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review 2016-08-04 13:38
Moments in Time - Karen Stivali

#1 Moment of Impact
#2 Moment of Truth
#3 Moment of Clarity

I think there is no need to say that I reject every kind of discrimination. But here in this book I was aggravated. Yes, I'm perfectly aware that the world is full of assholes and intolerance, I'm not trying to make light of all those people. However, I also don't tolerate it the other way around.

I live in a secular country but 94% of the population is Catholic. 70% are believers, but many more made the First Communion, even if after some time they forget everything about it only to remember it in the day of their wedding. I made the First Communion myself. And... 88% of the population here says that homosexuality should be accepted by society.

So, yes, we have the processions during the Holy Week and we have the Gay Pride Day. People can marry and people can divorce. Gay people can marry, too, since 10 years ago. We watch movies by Almodóvar with all his trans and we also watch über conservative shit. So what? I'm not religious but my culture is Catholic. Spanish History is marked by Catholicism. It's very meaningful that Arabs lived in Spain for 800 years and still Catholicism survived and fought back. We may do things slowly but we do them.

I've visited more castles and cathedrals and churches throughout Spain than I can count. It's historic heritage, after all. It doesn't matter how small the town is, there will always be a church, older than some countries or not, but it's very weird not to find one.

All my grandparents go to church and one of those churches gets full of prostitutes every Sunday. The priest welcomes them and I bet he is proud that the manages to attract the "black sheep" to his mass. What is the problem?

Why every time a Catholic character comes into scene immediately something rings into our head: "Bigotry!"? In my short experience, Catholic people are not the most intolerant out there. Mostly, they let people live. Catholicism is based on love and respect. The thing is, there are some who follow those principles, and there are some who don't. I don't think it's fair that we judge the main majority just due to a bunch of bastards that make too much noise. The USA has a lower percentage of Catholic people, about 24%. How come only 60% of the people in the States say homosexuality should be accepted by society? It's very senseless to say Catholic people are the guilty ones in the hate towards homosexuality, isn't it? Or maybe there are other factors apart from religion that determinate the open-mindedness of people? Can we honestly say that all Jewish, Islamic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc people welcome everybody with open arms? So how come Catholics are always the bad ones? I have some theories myself but I won't explain them here.

In this book I have the feeling this message is drummed into us: not every bigot is Catholic but every Catholic is a bigot. Just stop and think: how many books have you read that a Catholic is included (MCs or family or friends) in it and there are problems of acceptance of homosexuality? It's too much of a coincidence for me that they usually coincide. I have to think really hard to find an example of the opposite.

Yes, I know that the homosexuality marriage became legal in the States just some days ago, and I celebrate. USA has lots of influence, so of course this will spread to other countries. Spreading the equality. But please, let's stop the stereotypes. I bet gay stereotypes annoy real gay men, and religious stereotypes annoy me, too. I have no way to find out if Catholic people in the States are more fanatical or not but my American teacher told me that the people he sees going to the Gay Pride Gay in Madrid are "unthinkable" to be found back at home, he says that "everybody" goes there.

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review 2016-02-02 23:57
Moment Of Clarity by Karen Stivali
Moment Of Clarity - Karen Stivali
Good lord, the angst. The ANGST! And so much of it is unnecessary as hell. 
The third book in the Moments In Time series finally brings a HEA for Collin and Tanner - or at least a strong HFN. However, the way to get there was... hard. In many ways. And not all of them pleasant. 
Back at college, Collin and Tanner are not only faced with a homophobia and angst to the max, but they also need to find a place to live since their dorm was flooded. After reconnecting with his brother Sean, Collin can stay with him and his daughters in his house. Even Tanner is allowed to come, and they both enjoy the (somewhat) quiet, the relative privacy and the babysitting inbetween. Until the bitch-y and absent mother of the girls, Laura, shows up in all her homophobic and hysterical glory. 
After that nice little meeting, the boys are back on the streets looking for a place to stay. Because Laura is suing Sean for custody and the boys don't want to "damage" Sean's image or destroy his chances of keeping the kids. Which is... yeah, no. What?! That woman abandoned her kids, hasn't been around for weeks and NOW she wants sole custody? Also, in what world would a big brother throw his little brother plus boyfriend out on the streets when he is starting to fight for custody? It was a temporary solution anyway to let the boys stay until they could back to their dorm, and while I am well aware of how fucked up custody cases can get, and how homophobic judges can be, in my opinion there was absolutely NO REASON to throw the boys out immediately and without looking for another place for them to sleep first. It didn't make any sense, and it pissed me off.
So then, in all their desperation, Collin and Tanner try to reconnect somewhat with Wendy (Tanner's former fuck buddy) and maybe stay with her and her roommates. And let me tell you, I couldn't care less about this woman. She's manipulative, she's mean, and one big self-centred bitch most of the time. Even when she was fucking up her friendships for all the wrong reasons, even when her douchebag of a cheating boyfriend finally went a step too far, I couldn't muster up a lot of sympathy for her. And I was even less impressed with how she handled all the drama. I just disliked her way too much. 
The big drama also was too much for me. First you get the homophobic assholes who didn't even get expelled or suspended for criminal property damage - in a freaking college dorm! Then Collin, the martyr, completely looses his shit and is looking in the most unlikely place for help/a place to hide. Which was not only an overused and old plot device, but also didn't make a lick of sense. 
But... I still couldn't stop reading. And I still can't just give the book one or two stars. Because for one, I really enjoyed Karen Stivalis writing style. It was engaging and smooth, and I actually enjoyed the writing as such. And while they aren't flawless, I liked the two MCs and their on-page time together. Tanner and Collin are sweet, sexy, sometimes too cute, sometimes a little heartbreaking, but always likeable as characters. I liked to read about their relationship and I enjoyed the parts of their journey that actually was between the two and the two alone. 
I could have done with a better ending, though. While it wasn't a complete HEA, in other parts it was just too much. Too much of in an "everything is absolutely fine for EVERYONE"-way. I really didn't buy it. And while I know that there is a new book out in the series, I'm not sure I'm going to pick it up. I think I'm just finished with this series for now, no matter who's staring in the next book.
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review 2016-02-02 22:55
Moment Of Truth by Karen Stivali
Moment of Truth - Karen Stivali

