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review 2017-05-18 02:19
Jazz Baby - Beem Weeks

            Before I began reading this book I was warned that it was “gritty.” That was the exact word used. And the person who generously cautioned me was telling no lie.  Oftentimes the story of the maturing Baby Teegarten made me cringe and my stomach churn.  It had nothing to do with Beem Weeks’ writing style, but rather with the brutality young women were faced with during the 1920s.

            The first person perspective allows readers to face Baby’s harrowing journey to making it big in a society that demeans girls and views them as commodities rather than human beings.  Beem Weeks writes about broken dreams and the crushing weight of circumstance.  While Baby has a vision of making it big in the northern United States, desperate for an escape from barren Mississippi, she is cut short and settles for the dark world of New Orleans speak easies.  The real tragedy of the tale is that the summation of all the horrible events Baby experiences reflects the desperation some feel to escape, whether they are escaping a regrettable past or a home that never felt like home. 

            While I can’t say that this is a book I would read again, Beem Weeks’ writing skill is undeniable.  I tend to prefer romance and stories that take me on an emotional journey that end in me ultimately feeling fulfilled and happy.  When I finished this story I mostly felt dirty.  But to accurately depict the tale of his protagonist, the author had no other way but to include those details for the sake of authenticity and perhaps even shock value. Returning to that warning I was given—Jazzy Baby was a chilling and indubitably gritty approach to a coming of age story.

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review 2017-05-01 20:35
Ok, so I'm really, really late to the party on this one...
Everything Changes - Melanie Backe-Hansen

I bought this back in 2015 when it was first released and then I squirreled...what can I say it's a thing that I do...frequently. But I've been reading long enough that I know a book that I want to read when I see it so I get them and when the timing feels right I drift back and read them. 

 

In this case I was motivated by the opportunity to listen to the second book in this series on audio. While these books can be done as standalones, if I'm going to read a series I like to at least try and start at the beginning and I had a little time so I decided to squeeze this one in and I'm glad I did. 

 

'Everything Changes' is a friends to lovers, GFY story about two men who meet during their military enlistment. Jase is a medic assigned to Carey's marine corp. It's during their enlistment that they develop a strong bond as friends. It's also during this time that Carey losses his lower leg and gets shipped home early.

 

When Jase is finally discharged he goes in search of Carey and helps him through his recovery before returning to his life in California, while Carey ends up in Colorado counselling vets. Still in spite of the distance their friendship continues. 

 

Things Change during Carey's visit and Jase ultimately confesses that he's been in love with Carey for a long time. When Carey's time with Jase comes to an end Carey chooses to return to Colorado under the premise of needing time because 'he's not gay'. 

 

'Everything Changes' was well done and I enjoyed it, but I have to admit for some reason it just didn't put me over the moon the way a story like this usually does and I truly think that it's totally on my this time because I've been pondering this and I have yet to come up with anything that I didn't like or that spoiled the story for me...I got nothin'. However, I can come up with a nice list of what I liked...

 

I like both of the MC's. Yes, I got a little frustrated with Carey, but I could see where he was coming from.  All his life he'd believed he was straight and suddenly he's having not so straight feelings about a guy...yes, it was his best friend, but still it's a guy...so for him it was a bit disconcerting. It wasn't that he was homophobic or anything just really surprised by his feelings and honestly, if I was Carey I'd probably have the same reaction.

 

I liked Jase. He was such an amazingly good friend and so in love with Carey. More than what he wanted for himself what mattered for Jase was Carey's happiness. I loved that for Jase it was about attraction to the person, not the gender. Truthfully the world could use a whole lot more people like Jase.

 

I liked Jase and Carey together. They were awesome friends and scorching hot as lovers. I had zero doubt that once Carey got his mind around things they'd be an amazing couple. I loved that while the epilogue was short we saw that they weren't perfect just two men in love, dealing with life and it's challenges the best they could.

