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text 2017-11-20 18:47
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 6 - Bodhi Day

Tasks for Bodhi Day: Post a picture of your pet, your garden, or your favourite, most peaceful place in the world.

 

 

Hello Mom -- why are you sitting at your desk?  Can't we please go play? 
There are all those treats that are calling for me to hunt them ...

 

And:

 

Our garden ... an oasis of peace for (and in) all seasons.

 

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review 2017-11-20 13:12
#Audiobook Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Good Boy - Teddy Hamilton,Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen,Tanya Eby

Jess Canning is struggling to find her path in life. Planning and hosting her brother Jamie’s wedding to NHL superstar, Ryan Wesley, helped her realize party planning isn’t the job for her. After determining that her life’s calling is to be a nurse, Jess is relieved to earn a scholarship to the Smith Nursing school in Toronto.

 

After hooking up with his best friend’s little sister not once, but twice, Blake Riley realizes for the first time in five years, he wants more with a woman than a one-night stand. He’s into Jess, so when she moves to Toronto, he makes it his mission to woo her into being his girlfriend.

 

Good Boy is the wonderful followup to the amazing two-book Him series. I love that the authors did this spinoff starting with Blake and Jess - especially with Wes and Jamie’s wedding kicking off the title. The wedding helps transition nicely from the Jamie-and-Wes centric stories, to focus on Wes’s teammates. I love that they the pair is still a significant part of the book, but as the story unfolds, the focus is truly on Jess and Blake. 

 

I already liked Blake from the previous book, but after Good Boy, I’ve fallen hard. He’s got such a heart of gold, but he’s cocky and playful. He pushes, but knows when to back off. He makes me laugh. He’s the kind of character you want as your own best friend. Whether hanging with his teammates, romancing Jess, or skating on the ice, Blake is always true to himself and those around him.

 

Jess and Blake make a great pair. They start off as “frienemies” with their chiweiler hookup (a hilarious scene from Us), and I was worried I would be annoyed with Jess. She wants Blake, but is horrified by that, so she is a bit rude to him. But he takes it all in stride, confident she likes him, and wears her down. He knows just how to be there for her when she needs it. I really like how the story is all about them coming together - getting over their own hurdles. It’s gradual and real, rather than all at once. Love sneaks up on them. 

 

Teddy Hamilton and Tanya Eby are two narrators I’ve enjoyed listening to recently. Mr. Hamilton voiced the part of Jamie in the previous two books, and I recently listened to another contemporary romance by Ms. Bowen, that was also narrated by Ms. Eby. Because I had heard both narrators play other parts just before listening to Good Boy, I kept thinking of the other characters while listening to this one. While it gave some familiarity to the tale, it was also a little confusing for me. However, they are both strong, talented performers, creating fitting voices for the two main characters. My only issue with Ms. Eby is that I didn’t care for her versions of Jamie and Wes because I’m so used to the other narrators’s versions. And while I liked her Blake, I did have trouble at times distinguishing between her male voices. 

 

Although the WAGs series, starting with Good Boy, is a spinoff of one of my favorite series, you do not have to read Him or Us prior to starting this one. Blake and Jess are a fabulous couple and the book is a lot of fun. I am so glad the authors continued what they started in Him and opened it up to this larger world.

 

My Rating: A-

Narration (both): B+

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review 2017-11-10 14:50
#Audiobook Review: HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
HIM - Audible Studios,Teddy Hamilton,Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen,Jacob Morgan

As teens attending a hockey elite camp each summer in Lake Placid, Ryan (Wes) Wesley and Jamie Canning became the kind of best friends that are forever. However, Wes harbored a secret: he loved Jamie as more than friends, and one night, their last night at camp ever, Wes pushed things a bit too far. 

 

Four years later, the pair haven’t spoken throughout their college careers, and Jamie never figured out what he did to lose Wes as a friend. Running into one another at the NCAA Frozen Four championships allows the pair to start a new friendship. Yet working together as coaches at the place where their friendship all began gives this pair time to reflect on what they really mean to one another. 

 

I don’t know if I can adequately express my affection for Wes and Jamie and their beautiful relationship. Him is one of my favorite books; it hits every emotional note and has a wonderful happy ending. But the journey to get to that happy place is filled with bumps and tears, as well as some smoking hot sex.

 

Right from the start, I absolutely adored Jamie. He is genuinely hurt and angry that Wes abandoned their friendship over a little sex. He doesn’t care why the sex happened or that Wes is gay. He’s hurt at how little Wes thought of him. This sets up the type of man Jamie is, and I only became more and more impressed as the book continued. Always laid-back, the biggest worry he has is wondering why he isn’t freaked out that he is attracted to his best friend. Jamie is a rock; someone who thinks things through rationally. I loved getting a glimpse of his introspection regarding his sexuality, his career, and life in general. 

 

On the other hand, it took me a little longer to warm up to Wes. I loved his character, but it took time to see how much he has always loved Jamie, and how the genuine fear of losing him, or seeing disgust rule Jamie’s actions, controls Wes’s thoughts and actions. He adores Jamie so much, that he is willing to take whatever Jamie is willing to give, yet never seeing beyond the surface out of these fears. Thank god Jamie is a better man, who is willing to push Wes until he sees clearly.

 

As a huge fan of Elle Kennedy’s college hockey centric, Off-Campus series, the opening cadence of both Ryan and Jamie felt utterly familiar, as if the two were teammates with the guys from Briarwood. Both narrators feel at home with the cocky college hockey player vibe. And I can’t believe neither were narrators in the Off-Campus series. Initially, I felt the narrator for Jamie was a bit stronger. He shared more emotion in his performance. However as the story went on, I grew to appreciate how the narration for Wes deepened and matured, just as Wes does. I don’t know which narrator portrays which character, but both did a wonderful job, and I loved having two different and distinct voices for the two different POVs.

 

In the end, I absolutely loved Him in all aspects. And I am super excited that there is a second story, Us, which continues to follow Wes and Jamie as they begin their life together as a couple. Him is an amazing love story about two best friends who find powerful love. Filled with all sorts of smoking hot sex, the story is emotionally raw at times but never too rough, with an HEA at the end. 

 

My Rating: A+

Narration (both): A

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text 2017-11-09 17:11
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 9 - Winter Solstice / Yaldā Night
The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare - William Shakespeare

 

Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR– Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf. Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page. Post your results. –OR– Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!.

 

Who better to turn to for this than Shakespeare?

 

I asked a question on behalf of Teddy: Will he remain the only cat around this place, or is there another (of course, also FIV positive) feline in our joint future?

 

I think the Bard's answer is unequivocal -- and I'll make a note of that new nickname for Teddy, for whenever we find out who "she" is going to be):

 

Merken

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text 2017-10-11 15:12
Spot the Cat!

His new favorite spot -- right in front of my desk, in my office.

 

I got him this bed yesterday, and since it's such a rousing success, I went straight back to the store today and also bought him the remaining two they had left (they were on sale) ... This should hopefully go some way towards taking care of all that black fur on my living room rug!

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