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review 2019-03-11 12:27
Book Review – Suburban Luchador: Memoirs From Suburbia, by Philip Rivera
Suburban Luchador: Memoirs From Suburbia - Philip Rivera

I enjoyed reading this series of delightful short stories that take everyday family life to a whole new level. Philip Rivera, a suburban father shares humorous events and uses his family as the main cast. I think those who are already parents will relate to most situations and those who aren’t will be introduced to the unexpected thrills and misadventures of parenthood.

Although the situations described are funny on their own, it’s the way the author tells the story that makes it such a fun read.

“And so the cycle of innocence found, lost, found again, and finally

lost is complete. Just as a peanut is neither a pea nor a nut… and a

thighmaster is neither a thigh nor a master… so our hero learned that

Netflix and Chill means neither Netflix nor Chill.

And if you’re just learning this for the first time, welcome to the

end of your innocence.”

 

After a brief encounter with a Sons of Anarchy biker:

“One day, I’m going to start a minivan gang. That’ll show these Sons of Anarchy.

We would be called the Sons of Suburbia and our Suburban Steel Stallions, with high MPG, multiple airbags, cup holders and designer car safety seats, would rule the highways… and the preschool pickup line. “

 

Describing fun time with moms and toddlers at a library:

“It was like a nightclub rave… at 10 am… for moms and toddlers… in a library.”

 

I thought this is such a beautiful description of love that I must include it in my review!

 

“If you ask me, “What is love?” I’ll reply, “Baby don’t hurt me.” Then I’ll tell you that true love is finding that special someone who will forsake all coolness and unashamedly jam out with you to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in front of a group of strangers. That is love.”

 

Read the full review here: https://www.summonfantasy.com/book-reviews/book-review-suburban-luchador-memoirs-from-suburbia-by-philip-rivera

Source: www.summonfantasy.com/book-reviews/book-review-suburban-luchador-memoirs-from-suburbia-by-philip-rivera
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review 2019-02-01 14:59
Fathers, sons, betrayals and a gift with many shades.
Lover Betrayed (The Gift Legacy Companion Book 1) - JP McLean

I was sent an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

As I said in my review of Secret Sky, I had known about this series for a while but never seemed to find the time to read it as more books kept being added to it. After finally reading the first novel, I had the opportunity to read this one, that in effect covers much of the same ground as Secret Sky, but it is told from a different perspective, that of Jackson Delaney, the man who trains Em in the first book, and teaches her quite a number of things (and in case you haven’t read it, I won’t say any more). I must confess that my curiosity was two-fold. On finishing that novel, I think most readers will be left wondering the reasons for Jackson’s behaviour. Although he was never a favourite of mine (he seemed too good to be true and too secretive to be trustworthy), the things we learn about him at the end of the story would make most people reconsider what they had read and make conjectures as to why he had done what he did. As a writer, I was also intrigued about how the author would approach the challenge of telling the same story from a different perspective, or at least, including part of the same story into another story told by somebody else. It is not the same to write a book that includes different perspectives as writing two separate books giving us different accounts of the same story. By using a first-person narrative again, we get inside of the character’s head, and it makes for a very interesting experience, especially if one has read the other book very recently, as you can see the same scene, and read the same dialogue, but interpret it in a completely different way. It must have been a challenge, and I must say that although I read both books back to back and was, therefore, very familiar with the story, the nuances and the change in point of view kept it fresh and intriguing.

This novel talks about families and family relationships, particularly between fathers and sons, although the relationship of Jackson’s wife to her family is also key to the development of the story. The novel opens at the funeral for Jackson’s father, and the author sets the scene beautifully, with great descriptions of the setting, the characters, the funeral arrangements, down to the heat (this is New Orleans in August, and having visited it in September, I can only imagine how suffocating it must be). The author also manages to convey a lot of information about Jackson’s father and his somewhat “dubious” business practices, without making the reader feel there is too much telling. Being inside of Jackson’s head, we share in his perspective and, at least at first, it seems as if he is trying to leave his mark on things and do things more ethically and stand his moral ground, in contrast to his father. (Of course, having read the other book, I had my doubts as to how things would work out, but I think he makes for a very credible character if somebody reads this book first). It doesn’t take long though before it becomes evident that perhaps he is more of his father’s son than he wants to believe, and some of the lessons he learned from his father prove difficult to unlearn, like his lack of confidence and mistrust of women, and his attitude towards family, his and others.

This is another book that has paranormal elements at its heart although, at least at first sight, the novel is set in our everyday world, only with some enhancements and secrets most of us know nothing about. This novel can also be enjoyed by people who don’t often read fantasy, but here we come to realise much sooner than in Secret Sky that the gift can be manipulated and put to uses far from harmless, and we get the perspective of somebody who has grown up with the gift, rather than learning about it with the main character. Jackson moves between both worlds with ease and manages to keep them separate most of the time, but perhaps not as well as he imagines.

