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review 2015-07-29 21:22
Lisa Worrall – Un-Deniable
Un-Deniable (Left at the Crossroads Book 3) - Lisa Worrall,Meredith Russell

Reviewer: Lucy

Genre: MM Contemporary

 

Review: Oliver is heading to Little Mowbury in search of a job. He has worked at a big city hospital but constantly running into his ex, the mighty surgeon, just makes things too difficult and he’s off for a fresh start in a small village. Of course, as luck would have it, his GPS gives out on the way (I would die without my GPS, so I really felt for him!) and he is trying desperately to read the map and get to his interview on tie. His fears for himself, “His frantic family would end up sticking posters of him around London and he’d eventually be found wandering around a farmer’s field wearing a cabbage leaf hat, up to his neck in sheep sh*t” made me laugh out loud. Again, I’ve been that lost and forever now will picture myself in a cabbage leaf hat. Luckily, he finds the way and so ends up meeting Deano, a little Mowbury farmer.


I admit to ambivalent feelings about Deano. I am not really a fan. He is so push and pull, and regardless of reasons I wanted him to just quit hurting Oliver! When Deano overhears one comment and then pulls the plug on everything, well, loss of respect for him.


It was disappointing that an injury had to be thrown in to get them together, as well as Dean not bothering to ask Oliver what he wanted. He took that one comment of Becky’s as gospel, without staying to hear what Oliver said. That was disappointing. I get that Dean has little self confidence but come on!


The setting here is a star, you can almost picture yourself in the little village where “everyone knows when you fart” but also everyone rallies behind you. It’s a nice addition to the series.

Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/review-lisa-worrall-un-deniable
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review 2015-06-03 16:33
Sue Brown – In-Decision (Left at the Crossroads #2)
In-Decision (Left at the Crossroads Book 2) - Sue Brown

Reviewer: Lucy

Genre: MM Contemporary

 

Review: Jason’s life has been turned upside down with the loss of his love in a car accident. It’s been eighteen months and Jason is trying to move on. Since there is nothing for him but sad memories and friends who deserted him, he is going for a complete fresh start in Little Mowbury. His interview at the pub turns into a “practical interview”, so basically he’s hired on the spot. This is his introduction to the warm, close atmosphere of Little Mowbury.


Meeting the local midwife, Tom, brings some peace and calm. We met Tom in the first story in this series (Un-expected) and he was treated sort of poorly by someone he loved so I’m very glad we get to see him get his story here. Tom is a sweet, laid back sort of guy and as he and Jason get to know each other, they support each other very well. There is no insta-love here. Jason has guilt and love for his late husband and Tom has some history of his own. But as they become friends, there is definitely lust involved. Tom doesn’t pressure Jason and Jason soaks up the ability to be with someone.


I liked the instant acceptance of Jason by Tom’s friends, Harry and Micah. Sitting around with them while they tell stories of Tom was such a nice, normal thing for Jason. This becomes a friends to lovers story and I liked that aspect very much. Tom’s easy support of Jason as memories blindside him show the quiet strength of Tom. Jason’s trying so hard to move on but as anyone suffering a loss knows, it’s difficult. Jason has a secret, as well, and this makes things more complicated. You want to hug Jason when he has to deal with Celia.


I did wonder what happened with the break in at Harry and Micah’s cottage? The story behind this wasn’t addressed fully. This part felt a bit distracting to me.


The setting of this series, Little Mowbury, is nearly a character in and of itself. There is so much depth to this little village and you can visualize it so well. It’s a lovely place to live and I so want to see it.


I enjoyed this story, which was smooth, sweet and a bit angsty.

Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/review-sue-brown-in-decision-left-at-the-crossroads-2
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review 2015-05-14 15:15
ARC Review — In-Decision, by Sue Brown
In-Decision (Left at the Crossroads Book 2) - Sue Brown

I adored the backdrop of a sleepy, British village, which gave me quite a lot of St. Mary Mead-feels (which is a good thing). The village was really a character along with the boys, in many ways.

 

For me, the story didn’t really take off, however, it just plodded along, doing its little English village trot. Maybe I need to investigate village pubs, and learn more about how that all works.

 

Suddenly strange break-ins and whatnots disrupted the peaceful travel of the story. Slightly jarring, what was that all about? No explanations, and this gives it away as the middle story in a series, even though I had heard that it would work well as a stand-alone. The thing with a series is that there are often unresolved threads dangling, both from the previous book, and to the next one in line. This one was no exception. I suppose that’s how series work, but I’m not a fan.

 

This is a well-written story, technically, and I appreciate a well-edited text. This is the first story I read by Sue Brown, but probably not the last. What this book has is very low amounts of angst, and high amounts of cuddling. I totally approve of that.

 

Cute read for a rainy Sunday afternoon with a cup of good tea and biscuits at hand.

