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review 2017-01-29 22:12
She Deserves a Rich Thug
She Deserves A Rich Thug: An Urban Love Story - Laquita Cameron


Title: She Deserves a Rich Thug
Author: LaQuita Cameron
Publisher: Cole Hart Presents
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four
Review:

"She Deserves a Rich Thug" by LaQuita Cameron

My Thoughts....

For me that wasn't a read that I could fully understand where this author was going with her script. I was not sure of who I felt sorry for more with some of these characters [Akacia & Heavenly] seemed to be over the top in quite a weird sort of way. It was hard to see what some of these women would do for love being so 'sneaky, conniving, scandalous and simply ratchet! I didn't care for how they that those men treat them. And then I don't want to leave out that Cherry Red...only leaving me to say wow being that she was definitely one who didn't allow herself to be played with her being such a schemer and liar. Will she finally get what she deserves? Now for the men characters...Money K, Niko, Jamie, Travis, Trigger and Dean well all I can say is well I will stop here and just say you will have to pick up this read to find out for yourself how things go with each of them. This was indeed like several stories in one...Heavenly's, Cherry Red, and Akacia's. Hopefully in the next series we will find out more of the story because there is a lots more to be said about this story. Definitely money plays into the story and gives you that feeling that money can be the root of all evil. In the end who will be rescued out of all of this craziness? Well, again we will get more in the next series that I am sure will answer many questions like...who will finally get smarter and let some things go before its too late. So, if you like a story full of drama, betrayal and lies then you have come to the right place for "She Deserves A Rich Thug" will give it to you and more.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-23 04:17
Very enjoyable
What Everyone Deserves - Dan Ackerman

In this 1950s period drama, Junius is a New York City fertility demon with a crush. Ever since falling from heaven he's been alone. Except for the mothers and children he watches over. James Kelly Rosenburg, a black soldier with snowflakes in his hair, walks right into his life with a big problem. James Kelly, turned vampire during the war, is new to New York and its prohibition against vampire killing in city limits. Junius offers to teach him to overcome his bloodthirsty instincts and live a proper Manhattan life. Their growing friendship leaves them both conflicted as they explore a city both welcoming and alienated by their kind.

 

Review:

Dear Dan Ackerman,

I never read your work before, but I was intrigued when I read Ami’s review. I have to say that I have not read such unusual gay romance/gay fiction book in a while.

Ami mentioned in her review that the book felt like gay fiction to her and I have to agree even though it is filled with paranormal creatures. I cannot quite explain why it felt like gay fiction – maybe because people and creatures who filled the pages felt so real despite being demons, vampires and fairies? Junius aka June being a fertility demon and James being a vampire is not just an allegory – Junius’ job as fertility demon is to care for mothers and children and future mothers and he does it with all the kindness and tenderness he is capable with. When he meets James, a newly turned vampire (seven years ago) and his maker, old world vampire Anastasia, June is attracted to James , but first and foremost he wants to teach James how to survive as vampire without killing people. Because James really really does not like killing people, however Anastasia (Annie) feels that this is the only way vampire can survive.

So the readers get to observe June and James Kelly (because he prefers to be called James Kelly, not just James ) meeting during couple of years – the book starts In December 1952 and ends some time in 1954, however the time from one meeting to another is usually couple of months give or take. At first June teaches James Kelly how and when get blood from willing recipients, how to stop on time and why it is necessary to take care of those who gave you blood afterwards. Then they start meeting for other reasons. June is the kindest, sweetest soul and I really liked him. He wants somebody to take care of - he has a cat named Gordon, but he wants a partner since before his ex, a demon of sex broke up with him. They are on completely friendly terms though.

James is clearly appreciating what June is doing for him and enjoying his friendship more and more, but he is not gay, see? And thank goodness he did not say that – he just seems sure that he does not want whatever June wants from him (and trust me, think of it June may, he is not loudly asking for anything and does his very best to be a good friend for James).

Over the course of couple of years or so James is finally acknowledging that he is in love with Junius. I was convinced – opinions may differ of course, but I thought it was clear that James Kelly was attracted but was scared to acknowledge it. I just really liked how it was written – with restraint, not over the top. Maybe this is another reason why the book felt more like paranormal gay fiction with romantic elements  rather than just straight romance – it did not feel melodramatic and over the top. Believe me, I have nothing against melodrama – but somehow paranormal or not, I thought author achieved the level of realism or at least believability that I do not often to see in many contemporary m/m romances.

