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review 2020-04-24 11:43
A spider web that traps readers and doesn’t let go
Odd Numbers - JJ Marsh

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, check here), and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel.

JJ Marsh is an author I’ve read great reviews about and has been on my list for a while, so I took the chance when I saw an ARC for her next book had become available. I can’t compare it to the rest of her works, but based on this novel, which is a new genre for her, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending her books, and I look forward to catching up on some of her previous novels.

I think the description above provides plenty of hints as to the plot, and this is one of those novels where the way the story is told and the fine details are fundamental, so I’ll try to avoid over explaining things or giving too many hints (I want to avoid spoilers at all cost). This is a story built around six friends (three women and three men) who meet at university, while they are studying to become international translators, and grow to be quite close. They come from different countries (mostly Europe, although one comes from the US, and one is from Indian origin), have very different personalities and backgrounds, and it’s likely that their friendship would have fizzled and died if not for a tragic event that takes place while they are away celebrating New Year (and the new millennium) in December 1999. After that, they meet every two years, and the event that binds them together weighs heavily on them all, having a very different impact in each one of them. Things come to a head on the 20th anniversary of that fateful New Year’s celebration and readers are privileged witnesses of another night to remember. This novel reminded me of a book I read and reviewed recently, The Hunting Party, but also of films like The Celebration (Festen), where there is a build-up of tension, strained relationships, plenty of secrets and lies, and a surprise or two. Although I think many readers will smell a rat from early on in the novel, even if they get it right (and let’s say things are left open to interpretation), the beauty of this novel is in the way it is built, the variety of points of view, and the psychological insights it offers into a catalogue of characters that are not miles away from people most of us know. Considering this is the author’s first incursion into the psychological drama genre, I take my hat off to her.

There are a variety of themes that come up in the novel, some more important to the action than others, for instance the nature of friendship, the way different people experience grief, the guilt of the survivor, how we change and evolve over time and how our relationships change with us, love, death, careers, priorities, family, charity missions, and, of course, lies.

As for the characters, I won’t go into too much detail about them, because the author does a great job of building them up through the novel, and readers should discover them as they read. Marsh chooses one of the female characters, Gael, as the main narrator, and she starts the story ‘now’ (in 2020). The whole novel is written in the first person, but not all from the same point of view. Although I’ve said that Gael is the main narrator, and she has more chapters than the rest, we also get to hear the voices of the other characters, who take us back into some of the reunions the friends have had over the years, and that allows readers to compare and contrast Gael’s version of the rest of her friends with their own words and insights. Readers can compose a mental picture and fit in the pieces of the puzzle, making their own minds up and deciding if they agree or not with Gael’s perceptions. It also makes for a more rounded reading experience, as we get to know each character more intimately, and perhaps to empathise, if not sympathise, with all of them. I liked Gael from the start: she is articulate, a journalist, and a bit of a free spirit, but she always tries to understand and accommodate others as well, and she is more of the observer and the outsider in the story, for reasons that will become evident to the readers from early on. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the friends are like an ersatz family, with individual roles they always fall back on when they are together (the nurturing mother, the responsible and dependable father, the youngest and spoilt sister, the rushed and sporty brother, the sister whom everybody confides in [Gael]), and this reminded me of Eric Berne’s Games People Play. All the characters are articulate and savvy enough to be aware of this and play it for keeps as well.

The book flows well, and the language used is appropriate to each one of the individual characters, fitting with their personalities and quirks without calling too much attention to itself. It helps move the story along, and manages to build up the tension, even when there isn’t a lot of action in the usual sense. There are mysterious events taking place (some that will have readers wondering if the characters are imagining them or not), clues that sometimes don’t seem to amount to much, hints, and some memorable scenes. But all those elements are woven subtly into the narrative creating a spider web that traps the readers and the more they read, the more they become entangled in the strands of the story and the characters, until it becomes almost impossible to put the book down.

