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text 2018-04-17 13:51
Before Mars - Emma Newman

Ahem. Sorry, I'm a little excited about Emma Newman's latest book coming out, although it looks like those buying UK versions will have to wait another couple days.


I'm really tempted to just start this now, but my original plan was to reread the first two books via audio before continuing. The books are all independent, but it took me a good chunk of After Atlas to figure out who the main character actually was in relation to the characters in Planetfall. I didn't need to know for the story, but it gave it additional context. It looks like this is another mystery, too. (I haven't really been looking at any early reviews or descriptions because I know I'm going to read it.)


And look, the audiobook is read by the author. I'm probably going to have to spring for that too, aren't I?


And yes, I've just spent time adding all the books because they wouldn't import!

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review 2018-04-11 14:18
Emma and the Silverbell Faeries (book 3)
Emma and the Silverbell Faeries - Matthew S. Cox
I’m go glad to be back with Emma and her family. In her last adventure, Emma and her sister were taken by the Banderwigh’s but they are now safely home and trying to overcome their fears and nightmares. Living next to the forest, Emma begins to feel a presence within the forest which when asked, her mother also feels. After what happened with the Banderwigh’s, Emma promised that she wouldn’t run off alone again but as she gathers water for their stew, Neema approaches her and begs for help.
Neema, a fairy from the forest, informs Emma that the faeries are getting hurt and they urgently need her assistance. As they exchange words, Emma tells Neema that she must tell her mother before going with her but Neema insists that they leave immediately and that Emma will only be gone a few minutes. Being a druid, Emma knows that she has a responsibility to protect the forest and everything in it and since time is of the essence and it will only be a few minutes, she leaves with Neema. I sense danger right away but then question: are faeries dangerous?
Emma is magically shrunk so she fits into the fairy realm. Emma discovers more about the attacks upon the faeries as she talks to the faeries and to the Fairy Queen. It’s hard to understand some of the faeries as they speak, as their words are scrambled. The beginning of the sentences is at the end and some words are not included to make a full sentence so, I just went with what I thought they meant to say as I read their remarks. It’s an amazing world that Emma has walked into.
It’s not long before Emma personally experiences an attack and while using her druid powers, she brings the situation under control. The attacker is Mawr and he provides valuable information and becomes a memorable character for the remainder of the novel. Emma with Neema beside her, must confront the powers who are conflicting evil upon the faeries. As a young druid, Emma has much to learn, but she has heart and compassion and those two things push Emma through when times get tough.
I thought this was a fun, entertaining children’s chapter book. I liked the relationships that Emma built while in the fairy realm. I liked how she was worried about how much time she had been gone from home, how she was worried about how much trouble she was going to be in and then, how the faeries kept trying to convince her that she had only been gone a few minutes. Emma knew that she had spent days in the fairy realm, so how could what they were telling her be true? I loved the ending of this novel, it was outstanding and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press in exchange for an honest review.


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review 2018-04-11 07:04
Touchy Subjects by Emma Donoghue
Touchy Subjects - Emma Donoghue

How do you make conversation with a sperm donor? How do you say someone's novel is drivel? Would you give a screaming baby brandy? In what words would you tell your girlfriend to pluck a hair on her chin? Touchy Subjects is about things that make people wince: taboos, controversies, secrets and lies. Some of the events that characters crash into are grand, tragic ones: miscarriage, overdose, missing persons, a mother who deserts her children. Other topics, like religion and money, are not inherently taboo, but they can cause acute discomfort because people disagree so vehemently. Many of these stories are about the spectrum of constrained, convoluted feeling that runs from awkwardness through embarrassment to shame.





In this odd little short story collection, Emma Donoghue breaks up her tales into five categories of general life: Babies, Domesticity, Strangers, Desire and Death. A rundown of of the stories:




"Touchy Subjects" (title story) -- a man agrees to be the sperm donor to his wife's best friend. Story gets into general discussion of fertility struggles of women


"Expecting" -- a woman lies about being pregnant, the lie gets out of hand


"The Man Who Wrote On Beaches" -- a man turns 43 and finds religion, which causes upset in his relationship with his agnostic girlfriend (there is a baby discussion here, if you're wondering)


"OOPS" -- James helps friend Neasa through a pregnancy he assumes is unplanned and unwanted, sets himself up as surrogate "uncle" to the child, helping with child rearing over the years


"Through The Night" -- Pre-motherhood Una was known for being quite the stoic. Now after giving birth, she finds herself deep in the throws of sleep deprivation and postpartum depression, uneasy with the dark places her mind is drifting. 


"Do They Know It's Christmas?" -- A childless couple has embraced their life as dog parents and all is well until the holidays come and they're asked to leave the dogs at home while they attend a family gathering.




