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review 2020-06-21 06:09
Review | Funk-N-Fiction: SASSY BLONDE by Stacey Kennedy
Sassy Blonde - Stacey Kennedy

Initial Thoughts:
I’ve heard really great things about this author for a long time, and the write-up looked really fun. It’s a spin-off, in the same world as a previous series, but I was told it could be read as a “book one”.

What I Loved:
The three sisters at the core of the story are a lot of fun. Very different, and filling their own role in the business (the series namesake, Three Chicks Brewery). I liked that we got to see them interact as much as we did, even though there was a definite focus on Maisie and Hayes’ budding “friends-to-lovers” relationship. It was pretty obvious from the start, where the story was going to go, but Stacey manages to throw in some curves that kept things interesting and fun. I loved that the angst level was kept low, even though there was definitely some baggage to be dealt with. I loved that once things started to happen between the two of them, there wasn’t any “hemming & hawing” about it. They owned it, and moved forward. I loved some of the other side characters… Beckett at the horse training facility was a particular favorite. I’m really hoping he’ll end up with a book in the future. In the end, I love that Maisie found her own way. One that was a little outside the norm, but still relevant to the business, and true to herself.

What I Didn’t Love:
I didn’t love the experience that caused the tension between Maisie and Hayes… even though that is also the experience that brings them together. But it’s a situation of needing a catalyst, and it had to be something big. Fine… I get it… but I’m still sad. And now I’m over it, again.

I also REALLY thought I knew who “the guy” at the state fair was!! (Trying not to be spoilery.) It totally wasn’t him… but I think it would have been a really great clap-back to the first night of the festival tour. Oh, well. Worked out ok, in the end.

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/06/19/blog-tour-review-sassy-blonde-by-stacey-kennedy
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review 2020-05-06 11:02
Review | Funk-N-Fiction: THE INGREDIENTS OF YOU AND ME by Nina Bocci
The Ingredients of You and Me - Nina Bocci

Initial thoughts:
I’ve been following this author for many years, and have been rooting for her through several stages of her writing journey. She’s a joy, and her stories are filled with heart and laughter. I walked into this one, fulling expecting to love it.


What I loved:
This story is a picture perfect HEA. Parker and Nick fit into those “small town romance” boxes, yet they’re both still full of interesting layers and quirks. The story is lighthearted in all the right places, funny, heartwarming, and hopeful. The two leads definitely have some things to get through… things that are hard and uncomfortable. But Nina gets us to those conflicts, and gets us through them, with genuine emotion and just the right amount of levity.


I love how much the how a place can almost become a part of the cast of characters. Hope Lake is a perfect example of this. The residents include a few groups of friends who’ve been through a lot together. I really enjoyed the way the town’s “Golden Girls” were brought into the story, how they interacted with everyone, and the part they play in the growth of our leading lady and leading man.


What I didn’t love:
There was a pretty important conversation I felt should have happened much sooner in the story. I kept waiting for the moment to happen, and while it did – eventually – I would have liked it to be earlier. I also didn’t love that Parker didn’t seem to take much of the (deserved, I felt) blame for her role in the major conflict she and Nick had to work through.


Final thoughts:
I made a rookie mistake with this one. This is book three in the series, and while I do own the previous two books, they’re still resting on my TBR pile. (insert facepalm emoji here) I definitely recommend that a) everyone read this book… it really is SO good, but b) read the rest of the series first.


It’s funny to me, since I *have* been following Nina for so many years, that I can actually see quite a bit of her in some of the situations and ideas in this story. I’m pretty sure it made me love the story even more.


If you’re a fan of  second-chance romance, THE INGREDIENTS OF YOU AND ME is definitely a book for you. This was such a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to go back (to ON THE CORNER OF LOVE AND HATE, and MEET ME ON LOVE LANE) to get to know the rest of the “hopeless romantics.”


Source: funknfiction.com/2020/05/06/the-ingredients-of-you-and-me
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review 2020-04-22 11:46
Review | Funk-N-Fiction: DON'T GO STEALING MY HEART by Kelly Siskind
Don't Go Stealing My Heart - Kelly Siskind

Initial thoughts:
I’ve been in a “light hearted rom-com” mood lately, and was intrigued by Clementine’s Robin Hood-like-cat-burglar back story. This was my first Kelly Siskind book, and I was not disappointed.


What I loved:
Clementine’s outlook on what she does, and how she lives her life, had me rooting for her, criminal or not. Her interactions with the townspeople while scoping out her latest mark were witty and surprisingly genuine, considering why she was there. Jack is about as upstanding and charming as a leading man can get, and I was smitten from the start. Both of our leads have interesting quirks that drew me in, along with personal issues that gave them depth and relatability. They seem to just “fit”, despite the fact that they’re each hiding something big from the other. They’re both trying to juggle what’s “right” with what they feel they “have to do”.


