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review 2018-12-15 04:49
It's Christmas with the Campbell-Hayes family...
Home For Christmas (Texas #9) - R.J. Scott

I freely admit that although I was looking forward to this one. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as the previous books about Jack and Riley…well, I was wrong. I love Connor and River and quickly came to realize that comparing them to Jack and Riley, which I think I was doing in my mind, was like comparing apples and oranges.

 

Connor’s been lucky, and he knows it. Growing up with the kind of warm, supportive and loving family that some can only dream of…others like his friend River.

 

River doesn’t have a family and once he’s done with college his one safety net will be gone but he’s convinced himself that he’ll be ok. It’s how his whole life has been, and he knows how to do this. But when Connor finds him drunk, alone and shouting on the roof of the campus admin building things are about to change. When Connor basically decides that River’s coming home with him for the holidays, every thing’s going to change for both of them.

 

Texas #9 is as always about the ‘Campbell-Hayes’ family but it’s the next generation of the ‘Campbell-Hayes’ clan. At 22 years of age Connor and his friend River are both finishing their studies and getting ready to go out into he world. River knows what he wants to do…he’s going to spend a year working as a volunteer in Kenya helping to assist with protecting their resources and assisting with fair distribution before returning to the states and settling into a job. Connor on the other hands has a life mapped out that he’s come to realize isn’t quite what he wants… he’s going to work at CH with his dad, Riley and his sister Hayley…now if he could just work up the courage to tell his dad’s that this isn’t what he wants for the rest of his life.

 

As River and Connor maneuver their way through the holidays with the loud, gregarious and loving Campbell-Hayes family.  They also have to work their way through changing and growing emotions as their friendship becomes something more.

 

Just like with Riley and Jack, I really can’t decide who I liked better in this story I went back and forth between these two men for varying reasons. I loved Connor and his big generous heart and even though like River there were times that I probably would have wanted to punch him. I loved that Connor wasn’t the type to just give up and walk away. He was willing to get in River’s face with his worries and concerns and when River tried to walk away Connor followed, letting River know that he wasn’t alone and there was someone who really and truly cared. I loved River’s strength no matter what life threw at him he kept going, kept trying and working to have something better for himself.

 

People are so much more than the sum of their past and River truly personifies this…it’s not our past that defines us but where we go and how we get there that shows the world the measure of who we are. River was strong and resilient. He may not have always done the right thing, but he never gave up and he didn’t let himself be defined by a past that for him only held pain and disappointment.

 

My only niggle in this story was the ending there’s a bit of a time jump between the last chapter and the epilogue and between that time jump and the brief amount of time covered by the epilogue I was a tiny…and I do mean tiny bit disappointed. I would have liked a bit more about Connor and River’s life…not enough to bore me to tears or anything but just a little bit more than what was there and maybe that’s just me being greedy. I can own that. Despite this little niggle of mine, I truly loved this story and the feelz…so many wonderful feelz!!!

 

‘Home for Christmas’ is about two men with very different backgrounds coming together and realizing that the past may have helped shape them but it’s the present and the future that will define who they are and what they want and it’s about opening your heart, finding love and hope during the holidays it’s about how the family you make and the family you are given can become one to create the family you love and the one that loves you.

 

If you love R.J. Scott’s series ‘Texas’ than you won’t want to miss this one! Definitely recommended!

 

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A copy of ‘Home for Christmas’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-15 04:40
It's Christmas in the dessert...
The Night Sky Festival - S.A. Stovall

At only 24 pages ‘The Night Sky Festival’ is probably one of the shortest stories in this anthology but for me it was definitely one of the most adorably delightful. Zach has packed up his gear and headed to the Mojave Desert for the holidays. Ever since his husband file for a divorce the day before Christmas it’s become his least favorite time of year. So going on a photo assignment seems as good a way to spend the holiday as any.

 

What Zach begins to discover is that Baker isn’t just any small town it’s one that celebrates ‘The Night Sky Festival’ instead Christmas and it also seems to be a place where the locals are more than happy to take Zach in and make him a part of their celebration.

