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review 2018-10-17 05:44
The Last Anniversary Book Quote
The Last Anniversary - Liane Moriarty

Great quote from Liane Moriarty's The Last Anniversary.

 

Delightful. Liane Moriarty’s novel The Last Anniversary is a wonderful blend of chick lit, drama and cozy mystery. Moriarty’s protagonist Sophie Honeywell projects the image of an independent, sophisticated 39-year-old career woman who knows and gets what she wants, but deep down she yearns for something more. Continue reading >>

Source: bookloverbookreviews.com/2010/05/book-review-last-anniversary-by-liane.html
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review 2018-09-23 11:30
The Raven Prince and Other Stories by Jean-Paul Whitehall

Our Lady of the Axe: In a Regency England where magic used to be real, Eleanor, her dear friend Diana, and three young girls are kidnapped. It will take all of Eleanor’s strength and courage, plus a magical axe and cleavage (not that kind) to set them free, and foil the man behind the kidnapping.

Edging: Will a mistake about meaning make a mess for Tommy and Vince? Or maybe lead to something more?

The Plan That Didn’t Gang Aft Agley: Jack’s plans have a tendency to go way agley. He hopes his special plan for Billy at football practice is the one that won’t.

Family Be Damned: Look for the two Br’er Rabbit moments. One: She wasn’t unhappy Tommy got paid to take her to the eighth grade dance. She even slipped him $25 to agree. Two: Her mom made her older brother take her to the dance. The $50 she paid him was just a sisterly bonus.

The Raven Prince: Sixteen-year-old Mike hopes he can blend in at his new school. Except he’s short, slender, goth-looking with the shiny black hair, black eyes and thick lashes, wears an elegant suit and tie, and drives a Mercedes convertible. He’s also gay, a raven shifter in a human school and eventually he has to be the Raven Prince.

Standing up to the bullies who rule the school—Preacher’s Son, Banker’s Son, Sheriff’s Son, Principal’s Daughter—isn’t blending in. When the Four can’t get to Mike, they go after him through his best friend, Johnny, the devoutly straight wrestling star who doesn’t care about the gay thing.

If Johnny is hurt, will it take the Raven Prince to get justice? Raven justice?

100% of the author’s royalties will be donated to a local LGBT youth organization.

 

--------------------

 

REVIEW

 

Book – The Raven Prince and Other Stories
Author – Jean-Paul Whitehall
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 176
Cover – Great!
Would I read it again – YES!
Genre – FF, MM, Romance, Fantasy, Anthology, Historical, Contemporary
Triggers – some stories contain instances/references/explorations of: bullying, homophobia, bloody fights, underage (consensual) sexual situations and threats of rape.


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine


The Raven Prince and Other Stories is a charity anthology (100% proceeds going to a LGBT youth charity) that packs an immediate punch. Weaving together historical and fantasy tales, with magic, romance and YA-appropriate experiences and feelings, the writing sweeps you away into another word right from page one.

At the root of every story, at the heart of every relationship, is friendship. And, in this era, where romances can be fleeting and love not always ever-lasting, it's especially important to embrace and remember the friendships that have lasted and helped us move through each struggle that comes out way.

~

Our Lady of the Axe

★★★★★

POV: 1st person, one character
Length: 1-22%
Theme: Historical, Regency England, marriage, FF, Magic
Triggers: rape threats, scenes of blood/gore,

This was an amazing story. Right from the start, Eleanor was a little girl with a big future, a girl who didn't quite fit into the proper ways of young women in Regency England. The story progresses through three important periods of her life: questioning a family legacy as a young girl, finding out the secrets of the family legacy as a young lady, and then facing the horrible fate of a marriage to someone she didn't like, as a young woman.
Through these experiences, we see Eleanor grow and become braver, become stronger, and start to find her way in her own life. When she's kidnapped by ruffians who are being paid to ensure her marriage to a big-headed Duke, things begin to really ramp up excitement wise. There are the historically accurate, if horrifying to think about, threats of rape towards young girls, one as young as seven, but thankfully nothing ever happens to them and they don't even remember the incident, later.
With magic, a sweet thread of FF romance, and a whole lot of strong women, this story is a great start to the book, but also a really great read. I loved Eleanor and I loved the journey she went on, finding strength from within and learning to view life in a different way to the way she'd been raised.

Favourite Quote

“He was still holding my hand as he led me to the settee. I was too ladylike to knee him between his legs to retrieve it.”

