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review 2020-03-22 16:28
Shipwreck - Gordon Korman
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I stumbled across a copy of this book in a Lending Library and thought it would be an interesting, quick read.

From the start, I was instantly swept up in the story. The premise of the book is that a group of kids are put into a reform program in which they work on a ship that sets out into the Pacific Ocean. Based on the title, I was assuming things would progress more quickly, but I did enjoy the narration of the various jobs and parts of the ship as well as the lingo used. It was an interesting way to incorporate educational aspects into an adventure book. A storm hits and things don't go as planned, which leads to some suspenseful moments.

This book was very well-written. It was easy to get caught up in the story. With six kids as characters, I did have a slightly hard time keeping them all straight, especially the boys. However, the writing is amazing and I think young readers would really enjoy it. There is a lot of interesting information presented about survival tactics, shipwrecks, and marine animals (thanks mostly to Ian, the TV-addict), which added to the adventure qualities of the book to create a fascinating read.

I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. As soon as I finished it, I immediately wanted to read the second one (sadly the Lending Library only had books one and three). My local library has an audiobook of the second book and I am looking forward to listening to it to find out what happens next. A great series to get lost in.
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review 2018-08-02 18:27
The Shipwreck (Lavender Shores, #4) by Rosalind Abel 3.5 Star Review!
The Shipwreck - Rosalind Abel

Lamont Price’s romance novels have been a hit for the past few years. With his gorgeous looks, kind heart, and tender disposition, Lamont is the darling of Lavender Shores. He’s the guy everyone wants to be their best friend, the guy everyone wants to protect. But even with his success and the love of his family, Lamont feels hidden from those around him. Maybe the first step is attending a writing conference and revealing the man behind his pen name....

Tyler Dixon survives off his beauty and charm. From cover model to runway fashion to weekend arm candy, Tyler’s prices aren’t cheap. While his appearance is taking him places, his life as an artist has little more than flatlined. When an author hires him to appear as the face of her brand, Tyler thinks it’s just one more job. Little does he know another writer is going to steal all of his attention.

Escaping the conference to find some breathing room, Lamont runs into Tyler at a bar. Casual conversation leads to Lamont revealing his family’s obsession with helping him find love. It’s not a big deal to Tyler, who has played the role of boyfriend for other people in the past. Before either of them can rethink the situation, Tyler is in Lavender Shores meeting Lamont’s family. Though they’re only pretending to be in a relationship, the chemistry that ignites between them is anything but imaginary…




I finally started reading the very tropey Lavender Shores series set in a very queer friendly fictionial beachside town in Northern California. 

These are fun reads with a great cast and setting. Here we get love lorn and shy Lamont a romance writer from one of the town's founding families and Tyler, cover model, photographer, and porn star.

So, opposite attract with one hero needing emotionial connection for sex (though not demi) and the other shutting down emotions and sex after a cheating and mentally abusive ex. 

The chemistry between these too is solar and we get a little pretend relationship thrown in. 

The drama comes from Tyler not sharing his adult film work in due time as you might guess. But this conflict is handled really well as really being an internal conflict for each hero and the book remains very sex positive and non shaming.

There are some cool aspects of the book I really liked such has both Tyler and Lamont have great parents though very different from each other, Tyler is very well endowed and Lamont doesn't just take him, and these two talk for the most part. Lamont get therapy. Tyler evaluates his choices with great self reflection and honesty. 

Some parts of the book go a bit fast at the end but a nice read overall.


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review 2018-08-01 00:00
Shipwreck (Island I)
Shipwreck (Island I) - Gordon Korman,Holter Graham Good book however, it was a bit slow at parts.Though I would definitely read the second one. I didn't realize this was a series so now I want to find it. Overall pretty good defenitly a good read for middle grade! decent enough to read as a adult .
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review 2017-10-08 22:46
ARC Review: The Shipwreck (Lavender Shores #4) by Rosalind Abel
The Shipwreck - Rosalind Abel
"Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practise To Deceive..."

Lamont Price, Andrew's older half-brother, is an author of M/F romances under a female pseudonym, attending his first romance book conference and about to come clean to his readers. He's nervous, understandably, not only because he's deceived his fans into thinking he's a woman named Ginger Peach, but also because he doesn't like the spotlight. As soon as he can, he runs from his fans to a bar outside of the conference hotel.

Lamont is an interesting character. In his mid-forties, he is plagued primarily by what he considers his failures (no boyfriend, no long-term relationship prospect, no books in his own name, no sex for years), and largely avoids getting together with his family, because they keep trying to set him up with someone he could add to the family. Lamont hasn't had sex in years because he doesn't do hook-ups and prefers to have sex within a relationship only. Not a bad attitude, of course, but obviously, that can lead to loneliness. And he is lonely. He sees all the happy couples in Lavender Shores and feels left out, like he's on the outside looking in.

