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review 2018-09-15 19:22
Color of Grace (Cost of Repairs #2)
Color of Grace - A.M. Arthur

Warning: Grumpy review ahead.

 

Don't let my rating or review sway you from reading the book. Most of the issues I had with it are of the personal taste variety. And one thing at the very end that ticked me off. ... Two things. ... Maybe three things, lol.

 

The writing is strong, and Barrett and Schuyler (pronounced Skylar) are interesting characters who despite their various flaws and hangups might just be perfect for each other. I didn't completely feel the love connection between them, since half of their "relationship development" that took place seemed to happen in the bedroom. But when we did get actual relationship development, it was pretty well done.

 

Since it's been so long since I read the first book in this series - and the primary thing I remember about it was that ridiculous drama-ridden fourth act - I didn't recall if I had issues with Schuyler or not. I know there was a reason I initially decided to skip this one, but lord help me if I can remember it now, lol.

 

I should have listened to my former self.

 

For the most part, I really liked Barrett and Schuyler, and there was certainly enough there in their backgrounds that could have made a truly compelling story, but most of what we get is a watered down contemporary romance that doesn't distinguish itself from the mainstream m/m genre. Barrett had the most interesting background, so of course we only get snatches of it. Schuyler's backstory is... well...

 

Ok, so Schuyler's cousin, Matty, drowned in the lake when they were teens. Schuyler was there when it happened. He drinks himself into oblivion every year on the anniversary, blaming himself for what happened. For 85% of the book, that's all we know about it. Then we find out a couple of Matty's friends were also there. And then it just gets stupid because

despite every indication that Danny is seriously unstable, Schuyler decides to just drive down to the lake when Danny leaves a note on his car requesting a meeting with him there. Without telling anyone where he's going. Or who he's going to meet.

 

So he drives down there like a buffoon and confronts Danny, who is upset that Schuyler still exists. And then we find out what really happened that fateful night: Danny started bullying Schuyler for being gay, taunting him to kiss Danny's girlfriend - why the girlfriend was all for this idea, who knows; she's incidental to the story and never appears on page except as a blurry fuzzy afterthought on this backstory - all because ... wait for it ... Danny's also gay, but in the closet and hates himself for it. So of course he HAS to bully Schuyler for also being gay. And of COURSE his teen self has to attack teen Schuyler for being around and TEMPTING him and making him feel his horrible gay feelings. And of COURSE Matty ends up in the lake during this fight and no one notices until it's too late and Matty was too drunk to get himself out of the lake on his own.

 

And that's how Matty died. And that's why Schuyler blames himself. Because showing up when Matty asked him to come and having Danny bully him clearly makes it his fault. (Guilt isn't logical, I know that, but still. Put the blame where it belongs.)

 

But that's not all! Danny isn't torn up about accidentally knocking his friend into the lake and killing him. NO! He's been tormented all these years by his gay feelings. That's what keeps him up at night. That's why he's so maladjusted. That's why he's a walking blowhole.

 

So naturally, since he's got this horrible crush on Schuyler he's got to call present-day Schuyler down to the lake, then ask him why he was always around back them - um, because Matty was his cousin????? - and attacks him again!

 

And then - AND THEN - after all this goes down and Schuyler's released from the hospital and Danny's locked up, Schuyler finally sits down to tell his aunt Dixie, Matt's mom, what actually happened that night 15 years ago. AND WE DON'T GET DIXIE'S REACTION! We just go from him saying "There's something I need to tell you" to jumping six weeks ahead to the epilogue so Schuyler can get a fracking tattoo to memorialize Matty. You know, that's sweet and all, though why he'd want angel wings made out of water to remember how his cousin died is beyond me. You know what I wanted to know though: What did Dixie say or do when she found out? It's only her son that she lost, right? Her one and only child. So who cares what she thinks about all this. (We also don't get Barrett's reaction but his really doesn't matter here.)

 

AND THEN Schuyler doesn't even press charges. And neither does Dixie apparently, so the only thing that happens to Danny is he has to go to therapy for a few months and do some community service. Oh, and he's getting a divorce. Oh, and Danny's therapist thinks it would be a really good idea for Schuyler to go and see Danny again so Danny can get closure. ... HE NEARLY BEAT A MAN TO DEATH BUT HE DESERVES CLOSURE.

 

 

And of COURSE Schuyler is an absolute saint about all of this. Why should he be angry about nearly dying? Or all those years he was bullied as a teen? And all those years he was scared into silence about that night Matty drowned because Danny threatened him?

Thank God we didn't get a scene of him actually going to see Danny again, so there's that.

(spoiler show)

 

So anyway, all that aside this was a decent read. Except that 20% in the middle of the book that had practically three or four sex scenes in a row. I ended up skipping most of that. I did like the one toward the end though, before all the stupid happened.

 

I might be rating this too highly, lol. But I didn't hate all of it, and most of it was decent, and some of it was even nice and sweet. So 2.5 stars it is.

 

P.S. You can't open both eyes wide when one of them is swollen shut.