James’ not being happy in the partnership with his maker, blond Anastasia was second underlying source of conflict in the story and it made sense to me – vampires clashing over whether to kill humans or not seems like the most obvious reasons vampires would clash. However, even that storyline did not feel over the top to me and I think this was a good thing.

The story takes place in New York in early 1950s and while I am not really sure whether the settings were well researched, what I learned of New York while living here made me think that yes, settings were very well researched. Also, while once again I am not sure if the dialogue was exactly 1950s, I thought the attempt at least was made.

And I was so very pleased with the ending.

Grade: B+

 

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review 2016-11-01 03:13
What Everyone Deserves (Dan Ackerman)
What Everyone Deserves - Dan Ackerman

3.75 stars rounded up

"You deserve what everyone deserves. To be with someone who you care about, who cares about you, and neither of you makes each other do things you don’t want to do."



Well, this is definitely different than what I usually read. First and foremost, for me this falls into gay fiction (or gay historical fiction) rather than my usual MM romance read. The relationship between June and James Kelly was moving slow, we had no explicit sex-scenes, and the ending was more of a hopeful note, much like ending in ‘fiction’ rather than ending of ‘romance’. And yes, that is IMPORTANT element for me as a romance reader, okay? So I need to point that out.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this book. Mainly because I fell hard for Junius “June” Thompson, malak-ha satan, among the first fallen. June is a very sympathetic character. June is kindhearted, he is good with babies and children, he cares for his plants and pet cat … and as a fertility demon he has the deep need to care for things that produce life.

His loneliness, his yearning for love and companionship… all of this just spoke volumes for me. I cared for him deeply. I wanted June to be happy. I wanted to hug him, gave him the companionship he needed. Hey, I’m an asexual woman, June only wanted to be with men … I could be a good roommate for him, right? Cause we won’t have sex *lol*.

James Kelly, on the other hand, was more difficult for me to connect with. He was rather fucked up, in my opinion. Yes, I could somewhat grasp his internal emotional battle: James Kelly was a black man in the 50s, struggling with his sexuality, and he was turned into vampire and then had to live against what he wanted (his maker wanted James Kelly to kill people). But I felt that he kept hurting June with his rejection and his perception about how wrong and unnatural it was being with men.

Which was why I wasn’t really sure about the relationship; it wouldn’t be an easy one for sure. At least, both men are basically immortal so June has forever to gradually work on James Kelly’s personal issues about same sex relationships.

I liked Ackerman’s writing though – this is my first experience with him. I liked the Manhattan atmosphere that he created, alongside the paranormal creatures that roam the street. I liked that he wrote characters I could emotionally care for. If Dan Ackerman writes another LGBT fiction, I will give it a try for sure.


A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls



The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

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review 2016-08-26 21:22
The Girls, Emma Cline
The Girls: A Novel - Emma Cline

A/N: I'm reposting this because I just realized when you save a draft and then post it later, it posts under the original date and time. #themoreyouknow

 

Guy had been less interesting to the media, just a man doing what men had always done, but the girls were made mythic.

 

Why have the Manson murders made such a cultural impact, from 1969 to the present? Why do they fascinate us in a country with so many murders (or so much interest in them) there are now entire TV channels dedicated to true crime? One possible explanation is that, along with other events, like Altamont, the murders signaled the ending of an extended summer of love and of the counterculture, or showed us their dark underbelly, what happens when love is too devoted and social justice motivations are twisted. Another possibility is the unforgettable, crazed face of Manson himself.

 

But really, it's the girls.

 

How could so many girls be held in such thrall as to murder on command? How could they kill a beautiful, young, pregnant starlet? Young women make familiar victims. When they become victimizers, it puzzles, shocks, and disturbs, as if rabbits suddenly turned into predators instead of prey. As the quote above mentions, a man killing is nothing new. A woman killing...unnatural, we think.

 

A strength of Emma Cline's The Girls is that, though the girls flock around the Manson-like figure of Russell, it's really the protagonist's relationship with one of them, Suzanne, that takes center stage. As she notes of her meetings with Russell, I was eager for our encounters, eager to cement my place among them, as if doing what Suzanne did was a way of being with her. 

