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review 2018-03-19 04:01
Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1) (Audiobook)
Carry the Ocean - Heidi Cullinan

This was amazing and I'm kicking myself for taking so long to get to it. Except by waiting, I got to listen to Iggy Toma's brilliant narration which made the book that much more special. He really studied and got lots of advise from people with autism on how to portray Emmitt and it really shows. He voices Emmitt and Jeremey perfectly. Toma and Cullinan are proving to be a match made in audiobook heaven.


Emmitt has autism and Jeremy has major depressive disorder with extreme anxiety disorder. This isn't a book about "love cures all" because there are no cures. Instead, this is a book that respects both the struggles and the accomplishments of these two amazing young men, and how they have learned to manage the world around them and navigate a new relationship with each other at the same time. They're oddly perfect for each other, because Emmitt is calm and controlled when Jeremey is not, and Jeremey can understand the emotions that Emmitt has a hard time expressing. But their disabilities can also aggravate each other as well, so they have to learn how to talk to each other and when to give each other space. 


I really liked Emmitt's family. His parents and aunt were a great support system for Emmitt and later for Jeremey. Jeremey's family were not understanding about his issues at all, but they're allowed their time to be humanized as well. They're not bad parents because they don't love their son. It's clear they want the best for him. But they're misinformed, sometimes purposely so, but there's more to it than just that.


Then there's Derek, who we meet later in the book and really shines instantly as a great friend to Jeremey, even if he's something of a foil for Emmitt, at least at first. 


I can tell that an amazing amount of research went into this book, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

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review 2018-03-18 23:00
Time Travel Romance Doesn't Quite Work
The Summerhouse - Jude Deveraux

So "The Summerhouse" series by Jude Deveraux is pretty popular. I have the first and second book in my collection, but I honestly have not read the first two books in a really long time. I just purchased the third book last weekend and thought this would be a good time to revisit the series. I have to say that it was good to re-read since I had forgotten how problematic some of the dialogue was and I didn't really care for one of the characters. A lot of reviewers that the main set-up was too unbelievable (it really is) and I have to say that the writing unfortunately falters due to splitting things between three characters. I know that in the second book Deveraux made sure her characters all went back to the same timeline so that helped make the book more cohesive. I have to re-read the second book eventually because I recall that one left me more dissatisfied than the first book did and I cannot recall why. 


"The Summerhouse" has three women about to turn 40 reunite to celebrate their birthdays. I do know the synopsis mentions three best friends. These women are not best friends. The entire premise is they met when they were in the DMV years ago (when they were all 21) in New York. Due to the guy who worked at the DMV being a gross human being, he made sure he kept the three young women there so they ended up befriending each other. Cue now speaking for 19 years until one of the women contacts the other two on the advice on her therapist. The three women are Leslie Hendrick (currently married, not so happily) Madison Appleby (divorced) and Ellie Abbott (also divorced).


We find out through fits and starts what happened to the three women since they first met each other 19 years ago. Leslie out of the three women seems to have a good life except she thinks her husband is having an affair and her two kids treat her like a doormat. Ellie was left bitter and angry after a judge sided with her ex in the divorce and she is left having to support him for the rest of her life. Madison gave up her chance to be a model in New York to come home to take care of her ex-boyfriend (eventually ex-husband) who ends up leaving her. 


Out of the three women I really liked Madison's story the best. I honestly liked Ellie's the least. Leslie I can't say much about since Deveraux honestly just ignores her for most of the book until the very end. It didn't even make sense what went on in her whole plot except I have to say her husband sucks even harder because apparently it's too hard to just have a conversation with people.

The secondary characters are not really developed outside of Madison and Ellie's stories. We get to see Madison's terrible ex, but also a love interest that really worked for me while I was reading. Ellie's ex-husband is just talked about, you don't get to see them interact. We also randomly have Ellie going off when she gets the chance to go back in time and the whole murder mystery she gets involved with should have been in another book.

