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review 2017-09-11 19:57
Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan 5 Star Review
Antisocial - Heidi Cullinan

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten college to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour. 

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

 

Review

While I love the romance in this in this book, the discussion of art is so powerful, it often steals the show.

 

This romance is a slow burn and not just because one of the heroes is asexual. The fall in love is really pretty magical as they take down wall after wall for each other.

 

It is also a very well done New Adult with the kinds of conflict that have to do with finding new understanding of your family of origins and becoming your fuller self.

 

The setting is compelling as the circle of friends that builds and the mythology contained in the manga and an exploration of toxic masculinity from all parts of the policatal spectrum that is explored.

 

The writing is lyrical and lovely and while the pace might be too slow for some, it really worked for me.

 

At the heart of this book is the love story which is all about intimacy.

 

So very good!

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review 2017-09-08 23:42
What I wanted and what happened...not the same thing...
Antisocial - Heidi Cullinan

First things first, let's get it out of the way right off the bat...I am totally a Heidi Cullinan fan. I read and loved more than a couple of her books...Nowhere Ranch, Carry the Ocean, Dance With Me, her Minnesota series...I've loved them all...and I wanted to love this one truly I did...but I just couldn't.

 

Now the other thing I want to make perfectly clear is that I was given an audio copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. So yes, I listened to this book from start to finish and the result was that at the end of it all. There was more that didn't work for me than did.  I'm going to try and explain some of both but at the end of it all there are a lot of really good reviews out there both for and against this book...read them, check them all out because you never know one mans treasure and all that....

 

Let's start with what attracted me to this book and whether it in fact worked for me or not...

 

The cover...specifically the manga art style used. I raised a son who loves manga. It's not a passion that he got from either of his parents...he found it all on his own and he shared it with his mom. I've read 'Full Metal Alchemist' I've watched the anime, I've also watched 'Wolf's Rain' , 'Samurai Champloo' and 'Deathnote' and I've read some of 'Bleach', 'Nana' and a few more with titles that elude me at the moment. Trust me it's been a few years and my point is not that I'm an expert by any stretch of the imagination just that this is something that I'm familiar with so it's a bit of the reason that my eye was drawn to the cover of this book.

 

The whole aspect of these college kids being into mange...yeah, that worked for me. I've had more than a few college age kids pass through the doors of my home and more than a few of them have been dedicated fans to one or more anime/mange titles. 

 

What didn't work for me was the 'over the top' fanaticism about Japanese culture. I can understand and appreciate someone having a really strong interest...dedication, if you will to Japanese culture. It's a culture that steeped in ritual, beauty and an incredible history but somewhere along the way in this story I started to feel like the focus was more about Japan than the story that was being told. 

 

I was intrigued by the idea of a story with characters who weren't the usual straight, gay, bi colors on the rainbow. I wanted something new different and hopefully maybe at least a little bit enlightening and informative. Sadly I have to say that I really don't feel any more enlightened or informed when it comes to aspects of the ace-spectrum or being non-binary and while I honestly don't expect to learn about gender and/or sexuality in a book that's fiction. I like to at least feel comfortable with the representation that's being presented in the book and I have to admit I'm not sure that I was in this book and that was at least partially due to the fact that there was just too much going on in this story and not enough clarity given to some things.

 

I'm not even sure that I could really cover all the different aspects of this story...it was a lot! Which leads to my next point...

 

In general the blurb interested me and this sounded like it was going to be an interesting and enlightening story. Only for me it just ended up being one really, really busy story that sometimes left me feeling like I was running down a lot of dead end roads or maybe more accurately like a dog chasing it's tale...the end was always there in sight and I just couldn't quite catch it...

 

and lastly on this list...I was offered the opportunity to listen to the audiobook and for some reason the idea of listening to this one on audio sounded like it would be a really good plan...ok, really not so much. I admit it, this ended up being one of the biggest issues I had...

 

Iggy Toma was the narrator on this one and while I haven't listened to any audio books by this narrator to date. I have listened to a number of samples of books that he's narrated and there are a few of them on my wish list for the next tie I go shopping. 

 

Unfortunately 'Antisocial' was not a good match for me. There were times that it seemed like Xander and Skylar's voices sounded remarkably close. Skylar's friend, Unc simply did not sound like a young college student...but more like some of the seniors that I cared for when I worked in a nursing home. But worse than any of this was Xander's friend Zelda. I wanted them to be feisty, confident, person who stood up not just for themselves but for their friends and I'm sorry to say that was not what came to mind when I heard Zelda's voice. Quite honestly what came to mind whenever Zelda spoke was the word 'harpy'...again people, this is very much a personal preference issue. Other's who listened to the audio book may very well differ in how they perceived Zelda's voice...once again it's subjective opinion time.

 

While there are things that may or may not work for each of us as readers. This is something that I think is common to all books and while I really, really wanted and thought that I was going to love this audio book at the end of the story it turns out that I didn't...am I sorry that I took the time to listen to it...no I'm not. It was a listening experience that I appreciate the author sharing with me. 

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review 2017-08-26 16:37
Second Hand (Tucker Springs, #2) by Heidi Cullinan and, Marie Sexton Review
Second Hand - Heidi Cullinan,Marie Sexton

Paul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she’s left him with a house he can’t afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he's not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic.

El Rozal doesn’t do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn't apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself.

Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There's no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El’s line of work, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn't mean second best.

 

Review

 

I love EL and the dog. I love his crush and his pursuit of Paul and his dedication to family.

Paul is depressed, non self reflective, and clueless but he is sweet and kind and figures things out.

I like that Paul is working class and money is a thing. His ex girlfriend is awful but his mom is great.

This is a lovely romance with a great cast of characters. Very good read!

 

 

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text 2017-07-12 13:17
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Nowhere Ranch - Heidi Cullinan

 

Not it sure I will ever get tired of this book. ❤️❤️❤️

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text 2017-07-11 23:55
Reading progress update: I've read 90%.
Nowhere Ranch - Heidi Cullinan

“Listen.” Kayla was back on her feet and pissed as hell, but Haley rounded on her, pregnant belly and everything.

“No, you listen. You too, Pastor. You listen, and you listen fucking good. You get your ears turned all the way on, because today I have the gospel for you, and you had better fucking take notes."

 

Love for Haley. ❤️❤️❤️

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