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review 2017-07-27 04:45
Cruel Beautiful World
Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel - Caroline Leavitt

This is a painful, heartbreaking story about expectations, disappointments, love and secrets. When Lucy leaves her already fragmented family to run away with William, her 30-year-old high school English teacher, she has no idea how isolated her life will become. (Time out a second - What is it with students and their high school teachers? I loved mine, but I never wanted to run away with them. I know they were nuns, but still.) While the story is primarily Lucy's, Leavitt gives vibrant life to each of her characters, who face their own demons and regrets with grace and dignity.

 

As usual, Leavitt delivers a beautifully written story, moving in its courage, raw emotion, and unflinching hope. William's selfishness and immaturity made me wonder why Lucy, a young, beautiful girl, would stay with him. Then I listened to this NPR interview that someone kindly posted on Goodreads, and I understood it a little better. This is not an easy story to read, but it is moving and thought provoking, and it is worth the effort you will have to put into seeing it through its final pages. Not because it is hard to read, but instead, because Leavitt has created a world so real that you will worry about these people until the very end, and then, maybe even a little bit longer.

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review 2017-07-27 03:47
The Wonder
The Wonder - Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue has the unique ability to place the reader in a precarious, uncomfortable and psychologically fraught situation — it is utterly compelling, and almost equally frustrating. In this story set in the Irish Midlands, Donoghue's characters are perfectly balanced; so that while there are certainly "good guys" and "bad guys" in a traditional sense, many of them cross the line back and forth between the two. There is a danger here in giving away the story with the small details, but I usually try to avoid that anyway. When I first finished this book, I could only comment on Goodreads that it was disturbing, and I needed time to recover. I have had some time now, but I'm not so sure I have recovered. Don't let that stop you from reading this book. In fact, it should make you go out and get it right now.

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review 2017-07-25 20:24
Arc Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
The Marriage Pact: A Novel - Michelle Richmond

I found this story frightfully intriguing with a fascinating concept at its core.
Jake the therapist and Alice the lawyer, both successful in their own careers, receive a gift on their wedding day that will change their lives forever.

The concept of the story and “The Pact” itself is jarring at times, intriguing at others. It draws the question does the perfect model of marriage exist? Once the couple joins the Pact, it becomes the overseer that makes sure each couple succeeds at being perfect. If they “choose” not to follow its rules then they will face the consequences.

As newly weds, Jake and Alice weren’t sure what to expect of marriage but had a fairly good idea due to their own past history with their parents. The way I see it, one of the two became more content with the idea of the Pact because it became a sort of guide to accomplish what was wanted out of the marriage. The other partner was more reluctant to accept it because of fear that anything could change what they had already built together.

Alice appeared as a cold and distant person yet content with the role of a wife and I found that contradicting. As the story progressed and she got herself in deep waters with The Pact, Alice herself makes a confession that puts her in a better light and her role starts making more sense. Perhaps it’s the fact that the story is told from Jake’s perspective but I found him more likable and more relatable. There was a time in the story that I actually wondered if they were meant for each other or if the marriage was just an illusion they created for themselves because they didn’t seem to be in love.

To be honest, the book started a bit slow for my taste, so much so that I had to put it down several times and then come back to it. By almost 45% of the book, it was just ok but nothing out of the ordinary. And then it started to pick up and that was when I was unable to put it down and everything started to click and fall into place.

The book is full of quotes and facts that albeit provided an insight into Jake’s mind I thought at the time were somewhat random. It was later that I realized they were there to help me understand the underlying idea and helped tied up all events together. It took me a while to understand the full notion of the plot and tie up the knots once I finished reading the book (blame it on my slow-working brain) but all in all it was an enjoyable read.

I received this book from Netgalley at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.

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text 2017-07-24 20:03
Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries by Ashley Garner

Any fans of historical mysteries here? Ashley Gardner is a pseudonym for author Jennifer Ashley. Ashley is the author of the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries series and the newly released the Leonidas Gladiator mystery series. She also writes the Kat Holloway Victorian (Below Stairs) Mysteries as Jennifer Ashley. And if you like historical and paranormal romances like me, you probably know she's also the author of the Mackenzies series and Unbound Shifters series.

 

 

Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London.

 

A Soupçon of Poison
(Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries)

Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can come to her aid.

Blood Debts
(Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries)

Leonidas, freedman, once the most popular gladiator in Rome and champion of the games, now must fight for his life outside the arena. A man who owed him money was murdered, and Leonidas is a prime suspect. With the assistance of Cassia, daughter of a Greek scribe who has been bestowed upon him as his slave, Leonidas fights for justice in the back lanes of Imperial Rome.

The Necklace Affair
(Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries)

Captain Lacey agrees to help a society matron discover what has become of her cherished diamond necklace and to clear her maid, who has been arrested for its theft. Lacey quickly becomes enmeshed in scandal and past secrets, and finds himself competing with the underworld criminal, James Denis, for the necklace's retrieval.

This collection includes three previously released novellas of about 25,000-30,000 words each.