~


Edging

★★★★☆

POV: 1t person, present tense, one character
Length: 23-28%
Theme: Contemporary, Teen Romance, Edging, Fear of Heights, Established Couple, MM

This was a really cute story about how one word can have two different meanings to two different people. Although it was cute and funny, it did revolve around two guys who were only 15, so I felt more like a pervy adult spying on kids – which is icky – than I would have felt if they were older. I had to squint real hard and just think of them as immature 20-year-olds. There is a lot of sex talk, about boners and what experience the two guys have with each other, and I think teens would appreciate the honesty and relatability of it, so I'm giving it bonus points for that. For an adult – squishy. For a teen – perfect teen comedy in a short bite.

Favourite Quote

“I figure if this works out, when we get really old, like thirty or something, I'll tell him he coulda had my boner and the rest of me at “Vince, I'm gay,” and not wasted a whole damn year.”

~

The Plan That Didn't Gang Aft Agley

★★★★☆

POV: 1st person, present tense, one character
Length: 29-35%
Theme: Contemporary, Teen Romance, MM 

Ugh, the cuteness is off the charts!
I'll admit that I was confused about location, at first, as both previous stories took place in the UK and this one has a Robert Burns quote at the start. But, it takes place in Dallas, which made sense of some of the setting details.
Again, it has that teen speech that was in the previous story, but to a lesser extent. And, again, it has two 15 – almost 16 – year olds, so feels a little uncomfortable when they talk about all the sex stuff and boners etc. But, again, it would make a fantastic read for a teenager. The cuteness, the romance, the relateability and the contemporary setting all make for a great teen story.

Favourite Quote

“I'm looking at you, William Robert “Don't you effing dare call me Billy-Bob” Jones.
I like looking at you, Billy-Bob. I don't tell you often enough.”

~

Family Be Damned

★★★★★

POV: 3rd person person, dual character
Length: 35-37%
Theme: Contemporary, School Dance, FF, Teen Romance

Adorable. Perfect. Just right.
I love that we got to see both girls as they got ready for the school dance, and how they managed to make it happen according to their plans. I love that both sets of parents were worried about Big Tony and all the rumours about him, yet he didn't even look at either girl and they weren't looking at him.
Really cute, adorable, lovely story.

Favourite Quote

“She looked around. Smiled. Yes!”

~

The Raven Prince

★★★★

POV: 1st person, one character
Length: 38-99%
Theme: Contemporary, High School, Bullying, Homophobia, MM, Friendship, Shifter
Triggers: Bullying, Homophobia

Wow. I barely know what to say. It's been a while since a story left me this speechless.
Powerful. Heart-wrenching. Equally beautiful and sad. It makes you stop and think, and cry, and breathe, and wonder...and not stop reading.
If there is one thing I can say before I get into the bones of the story, is it that you CANNOT stop reading at Fin. This story has so many P.S.'s that I lost count. And each and every one of them is more important than the rest. Even the last one. Because, yes, it all applied to me. Even the last, poignant message “Wipe your eyes at the beauty of life, love, and Ravens of Unusual Size, and go!”
I'm crying while writing this, just as I've been crying while reading it. And don't think I didn't love the 'The Princess Bride' references.

This story is about bullying, yes. But it's also about strength, friendship, love, resilience in the face of fear, justice, the power of lies, strength in numbers, and revenge. It's about facing the truth, no matter how hard it might be. About finding strength within yourself to do what is right, even if it's hard. It's about standing up for yourself, and others, because no matter how small an act of bullying might be, allowing it continue unchecked can lead to untethered escalation, until the consequences are so dire that no one involved can remember how it got that far.
I have to give a shout out to the author for the warnings. Not only at the beginning of the story, about how hard it might be to read about bullying, but also the warnings throughout, that told me I could just skip to the next chapter, or avoid reading the next bit, if I was going to have issues with it. As someone who is a major 'book trigger' advocate, I heartily thank you for those warnings.
However, I kept reading and I'm an emotional mess right now, because of it. Because, what came after hurt, was painful to read, and hit me where it hurts, but was so, so important. I can't stress enough how IMPORTANT it is for people – adults, too, but especially teenagers – to read stories like this and realise the serious impact and consequences that bullying, or even ignoring bullying going on around you, can have. That lies spread quicker than the truth and are more likely to be believed. That words are a real weapon, just as real as any gun or locker or knife.
I can't think of a more adapt phrase than “I remember...” because, it's the truth. People who are bullied or who have witnessed severe bullying, will never forget it. People who are impacted by bullying in any way, will NEVER forget it. They always remember. And the most important thing that anyone who reads this book can do is...remember. Remember the pain. Remember the love that fought through it. Remember the injustices. And remember that words are humanity's most vicious and most frequently used weapons. We wield them without thinking and they always hit their mark. And just as physical injuries can't be undone, words can't be taken back.

I remember...and I will never forget. This story, the impact it has, or the lessons it can teach us all.

Favourite Quote

I honestly couldn't pick one. It was hard enough to get it limited to these four.

“I am the master of my face. I am the captain of my cock.
I lost control of both in English class.”

