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review 2018-03-24 18:49
The Apothecary's Garden by Julie Bozza Review
The Apothecary's Garden - Julie Bozza

Hilary Kent, a Londoner all his working life, retires to Wiltshire after an estranged cousin unexpectedly leaves him an inhabitable tower surrounded by an overgrown physic garden – and that’s when graduate student Tom Laurence suddenly erupts into his life, convincing him that together they can restore the ancient garden to its former glory. Tom’s cheerful friendship is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hilary and he’s perfectly content with that until, to his astonishment and confusion, it seems that Tom’s affection for him is beginning to grow into something more … something he feels he probably shouldn’t allow.

 

Review

 

If you like age gaps in romance this is a doozy. There are so many little gestures to love in this quiet romance. History, the garden, the discussion of love...

The writing is lyrical and comforting. It is a mellow book despite some of the internal drama. I would have loved if this book was told from the younger hero's point of view and not just Hilary's. There are just details that are missing because of a solo point of view. 

They both are kind fine men and I am glad they found each other.
 
 
 

 

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review 2015-04-20 00:00
The Definitive Albert J. Sterne
The Definitive Albert J. Sterne - Julie Bozza
OhmanOhmanOhman

I really don't know how to rate this book.

As I picked it up I hoped to find a well written mystery and the beginning didn't give away, not in the slightest way, that it was NOT a mystery!(If you're looking for a mystery, then you should look for it somewhere else.) The part about chasing a serial killer is incidental here.

I also can't say that it is a romance book, but the relationship between two VERY different men, between Albert, an FBI forensics expert, and Special Agent Fletcher Ash, who is obseesed with the idea to find a murderer but who is not very persuasive in his attempts, is the main focus of this book. And it is exactly where I have my issues. I just can't believe that this relationship can and could work. The idea itself is interesting but less credible.

The first half of the book was a pure struggle for me – an extremely slow pace of the story and the absence of any investigating activities, my permanent disconnection to the MCs, and my desperate waiting for something to happen here was almost the reason for my DNF. But something kept my attention on the story, that I can't put in words. Maybe it was the unique writing style of Julie Bozza, or maybe a simple human curiosity supported by highly appraised reviews from my GR friends.

And now, when I managed to finish it, I would say, you should give it a try. Not everyone's cuppa, but for sure something very unusual.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-03-26 02:57
I know I did a brief rant before but here is a full review
Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life - Julie Bozza

PUBLISHED AT DA SPOILERS BEWARE SPOILERS SPOILERS

 

Investigative journalist Mitch Rebecki loves his job and loves New York. He doesn’t mind making enemies, either. When a crime boss threatens retaliation, Mitch’s editor sends him out of harm’s way to Sydney. In exile and resentfully working on lifestyle pieces, Mitch is miserable. But he makes a friend or two, meets a man … and discovers that Australians do organized crime, too, in a small way. Mitch soon finds himself in too deep on all counts, and trying to head home again seems the only solution.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW . I DECIDED THAT IT DOES NOT EVEN MAKE SENSE TO USE SPOILER TAGS.

Dear Julie Bozza,

I am a little sad to write this review, because I have bought, read, and enjoyed almost every book you’ve published with Manifold press. Unfortunately this book ended up being a disappointment. I want to make it very clear that it has nothing to do with the quality of your writing – that felt just as smooth and polished as ever to me. I however had very few doubts about my grade because I had several problems with plot and characterization in this story.

The problems started early. As the blurb states, Mitch Rebecki is a journalist who wrote an article exposing a mafia boss before the FBI was quite ready to prosecute him. Mafia people started to threaten Mitch – first they killed his cat and sent it to him in a box and then they sent him a fake bomb (what could be made into a bomb I guess). Then, when Mitch asks the FBI for help they pretty much shrug it off (not much we can do). Seriously, FBI? Okay, you do not feel your case is ready yet, I get that, but you do not think those things could be the reason to hide Mitch before the prosecution has something to move on? I have no idea whether such stupidity can/did/may happen in real life. What I was sure about is that I did not find such a setup convincing.

My problems had just begun, however. I am sure that Sydney is a beautiful city, it is definitely on the short list of places I want to visit one day. But I was really bored when I was reading about Mitch doing research for his lifestyle pieces. I was bored and wondered what these parts added to the story.

Being an investigative journalist, Mitch of course eventually stumbles upon an Australian mafia person to investigate and expose. I thought that the story would pick up some action and suspense here. It has a little bit of that, but it happened somewhere in the last twenty percent of the book and by then it was too late for me.

But, you may ask me, what about the romance? My answer is that it was there – maybe, kind of. It was ridiculous, really. The photographer assigned to work with Mitch in Sydney suggests he do a piece on Australian architecture by interviewing Rory Pierce. Pierce is a famous architect who was previously married to their editor and whom this woman (the photographer) has a crush on, or is in love with to be more precise.

