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text 2018-05-11 23:40
Reading progress update: I've read 124 out of 342 pages.
Underground - S.L. Grey

This was part of my bank holiday book haul. I went in to this completely blind and bought it solely based on the blurb. When I read that S.L. Grey is actually two people one of which is Sarah Lotz, I was really excited as I so enjoyed 'The Three'. I have high hopes indeed but I don't think this is going to live up to my expectations. So far it is peopled with thoroughly unlikable characters, there is barely a redeeming soul between them. It feels a little like Michael Crichton's 'Andromeda Strain' - one of my all-time favourite books -  in as much as there are people locked in an underground bunker but here they are trying to keep the virus out not in. I am enjoying it so far and I think it will an entertaining easy read rather than exceptional.

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review 2018-04-14 00:00
Grey Sister
Grey Sister - Mark Lawrence Grey Sister - Mark Lawrence 3.75 stars

I was really excited to get my hands on Grey Sister, and when I finally had an opportunity to sit down and read it, I had mixed results. Again. I love this story when Nona is not at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. Thankfully, a spiteful novice sends Nona packing about 40% of the way through. Then Nona has to rely on her courage, wits, and abilities to keep herself alive in an exceedingly dangerous world. With the ice ever creeping into the Corridor, the tensions between the people of Abeth are at a fever pitch. Competition over land is fierce and deadly. Nona and the Sisters of Mercy are caught up in a plot to shake up the power base in the Empire, and any wrong move can mean their death.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, because part of the fun was being manipulated by both Glass and Sherzal. Like the reader, Nona is a helpless pawn in the game being played between the two women, and she is buffeted along a treacherous path that she can’t avoid.

After being accused of crimes punishable by death, Nona must flee the convent, the only home she’s ever truly known. Helplessly, she finds herself going back to where everything began: the village of her birth. As she tries to piece together the puzzle that brought her to Sweet Mercy, she finds herself captured by mortal enemies. Her plight looks dire, and I wondered how she would get out of the mess she was in. Nona’s thirst for vengeance is a double-edged sword. It gets her so much trouble. She’s still a teenager, and she’s managed to earn the animosity of a secretive assassin clan, a powerful noble family, and the inquisitors. People skills will never be her strong suit.

The battle scenes are fun and furious, and unquestionably one of my favorite aspects of this series. Glass’s subtle manipulation of everyone around her was also a treat. She may not be a fighter, but she still manages to earn one victory after another over her opponents. I wish Zole hadn’t gone AWOL for part of the story because she is my second favorite character, and if she had been around, the fights would have been even more action-packed. She does reappear right when she’s needed the most, and I have high hopes that she and Nona will wreak some havoc in the next book in the series.
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review 2018-04-09 23:57
Firemen, dalmatians, sick kids...
Smoldering Flame - Andrew Grey

This one had potential...so much potential and then...it didn't.

 

Dean's a firefighter whose life revolves around the two things he loves most...his job and his son, Sammy.  Sammy's illness doesn't leave Dean time for anything else...like dating, falling in love, having a relationship. So when Sammy drags his father into Marco's photography studio the last thing he wants, needs or expects is to be attracted to said photographer. 

 

Marco's not looking for anything other than to make a sick little boy happy when he offers to take some pictures of the young child who's barged into his studio wanting to see the big stuffed fire dog that Marco uses as a prop during his photo shoots with kids. Marco knows what Sammy's going through and while Marco knows he can't fix things for Sammy if he can bring a smile to his sweet little face for even a moment he'll do what he can and taking a few pictures is definitely not a hardship for him especially if some of those pictures include Sammy's sexy, fireman father.

 

Dean's got more than his son to be concerned about though when it comes to him and Marco. His parents have been a godsend for him while Sammy's been sick and while his mom's more than happy to see him find someone he might be happy with, his father's a whole different story. Dad's ex-military and he hasn't a made it out of the dark ages with some of his ideas...like demanding that Dean 'find a nice woman' because he needs to settle down Sammy needs a mom.

 

I really liked the overall concept of this story. There was a lot of potential for this one to tug at my heartstrings and leave me with all the warm fuzzies. Unfortunately when it came down to the actual story well...it got bogged down in a lot of flowery descriptions and conversations that quite frankly had me rolling my eyes...sorry, but there's only so much 'gosh, darn melodic sex' that a girl can handle. 

 

I'm a fan of descriptions that paint a picture and draw me into the story...truly I am. But and here is where things get really subjective...there's this fine line that goes from creating a story...painting an image and when it gets crossed well the story gets lost in an excess of descriptions that become distracting and that's what happened for me with this one...so as I said this is entirely subjective and other may find the descriptives in this book to be perfect...I'm just not part of this group.

 

Michael Pauley is once again the narrator for this story and I have to admit I'm not really sure why but like the story and maybe because of the story I didn't enjoy the narration quite as much has I did the previous two stories also narrated by the same person and once again we are left with a very subjective viewpoint here so please keep this in mind. Just one more note about the narration there's a child in this story and as my friends will tell you me and children's voices in audio books do not have a very good track record however, I do want to give a nod to the narrator on this one. While it maybe wasn't the best child's voice I've ever heard it was considerably better than many others that I've heard. 

