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review 2017-07-09 09:43
Heartbreaking in places
True Colors (True Love) - Anyta Sunday

When I started reading this book the whole set up with the pirate play sounded familiar. Checking the blurb I realised that I had read the previous book, True Luck, back when it had been called Bottle Boys. And even in my review back then I had wondered, what's the deal with Marco. Well, this is Marco's story and it is told purely from his pov. It also runs in tandem with the events in True Luck. 

Marco and Oskar had been best friends until something happened to tear them apart. What this thing is we the reader don't really know and we find out in fits and starts as the two friends turned enemies try to come to terms with Oskar's return to the neighbourhood.

 

The forgiveness Oskar seeks is a hard won battle and the romance is slow-burn, more so because Oskar is already in a relationship when he returns. The secondary characters have a lot of page time as their families still live next door to each other and Marco's family is Oskar's family and vice versa. 

 

Not only must they overcome what happened in the past, but Marco also needs to address his own body issues due to the scarring he received in an accident when he was a teenager. This also means we get a virgin MC, and the deliciousness that goes with this.

 

There were a number of missing/wrong word issues, but not enough to drag the reader from the story.

 

Overall this was a lovely, hard fought love story which managed to break my heart in places. 

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review 2017-06-29 23:08
Cover has nothing to do with the story
Bad Beginnings (Anchors) (Volume 1) - Nicole Field

The cover had nothing to do with the story that I could see, although it did make me hungry.

 

This is the second story in the Anchors' series. I haven't read the first story as it is M/F and not a genre I read.

 

This was a 2 to 3 hour read but I have to admit that it felt longer, I think this is because the story got bogged down in unnecessary parts of the story.

 

I enjoyed parts of the story more than others and I think the author missed an important focus of for story, and one that she had set up at the beginning of the story.

 

Pros:

Dante - come on, he owns a comic book shop, he needs a 'hobby' so decides to open a drop in place for trans/queer teens, he's respectful and considerate to his partners. What's not to like?

Did I mention the drop in centre for trans/queer teens?

The relationship between Dante and Kit. Very sweet. Respectful.

The relationship between Dante and Con (his brother, who is trans) and the support given between the two. 

The 'family' dynamic was perfect. 

 

Cons: 

Story got bogged down in too much information when it came to the law suit. I skimmed a lot of the law suit information. It had no bearing on the relationship and added nothing to the story.

The teen centre idea was introduced early on but wasn't given full rein until the end. I would have liked this to be a partial focus of the story rather than the law suit.

Not enough on-page relationship development. This links into my next point...

Time jumps. There were several annoying time jumps where you would expect important relationship developments to take place. In fact after one of the most important events there was then a 4 week time jump, which was disappointing.

 

Overall I enjoyed this story but it could have benefited from a deeper/stricter edit.

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-28 09:06
The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
The Hideaway - Lauren K. Denton

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there. Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected. Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways. When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Sara Jenkins is an antiques dealer living in New Orleans, Louisiana when she gets word that her 72 year old grandmother, "Mags", (the last of Sara's immediate family, after being orphaned at the age of twelve) in Sweet Bay, Alabama has passed away. In addition to this news, Sara is told that she has been left her grandmother's home / business of sorts, The Hideaway Bed & Breakfast. Sara visits the property with the idea to immediately get the house listed so she can make a quick sale and truck it back to New Orleans to carry on with her life. Once on site however, Sara sees that what was affectionately being referred to as a bed & breakfast is actually more of a seniors' community made up of Mags' friends taking up residence in all the rooms. Quickly falling under the charms of these senior citizens, Sara decides to take on all the intensive, desperately needed renovations.

 

Whether she'll sell or stay, she's struggling to decide.... the choice becoming even more complicated once she meets the attractive contractor hired onto the job. While elbows deep in the work, Sara comes upon a box of letters & mementos belonging to Mags, items that tell of an entirely different woman than the one Sara thought she knew. The Mags in the letters is bold and wildly in love, far from the sweet, subdued nature of Sara's grandmother. As Sara tries to make sense of all this, she is simultaneously forced to fend of a greedy land developer interested in snatching up the property for a shopping area / apartment plan in the works. 

 

Told in alternating POVs -- between the story of Mags and that of her granddaughter, Sara -- this novel opens in modern times and spans back to the 1960s, when Mags' letters introduce the reader to her 22 year old newlywed self (albeit then known as Margaret Van Buren), already in a struggling marriage to a wealthy, respected, but emotionally neglectful (not to mention philandering!) man. It's largely through the letters that the reader is given insights into how the woman of status, "Margaret", became the artsy, go-with-the-flow, B & B owning- gypsy soul known as "Mags".

 

 

 

Well, I'll start off by saying that this is absolutely the perfect, easy-breezy, poolside kind of read. Perfect for fans of The Notebook! Not saying the plot is necessarily super-similar, just that the tone / feel one gets from this is similar to that Sparks novel. The Hideaway definitely has Hallmark summertime movie (adaptation, that is) all over it. While the plot itself is not terribly original --- person inheriting property, deciding what to do with it, going on a literal / emotional journey that leads to revelatory information about benefactor being brought to light in the process -- the characters themselves are what make this particular novel a solid good time. Each resident at The Hideaway is endearingly unique and heartwarming in character. 

