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review 2017-09-21 11:12
I think this was the best Shadowlands book so far.
This Is Who I Am - Cherise Sinclair

I think this was the best Shadowlands book so far. With a great mix of erotic scenes, real life and a side order of crime syndicate and FBI, the story just flowed.

Sam as our male lead showed another side to the Gods of Shadowlands; older, sadist and emotionally closed, all something a little new! He didn't always get it right, he wasn't always perfect!

Linda, our female lead and submissive in this book, was again, something a little different. Older, mother, and masochist, Linda is also a survivor and tough as nails. Not that the other subs weren't, but this was just different, more real!

Despite the S/M relationship being a strong part of the story, and not to my tastes, I thoroughly enjoyed the story with all of it's ups and downs.

Things in the bedroom got a little repetitive and dare-I-say-it 'boring' at either of their homes, but Shadowlands play sessions were amusing and exciting despite being pain related. Towards the end of the book things got more interesting which helped the pacing around the climax.

I liked that serious relationship issues, including failed marriages and communication concerns were explored and felt very natural to the relationship. This was by far the best representation of relationships I've seen from Cherise.

Some of the supporting cast had large life events in this book which was a nice touch to remind the reader that the lifestyle isn't all sex and chains, but that real life continues too, with all its craziness.

If you're put off by the S/M relationship, don't be, it was handled well and the pain rather delicately described. Quite a few explosions and pleasure waves were ridden between these covers.

To me, this was one of the sadder tales in the Shadowlands series. And that's not because the others lacked sadness, but more that these characters felt very real, with Linda's self-loathing and doubt and Sam's emotional withdrawal. They both did and said things that real people do. 

The added sweetness of Conn, Sam's trusted canine companion, and the lovely ladies of Linda's seaside hometown wrapped things up nicely.

I am quite interested to see what happens in book 8, the next one in the series! I will be getting to it in short order!

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review 2017-09-14 13:26
It might be more to your tastes than mine...
Worlds Within Worlds - Tahlia Newland

This is another example of fantastic writing from Tahlia, the prose was spot on, crisp and taught where it needed to be, and soft and flowing as needed too. 

The characters were an interesting mix, starting with slightly quirkly Prunella (Ella) Smith, who Tahlia assures readers is not her (although between you and me, I couldn't help but see Tahlia's face when I brought up Ella's face in my mind). My favourites by a long shot were Merlin the cat and James. James is the sole reason this book gets shelved on my 'a-lil-sexy' shelf.

This story consists of several threads and weaves them together to form a strong, eloquent book. However, the overall message certainly sat in the spiritual realm, which is where it loses me and my interest. I can't say I get the buddhist belief system and this was far too engrained in the story for my liking. 

I did enjoy Kelee's story that threaded throughout the tale, including the communication between Kelee and Ella. This was compounded by the fact that I have read some of Tahlia's Diamond Peak series; I was glad to get some background information on some of the characters I'd already met. 

Where this story came into its own was the interestingly complex look at badly behaving authors and their war on honest reviewers. Having been on the receiving end of some minor indie author angst for my own honest reviews, I found the whole story a bit too explosive. This being said, I have heard of some pretty crazy reactions from people for constructive, yet negative reviews, so Tahlia's fictional account isn't completely outside the realm of possible. 

I can't say this was my favourite of Tahlia's books, but it was an enjoyable, interesting mix that kept the pages turning. If you're interested in metaphysical and magical-realism books, give this one a try, it might be more to your tastes than mine.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-09-14 11:48
An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.
Fractured Angel - Ken Williams,Rania Meng,Quentin Whitfield

Fractured angel is a fictionalised, but realistic look at homelessness and the mental illness that goes hand in hand for a lot of the homeless.

It is obvious that Ken has spent many years working with the mentally ill and homeless of Santa Barbara to be able to produce the rough, raw and gut-wrenching characters that pop up throughout Fractured Angel.

The various homeless, alcoholics, drug addicted and mentally ill characters were full of real, human characteristics and felt very real to read. This was probably the highlight of the book, the way the reader is given a glimpse of these people as real people, and not just a number or one of the faceless masses shuffling around the streets.

I quite liked the main male character, Kerry, that I'm sure was a fictionalised version of Ken, he too felt real. A war-torn, tired and battered veteran.

I didn't much like the female lead, Lynne. Her naivety was a little too much, and her emotional baggage a little too heavy to feel real. That's not to say she didn't have redeeming scenes, but she just didn't gel for me.

This book does not glorify or colour what it's like to be a homeless person in the US, it simply allows for the reader to see past all the preconceived notions one might have about them and allows for a connection to be formed.

An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.

The book could do with another pass over by an editor, there were a few small issues throughout, that I didn't take note of, that would help tighten the overall professional feel of the book. 

One thing I did note:

6% - ...Lynne rushed passed (past) the assemblage...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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review 2017-04-24 12:40
I would certainly recommend this one.
Time Out - Tony Talbot

This was a fantastic short story, full of amazingly well written scenes and just enough information to make the story gut-wrenching.

 

A little paranormal twist thrown in for good measure and you have yourself a pretty awesome little story.

 

I would certainly recommend this one.

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review 2017-01-31 06:03
The other half of my heart is much like making a loaf of bread.
The Other Half of my Heart - Stephanie Butland

The other half of my heart is much like making a loaf of bread.

It requires attention, and time to formulate the finished product. The process is, at times, complex and the end result is delightful but somewhat expected.

Now I've finished with the similes, we can get into the review. The characters were very realistic. I quite liked the damaged quality of them all in the beginning, they felt like real people, but things got a little tedious about 60% through. I wanted to see more character development. It felt like it was all a little too slow.

The plot and character arcs were obvious from about 20% in. So if you like your books to be a bit mysterious you probably won't like this one. If you enjoy a quiet, sweet romp through a slightly romance-ish story with middle-aged protagonists then jump on board.

If you like horses this one is a story for you. In fact, this reminded me of a grown up version of the Saddle club books, aimed at adults but maintaining that horsey-focus which was a welcome change from the rather adult books I normally read. I enjoyed being immersed in the world of working on a horse farm and the way in which the romance blossomed. I feel the book was strongest in the opening chapters, but slowly things got a bit out of focus.

The overall feel of the book could have been emotional, and some of the other reviews are raving on about is as such, but I feel that the middle of the book disconnected me from the characters too much, and then the emotional turmoil I was meant to feel, just didn't happen. There's sad parts, sure, but they didn't pack the punch I think they were meant to.

Still, the book is a solidly written, the storyline is tried and true, and the characters are complex. It just wasn't spot on for me, hence the lower star rating. Still worth a read if you like horses or long winding plots with a middle-aged protagonist.

A few things I noticed:
7% - supresssing (delete third s)
10% - ...and she (delete she) hope that the world...
51% - ...towelling dressing gown aare(are) anything...


**Note: I was provided an electronic version of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

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