There is a closure of sorts, although the ending is ambiguous and most of the surprises and big reveals have come before then. I liked the fact that there is much left to the imagination of each reader, but I know such things are down to personal taste.

This is a great psychological drama, with engaging characters (some more likeable than others), fascinating relationship dynamics, and a mystery at its heart. It’s a gripping read, perfect to keep our minds engaged and to have us pondering the ins and outs of friendships, relationships, and which actions would push us beyond the limits of forgiveness. A gem.

The last 7% of the e-book contains the first-chapter of the author’s work-in-progress, in case you wonder about its length.  

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review 2020-02-03 18:26
Review: Numbers (New Species #14) by Laurann Dohner
Numbers - Laurann Dohner
Numbers
New Species #14
Laurann Dohner
Erotic Paranormal Romance
September 18, 2016
eBook
473
Gift Won

 

*** THIS IS A RERELEASE OF A PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED BOOK ***

 

140
Dana is visiting Homeland when she meets a New Species who tugs at her heartstrings. As a widow, she knows firsthand the pain he’s suffering after losing his mate.
Mourn isn’t so certain that talking to a human female will help him heal but he desires her. It’s possible she could become his new reason for living.

 

927
Candi lost the male she loved, but never forgot him. New Species are her only hope to seek revenge for 927’s death.
A human female claiming to have been reared at Mercile has demanded entry to Homeland. Hero rushes to Medical and comes face-to-face with his past. One look at Candi and the life he’s built since gaining freedom comes crashing down around him.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

Numbers is book fourteen in the New Species series by Laurann Dohner.

I like this series, but I was disappointed that we don’t get one full length novel. We have two stories on two different New Species in Numbers. They are quick and emotional.

 

140

 

Morn doesn’t believe taking a human female will help him heal.

 

This story tug’s at your heart strings. The emotional turmoil is vivid and, we as the reader, can’t help but empathize and get caught up in their sizzling chemistry. Dana meets Mourn when she visits Homeland. Both her and Mourn have lost someone in their past and so, they are hesitant about beginning a relationship. There is plenty of chemistry and emotion.

 

927

 

Hero comes face to face with his past.

 

This story tug’s at your heart too. What Candi and Hero went through in their past was heartbreaking. Candi doesn’t know that Hero is alive and it’s the same for Hero. She wants revenge for the male she lost and her only hope is reaching Homeland, but once she does her world is changed. There is major uproar and quite a bit of tension and emotional distress between Candi and Hero before they resolve their relationship.

 

Numbers is a nice edition. Though I prefer the full length novel. I still enjoyed coming back to the New Species world.

 

Rated: 3 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

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I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2020/02/review-numbers-new-species-14-by-laurann-dohner
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review 2018-09-30 17:31
My Cat Ilsa Went to Heaven: "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe" by Martin Rees
Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe - Martin J. Rees


(original review, 2000)

If there was an infinite number of universes wouldn't there be a universe in which a mad scientist had discovered how to destroy all the universes and pressed the button, so there would be nothing at all? But then there would also be a good scientist who devised a plan to stop the mad scientist from pressing the button in the first place! What if they are one & the same, who wins? But as with Madeira Island's Nationalism, the bad scientist would only have to succeed once.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-09-09 20:59
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is an enjoyable book that students love! Students stay engaged as they read about the hungry caterpillar eating through large amounts of food. The book consists of the days of the week as well as quantities. Not only could teachers use this book when teaching a science lesson on the life cycle of a caterpillar, it would be great for sequencing activities and counting. 

 

Lexile level: 460L

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review 2018-05-23 10:10
Review Tour - One Baby Daddy


   

 

 

 

"What are you doing now that your team is out of the running for the Stanley Cup?"

 

Forget. I need to forget.

 

I need an escape.

 

Only one person isn't falling for my reputation as the NHL's Golden Boy; she captured my attention the minute she called me out for snooping through my best friend's house. She didn't want to hear my reason--she only wanted to playfully give me a hard time.

