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review 2020-05-30 04:38
Love According to Liam...isn't quite how the it works in the real world...
Love According to Liam - V.L. Locey

Liam's an adorable and precocious child and if memory serves me at all he's somewhere in the 5 year old range at best. I remember my son at that age and the filters were essentially non-existent. So for me...Liam's a fairly typical reflection of his age group. It's an age when children can be adorable and loving and fiercely loyal while also being a bit self-centered it's not in a mean or nasty way. It's just that they're children and their world view has a much more limited scope than that of an adult with considerably more life experience.

 

So for the most part I honestly have no issue with Liam's behavior throughout this story. For me, he was just a kid being a kid. I didn't have a problem with Bryn's behavior he love's Mike and more than anything wants to be a loving and supportive husband but as any good spouse knows it's a balancing act and sometimes being a good spouse means not being the one to make the decisions but the one who supports the decision their partner needs to make and while it was hard for  Bryn, he did it to the best of his ability.

 

I also had no problem with Mike. I totally got where he was coming from and to be honest I was 100% on his side...surprisingly it was Kelly who made me blow a gasket. I really liked her in the first book and while I can't say that I don't like her in this one, what I can say is that I don't like much of her behavior. I apologize for being a bit circumspect here but trying to explain this and not give away the story is a bit of a daunting task. Bottom line for me was that while I understood a lot of Kelly's actions and rational there were a couple of things that no matter how she cut it, in my eyes her actions were a betrayal of Mike and also undermined him. So without getting really wordy and saying a whole lot of nothing here to avoid spoiling the story. I'll just summarize by saying that this for me because of some similar life experience with certain events hit a bit too close to home for me and the result was a whole lot of anger and frustration with certain characters and events in the story resulting in a less than stellar read for me. 

 

'Love According to Liam' definitely wasn't a 'bad' read in that the story was well written  but as I said parts of it just hit a bit to close to home, so if you're a fan of this series carry on, I know I will. I'm still looking forward to reading more about Bryn and Mike and the changes that are coming into their lives and maybe something in that will leave me feeling less disgruntled with this story. But rest assured this one's definitely me and I'm willing to own it.

 

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An ARC of 'Life According to Liam' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2020-05-25 04:46
Second time around for "Second Chance"...turned out to be even better...
Second Chance - Jay Northcote,Hamish Long

Second time around for "Second Chance"...turned out to be even better...

 

"Second Chance" is another of those stories that I read earlier this year and loved. So when I got a second chance to enjoy this one on audio...what else could I do but say yes.

 

If I loved this one the first time around, I'm not even sure what word to use for this second chance with a story that holds a special place in my heart. I have to admit I really wanted to come up with a whole lot of new and creative ways to express my appreciation for this story, but truth be told I listened to the audio book, I re-read my original review and my brain stuttered to a screeching halt as realized two things... 1 that I enjoyed the audio book just a tiny bit more than I had the e-book and that adds up to a whole lot of 'loved this story' right there and 2, I still love this story for all the reasons that I originally loved this story. So, yes I'm going to borrow some things from that review to help me create this one.

 

This book had me not just from the beginning but from the first word of the title..."Second Chance"...we all want them, need them and mostly we deserve them and that's what this story is about...second chances for so many people but mostly for Nate and Jack.

 

At 45 years of age and after a plethora life events, childhood friends, Nate and Jack are reunited. (Ok, let's hear it for mature MCs who can have a relationship with someone their own age) It's not that I'm opposed to age gaps or daddy kink more like sometimes I just need a break from it...anyways, these are mature men who have been through a lot...good and bad and now they've each come home for their own reasons and dealing with the problems of the present brings them both face to face with memories of the past...both the good and the bad.

 

Jack's dealing with a break-up that led to a downward spiral into depression and addiction but with the help of his parents and a lot of determination he wants to change that and regain control of his life.

 

Nate's come home to get his daughter away from life in a big city and the temptations that she was finding around every corner and to help his mom following the death of his father. For Nate there's also the added challenge of the fact that when he lived here before everyone knew him as Natalie...not Nate unlike in the city where everyone knew him as Nate.

 

As Nate and Jack become reacquainted against the backdrop of everyday life the reader gets to know these two men not just through their efforts to reclaim their lives but through the people they love as Nate's daughter Cass deals with her own efforts to put her life back on track, Nate's mom who not only has a second chance with her granddaughter but her son and Jack's parents who as they try in their own way to repair their fragile relationship with Jack.

 

While these are some of the second chances that happen in this story not everything is perfect and each chance has it's own solution and degree of positive outcome which went a long way towards making this story work for me. 

 

Of all these second chances for me the most important one was Nate's...this is Nate's chance not just with Jack, but to live his life as Nate the man, he was meant to be.