 

First, what this book isn't. It isn't an omniscient picture of a Manson Family-like group or of the fictionalized murders, though certainly you get an idea of the former through the lens of the first-person narrator, Evie, who is a temporary fixture at their farm. Evie learns the details of the murders through the media, like everyone else, but we're only given snapshots, disturbing but not too graphic. If you want a play-by-play of the real thing with gory details, google it or read Helter Skelter. That's not this novel's focus or raison d'etre.

 

It's also not a sweeping portrait of America in the '60s. I've seen some readers complaining that there isn't enough of this or that, mostly the sorts of things we've come to associate with that period whether we lived at that time or not: counterculture, protests, hippies, Vietnam. Those things are mentioned, and Russell preaches love and the ills of money while getting it where he can via the girls, but the book's not a history lesson (also, many forget that the majority of Americans did not participate in the counterculture or oppose the war in Vietnam). Evie is a fourteen-year-old girl; she's not oblivious to larger goings-on, but they're not as important as her feelings and desires and her immediate situation and environment.

 

If anything, The Girls is a coming of age story. It's split between Evie as a grown, older woman in the present and as a teenager in 1969, with a focus on the latter. She's become a caregiver but seems isolated. A run-in with an old friend's son and his girlfriend dredges up the past and reminds her what it feels like to be paid attention to. Evie comes to realize little has changed when it comes to the dynamics of young men and women, and it's a lens through which she sees herself in the past (and vice versa, her experiences in the past shedding light on her present observations). Her friend's son knows she was a part of "that cult," and his and his girlfriend's questions prompt her to consider how and why she didn't become a murderer herself.

 

As a fourteen year-old, Evie's life is familiar: she has a best friend, divorced parents, longs for the attentions of her friend's older brother. A fight with her friend and a disintegrating relationship with her mother (whom Evie blames for the divorce, as so many girls blame their mothers and pardon their fathers) leads her to help one of the girls she'd seen from the farm when they encounter each other at a pharmacy. Evie is immediately drawn to Suzanne; it's the book's opening scene. Evie begins spending time at the farm with Suzanne and the others, mostly girls, and eventually is introduced to their charismatic leader, Russell.

 

What follows mirrors what most know of the Manson Family: drugs, sex, communal living, a man who knows how to play to girls' insecurities to get what he wants. Russell knows a man from a popular rock band and wants a record deal; Evie becomes a sort of gift or bribe in those efforts, which ultimately fall through and culminate in violence.

 

Evie knows only so much about the other girls and their backgrounds, including Suzanne. She herself is conscious of her cleanliness and nice neighborhood, where she spends less and less time (her mother thinks she's with her friend), and of the boarding school she's being sent to at summer's end. But she finds some measure of acceptance at the farm, and the feeling of belonging (and Suzanne's attention) is intoxicating.

 

I highlighted more passages in this book than in any other e-book I've read. Cline has so many smart and revealing observations about girlhood (or girl into womanhood), and her prose is sharp and unique. I wouldn't be surprised if she wrote poetry as well. In terms of her writing style, YMMV (your mileage may vary); I've seen some put off by it. I ate it up (in contrast, I couldn't even finish the sample for Fates and Furies the language was so cloying to me). It's isn't overwhelming or flowery, just consistently startling. If you read the opening, you'll immediately have an idea of the book's prose and tone and whether or not it appeals to you.

 

There's a reason the book's description references The Virgin Suicides. Like that novel, there appears to be a mystery in need of solving, but there are no pat answers. Instead of the boys' perspective, as in Suicides, we have that of a young girl who was there. The Girls is clear about how and why Evie became who she is instead of someone else, and it's a line as fine as a thread, which is the most disturbing of all. The question isn't "Why those girls?" It's "Why not me?"

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review 2016-08-24 17:24
Can of Wyrms: One Good Dragon Deserves Another | Review
One Good Dragon Deserves Another - Rachel Aaron,Vikas Adam

A little less Urban, this Fantasy is still just as much fun

 

After barely escaping the machinations of his terrifying mother, two all knowing seers, and countless bloodthirsty siblings, the last thing Julius wants to see is another dragon. Unfortunately for him, the only thing more dangerous than being a useless Heartstriker is being a useful one, and now that he’s got an in with the Three Sisters, Julius has become a key pawn in Bethesda the Heartstriker’s gamble to put her clan on top.