 

That being said, there were just a few things that bothered me leading me to knock my rating down a bit:

 

*

Mags basically vilifies her philandering husband but kinda walks into a kettle-pot situation when she SO easily takes up with William. 

(spoiler show)

 

* And also this quote by Mags: "At 33, I'm long past the age of letting myself get swept up by a man, no matter how charming or handsome he may be." I just found that line depressing. One needs a lovely moment of getting "swept up" from time to time, regardless of age! 

 

* Sara's assistant in New Orleans, Allyn: I knew going in that this book was published through a Christian publishing house, so I don't know if that plays a role in this, but it bugged me that author Lauren Denton hinted at Allyn being gay in such a heavy-handed way but never actually uses the word. In an age where LGBTQ+ representation in fiction is so strongly requested and sought out, I thought Denton dropped the ball in this respect. 

 

Near the end of this novel, some of the "reveal" bits of the story, where issues are magically explained into sense, reminded me somewhat of some of the big plot reveals used in Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres. Personally, I wasn't entirely happy with the fate Denton wrote for The Hideaway property, as far as the specifics of how things were resolved. Still, I quite enjoyed the underlying inspiring theme of people finding a true sense of family and community with people who accept them just as they are... oh my, went a bit Bridget Jones' Diary there for a moment! 

 

Also, bonus points for throwing my own town into the mix of places used in this book! 

 

For those who might want to use this for a possible book group selection, a discussion questions guide is included in the back of the paperback edition. 

 

FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers.com and Thomas Nelson Publishers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book & requested that I check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.

 

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review 2017-06-08 08:34
Highly recommended
An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities) - KJ Charles

It’s possible that this is my favourite KJ Charles book to date.

 

This is the second book in the Sins of the Cities series and I would say this can’t be read as a standalone. The relationship is a new one, but the storyline is connected to the previous book, and also continues into the third and final book.

 

This is the tale of Nathaniel, the journalist and friend of Clem that we first meet in An Unseen Attraction, and Justin Lazarus, a shameless shyster and medium. It hard to discuss the storyline without giving away the plot of the previous book, because they are run on from each other. In fact, this one starts just before the end of Clem and Rowley’s story.

 

This book has one of my favourite tropes, enemies to lovers and it gives us an excellent example of an unexpected (and initially unwanted) attraction and the perfect opportunity for some quite glorious hate sex, and some wonderfully biting banter. It also has another of my favourite themes and that is flawed characters. Nathaniel is drowning in grief for a lover he lost five years previously, while Justin is a product of society, dragged up from the gutter by whatever means necessary and determined not to return.

 

This book is funny and exciting and the romance builds quite beautifully. At 67% the chaps go for a walk in the woods together and I got quite choked up, without even the London fog to blame.

 

I love that Nathaniel could adore Justin but still despise his job, yet for all that he didn’t attempt to take it from him. I love that Justin is unapologetic in what he does and how he cares for those he feels responsible for.

 

 

And the discovery of the Earl? Well, I can honestly say that I didn’t see that coming. But that really is more Mark’s tale and I for one can’t wait to read it.

 

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review 2017-06-03 17:32
Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy, by Sarah Rees Brennan
Unspoken - Sarah Rees Brennan

Kami Glass lives in a small town in the Cotswolds of England where the Lynburns, an old family with deep and mysterious roots in the community, have just returned. People are unhappy about it, including Kami's mother, but Kami doesn't care: she's an aspiring reporter on the trail of a story for her high school paper (founded by herself and reluctant best friend, Angela), which becomes even more fascinating (and dangerous) when she comes across an animal sacrifice in the woods.

 

Kami has a secret of her own: she has a sort of imaginary friend with whom she communicates in her mind. This (male) friend has his own problems, and the two "reach" for each other psychically in times of need. This friend, of course, turns out to be real and a Lynburn. I anticipated as much but was still surprised by whom it turned out to be and when the reveal was made. The two struggle with the reality that the other is an actual person; their strange intimacy is not always welcome. Their bond turns out to be magical in nature and tied to the Lynburns and Kami's family.

 

Threats in town escalate, and Kami's at the center. In the meantime, she's also at the center of love triangle involving the two Lynburn boys. The triangle isn't terribly emphasized, but Kami's relationship with her former imaginary companion yo-yos between easy repartee and angsty denial of feelings. It got old.

 

Somehow I didn't feel involved enough in the mystery, and the tension didn't come across as it should. In part this may be because, as in other YA I've read, the story is somewhat rushed or condensed, including the quicksilver of the characters' changing emotions.

 

There's some fine prose, one of the book's saving graces, and lots of banter. It's not quite as successful as Whedon dialog or Veronica Mars, but it can be funny. It also got to be a bit much.

 

Kami's also one of those typical YA heroines whose friends are gorgeous, and she's supposedly less pretty but still somehow at the center of a love triangle involving the new hot guy. One of the most sincere moments is when Kami observes how each of her younger brothers is a favorite of her parents', leaving her odd person out.

 

I like YA but am coming to find it has to be exceptional to even be okay for me. Or maybe I just wasn't in the mood!

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