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review 2017-03-26 00:26
ARC Review: Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell
Loose Cannon (Woodbury Boys) - Sidney Bell

This is my first book by this author, but I can already tell you that it won't be my last. The writing style is truly engaging, and I was enthralled from start to finish by this book.

When we first meet Edgar-Allen Church, who simply goes by his last name, he's about to be released from the correctional facility where he's spent the last five years after a conviction for assault. He needs a place to stay, so he calls on his old friend Miller Quinn in hopes of crashing on his couch.

There's some history here I won't go into too much (plus some hero worship on Church's side), between Church and Miller, and while some of it is good, some of it definitely isn't. Church is gay, and he's not hiding it, but Miller's conservative upbringing hinders him from allowing himself to be who he truly is.

This has caused their previous friendship to falter, but Church is still in love with Miller, though willing to keep that to himself, since his previous advance in that direction wasn't welcome. Miller likes Church, and he is secretly attracted to the younger man, but he can't possibly be gay because reasons.

As the story unfolds, we get some background info on Church, and his friends Ghost and Tobias. This is not presented as an info dump, but cleverly woven into the story as flashbacks of sorts, and really paints a complete picture of Church's rough upbringing, and shows clearly how difficult his life has been so far. How lost he is, and how Miller is really a beacon for him. If only...

But the romance, slow burning from the start, that eventually unfolds between these two, as Miller starts to shed the shackles that keep him from admitting his attraction and claiming who he really is, is not the main focus of this book. There's action too, and a Russian Cartel, harassment against Church that nearly derails his journey to real adulthood, and some suspense as well, what with Ghost (who needs his own book) trying his best to... well, you should read this for yourself.

The two main characters really grow throughout the book, with Church getting his anger under control and growing up into the man he was supposed to be, and Miller freeing himself from the voice inside that belongs to his late and very homophobic father and allowing himself to return Church's affection. Their chemistry was hot, and while there are some more explicit scenes, they were tasteful and clearly showed their emotional connection. These two men just fit together, and I fully believed that they truly loved each other.

I also appreciated the author for including a strong female character in Miller's sister, and his niece was also well portrayed. While they are supporting characters, they both played a role that helped Miller and Church move forward.

Ghost was a really interesting character too, and while we don't find out much about him, or what he really does, there is sufficient information to understand that he too cares for Church, and will do what he has to so his friend has a chance to make it. Tobias too was a good friend to Church - he has a slightly different background but was there when needed, even if it might be detrimental to himself.

The plotline with the Russian Cartel was intriguing, and while I have no direct experience with that sort of thing, it did feel realistic here. I'm pretty sure this sort of thing does happen in similar ways as depicted here, and I appreciated that the author seems to have done good research into this topic.

At its core, this book is about second chances and finding redemption. These themes apply not only to Church and Miller, but also to Ghost, who's probably the most mysterious of all the characters in the book. Church and Miller are given a second chance, not only as far as their relationship is concerned, but also as far as living an authentic life, especially Miller, and finding peace with who they are, with each other, and with the lot they've been given in this life.

A highly engaging read, and highly recommended. I need more from this author. Could Ghost's story be next, please?


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-03-25 17:13
The Silence of Our Friends
The Silence of Our Friends - Mark Long,Jim Demonakos,Nate Powell

I loved the artwork in this graphic novel, detailed and realistically drawn illustrations embrace each page. The character’s faces: their all-knowing eyes, the deep creases on their foreheads, and the way that the eyebrows tell the story of what’s really transpiring, it’s as though you don’t need to read the words within each text box. I got caught up in just looking at the illustrations a few times, as they themselves relay the story of just how these characters feel about the situation that they are in. This graphic novel is about civil rights in the late 1960’s. It’s about the violence, the beliefs, the struggles and the spirit of the individuals who fought to be heard. What I liked best about this novel is the illustrations and how we get to read both sides of the story. In this novel, a white journalist becomes friends with a black activist as a murder has been committed and the real suspects need to be brought to justice. I found myself lost a times inside this story, the story confusing but as I pulled myself back, I found my footage and entered into the drama once again. It’s a powerful story and one that gains its strength from its wonderful illustrations.

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review 2017-03-23 17:37
Lindsey's Rescue (A World Beyond, #3) by Michelle Howard Review
Lindsey's Rescue: A World Beyond Book 3 - Michelle Howard

Lindsey Ferra signed up for Earth’s Singles Program wanting love, marriage and happiness. She found the first two but the third required a bit of work. Fighting aliens, running from aliens and making friends with aliens all seem to be on the agenda for the day. Her only question now is can she find her way back and will happiness be on the schedule this time.

Senate Leaders Baruk Laars and Zadal Gatar planned a marriage for business reasons. Their wife Lindsey gave them something else…love. Can these two work together to correct their mistake and will Lindsey be rescued before it’s too late?

