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review 2017-07-15 18:21
Worth a read if this is your sort of thing
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith

I admit these kinds of books are a guilty pleasure of mine. You give me zombies and Pride and Prejudice I’ll read it in a heartbeat. You give me William Shakespeare with vampires and I’ll add it to my wishlist to read. People are going to scoff at these types of books because they’re known to be silly and not worth the time reading. Sometimes we just need a bit of silliness in our lives to remind ourselves that it’s okay to throw ideas that have nothing to do with each other and make it into a story (or film, or both.) I enjoyed this one because well, vampires, and history put together are usually a great mix. This time around it’s more of an alternate history story line with an interesting but pretty feasible so it’s not over the top ridiculous. Vampires who support the South because it gives them easy access to food. Sounds plausible doesn’t it? It makes sense if you think about it that way. Of course then you have vampires like Henry who don’t believe in getting food that way and that’s where the plot of vampires and history blend nicely together. The format of the book is also different and interesting in where it’s written like a ‘non fiction’ book. It’s a nice way of putting it together and adds more to the story to make it more enjoyable. The problem with this is, since it’s meant to emulate a non fiction book, it also dry and boring in some parts. So the execution of this type of book could have been a bit better to make the read less of a chore - as some parts seemed to have dragged. Despite some of the parts being a bit boring, it’s worth a shot to read. I enjoyed the ending immensely and liked what they did there with Lincoln. This book isn’t for everyone that’s for sure, but if you’re curious about it, give it a try.

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text 2017-06-20 12:00
20th June 2017
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

God save us from people who mean well.

 

Vikram Seth

 

Happy 66th birthday, Vikram Seth. The writer was in his thirties when he moved back into his childhood bedroom in Kolkata to work on his second book, A Suitable Boy. At 1,349 pages, it is an epic look at 1950s India.

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review 2017-05-29 18:45
A Kind of Honesty was definitely more than....
A Kind of Honesty: - Lane Hayes,Seth Clayton

...kind of good.

 

I'm pretty sure that I've already mentioned this but just to refresh things. Rock star stories really are not at the top of my list to read. I don't know why they just never seem to appeal to me...however, as we all know one should 'never say never' because there are exceptions to every rule and the 'A Kind of stories' by Lane Hayes are among those exceptions for me.

 

Not only are the stories contained in this series beyond good but for me Seth Clayton is the perfect narrator for them.

 

Tim is the drummer for the rock band Spiral, which this series centers around. While he's been in each book we've really learned very little about him until now. We know he's the drummer and we know he's bisexual and  really that's about all we've learned until now. But 'A Kind of Honesty' changes all that we learn all Tim's secrets with this story and there are a few. 

 

Carter Hamilton-Temple is a successful financial consultant and a very rich man in his own right. He's also Zeke Gulden's best friend. We met Zeke in previous stories and learned all about Zeke in 'A Kind of Romance'. Carter may have money and the smarts to make money for his clients but what he doesn't seem to have is much luck when it comes to men.  He's had his heart and his trust broken more than once and as luck would have it the men who have done this turned out to be bi, so needless to say when Carter and Tim get together, Tim's already got one strike against him.

 

When Tim finally ends his relationship with his super-model from hell girlfriend. He decides it's time to explore the other side of his bisexuality and takes himself to a less than glamours gay bar with the intentions of getting laid and as fortune would have it, just about the time he's decided he picked the wrong place to put his plan into action in walks one of the hottest men Tim's set eyes on in a while. Luckily for him that man likes what the sees when he sets eyes on Tim. Mission accomplished after a couple of drinks they head out to a dive hotel and get their groove on. These two men are seriously hot together. They like their sex down and dirty...maybe not quite as dirty as their present surroundings though...

 

The real surprise comes for both of these men when they are once again brought face to face at a birthday party for a mutual friend. But it's no surprise when both men decide that they want to continue what started in that seedy L.A. hotel room...more down and dirty sex without the strings and hopefully cleaner surroundings.

 

As they explore their mutual attraction those strings just seem to add themselves. Both Tim and Carter start to find their happiness getting tied to one another and things become complicated pushing each man to his limits, until things explode and Tim is left alone with the realization that if he wants to keep what he's found with Carter, he needs to make some changes sooner than he thinks he's ready to.

 

I would have to say that when it comes to 'rock star' books this series is definitely at the top of my favorites list. Quite often if I read books that involve the music industry the MCs tend to be country & western performers, which is pretty ironic considering that I'm not really a C&W fan. I've read a couple other rock star series and one or two standalones that I enjoyed but honestly along with the 'Sinners' series by Rhys Ford, this is definitely my other top choice.  

 

My point being simply put Lane Hayes has done what only a very few authors have accomplished and that's to get me to not only read but thoroughly enjoy and look forward to a rock star series. In the scheme of things not really a big deal to anyone other than me. But from my perspective ...well, quite honestly I'm more than a little impressed.

 

Add to this the fact that somebody somewhere had the wisdom or just plain good luck to utilize the talents of Seth Clayton for the audio books and  this series for me has been a huge success. 

 

Listening to Seth Clayton narrate an audio book is a bit of a different experience than  I've come to expect from most narrators. I'm not sure that he really ticks my 'basic audio book' checklist. Although I have no problem in terms of knowing who's speaking and his voices are definitely expressive and consistent...ok, let's just say he hits the mark on these things for me and move on to what really appeals to me...which seems to be his voice in general. There's a comfortable tone to it no matter what character he's portraying. It feels like I'm curled up with a cup of coffee and a good friend who's telling me their story...it's comfortable and inviting.  I just really like his voice and no, it's not in that 'ohmygod, he sounds so hot' way although he does the sexy thing just fine as well.

