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Search tags: love-is-an-open-road
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review 2018-09-13 03:44
Dared and Confused
Dared and Confused - Adara O’Hare

This was sometimes weird, mostly sweet friends-to-lovers short story.

 

The sweet: Jackson has never been attracted to or interested in anyone, male or female, until his best friend Chet kisses him on a dare during a truth and dare game. And suddenly it's fireworks and Jackson realizes there are things about himself he didn't know that he didn't know. Watching him trying to sort out his confusion and figuring out he's gray-ace was a treat.

 

Chet was super patient and supportive, and he's clearly been in love with Jackson for years but never said anything so as not to pressure him. There was lots of good tension leading up to the sex scene, which thankfully wasn't too long. Still, I was starting to lose interest by the time it finished.

 

Jackson's mom was a pure delight, y'all. She was like Christmas in July. :D

 

The weird: Why would Jackson's dad be so opposed to him wanting to be a veterinarian? You need those on ranches. Just find someone else to run the ranch, geez.

 

I also didn't care much for the hyper-sexualized truth and dare game at the beginning. There is such a thing as being *too* close to your friends, lol. I did like how it was used later though; it was a nice little callback.

 

Oh, then there's the Texas-speak that's all over this book like burrs in a billy goat's hide. Darn tootin! :P You can either read it or it'll drive you up the wall, lol.

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review 2018-06-16 05:43
Lima Oscar Victor Echo and the Truth About Everything
Lima Oscar Victor Echo and The Truth About Everything - Suki Fleet

I decided to start using my lunch breaks to try to get through some of these DRitC stories I've had sitting on my Kindle for the past two+ years. This was the first one. And might be the last one.

 

It had it's cute moments, don't get me wrong. The few short scenes that Oscar and Jamie actually spend on page together, it was easy to see why they're such good friends, and why they would be great as something more. They just don't get to spend a lot of time together - even though they're best friends and work in the same record store four days out of the week. *shrug*

 

But in the end it didn't really hold my interest. If you've read even a handful of friends-to-lovers or GFY stories (though this isn't GFY but teases at it for most of the story) then you can predict every single step the plot takes from beginning to end. It has ALL the tropes, including but not limited to:

 

~Dudes who don't talk about feelings.
~Dudes who angst about not being able to talk about feelings.
~Dudes who are so terrible with feelings that they're not even sure what feelings they're feeling and they don't know how to feel about that. :(
~The female bestie who likes to meddle. Because someone's gotta move this plot forward.
~The ex-girlfriend who conveniently shows up to throw a wrench in the clockwork, though really the guys not talking to each other does that just fine on its own.

 

If you like those tropes, then you'll enjoy this story a lot more than I did.

 

On top of that, there are several dropped plot lines that really didn't need to be crammed into this novella. There are inconsistencies as well. Jamie and Oscar seem to have been besties since forever, but Oscar never met Jamie's mom even though she only died a year before, and Jamie only met Oscar's dad once. At one point, it's mentioned that Jamie opens the shop - but then later on, he doesn't have the keys to close it. Huh?

 

And then it just ends in the middle of a scene. What?!

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review 2017-09-09 01:26
Moondrop
Moondrop - Katey Hawthorne

This was cute. A high school teacher meets a dragon-shifter and it's tru wuv, though not in that creepy brain-washy meant-to-be way that tends to define the shifter genre. This could've been rounded out more, but for a short, breezy read this was nice. 

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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 2017-04-12 01:28
Ten Simple Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse
Ten Simple Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse - Cari Z.

Why yes, I just did use my "fluff" tag for a book about the zombie apocalypse. What of it?

 

This was cute! Like puppies and kittens in springtime! Just ignore the killer mutant hordes coming to eat your face off. You'll be fine. There's even a quiz at the end that ramps the cuteness factor up to eleven.

 

I did think the romance was a bit on the thin side, but that didn't really bother me, since this is a fun breezy read and anything too angsty would've messed up the tone. Still, if you're looking for steam, look elsewhere. The epilogue could've answered a couple of extra questions than it did, and it was never explained what caused the plague, but again, not a big deal that it didn't. 

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