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review 2019-10-08 16:18
Just color me happy when it comes to this series...
The Good Green Earth (Colors of Love #3) - V.L. Locey

‘The Good Green Earth’ is the third book in V.L. Locey’s ‘Colors of Love’ series and when I started reading this one, I expected that I’d enjoy the story. What I didn’t expect was that this would become my favorite story in the series so far, as a matter of fact in all honesty once I actually started reading the story I began to think that this one might not be for me at all. This was mostly due to the fact that Nathan Zinkan and I just didn’t get off to a good start…as in I was really not a fan of his attitude, his behavior…of him in general but I was determined to stick with it on this one. I’ve enjoyed the previous books and a lot of other stories written by Ms Locey, so I decided to go on faith and stick with it for a bit longer on this one…turned out to be a good decision on my part.

 

I loved how the relationship progressed in this story. Specifically, how the age difference was dealt with. There was a time when an age gap as considerable as this one and with the potential power imbalance that could result because of the individual ages of the MCs would have garnered a big ole ‘no thanks’ from me and while I’ve gotten better about this over the past year or two, I have to admit, this one still pushed my limits but sometimes you’ve just ‘gotta have faith’.

 

While Nathan was a bit of a hard sell for me at the beginning because what we were given was a young man who appeared to have it all including the sense of entitlement that sometimes comes with it. Fortunately as the story progresses, we get a deeper look at Nathan’s past and a lot of what has led him to become the person that he is…some of which is good and some not so good. Most importantly in regard to Nathan though is we see how he changes, and this is a big part of why this ended up being a 5 star read for me. In spite of his faults Nathan is someone who tends more often than not to see the half full part of his glass and he’s definitely not afraid to live life to the fullest and while this maybe needs to be tempered a bit that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad trait…just one that would benefit from some better life choices and a bit more maturity. Both are things that Nate starts to gain as he begins to pursue a relationship with Bran and reflect on the events that have led to his current circumstances taking him from being a character that I didn’t like very much to someone that I was rooting for…a character that I genuinely cared about and wanted to see succeed…in the end Nathan became someone who I’d be proud to have as my kid.

 

Bran is considerably older than Nathan and when they first meet, he sees in Nathan everything he loves and everything he hates. It’s in spite of his reservations that Bran takes Nate on as part of a community service program and on a more personal level this is Bran’s way of keeping a promise to someone who meant everything to him.

 

While Bran’s a bit broken in his own way, he’s also had more time and a better support system to help him deal with things and he’s got a whole lot more life experience to fall back on when it comes to decision making in general. Most importantly Bran’s nature seems to lean towards being compassionate and supportive something Nate’s had little of in his life and here at his personal crossroads it’s what he now needs the most.

 

On the surface Nathan and Bran really don’t seem to have a lot in common, but as the story progresses the reader discovers that each man has a story to tell and each story is heartbreakingly unique and integral to the person that each of them has become and to what they bring to the relationship and each other.

 

There were a few interesting secondary characters in this story such as Bran’s niece, Dixie and the seniors who tended the community gardens at Bran’s garden center. They added an awesome touch of humor, color and insight as many seniors often do in real life, especially Maggie who maybe makes some pretty yummy brownies. As for family Bran as well as his niece Dixie he also has an aunt and uncle who pretty much raised him. While Nate has an ailing father, a major jerk of a brother and a mother…who’s somewhere doing someone…so essentially Nate is on his own. While these characters definitely help to flesh out the story adding to the overall interest from start to finish it’s Nathan and Bran and their relationship that unfailingly remain the focus of things.

 

I loved some of the details that were woven into this story and while they may not have been integral to the story they also added depth and texture to the story and simply put, for me this all added to my overall enjoyment of the story…yeah, I confess I’m totally a Neil Diamond fan…my recommendation put on the Neil Diamond and check out this book it’s a beautiful second chance story even if you haven’t read the first two books in the series you’ll be fine with this one and who knows you may find yourself wanting to go back to the beginning. I know I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

 

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An ARC of ‘The Good Green Earth’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-10-06 22:07
It Happens in the Dark - Carol O'Connell
[(It Happens in the Dark)] [By (author) ... [(It Happens in the Dark)] [By (author) Carol O'Connell] published on (September, 2013) - Carol O'Connell

Something of a black comedy: all theatrical effects, pun intended. A Broadway play turned deadly has Mallory managing to rope everyone into working the case. Entertaining, of course, but also O'Connor succeeds at pulling in reference to every Broadway story I can think of. The end result is perhaps less of a puzzle to solve and more of a dazzling performance. Vicious fun.

Library copy

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review 2019-10-05 18:33
Sometimes it's the things we want the most...
Stand In Place - Mary Calmes,Greg Boudreaux

That are the hardest things to keep...

 

There's a romance in this story and it's sweet and I enjoyed it a lot but what really captured my attention and my heart in this story was the other part of this story...the one about family.

