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review 2017-10-13 11:23
oh! I LOVED this one!!
Unbroken Hearts - K-lee Klein
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book. My apologies to Ms Klein, this should have been a Release day review, but that darn dayjob got in the way! And a little warning. I may gush in this review :-) So, this is book two, and you really REALLY MUST read book one, Unbreak My Heart before you jump into this one. Some may say not totally necessary but I say it is. And you'll need a box of tissues for that read! While this one doesn't carry emotions that cause your heart to break into a million tiny pieces, get stomped on, and glued back together in the slowest way, it DOES carry a lotta love. Like so much love, its not funny! Like so much love my sister would say "pass the bucket!" JT and Brett have been together a couple months and are very much in love. But they are both still dealing with the past. What this book is about, is them dealing with that past in ways only JT and Brett can. AND IT IS GLORIOUS! I read this book in one sitting. Stayed up way past my bedtime. Was not present at the dayjob next day. I just could not put it down! It is, by far, the most too stinking cute AND warm and fuzzies book I've read for a long time. I mean, its hilarious watching JT work himself up into a tizzy about Valentines Day. Watching them deal with Mama and Halloween, and Christmas. It is painful reading about Brett dealing that darn barn, but that pain is overshadowed by the LOVE that jumps off every page, it really is. I LISTENED to the first book. I am praying to every deity known to man, and then some, that the powers that be will get this book narrated once again by Nick J Russo. Because while I loved reading this book, I could hear Russo in my head but the voices were all wrong. So, I'm a-praying. Its so very rare we get a follow up story to one that was such a heart wrenching read. Brett and JT fought hard to get their act together and reading this, over the course of their year, was amazing, and I really REALLY loved it. But I just gotta say, even though this book was perfect, and Brett already said he wasn't the kind for pieces of paper to say how much he loved the kid, I wanted a marriage proposal! Had there been a wedding?? I'd never have been able to find the right words! An amazing 5 star read!! **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2017-05-23 14:34
something didn't quite work for me
Play Chopin for Me - Max Vos,A. J. Corza Play Chopin for Me - Max Vos,A. J. Corza
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book. Dale's home and restaurant are destroyed by fire. Turning up at his sister's house in his boxers and a raincoat give Chrissie the opportunity to finally give Dale the make over she has longed to give him. Al's roommate leave, and he needs a new one to meet rent. Dale and Al come together, and neither expected what it would lead to. *insert sigh* *insert another, deeper sigh* I wanted to love this, I really did. But for a couple of reasons, I didn't. I did not connect, at any level, with either Dale or Al. I don't know why, and it always pains me when I am unable to voice what I need to say. Pains me deeply. Especially when this is a new to me author and I get to meet him later this year! I found there was a great deal of dialogue, and the gaps between were few. What there was in the gaps, though, was good! I liked the connection between Al's father and Dale's solicitors father. I did not like what Al's grandmother did!! I did like the way it came out though, just not the depths she went to to get what she wanted. Oh, wait. I take my non-connection back. I DID feel for Al, when all was revealed. I even shed a tear for him. I loved how, one way or another, Dale, Al and Chrissie all ended up in Paris, at the same time! Cute, that. Really cute. So all in all, a good book, but for ME, not a great one. 3 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2016-12-17 10:46
awesome catch up with these boys
Absinthe of Malice - Rhys Ford
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book.
 
Damien decides to take Crossroads Gin on tour. Miki, Forest and Rafe all have their own demons to chase, as does Damien but he hopes this tour will bring them closer to each other, to get back what they had with Sinners Gin. The further along the tour they go, the more those demons push and torment. Will it bring them closer, or push them further apart?
 
Oh I LOVED catching up with these boys! And I do mean everyone. We get some of each couple, Miki and Kane; Damien and Sionn; Forest and Connor; Rafe and Quinn and even Ma and Da pop up along the way.
 
Each member of the band struggles in their own way being separated from the other halves of their souls. Miki really goes through the wringer here and Rafe is pushed to his very limits. Its full of soul searching, deep and painful, spaced with a reunion of each pair at various points. ( I found it to be not as explicit as some of the other books, but thats not a bad thing, not at all!) It has each band member's feeling about being on tour and on stage. It has each band member's reaction to everything that happens.
 
It also has a CORKER of a cliff hanger! I mean a freaking corker that was like SAY WHAT NOW?!?!?!?!?
 
I need to listen to this too. I could hear Tristan James in my head while reading but I'll say the same as I did in my read review for Sloe Ride. I'm not hearing the VOICES correctly, and it was doing my head in. So much so, I went back and listened to some of Sloe Ride, just to get everyone right. Still need to listen to it though!
 
I'll not say anymore, because I don't wanna give spoilers. BUT! If you are a follower of the Sinners Gin series, you'll need to know this: One more time. Just one more time we'll get to catch up with these guys. Just the one. And I'm sad about that but equally, I know the series end is gonna be awesome!
 
5 stars
 
I was also given the opportunity to LISTEN to this book, via Divine Magazine. I was gifted the audio file.
 
Tristan James narrates, as he does the whole series. And I cannot, absolutely CANNOT fault his work. The man is a genius at the voices of everyone. I have some hearing issues which means I struggle with speech tones, especially when there are multiple people talking. I have NO issues with James' voices. I can define each and every one, clearly, with no bother at all, even when they all wanna take part in the conversation! He portrays all their emotions, their feelings, their fears about this tour, in such a way, that you wanna hug each and every one of the boys in the band, and their mates just like Ma would do.
 
