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review 2018-12-09 16:43
Dragons and more dragons, but...
Sunshine in the Dragon's Heart - Jaime Samms

I have to say these dragons are not like the rest...

 

I love dragons...we all know Karen loves dragons so when I saw this one...well, my little dragon brain said...Ooooohhhh!!!! What's this...dragons...me wants! Plus Jaime Samms... an author that writes a damn fine story. So, yep, I was all in before I even read the story and oh yeah, before I forget it's set in northern Ontario!!! And ironically that's where I was when I read this one.

 

So let's start with Sunny. He's not a dragon, just a mere mortal like the rest of us and although it's been a year since his parent's died...he's having a hard time dealing with things. It's with his sister's help that he moves to northern Ontario hoping that being with nature and away from all the pitying looks of the people he knows back in the concrete jungle will allow him to begin to heal from the loss of those he loves most.

 

I liked Sunny. He was grieving but his character wasn't whiny or annoying and I guess having lost my own parents I understood his feelings. While most of this story is between Sunny and Emile (he's our dragon...or at least the main one). 

 

Emile was probably the most unique dragon, I've encountered in a while...actually let me clarify...not just Emile but the dragons in this story in general are unusual and not presented in quite the same way as dragons are generally presented to us...not so much so that I was left thinking...'What the hell? These are not dragons...nope if was more of a 'well this is an interesting take on dragons and magic in general...me likey! 

 

While magic is probably the part of fantasy that has the widest range of interpretation I really liked how it was dealt with in this one and most of all the fact that for me it was shown with two different aspects there was the magic that belonged to one side of the fold (other stories call this the veil or the fade...it's basically the barrier between the world of the mundane...humans and the world that contains the creatures of magic) and then there's the magic as it manifest on the other side of the fold. 

 

'Sunshine in the Dragon's Heart' is about what happens when the barrier between the two worlds is crossed and the magic from the world of fantasy meets the magic from the world of man. 

 

I admit that in part how easily I was drawn into this story was because...dragons!!! they're a favorite of mine so of course I wanted to read the story, but I can also say with a certainty that just because there were dragons didn't mean the story being good was guaranteed. Sad to say I've read some not so great dragon stories, but this one isn't one of them. While I was admittedly a bit confused at the beginning I just had face and continued to read and sure enough as I read things fell into place for me and my tiny bit of confusion over a couple of things was easily sorted out and I was left having read a very enjoyable story about a man, a dragon and the magic of love.

 

So maybe, this wasn't quite a 5 star read but still a very enjoyable and different story that I would recommend to anyone looking for a story that's different and has dragons, magic and love...one really large salamander named Glimmerglass, brownies, sprites, dryads and one really awesome sister.

 

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An ARC of 'Sunshine in the Dragon's Heart' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-09 15:03
If you like dragons...how could you possibly not love this book...
A Wish Upon the Stars - T.J. Klune,Lesley Berk;Michael Berk;David Castle;Sue Lauder

Dragons!!! So many dragons!!!

 

I've actually been letting this one simmer in my mind for a couple of days now because... words...I was really hoping to find the words to explain how freakin' much I loved this book...hell, this whole damned series. 

 

I can honestly say this is one of the most unique and enjoyable series that I've ever read. Up until this final book I've both read and listened to the audio for all of the books in this series but time being what it is sometimes I had to make  choice and I decided that as much as I enjoy reading the books Michael Lesley's narration of these books has been such a treat and simply so delightful that I decided I was going to wait until he could read this last story to me and just let it all be a surprise and I'm so glad I did  this.

 

I think I've likened these stories to fairy tales before with their kings, princes, magicians, dragons, unicorns and other mystical creatures...but, I will also say this is not a fairy tale for the children or at least not until they're of age, ok?

 

One of the things I've loved the most about this series is that none of these stories are short which I know may seen like a strange thing, but what that's meant for me is that the author has taken the time to create the magic that's only ever found in a story that takes the time to paint a picture that draws the reader in allowing them to forget that their world isn't the one contained within the pages of that story. Allowing them to see everything in their mind's eye. To imagine what being somewhere maybe even someone else is like...just for a little while...to escape and that's not a bad thing for me it's just another way to exercise my imagination to use the words given to me by an author and see if I can create the world they're trying to show me. 