I felt that romance storyline moved with the speed of light and was over in a blink of an eye (and I am not exaggerating much). Somewhere around the forty percent point of the book they meet, Mitch thinks Rory is gorgeous, very soon after that Rory manages to sleep with the photographer (have I mentioned that she commits suicide shortly after that?) and then Rory and Mitch are in love very soon after that.

I also want to stress that I do not care if the romance storyline is not very important in books like this, but I need other stuff in the story to occupy my attention and here it did not happen, so I was left frustrated with the lack of romance and bored or annoyed by everything else.

As a last comment I want to note that Adena Nacano, the Sydney policewoman in Mitch’s neighborhood, was in a serious competition for the “most stupid law enforcement officer” trophy with the American FBI people. Okay, so she was suspicious of Mitch because Australian Immigration Service called her after he moved in the area, fine, I get that. After Mitch’s editor sent him to Sydney to hide him, as the FBI should have done, Mitch asked if the FBI could at least give him a new passport and they agreed to do that as a favor (how grand of them). They however forgot or did not bother to call Australian Immigration to warn them that there was a reason why a person with a brand new passport is entering their country.

Adena calls the American witness protection 1-800 number (don’t ask) and as evasive as they were, she got a clear message to let it be and leave Mitch under his new name alone, because you know, that way lies danger for Mitch. Do you think she stops? Nope, the idiot still thinks that she is entitled to Mitch’s real identity (?!). I was so annoyed at that point. I did not even care that at the end she helped Mitch with his Australian mafia problem – I wanted her to drop dead at that point in the story.

But wait, if you are expecting a happy ending in the romance department, don’t. Maybe it was a sequel bait, but that thought only annoyed me more.

Grade D.

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review 2015-03-23 00:00
The Definitive Albert J. Sterne
The Definitive Albert J. Sterne - Julie Bozza 5 beautiful, beautiful stars

Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he's sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It's only a matter of duty, though; it can't be more, because Albert doesn't do friendship - and he certainly doesn't do love!

This, ladies and gentleman, is my idea of a perfect blurb. It drew me in, I had a sample on my eReader in seconds and bought the paperback not long after. And loved it so danm hard!

I don't really want to write more about the plot, because really, it's hard to do it just right and IMHO, everyone deserves to experience this one uninfluenced. Suffice to say, Albert J. Sterne and Fletcher Ash stayed with me for a long time, mostly because they are both wonderfully complex characters with a life of their own, who threw me for a loop now and again. In some ways they might challenge your perception of what love is, what makes friendship real, and how much trust really matters, but leaves you with a satisfied little smile on your face. These two will probably always have a place on my "favorite-partners list".

But, of course there's a fly in the ointment. This is NOT your standard M/M romance. Sometimes while reading, you might start wondering if it actually is a romance at all. It has a strong, equally complex crime-solving plot, which I loved whole-heartedly. Not to fear, though, there is love, and trust-building and relationship-developing going on. And it is absolutely beautiful, but sure as hell not instant. This story strechtes over years (!), folks. So some patience is in order - just a fair warning. The end is absolutely worth it, though!

What makes this book really special to me is the writing! The writing, people! It's absolutely gorgeous, let me tell you. Ever since I've learned that Julie Bozza has some favorite authors I had to read in college, I start to understand where parts of it might come from. The rest though, is pure talent. It's most definitely different, which is why I understand that this book isn't necessarily for everyone.

It's not just story-telling, it's not just writing a love story. Some even might define it as purple prose,but I'm wouldn't be so sure about that. It's prose alright, but purple doesn't do it justice. Artistic would be more like it, and if you're looking for colloquial, skip this one and skip it fast. Julie Bozza's writing is beautiful, artistic, complex and even if it might seem to be very formal on the outside, it really isn't. You just have to look for finer emotions, for finer shades and colours, beneath the surface. It's a skill and a gift, something you won't find everywhere. As a German, I might be tempted to call it high literature, if it wasn't for my strong distaste for this label.

Still, this is one piece of art that made me laugh and cry, and broke my heart while putting it back together at the same time. I loved it, I adored it and it is one of my absolute favorites in this genre.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-02-25 02:27
I will do a full review for DA
Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life - Julie Bozza

But I just need to do a brief rant here. Which is especially disappointing because I loved all her books that I have read and I have read all but one.

 

Self indulging, boring and silly. The end. And I do not need the romance in the book, truly, but seriously?

In between Mitch's writing life style pieces and investigating , he meets a guy who is a famous architect, one second the guy sleeps with Mitch's photographer and next second, they are in love? The hell? The hell? What was that I wonder. Photographer commits suicide by the way (lovely girl, who introduced them to each other). Oh and they do not stay together at the end.

(spoiler show)

 

 

And I loved lots of Manifold books, but their editing starting to annoy me in a sense that they leave in a lot of details. A lot a lot, why do I need to read about him researching piece about coffee shop? why?

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