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TBR Tuesday – 21 July 15

TBR Tuesday
Silver Lining
Author: Maggie Osborne

Purchased: 20 September 2009
Date Finished: 13 July 2015
Time on TBR: 2123 days

Review After some disappointing TBR books, I was so happy to find one that made me realize why I came to love the historical romance genre. Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne reminded me of so many of the books I cut my romance teeth on back when I was a teenager (and was actually written not long after that time period). The characters in Silver Lining make frequent appearances in the fora of Amazon, especially when it come to talking about names, because the main female goes by Low Down for a portion of the book (rather than her real name of Louise). Personally, for me, I loved see the rough and ready Low Down finding her place in a relationship where she didn’t need to be strong/masculine (as she did in the mining camps) as well as finding the family that she never had growing up. The rest of the book and story was well developed and plausible – it didn’t take too much thought to see what was going to happen next and everything seemed evenly paced (it wasn’t a wham bam thank you ma’am kind of book, but rather took place over a 7-8mth period). The evil other woman (which I really like when done well) was present and for an “innocent young woman” she was definitely not so. I can’t wait to hoping dig into some more books by Ms Osborne in the future.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Dishing with Dee….Reoccurring Characters and descriptions

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So originally when I thought about the idea of Dishing with Dee, I wanted to talk about things in books (etc) that bugged me and I did for a while and then got distracted with other stuff. But never fear, I’m back. Today I wanted to talk about descriptions of frequently reoccurring characters in book series – I’m talking the characters who show up in every book in the series (or a significant amount) – they may not play a key role, but they are present. Case in point, I am trying to tackle some of the audiobooks I have bought over the years and since it was short, I picked up Haunted in Death to listen to.

Now this audiobook was number 22.5 in the series (yes, you read that right!). So I was kind of disappointed in the fact that every time one of these reoccurring characters made an appearance (I’m talking about Ian McNab/Dr Mira), the author felt the need to tell us who they were, like we were brand new readers and it was really frustrating to me. Mostly because I felt, at times, like the mystery took a backseat to some of these descriptive portions. At the same time, I understand that authors have to walk a fine-line between being descriptive (in case someone not familiar with the series is reading) and just going with the flow (for people who have been invested in the series for a while). And unfortunately, it wasn’t just this installment in the series that I’ve noticed it but all of them (either novels or novellas) contain similar scenes.

Admittedly, its not enough for me to give up on reading the series, because I do enjoy it – but it is a pet peeve of mine.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Review – Trouble on Tap – Avery Flynn

25465775Trouble on Tap
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #3 in the Sweet Salvation Brewery
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
What fun is life without a little bit of trouble?

Retired supermodel and forever wild child Olivia Sweet is nothing but trouble. The youngest Sweet triplet is back in her hometown, but instead of a triumphant return it’s a parade of humiliations. She’s broke, homeless and dealing with the fallout from her scumbag ex-boyfriend publishing naked pictures of her to a revenge porn website.

Staid and stalwart veteran Mateo Garcia has seen more trouble than a man ever should in his lifetime. He’s gone from pretty boy Marine to a small town police chief with a chip on his shoulder and scars covering the left side of his face. Now his former lover, Olivia, is back in town and living next door.

When the two are forced to work together to fix up the crumbling veterans’ center, the sparks fly between the beauty and the man who sees himself as a beast. Not everyone is happy that Olivia is back home though and Mateo has to choose between the town who wants her gone and an uncertain future with a woman who he thinks could never love him…

Review:
There are always series that I am sad to see end and the Sweet Salvaltion Brewery is one of them. Over the last year, I have highly enjoyed the adventures of the Sweet sisters, but I kept waiting for Olivia’s story – I guess because she is the wild child and while I am more similar to Natalie as a character, I harbor an inner wild child (or at least, I think I do). And i’m a sucker for second chance romances, so Trouble on Tap hit all my happy spots. I will admit that I am honestly trying not to go all fangirl on my review because this book was what I needed after a series mediocre reads.

I think what I enjoyed the most about Trouble on Tap was seeing Olivia’s struggle to find her place in the world. As a former model she had been top of her career and then having to make a transition and essentially start over again – its something that many of us have to face – be it a new job, transitioning from the military (like Mateo) or any other kind of scenario where a major change occurs. I found her struggle to be real in a way that was almost scary to me. I saw so much of myself in that struggle from when I changed career fields a few years ago – that idea of how/where are you going to land and will I/you succeed?

