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review 2017-10-31 02:14
Dance With Me (Dancing #1) (Audiobook)
Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

I don't know why I took so long to listen to this, but I really enjoyed it. Ed is trying to get his life back on track after a major injury sidelined him from playing football ever again, and Laurie (short for Laurence) has been hiding from performing while teaching at a community center. They're both at odds with themselves, and initially with each other until they rediscover their love of dance together.

 

I have a few minor quibbles with some of the early plotting, but overall I really enjoyed watching Laurie and Ed getting over their initial dislike of each other through dance and how they were able to help each other find that thing that's been missing in their lives. I liked that their challenges were believable and didn't just magically disappear because of love. Ed still has a serious neck injury. Laurie still has a long road before he's fully comfortable performing again. 

 

This was my first narration by Iggy Toma and he was great. I really loved the nuance he gave to his performance and the characters, and he captured them all well. He speaks clearly and with feeling, and makes the story come alive. I look forward to more stories read by him. 

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review 2017-10-24 03:44
The Rebuilding Year (The Rebuilding Year #1) (Audiobook)
The Rebuilding Year - Kaje Harper,Kaje Harper,Gomez Pugh

My review for the book is here (spoilers in the link, so beware):

 

http://linda78.booklikes.com/post/972976/the-rebuilding-year-the-rebuilding-year-1

 

So this'll just be for the narration. 

 

I was introduced to Gomez Pugh with the PsyCop audios, like nearly most others were, and I loved them! With the exception of Jacob's voice, he was perfection for that series and for Vic, so I had high hopes when I saw this book would be narrated by him. I know he's done other books besides PsyCop but this was my first experience of him doing new material. And it did not live up to expectations.

 

Technically, he's as good as ever. He's clear, precise and easy to follow, and there's no confusion about POV. Performance wise, he doesn't differentiate between voices very much, and for the first half of the book at least he's doing Jacob's voice for John. He finally settles into it and gives John his own voice, and it does improve from there. But this isn't the performance I've come to expect from him from PsyCop. 

 

A good solid reading, but somewhat lacking performance = 3 stars from me.

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review 2017-09-04 19:29
The Downs
The Downs - Kim Fielding

Similar to The Pillar and Treasure, this is another story of a magic healer and a man in desperate need of healing, both of them social outcasts in their own way. While The Pillar felt too similar to Treasure, this novella felt unique to both of them, even though it uses the same basic themes. That could simply be due to getting the POV of the one being healed, rather than the one doing the healing, but it really is more than that.

 

The world of the Downs is lush and vividly described, and while it holds many dangers, it's also easy to see its appeal. The city, which goes unnamed, is more mysterious than the mysterious, legendary Downs, and I wonder if that was on purpose. We never really see the city before Enitan is convicted and removed from it and literally cast out into the Downs. I would've like a bit more worldbuilding for the city (why did the people settle there and why did they stay, for instance) and how it came to operate the way it does, but in the end, those things don't really matter.

 

What matters is Enitan learning to think of himself as someone with value, and Rig learning to let go his past regrets, finding healing in himself as he heals another. The story takes its time as these men get to know each other and Enitan regains his strength. There's no insta-anything here, just two men learning how to live and love when neither of them expected to have any reason to.

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review 2017-09-03 18:40
Blow Down (The Plumber's Mate #4)
Blow Down - J.L. Merrow

More fun and snark from our psychic plumber. 

 

Tom's little secret - the ability to locate hidden objects (which occasionally includes dead bodies) and leaky pipes - is not so secret anymore now that someone let the cat out of the metaphorical bag. Tom's propensity to martyrdom allows him to be guilt-tripped into displaying his talents to the public - with the expected disastrous results.

 

Really, y'all, this is why you don't ask the guy who can find dead bodies to perform "magic" tricks. I mean, that should just go without saying.

(spoiler show)

 

I did feel the whodunit was a bit more obvious this time around and wondered why Tom and Phil didn't cotton onto them sooner. That aside though, the mystery was full of wackadoodles and cagey relatives aplenty, enough to be fun while still making you wish Tom would start wearing a helmet everywhere he goes. :P And it does seem Tom's abilities are taking on possible new skills - not that he's anymore open to testing them out than he was before.

 

I like the way Tom and Phil's relationship is progressing. There's still plenty of ways for them to miscommunicate without going the whole Big Misunderstanding route, and they trust each other enough that they don't blow everything (well, most things) out of proportion.

 

That's not the only relationship Tom has to foster here either, now that he's found his "real" dad. I like that their reunion and getting to know each other was realistically awkward and that they're taking their time getting a feel for each other. I still need to know a lot more about Mike, so hopefully we'll see that in the next book, which I'm pleased to see Ms. Merrow has planned for next year. Fingers crossed there are no delays it getting it to us. 

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review 2017-08-30 02:48
Pins and Needles
Pins and Needles - A.J. Thomas

It's been too long since I've had a new A.J. Thomas to read, and this one was worth the wait. 

 

Nate is a trial lawyer working in his father's law firm. He's tired of waiting for his father to see his worth and the hard work he puts into his job and sets out to start his own practice. Sean is newly disabled in an oil rig accident and the company's settlement offer is paltry at best. Nate's the first lawyer to take his case seriously. 

 

The law here is very well done and even the antics that go on in the second half of the book are sadly not far from the truth either, lol. It was a little obvious who the whodunit was, though Thomas does give the reader a few suspects to choose from. It was a bit of a stretch that Nate was handling this case all on his own, especially with all the time he's spending at the tattoo parlor and his other cases, even if they're minor ones, though there was at least an explanation why he was having trouble getting help. I liked that the ethics in getting involved with your client isn't ignored either. 

 

But what I really liked was this story took its time. The relationship isn't rushed. Sean's dealing with a lot after his injuries and just trying to walk again is a challenge. Ms. Thomas doesn't go the disgruntled paraplegic route. Sean's got struggles and pain and a lot on his plate, but he doesn't become bitter or angry or disillusioned. His kinda-dad Hawk is great too and I wish we'd gotten a little more of him. 

 

Nate's got his own issues, and it's neat that they're both going through somewhat similar journeys in this story, each one out to prove they're better and worthier than how they think others see them. Nate especially has to deal with a homophobic brother, and the way his parents have decided to deal with the situation is less than ideal for him. I was pleasantly surprised with where that subplot ended up going with his parents. 

 

I really enjoyed this one, so much so that I stayed up until 1:00 AM to finish it. I did think it got a little overstuffed in a few places and I would've liked more resolution on one or two subplots, but I did like that the epilogue didn't end with the wedding ring/proposal scene that has become cliche at this point. The ending here was much more touching and more appropriate to these characters. 

 

Highly recommend.

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