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review 2018-12-06 20:13
Sometimes...girls just wanna' have fun...
North on Drummond - K.C. Burn,Darcy Stark

I've has this one in my audio library for ages and when I was looking for my next listen to see what was going to strike my fancy, I checked out the blurb for this one and it just sounded like fun...lots and lots of fun!


I was right this one was fun. Not in the stand-up comedy way, but in the lots of stuff going on and with a bit of humor and a small dose of irony added at times. 'North on Drummond' was a story that had a few twist and turns. While Drew Drummond earns a living as a psychic tarot card reader...he doesn't really believe in any of it. But a guys got to support himself right?


Drew comes from a family with a less than stellar reputation but he's determined to be possibly the first honest and legitimate person in his family. He doesn't want to walk on hte wrong side of the law because the man who has captured his attention and his heart wears a badge and even though he left town years ago...Drew knows he's coming back and no it's not because he's psychic...but you have to read the story to find out why he knows.


When Cliff Garcia left town he had no intentions of ever looking back much less returning. Even though his mother still lives there but time and circumstances have taught him the hard way...never, say never. Cliff's back and a member of the local law enforcement.


One of the first things that Cliff sees when he returns to Sandy Bottom Bay is the sexiest ginger he's ever seen...now if he could just find out who he is and get to know him better. This all sounds good to him until he discovers that his sexy ginger is not only a Drummond but a psychic a word that Cliff sees as being synonymous with words like charlatan, con artist, grifter and on and on...but still...he's drawn to Drew and as circumstances keep drawing them together, Cliff realizes that his attraction to Drew is much stronger than his dislike of Drew's family or his career choice.


Drew and Cliff's story is played out against a series of day to day events some a little more unusual than others and as the story unfolds many of the events turn out to be connected to 'the bigger picture'. Amidst all the daily happenings in Sandy Bottom Bay the reader is introduced to a varied and interesting collection of characters some are locals...like Drew's brothers and his best friend Kyle, or Cliff's mom and his good friend Scott, who turns out to also be a member of the Sandy Bottom Bay Police Department. There's also Drew's slightly shady brothers as opposed to his totally shady father (dad's doing time). Then there are the visitors to the mystic town of Sandy Bottom Bay...like Cliff's ex who claims it a work thing but as the story progresses it becomes clear that there's more to his story than meets the eye


I really loved how this story played out so many of the characters were more than a little entertaining I loved Kyle and I think a story about him getting together with his secret crush(es) would be every bit as entertaining as this one and then there was Cliff's mom...Mom was EPIC!!! She's the town matriarch and when momma's not happy trust me ain't no one going to be happy!!! But this was all in the coolest ways possible. Cliff's friend and co-worker Scott was another character whom I really liked and then there was Cliff's ex...yeah, he can just drop off the face of the earth.


I also like how the paranormal elements were introduced into the story and not just there and in our face from the word go and that's all I'm saying about this other than to add that the author did an awesome job of sliding this into events and making it seem far more believable for how they did this.


This is my fourth audio book narrated by Darcy Stark and so far I've enjoyed his narrations. Adding both expression and depth to the stories  and giving me uniquely individual voices for each character. Darcy Stark is quickly becoming one of 'no worries here' narrators because I know when I see his name beside an audio book I just need to wonder if I'll like the story...the audio's not in question.

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review 2018-09-06 17:09
No 4 alarm fires here, just a slow steady burn...
Set Ablaze - K.C. Burn,Darcy Stark

'Set Ablaze' is essentially a second chance romance with some mystery woven in. When Hayden's best friend, Miguel, asks  him to take in  Jez, his younger brother,  Hayden's not thrilled with he idea but it's his best friend and he gets it...Miguel lives in a small one bedroom apartment while Hayden has a two story house all to himself. So reluctantly he agrees. After all how bad can it be it's just until Jez gets his own place and it's not like he doesn't have the room.


For Jez seeing Hayden again brings back memories of his teenage crush, but he's sure that Hayden's straight...until he discovers that he's not. As Hayden and Jez get to know each other again both men struggle with their attraction.


Jez is hasn't been totally honest with either his brother or Hayden about the real reason that he's run to California. He's running from a relationship that's gone bad and left him with more than a couple of issues of his own. Plus there's his other secret an adorable, small, furry secret named Fang...Jez is sure that Hayden hates dogs and Jez needs a place to stay...at least for a little while.


Hayden may be out about his sexuality but that doesn't necessarily mean he's currently in or has had any relationships because even though he doesn't consciously admit it he knows that telling his fellow firefighters he's gay is one thing having them see it in the form of him in a relationship is totally another issue.  Some of the men who Hayden calls 'friends' are to say the least less than friends and more than a little homophobic and it takes Jez's determination to never again be anyone's victim and his courage to speak out to make Hayden see that his feigned indifference not only isn't what's needed but it's in fact endorsing their behavior. Being out while still in the closet isn't Hayden's only issue and Jez is going to have to be both patient and persistent if he wants to get to the heart of Hayden's compulsive tidy/cleanliness. 


