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review 2018-01-10 22:43
Christmas in Boston
Christmas in Boston (A Banished Saga Short Story) - Ramona Flightner

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A very short and sweet Christmas story for the fans of Banished Saga. Christmas in Boston takes place after book 3.5 and 10 or so years before the current books are set (there's a jump in time in book 4, Tenacious Love) but it's written in a way that you can enjoy it whether you've already read the series till the latest installment or you're somewhere in the middle of it.

But Christmas in Boston is NOT recommended until you've read Undaunted Love (PART TWO) because of the connected incidents. The story tells us about one of our favorite characters and McLeod brothers' uncle Aidan, his long lost love Delia, and their daughter Zylphia's first Christmas together. Even in these few pages, there are surprises and revelations that'd melt your heart. If you've already read till book 3.5 then this story will fill in some of the voids and make you smile in pleasure. :) If not, then I highly recommend you dive into this series ASAP!

To recieve a free copy of this and other short stories containing snippets in the lives of Banished Saga's favorite characters, sign up for Ramona's Newsletter.

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review 2018-01-01 17:04
Green: A Novel by Sam Graham-Felsen
Green: A Novel - Sam Graham-Felsen

 

Every once in a while, I choose or wish for a book on NetGalley solely due to the description and GREEN was one of those books. 

 

12 year old David Greenfeld, aka Green, is nearly the only white boy in Martin Luther King Middle School in the early 90's. As such, he is subject to harassment, and not only because of his color. He's Jewish, even though his family doesn't practice, he doesn't have the right clothes or shoes, and he has few friends. 

 

Marlon, a black teen that lives nearby, comes to Dave's aid when he's bullied and they become fast friends. Bonding over Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, (the curse of Coke!), and playing basketball, (or nasketball), the two are nearly inseparable.

 

Mar and Dave's friendship occurs during a tough time in Boston and in our country. Amidst the tumultuous race riots and the rise, (and fall) of Boston Celtic Reggie Lewis, (the importance of sports teams in Boston cannot be underestimated), these boys face racist bullies and the threat of bodily violence every day. Coming of age is never easy, no matter the era in which it takes place. Dave is trying hard to better himself, find his inner self, (Is it Christian? Is it Jewish?) and survive the day to day without the right clothes or shoes. Will his relationship with Marlon survive too? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

While I enjoyed GREEN, I had some problems with it. I know the language had to be of the time and setting for the tale to ring true, but I'm not quite sure that it did. To be honest, at times it seems that the author was trying too hard to make the slang real. Every single time clothes were described it was "so and so rocked this or that", every time they went somewhere they "rolled." It irritated me a little but your mileage may vary.

 

Another problem I had with the story is the lack of information about some of the characters and their backgrounds. Green's brother Benno, for instance,  hadn't spoken to anyone in over a year and had other issues as well. I would have liked to have known more about that. Also, Green's Jewish grandfather, (Cramps instead of Gramps, because he was grouchy), had a lot of background that was only briefly glimpsed in this tale. I would have liked to have known more details about that and about the effects they had on Dave's father.

 

Lastly, as the mother of a young man I know that masturbation is a big part of a boy's coming of age. I just don't need to know the details.  I know it happens, I know the hormones are raging, I get it. I just want to give the head's up to others that this occurs. A lot! (This was the era of Baywatch, after all.) 

 

GREEN was a good coming of age story and I wonder how much of it was autobiographical because most of it did ring true. (As much as it could to a middle age white woman, anyway.) Bullying, religion, racism, having the right clothes and shoes-these are all things that are still problems to this day. It's how we deal with these issues that defines us. David Greenfeld was not the perfect boy and certainly not the perfect friend, but I couldn't help but root for him anyway. I think you will too. 

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

 

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review 2017-12-21 15:20
The Boston Girl (audio)
The Boston Girl: A Novel - Anita Diamant
I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed Linda Lavin. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought she was actually Addie herself. It was her voice and her mannerism as she spoke about the different subjects that were occurring in her life, that I thought many times this audio was actually a memoir. It took me a while to fall into the life of Addie, as I didn’t quite understand the gist of the novel but then I realized, it was everything and anything that was occurring and nothing in particular. I just needed to follow along as Addie adjusted to life, as she tried to find her place in the world.
This novel was a bit slower than what I had expected but I liked the character of Addie. Addie was driven and she had initiative. Her relationship with her mother was not good and I think that shaped Addie into who she was. This novel covers many subjects, some subjects it just touches the surface while others it harbors there and effects Addie. Addie wanted to be a Boston Girl, it was in her plans, it was something she desired and we all need to have dreams.
 
 
Here is a sample of the audio. Just listen to that voice, that accent, it just makes the novel and soon, you love it. https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/96954/the-boston-girl-by-anita-diamant/

 

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review 2017-11-09 20:52
Review: Love's First Flames (Banished Saga #1) by Ramona Flightner
Love's First Flames - Ramona Flightner

The storyline for the first half of this book was just depressing; the second half was repetitive. This is a prequel to the Banished Saga series, featuring the childhoods and early adulthoods of the three McLeod brothers (heroes in the series). I have book one on my TBR pile, but I'm in no hurry to read it since the writing changes from third person past tense in the prequel to first person tense in book one (at least from the excerpt of book one I read at the end of the prequel). Also, nothing is really engaging me in terms of characters or plot; just a lot of depressing back stories so far. I read this book for one of the squares on the 16 Tasks for Festive Season challenge.

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review 2017-10-03 18:44
Cthulhu Blues by Douglas Wynne
Cthulhu Blues (Spectra Files) - Douglas Wynne

 

Cthulhu Blues is the third and final book of the SPECTRA FILES trilogy. I'm sad to see the series end! 

 

In this volume, Becca Phillips is in the hospital trying to find a way to get some sleep. While being monitored overnight, Becca begins to sing, while asleep, and weird things begin to happen-not the least of which is the mirror in her room coming alive with... something. Something from the other side?

 

Jason Brooks, Becca's friend and colleague is still around, and working for SPECTRA, albeit under a new director, when he hears about Becca. He also discovers that a few children have been singing while asleep as well, and now those children are disappearing, one by one. He invites Becca to stay at his house, (turns out he's having trouble sleeping too), and together they begin work on the mystery of the song. They work together, that is, until Becca filches an important artifact from the SPECTRA stores, and joins the missing children to sing WITH them. What will come through, if the chorus is allowed to continue until completion? What will happen to the earth and all of mankind as a result? You will have to read this to find out!

 

It would be hard to pick up this volume without knowing what happened in the first two, but it's not impossible. (However, I recommend reading the first two because they're creative and a lot of fun!) I have developed quite a liking for both Becca and Jason over the last 2 years as their stories have unfolded. Neither of them are perfect people; they are dealing with PTSD, sleep disturbances and all kinds of other problems that make them come across as more real to me. Even Becca's dog, Django, has a place in my heart. SPECTRA itself is an interesting entity, being the group that helps keep cosmic horrors out of our realm. 

 

Speaking of which, there is no shortage of imaginative cosmic horror here. There are all kinds of Lovecraftian creatures and there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to give up everything, even their lives, to help them take over. 

 

The last entry in this trilogy delivers on the great storytelling that took place in the first two. I have no problem recommending it, or all of the books, really. They're innovative, full of engaging characters, and fascinating monsters. They're everything a horror lover could ask for! 

 

 

You can get your copy here: Cthulhu Blues

 

*I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

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