 

'Second Chance' is a story that's told from a realistic perspective. It's doesn't come with over the top magical solutions. It's two men dealing with what life has thrown at them...one gay, one gay and transgender...both seeming very real.  The story feels real...there's passion and humor, awkward moments, interruptions and even moments of frustration...yes, folks it's just like real life.

 

Hamish Long's is once again the narrator for this Jay Northcote story and for me, his narration has only helped to enhance the depth of reality that this story contained and when it comes to stories set in the UK, he's fast becoming a favorite narrator of mine.

 

In spite of the fact that each story is unique, we can often see bits and pieces of ourselves or someone we know in a story and it's that commonality that frequently draws us in and lets us relate to what we read. For me, "Second Chance" held small pieces of a story that while it's not mine, it is that of someone so very precious to me. Whose story I know nearly as well as my own and it was these pieces that connected me to this story and kept me listening and wanting to hear it all. 

 

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An audio book of "Second Chance' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2020-05-25 03:37
There are some stories best read, some that are amazing on audio and then...
Falling For My Roommate - Garrett Leigh,Dan Calley

There are those that work incredibly well in either format and Garret Leigh seems to consistently achieve this with her stories.

 

I read Micah's story back in April of this year when it was first released and I knew back then that if there was an audio release that I wouldn't hesitate to revisit it in audio format. 

"Falling For My Roommate" is a story of starting over, second chances, finding love, comfort and healing.

 

Of course it goes without saying that I've already reviewed this story and I admit I'm not above borrowing from that review in my efforts to once again explain why and how much I've enjoyed this audio book. 

 

As I said in my original review "Falling For My Roommate" may not be my favorite Garrett Leigh book but given that I happily gave it 4 stars, I'd hardly call it anything less than enjoyable.

 

Micah's story is one that we've all seen to one degree or another in today's headlines...a well known athlete who looses his focus on his sport to the glitter and gloss of fame and all that it brings...sex, drugs, booze, parties, faceless and meaningless sex all combining in career ending tragedy. 

 

Ready to restart his life as just another regular guy Micah finds himself sharing an apartment with Sam...a well packaged, gay, book-nerdish, bartending, English Lit student who doesn't see Micah the sports star. He sees Micah the man and he falls and falls hard. But Sam also recognizes that Micah's still fragile so he's determined to be the friend that Micah needs. While Micah sees himself as unworthy of someone as wonderful as Sam and is determined to keep his feelings to himself and just be Sam's roommate and hopefully a good friend.

 

Dan Calley was the narrator for this story and while he's not entirely a new to me narrator. I've also listened to 3 previous books of Ms Leigh's that he's narrated and I've found everyone of them to be well done and extremely enjoyable. Mr. Calley gives these characters depth and personality adding yet another layer to an already rich and evocative story.

 

"Falling For My Roommate" was neither a sweet nor fluffy story but it was a story with the best kind of HEA...one that could happen. Micah had to slay his own dragons and for as much as I appreciated Sam it wasn't because he was someone's white knight charging to the rescue. It was because he was strong enough to be there for someone he cared about, not just the man he loved but the man he considered to be his friend and he knew that he couldn't be Micah's salvation but rather a loving and supportive friend. 

 

For me this story felt real...it's out there and one has only to look for it and some have already lived it.

 

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An audiobook of "Falling For My Roommate" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2020-05-18 22:33
Couscous

Maybe I've finally cracked, maybe I just needed something quick that I could make for lunch, but today I finally ended up using some couscous I found in my kitchen cupboard. 

 

Let's be honest, it was at the very back of the cabinet...but it was still in date.

 

Now, I tried as best as I could to soak it in flavours (a stock cube came in very handy), then just added more flavours at it, and possibly used a novelty combination of spice mixes that were also hiding at the back of the cabinet (let's not talk about their use-by dates). 

 

Anyway, I ended up with a quick lunch that was not too bad, but it also made me wonder:

 

What do you all use to make couscous taste less like cardboard and more like ... anything at all?

 

(Couscous, mystery spices, olives, red onion, tomatoes, olive oil, salt) 

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text 2020-05-15 21:16
Friday Night Food

Yay, it's Friday. I was planning to start The Spoilt Kill but I will need to postpone this. I'm still reading Write on Both Sides of the Paper by the same author. But that is what being a mood reader is about - when the heart wants Greek tragedy, there's nothing you can do but give in. So, finishing The Persians this week delayed my plans.

Does any of this matter? Not a bit.

 

Anyway, it was "see what's in the fridge and needs to be used" dinner, which ended up as a heavily modified mushroom paprikash (with added cabbage and red pepper). 

 

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