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review 2018-09-19 16:30
Well this one needed to come with a warning...
What Binds Us - Larry Benjamin,Richard Magnus

maybe something along the lines of...

'Warning...before reading this book the reader should ensure that they have tissues, a warm and snuggly teddy bear (because teddy bears fix things...all the things) and copious amounts of alcohol may also be beneficial.' 

 

I've had this one on my radar for quite a while now. But to be honest between the blurb and what I've seen and read in other reviews...well, I was nervous...I've read 'A Little Life', 'Let's Hear It for the Boy' and a few others that basically left me feeling more than a little brokenhearted...so I had to ask myself am I read to do this again, to let read a book that's not all goodness and light or filled with action and adventure. When I saw the book on audible.com...I thought...'Audio, I can do this on audio' and I clicked the button and added the book to my library...and there it sat for weeks...and more weeks...because every time I looked at it...I said 'nope, not yet. can't do it.' and this went on and on until I finally pulled on my big girl panties and clicked the play button and then I sat and I listened...I laughed and I cried...oh did I cry...tissues were sacrificed in an effort not short out my laptop with the tears...my poor little furbaby was frantic with worry and paced the floor because his people don't cry and if they do there's something wrong. 

 

'What Binds Us' is by no means a simple romance novel...It's the story of Thomas-Edward, Donovan (Dondi) Whyte and his brother Matthew. It starts with Thomas and Dondi when they first meet in college as roommates. Things progress between them to friendship and then something more and this is where things also start to get complicated.

 

Dondi's a bit of a bigger than life person, who also happens to be a bit self absorbed. But ultimately he's one of those people who others are just drawn too and he's a creature of excesses.

 

As Dondi and Thomas-Edward's relationship progresses and grows it also changes and they move back into the realm of being friends...enter Dondi's brother, Matthew.

 

Like his brother, Matthew and Thomas-Edward start out as friends as well. As things progress the lives of these three men become inextricably tangled. 

 

As Dondi and Thomas-Edward go from friends to lovers and back to friends while Thomas-Edward and Matthew explore their own friendship that ultimately sees them become lovers and partners and Dondi remains a permanent fixture in their lives as Thomas-Edward's best friend and Matthew's brother. 

 

What follows is a story of not just Matthew and Thomas-Edward but a story of love, friendship and partings...of having someone in your life and loosing them, of heartbreak and courage, of being a friend even when the other person pushes you away...a story of love and not just being in love, it's about growing up gay when having Aids was a death sentence and friends and lovers came into lives and left to soon.

 

There's not a lot of steam and sexy times in this one but this is about the relationships... the connections, how people grow and change, fit into each others lives sometimes forever and sometimes just for a while.

 

'What Binds Us' is about love and what it brings into our lives and how that shapes us and our relationships. It's love between friends, family and lovers. It's sweet and gently and beautiful and sometimes it's ugly and cruel but always it's a driving force in our lives.

 

Richard Magnus narrated this story and I loved his narration from start to finish especially for Dondi...his interpretation of how Dondi would sound was so perfectly in sync with what I imagined. This was actually my first time listening to a book narrated by this narrator and I'm looking forward to hearing more as well as re-listening to this story...as soon as I restock my supply of tissues. 

 

The ending of this one was good, really good it was happiness tinged with heartache...it was real. it was about the people we love and how they come and go from our lives but remain forever in our hearts.

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review 2018-09-19 03:42
Tinsel Fish (Tyack & Frayne #2) (Audiobook)
Tinsel Fish - Harper Fox

I seem to be having trouble connecting with this series, and I honestly don't know if it's the length of the stories or if it's the narrator. 

 

This is really too short to go in-depth with the material or the characters, and things and other characters keep getting introduced, on top of the mystery of sorts that Lee and Gideon are working on. I did love Gideon's mom, and it was nice to see Gideon going out on a limb relationship-wise, planning time off from his job when he knows that Lee will be home from his own job. 

 

I didn't understand why Lee, a psychic, didn't believe in spirits off the bat. His job is going out, documenting monsters and such, and reading energies and people's minds and other random mojo to find things and people. But spirits? That's crazy talk! Atheism in paranormal settings just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. He doesn't have to be religious or anything, but he does have use basic common sense. It reminded me of those idiots in that godawful The Boys on the Mountain, going out to investigate a haunted house but none of them believe in ghosts. *headdesk* Thankfully, Lee does prove to be smarter than that lot. Not that that would've been a hard thing to do.

 

Tim Gilbert is a great narrator, and he's easy to follow, but he's got this gravelly, gruff voice that just doesn't really seem to fit. Well, that's not quite right. It fits Gideon perfectly, but everything else? Not so much. He is able to clear his voice up for Lee, but the variation in his voices for the various characters shows a limited range. And I still feel like he should be reading something much more serious, like one of those classic Russian authors with names I can't pronounce. :D

 

There is promise here, and I've loved nearly everything else I've read by Ms. Fox, so I'm going to try the next one eventually, but I I'll be reading it. This'll be it for me with the audiobooks. 

