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review 2017-06-23 21:41
Strange the Dreamer book review...
Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor

I think I'm in the minority here with not exactly loving this one. I listened to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and thoroughly enjoyed that one. While the writing in Strange the Dreamer is quite gorgeous I found myself somewhat bored. Maybe listening to the audio would have helped? I'm not sure. It took me several weeks to read, partly because I've been busy and partly because it just put me in a reading slump. I still love this author and am looking forward to more by her but I probably won't read the next one in this series. 

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review 2017-06-23 20:51
I'm thinking this ones on me...at least partially...
Chief's Mess - L.A. Witt

So far I've really enjoyed this series both 'Just Drive' and 'Fear of Flying' were stories that I really enjoyed and I basically knew what this story was about going in to it. 

 

Noah Jackson is a member of Anchor Point's military police. He's got a stressful job and unfortunately his solution for dealing with the stress of his job comes from a bottle and he sees no problem with this. As a matter of fact he's so on board with this that when a problem results from his drinking his solution is to make his life accommodate the drinking...can't drive home because you've had too much to drink...take a cab...problem solved because drinking less or not drinking doesn't even ping his radar as a reasonable solution. Noah is what is known as a functioning alcoholic. Unfortunately he's not as functioning as he believes people like his best friend and superior officer, Senior Chief Will Curtis see what's happening. I'm sure most of us have met or had someone like Noah in their lives at one time or another, I know I have. 

 

While we weren't introduced to Noah in 'Fear of Flying' we did meet Anthony. Anthony is the supportive brother of Curtis's ex-wife. There was a lot about Noah's behavior that I understood in regards to his mildly paranoid behavior about how much Noah drank. I got that and I remember being so cautious about people in my life and how much they drank wondering how much and how often they truly drank. Honestly, it's not fun living like that doubting and never fully trusting until you're sure really sure that it's safe to trust that person because they aren't going to crawl into a bottle every chance they get.

 

Noah and Anthony start out as a hook-up one night of hot sex. But one night becomes a few more until Anthony has to go home. As time passes Anthony and Noah begin texting and then as they get to know each other and each remembers how good the sex had been they decide to take a shot at a long distance relationship. 

 

You see the fact is that while I've known Noah, I've been Anthony...been part of the rubble left behind when the landslide stops. I've lived through the lies, the deceptions and justifications, the heartbreak of knowing you can't fix them. That they're the only person who can fix themselves and not until they're ready to.  The frustration of knowing that you've reached the point where the only thing you can do is walk away and save yourself.

 

The one real issue that I had with Anthony in fact actually goes back to the events of 'Fear of Flying' and Anthony's lack of basic compassion and understanding for his brother-in-law Curtis. Logically I knew where it came from, but, I still can't say I liked it.  

 

The concept for this story was good and while I liked it, I think maybe for me it came just a little to close to a reality that I've known which was a big part of the reason that I didn't enjoy 'Chief's Mess' nearly as much as the first two books.  However, I am looking forward to the next book in this series...'Rank & File' is Senior Chief Will Curtis's story and while we did get a bit of Will's background in this book, I'm hoping that 'Rank & File' 

will give us a all of Will's story and a peek at how things are going for the other men of 'Anchor Point'.  

 

********************

A copy of "Chief's Mess" was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-23 20:06
How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (White Trash Zombie, #4) by Diana Rowland
How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back - Diana Rowland

My journey through the White Trash Zombie series continues with the fourth installment called How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back. I'm going to start off by saying that I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the others. To me, this is definitely the weakest book in the series. With that being said, I did still enjoy reading this book.

 

Diana Rowland is still an incredible writer. She still has that same conversational style to her writing that I adore so much. I still feel like I am hearing a story from a close friend about her adventures and shenanigans. It's such a fun writing style that I cannot see myself ever getting tired of. Rowland's story this time around felt a bit forced, though. I felt like every bad thing that could happen, did happen. And, to me, that's just creating "tension" for no reason. Angel got shot and stabbed and almost raped and it felt too much. It just felt as if Rowland just wanted every horrible thing to happen in this book which made nothing feel authentic.

 

And speaking of Angel, she was a lot more careless and stupid in this book. I know she has the reputation of being a screw-up, but she was more so in this one than she was in the first book. For example, there's this one scene (I won't specify because of spoilers) where she outed someone as a zombie. Really? You know that you can't have a lot of people knowing about zombies and here you are just "casually" letting it slip. Not to mention she just kept telling other people about there being zombies because she "couldn't see another way." Pretty soon the whole world is going to know about zombies! 

 

Last thing I want to mention is the ending. Throughout the whole book we are getting hints that something is happening to Angel and I do not like the direction is going. It gives me the impression that the next book is going to focus on this aspect of Angel's life and depending on how it's handle, it could be really good or bad. I hope it's the former because as of right now, I am not too happy about it.

 

I know I made it sound like I did not enjoy this book, but I really did. I really like the fun tone to the whole series. I love all of the characters because they are all so loud and don't care what others think of them and I love everything about that. However, I do think that, as a reader, you should be able to critique the books you like. 

 

Do I recommend this book? Yeah! If you read all three previous books, then continue reading the series because it's so good and fun despite its flaws. It's still a very adult series. There's swear words, violence, gore, sexual assault, and drug use so keep that in mind when reading. But it really is worth the read, even if this particular book is not as strong as the others.