 

As for the audio series one of my favorite things has been Michael Lesley and the amazing job that he's did with the narration and simply the fact that each one of these stories has been narrated by the same talented narrator...when it comes to listening to a series on audio, especially one that contains the same main characters from story to story and having the continuity of the same narrator providing the same voice for those characters from story to story is nothing short of 

 

'Tales From Verania' has been a wonderful adventure to go on with Sam and Knight Delicious Face (otherwise knows as Ryan Foxhart), Prince Justin, Gary, Tiggy, Kevin and all the other dragons!!! But with 'A Wish Upon the Stars' the final confrontation between out rag tag collection of heroes and the villains who have dogged their heels is looming and the question will no longer be if, but when will it happen.

 

I'm not going to talk about the actual story here because one...I refuse to spoil the epic awesomeness of this for anyone and I think the best explanation that anyone could give for this series is to simply say...Read it! Listen to the audio!!! Make it a part of your life!!! Because it's epic & awesome!!!  and yes, I might be borrowing from another story by this author...but that's only because it's whispering in my ears right now...but we'll talk about that another time, ok?

 

For now it's all about the epic awesomeness of Verania and it's colorful characters...seriously, it's a great place to visit and one I highly recommend... especially on audio, it's the chance to revisit the magic of childhood and fairy tales in the world of adulthood. 

 

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An audio book of 'A Wish Upon the Stars' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-09 14:08
Let's go back in time...imagine...
The Faller - Daniel De Lorne

it's 1912 and Charlie Young is working as a timber faller in the forest of southwestern Australia trying to earn enough money to escape his family and get to London, England where he can start his life over again. He’s not working in the safest of places for a young man with his proclivities during the early 1900’s…he’s working with men who are ‘brash, bigoted and brutal’… homophobic. But there’s one man among them who’s not like this…Jack Tapper isn’t like the other men…he’s quiet and keeps to himself, works hard and Charlie sees a gentle side to him…a side that makes him wish…

 

Charlie chooses to remain behind at the camp for the holidays in the hope that he can maybe get some more logs cut earning him extra money and getting him to England as soon as possible. What Charlie doesn’t realize is that he’s not the only one staying behind in the camp…his gentle giant is also there.

 

It’s during these days alone that Charlie and Jack get to now each other and grow closer leading their fledgling friendship to bloom all the deeper and stronger. It’s only too soon that the other men return to camp and bring with them mistrust and accusations.

 

What ‘The Faller’ wasn’t was a light and fluffy holiday story, but at the same time it was a well-crafted story that drew me in giving me a setting in a time frame that I was easily able to visualize. The story is given entirely from Charlie’s perspective and while it would have added to things to have some of Jack’s perspective given the length of the story for me it would have felt a bit overwhelming to have to take in the perspective of two people during such a short read.  Undoubtedly for me, my favorite part of the story were the few days that Charlie and Jack spent together alone in the camp getting to know each other…becoming friends and lovers. It was a sweet and poignant time made even more so by the cruel and harsh behaviour of men during that time and especially upon their return to the camp.

 

While the part that kept this from being a stronger read for me was the ending. I was left wondering exactly what became of Charlie and Jack whether they remained in Australia, made their way to England. For me the ending was a possible HFN and it’s a bit of a personal preference thing but when it comes to story endings, I like something a bit more clear cut. I admit this is a holiday story so of course a nice happily ever after or a strong happy for now leaning towards an HEA would be my first choice but in general I can even handle a ‘not so great’ ending as long as the big questions are dealt the ending of this one just felt vague and maybe an epilogue or some kind of 6 months or 1 year later type note would have felt better.

 

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A copy of ‘The Faller’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-06 03:23
‘Tis the season to play hockey…fahlalalalalalalala…
Neutral Zone - F. Scott Fitzgerald,V.L. Locey

Can you all believe it? It’s getting to be that time of year again and no, I’m not just talking about hockey season…Christmas is coming and I admit I love reading Christmas stories but really as a Canadian I have to say there’s nothing better than a Christmas story about hockey players and when it involves the characters from a series that I’ve been enjoying throughout the past year…well does it get any better? I think not.