 

In general I liked this story it worked for me...so you see nothing that really stands out in my mind as being wrong or offensive or spoiled the story in any way. Lots that I liked but whatever the reason this didn't go from good to great for me. But I did like it reading was no hardship so I'm looking forward to checking out more by this author and I've got 'Signs of Life' the second book in this series all quayed up and ready to go on audible.

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review 2017-04-30 16:42
That cover! The Blurb! The book :/
Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs) - Sam Argent

I was really excited to say the least when I stumbled across this story the blurb sounded awesome and the cover...I mean seriously? Who doesn't want to read this book once they've read the blurb and seen that cover so on a promotional level this book nailed it because really that's what the blurb and the cover are...they're promotional materials meant to draw the reader in and gain their interest in the book and if I was giving stars for that this book would probably get at least 4 out of 5. But that's not what I'm giving stars for...nope, those two stars are for what comes after the cover and the blurb.

 

Sadly what came after the blurb for me was a bit confusing. 'Witches for Hire' is the first book in Sam Argent's series 'Odd Jobs' unfortunately for most of this book I felt like I'd been plunked into the middle of a series without the background info that often helps things make sense. As the story progressed I was given a fair bit of background that did help sort out much of my confusion but I would have really liked some of this info to have come sooner than it did. 

 

'Witches for Hire' was a bit of a mixed bag for me because while there were things that I liked about it, there were also things that just didn't work for me and as much as I would like to go into more detail about what I didn't like, I don't feel that I can do this without divulging some pretty pertinent information in regards to the story's plot. So, I'm going to focus a little more on some of what worked for me.

 

One of the things that worked the best for me were the characters. I liked Jeremy. He was interesting and far more complex than he initially seemed. Many of the secondary characters were also rather interesting and what we were given of their background hinted at strong potential for their own stories...Simone, Witches for Hire's receptionist, a witch who is married to a werewolf and has no coven and also seems to be far more powerful than she lets on, Clive a knight from another realm who is the new owner of 'Witches for Hire' who is extremely powerful running out of realms he can go to. Clive's friends Mia and her husband, Raj, who run their own magical detective agency, also knights and seem to show up when they're least expected. The Amazon, Edarra, who works at 'Witches for Hire' and has some heroic deeds she needs to accomplish. Senator Ragsdale, Jeremy's father. Desmond the Great, Atlanta's star magician and someone with much stronger ties to Jeremy than most realize, council member Salvatore someone who wants much stronger ties to Jeremy. 

 

It all sounds so intriguing and has the potential be one hella' good read but somewhere along the line the waters got muddied and things were oftentimes confusing with POVs jumped around and scene changes happening in such a way that I was left wondering if I was missing pages or paragraphs, at least, because I'd find myself going back and re-reading to try and figure out when and how I suddenly went from point 'A' to point 'E' and what happened to the stuff in between.

 

So in summary this wasn't so much a bad story as one that simply didn't work for me. There was strong potential and I did find the last 20 to 30% far more cohesive and interesting. Most of all I really wish that this had felt more like the first novel in a series with stronger background and world building rather than leaving me feeling like I was reading the third or fourth book in a series that needed to be read in order.

 

The result for me was that rather than enjoying what should have been a fun and interesting story, I was often left frustrated and disappointed. However, in spite of the potential for future stories I'm not really sure whether or not I'll continue, I definitely need to give that a lot of thought...but in truth...I doubt it, the again one never knows... never say never, right?

 

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An ARC of 'Witches for Hire' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-29 23:50
I'm a little late to the party on this one...
In The Absence of Light - Adrienne Wilder

I've had this book floating around on my e-reader for a while now and I keep squirreling off to other things but when it came up in a conversation with my buddy read besties, Josy, Christelle and Simone. I didn't hesitate to say yes and I am so, so glad that we did this. Thanks ladies once again you made an amazing story so much better. 

 

'In the Absence of Light' isn't just a romance or a love story. it's a story about loving someone who's different and what that means both to love them and be loved by them. Morgan is autistic and he's amazing. He probably shouldn't be as highly functional as he is but because he was raised by an amazing woman who refused to give up on him, he has never given up on himself.