And Avery did a great job of continuing the theme of small town hatred for the Sweet sisters – I felt so bad for all of them throughout the series. Maybe because I grew up in a small town and know how they operate, but everything just hit home – the behavior of people to those they consider outsiders (in my home town, if you didn’t have a certain last night it didn’t matter what you or your family did to contribute)…it was almost like at times, Avery was channeling some of my experiences growing up.

I loved the relationship between Mateo and Olivia and how they reconnected. There is something about a wounded solider realizing that they aren’t just their injuries that makes them attractive. That Olivia was able to look past his injuries and see him for the guy she loved way back when (even if he had been a dick to her)…

Trouble of Tap was a roller coaster of emotions for me (thanks Avery!) but I don’t regret it for one second. I would say make sure you have time to sit down and read, because if you are anything like me, once you start, you’ll read through to the end (and that made for a sucky day at work the next day). I gave Trouble on Tap 4 stars and am sad to see the series end (although hopefully my craving for Pecan Pie will now disappear – since I don’t even like the stuff!).

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Thursday Quotables – The Invention of Wings

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Thursday Quotables is a weekly feature hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. It is a weekly feature where readers highlight a quote or quotes from their current weeks reading. Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written.

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I just finished listening to the audiobook of An Invention of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd) on my commute this morning, so Thursday Quotables seemed like a perfect time to reflect on a few of the quotes that really caught my eye (or is it ears?).

The first one that really struck me, actually came from the authors note at the end of the book, where she was discussing the development of the book, why she took the different liberties that she did with various parts of history etc.

“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.” – Professor Julius Lester

I think this quote caught my ear because it not only describes various parts of the book, but also fits well into the current climate in the US with the debate going on over the Confederate flag.

“To remain silent in the face of evil is itself a form of evil.”

I thought this quote would go well hand-in-hand with the one about all it takes for evil to succeed in that good men (or women) do nothing. Sarah Grimke could have been content to just let the status quo be when it came to slavery, but she knew in her heart (even from the age of 11) that it was wrong and it became her crusade to abolish it, in fact, this quote from early on in the book shows her abolitionist thoughts even then – “At the age of eleven, I owned a slave I couldn’t free.” I’d actually never heard of the Grimke sisters prior to listening to Invention of Wings but am intrigued and want to read more about them.

The last quote that really caught my interest was from Angelina Grimke, who became known as a foremost female orator in the mid-1800’s. This quote occurred when the Grimke sisters were accused of muddling the cause of abolish with the cause of women’s right’s and that they needed to cease pushing for women’s equality for the time.

“the time to assert one’s right is when it’s denied!”

I’m sure there were many more quotes in the book that I would have loved to have written down, but its really hard while listening to do that.

What about you – any quotes from your reading this week that you want to share?

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Thursday Quotables

 

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Review – Finding Fisher – Dakota Madison

finding fisherFinding Fisher
Author: Dakota Madison
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Franklin Smith was the perfect fiancé. He was at the top of our class at Stanford and had been recently accepted to Harvard Law. But Spring Break our senior year of college changed everything. He went back home to New Jersey and never returned. At his funeral I discovered a guy I never knew. His secret past. And a twin brother, Fisher, I didn’t know existed.

Review:
For me, this was one of those books where I went into it expecting something totally different than I got – not that that is entirely bad. When I was reading the description, I saw there was a note from the author stating that donations were going to go towards supporting a non-profit providing housing support to individuals with AIDS in Atlanta, so that combined with the fact that several people on goodreads had tagged this as a mm romance, rather than a mf one…I was quite surprised to find out that the main character was a college aged female named Chloe…(which even now reading the description gives no clues away). That being said, I really enjoyed the premise of the story – a significant other with a secret and what happens when it all goes wrong.

This was a relatively quick read (less than 200pgs), but I thought the author managed to pack a lot of plot into that relatively short period of time. There was a well-defined beginning/middle and end (which is often a gripe of mine when it comes to shorter novellas) and all of the characters seemed to be well-rounded and developed rather than one-dimensional. I found myself sucked into Chloe’s feelings as she discovered everything that she had known for the last few years had been a lie. I will say that I thought my biggest issue with the book was how quickly Chloe seemed to move on with her life – I get that she wasn’t married to Franklin, but even then, everything just seemed to go too quickly – I actually wish that there had somehow been a bit of a time delay – yet, at the same time, I think that would have potentially ruined the flow of the novel.