 

'Family' is really such an abstract word. It holds different meanings for all of us. For me it's that group of people who are there for you no matter what, it's your shelter from the storm that can be the rest of the world...family it's unconditional love and acceptance...it's something that we all want but don't always get. So yeah, I could go on and on about how important...how special I think family is but I think I've made my point...family when it's the way it should be is magical.

 

Kaenon thought he had that special family until they threw him out but that was also when he learned that sometimes the family we have isn't the one we need and just like so many other things in life...families shift and change. 

 

When Kaenon's family threw him out it was his grandparents and his aunt who were there to create an new family for him...to be the family that he needed to take him into adulthood and give him the love that he needed to go out into the world and make a life for himself...to leave Braxton, Texas and not return...until over a decade later when his grandmother...the last member of the family that saved him calls him home, to spend her final summer with her.

 

'Stand in Place' is set at the beginning of that summer and Kaenon's determined to spend that summer with his grandmother and then return to his home and the life he's made away from Braxton. What Kaenon doesn't realize is that his grandmother's plans for the summer don't include just sitting around waiting to die. Nope, grandma's determined to make sure that Kaenon's family once again shifts to make sure that the grandchild she helped raise isn't alone that he has a family to love him...to give him back the family that years ago failed him.

 

I have to admit I don't think I would have been as quick to forgive as Kaenon was especially towards his father and having brothers and sisters of my own I get why he might have been more willing to forgiving his brother and sister, I get how much he missed having them in his life.

 

There's a fine line being walked when someone is seeking/giving forgiveness...how soon is too soon? and at what point has it gone from giving forgiveness to handing out retribution? and those are questions that have to be determined by each person on an individual basis. 

 

This story held a plethora of secondary characters that were all intriguing in their own right but most of all I was enchanted with Keanon's grandmother (Jo as she preferred to be called) this woman is the grandmother we all would love to have and she was delightful and not to forget Kaenon's love interest 'Brody'.

 

Brody was the high school football star, best friend to Kaenon's brother and Kaenon's had a crush on Brody that goes all the way back to high school...it's a crush that Kaenon doesn't realize has been reciprocated for years. But now that he's got a second chance Brody's not going to let Kaenon slip away without putting up a fight.

 

Last but not least there's Jo's garden...over the years it's gone to ruin and now Jo want's Brody to restore it to help bring it back to its former glory. There's so much symbolism to this garden. The connection that Kaenon's family holds to the land...the connection they hold to the community and so many other things. I enjoyed the potential sybolisms that are loosely woven into the is part of the story allowing the reader to put their own interpretation on them.

 

Ok, so by now it's pretty obvious that for me this story just worked and I really enjoyed it, but I need to add that this was also due in no small part to the wonderful narration provided by Greg Boudreaux. I have no doubt in my mind that when I do my annual... semi-annual...quarterly...re-listen of my Mary Calmes audio collection, this one will be on my list...I don't have them all if her books on audio but I'm working on it!

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review 2019-10-03 21:52
A God in Ruins
A God in Ruins - Kate Atkinson

I would have given this book 3.5 stars, but Atkinson's writing could make even the most banal storyline compelling. Honestly, I felt like this novel could have used more editing, but hey, I picked it because I liked Life After Life, and I also love a big fat paperback. Some characters, (looking at you Viola) were just unlikable; which is ok, but at some point I need to care about them, and Atkinson did not always make this easy. I loved Teddy, but I also found him at times very wishy-washy (does anyone use that expression anymore? Am I being wishy-washy using it?) — it was hard to reconcile the rogue fighter pilot with the wildlife columnist, prone to long, meandering passages. I know very little about birds and English gardens, so I tended to lose interest there. But of course, these are minor arguments. Atkinson's characters drive this story, and, though her jumps in and out of timelines can be distracting, I found the little peeks into the future along the way compelling. I also liked the idea that this was a companion piece to the other book; you did not need to read that one first, but if you did, you felt a little bit like you were in on something.

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review 2019-10-03 05:06
Louisiana's Way Home
Louisiana's Way Home - Kate DiCamillo

Well, my reading the last couple of months has been far outpacing my reviewing, so I have a backlog of reviews to do. What better way to get back on track than with a wonderful book by Kate DiCamillo. I’m saying this as possibly her oldest (non-family member) fan. Should I be embarrassed that I am not a middle-schooler reading this, and that even my daughters have aged out of this genre? Nah.

 

Camillo’s writing evokes wonder in even the deepest, darkest places, and her stories almost always offer a quiet measure of hope. She has a knack for creating distinct, unusual characters whose stories—and names—you can’t help but love. Really, how could you not be compelled to read about a girl named Louisiana Elefante? If you haven’t read Raymie Nightengale, read that first, because the backstory is almost as good as this sequel. Quick, read them now, because Camillo's newest book, Beverly, Right Here, just came out, and you’re going to need to read that one too. Trust me, you cannot go wrong.

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