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review 2018-09-17 15:22
Good YA Ghost Story
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

Honestly not a lot to say besides I enjoyed this one a lot. It was a nice break from the doom and gloom of Stephen King. This book reminds me of a hybrid of "Supernatural" with a little "Charmed" mixed in for good measure. 


"Anna Dressed in Blood" follows teen Cas who has the ability to sense ghosts and also send them away if he manages to kill them (how do you kill something already dead?) with his father's enchanted athame. Ca's father was also a ghost hunter until he met a tragic end. Cas's sole mission is to get strong enough to go back one day and put to end the ghost that killed his father. When he and his mother are on the move again for him to track down and put down another ghost, Cas starts to realize that this trip is different. 

 

Cas reminds me a bit of Dean and Sam from Supernatural. Cas would be the perfect hybrid of these two characters. Cas apparently is good at research, but can also protect himself when going up against ghosts. One wonders though after what is revealed in the end, was that all him though or something else?

 

Due to the nomadic life he has lived, Cas hasn't really thought about friends or girls. However, after coming to Thunder Bay, Ontario, he starts to develop friendships with Thomas and Carmel. Thomas has some telepathic ability and Carmel is the queen bee of the school. You don't see these friendships coming, but Blake does a good job of fleshing out this threesome. You have Cas's mom who is hoping for something more with Carmel and Thomas who is hoping for something more. I kind of wanted Carmel to pop up and say I am good and keep on keeping on. That was the only part of the book I didn't care for, Carmel was not a prize to be won by Thomas or Cas. Thank God though there is no dumb love triangle in this book. Cas sees Carmel as a really cool and strong friend and I was delighted with that. 

 

We get some other characters who get a bad end. We do have some gruesome scenes here and there, but nothing too scary. We do find out eventually what happened to Anna and how she became an uber ghost. I think that the book could have easily been cut in half, but we continue on and we get some more to do with Cas's father and his legacy. I was worried there was too much going on int his book, but Blake manages to walk the line. 

 

The flow works in this one though I did want to yell at Cas for being dumb sometimes. The action slows down a bit when Cas and Anna talk. I know why Blake set it up that way (for us and Cas to get to know her) but I had a hard time with her not being that scary really. 


The ending leaves things with a slight cliffhanger. I know there's a second book in this series, but the reviews have been mixed. I may just leave things here since I really enjoyed Cas and his ghost hunting. 

 

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review 2018-09-15 08:13
The Scandalous Widow by Erica Monroe
The Scandalous Widow - Erica Monroe

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Three years ago, she got married to help her younger sister return home after a scandal. Now, her sister is still in the same convent she's been when Jemma had married, and Jemma's husband is killed in front of a notorious brothel.

She knows it wasn't a common mugging, but murder. She also knows who did it, she just needs help in proving it. And the only one she can turn to is the man she left behind after marrying his best friend.


This one had huge potential. Unfortunately, it didn't use it.

The characters were once again rather one-dimensional and flat, there was a jarring imbalance in "power" between the hero and heroine, and I felt absolutely not chemistry between them. Which made the supposed conflict even harder to swallow, since it all stemmed from a single kiss between two friends. For friends is what these two actually were. There was no tension, no chemistry, no passion...Just two people who were supposedly comfortable with each other, and that single drunken kiss three years ago.

Then there was the suspense. It would've definitely worked better if the mystery of the killer was kept longer and the two had to discover his identity along with the proof needed to put him away. The fact we all knew who the killer was from the start, diminished the intensity and interest of the plot itself, also slowing the pace (which was already slow to begin with) even more.

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review 2018-09-13 18:05
The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe
The Mad Countess (Darkest Regency Book 1) - Erica Monroe

Claire has been in love with Teddy, her best friend, for ages, it seems, but he only wants to be friends. Which is good for her, since she's going to go crazy like her aunt and mother did—it's a family curse.
But it turns out, Teddy doesn't only want to be friends with Claire and he also has no intention of letting her go mad. He's willing to break the curse no matter what, even if it means cavorting with a coven of witches.


I only read one book by this author previously, and I loved it, so I expected the same mix of suspense, romance, drama and humor in this one. Sadly, I was disappointed. It tried, it sure did, but it failed to deliver.

I didn't really care about the main protagonists; they came across as rather juvenile for people in their twenties, I hated the hero's nickname of Teddy (what is he, twelve?), I disliked the heroine's woe-is-me attitude, and their romance left me cold. I didn't understand why they loved each other, since both came across as rather flat, boring characters.

Then there were the gothic/suspenseful aspects of the story, which also fell flat. It turned out there weren't really any ghosts, just a crazy woman locked up in a castle, the curse thingy didn't inspire much confidence, sounding really made-up, while the final banishing of the curse with the help of the coven of witches seemed more like it was added as an afterthought.

Thankfully, this was a novella, so the "pain" was fleeting.

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