 

One of my biggest issues with audiobooks was the fear that my inner 12 year old would run amuck during those intimate moments in a story and spoil things for me and while it has happened on occasion not once during any of these books did that little brat make an appearance and if it was going to happen this would have been the story...because hello!...dirty talk here, in abundance. But if it's done right it's howt!!! hella', hella' hot!!! and if not well...it's just a giggle fest waiting to happen...trust me there were no giggles to be found here, at least not from me. I was too busy fanning myself.

 

If you're like me and rock star stories aren't really your thing all I can say is check this series out, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and if you like rock star stories you seriously need these books. These guys are all awesome and hot or maybe they're just awesomely hot...whatever, it works.

 

Sadly for now I'm 'kind of' out of audio books from this series but book 4 is coming soon and with any luck the audio book will follow without too much delay and Seth Clayton will still be the narrator...sorry, I don't want much...I just want it all. 

 

********************

An audiobook for 'A Kind of Honesty' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-05-28 23:21
Mmmm...rock stars...
A Kind of Truth - Seth Clayton,Dreamspinner Press LLC,Lane Hayes

'A Kind of Truth' is the story of wanna' be rock star Rand O'Malley and geeky music student with a kink and the hidden heart of a rock star Will Sanders.  Rand's all about the music and the band so needless to say when he turns to Will for guitar lessons...love was the last thing on his mind.

 

I have to admit in spite of the fact that there are a lot of really good reviews out there I was a little nervous going into this because rock stars can be dicey for me at times. What can I say just not my thing. So when hubby decided audiobooks were the thing for me on Mother's Day, I went shopping and while I was listening to the audio samples I stumbled across this series and listened to the samples...I liked them...I wanted to hear more...buying the books seemed like the wise thing to do, turned out it was.

 

Seth Clayton is the narrator and I'm really, really enjoying these audio books. Listening to Seth is like sitting down with a friend while he tells you a story. In general his voice has a warm and friendly tone that just draws you in and invites you to listen to the story he wants to share with you. His voices are consistent and he adds a wonderfully laid back, self deprecating tone that easily slips into something warm, sultry and sexy at times with a wonderfully warm and inviting laugh thrown in when needed.

 

'A Kind of Truth' is the start of what promises to be a really enjoyable series narrated by what I think may be another favorite narrator for me.

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text 2017-05-27 07:08
My Personal Literary Canon: Begin at the beginning
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
Then Again, Maybe I Won't - Judy Blume
Deenie - Judy Blume
Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume
Forever... - Judy Blume
The Luckiest Girl - Beverly Cleary
Up in Seth's Room - Norma Fox Mazer

I'm going to start with the books that on the surface might strike some as the most trivial, but realistically, because of the age I was when I read them, would have had the biggest impact.

 

Hands down, the undisputed winner for most influential YA writer has to be Judy Blume.  In my previous post I mentioned I didn't come from an open family.  When speaking about my adolescence, I cannot put too fine a point on this:  my entire sex education consisted of a short movie and forgettable lecture in 5th grade that left me horrified, and the works of Judy Blume.  

 

But I got so much more out of her books too.  Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret might have enlightened me on the more embarrassing aspects of puberty, but I also learned the importance of making up your own mind about your beliefs, and that there was no right answer for everyone.  I also noted the dangers of jumping to conclusions about people you don't know; that their reality is not mine.  

 

Then Again, Maybe I Won't taught me that while change was rarely welcomed, sometimes good and unexpected things came out of it.  Deenie was my personal adolescent nightmare writ large; scoliosis terrified me; after reading Deenie it still terrified me, but I could see how someone might survive it and own it.  Tiger Eyes taught me we all carry guilt, even for the things we aren't guilty of and can't control, and while that may be the nature of things, we should never stop trying to let it go.

 

Then, of course, there's Forever...  I doubt I have to list all that I learned from this book, but the most lasting lesson was this: I'm allowed to choose for myself.  I get to make my decisions on my own terms and I'm allowed to change my mind.

 

This, in my opinion, was Judy Blume's strength.  She never preached to her readers, either directly or indirectly.  She created characters that were confronted by the things her readers confronted, and then gave her characters the rational capacity to find the answers on their own. Adults don't play Yoda in her books; the kids reach their own conclusions, and as a result they serve as examples to their readers.

 

There are other teen authors from back in the day that come to mind:  Beverly Cleary, of course, although not for her much more famous Romana series, but for The Luckiest Girl.  At 16, Shelley leaves her family to spend a year in California with a family she barely knows.  While quite a bit of the book is dated now and even a little twee, what stuck with me all these years was her bravery in getting on that plane by herself, her openness to experience new things, and her unapologetic, unabashed delight in the world around her. I admired her for that - I wanted to be like that too, and I am, mostly. I'll forever be grateful to Beverly Cleary for Shelley.

 

Finally, there's Up in Seth's Room by Norma Fox Mazer.  Like Forever this deals with the weighty issues of first love and how far do you go?  This book fascinated me because it straddled two myths:  If you defy your parents you're automatically wrong, and if you're dating someone older, you're going to be unable to say no.  Finn is 15 and falls for a 19 year old.  She defies her parents after she's forbidden to see him, but she calls the shots with Seth.  She decides what she is and isn't comfortable doing and she sticks to her guns.  As a stubborn teen, Finn spoke to me in ways nobody else ever did.

 

I give my mom (deservedly) most of the credit for the strong-willed, independent woman I am today, but it's just as accurate to say these women deserve to share the credit with her; they went where she was unwilling or unable to go, and I doubt she could find much fault with their lessons.

 

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