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review 2017-12-14 17:44
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Silhouettes by E.L. Tenenbaum
Silhouettes - E. L. Tenenbaum
Silhouettes is an amazing story about two young teenagers who end up tied to the world they no longer inhabit. Brooke and Tyler run in different circles when they're alive, but when they are dead, they spend time with each other - trying to figure out just what is going on. The differences in their lives are distinguishable and obvious. Not only do they have time together, but they find out about each other's lives, and see the heartbreak and sorrow that those left behind are dealing with. With many a poignant insight, this book is guaranteed to make you think, if not make you cry!
 
This book is outstanding, so much more than I thought it was going to be (and yes, I know that is vaguely insulting to the author! I'm really sorry!!!) Written from Brooke's point of view, you stay with her as she learns more about those around her than she knew when she was alive. The twist wasn't really a twist, as it became obvious early on. HOWEVER, that really isn't the point! Whether or not you figure it out, it's the emotions that it brings that make the real impact. I was a bit worried it might become preachy, but it never did. So many things are said that hit home to me, but one line that is amazing is simply this: "You don't have to die to be dead inside."
 
Overall, this book is one that everyone should read at some time in their lives. It's not 'just' a Young Adult book, it is simply a book where the two main characters are teenagers. With no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt my reading flow, this book swept me away. The scenes are full of impact and flow smoothly from one to the next. I really can't recommend this book highly enough.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

@ELTenenbaum, #Young_Adult, #Contemporary, 5 out of 5 (exceptional)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/silhouettesbyeltenenbaum
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review 2017-12-14 02:20
ARC Review: Hooch & Cake by Heidi Cullinan
Hooch and Cake (Special Delivery) - Heidi Cullinan

I read this once before, a long while back, shortly after I read Special Delivery and Double Blind, because Mitch & Sam finally get their wedding in this novella. 

There's some angst, because at the time when this story takes place, Iowa had marriage equality but lots of people in Sam's home town are still not on board with two men getting married and Mitch's heart breaks when he sees Sam get less and less enthusiastic about their wedding, and there's a lot of really kinky sex, which is ever so deliciously filthy, because Mitch still likes to watch, and Sam still likes the shame of being so very slutty for Mitch. 

And there's Randy, possibly the best friend anyone could ever have, because despite his smooth and snarky exterior, Randy has a heart of gold and would do anything for his friends, and he needs Mitch and Sam more than they could ever know.

Or do they? 

I adored this. It's full of Heidi's special kind of magic, because no matter how kinky the fucking gets, it is always, ALWAYS clear that the emotions between these men are strong enough to withstand anything and everything. 


** I received a free copy of this book for review as part of the re-release for an honest and unbiased review. **

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review 2017-12-14 02:01
Book Review: Barbed Wire Cowboy by Renee Stevens
Barbed Wire Cowboy - Renee Stevens

Barbed Wire Cowboy is at once a gritty tale of living and working on a cattle ranch and a love story between two men who suck at communicating honestly and openly.

After coming out to his rancher father, Marc Poulson found himself kicked out, stripped of his family and alone, but in the years since found a place as foreman of the Double R Ranch. If it weren't for his feud with his ex-friend Casey, foreman at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch, life would be nearly perfect. 

Marc doesn't understand why Casey would rather punch him than continue to be his friend - the reason for this change in status is not immediately clear to the reader, as neither Marc nor Casey provide any insight - but their continued fighting has now landed both of them in a jail cell.

Bailed out by their respective bosses, Marc and Casey are given an ultimatum - shape up or ship out. And learn to work together again. 

Marc is happy to call a truce between them, but Casey isn't on board. When Marc saves Casey's ass from a rampant bull, the event proves to be somewhat of a turning point. 

Except Casey continues to blow hot and cold, and refuses to tell Marc what demons are still haunting him. He makes mistake after mistake, driven by the terror of his past, until Marc has enough, and when provided with an unforeseen option, Marc is done with Casey's bullshit and leaves.

The author really brought the grittiness, long hours and hard work of the cattle ranches across, and the huge amount of physical labor that's involved. She also did a fine job with the characters - they are complex and complicated, and rough around the edges, like you'd expect cowboys to be - but also gave them individual pasts that continue to shape their actions and derail what might be. Neither knows how to really talk about their feelings, and Casey hiding a huge secret from his past that he refuses to address and would rather forget has a lot to do with his behavior - their actions and reactions made sense to me. 