The balance between the lighthearted, sweet, romance-y bits, and the less lighthearted, dark, uncomfortable bits was delicate, but the story managed to fall on the right side of that line each time. There were a few plot devices used that I really don’t care for — but instead of them becoming part of my “What I didn’t love” section of this review, the author addressed each instance quickly, and with the kind of finesse that actually turned them completely around for me. I was pleasantly surprised, and pretty impressed.


In the end, they just make sense together. They are sweet, and they “get” each other. They grow and learn from each other, and they make me smile.


What I didn’t love:
Both of our main characters have struggled and suffered in their pasts, affecting how they behave in this story. Of course those details are important, but I didn’t love how often those circumstances were repeated. It felt like the author was reminding me of something, but didn’t give me enough time to forget it between mentions.


As much as I liked Clementine and Jack together, it’s hard to overlook that the entire book took place in less than two weeks, and they both had to overcome HUGE trust issues to make their connection. The story didn’t feel rushed, but it did require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. I guess this makes it half “what I loved” and half “what I didn’t love”, lol.


I also didn’t love the surprise “reveal” at the end. I saw it coming just before it happened, and I was SO hoping I was wrong. I wasn’t, and I’m bitter on behalf of the characters.


Final thoughts:
Overall, this was a fantastic introduction to this author, and a nice way to spend an afternoon. You’ll laugh a lot, you’ll swoon just a bit, and if you’re like me, you’ll grumble some at the end. (Well, not the *end* end, because our author graciously supplied us with an epilogue that totally made me smile.) And if you’re like me, I think you’ll find that you “Can’t Help Falling In Love” with Clementine and Jack.


I’m excited to check out some of Kelly Siskind’s other stories, and encourage you to join me.

Source: funknfiction.com/2020/04/22/review-dont-go-stealing-my-heart
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review 2019-04-28 20:57
out on Aug, 20th
Syria's Secret Library: Reading and Redemption in a Town Under Siege - Mike Thomson

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

Ursula K Le Guin tells the story of a place whose happiness depends on one child being miserable in “The One Who Walks Away from Omelas” and the reactions to those when they discover it. In part, our ability to exist in the world is on our ability to disregard or ignore horrors, but sometimes we refuse that happiness, refuse to bow to the horrors. In many ways, Thomson’s book makes me think of that story as well as how much we take for granted. If you teach, then you know that tare a great many students who do not read for pleasure (shot, just ask how many people have read LOTR or GoT instead of just watching), yet this book is partly about the human spirit and partly about why books are important.

Thomson chronicles the story of a group of people who start a library in Daraya, a town close to Damascus. According to Thomson, the town has always had a proud history of peaceful protest, and therefore, caught up in the Civil War. Some of the town’s population flees, others stay. Some of those who stay realize the fighting is simply more than picking up a gun, but also the transmission of knowledge – their fight style includes the founding of schools and a library. In part, the library comes from a desire to save books that were bombed out homes. The lengths that the men, it seems it was largely men who gathered the books, went to collect items – books furniture- and the sheer fairness in which they kept records about where the items came from.

In part, Thomson also chronicle show these men, and later women, not only use the library but also try to continue as much as a normal life as they possibly can. The library, it seems, becomes both a cause and a symbol – not only of what was, of what we should be, of how we learn, but also of what the revolution is fighting for as well as the difference in sides.

We know from history that the quickest way to destroy a people is to destroy a culture. Destroy the books, the art, and so on. Culture can mean a people but it also can be a city. The library in Daraya was part of this - a desire to preserve the need for knowledge, the thirst for reading that many people never develop at least where access to a library is easy.

While I would have loved a bit more description of what books made up the library, Thomson does mention quite a few works, in particular the favorite works of the people who frequented the library. The list includes some that are unfamiliar to Western readers. In many ways, this insures that Thomson’s reporting serves another important function of a library – as a bridge between peoples.

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review 2019-04-09 23:59
King Of fools
King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) - Amanda Foody

Title: King Of Fools
Series: The Shadow Games #2
Author: Amanda Foody
genre: YA
Pub date:April 30,2019
Pages: 384
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all...

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive...

Or die as legends.

My thoughts:
rating: 4.5
Would I recommend it? yes
Would I recommend the series? yes
Would I read anything else from this author? yes
Wow this was so much better then book 1 , and the characters seem more real then they did in the first book as well,other thing I liked about this one was while Ace OF Shades was slow and it was hard to get into this one I didn't have that problem with at all, it was so easy to get lost in the story that there was times I didn't want to put it down.
 the more I read the more I grew to like Enne as well as Levi, and now i can't wait for book 3 to come out if there is one to see what happens to Enne and Levi, with that said I want to think Netgalley for letting me read and review it exchange for my honest opinion.

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