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review 2018-12-16 04:52
The Belles - audiobook
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton,Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult


We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines


Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.


So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.


Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.


The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.


The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 


I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.


I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.




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review 2018-12-16 03:04
To say "I'm struggling with this one." is a bit of an understatement...
Stetsons and Stakeouts - B.A. Tortuga

I'm such a fan of B.A. Tortuga and while not every books a 5 stars read, that's true of most authors. What's 5 star for some isn't for others and that's just the way of it. But I have to admit I was surprised when this ended up just never quite working for me. It came close a couple of times but nope, in the end I can only say...I came, I tried, I read it all and it just wasn't my cuppa'.


I think most would agree with me that B.A. writes books that have humor and characters that are interesting and often a bit over the top...none of that's changed here but for some reason for me the characters more often than not weren't OTP in what I tend to think of as a bigger than life life way that I've come to expect but more often than not they had me rolling my eyes in an 'are you kidding me' way. So it just didn't work, but none of this negates for me all of the other wonderful stories that this author has written that I've absolutely loved....


Stories like  her 'Stormy Weather' series, her 'Road Trip' series not to mention more than a few stand alone stories that I've absolutely adored. So at the end of it all...while, I'm not a fan of this particular story...I am still a fan of B.A. Tortuga.




An ARC of 'Stetsons and Stakeouts' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-16 01:38
Faking It by Lux Alptraum
Faking It: The Lies Women Tell about Sex--And the Truths They Reveal - Lux Alptraum

I've already returned this book to the library, so I'm going to have to rely on my memory for what to say about it. Lux Alptraum is someone I follow on twitter and when I found out that my library had a copy of the book she had just written I basically jumped at the chance to read it. 


Alptraum explains that part of reason for writing this book was looking at the reasons for the reactions to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (I'll confess I'm tired and I drew a blank at his name for a couple seconds and almost called him Orange-Face) during the lead-up to the last US Presidential election. She doesn't spend her time dissecting the election though, fortunately, and mostly looks at what kinds of lies women are known for telling, the statistics of those kinds of lies for both women and men, and the reasons for which women (and men) might lie, particularly about sex and relationships.


Some of it I had seen before in different packages but there was enough of a different perspective that I found the book enlightening, particularly with regards to the urban design of cities being geared towards the commuting man and how women in public can be seen as trespassing into men's sphere (because of the archaic notion that her place is in the home) by simply going out into to public and thus be assumed to be fair game to any man who decides to approach her. This explains a lot about some of my personal experiences with being approached in public places; I mean, I've been interrupted in the park when listening to an audiobook and trying to enjoy the sun. Sure, these notions are out-dated, but Alptraum points out that men's viewpoints on these things haven't changed nearly as quickly as women's.


There was one point where I was rather frustrated by this dating consultant that Alptraum interviewed a dating consulted who insisted that what women wanted was a confident man and basically completely dismissed her initial response to his question (when asked what women wanted in a man, she suggested a good conversationalist, I think) because it didn't fit his world view. It was kinda funny, in sad way. Anyway, just in case any guys are reading this who are actually willing to listen to me, don't listen to those people (mostly men, let's be honest) who claim that what women want is a confident man who will sweep her off her feet when he takes up her time without permission. Just don't. Be an adult and be respectful of women's time. We're not giving strangers permission to walk up to us just because we're in a public space (there is an exception of course for social events where it is a reasonable social proposition to walk up to relative strangers, but don't be jerks about it).




Previous updates:

126 of 218 pages

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review 2018-12-16 00:49
What's a little murder and mayhem between friends...
Be Still My Heart - Charlie Cochet,Greg Boudreaux

While I really enjoyed this second installment in Charlie Cochet's series 'Four Kings Security' I have to admit, I liked the first book a bit better but that doesn't mean that this one wasn't worth listening to or that I won't listen to it again because...of course I will. I like Red and Laz and they were sweet together. 