This is a rollercoaster ride as Marc and Casey go from enemies to lovers to heartbreak, full of anger and fear and hiding, with an overriding sense that love may not always be enough to keep a couple together unless they're willing to confront their differences and their pasts head-on to have a future.

Whether Casey and Marc overcome the odds - well, find out by reading this for yourself. 


** I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **

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review 2017-12-14 01:13
Book Review: A Viking For Yule by Jamie Fessenden
A Viking for Yule - Jamie Fessenden

As the blurb will tell you, this book is sort of a continuation of A Cop For Christmas, but focuses on Sam. It can be read as a standalone - I had no issues not having read the first one. The author did a fine job weaving in the important background information as to why Sam is terrified of snowstorms.

Sam still lives with his grandfather on their farm, but has taken a trip around the world with Aunt Jackie (I want one just like her, please), and their last stop is Iceland, where Jackie's good friend lives with her son, Arnar. Iceland. In the winter, a week before Christmas. Iceland. Apparently, Aunt Jackie didn't get the memo about Sam panicking in snow storms. 

Sam is looking forward to getting back home - he misses his Grampy, and he's worried, though he knows Mason and Steve are taking good care of him.

Arnar, who's about Sam's age, is initially not impressed upon meeting Sam, though attraction for them both is pretty much instant. But Arnar just got out of a relationship, he's still nursing a bit of a broken heart, and who would want to get involved with a tourist who's going to leave in a few short days, amirite?

So, Arnar is a bit grumpy and standoffish. 

I loved how descriptive the author was when talking about the scenery and the historical sites in Iceland as Sam and Arnar, thrown together by Aunt Jackie's scheming, make their way around the island. Vivid and rich descriptions of lava fields covered in snow, the rugged landscape - I felt as if I was right there with Sam and Arnar. We also get a bit of a culture lesson, which really made the people on this island come to life for me. 

This is a sweet, easy read, with just a bit of relationship angst - what with Sam going home to New Hampshire, and Arnar presumably staying in Iceland - so they both realize, reluctantly, that what they'll have will be nothing more than a holiday fling. Even if the emotions they both have for the other could and might have become so much more. Their occasional squabbles were relatable, and the two men felt real to me. I thought that the author did a really fine job developing both characters and give them distinct personalities with some obvious and some not so obvious traits. Arnar is not a morning person, not by a long shot, but Sam quickly figured out how to work that, and Arnar caught on how to anticipate and work around Sam's fear of snow storms. 

Hot-tubbing, hair-braiding, mud baths, sharing a double bed, language barriers, and ignorant tourists all play a role in their adventures. 

I would definitely recommend this book, even if you, like me, haven't read the first one. We get a big surprise at the end, and a lovely epilogue that leaves them both in a really good place. 


** I was given a free copy of this book by its author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **

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review 2017-12-13 09:19
Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop: The Complete Set
Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop: The Complete Set - Shelley Adina,Lee Mckenzie,Sharon Ashwood,Rachel Goldsworthy
Corsair's Cove Chocolate Shop is a collection of four novellas by four different authors - all sharing the same theme, one family and the town of Corsair's Cove. There are four cousins, Pru (Prudence), Livy, Brynn, and Eloise. These four are all very different from each other, but they prove that when things come to the crunch, they are there for each other. I will admit to Eloise's story being my favourite, but that is mainly down to Daniel Blackthorne! That 'dastardly pirate' wiggled into my affections, and I was on tenterhooks to find out what happened next.
 
These are all lighthearted, fun, stories that are guaranteed to satisfy. A good length so you can either read them all together, or sneak one in during your coffee break or lunchtime. All four stories are written very well, with no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading flow. The town and the characters are all well described, leaving you with a longing to go there. In fact, there are a bunch of brilliant characters in here, but I'll leave it to you to read them and find out who I'm talking about.
 
I wasn't sure what I'd be reading, but I thoroughly enjoyed each and every word. Definitely recommended by me.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/corsairscovechocolateshopthecompleteset
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