The writing was so-so. As I said, I love time travel romance stories. I used to devour those things was a teenager. That said, the premise of this one with the three women doesn't work. I don't know why Deveraux didn't just change it so that they all stayed in touch during the 19 years and or went to school together, I don't know. I think that was the sticking point a lot of reviewers couldn't get past. The flow was not great from chapter to chapter since we kept jumping around to all three characters. Deveraux devotes the most amount of time to Madison's story I think just by my off the head calculation. The least amount of time is spent on Leslie's story. And Ellie comes in the middle. 


The setting of Maine, New York and a ranch that Ellie goes to. None of them felt very real to me while I was reading. Meaning, that Deveraux doesn't incorporate the locations much into the writing. The women just meet up in Maine (and it doesn't even make sense why that's the place they meet up since they all met initially in New York City) and then they have a lot of conversations catching up with each other about what has gone on in their lives.

The ending was okay. I honestly liked Madison's story-line resolution the most. Out of the three women I thought she got the rawest deal. I didn't care about Ellie's since it got so dumb with the whole murder sub-plot. And I felt like Leslie should have listened to her mother more in this book and just left her husband and smacked some sense into her children.


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text 2018-03-18 21:37
Reading progress update: I've read 335 out of 480 pages.
The Summerhouse - Jude Deveraux

Eh. I really wish we stop going back and forth. Just a bit more and I should be done in the next hour and hope to just post a review. Right now my feelings are this is a strong three star book, but there is some problematic stuff that stuck in my craw a bit.


When Ellie goes back in time she meets a man named Jessie (guess who the name of her hero is in her romance book she writes?) and he tells a story about a guy named Bowie who is looked at for being responsible for a murder of a man that Ellie never met before. Well that's all fine and good (actually a murder being thrown in here out of nowhere isn't good) but Jessie goes that there was an incident with Bowie and one the ranch owner's wife before, and when she sobered up and saw Bowie in the light of day, she presses charges. Blerg. So thanks for having a random aside in this romance book about a woman who lies about being assaulted cause when she wakes up the next day feels guilty. Such crap. 


We barely spend any time on Leslie's story at all. She goes back in time and attends a party of a young man who is in the present day probably going to be President one day. 

And we are now back in the present with all three women and apparently whatever happened in Madison's time travel adventure has changed her...apparently for the good.



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text 2018-03-18 20:43
Reading progress update: I've read 268 out of 480 pages.
The Summerhouse - Jude Deveraux

Well we finally got to the part where the three women meet Madame Zoya and go back in time. I think it was a bad idea for all three women to not go back to time together. Deveraux is trying to tell three separate stories and none of them are being given the attention they really need for this book. Right now we are with Ellie while she goes back to get the truth about how her ex husband managed to convince a judge he owned the rights to her stories.


I honestly feel bored even reading about Ellie. Everyone keeps enthusing about what a true artist she is. She gave up a promising art career and then becomes a successful writer without even really trying. Now she's met some random man and agrees to go off to his ranch with him (he's married with a kid) even though she supposedly came back in time to find out the dirt behind her ex. It really doesn't make any sense at all. 


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text 2018-03-18 19:36
Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 480 pages.
The Summerhouse - Jude Deveraux

Ehh it feels like Ellie is Jude Deveraux's avatar a bit with her talking crap about people not knowing how you can get published without an agent. I don't know the ins and outs of the publishing world so I just don't care about any of this. We find out more about Ellie's toxic marriage and I have to say Leslie's views about what to put up with concerns to a man is troubling. No wonder her family treats her like a doormat. Ellie is also a jerk (still) and even goes that she hopes Madison gets fat at one point. Seriously, you have to wonder why these three are even hanging out with each other at this point.


FYI my paperback copy is only 391 pages. Goodreads has the wrong number and this is where BL is pulling from as well. Not a big deal, just letting you all know since I just realized this was showing 480 pages. 


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