 

Buy Links: 

 

Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/ydfgjkue
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/yafj5ryz
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/y8usdhp6
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ya7hy68e
Google: http://tinyurl.com/yavq3k8t
Paperback Amzn: http://tinyurl.com/y9syx5aa
Paperback B&N: http://tinyurl.com/yboukudv

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review 2017-07-23 14:48
Review: Dream of a Waking Man (Tales from Foster High #10) by John Goode
Dream of a Waking Man - John Goode

 

 

 

*** A copy of Dream of a Waking Man was kindly provided by the Author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

I dunno but after I finish one of John’s books of the Tales from of Foster High, I just need a moment to gather my thoughts.

I agree with Sonia (See Sonia's review) that I think this particular series should be read at High Schools and not only the American ones. Mostly of course for all these LGBT kids. They need to know that they are not alone in this fight but also I’m a strong believer in educating everyone about anything outside of what we know. Stupidity / bigotry comes from this ignorance of not knowing.

I feel it our obligation to educate ALL people to know what it is to be gay in this world, to be marginalized to that extend that we can hide behind our beliefs and not think as them as humans.

 

 

Look this boy, this fourteen-year-old boy, in the eyes and tell him why he isn't your equal. Just stare into the camera and tell this kid why he's a second class citizen.”

“Not so easy, is it?”

“You can sit there looking smug and judgmental, but when you have to look the kid in the face it's another matter, right?
This is why there are butchers in the world; if people had to kill their own meat we'd all be vegetarians. This isn't an abstract, ma'am, and it isn't some political game with the winner getting the most points.

~~ Brad

 

 

So let’s get on with Kyle & Brad;
I think we all agree we think of this series in the term of ”What would Kyle do?”
And as much as I adore Kyle, I was very impressed with Brad in how he became this amazing grown up. Being this supportive partner to Kyle, understanding and dealing with his craziness , was a pleasure to watch.

John did an amazing good job with these men growing up into the fine men they are today. Their relationship is admirable.

I laughed my ass off seeing how they dealt with each other’s knick-knacks.

 

See, he knows I'm mad and I'm about to go all Jessica Fletcher on him.
He knows I am about to go all postal on him and he's waiting. So in some weird Kyle logic that's what he wants. If I push it, that gives him permission to get all defensive and move further back away from the topic.

So the answer here is to ignore it.

 

After being together all of these years, Kyle thinks it’s his turn to support Brad in fulfilling his dream. So he’s taken a step back but Brad is not happy Kyle is not doing what he's supposed to. Not being the boy he fell in love with in high school.

You're my superhero, you know that.”

“I'm not that guy anymore.”

“You're always that guy to me.”


Then Kyle gets this e-mail and it scares him. But this might just be the thing he needs to get him back out there. Brad will push him cause he knows Kyle and Kyle will never be as happy as when he’s out there making the world a better place. So finally Kyle accepts this cry for help from this kid Jackson and goes to Paddington, Texas.

 

 

Now I don’t want to spoil much plot wise cause Ya’ll really need to read this book yourself PRONTO. But Kyle and Brad kept me on my feet. What they were doing was great!

 

 

BOTH men are doing what they are supposed to. And again we already knew what Kyle was capable off but Brad.... Kyle was as enamoured with Brad as I was.


You're damn right I'm pissed; I'm pissed I wasted all that time talking, when you do it a lot better than I do.” [Kyle]

~~

“Brad, listen to me. You're insanely good at this, I know you want to be a coach and everything, but this, this is your calling. You are making choices that guys with eight years of business school under them would pause at. I've always known you were this guy; I'm just glad other people can see it now.”

“But this is your thing.” I started to argue.

He looked at me like he was ready to slap me.

“My thing? What? Being smart? Being a professional? Being good at my job? If you've been doing this because you think I need to be the smart one or because I like making decisions, you're wrong. I love seeing you like this, love it. I don't want you to follow me, I want you to walk beside me and make these choices with me.”

 

 

So yeah, Ya’ll gonna swoon a lot in this book.

We get to be re-introduced with some old friends. Josh and Jennifer. And also my all time-favorite-kinda-guy Robbie with Sebastian.

“He's fine. Please go and soak yourself in turpentine until that smell goes away and scrape your face for Gaga's sake. You look like the world’s youngest lumberjack.”

~ Robbie to Brad

*don’t you just love the guy? ♡♡♡

Rests me to mention the finale…. Cause it then comes full circle for me.
THIS is what Kyle and Brad’s future will and must become. I’m so excited how this will work out.

”Do you want to move back to Foster and 
NOT GONNA SAY, READ IT!!!

 

(spoiler show)

“I want to change things, Brad, really change them."

“Do YOU want to move back to Foster?”

“You know I do, but more importantly, I want you to find your dream and chase it.”

He leaned in and hugged me. “This isn't a dream,” he said, kissing me. “This is me wide awake.

 

P.S. Sorry Sonia, but I had to end the same way. Cause yeah it was perfect!!

Thanks John for giving us these boys which now have become fine men.

*HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

 

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