While he's at the bar, hiding from his fans, he meets Tate Dallas, who's the prolific cover model for another romance author and whose real name is Tyler Dixon. 

Tyler/Tate is what may be considered a rentboy. He's not only a cover model, but can also be hired as an escort, including providing bedroom attention, and some other jobs within that industry. He does all his to fund his photography and showing his work in galleries, while waiting for his "big break". He makes no secret of having a lot of sex, but he omits telling Lamont outright that he gets paid for doing so. He also omits another major thing, one that... nah, you read this for yourself.

So Lamont, having the baby shower for Andrew and Joel's soon-to-be-born baby coming up, asks Tyler if he would consider posing as his boyfriend for a long weekend in Lavender Shores, no strings attached, and no hanky-panky included. Of course, Lamont thinking that Tyler is the most beautiful man he's ever seen definitely helps in overcoming a smidgen of his shyness to even propose this arrangement. But surely, someone as gorgeous as Tyler has no interest in someone as boring as Lamont.

Except Tyler is struck pretty much just the same, but doesn't feel that he has anything to offer the older and more successful man. And thus expects nothing except the part he's agreed to play. It's a one-time thing, and then they'll go their separate ways. 

But the best-laid plans and all that...

I quite liked the two main characters here, and the author did a darn good job exploring them in depth. It was clear that the Tate Dallas persona was a front, and that there is a real person hiding behind that pseudonym, a person who gets scared of what might be and a person who doesn't believe in love everlasting. Tyler is not ashamed of what he does to support himself, but he also keeps Tyler and Tate very separate. As Tyler, the fact that he's pretty straight-forward in what he says and does helped to draw Lamont out of his shell too.

It was also clear that Lamont, while shy and introverted, faltered more often than not under the pressure his parents put on him, whether it was intentional or not. Many people in town looked at him as if he was this fragile person and failed to realize that Lamont is in fact quite strong. His strength is in his convictions and his unwillingness to settle for anything but the real thing.

The two men have a strong connection from the start, and once Tyler gets to Lavender Shores for the baby shower weekend, they both struggle to stick with the original plan. I really liked that this was a slow burn romance for a good chunk of it, and that they had a chance to get to know each other a little bit before jumping into the sheets. 

I really liked the imagery of the Shipwreck that the author used here, and the many parallels that could be drawn from it. It was also quite lovely how the author used the actual shipwreck as a background for Lamont and Tyler to get closer and soon allows them to realize that neither of them is ready to say good-bye quite yet. 

Obviously, the omissions I mentioned at the beginning of my review play a huge role in the progression of their relationship and end up to be a chasm Lamont and Tyler cannot bridge once the truth comes out. 

Or can they?

This is a romance, after all, so you know that a HEA is guaranteed, and the author doesn't let the reader down. Still, both men need to first find themselves, find who they really are, and figure out that what they had, what they built, no matter how short their time together, may be worth fighting for. 

How they find their way back to each other - well, you read this yourself. There's some angst, some self-discovery, and there's a fabulous epilogue that you don't want to miss.

And plenty of holy hot boysecks, Batman, to boot!!


** I received a free advance copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-10-02 00:00
The Shipwreck
The Shipwreck - Rosalind Abel Book – The Shipwreck (Lavender Shores #4)
Author – Rosalind Abel
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 311
Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 1st person, dual POV
Would I read it again – YES!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Romance

Reviewed for Divine Magazine

I was so thrilled to finally get Lamont's story in my hands that there aren't even the words for it. What the story did to me, however, is another matter entirely. I was totally not prepared for the snot-fest sobbing that came with the second half of this novel. Not in the least!

I love how the story started, with Lamont at a book convention, 'coming out' as a male author of straight romances, with a female pen-name. I loved the authenticity of his fear, of the reactions, even the talk about trending on Twitter and how the viewers were divided between supporting him and vowing never to read his books again. It's so like the cruel reality of the publishing world that it's probably happened exactly like this in real life, somewhere.

I love how, even after Tyler is introduced as this cocky, flirtatious person in Chapter 1, during Lamont's POV, we still got to see a side of him that is his natural element, a part of him that has fallen out of love with the attention, even just a little. It's all through Lamont's eyes, which it the genius of the writing, because you can see it even without having to know it from his POV.

