not a horror novel. Do not be led astray like me.

 

A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale, a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.

 

I think I missed the supernatural horror bits. First The Turner House disappoints with its false ghost promises and now there’s this one. Damn, I am totally striking out in January.

Anyway, I listened to this book on audio and though it was too long and I drifted here and there, I never felt an urge to shut it off. I’d probably give it a 3 ½ but I’ll bump it up to a 4 because it was quite a bit better than “meh”.

 

The story revolves around what really happened the day (or was it night? The mind fails me once again) Tommy and his two pals went out to Devil’s Rock to do something . . . Tommy’s two buddies returned home safe and sound but Tommy did not. Now it’s up to Tommy’s mom to piece together exactly what happened. When Tommy’s diaries pages start appearing out of the ether she begins to question everything.

 

And I don’t blame her. I really felt compassion for Tommy’s mom. She was a well written character and even had some realistic flaws, eventually breaking down and losing her cool. I loved to read that. It made the story come alive for me.

 

Basically, the story is one long, slow reveal of what happened prior to that fateful day (evening?) at Devil’s Rock. It’s set in the present day but the past is shown via the diary entries and through flashbacks. I’m not going to give it away. If you want to know, you’ll have to read the book.

 

It’s an enjoyable thriller only marred by too much inane and repetitive dialogue between the boys. They are teenagers and their conversations go a little like this, a little too often for my liking.

Josh: Anyone up for Mindcraft?

 

Luis: Mindcraft is AWESOME man but dad says I need to get homework done tonight.

 

Tommy: Your dad is such a Hard-o! (I did not mean hard-on pervy spellcheck)

 

Josh: Chirps!

 

They have their own lingo, which is normal for most teen boys, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun to read and, believe me, it's even less fun to listen to. Almost immediately that lingo annoyed me and when the boys were together it never let up.

 

The narrator, Erin Bennett, does a decent job with the work but she's just a little too polished at times and I did feel pulled out of the story on a few occasions, especially when she calls out a name before speaking their dialogue. I’m not sure if it was a narrator choice or if the book was written that way but it was off-putting and strange.

 

The actual mystery is doled out slowly as it should be, I take no issue with that. I only wish the book had been pruned a bit where the silly conversations and sometimes repetitive scenes were involved.

 

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