Well, I'm not completely sure about this one and my review might contain mild spoilers.



The first installment was well written, a little sexy and a little sweet, but not exactly my favorite read. I still wanted to know how things would progress between Tanner, the man who screwed his girl right next to the man he claimed to have a crush on, and Collin, a sweet guy coming from a messed up family and not at all comfortable with being out of the closet.


The second installment starts out with Collin and Tanner arriving at a house on Fire Island where they're spending their summer working as waiters. But Collin is not used to being out, while at the same time his insecurities get the best of him now and again, driving him to the kind of ugly jealousy that is never good for any relationship.

The story was well written, the pace was good and I enjoyed Collin and Tanner growing together, getting more intimate with each other and exploring their physical relationship further. The many side characters were a little... tiring at times. They all had a story, they all had their own angst, and some of them just got on my nerves. Because while they all wanted to have "screen time", they also stayed kind of vague and rough around the edges.


What I really didn't like was the jealousy/misunderstanding part. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of the readers who absolutely hate cheating in a book. Also, what we got here was a very grey area, if you ask me. Not exactly cheating, but not exactly fidelity either. But the way it happened was absolutely not my thing. Not only did we get a "Big Misunderstanding" that was never actually explained, but the whole thing felt forced from beginning to end. Especially because at first I was very happy that Collin found an actual friend on the island - he definitely needed one - but it felt so... "cheapened" after everything was said and done. As if people can't be friends without at least making out once. Didn't like that part at all.


It also says a lot when I start liking the "other man" too much and when I am actually considering for a moment if the two wouldn't make a good couple.

It's all resolved in the end, maybe even a little too easily and with too many rainbows and butterflies. But again, it's "only" a HFN, and not exactly a very strong one.

So I'm a little torn. On the one hand it's well written, with good pace and two likable MCs that had their moments. But then I didn't like the "big drama" and wasn't a huge fan of the ending.


So it was okay, and I was curious if these two would ever get their HEA, but it wasn't enough to bump this up to more than three stars all around.

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review 2016-01-07 20:51
Moment Of Impact by Karen Stivali
Moment of Impact - Karen Stivali

Outside is scary, inside is terrifying.

Collin Fitzpatrick did NOT have an easy life. Controlled by a fanatically religious mother, the missing locks on his bathroom and bedroom doors were just some of the small things that had a lasting effect on him. Being gay wasn't remotely up for discussion in his family. Even the thought of being intimate with a guy was completely out of the question. Consequently, Collin is living his life with an unhealthy amount of guilt, shame and anxiety mixed in, and the big crush he has on his straight college roommate, Tanner, doesn't help one bit. Quite the opposite, because after listening to Tannner banging his friend with benefits the whole semester, the one night he gets caught staring? Turns out Tanner isn't as straight as Collin thought he was, and his undesirable thoughts aren't as impossible as he was hoping.

This book surprised me a little. The writing was good, even though some of the dialogue and inner musings seemed a bit forced at times. But it didn't bother me too much. I had more problems with the fact that Tanner slept with his roommate while Collin was right there. I don't care if he thought his roommate was asleep or not. You just don't DO stuff like that. Especially not when you allegedly have a huge crush on the other person sleeping in the bed right beside your own. Just no.

Other than that I enjoyed the story. Collin never had it easy with his family, therefore never really accepted himself or at least got comfortable with his own body. His anxiety and shame burden him in almost every situation, his fear of discovery is almost all-consuming. No wonder that this kind of angst influences the bloossoming relationship with Tanner greatly, and not exactly in a good way.

This was a good, short gfy-ofy story, even though I got a tiny bit annoyed with the "near-death/severe-situation-changed-everything" plotline. It's not a bad formula, but it's been done more times than anyone can count, which si why more often than not it lost its' shine. I can understand it, I can read it and somewhat enjoy it, but in the end, I wish the characters could grow, change and make decisions without life-altering events forcing their hand. But I know that's me, so other readers might not be bothered by it.

All in all a good start of a series and I picked up the second installment out of pure curiosity right after I finished this one.

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review 2014-12-27 00:00
Moments In Time: It is never too late to come out
Moments In Time: It is never too late to come out - Adam Stevens Wow, really enjoyed this, a lot different to other m/m books I read.

It kind of reads like an Autobiography and oh George, every time he got HOT and heavy with someone I was hoping for a HEA.

Really held my attention and oh my, the sex scenes are hot and really well written.

If you like hot m/m action definitely try it, but it's not just the SEX , it's a really well written BOOK.

Will definitely be reading the next one!!!
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