 

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this self-published book from the author. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1166150/arc-review-in-decision-by-sue-brown
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text 2015-05-12 01:46
The Crossroads Cafe By Deborah Smith $1.99
The Crossroads Cafe - Deborah Smith

The world's most beautiful movie star is scarred in a fiery car accident. Her career over and her self-esteem in shreds, she hides in the magnificent home her grandmother left her in the mountains of North Carolina. But her motherly cousin refuses to let her become a recluse, and a handsome neighbor with painful dilemmas of his own...

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-03-03 09:44
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein
The Crossroads - Chris Grabenstein

As a general rule, I don't DNF books. Sometimes I wish that wasn't the case, given how much time I've wasted on books I didn't enjoy, but that's just how I am. Most of the time, I at least have some desire to see how a book turns out, even if it's a book I'm not enjoying.

 

That was not the case with The Crossroads. It's been over two years since I've DNF'd a book, but I've finally found one I just couldn't force myself through. Trying to read The Crossroads--trying to pretend I was remotely interested in this absolutely ridiculous, utterly weird horror-mystery--was a goddamn painful experience. And so, of course, this review is going to be a big ol' bunch o' bitchin', and I'm not pulling punches on spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled and would prefer to judge The Crossroads for yourself, don't read any further.

 

The Crossroads is an ensemble story that introduces a large (for MG) cast of ostensibly non-connected characters who are slowly revealed to be connected. It's supposed to be an intriguing, slowly unfolding mystery... and I could not be fucked to care. At no point was I presented with a single reason to be interested in these characters, let alone actively wonder how they were connected, and the mystery itself was almost entirely fueled by the arbitrary withholding of important details. It took--I shit you not--130 pages for the identity of the linchpin character, the man killed at the crossroads, to be revealed... in spite of the fact that his ghost became a POV character at page 80!

 

My lack of interest wasn't exactly helped by the ADD writing style of the story. I have no complaint about how the point of view shifted with the chapters in order to give screentime to all the characters at varying intervals. I am, however, annoyed at the absurd percentage of chapters that were only one or two pages long and far too short for anything to actually happen. It felt like every plotline and POV character was vying for my attention at all times yet doing nothing to earn it, or else that the book itself kept getting distracted and bouncing around from thread to thread with such frenzy that it never actually made any progress. This was perhaps the most frustrating reason behind why eighty freaking pages of this 325 page book passed before the plot even started to show up (and when it did make an appearance, it certainly went nowhere fast).

 

The primary main character of the story was Zack, an eleven-year-old boy who acted like a six-year-old and was literally identified by a bit character as "the chosen one". Really, Zack makes no sense all around. He has this paranoia of evil trees (you know, like most kids do...) and then just so happens to move in next door to an evil fucking tree that contains the ghost of a man with a grudge against his family. On top of that, he also has a subplot about a bully who calls him "Barbie" and beats the shit out of him, but that's resolved when Zack pantses the kid mid-beating, which reveals that the eleven- or twelve-year-old bully wears diapers. So of course the bully loses all his friends, who immediately give him a mean nickname and become Zack's friends instead! (What is this, some kind of screwy wolf pack? You just prove you're tougher than the alpha male and take all his friends for your own? Are we pretending that's how human relationships work now? And what's with the fucking diaper bit? Why exactly is this bullying subplot resolved with more bullying?)

 

But while the bullying/diaper bit (chapter 43) heavily contributed to my decision to DNF, it wasn't the final straw. The final straw was Chapter 44, which blended together my three biggest complaints about the story and its writing.

 

1) The dialogue was horrible, especially in Chapter 44, which contained an utterly ridiculous exchange between Billy and Clint.

 

2) The characters' actions are completely unbelievable, especially when it comes to the ghost. Zack, Mary, and the bit character who identifies Zack as "the chosen one" just know things. No one displays any significant reaction to the death of two different elderly characters--including the family members of the deceased. Everyone is super chill about talking to or even being possessed by a ghost. Zack's dad is mind-blowingly oblivious during the introduction of the bully, Kyle, and the entire scene involving Kyle's apparent comeuppance is completely, ridiculously nuts.

 

3) Which brings me to my last complaint: though the tiny chapters and stagnant plot utterly remove any chance of suspense, everything is extremely dramatic and exaggerated. A diaper-wearing bully is defeated by pantsing. A bit character shows up just to call a random kid "the chosen one", despite the fact that the plot itself hasn't even bothered to show up yet. An old woman is literally frightened to death by the spooky-scary ghostie she'd been fairly calmly talking to just a moment before. Okie dokie, then.

 

So, yeah. I'm going to give myself a pass on this one and just throw in the towel. The so-called mystery was boring, the characters were dull and frustratingly stupid, and the plot was both damn-near nonexistent and as slow as molasses. After spending a week trying to force myself to finish this, I'm ready to move on.

 

Hopefully the next book I read will be better.

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