His reading voice is clear and deep and even and lulls you, you know? You sort of get pulled in a false sense of security, because while you are lulling along, listening to an excellent book with excellent narration, Ford will then spit at you, throw something at you that makes you gasp out loud, shout WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT and make you (or it did me, even though I had READ this previously so kinda knew what to expect!) rewind, and listen to the bit again, because you might have misheard James. But no, you didn't.
 
I knew when I was reading this book, I wasn't hearing the voices right. I KNEW I had to listen to this book, even though I have read it already, but I'm finding I like doing that. Reading it, then listening at a later date. Not some much to listen first THEN read though. Sorry, going off topic. I KNEW i had to listen to this book. James does not disappoint, no ma'am, not at all.
 
so,
 
5 stars for the book
5 stars for the narration
5 stars overall
 
** same worded review will appear on Goodreads, Booklikes, Audible.com,Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Dreamspinner Press**

 

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review 2015-05-28 00:39
Music to Sooth the Savage Beast
Harmony - Sienna Mynx

I pulled this one up on my Kindle because I was watching the HBO movie "Bessie" with Queen Latifah (who is the definition of awesome), and I wanted to read something set at this time, and especially IR. I had downloaded is specifically because of the time setting and the storyline, and this was the perfect time to read it. I wasn't disappointed. This was a very good book.

Disclaimer: I will use the term 'colored' for black people because that is what black people were called at this time. This term is not appropriate to use anymore, but in the context of this story, it's timely.

Harmony sings the blues at the Cotton Club. Music is in her soul and it's her gift, how she pours out her anguish over the loss of her grandmother and her man. Her dreams of escaping a life bound by the restrictions of race and lack of money are given full rein when she sings. When her brother goes missing, she exploits the fact that powerful gangster Vinnie Romano seems captivated with her voice. She asks him to help her find her brother, knowing he'll have a price, and one that she's willing to pay. Set in a time of Prohibition when gang violence is near an all time high, this book delivers on the intensity.

I bought in on the chemistry between Harmony and Vinnie from their first meeting. I like that you initially don't know what Vinnie's motives are. He's a hard man and he keeps his heart buried deep. Coming over from Sicily with nothing, he's earned his status as a Boss with blood. And Vinnie definitely has an intimidating vibe. I like dangerous heroes, although I can't say I'm fond of mobsters. They aren't my cup of tea since I don't like brutality and the ruthless killing for profit and status associated with that kind of business. What hooked me in with Vinnie was his extreme appreciation for Harmony's singing and his love of blues music, a music that was strictly colored music at this time. They actually called them race records. For Vinnie to connect with such soulful music showed that he was deeper than he might have appeared. While at first, you don't get that race isn't an issue with him, you wonder that it can't be if he would connect so deeply with a culture so different from his own. Vinnie made me care about him. As Harmony sees his layers and the lion's heart he has, so did I. I appreciate loyalty and honor, and I don't tend to associate those with mobsters, but Vinnie clearly has those traits. He's a fascinating guy and I could see why Harmony loved him.

Harmony is equally layered. She's tough and independent and fiery passionate, but also sweet and demure. She's an artist and a believer deep in her soul, a dreamer, even in this world where colored people aren't allowed dreams. I loved how determined and fearless she is at the end of this book. That was a really bad and scary situation and she did something that only a lioness would do to save her man. Kudos to her for that.

I remember there is a great movie that I saw a long time ago called "Machine Gun Blues", starring Cynda Williams and Nick Cassavettes, about a colored blues singer who falls in love with an Italian mobster. It has a sad ending (sorry for the spoiler), and I always wished it had ended differently. I would like to thank Ms. Mynx for giving me a happy ending version of that seemingly doomed love affair. There is a time in this book where you aren't sure you'll get a happy ending, and I think I hardly breathed as I read the final pages of the book. The thing about Kindle books is it tells you how much time you have left in the book, and the last 20% was agony for me. But Mynx delivered.

I have a problem with erotica, and I try to avoid it. I just don't like all the 'anything goes' sex. I like to know there will be limits on what kinds of sex acts are depicted in the book. I don't mind steamy vanilla sex and plenty of it (so long as it doesn't take over the story), but I don't like the kinky stuff. A reference during the first love scene had me worried, but that stuff didn't take place on screen in the book, so I heaved a sigh of relief. While I do think this did have a bit more sex than strictly necessary, I can understand how important it was to show the passion and desperation of these two lovers, and how their love comes to the surface past their guarded armor and facades.

I won't say I'm a mafia/mobster romance fan, but I really did like this book. And since I'm a sucker for Early 20th Century romance, and I like reading about the 20s and 30s, it kind of comes with the territory. Prohibition was a very violent period in American history, and there are a lot of untold stories. I loved seeing what it was like a young colored woman and her Sicilian lover, that they did have a chance at a happy ending, even in their world of blood and strife. I learned some historical facts as I read that found very fascinating, such as which states it was legal to marry interracially during this period.

The writing was crisp and very organic and visually-stimulating. I felt like this was a cinematic read, and I would love if someone did make a movie out of this one day. I would definitely go see it! The music aspect was well-conveyed and integral to this story. The editing was pretty good, with only a few errors, mostly near the end.


I'd have to give this 4.5/5.0 stars because this was an intense, passionate and involving book that kept its hooks in me even when I was afraid to keep reading. I really cared about Harmony and Vinnie and I wanted desperately for them to get their happy ending together. I can see why Sienna Mynx is such a popular author.

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