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Search tags: read-in-2017
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review 2018-08-03 14:00
Where We Left Off
Where We Left Off - Roan Parrish

I swear this gets better and better with each listen. So much love for Will and Leo and thank the heavens for the voice of Spencer Goss. ❤️❤️❤️

 

***

 

Even better the second time through. Not sure I've ever analyzed a book or a relationship as much as I have this one. Thanks Nathan for continuing this with me each and every listen.  ❤️❤️❤️

 

***

 

I told him about Will. By the time I got to the part where Will had kissed me and then left for New York the next day, Skinny Jeans was shaking his head.

“What?”

“Tell me you didn’t. Tell me you didn’t pull a full-on Felicity and come to school in New York to follow this Will guy.”

“Dude, Felicity?”

“Felicity’s my jam! Whatever, don’t judge me.”

 

 

And like Felicity, Leo’s journey is one of recognizing that love isn’t like a movie.  That reality may not always work out the way you think.  That the path may be difficult but it’s worth it.

 

I knew Milton was joking about me acting like I was in a rom-com, running to confess my love before the plane could take off or whatever. But it hit a little too close to Will’s comments about me being a romantic for comfort. My only relationship experience was from books, movies, and TV, so of course I had absorbed that stuff. And maybe when I’d first gotten here my hopes for me and Will had kind of skewed in that direction. But I was pretty sure that recently I’d—what? Grown out of it? Or, just seen that there were a lot of ways for relationships to go. A lot of ways that romance could look different.

 

And this one is no doubt different.  This is not your typical romance.  Not your typical swoonfest with exclamations of love and candlelit dinners.  But this felt real to me.  And there are conversations throughout this book…whether they are with Layne, or Milton, Daniel or Rex that are such a captivating exploration into relationship dynamics and understanding people that it made some of what happened with this couple work. 

 

Like all of Roan’s books, her characters are so well developed and complex.  Nothing is ever what it really appears on the surface and diving further into understanding what makes a relationship between two people work is always an intriguing journey. This book especially. And while this has some heartbreaking scenes, seeing both characters grow and evolve with the other just worked for me.

 

One afternoon when the subway got delayed on my way up to Will’s apartment it hit me with a startling clarity. This was the problem with scripting romances in your head. When someone doesn’t hit the beats, you expect of them you have no idea what their actual behavior means. Will had tried to tell me. So had Gretchen. Even Layne, in her way, had told me. That this was what being a romantic looked like: paying more attention to your own expectations than to the very real person in front of you.

 

Now is this book for everyone? Maybe not.  But I have to say. I have never felt a book needed a narration like I feel this one does.  Will and Leo both are very different and I am sure many want to smack Will around and beat his head in…but I never got there with him.  He was never a character that I felt wasn’t blunt about where things stood.  Will needed a voice.  He needs to be heard to be understood.  And Spencer Goss’ narration does that.  Spencer brings these characters to life.  Makes them real.  And for some reason with this book, it is needed more than ever.  Will’s heart is missing from this book, I think, if you only read the words presented on paper and Spencer gives it to you.  

 

As I stated above, this is not your typical romance but it is a love that I am certain will last.  Is it tied up with your typical HEA bow?? No, because that is not this couple.  But do I think they have the HEA?  I do. I really do.

 

I am so glad I took a chance on this book.  While I had not read the blurb or any reviews, I have heard rumblings of dis-satisfaction.  What a shame.  I’m in awe again over the characters, the writing and the relationships that Roan brings forth on the page. I eagerly await more...*cough cough Milton* and hopefully another narration with Spencer.  This pairing knows how to tell a story. 

 

 

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review 2018-07-29 12:40
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat

“I regret the wasted time and energy. I regret what you went through. I will forever doubt there’s more to life than a limp shuffling toward a grave with just a few bright spots in between…”

Matěj snorted at the last one. “That’s a neat way to sum it up,” he commented sarcastically, making Simon smile into his hair.

Simon breathed in and out, the warm scent coming from Matěj’s nape underlined by the crisp air around them. “But tonight, my beautiful boy, the light is so bright I might as well be blind.”

 

I am going to try very hard as I write this review not to completely fall apart.  It has been a while since a book has impacted me quite as emotionally as this one has.  And while the tears have fallen, behind them was such beautiful and heartfelt emotion for these characters.  The writing is quite captivating and like with all of Roe’s books, quite unique. The structure of this one drew me in from the start and while it is the journey of 2 characters, it is the story of a group of friends as well.  It is about finding Home, about finding YOUR family and about finding “happiness and peace of mind”.

