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review 2015-11-25 00:00
Bring Him Home
Bring Him Home - Sammy Goode

A wonderful short freebie!

This was a great read about two military paramedics who went through hell and heaven together, got wounded in very different ways, and lost themselves as well as each other along the way.

What made this so special was how real the MCs felt to me. I felt their anxiety, their euphoria, their pain and their losses. It was heart-breaking & -warming at the same time. And while it is angsty and heavy on the tears, it's also a wonderful story about never giving up, about surviving and finding hope. And love. The HFN fit perfectly, anything else would have been way too much for two men with that kind of baggage and trauma.

I enjoyed it immensely and am looking forward to reading more of this author's work.

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review 2015-11-22 00:00
Beyond the Surface
Beyond the Surface - Felice Stevens

I think the time has come to accept that Felice Stevens might not be the author for me.

There is a lot of love out there for this book, but me? I really wasn't feeling it. I liked Nick, though. A survivor of 9/11, he struggles with this tremendous amount of guilt, he has a hard time even seeing the light at the end of the tunnel most days. Since I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of thing, I can't really comment on how realistic this is portrayed here. All I can say is that parts of his pain felt pretty real to me.

Additionally, I was 11 years old when the Twin Towers fell, and living in a different country. So even though I can tell you exactly where I was and what was happening around me on September 9th 2011, this traumatic experience means something completely different to me than to every American. My emotional connection therefore might differ significantly from the one other readers might experience while reading this book.

And then there was Julian. I liked him a lot, actually. He was sweet, warm and patient. I just wish he would have stood up for himself a little more. Because, what really drove me nuts, was the whole plot surrounding his "lack of perspective". Don't get me wrong, I loved the new project he worked on after he was betrayed and shunned in the fashion world. BUT. I was absolutely not happy with how people reacted and judged his carreer in fashion. You can think what you want about overpriced jackets, scarfs and color-coded accessories. I for one, have practically no interest in it. Most of the new fashion trends go straight over my head. I also don't have a lot of patience for bling-bling, clothes that "reflect my personality best", or the self-indulgent or the two-faced fashion scene in general. On the other hand, I think it pretentious and wrong to judge someone who makes his dreams come true by being successful in this business. Does a firefighter safe more lifes? Yes. Does the work of a police officer or a heart surgent seem "more important" when it comes to life and death situations? Absolutely. Does that give you the right to judge and ridicule other people, and accuse them of being shallow and dumb over the carrer they choose? Fuck, no!

That's what spoiled the book quite a bit for me. Nobody has the right to put someone else down for his carreer choices. And liking nice things, clothes and trends does not make you a shallow, or stupid, or bad person. And yet, that's how it's portrayed here. Sure, there are more important problems in the world than a fashion show gone bad. Still doesn't make it right to shame other people for their job as a designer. But everybody and his dof felt perfectly in the right to give Julian crap over his carreer. So. Not. Cool.

The writing in and on itself is not my favorite. Some of the dialogue read more like a stringing together of speeches. Some of the conflicts and/or their solutions felt too artifical to me. But it was really the shaming of Julian that did it for me. Maybe I get offended too easily, but that's how it is.

All in all, not a bad book, but not one I will re-read any time soon. 3 stars rounded up because I really liked the MCs.

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review 2015-09-27 00:00
Whistle Blowing
Whistle Blowing - Ada Maria Soto

4.5 healing stars!

I only didn't give five stars, because really?! I soooo need an epilogue, or a tiny little addition to that story! Yes, I'm greedy like that, and I really, really liked this one! It just isn't finished, yet. At least not for me.

But dang! If you want to see how to do a hurt/comfort theme right, please stay here and take a closer look. Of course I understand where some people come from, saying that the warnings for the story weren't enough for them. Even though the violence and assault are not described in detail, and only happen off page, the aftermath is a completely different can of worms. Because yes, the cleaning of ALL wounds is very graphic. But I really liked how it was done here. Very sensitive, in a quiet, respectful way that still broke my heart completely and glued it back together piece by piece afterwards. Therefore, this was clearly a slow, slow, slow burn. In addition to the extensive injuries, one character didn't even identify as gay at that point, so yes, no insta-lust or love.

For me, this was perfect. I rooted for these guys, I believed in their developing feelings and growing trust and intimacy. I also really enjoyed the amateur-spy/suspense element immensely! This story just had everything. Funny times, heart breaking scenes, hope and angst and love and everything inbetween. As I said, my only niggle really is that I absolutely need a follow-up, because that journey is so far from finished, the end hasn't even started yet. But even if I won't get my sequel, this was still absolutely worth it.

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review 2015-08-30 00:00
Fire and Water
Fire and Water - Andrew Grey

Me and Andrew Grey? We really aren't not a match made in heaven.

Red, a police officer with a tragic past and the scars to prove it, meets Terry, beautiful lifeguard. After some awkwardness in the beginning, they get closer fast and overcome some obstacles and so on. You know the drift.

That probably sounds bad, but I really don't mean it that way. It's just... The love -thing? Kinda insta. The awkwardness and problem in the beginning? Just felt fabricated to me, because IMHO Terry really wasn't the epitome of shallow, and people got on his case in a way that was way over the top.

The mystery wasn't bad, the story itself solid and interesting, just not groundbreaking.

My biggest problem was the writing. Andrew Grey has a style that feels awkward, stiff and artificial to me. To much cheese, my feelings get all wrong and I loose my focus, cringe and have to start over. It doesn't klick, it doesn't flow, it doesn't work for me. But I think that is my issue, because the story is good and others seem to enjoy the writing, so this might actually be just about my own specific tastes. It's sure worth giving a try.

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