I definitely appreciated that the author addressed this issue because too often society would rather feign indifference...don't make waves, don't cause a scene...does any of this sound familiar? I think we've all heard something like this before and while the author didn't delve into this intensely it was part of the story but not an overwhelming part of the story and that's as it should be because it's the relationship between Jez and Hayden that's the story's focus. The social issues are wrapped in with this and definitely a driving force contributing to things ending up where they did. Just as in real life neither of these men have been molded by any one particular incident in their life but they are an amalgamation of events both big and small. 


The relationship between Hayden and Jez was to say the least built on a lot of awkward moments, definite miscommunication or more accurately a lack of communication because that's what happens when people keep secrets...poor communication and this wasn't helped by Miguel's lack of information sharing. Sadly both of these men have experienced abusive relationships of a very different nature this is far more reflective of the real world than it should be and as is often the case real life is stranger than fiction but fiction is frequently a reflection of real life. 


Just like his brother and friend Miguel is also a creation of experiences and circumstances and while he initially seemed like a member of Hayden's Asshat Brigade, he turns out to be a big brother who just wants to protect his brother and his friend from them.


Admittedly there were some things about the story that could have been better or different but overall this for me was a sweet story about two men finding comfort and healing together allowing themselves to move on and build a life together. 


Darcy Stark was the narrator for this audio book and while this was only my third time listening to this narrator. It was also the third time that I've been treated a very enjoyable audio experience. I enjoyed his voices and the expressiveness of his voice. This is definitely an author & narrator combination that I'm looking forward to hearing more from in the near future...I mean I might have 'North on Drummond' cued up in audio list...I guess you'll just have to wait for the review.



An audio book of 'Set Ablaze' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-24 17:10
Location, location, location...
Banded Together - K.C. Burn,Darcy Stark

While 'Banded Together' isn't part of K.C. Burns 'Toronto Tales' happily it's set in and around this city...Oakville!!! With a lot of events actually taking place in the city of Oakville which is one of several cities that share boundaries with the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and admittedly one of the most desirable ones to live in.Related imageOk, so much for geography class...sorry about this but Toronto is just under 2 hours from where I grew up and  just 2 hours from where I live now. While I love reading books that are set in places I've never been sometimes it's nice to read stories set in places that I know. So there's reason 1 why I liked this story and yes, it's very subjective. 


Now as for the story...if the location was something I like and part of what got me interested in this story...the story itself was what kept me reading. I liked the pacing in this one. It's a bit of slow burn but for so many reasons...slow burn was the perfect pace for this one. 


After a 20 year run as the lead singer for a rock band that ended with the unexpected death of Devlin's bandmate and best friend, it's time for Devlin to find a way to move on and returning to school and beginning again as a student studying archaeology now that he's lost the music in his life is the path that Devlin plants his feet on. Needless to say Devlin finds himself surrounded by a group of students who for the most part are young enough to be his kids but what truly surprises him is the hotter than hell Dr. Jack Johnson who catches his eye gives him more than an interest in archaeology that brings him to class.


When Jack realizes who Devlin is, he's determined to keep his distance but being in constant contact with the man who has fueled Jack's fantasies as well as inspiring him to be the lead singer in a cover band does nothing for his ability to resist the temptation that is Devlin Waters. 


There's a definite age gap between the MCs but because of where they each were in their lives, I didn't feel the power imbalance that can occur with age gap stories and I really liked the interaction between these two. 


While Devlin was at times a bit self absorbed it wasn't unrealistic to me as he was dealing with his grief over the loss of his friend and let's face it we all deal with grief in our own way and our own time so that Devlin struggled with it to the point of it being debilitating emotionally for him for me this only added a touch of realism to the story. 


I've been finding lately that I have a bit of a newfound appreciation for a 'slow burn' story, not that I want them all to be slow burns but once in a while it's nice to feel like there's a little more or at least as much development given to the emotional development of a story as the physical aspect.


'Banded Together' was a really enjoyable chance to revisit the writings of K. C. Burn and on audio it was also an opportunity to once again listen to the narration of Darcy Stark. This is only my second time listening to this narrator and like the first time I was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed the quality of the audio...my 'basic list' for audio books was easily ticked of and I'm going to try and explain this but one of my peeves about audio books is when voices don't sound appropriate to who the  person is. Thinks like younger children don't really sound like small children or they have a perpetually annoying, obnoxious or whiny sound to their voice or women's voices sound more like a man trying to do a woman's voice than simply a woman talking or sometimes when the voice doesn't match the physical image of a man...don't get me wrong I know these things can happen in real life but when it's an audio book the character representation is based strictly on the image created by the words in the story and the voice. 


Truthfully in real life I don't care how a person's voice sounds because in general I also get the physical representation of the person to create the image but in an audio book those voices need to work overtime to create a physical image as well as the vocal one so yeah, sorry to say but when it comes to an audio books sometimes a little stereo typing needs to occur unless a story tells me that the character looks one way and sounds another than I need my macho men to have macho voices, my children to have children's voices and my women to sound like women and while I'm not sure about the children (because there weren't any in either book that I've listened to)...Darcy Stark definitely nailed it for me with the voices in this one and I thoroughly enjoyed his narrations. I'm actually hoping to listen to a book narrated by him that has at least one child in it just to see how he does because so far I have not been disappointed by this narrator.