 

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98.

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I borrowed this book from a family member, and definitely plan to purchase it. The audiobook is available exclusively through Audible & Amazon.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron, read by Vikas Adam, published by Audible Studios (2015) / Length: 18 hrs 9 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 of 3 (so far) in the "Heartstrikers" series. Book #3, No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, is out now and will be available on audio 9/13/16.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**

 

SUMMARY:

I am still a huge fan of Julius & Marci, and am beginning to develop some appreciation for a few of the other dragons as well.

 

One of the strengths of this series is the way it takes some very common fantasy elements and uses them in a unique way. And I really like the narrative voice.

 

 

CHARACTERS:

Julius: I like that he is growing without changing his basic nature. He is still the "nice dragon" but not so much of a doormat, a trend that continues in this book. One of the things I liked in the last book, but referred to only vaguely in that review to avoid any hints of a spoiler, is the contrast between Julius' status & abilities as a dragon versus as a supposed human. He is seen as a weak and "pathetic" dragon with little strength, magic, or power. Yet he is so much stronger & faster than any human that he struggles to control it in order to avoid outing himself.

 

Marci: I like that Marci continues to be more dragonish than Julius, but is also proving herself to be a good partner for him. She makes decisions that are right for others and not just those that are best for her. She does sometimes let her enthusiasm and/or self-confidence get her into hot water when she should know better.

 

Marci & Julius: In the first book, we got one (overly tired) kiss; and when Julius chose to be a gentleman, Marci felt rejected. In this book Julius is so grateful to have a real friend that he's afraid to risk that by trying for more (and unlike many books with clueless best friends, he recognizes that she would quite possibly be open to trying but isn't ready to take that step). There were however some hints that a relationship might be possible afterall. I especially like how he puts up with her junker of a car because it has sentimental value to her (in the first book, he knew she wasn't some other dragon's human since none of them would tolerate it). And she puts up with them losing money due to his softheartedness.

 

Amelia (yes "A"melia) - I really feel for her, stuck between the rock & the hard place. I like how she is shaping up. (And I love how see calls Julius "Baby J") / Chelsie - this book revealed a lot more depth to the Enforcer, as well as an intriguing mystery. / Quetzalcoatl - although he died long before the series began, his role as the one responsible for all the brutal blood sacrifices is contrasted with his apparent tendency to be a doting father & grandfather in an interesting manner.

 

WORLDBUILDING:

In addition to the DFZ, we get to visit the Heartstriker's headquarters (it can hardly be called a home) and a very interesting place on another plane. The worldbuilding is strong and very descriptive.

 

There are lots of interesting revelations about dragons, spirits, and the nature of magic.

 

PLOT:

I was looking forward to seeing Marci & Julius working together in their business, so I am glad we got that before everything went haywire.

 

This definitely isn't one of those middle books were nothing much happens except some set-up for the next books. (It helps that there will be more than 3, so this isn't actually the middle.) A LOT happens, including some very big changes. Much of what happens is tied up in some very complicated effects of having seers and manipulating the future, so I had to read those parts twice.

 

The situation from this book is completely resolved, but then we get some great big teasing cliffhangerish revelations.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Julius' determination to be there for Justin.
  • Marci makes a very difficult and self-sacrificing decision that totally hit me in the feels.
  • Marci sees Julius in his natural form for the first time.

 

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: a small bit of swearing / severed heads

 

OTHER CAUTIONSCaution: Ian & Svena continue to be lovers. / Amelia is an alcoholic

 

NARRATION:

Character voices differentiated = Most definitely; I particularly liked Algonquin’s voice, it managed to sound both feminine & waterish. And Ghost's voice gets really creepy (in a good way) / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents good = Yes / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good (very) / Speed = a bit slow; listened on 1.5 speed, instead of my usual 1.25

 

There were a couple of small production issues - the quality of the sound changed - but they weren't too distracting

 

BOOK DETAILS:

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (The Heartstrikers #2) by Rachel Aaron, read by Vikas Adam, published by Audible Studios (2015) / Length: 18 hrs 9 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Can you recommend any other non-erotic dragon shifter books/series?
  • Dragon's really aren't the nicest people (Julius aside) so why do we love reading about them?

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