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text 2018-07-31 16:02
Monthly Run Down - July 2018
Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life - Bill Engvall,Alan Eisenstock
Kevin Kwan A Novel Crazy Rich Asians (Paperback) - Common - by Kevin Kwan
Harry Potter: The Prequel - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
When It's Real - Erin Watt
Killman Creek - Rachel Caine
Improper English - Katie MacAlister

 



Books I Read:

 

Crazy Rich Asians - 3.5 Stars - The first half bordered on boring but the second half made it worth the wait.

 

Harry Potter: The Prequel - 3 Stars - Super short and did not add or take anything away from the series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  - 4 Stars - This series is really holding up to the test of time. I can see more re-reads in my future as the world still manages to surprise me.

 

When It’s Real  - 4 Stars - I liked watching Oakley and Vaughn’s relationship blossom.  

 

Killman Creek   - 3.5 Stars - Rachel Caine does a great thriller.

 

Improper English  - 3 Stars - Alix and Alex entertained me, made me chuckle and made me want more.

 

Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life  - 4 Stars - Bill is the most “all american” guy there is and he makes it entertaining.




DNF:

 

None for July - Nobody - No explanation



Currently Reading:



Creative Quest - Questlove - a class on creativity I think is an accurate way to describe this

 

Too Late  - Colleen Hoover- Intense





Year to Date Totals:



January: 9 books

February: 10 books

March: 9 books

April: 6 books

May: 10 books

June: 6 books

July: 7 books

 

2018: 57 books

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review 2018-07-06 17:54
Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life
Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life - Bill Engvall,Alan Eisenstock

 

I Picked Up This Book Because: Curiosity.

The Story:

Bill seems to be the definition of an all american guy. He grew up in a great time when kids went out to play and tv and movies were a treat. He had his bumps and bruises along the way, both literally and figuratively. I enjoyed hearing his story. From the time in the little league dugout to the frat parties to the beginning of his family.

The Random Thoughts:



The Score Card:

description

4 Stars

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review 2018-06-29 20:10
Red Dirt Heart 4
Red Dirt Heart 4 - N.R. Walker

Charlie's come a long way in self-acceptance over the last two years and three books. Now we get to see him from Travis's POV and follow their journey into the future as they become a family.

 

There's little conflict here, and really not much a plot beyond will they/won't they actually get married and there's some talk about what Charlie will do with the ranch in the event he can no longer run it. 

 

I would have liked if Travis's POV had actually sounded different from Charlie's, but other than that, it was nice to spend a little more time at Sutton Station and seeing more of Trav's family and see the next stage(s) in their lives. But if I hadn't already invested three books in this series and cared about these characters, I probably would've found this a bit on the boring side. I did find the epilogue cute but not really necessary. I would've been happy for the book to end right before that.

 

So this was fun, cute, very aww-worthy and good for a light read. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-28 05:37
Running the Tides
Running the Tides - Amanda Kayhart

This started out so promising and then it just meandered around until I lost all interest and skimmed the last quarter just to get through it and see just how the inevitable Big Misunderstanding would shake out. On the good side, the Big Misunderstanding wasn't the one I was expecting it to be. On the bad side, the Big Misunderstanding was completely contrived and out of left field and was even more unnecessary than Big Misunderstandings tend to be.

 

I liked Avery and Olivia and they were pretty cute while they were crushing on each other. There's a nice slow burn to their relationship too, so they didn't just fall into lust and actually spent time with each other and got to know each other. The whole thing with Avery's grandmother was pretty predictable, but it didn't quite play out the way I expected (see above re: Big Misunderstanding). 

 

But...

 

The writing was wordy, and there were many incorrect word usages throughout. Most of them I was able to figure out, but I'm still trying to figure out what "edit my jeans" is supposed to mean. 

 

Avery drives from upstate New York to North Carolina without apparently taking a break, and she somehow manages to get to NC in time for Val to tell her that the owner will be back "in the afternoon". ... It's at least a twelve hour drive. Avery left after breakfast, and she's driving a pickup truck not a black '67 Chevy Impala, so I know her truck doesn't have wormhole technology. ;) There's no way she got there before nighttime.

 

Olivia asks Avery to stay on an extra month to fix the roof at the B&B. Permits and rental equipment are mentioned, but nothing at all is said about Avery not having a contractor's license in NC. Pretty sure a NY state contractor license isn't going to cut it in NC. Hell, you can't even cut hair in another state without a proper license.

 

Avery's about to fess up at one point about her grandma, but it starts raining so she's interrupted. (Timely interruptions happen a lot in this book.) Once inside, Olivia goes about getting them dried and settled and tells Avery she can continue with her confession. Then the chapter ends and the next chapter starts up three weeks later and we don't find out for another 150-something pages if she told Olivia anything or not, and if not, what she did tell Olivia instead. 

 

And there's more, but that's the point where my interest started to wane and by about 65% I just really couldn't take it anymore. By 75% I was skimming and looking for relevant parts. The Big Misunderstanding was shortly after that and so completely stupid that it was hardly worth the time it took to skim it.

 

*sigh* I want to find good F/F books to read but everyone I pick up is either just okay or less than stellar. Why is it so hard?

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