"Lavender's Blue" -- A couple goes near-mad trying to agree on the perfect shade of slate blue to paint the exterior of their house


"The Cost of Things" -- An emotional rift develops between a lesbian couple over the medical expenses for their sick cat


"Pluck" -- A husband becomes fixated on a single dark hair on his wife's chin




"Good Deed" -- A wealthy Canadian man struggles to decide on a course of action over a homeless man he finds laying in the street, bleeding from the mouth 


"The Sanctuary of Hands" -- In Toulouse, France, a woman decides to take a tour of underground caverns, but is unsettled by a group of special needs adults joining her tour group. 


"WritOr" -- A once successful writer, now struggling with mounting debt, grudgingly agrees to accept a "Writer In Residence" position at a small college, giving writing advice to aspiring authors. 




"Team Men" -- Teenager Jonathan plays on a football team, with his dad as the coach. His dad is pretty hard on him, when it comes to critiquing Jonathan's athletic ability. When new guy Davy joins the team, Davy quickly becomes the star player. Jonathan feels a little threatened by him at first, but before long they become good friends who progess into secret lovers. Though they think they've been successful keeping their relationship under wraps, Jonathan's father turns mysteriously, progressively angry towards the both of them. 


"Speaking In Tongues" -- Ladies Lee and Sylvia fall for each other after meeting at a conference


"The Welcome" -- Luce sees one 5-line ad for womens' housing, finds herself triggered by the spelling errors and the political correctness seeping through the choice of wording 




"The Dormition of the Virgin" -- George is vacationing in Italy. The last day of his stay he comes upon a dead body.


"Enchantment" -- Pitre and Bunch are two longtime friends living in Louisiana who get competitive with running swamp tours... until Pitre falls gravely ill


"Baggage" -- Niniane is in Hollywood .... partly on holiday, partly to find out information regarding her estranged brother


"Necessary Noise" -- Two sisters pick up their brother from a nightclub, immediately have to rush him to a hospital when he appears to be extremely ill and under the influence of serious drugs. 




Overall Impressions:


I closed the book with a strong feeling of MEH. In a number of these stories, there are definitely intriguing ideas that Donoghue experiments with.. they just didn't really go anywhere. Most of these stories didn't close on strong, impactful moments, instead just kinda .. dropped off... which is one of my big peeves with short story collections in general. I will say though, I enjoyed the second half of the book much more than the first. I was close to DNF-ing after the first few stories but something was telling me to hang in there.


I'm glad I did, largely for "WritOr", which ended up being my favorite story in the whole book. After a number of bland bits in the earlier portion of this collection, I was pleasantly surprised to find such humor in "WritOr". Granted, it might be the "you had to be there" brand of humor. Being a writer myself, who worked as a writing tutor in college, a lot of what Donoghue illustrates in this particular story brought back vivid memories of my own experiences in that environment. Perhaps for that story alone, maybe a couple others that made me smile or think for a moment, I'll likely end up keeping this one on my shelves, at least for the time being. But if you haven't tried any of Donoghue's work before, I would NOT recommend starting here. 

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review 2018-04-09 16:23
Book Review: Lust (Vegas Nights #2) By Emma Hart
Lust - Emma Hart


I think my expectations made me stick my foot in my mouth where this novel is concerned. I was expecting something a little bit darker and life or death driven than what I got. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen and nothing drastic ever did. Everything fell into place way too perfectly and that didn't make for an out-of-this-world story.


I liked Perrie as a character. She was doing what she had to, to provide and protect her daughter. I can't blame her for the decisions she made. I loved her sassy retorts and how she didn't beat around the bush in conversations.


Adrian was a nice guy overall. He took pity on her when they first met and things seemed to work out too perfectly from there. I would have liked to see something unexpected happen to force the characters to deal with an emotion other than the cliché I-want-you-but-I-can't-have-you bulls*it.


I usually stay away from novels that have kids in them, but I decided, early on, to trudge forward with this one. This wasn't an exception to my so-called "rule". The kids were around 7 or 8 years old and in some conversations seemed much older (because of the vocabulary usage) or much younger.


Overall, this was a nice story but it wasn't incredible. One thing I will mention that started getting to me was all the grammatical errors. I can usually overlook grammar, but I was finding mistakes (miswritten words, sentences missing words to show the action being performed by the character to make everything make sense, etc.) that were pulling me out of the story because I had to stop and think about what was written.


My Favorite Quotes:


"Payback was a b*tch. So was I when I wanted to be."


"Some things n life were meant to be kept close to your chest. My life was an entire deck of cards meant to be played closely to myself."

"Things don't happen just because you want them to."

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text 2018-04-04 23:34
Royally Matched By Emma Chase 99 cents!
Royally Matched - Emma Chase

Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him "space"—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition. 

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world's most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit... and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight. 

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

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