 

First off though if you haven’t read R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey’s ‘Harrisburg Railers’ series…what are you waiting for? It’s Christmas time treat yourself to something good because you’re going to want to read the rest of the series first if you really want to enjoy this one and this one is worth enjoying.

 

‘Neutral Zone’ is a chance to revisit Ten and Mads (that’s Tennant Rowe & Jared Madsen). We first met Ten and Mad in ‘Changing Lines’ book one in this series and they’ve appeared on an off throughout the series but here in ‘Neutral Zone’ we get to catch up with them following a hockey related accident that has turned their world on end (you need to read ‘Goal Line’) for the details about this.

 

With Ten off in Arizona working hard to put himself back together and Mads back in Harrisburg giving it all he’s got to be the strong and supportive boyfriend that Ten needs it’s going to take everything that they’ve both got to keep their lives on track but neither man is willing to give it anything less than 110%. They’re both strong and fighters.

 

Basically, I loved…seriously LOVED this story. For me Christmas is about family, it’s about faith and hope, it’s about love and most of all a time for miracles even the ones that we make for ourselves. Ironically what I loved the most about this story was the fact that the only real miracle in this story was the miracle of love (yeah, I know I’m sappy). Ten’s struggles didn’t magically go away or get better or even easier but he’s a strong and determined young man and it’s with the love and support of his family and Mads the man who means the world to him that he finds the strength to keep working to keep fighting and believe in himself.

 

‘Neutral Zone’ was a perfect start to my holiday reading season and while I didn’t get to catch up with all the Railers…we got a Stan fix!!! and of all the Railers their hulking big Russian goalie of a teddy bear is definitely one of my favorites and he never fails to make me smile. If you’re a fan of this series you going to wan to read this one and if you haven’t had the Railers experience yet…seriously check it out this is one awesome hockey team and they’re not even Canadian, seriously can you imagine how cool are they?

 

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An ARC of ‘Neutral Zone’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-04 22:51
Oh this one was cute...
The Little Library - Kim Fielding,Andrew McFerrin

really adorkably, cute and at times awkward!!! and all in the best ways possible.

 

Elliott Thompson has returned to his hometown in California after having his career destroyed by his ex. Teaching on-line classes, hiding in his home where he hoards books...Amazon is his friend and nursing his less than enthusiastic hope for his teaching career comprises his daily activities.

 

Simon Odisho's law enforcement career has come to an abrupt end in a matter of seconds when a bullet shatters his knee.

 

So when Elliott's brother demands that he return to the land of the living and re-join the world, Elliott decides to resume jogging which is where he meets Simon for the first time and from the simple task of taking up jogging again Elliott begins to come back to life. The next task on his list becomes doing something about his book hoarding ways and that is when Elliott gets the idea to build his own little library. Something that he'd seen on vacation with his jerk of an ex and it's through his little library that Elliott really begins to come back to the world and live again. 

 

As Elliott stocks his little library he also gets regular visits from Simon who seems to walk by his house on a fairly frequent basis. Simon knows he's gay...he's just not out but he's very interested in Elliott and it's his interest that's making Simon re-think his life choices.

 

Elliott and Simon were just beyond dorky and cute and I loved their fledgling relationship as they got to know each other and then started to date and fall in love. With these two there were those incredible awkward dating moments and sex for these two was at time fun and funny. Plus to top it all off there was a really adorable dog and Elliott's brother was one of those epic siblings that we all would love to have. He was accepting of Elliott and genuinely cared about him. There was also the nosy neighbor...you know we all have one...thinking they run the neighborhood and they are a legend in their own minds...yeah, he was a real delight! (please read this with lots of sarcasm to ensure you get the full impact of what I'm saying).

 

Andrew McFerrin was the narrator for this story giving it the emotional depth it deserved as he brought Elliott and Simon to life for me. 

 

The library may have been little but the sweetness and fun contained within this story definitely wasn't.

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