 

Grant has moved to Durstrand in the hopes of living a quiet life for a few years before slipping away to some place with sandy beaches and warmer climes or at least that was the plan until he meets Morgan. 

 

I was totally enchanted with Morgan from the beginning. He's open and honest and he sees the world in a way that others wouldn't even consider trying to look for. He's creative and fiercely independent and the moments that we spent seeing the world through Morgan's eyes were like small gifts the kind that touch your heart and warm you from the inside because of the impression it leaves on your soul. 

 

i didn't warm to Grant quite as quickly but I did like him. I liked that he allowed himself to see Morgan. Not just the Morgan with the ticks who threw out thoughts and seemed to ramble random ideas into the world. Grant was able to see past that to the strong, intelligent, creative man who wanted him and was willing to share himself with Grant and show him what was hidden by the light.

 

'In the Absence of Light' shows us that it's not about who we love but that we love. When that person who adds color to our world and makes us see things in ways we never thought to before comes along we need to grab onto them and love them with all we've got and make them our home so that we can be theirs.

 

For some really awesome reviews on this book you should check these out...

In the Absence of Light - GR book page

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review 2017-04-27 21:09
Compelling...
Everyday History - Alice Archer

That's my one word for this story. Ok, now let me explain where I'm coming from with this. Many years ago I had a very dear friend, whom I loved like a sister. We played this game where we'd point something or someone out to each other and then we'd each have to describe or explain whatever had been selected with one word. My friend has since passed away but this game, this test of the mind if you will is part of my 'Everyday History' with her so it seemed really fitting to me that I start my review with a bit of my own everyday history by finding that one word that explained this story for me. 

 

I could have gone with fantastic, amazing, riveting, lovely...there were so many words that came to mind for me. But I finally settled on 'compelling' and if you chose to continue reading I'm going to try and explain why...hopefully without spoilers or boring you to tears.

 

I actually bought this in e-book format when it was first released last year but as sometimes happens I squirreled off to other things and while I kept intending to go back and read it...well, it just never quite seemed to happen. So I made grabby hands when asked if I wanted to review the audio book. Hell yeah, here we go another on off of Mt. TBR. I was all over this and then I started listening to the story and I couldn't stop. It was all I wanted to do...just sit and listen to Daan Stone tell me this beautiful, amazing story about 'Everyday History', about Ruben and Henry, about finding love at the wrong time in your life and realizing to late what you'd walked away from and could never forget, about fighting to get it back and make yourself complete. But more than this as I listened to this amazing story told by what I believe for this book was the  perfect narrator, I found myself looking around my room, my little haven where I often spend days surrounded by my own collection of 'Everyday History' with a whole new appreciation for the little things in my life and the meaning that they have for me.

 

I have to admit going into this my one real concern was the age gap. I've done bigger age gaps than this one and been ok with them, but for me this one was touchy because of Ruben's age at the beginning he was all of 18...well...almost, while Henry was in his thirties. Thankfully the author's handling of this particular challenge and the fact that the age gap was in fact only 14 years helped to ease my concern in this regard and if  you've read any of my other reviews for books where there's an age gap than you probably need to give your jaw a push up right about now because me saying the words 'only 14 years' in regards to this issue is probably a bit of a surprise. However I have in fact stated on previous occasions that my age gap comfort zone is 10 years and can stretch to 15 if things work for me and in this case things worked for me.

 

At the end of this wonderful journey that was created by a new to me author, Alice Archer and narrator, Daan Stone, I can truthfully say that my word for this is still 'compelling'. It was a beautifully combined effort that enchanted me from the very beginning and made me want to do nothing more than close my eyes and allow myself to be surrounded by the words that created this story.

 

I may read this in book format one day but truthfully I'll probably just go for the audiobook again and let the smooth richness of Daan Stone's voice take me on Ruben and Henry's journey again...after all if it's not broke...why fix it?

 

'Everyday History' may be Henry and Ruben's story but it's one that we all can tell.

 

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An audiobook of 'Everyday History' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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