 

Review

I have been enjoying all the books in this series but was a little worried about how dark this book would get has Lindsey had been in the hands of the slavers through out the other books.

 

We get the romance before she is taken and the contrast of the two heroes to her sunny personality is lovely. The falling in love with each hero and they with her is charming journey. The heroes do not have a sexual relationship but there is a nice adversary to friends to family arc here.

 

Lindsey shows grit in her captivity and the cast of characters widens and is a great deal of fun.

 

The who done it part could be better and more satisfying and the delay in the return a bit vexing but overall this is a good science fiction romance with fine world build, love story, and characters.

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review 2017-03-19 01:12
Angela looks for Sera
Guardians of the Galaxy (2015-) #18 - Brian Bendis,Valerio Schiti,Arthur Adams

Grounded on Earth, Angela breaks into Sera's apartment, only to find a chubby dude living there.   He doesn't know who Sera was, nor does he have anything that she might have left there.   

 

This is bittersweet: a reminder that they've been parted, and a reminder of what they'll do to find each other when they've been forcibly parted in the past. 

 

Beautiful, painful, hopeful, and strong, this was all I expected from Angela herself, and more.   One of my favorite of the Grounded stories, and I hope we see more from both Sera and Angela soon!

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review 2017-03-18 23:27
This is definitely going to be a series to watch...
An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

A Tag Team Review with Chelsea!

FOUR HEARTS--K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.


"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out there."




Swoon.

The words were, as usual, a joy to read from this author. And the shared moments between 28-year-old Clement Talleyfer - lodging house keeper and 35 year old, Rowley Green, a solitary preserver (taxidermist) made this book special.

Clement, or Clem, is of Indian descent and grew up an outsider for his entire life. Rowley has not had an easy childhood and bears the scars to prove it. The author has a fine hand on writing inclusive characters be it race or QUILTBAG, no one gets left out. And An Unseen Attraction is on par.

But what makes this book even more special was including a character with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia). She wrote the character in such a way that respected the disorder and an affected person's feelings, rather than using his disorder as a characteristic and not following up. (I'm not a fan of books that write characters with intellectual disabilities and can't back it up with thorough research). Based on the obvious research alone put into this tale, it's rated all the hearts.

Clem runs the lodging house and crushes on his lodger of eight months, the small, quiet Mr. Green, who runs a preserve shop next door. Clem's not one to easily discern if Mr. Green would welcome his affections, so quiet friendship is what he relies on to keep in respectable contact within that time period. You know what they say about the quiet ones? Because quiet Mr. Green notices Clem just as much.

Told in dual POV, the two become closer while surround by interesting characters at the lodging house. Their shared attraction obvious. A mystery is literally dropped on the house doorsteps by way of a dead body. The pair bond even more, trying to figure out what is the cause of the violent acts. Both men have damaging pasts, with internal and external scars. Clem is gorgeous (great cover by the way - it's very close to how I picture Clem). But with DCD, most treat him like an imbecile. Rowley, knows he's not as handsome and he tends to downplay himself. Not to the point of annoyance but thankfully Clem sees him as a worthy partner and vice versa.

I loved both main characters. (Can you tell?) Flawed individuals who make each other stronger together and bring out the best in each other without losing a sense of self. They aren't overt characters, rather it's the quietness and the little things that they both do that grabs the attention.

And their compatibility exists both in and out of the bedroom!


"I like to be...undemanding in bed. To, well, have the other person make the decisions. there's something about someone doing what he wants to do with me..."






I-- *clears throat*

Yes, I'm very fine with that.

Edging and submissiveness...oh yes, these two were definitely hot together.

While the two check off so many boxes on my characters-I-enjoy list, the story isn't without minor flaws.

Why not full throttle and dump all the hearts at this book's feet? There are some open ended issues that I would love to be answered. There's an arc that has enough mystery to probably cover the entire series. (That epilogue is everything)

But...something about the 'villain(s) ending'-- something about it s sticking in my craw. Maybe it could be more of a me thing but I wanted justice. I wanted a big never ending battle royal as a climax to the action scenes scattered about the story.

The cowardice irks me. Who is the accomplice? Mastermind? Ah!

But I do think the author kept the main character's personalities at the forefront at all times, so I'll just have to swallow and build a bridge to get over it.

Or read the rest of this series, which I DEFINITELY will be. Because I am all in for "Polish Mark". This author has me pining for themes I tend to shy away from - mysteries and psychics. *shakes head*

The writing is that good.

I don't plan on running through the ignored lists of books with those themes but it seems that if K.J. Charles has written it, I'll make an exception.

The secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. And the story overall, is well written enough, suspenseful enough and romantic enough to check out!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review via Netgalley.

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