“I decided I'd enjoy what I had while I had it, and when I didn't have it any more...I'd cope.”

“I'll make sure there's a do-no-mpreg-the-Raven-Prince clause in the unwritten contract before I agree to serve.”

“Please remember...if a bird shits on you, don't get angry. Pause. Think about what you did to deserve it. And mend your ways.
Birds are, as you now know, instruments of justice.”

~

OVERALL

While I enjoyed each and every story that was contained in this collection, the first and last had the most lasting impacts on me. I would so happily read more stories about Eleanor, the brave, independent young woman, who kicked ass and took names. But, most especially, Mike stole my heart. I'm not sure when I last read a story that impacted me the way 'The Raven Prince' did, but I sure as heck would want to read more. I want Mike to be happy, to see more of Lisa's writing endeavours, and to check in at least one more time, to make sure that he gets his happily ever after. Even if it can't be with Johnny.

While this collection is generally about love, I also feel that it's just as equally about friendship. Every couple here were friends before they became anything more. Their friendship led them through hardships, through trials and heartache. Those friendships helped them fight and change and shift into new, stronger, better people.

If this is how his short stories feel, then this is definitely an author I want to read more from.

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review 2018-09-09 11:30
Only You by Kay Doherty

Case Holden hates his life. Made rich at a young age, he slipped into a lifestyle of partying with multiple boyfriends who only wanted to be with him for what he could give them. After confiding to his aunt that he’s miserable, she extends an invitation for a visit. Case plans to spend the time in small town Clover City to reprioritize and plant his feet on the road to happiness. He does not expect the Clover City sheriff to step into his world and wreak havoc on his emotions.

Two years ago, after the death of his partner, Rawley Kane moved to Clover City, trading the painful memories and big city madness for a less stressful existence. Even as sheriff, his life is uncomplicated and quiet. That is until Case Holden rolls into town and reminds Rawley just how lonely he is, and of everything he’s been missing.

Case is everything Rawley shouldn’t want. The man has six boyfriends and a life back in Denver, not to mention he’s quite a bit younger than Rawley. No matter what he tells himself, he can’t get enough of the young man. And Case has made it clear Rawley is the only one he wants. Now if they could just get past Rawley’s guilt and Case’s insistent boyfriends, they just might stand a chance.

 

--------------------

 

REVIEW

 

Book – Only You
Author – Kay Doherty
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 141
Cover – Nice!
POV – 3rd person, dual character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, MM, Romance


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **



WARNINGS: deals with issues of mental health and PTSD



The acknowledgments highlight an early warning that this book deals with the invisible illness that is PTSD. As someone with an invisible illness, though not PTSD or a mental health issue, the acknowledgment speaks to me in a way that promises to handle these issues with gentle awareness, compassion, understanding and, most of all, an intimate awareness of how debilitating and all consuming an invisible illness can be. That is before taking into consideration outside influences, such as other people's impressions and their treatment of those invisible illnesses, which can often be as debilitating and harmful as the PTSD itself.

.

Holy cow! That was an emotional rollercoaster and a half!

This is a new-to-me author and I'll definitely be giving Kay Doherty another go in the future. The writing was spot on, exactly my kind of writing style, and with exactly my kind of balance between description and dialogue.

With great attention to detail – well balanced, not over-done or exaggerated – the story began with a great set up of mood, location, atmosphere and characterisation, beginning the story with our all important introduction to Casey, on the day all his luck has run out. I loved that we were immediately in his head space and aware of his issues, without it being an info-dump. Then, when the POV switched to Rawley, I was thrilled. Dual POV is my favourite, especially when one of the MC's is a broody, grumpy sheriff!

Both these MC's have a past and a history that has left deep emotional scars, but they work so well together. I could feel the chemistry between them the minute they met, and that carried on throughout the story, growing and becoming solid. Saying that, however, I really loved how realistic they both were. Rawley and Casey accepted that they barely knew each other, that their feelings were based on lust and a physical attraction, and some deep seated need to be loved. It didn't stop them from being together, but I always knew they were going in with their eyes wide open. Each of them, at some point, considered the challenges and consequences – Casey's numerous boyfriends, Rawley's past, their age difference, how little time they'd known each other, Rawley being closeted in town, even the consideration that Casey might leave and go back to his numerous boyfriends. Though they often got swept up in the romance and the lust, neither of them ever forgot the bigger picture and that's rare to find in a romance novel.

What I also loved – but can't say too much about, because it would be a huge spoiler – is that even the MC's have to face the consequences of their actions. I'm talking about the end of the book, which is why that's all I'm going to say about it. It's great to see it happening, because it's real and logical and, sure, it may not be romantic, but the author sure made it feel right for the characters and the moment. And, in a way, it really was quite romantic, all for reasons I can't explain.