 

This is not what I would call a traditional romance but it is a love story.  As the title indicates, this is in fact “A Love Song”.  For me music can be felt in your soul.  It can impact you with no words at all.  And like with this beautiful “Love Song”, not everything is said with words.  To end one section of a book and simply turn a page, only to find yourself so emotionally impacted takes a talent that is hard to fully understand.  This book does that.  You will feel every emotion.  Every act. Every touch. Every breath and every action.  There are small gestures which read in the context of the book, mean everything.  This is about darkness and light and the colors in between.  This is about finding the person who helps you see though the darkness to find happiness and joy, love…to see light.

 

Matěj treated life like delicious food, just like he appreciated Simon’s books and hummed around a beer bottle. The boy knew how to enjoy things, how to marvel at things, how to savor impressions, how to feast on a pleasurable moment to its maximum capacity. It was a singular skill, wildly to be admired. When Simon found himself at the center of the man’s attention, those were easily the happiest minutes of his entire life. Everything in between lost color.

 

Let me not forget all the little things (which are actually quite big things)…the stick figures (yes, I just caught my breath and shed a tear); Tom Waits (who alone can conjure the right feelings and emotional tone of this story); dear Simon’s black and white apartment, and one of the most memorable and heartwarming trips to an ER I have read.  Add to this a cover that alone captures so much emotion and relates brilliantly to the darkness that surrounds these characters.

 

I know I have not said what this book is about.  Honestly I can’t put it into any words that will make sense.  It is a Song that must be heard for yourself…because how can you describe music that touches your soul?  You can’t.

 

*An ARC was received from the Author in exchange for an honest review.*

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review 2018-06-07 17:36
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Wake of Vultures - Lila Bowen

I’ll begin with a disclaimer: this isn’t my type of book, though from its marketing I thought it might be. First, because while it has a fantasy plotline, the setting and tone are more horror-tinged paranormal, full of monsters and gruesomeness. Second, because it really is a young-adult novel, in the sense of being an easy-to-read, action-oriented adventure populated by simplified characters and featuring a 16-year-old Chosen One who is unrealistically functional for her age and life experience, with a heavy emphasis on People Are Different and That’s Okay. Adding a couple of sexual assault scenes doesn’t make an adult novel of something not written in an adult register; it just means your YA is dark and risqué.

At any rate, this book follows a standard fantasy plotline: Nettie, a mistreated orphan of mysterious parentage who is shunned in her town, discovers supernatural powers, loses her mentor, learns she is the Chosen One, and goes on a quest to defeat an evil villain. The setting is interesting – an alternate version of the Old West, specifically Texas around the 1870s – and the author tries hard to make the book diverse: Nettie is part-black, part-native, bisexual, and genderqueer. This effort is in my view only moderately successful: the characterization overall is not particularly deep or complex; Nettie doesn’t have any consensual sexual encounters or a relationship; and Nettie’s racial heritage functions mostly just as the reason people are occasionally mean to her. She was raised by white people and the only important non-white characters in the book are two native siblings who, in the traditional role of irritating fantasy allies, are much more knowledgeable, skilled and committed than the protagonist but inexplicably pop in and out of the story rather than sticking around long enough to be helpful, presumably because if they simply took over the quest there wouldn’t be much action left for the clueless young protagonist. But this is better than including no diversity at all.

It’s an action/adventure type of book, with a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter and even a literal one at the end of the novel (I read the preview of the sequel online to satisfy my curiosity, which does not extend to reading another book). The narrative is full of “cowboy” talk: “The Rangers were doing their level best to give off an air of relaxation and ease, but any feller with sense could see that underneath the calm they were jittery as junebugs at a jaybird party.” At least the author has committed to her setting.

Overall, this isn’t a book that did much for me; I’d have appreciated more interesting characters or a plot that contained more than a quest to kill a monster, with something or other attacking our heroes every chapter. But if you like dark paranormal YA with a dash of horror and don’t mind the standard fantasy plot, this book may well be for you.

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review 2018-05-25 22:00
Absolutely fantastic!
Transformers: IDW Collection Phase Two Volume 3 - Jimbo Salgado,Nick Roche,Alex Milne,John Barber,James Lamar Roberts

This is just splendid: a lot of storylines are coming together, and it's beautiful to watch it all in one go.  

 

I think I'm gonna reread all this next year, too, to be honest.

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review 2018-05-25 17:22
Loving phase two
Transformers: IDW Collection Phase Two Volume 2 - Livio Ramondelli,Chris Metzen,Flint Dille,John Barber,James Lamar Roberts

The spotlights were mixed, but I'm truly enjoying both More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise.   This is a fascinating and illuminating reread and I get more and more every time I read these comics again.   MTMtE is particularly nuanced, and I am continuing to enjoy that the most.

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