I enjoyed reading the same story from a different perspective, although I would not say the book has managed to endear me to Jackson, in particular. He is a solid character, his motivations are plausible, and whatever we might think of his behaviour, he is not all good or all bad. He is quick to think the worst of people; at times he seems cocky and full of confidence but some of his actions and reactions prove he is not as strong and self-confident as he’d like others to believe; he misjudges people often and holds grudges that seem unjustified; he is rather egotistical and thinks of his own interests first; he manipulates others to get what he wants, but he is ambivalent and tries to avoid causing unnecessary harm, can be generous on occasion, and is a dutiful son.  His attitude towards women is problematic, but this seems to be part of his inheritance, and yes, we do get the male perspective of the sexual encounters as well (not something I particularly cared for, but like the rest of the book, I thought Jackson’s voice felt genuine and worked well). There is a clear ARC to the character and by the end he has learned a lot about himself, not all of it flattering.

I read a description of the book which mentioned Rashomon and it got me thinking. Rashomon tells the same story from the perspectives of several of the witnesses present, and in this case I wondered how other characters would have seen the events, or rather, thought about Jackson and his actions at the time. But that would be another book. (Just saying!)

The novel also contains questions for book clubs (don’t read them before you read the novel, as there are spoilers) and a glossary of terms that hints at a much more complex world than we have so far glimpsed. That and the description of the rest of the books in the series piqued my curiosity, and I suspect this would not be the last book in the series I read.

I think this book can be enjoyed on its own, and I’d be curious to hear the opinion of somebody who read it without being familiar with the series, but to fully appreciate it I’d recommend reading at least the first of the Gift Legacy series first. A book for readers who enjoy a touch of fantasy and fancy, combined with a good story of family relationships, betrayal, and mystery. And if you like boats and sailing, even better.

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review 2019-01-03 20:45
Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
Dracul - Clive Barker,Dacre Stoker

Bram Stoker's DRACULA is the iconic cornerstone of vampire fiction and horror literature in general.
Frequently imitated, constantly recreated, never duplicated.

But what inspired Stoker to create the most infamous, immortal vampire of all time? His great-grand nephew, Dacre Stoker and co-author J.D. Barker have the answer.

DRACUL is a prequel of sorts to Bram Stoker's DRACULA, based upon the 100 or so pages edited from the original manuscript and Bram's own notes....and, I hope, a great deal of fiction. Because this one brings back the Gothic creep factor of the original in spades....Hell, it's using earth moving equipment.


While growing up in Dublin, 7 year old Bram was a sickly child. Until his nanny Ellen Crone took over his treatment. Brought back literally from Death's doorway, Bram begins to flourish.....as a series of mysterious deaths in the village all seem to be connected to Ellen, whose odd behavior has become a subject of concern for Bram and his sister Matilda.....especially when the nanny suddenly vanishes without a trace.

Years later, Matilda would bring news to Bram that she has seen Ellen Crone again....and a nightmarish horror from the past descends upon them once more.

A heady Gothic blend of fact, fiction and Irish folklore, DRACUL earns the right to be shelved with the original DRACULA, while Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker deserve kudos for creating a literary horror novel that brings depth to Bram's original masterpiece, while still being strong enough to stand on it's own.

I received this hardcover ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Many thanks to Ken Kusisto and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the opportunity.


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review 2018-09-02 04:06
The Seven Sons of Jethro, Terri Grace
The Seven Sons of Jethro 2-in-1 Special ... The Seven Sons of Jethro 2-in-1 Special Edition: The Seven Sons of Jethro & The Flight of Love - Terri Grace,Pure Read

I really enjoyed these 2 Historical Romance, the last being a Mail Order Bride book. I voluntarily chose to review these books and I've rated both of these books 4.5*'s These are also books 10 and 11 in the Pure Read Clean Read Bundle of 41 books. Terri Grace has a gift of touching my emotional chords which leaves me laughing and in tears from her books. There's a bit of action in these books but also a lot of caring too. I look forward to more of her books. Onto the next.

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review 2018-07-23 23:34
Historical Romance
Heir to the Duke (The Duke's Sons) - Jane Ashford

Heir To The Duke by Jane Ashford is an entertaining historical romance.  Ms. Ashford has delivered a book that is well-written and furnished it with amazing characters.  Nathaniel marries Violet because she's suitable.  Violet married Nathaniel to escape her hateful grandmother.  Nathaniel and Violet's story is full of drama, humor, sizzle and a bit of suspense.  I enjoyed reading Heir To The Duke and look forward to reading more from Jane Ashford in the future.  Heir To The Duke is book 1 of The Duke's Sons Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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