Were there any negatives? There were some minor editing issues, with a missing word in one or two places, but surprisingly very little for an early release/ARC copy. I did find that some of the early chapters had a flow/timeline issue that just didn't have the seamlessness of the rest of the novel, but those are all minor things and really didn't make an impact on my reading.

Overall, it was a fantastic read. It really lifted my mood with the perfect ending, despite the rollercoaster I'd had throughout. I loved everyone! Jordan was over the top. Trent was adorable. Aunt Sylvia was amazing! Jake and Ryan were brilliant. Ted is awesome! Everyone is awesome!!! In fact, I would absolutely love to read more about this little community, especially if Ted or Trent were to have a story of their own. Please????

In the end, I can only say that it was pretty perfect. From the chemistry, the characterisation, the plot, and the writing style, it all came together in a great book that dealt sympathetically with some very serious issues. It's a story of self-discovery, of healing, of emotional torment, of self-acceptance, of recovery, and of the realities of PTSD. But it's also a story about growth, love, change, and letting go of the things that hold a person back and stop them from moving on.

~

Favourite Quote

“The way his aunt was talking, Case had to wonder just how well she was acquainted with the sheriff. Uncle Ed had been dead for five years, but Aunt Sylvia was still fairly young and lively. If Case found out he was salivating over his aunt's newest, much younger love interest, he was going to dig his eyes out of his skull.”

““You don't stop loving someone just because they die, Rawley. You loved him then, you love him now, you will continue to love him for the rest of your life.”

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review 2018-08-26 11:30
Anne Rice - Ramses the Damned #1: The Mummy

Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.

 

-------------

 

REVIEW

 

This is one of those books, and authors, I've been meaning to read forever but have just never gotten round to until now. I read the comic version of this just before Christmas and loved it, so thought I'd go the whole hog and read the novel. It was even better.

The multiple POV is both necessary and well handled, never done just for the sake of repeating an event in someone else's view. The writing style is spot on, with atmosphere, characterisation and detail that is perfectly balanced by depth, heart and warmth. The comic did an excellent job of pinpointing all the important events, without leaving out anything vital.

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review 2018-08-12 11:30
A Son of the Sun by Fabien Nury, Eric Henninot (Illustrator)

Parlay is the French king of a dying island tribe and the father of the sublime Armande. He’s selling his pearls, a fortune collected from his island’s lagoon. The wealthiest traders in the Solomon Islands have been invited to the auction, except for David Grief, the Englishman the natives call the Son of the Sun. Come hell or high water—probably both—Grief will be there. And he isn’t coming for the pearls.

 

---------------

 

REVIEW

 

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Copy received through Netgalley

~

A Son of the Sun is based on Jack London novels. While I've never been a Jack London reader, I found this graphic novel to be beautifully illustrated, with that old-fashioned grit and colour of classic books, and well paced, with a great plot.

A Son of the Sun, by Fabian Nury
★★★★☆
80 Pages

Let's start with the simple stuff:

Would I read it again?: Yes!
Genre: Comic, Graphic Novel, Adventure
Content Warning: deals with alcoholism, gambling, slavery, suicide, racism


Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty:

David Grief is an interesting lead character. He has everything he could want at his disposal, wealth, respect, a business empire, but he has nothing really to live for since the woman he loved committed suicide. There are a whole host of other traders and sailors, but he's the main plot, and by far the most interesting.

There are hints that this “Parlay” character is the one bringing them all together, but that Grief is the only one not invited, and we don't really know why until they reach Parlay's island. The slow trickle of information and backstory was really well done, I loved the snippets of flashbacks and the hints that were littered throughout, but never too heavily relied on.

The writing style is great, for a graphic novel. It gives the same kind of detail and background as a novel could, but in a condensed form and keeping only to the bullet point facts that we need to know to follow the story. The plot was well paced and told a great story about the dangers of greed, lust, and love. About how pride could hurt yourself more than anyone else, in the end. And that last panel was a perfect ending.

The one fault I had – the reason it's not a 5 star review – is because the format of the pdf meant that it was hard to read. If it had been in comic form (cbr/cbz) then I could have used a comic reader to read each individual panel. However, that option wasn't available, so I had to enlarge the page, which meant that the page took a moment to adjust and sometimes didn't; I often ended up with blurry text that was hard to read, no matter how far I zoomed in. It made for a difficult reading experience and I missed a few speech bubbles, for the simple fact they were too small and too blurry to read, which, in the end, affected the flow and ease of reading.

However, the story still managed to come through, so I'd still read it again.

Although it's currently not available on paperback, I'd definitely buy it. I'm also going to get the original novel, and read that. This graphic novel was a great introduction to Jack London's work, for me, and I'm eager to read more from both this author and him.

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