 

I've been a fan of this series from the beginning and while this one didn't work so well for me the first two stories worked much better for me and I really enjoyed them...enough that I'm more than willing wait and see what's next in this series...hopefully for me it'll be a return to the story style that I've come to enjoy so much. 

 

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An audio book of 'Rekindled Flame' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-04-09 02:20
Personal Training (Work Out, #6) by Andrew Grey Review
Personal Training - Andrew Grey

Determined not to end up like his seventy-year-old diabetic father, Holton knows he needs to make a change. His quest to improve his health drives him to the gym, where he meets Marcus, a trainer with the body of a demigod. For three months Holton works hard, watches what he eats, drops a few pounds—and catches Marcus's eye not only for his slimmer body but for his dedication.

Holton can barely believe it when Marcus asks him out, but he isn’t about to say no. Despite several common interests, though, Marcus and Holton have some roadblocks to overcome. A harrowing event from Holton’s past has made him gun-shy, and Marcus has insecurities of his own. If their relationship is going to work, they’ll have to get past their hang-ups and prove that what really matters is the man inside.

 

Review

 

Holton and Marcus have a romance that is pretty touch and go because they both have lots of things to wade through.

I rooted for them but wanted more emotionial intimacy. I liked the world and cast a lot and will read more in the series and I am a fan of plainer heros.

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review 2018-04-05 05:05
As much as I liked the first book this one was just as good...maybe, a tiny bit better...
Heart Unheard - Andrew Grey,Greg Trembley

Brent Berkheimer and Scott Spearman have been flirting with each other for a while now and it's not gone unnoticed by more than a few people but Brent's determined not to act on his feelings because it just wouldn't be fair...he's Scott's boss, he's a lot older...so as far as Brent's concerned when it comes to Scott...the man is strictly hands off.

 

Scott's tried...he's flirted and done is best to let Brent know that he's definitely interested in more than an employer/employee relationship but so far it's gotten him nowhere.

 

When a hit and run accident leaves Scott seriously injured Brent's forced to re-evaluate what's truly important to him making him realize that what's truly important to him is lying in a hospital bed and Brent decides that he's done denying what matters the most and while it may be too late for him and Scott, he's still going to be there for him...even if it's only as a friend, if that's what Scott wants and needs then that's what Brent's going to be for him.

 

There's more to Scott's accident than it seems at first and Brent's got his own demons to battle if he wants to be the man that he thinks Scott deserves. It's not all smooth sailing as Scott has to learn how to live without his hearing and in spite of how strong and dependable Brent's been Scott's got his doubts about how long Brent will stay around if he doesn't get his hearing back and Brent's battling his own self-doubts about whether or not he can be what Scott needs leaving both men felling insecure about whether or not they can last no matter how much they want each other. It's going to take some tough love from their family and friends to make then each see that the heart wants what the heart wants and it's just going to take a leap of faith for them to be together.

 

I loved Brent and Scott and seeing them finally give in to their feelings for each other as they worked through finding ways to communicate with each other now that Scott can't hear. Getting to know each other and understand each other isn't an easy task when being able to talk and hear what the other is saying gets removed from the equation. 

 

I loved that Brent didn't try to just step in and do things for Scott, instead he encouraged Scott to speak up for himself and keep his independence and if he needed to he stood up for Scott's right to retain his independence even going to far as to bring in friends who understood what Scott was going through...that's right  he brought in the big guns and we got to see Trevor and James...no, neither of these men are deaf but James knows what it's like to suddenly loose one of his senses. James lost his sight when he was about 12 years old and he remembers what it's like to be able to see and then lose his sight...he knows what it's like to have something and then lose it, to grieve for the loss and James also knows that sometimes as a friend you have to end the pity party and hand out some tough love if you really want to help the people you care about.

 

Scott's parents added an interesting dynamic to this story for me. As a parent while I could understand his mother's desire to shelter and protect him, I was equally as frustrated by the fact that she viewed his decision to learn sign language and get on with his life as a deaf person as giving up because the doctors didn't know for sure that the deafness was permanent, whereas I viewed it as Scott dealing with what was and what he was given to deal with. I would have been far more bothered by things if Scott had decided he was going to do nothing and wait to see if his hearing came back...seriously? How long should he wait and what was he giving up on? For me he was choosing not to waste his time waiting for something that might never happen when at worst if he got his hearing back while he was learning sign language, he'd still have another skill that he could always use. Thankfully Scott had a support system in his friends who saw this as being  a positive choice on Scott's part.

 

I'm not sure what's coming next in this series but I'm really looking forward to finding out. So far the stories have really worked for me, giving me characters and stories that wrap themselves around my heart and make me smile at the strength of the characters I'm introduced to.

 

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An audio book of 'Heart Unheard' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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