This was the first book that I have read by Ms Madison, but it wasn’t be the last. I found that her writing was solid and very relatable. Overall, I gave Finding Fisher 4 stars and found it to be a solid weekend read.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Wishlist Wednesday – 08 July 15

Wishlist WednesdayWishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

This week was a relatively easy pick for me to feature – mostly because I just came across a description of the book and based on how I enjoyed a previous book by the author, I knew it was going on the to-read pile ASAP. I would say that I wouldn’t normally identify as a fan of pop-culture type fiction, especially involving computer/video games (since my skill level hovers somewhere around Super Mario Brothers/Tetris), but I really enjoyed Ernest Cline’s previous book (Ready Player One) that was based around the video game quest. His new book, Armada is being released next week (the 14th) and I already plan to get the audiobook as soon as its available on audible. If its anything like RPO, i’m going to need to make sure that I put aside the whole day for listening, because I will just be sucked in (fingers crossed!)

armada

Description:
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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Audiobook Review – The Sweetheart Deal – Polly Dugan

the sweetheart dealThe Sweetheart Deal
Author: Polly Dugan
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Kathleen McInerney, John Glouchevitch, Brad Abrell, Adam McArthur, Aaron Landon, John Salwin
Run Time: 9hrs 40min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident.

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey’s feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.

Review:
I’m not sure what it was about this audiobook that caught my eye when I was looking at the available list. I think because I am a sucker for romances (I mean, look at what this blog reviews most of the time), I was curious to see how the author would handle an issue like death of a husband and the potential romance between his widow and best friend. Yes, it felt kind of sketchy to me, but I was intrigued. This is the first book i’ve read by Ms Dugan, but taking a look at the descriptor of her other book, it seems as though she likes tackling these difficult themes and ideas (her other book looks at two women dating the same man and the outcomes).

From the get-go, I was glad (as bad as that maybe sounds) as to how she handled the death of the husband – it was sudden and unexpected, not prolonged. Having seen how both types of deaths have been handled in my family, I would take the sudden/unexpected over the prolonged any day of the week (if I was forced to chose…which I hope I never am). I also found that she did a good job of capturing the different cycles of grief that people go through – how Audrey handled the death of Leo, compared to Garrett (his best friend) compared to Leo and Audrey’s son’s – each was individual and you could see that the author had done research into different methods of coping, dealing with grief etc. I know that Garrett just up and quitting his life in Boston (where he was an established professor) was drastic but I could see it as his way of coping.

i think for me the most appealing (if that is the right word) of this was that it took place over a period of time – it wasn’t like there was the death and then wham bam, Audrey had moved on. You could see (most definitely in her) how she progressed through the stages until she could be in a relationship with someone again. That being said, I still found the time period to be too fast, Audrey and Leo had been together for close to 20 years and so to have her move on in less than a year, just seemed too quick.

For me, the most enjoyable parts (for lack of a better phrase) was seeing Garrett interact with Audrey and her family. Seeing him try to fit into an established role and navigate what were potentially rough seas. I found that the author did a good job of making all the voices of her characters unique – not only because the audiobook used multiple ones, but because they were different. That being said, maybe it was because I was listening to the audiobooks, but the dialogue tags drove me nuts. I know its a probably a personal peeve, but a few times, it got very he/Garrett said or she/Audrey said in their conversations and seemed almost redundant to me.

For me, the book itself was brought to life by the narration. Honestly, I don’t know looking back, if it is a) a book I would have picked up without it being an audiobook and b) if I would have stuck with it, if was I just reading it. I thought that the use of multiple narrators (a different one to narrate each POV) worked well – although looking now, it strikes me as funny that there was really only one female POV in the book, compared to the 5 men. Maybe it was because the majority of the book was alternating between Audrey and Garrett’s POV’s, with the other ones playing a more minor role. All of the narrators were new to me and I was intrigued enough that I want to check out more work they have done in the future.

I thought all of the narrators, especially Kathleen McInerney, who was the narrator for Audrey’s POV were able to convey the different emotions/feels that were tied to parts of the story. You could hear the grief in her voice early on in the narration, the desolation of realizing that the life she knew was gone – but at the same time, as she began to move on with her life, you could hear the strength returning to her and a sense of purpose.

While I liked both the book and the narration, I gave them 3.5 stars each. I would recommend The Sweetheart Deal with readers who like women’s lit and potentially new love later in life type books.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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