I'm not a big fan of 'rock star' MCs but the author's definitely created a character that I enjoyed in the form of Devlin Waters and while archaeology isn't really my thing I think I could enjoy watching Dr. Jack Johnson teach a class or two.



An audio book of 'Banded Together' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-05-19 00:00
Positively Pricked
Positively Pricked - Sabrina Stark He's the guy that everyone loves to hate. She's the woman that can't seem to catch a break. In a relationship that idles at difficult, it's tough to decide who holds the winning hand. Sabrina Stark may have dreamed up one the most frustratingly complicated heroes I've come across. Zane is rude and opinionated, but he can be endearingly sweet. Jane loves to hate on the bad boy with attitude, until she finally sees the man behind the brutally honest facade. Ironic humor and fiery attraction singe the pages of Positively Pricked.
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review 2018-04-03 19:22
Die dunkle Seite
Stephen King "STARK THE DARK HALF", Weltbild Sammleredition - Stephen King

Schriftsteller Thad Beaumont will sich von seinem Pseudonym verabschieden. Doch nachdem er sich von dem Namen George Stark offiziell getrennt hat, geht ein blutrünstiger Mörder um, der ausgerechnet Thad Beaumonts Fingerabdrücke hat ...

Stephen Kings "Stark. The Dark Half" ist ein blutiger Horror-Roman, der im Stil von Robert Louis Stevenson mit den zwei Seiten der Medaille spielt. 

Auf der einen Seite gibt es den bekannten Autor Thad Beaumont, der es mit seinen Büchern zumindest zu Preis-Nominierungen und passablen Verkaufszahlen bringt. Im Gegensatz zum berüchtigten George Stark, schlagen seine Bücher aber nicht so in den Bestseller-Listen ein. Stark punktet durch Blutrünstigkeit und einem rasiermesserscharfen Protagonisten, dem keine furchtsame Regung entgeht.

Für Beaumont ist es an der Zeit dem bösen Stark offiziell "Adieu" zu sagen, weil er in der Hand eines Erpressers ist. Außerdem ist es ganz nett, auf diese Weise einen PR-Gag zu veranstalten und Stark im wörtlichen Sinn zu Grabe zu tragen. 

Doch was, wenn sich das fiktive Pseudonym dem inszenierten Tod widersetzt und zu mordgieriger Realität wird?

Meiner Meinung nach hat Stephen King hier mal wieder eine wahre Horror-Vision kreiert, die vielleicht manchem Autor das Blut in den Adern gefrieren lässt. King lässt Beaumonts Pseudonym auferstehen, haucht im Leben ein und dieser werkt wie eine Furie, um nicht als Fiktion begraben zu werden.

Beaumont holt die Realität schnell ein, weil seine Fingerabdrücke bei Mordopfern gefunden werden. Die Polizei hat ihn im Visier, George Stark sitzt ihm im Nacken und er selbst kann nicht begreifen, wie es überhaupt erst dazu gekommen ist.

Bei diesem Buch spritzt das Blut, verwest das Fleisch und stinkt der Eiter, wobei alles Geschehen von einer bedrohlichen Aura umgeben ist. Setzt sich das Böse durch oder wird das Gute siegen? Und wie ist es überhaupt dazu gekommen, dass zwei Seiten einer Person lebendig sind?

King geht auf etliche Themen ein, die sogar in natürlichen Vorkommnissen ihren Ursprung haben. Davon will ich hier allerdings nichts erzählen, weil man es beim Lesen selbst erfahren soll. Jedenfalls räumt er dem schriftstellerischem Schaffensprozess viel Platz in diesem Werk ein, was für versierte Kingleser bestimmt hoch interessant zu lesen ist. Meiner Meinung nach geht er mit "The Dark Half" auch die dunkle Seite des Schriftstellerseins an. Er reisst Sorgen sowie Probleme an, die mit dieser Berufung verbunden sind und wenig im Rampenlicht stehen.

Ich habe Stephen King erneut von einer anderen Seite kennengelernt, weil er in „Stark. The Dark Half“ relativ viel Blut einsetzt und dennoch das Mysteriöse zum Zug kommen lässt. Es hat mir gut gefallen! Besonders beim ersten Drittel bin ich an den Seiten geklebt. Danach lässt die Spannung etwas nach, weil die Handlung fast zu glatt über die Bühne geht. Schnell hat man den Dreh raus und ahnt sehr früh, wie das alles wohl enden wird. Dafür ist die Grundidee schaurig, grauslich und Furcht einflößend zugleich, und wird von King in blutige Details zerlegt.

Der Schreib- und Erzählstil ist gewohnt souverän und phänomenal. Von kleinen Details bis zu großen Zusammenhängen ist alles dabei, was das Horror-Herz begehrt. 

Meiner Ansicht nach ist „Stark. The Dark Half“ ein Horror-Roman für den blutliebenden Leser geschrieben, der sich für Schreibprozesse von Schriftstellern interessiert und sich gern vom Mysteriösem fesseln lässt. 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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