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review 2017-09-22 18:28
We Met in Dreams
We Met in Dreams - Rowan McAllister

“Yesterday in the park, I was feeling quite sorry for myself. I sat on that bench for a long time, trying to dredge up the strength to return to my empty apartments. Then an angel dropped in my lap, invited me to tea, and kissed me, and ever since I’ve been struggling to believe my luck. I feel as if I’m in a dream, and at any moment, I’ll wake broken and alone again.”

 

This book is the perfect blend of paranormal, mystery, historical fiction and romance.  Just an absolutely beautiful story that kept me on the edge of my seat; kept me continuously wondering who to trust, what to believe and how this would end.  And none of it was as I suspected which made the journey that much better.

 

I adored both these beautiful men and how they each became the angel the other needed to see through their darkness and see light and happiness awaiting them with each other.

 

And the visual descriptions of this manor, the period dress and the glimpses into London were perfectly captured for me. I was left mezmerized. 

 

Thanks Marco for the recommendation...truly one to follow.

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review 2017-09-21 17:07
Gulp
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach

Several years ago, I listened to the audiobook version of Gulp.  My reaction at the time was “Fascinating, with just the right amount of yuck factor.” 

 

I re-read Gulp during the early part of September since it was picked as the first Flat Book Society read.  The chatty, anecdotal style that worked so well for the first listen, didn’t hold up as well to a (print) re-read.  The level of detail for many of the chapters seemed more appropriate for a podcast or a newspaper article than for a book, and perhaps would have been better if encountered in episodic form with a break between sections.

 

My least favorite parts were the early chapters discussing the history of Fletcherism (obsessive chewing) and the 19th century experiments on Alexis St. Martin (he of the fistulated stomach), both stories I’d previously encountered.  The book picked up a bit once Ms. Roach started talking about the Oral Processing Lab at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and other recent research into the digestive process.   I particularly liked the chapter debunking the story of Jonah and the "whale." While many find the closing chapter regarding stool transplants repugnant, as someone with a delicate digestion, I found the idea of recolonizing the digestive system fascinating.

 

If you can appreciate potty humor and are interested in a semi-random series of tidbits loosely connected to digestion, then you might want to pick up Gulp for your next audiobook or bathroom read.   

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review 2017-09-19 18:16
My Forever, My Always
My Forever, My Always: Men of Crooked Bend Book 1 - Taylor Rylan

Phew. I skimmed the last 10% because...I was exhausted and just over this couple.  This book unfortunately did not work for me.

 

This book is nearly 400 pages and compared to most MM books, that is about 150 pages too much.  This one could have used the cut.

 

Overall, I was curious about this author. I have had conversations with her several times and she is a sweetheart.  And for a first time novel, this one has its pros.  But there is no doubt that a lot can be learned from this first one.

 

  • Not every man in the book needs to be gay.  I mean I love gay men but at some point good grief...I could use a straight character.
  • The entire story does not need to be told.  We went from hook up to quick relationship development to moving in to meeting families to engagement to bachelor party to wedding to honeymoon, to an epilogue...which did not close anything but brought up more storylines about other characters. It just becomes too much.  Much of the last 50% of this book could have been reduced.
  • While there was nothing overly irritating about these "Architects" there could be some improvements on what Architects actually do that would help readers like me avoid eye rolling.  But for those who are not Architects, none of these items would matter to them at all.
  • I love getting glimpses of couples that will be brought forth in future books but this was painful.  Too many instances of "I wonder what is going on there" or "I'll have to ask him what happened" only to get more questions and no answers. Yes, I get books are coming but this is rather painful as a reader, especially when the couples that interest you are books away.  Introduce these characters but avoid drawing them too much into the current story or risk irritating your reader and drawing away from the main couple too much. I found myself more interested in wanting these future books than I was about this couple.
  • I wish there had been a Gay Romance Checklist of attributes, sexual positions, storylines, etc. attached to this book, because I think every box would be checked. We don't need everything.  And the warning about Rape at the beginning was completely unnecessary because we never got anything more than "he was raped, beaten and stabbed".  I assume when we finally get to this character's book we will get more.  At least I hope so.  
  • There is no need to overuse a character's name repeatedly in conversation between 2 people.  I am talking to you, I don't need to use your name.  This became irritating because how often do you really use a person's name when you are having a conversation with them.  Very little.
  • Overall this couple was rather blah.  There was no tension, no heartache, no dark past or anything.  These were just 2 lovely men who loved each other.  And we heard about it a lot.  I just kinda lost interest. 