 

Adalyn is bold, sassy--and the perfect escape. She's everywhere. In town and in my dreams, and suddenly I need to spend every waking moment with her.

 

And I do, making this summer the best off-season I've ever had. But in the midst of getting lost in Adalyn, what I don't expect is to get her pregnant. And what I definitely don't expect is having to fight for her affection.

 

 

Purchase Links:

 

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon AU ~ Amazon CA       

 

 

 

 

EXCERPT :


“Would you mind zipping up the back of my dress?” She walks toward me, her flowery scent floating in my direction, spiking my yearning into overdrive.


“Uh, yeah . . . sure.”

 

She turns around, and looks over her shoulder. The back of her dress is completely open, the zipper undone to just above the curve of her beautifully round ass.
Shit, all that smooth, tan skin, covered by nothing but the velvety fabric of the dress. Is she wearing underwear? She’s not wearing a bra and I see no panty line.

 

Clearing my throat, I ask, “Are you wearing underwear, Adalyn?”

 

From over her shoulder, she smiles shyly. “Yes, it’s small though.”

 

Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be?

 

Not being able to stop myself, I take a second to float my fingertips up her spine. From the initial touch, her back arches and a small gasp releases from her lips, but before I can think about stopping, she melts into my touch. Stepping closer, I place my hand on the back of her hip, my thumb pressing into her ass while the other hand explores the bare expanse of her back. Her head falls to my shoulder. Her lips part, and when I snake to the front of her dress, her breath hitches.

 

Eyes closed, I take in ragged breaths, my fingers inching closer and closer to her front, my cock painfully hard.

 

It’s been so goddamn long—and being with Adalyn has only spurred on my need—but I want to make sure we’re in a good place before we commit to anything. I want to make sure she’s ready emotionally because the minute I bury myself deep inside her, I know there will be no turning back. She will be mine forever.

 

But maybe for now, I can just have a little touch . . .

 

My cock pressed against her butt, she expertly grinds her backside into me, her hands moving to my neck, pulling my head down to hers. I kiss the side of her neck, using the hand that’s gripping her hips to guide her with her grinding in just the right place.
Fuck, that feels good.

 

I grunt, the sound vibrating over her sleek neck. My hand on her stomach, she arches wanting more of my touch, silently asking me to move north.

 

And I fucking comply. Inch by slow inch, I guide my hand to just below her breasts. When I halt my pursuit, a displeased groan escapes her.

 

“Hayden, please.”

 

I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to find the willpower. Her fingernails dig into my scalp, spurring me on as she turns her head and finds my lips.

 

She kisses me.

 

Hot.

 

Wet.

 

Needy.

 

Her lips gliding across mine, her tongue diving into my mouth, her moans are vocal and sexy. Her delicious ass, pressing, grinding, undulating against my rock-hard cock makes me want to do so much more, makes me want to taste so much more.

 

Moving my hand higher, my fingertips graze the bottom of her breast. Soft. Round. Smooth. I caress her right below her nipple, never touching, just teasing . . . tempting.        

 

 

 

 

One Baby DaddyOne Baby Daddy by Meghan Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is #3, in the Dating By Numbers series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading these in order.

Hayden meets Adalyn at a mutual friends party. The attraction to her attributes is instantaneous. Only he is not allowed to act on it - unless he wants to lose his oldest friend.

Adalyn is sassy and sexy, and her quick wit is very attractive. She is surprised to find she enjoys talking with the hockey player she is meeting for the first time. While surprises seem to be the name of the summer, she is not sure what to do when the next big thing hits.

This book was so full of emotion! I loved what a great installment this was for the series. The characters were sarcastic, hot, and really funny. I enjoyed this story right down to the last page.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

 

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

 

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

 

Facebook | Follow on Goodreads | Website | Amazon Author Page 

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