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review 2018-07-31 17:31
Good and bad
Love your lady landscape - Lisa Lister

This was quite good until page 194 when Yoni eggs entered the frame, so I suggest skipping from the middle of page 194 until 201 and then skip near the top of 213 (Healing steam) to 219.  Where it went from being a book by Hay House that I was treating with a small amount of salt garnish to a book that needs careful checking.  It's also quite fertility centric which may be triggering to some childless folks.


It's an interesting read and there's a lot of food for thought here but I'm not sure that the salt does may be lethal.

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review 2016-11-06 00:17
That Eighteenth Summer
That Eighteenth Summer - Raine O'Tierney

As an examination on grief, this is a great story. It shows how Oliver comes to terms with his brother's death in Afghanistan and how this shakes his entire life to the core. Everything he was working towards, all his plans for his future, are now called into question and he has to figure out who he is and what he wants without his big brother's light to shine the way. 


As a romance... well, Oliver's 18, so I think that's certainly young enough to not call this GFY even though he does the whole "but I'm straight" thing for awhile, and of course Luca's the only guy ever he's seen in that way. But personality and sexuality tends to be less defined at that age, so it's not unexpected for Ollie to view himself as straight because why wouldn't he? Especially since his whole existence is being as much like his big brother as he can be. He gets over it pretty quickly and there's not a whole of him examining what it means to be gay/bi/whatever. I'm also not clear what Luca saw in Ollie. The whole thing is told from Ollie's POV and he's too self-involved with his grief and his woes to get a very clear picture on who Luca is apart from him. 


This was all supposed to be taking place in the DADT era and early 2000s. There are some minor details that didn't ring quite true. There were also a few brief instances of casual homophobia when Ollie first learns Luca is gay, and one or two lines that could possibly be read as ableist, but ymmv.

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review 2016-02-01 15:27
Count Your Blessings
Count Your Blessings - Amelia Mann

TW: Grief, homophobia


This is the last of the Love's Landscapes stories I plan to read and it's a winner. 


George and Isaac are from different worlds. George was physically and mentally abused by his father growing up and eventually kicked out of the house. He went to live with his sister, who helped him get through college. She's the only family he has or trusts. Isaac comes from a big Jewish family that accepts and supports each other through everything; they're extremely close. George, despite being with Isaac for years at the start of the story, hasn't yet gotten close to any of Isaac's family due to his trust issues.


When George's sister is in an accident and they have to take in his 4-yr old niece Emma, George's world comes crashing down around him. The story starts off rather sad - even I felt some tears starting to form a time or two, so those who are easy criers should read with tissue close at hand - and follows the couple over the next couple of years as George rebuilds his life and learns how to count his blessings. 


This is the first story I read with a Jewish partner and family. I liked reading about their traditions and learning about the difference between fundamental Jews and reform Jews. Isaac's family is great, Emma is very outgoing and adorable, and Isaac is a solid partner for when George needs him most. 

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review 2016-01-02 06:16
Into the Wastelands
Into the Wastelands - Gwynn Marssen

TW: ableist slurs, violation of bodily autonomy, Holocaust


In the distant future, after mankind totally screwed up the Earth and nearly killed themselves off as a species, the descendants of the survivors of the Cataclysm (think of that playground scene from T2, minus the machines) live in a strange land. They've split into clans, who have different mutant abilities. It's a fantastic premise, but in the end I found it lacking. 


Keric's ability is to see into the past, which means he witnesses daily how the world as we know it ended, as well as other atrocities, such as the Holocaust (which felt unnecessary to include when we have the world-wide Cataclysm to explore). His uncle hopes that this also means Keric can unlock the knowledge that has been lost to the past, such as how to build our weapons. Keric doesn't want to do that and he has little to no control over his abilities. His uncle bans him until Keric decides to cooperate.


Dolan was to be sacrificed by his clan to their god to keep the balance in the Force, or something like that. He went into the Wastelands, or the Hollow Lands as his clan calls it, to literally lay down and die. Keric finds him and saves him. Dolan's people are relatively unknown to all the tribes, as they live in the nighttime and have the ability to cloak themselves from the detection of others.


Keric's tribe is well-detailed, as is Dolan's, though we never really meet either tribe, nor do we hear much about any of the others. We meet a few people from Keric's tribe near the end, including Keric's sister, but we quickly leave them behind before we can really get to know them. Dolan discovers why Keric has difficulty controlling his powers, but the mystery of why this happened to him goes unanswered. Keric at one point has to run away to keep from being dragged to his uncle's. One of his uncle's men gives chase. There's a prolonged chase followed by a really short battle with an unknown resolution. 


There's a lot to like here, but too much is left unresolved to be a satisfying read. There was also weird comma usage throughout, which was distracting.


I did love Bane the Pony though (who was alternately called a horse). He was funny and worth the read. Honestly, I would read this whole story from Bane's point of view in a heartbeat.

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review 2015-12-30 16:58
Mad Passion
Mad Passion - Naaju Rorrete

DNF at 32% and that was with skimming half of it. 


I should've given up after the first chapter. I knew I should have but I was feeling generous and tried to give this a chance to turn around.


I think I got spoiled with the first few enemies-to-lovers themed books I read, because in those the "enemy" part was the distant past, usually going back to school days, and when we meet the MCs, they're adults and able to own up to their stupidity, wipe the slate clean and move on while slowly learning to trust each other and eventually fall in love.


I'm not saying that a banker can't be a complete and total douche face. I'm not saying that a construction company owner can't be a stubborn and impulsive dope head. I'm just saying I don't want to read that. These two act like complete assbutts with each other, Travis accusing Joe of being a thug because he has tattoos and his uniform is a little dirty after a whole day's work. Joe does try to reason with him at first, but he's also totally checking Travis out and coming onto him while Travis is slinging insults at him. Then they're rolling around on the lawn - because why not - and Joe just kisses him. Because his gaydar was tingling. And he wanted to prove something to Travis. Or something. Um... what? Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic. 


Then there's this whole other plot of Joe's ex Matt coming back. Matt cheated on Joe several times, Joe finally caught him at it and moved out. That was 10 months ago. So Matt's back to win him back by buying the house next door to Joe's parents' farm where Joe also lives. Matt then insinuates himself into Joe's parents' good graces (because they don't seem to know that he and Joe were more than just friends despite them living together for three years), and proceeds to stalk and sexually assault Joe. Sorry, Matt, but unless you're a bumblehead named Bella, stalking and sexual assault are not attractive qualities in guys. This was the second chapter.


And then it just gets more inane and improbable from there. As I said before not that long ago, life's too short.

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