 

Now all that said, will I continue?  Yes.  As I mentioned above, I am actually much more interested in these other couples who appear to have a little more grit to them than these characters did.  Plus, I am eager to see how this author grows and develops.  She has the abilities there is no doubt. I just hope she can structure her next book in a way that keeps me more engaged.

 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-17 12:04
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson
A Stitch in Time - Andrew J. Robinson

Stories about Cardassia and Garak have easily become my favourite part of TrekLit nowadays, so it was time to reread this excellent "autobiography".

 

Divided into 3 parts, A Stitch in Time sheds light on Garak's history, the way others always made decisions for him, the way loss and betrayal shaped his life more than loyalty and friendship. And it all starts at school where he meets life-long friends and equally life-long enemies, and the love of his life, Palandine, who indirectly causes his fall from power and exile on DS9.

 

This part is a fascinating glimpse into Garak's history with various characters (such as Dukat, the story behind "The Wire", Tain), Cardassian society as a whole, but also into the microverse of Garak and his family. Tolan Garak, the man he believed to be his father and who turned out to be his uncle, ultimately perhaps influenced his life more than Tain and his mother Mila. Because while Tolan only belonged to the frowned-upon service class he nevertheless was more independent from outside influence than upper-class men, including who Garak comes to be. It takes years for Garak to see that.

 

The second part are diary entries between "In the Pale Moonlight" and his departure for Cardassia which relay Garak's conflict (culminating in the panic attacks) between betraying Cardassia and ultimately saving it from the Dominion together with the Federation. It highlights the growing distance between Julian and him, and the anxiety just what Cardassia he'll be able to return to. What will be left? As a side story, he meets a friend of Ziyal's who turns out to be an agent of the Khon-Ma, assigned to kill him - a woman who survived the destruction of the shuttle back on Bajor that cost her family their lives and for which she holds Garak responsible (again see "The Wire").

 

Finally, the third part is set on post-war Cardassia. Garak has returned home, a world in perpetual twilight after the Dominion tried to exterminate the population, leaving over a billion dead, a world in ruins. He turns Tain's home into a memorial, a place where people can mourn and slowly move on. And for the first time in his life he finds himself able to choose his own path, meeting old friends and enemies and determining Cardassia's future.

 

In the end, Garak comes full circle, open to new ideas because he's learned to adapt due to his ever changing surroundings. And I think Tain would turn in his grave if he saw Tolan's influence prevail over his own, resulting in Garak's interest in the Oralian Way (even if also as a means to find his love Palandine after the war - BTW, curious how the later novels don't mention her but emphasize Garak's friendships with Bashir and Parmak)... but it's gratifying to see that all of Tain's machinations, his power and loyalty plays, his treating people like pawns on a giant chess board ultimately fail.

 

A highly recommendable book - and together with "The Never-Ending Sacrifice" maybe the key to understanding the Cardassian mindset.

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text 2017-09-15 19:39
Reading progress update: I've read 54%.
KAGE Unleashed - Maris Black

“Tell me you trust me,” he said, his voice barely controlled as he pounded into my body.

But I didn’t know if I trusted him. The truth was, it didn’t matter if I trusted him or not.

“I would die for you,” I said instead, because it was true. Trust was irrelevant. He could break my trust a hundred times, and I would still die for him.

He walked me forward a couple of steps and bent me over the top of the balcony rail, as if testing my claim. Only the tops of my shoulders and my head were floating, but the near-invisibility of the balcony gave the illusion of much more.

“I would die for you, too,” he said. “I don’t care.” And then he gave me everything he had, surging up into my body with the strength of ten men, showing me with his body what could not be said with words.

 

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