 

Seeing Zach’s encounter with each of the three men who touch his life during his visit to Baker and bring a fresh perspective to his life…from the cute, vivacious cashier to the burly, sexy single father and finally the sexy, fun-loving cop who loves his board games…is charming, amusing and just generally delightful.

 

The story moved at a really good pace and given the author made good use of every word used. With only 24 pages there wasn’t enough time for long drawn out descriptions or unnecessary window dressing and there wasn’t any.

 

While this one only got 3 stars from me, I have to admit I think it’s more a statement of how much I liked this story and how strongly I felt that the author could have…maybe should have given us more. I smiled and laughed with amusement from start to finish on this one but at the same time I also felt like I needed and just kept wanting more and I think what I especially needed was an epilogue one that wrapped things up a bit more for me than what was there.

 

There also wasn’t any sex but come on we’ve got our MC meeting 3 new guys and attending a local festival all in 24 pages…honestly having the Zach hook up with any of these men would have been stretching things for me…maybe, a follow-up story…one day soon could happen.

 

However, if you’re looking for a short, quick holiday story that’s fun and funny and will leave you smiling ‘The Night Sky Festival’ easily fills those requirements.

 

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A copy of ‘The Night Sky Festival’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-15 00:58
[REVIEW] The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden

I loved this book. Hell, I don’t even know what to say about it except I want to gush. I read this in 24 hours and I can tell you that it was completely worth it.

My poor heart is aching.

It is such a beautiful, heartbreaking story that grabs you and never lets you go. There is not a single character I hated (well, Konstantin aka Frollo cause it’s practically impossible to like him). Every character was fleshed out and you felt for them, you knew them, you grew attached and worried about them. 

The prose is lovely and atmospheric. Even if right now the heat is sweltering, through Arden’s words I traveled to a wintry Russia full of mystery and snow. It’s so easy to dive into the world and the story and want to stay there forever, to the point that you will resent anyone that tries to distract you.

I loved the lore, the commentary on women’s lives during this era, the familial bonds that tied the story together... I loved it all.

 

 

Reading progress notes

 

5% - The prose is lovely and the book is so atmospheric. I’m half in love with it already.
 
17% - I’m intrigued with the stranger. And I’m terrified for Pyotr’s family. I think his marriage won’t be a good one.
 
22% - Oh, Olga. I feel for you and your wish for a raven-haired prince. And I feel for Vasya.
 
30% - Hating Konstantin already.
 
41% - This fucker is in love with her, isn’t he?
 
81% - "Nothing changed, Vasya. Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.”
 
84% - "All around them was winter, the shroud of bitter snow, the earth like iron, the river like blue marble."

This prose. Can I marry it?
 
90% - I'm in tears.
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review 2018-12-14 20:54
[REVIEW] The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black
Holy hell. I need to pick up my jaw from the floor. This book is full of twist and turns, it zigs when you think it's going to zag and now I'm a jumble of emotions.
 
Reading progress notes
 
pg. 49 - Jeez, this bullying is anxiety-inducing. And also rage inducing for good measure.
  
pg. 97 - I am really tense right now.
 
pg. 148 - Jude is just asking for trouble and upping my anxiety. Also, I don’t trust Locke."
 
pg. 172 - My face throughout the chapter I just read: D:
 
pg. 200 - *jaw drops*
 
pg. 242 - I cannot believe this is happening but I like it...?
 
pg. 244 - THEY ARE KISSING. THEY ARE KISSING OMG. *FLAILS*
 
pg. 275 - OMG I DID NOT EXPECT THIS AND OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING
 
pg. 280 - Oh, Jude. Even I know that he's saving Cardan out of interest.
 
pg. 283 - WHAT IS HAPPENING!?
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review 2018-12-14 20:41
[REVIEW] Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

I didn't know what to think but there is such beautiful melancholy attached to this book. How grief can break up a family, how memories bind them together, how the world falls apart and rebuilds itself. I loved every character, they were a breath of fresh air. They felt human to me. Deeply flawed but it didn't stop you from caring for them, it didn't stop you from understanding that behind their unreasonable behavior, terrible pain accompanied it. 

And the prose? Oh, the prose! It's still amazing to me how an author can wrap a blanket of familiarity around you or destroy your heart using words.

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