Of course the fact that the narrator is none other than the awesome Greg Boudreaux doesn't hurt things any. He's did a wonderful job with the first book and this one was every bit as good in regards to the narration.

Needless to say not only do I plan on re-listening this one but I'm definitely looking forward to books #3 and 4 and the spin-off series that I've heard is going to happen as well...what can I say I'm a fan of Charlie Cochet and her alpha men...whether it's the men of THIRDS or 'Four Kings Security' it's all good...so sign me up!

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review 2018-12-16 00:27
Read the book, listened to the audio and cried ugly tears throughout them both...
Beneath the Stain - Christopher Lane,Nick J. Russo

I read this back in 2015 and the story was put out in 7 separate installments and I'm not sure how things went amiss but my review is on Booklikes but not here so I'm just going to copy and paste each post to one review here and then I'll add my update re: the audio book...

Part 1 - rating: 4 stars 
I got through part 1 and yes, I'm hooked and loving it so far. These guys are just a bundle of sad events and so far no tears but I'm seeing them in my future. On to part 2 and a full review at the end. Wish me luck.
Part 2 - ratting: 4 stars 
So far this is turning out to be everything my friends have promised and more. So it's on to part 3.
Part 3 - rating: 5 stars 
I have no words so I'm just going to read book 4.
Part 4 - rating: 5 stars 
Just one thing to say here before I go sliding into book 5...way to make a girl cry Amy Lane. I think you broke some more of me with Tony.
Part 5 - rating: 5 stars 
And that's all I'm going to say for now because I'm done so I'm going to be doing my reviews of the full story soon.
Part 6 - rating: 5 stars 
This story does not let go once you start it snags your heart and holds on tight from start to finish and I am actually finished. So on to #7 and my actual review.
Part 7 - rating: 5 stars 
Words...I have none...yep, I've been sitting here for the past 30 minutes staring at a blank screen hoping for some magical words but I have none. I think Ms. Lane used all the magical words when she wrote this story because there just don't seem to be any floating around in the air right now so I'm pretty much at a loss for what to do here. How to explain what an amazing journey I just took with the most incredible collection of people. I know it's probably going to be a long time before my heart stops aching and I feel like I've got some equilibrium back in my brain.

Right now the only thing that I can even think of to say is if you haven't read Beneath the Stain you need to seriously think about it. I'm not going to go into the details of the story because that's what the blurbs are for and quite frankly that's what the book is for to tell you a story and this is one hell of an incredible story...seriously, think about, look at it...read it. Yeah, it'll probably leave you feeling battered and broken and shedding more than a few tears but in the end Ms. Lane fixes that which she breaks so like the rest of us who have read 'Beneath the Stain' you'll be ok.

I'm going to add a brief blurb here about the audio which I just finished listening to this morning and now that I'm done with my wookie tears and have my glasses cleared I can do this. Nick J. Russo was the narrator for this audio book and in keep this short and sweet and in the words of Mackey...he was f*cking awesome!!! As much as this book made me cry and damn did it make me cry. I loved listening to every minute of it...from start to finish and I it's definitely going on to my 'I need to listen to this again and again' shelf...I should probably go make one of those...maybe, in the new year. Anyways, 'Beneath the Stain' was every bit as emotional, heartbreaking and wonderful as I remember it being. Interestingly for me this time around even more than what Mackey went through and believe me Mackey broke my heart more than once this time around it was Grant who left me a totally weeping, sobbing mess and I think he did the first time as well but I maybe didn't realize how strongly I felt about him. But at the end of it all this time around I think I saw more clearly not the things that Grant did wrong but all that he did right and how much Mackey and his brothers meant to him...Grant was in his own way both a villain and a hero in this one and at the end of it all Grant's story was the most tragic of all.

If you've never listened to or read this book maybe, it's time to think about changing that and if you're like me and you have a lovely friend who's been kind enough to send you an early Christmas present make sure you thank them...Simone, thank you for sending me this treasure on audio and allowing me the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite Amy Lane stories...heartbreaking...yes, but so very much worth it.

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