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review 2017-06-23 16:50
Love with all it's dings and dents...
Afraid to Fly - L.A. Witt

'Afraid to Fly' is the second book in L. A. Witt's series 'Anchor Point'. We were briefly introduced to Travis Wilson in 'Just Drive' the first book in this series as best friend of Paul Richards one of the MCs from that story.

 

In 'Just Drive' Travis encouraged Paul to take a chance on love and now it's Paul's turn to do the same for Travis. While the author didn't really tell us a lot about Travis in 'Just Drive' we were told enough to know that Travis deals with chronic pain and in 'Afraid to Fly' we are given a much clearer picture of just how bad that chronic pain is and insidiously it has invaded every aspect of his life. Along with the chronic pain Travis deals with PTSD and shares his home with his adult daughter who also deals with her own PTSD.

 

Clint Fraser works down the hall from Travis and he's got his own case of PTSD to deal with...one that's cost him a marriage and time with his 3 kids.

 

It's always interesting when I finish a book to reflect back on the why I did or didn't like a book. Sometimes, I'm not really sure why and it's just a case of the story worked and I connected with it sometimes there's something very specific that I liked or several things and in the case of 'Afraid to Fly' while there were several things that I liked about this story the number one reason was Travis. I connected with Travis. I totally understood what his life was like. As someone who also suffers from chronic pain, while thankfully mine is rarely as extreme as Travis's is. It does affect my daily life. So I understood what it was like to always be thinking ahead wondering can I do this? How much more will I hurt? How can I manage the pain? and on and on. It's just what you do and how you have to deal with things to try and have as normal of a life as possible. To keep as much independence as possible. I got this, I understood his mindset and I really got his insecurities about his and Clint's relationship and how much it meant to him to have someone who accepts him with all his 'dings and dents' just as Travis does with Clint and his PTSD and the fact that he's a 'recovering' alcoholic. 

 

As well as how Travis's chronic pain and PTSD was dealt with how we saw Clint's medical issues, both the PTSD and the alcoholism dealt with for me was well done. It was an important part of the story but it never felt like it overpowered the development of their relationship but just like Travis's chronic pain and his own PTSD these were things that both men had deal with, it was all a part of the relationship dynamic. 

 

For me 'Fear of Flying' was about finding that person you connect with, want to spend your life with and loving them not in spite of their 'baggage' but because it's a part of them and who they are and ultimately you come to know and accept that the love they have for you is as strong as what you feel for them.

 

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review 2017-06-23 11:03
Review: The Memory Book
The Memory Book - Lara Avery

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was an absolute heartbreaker. And I loved it. Surprised because I really wasn’t expecting much considering I really didn’t like the last book I read by the same author, but I really enjoyed this one.

 

The novel tells the story of 18 year old Samantha, who has a rare disease which will cause memory loss and other nasty side effects, very few teenagers are diagnosed with the disease and very few (if any) survive. Sam is very smart and almost ready to graduate high school, with dreams of going to college in New York. Determined to survive and live her life the best she can, in spite of the horrible news she’s been dealing with.

 

She writes The Memory Book as a guide to her future self for when her memory has been sliding and she can’t remember things. She has two younger siblings, a brother and a sister and involved parents who are reluctant about the whole college thing. She sees a guidance councillor regularly and doctors regularly.  Sam is a brilliant debater, she’s off to Regional Debate Championships with her friend and debating partner Maddie, she’s set to be Valedictorian when she graduates. And the boy she’s had a crush on for years, Stuart, who went off to New York and became a published writer, has come back into town. All going pretty good. She’s going a high school party and actually talks to her long term crush.

 

However, it all starts to go wrong, symptoms of Sam’s illness which cause her to forget where she is, strike suddenly, and unexpectedly. Maddie freaks because Sam didn’t tell her about the seriousness of her illness, Sam is naturally crushed. Bright point of life is when she starts developing a friendship into something more serious with Stuart. At the same time her childhood friend Cooper has recently come back into her life as well, Cooper became a big baseball star in high school then blew it with a pot addiction. Sam finds an unexpected closeness with Cooper, opening up to him as they reminisce about their childhood companionship.

 

The novel was very emotional, I loved Sam’s voice, given what she was dealing with she was incredibly strong and very brave. Her inner monologue went from a range of emotions from excitement and swooning over her developing relationship with Stuart, funny, moody, despair. She talks about her fears, her desires, what she longs for. The struggles with talking about what she’s going through. Dealing with the fall outs when things happen.

 

There’s a love triangle that does pop up but it’s one that works really well and managed to surprise me. And still made me smile.

 

Sam’s memory book also includes input from her parents and siblings and later Cooper who all start adding to the narrative.  The emotional impact was incredibly deep and moving.

 

By the end I was in floods of tears. I was reading the last 20% or so during a slow afternoon at work and by the time I’d finished I had to leave the office and have a cry in the toilets for five minutes. I reread the end again at home and cried all over again.

 

Beautiful, beautiful book. The story manages to go from cute and funny to gut wrenching with some incredibly sad moments. Even so, it was a really amazing read. I loved it so much I bought a finished copy.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Hatchette Children’s Group.

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