Speaking of which, the writing is the same top class, five star, unmistakable style and level of talent that I've become used to when reading Rosalind Abel books. If they can't make me cry at least once, they're not Rosalind Abel. If I can't connect with a main character by the end of Chapter 1, it's just not authentically Rosalind Abel. That's how I've come to view this series and, though I would never want Lavender Shores to stop telling its stories – we still have Paulie, Seth and the book store guy, and so many others to read about – I would absolutely read anything else, in any genre, that Abel wanted to write. I'd be there, money in hand, willing to fork out any amount for a book that I just knew was going to be gold standard.

Okay, so I'll be upfront – there were some moments that had my ugly crying from here to Sunday, and some that were just so awkwardly brilliant and funny and cringe-worthy that I could barely contain myself. To not give too much away, here's the run down of what happened:

The baby food tasting game was almost too much for me and I can guarantee that I snorted at least once.
It made me cry that Tyler was the first one to ask for a wish – that they could pretend with each other, even when they were alone – that they weren't two people who didn't do relationships, out of fear.
The palisade conversation is heart-breaking. Hearing about Tyler's past, lost love, and the whole story, then hearing how Lamont thinks himself broken, just because he doesn't sleep around and only has meaningful relationships, was gut-wrenching.

Now, these are the quotes that I can't explain and that gutted me for so long that it was hard to read through the tears:
“I broke. Utterly broke.” ← and so did I. After holding it together pretty well, with only small instances of tears, for nearly 74%, this was what broke me. All I can say is God Bless Debbra and thank you for that chapter. That is all.
“That is my shame. And you are my loss.” ← I'm not even going to explain what this one did to me.
“I didn't know reality could feel like this.”
“I wrote them a happily ever after.”
“I let out a long breath, maybe the one I'd been holding for the past forty-five years.”
“The only foolish thing about Lamont was him allowing himself to fall for me.”
and, finally,
“We were on the cliff in our own little snow globe.
We were saying goodbye.”

While it doesn't need a 'warning label' per se I do want to mention that the book contains exhibitionism, porn enactments and themes of depression, isolation, step-family anxiety, polyamory, a slight May-December romance, and therapy. But I only mention it because there are so many ways that these issues are dealt with, brought up and respectfully handled that it needs to be talked about. Not enough authors are comfortable having vulnerable older men as their lead characters, but Abel shows time and again that it can not only be done, but with style, class and sensitivity.

I really love that Tyler doesn't hate his work or think it something to be ashamed of. I really love that his family knows the truth, that he's proud of his ability to love his job, do it well and work hard to reach his dreams. I love that when the truth comes to light, Lamont doesn't say the one word Tyler is afraid of hearing. I just hate that Lamont rushes straight into self-doubt, although visiting Donovan is an excellent idea.

There was so much story in the first half that, because I was so engrossed in my reading, I fully expected around the 55% to be close to the end, until I checked and saw how much more there was to come. When those two idiots accosted Tyler on his way home from Christmas, it nearly killed me, but it promised so much – that it absolutely 100% delivered – for the second half of the book.

The title always perfectly encapsulates the most romantic thing about the story, or where the most important moments take place, and it kills me every time I figure out the significance while I'm reading. When Lamont and Tyler are at the shipwreck for the first time, every word out of Lamont's mouth not only destroyed my heart, but proved why this book had the title it did. In that way and in so many others.

As usual, the ending is utter perfection, the Epilogue broke me in new ways and helped heal me before 'the end', and with the addition of so many of the previous characters from previous books, there was nothing about this book that I would change. Ever.

I know I said in my review of the previous book that I wanted Connor and Paulie to hook up, but I'm thrilled to read the sneak peek of The Hideaway and know that my original hopes were right. I really thought they never would be, considering the situation, but I am beyond happy to find out I was right to begin with and then wrong to doubt myself. Something only Rosalind Abel can do, to this extent.


Favourite Quotes

“I didn't know Lamont, and he most definitely didn't know me, but for just that moment, he was...everything. And from the protective strength of his embrace, I knew I was his everything too.”

“The earth didn't tremble, the sun neither, and I was still a man who didn't do relationships. But as we kissed, some fragment of Lamont's soul took root in my heart.”

“I'd seen lots of eyes. Looked into countless eyes. I'd seen admiration, attraction, lust. Lots and lots of lust. I've even seen love at times.
I'd never seen myself before.”

“This was happening. I was falling in love. Maybe had fallen, who knew? And Andrew was right. Who cared if it was fast? Who cared if there were a million things we didn't know about each other yet. That was the fun of it. There'd be time. Maybe it was insane to think, but perhaps Tyler was the reason I'd been waiting all those years. Part of the reason I felt something was missing. I'd been my own romance novel the entire time, I just hadn't known it.”
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