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Review – Ghosts in the Wind – Marguerite Labbe

ghosts in the windGhosts in the Wind
Author: Marguerite Labbe

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Andrei Cuza and Dean Marshall celebrated their tenth anniversary only to have their happiness shattered by a random, insane event: On his way home from closing a business deal, Dean stops on the parkway to help a young mother with her flat tire, and her ex arrives, murders them, and takes off with his two kids.

Ghosts have haunted Andrei all his life. He bears the guilt for his sister being stuck in limbo, because ghosts are frozen at the moment they died, unable to adapt to the changes in their living loved ones. When Dean returns to Andrei as a ghost, the double punch of losing him and having to watch him founder if he doesn’t move on is almost more than Andrei can bear.

Despite dangers in limbo—Jackal Wraiths that devour souls are hunting him—Dean isn’t going anywhere until he helps Andrei track down the missing children. Andrei is in danger as well when he pays dearly to feel Dean’s touch one last time. Time is slowly running out as Dean and Andrei try to say good-bye while they track a killer who’s more than happy to kill again.

Review:
I normally steer clear of Dreamspinner Press’ Bittersweet Dreams line because as a romance reader, I love my HEA’s (happily ever afters), and in my experience, which they are complete, they aren’t what I expect in a romance. And they are normally gut-wrenching, tear-jerking kind of books. However, I needed a book for a reading challenge written by a local to me author, and since I know Marguerite (and often run into her at the grocery story) and she offered to send me a copy, I said yes. I was sure that I was going to regret it when I was plowing my way through a box of tissues…

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised however. Yes, Ghosts in the Wind was gut-wrenching and there was the death of a main character – but I liked how it all played out. There is a fine line in writing between being too emotion driven and too plot driven, especially when it comes to the death of a character, but I think that the author managed to tip-toe along that line and balance it just right. I personally wasn’t a fan of the jackle wraiths, to me they just seemed a bit like overkill, but at the same time, I can see how similar creatures show up in other books where death plays a role – so it isn’t like they were completely unique.

The mystery to me was well done – mostly because you knew who it was, and it was just a matter of seeing the Andrei/police solve the crime – so your focus as the reader was singular, rather than split between seeing the police solve the mystery, and trying to figure out who did it yourself (if that makes sense). Anyways, I would give Ghosts in the Wind 4 stars because of its emotional pull and the engaging writing style. But hopefully, a HEA next time – please ;)

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – The Last Snow of Winter – Ian Muise

last snow of winterThe Last Snow of Winter
Author: Ian Muise

Description:
As spring break arrives, Mark Poole is focused on his goal of becoming a veterinarian, set on pleasing his proud parents even though he really wants to be artist. He also carefully keeps his desires frozen-for their sake. But he can’t help the attraction he feels for the burly, unapproachable lineman who shares two of his classes.Cliff Stevens is equally set on achieving his adopted dream of becoming a professional football player to the exclusion of almost everything else. Cliff drifts through the days alone, but he can guess what Mark has in mind when he catches him watching one day.After an accidental encounter, Cliff proposes a bargain: for one week during the break, they will set aside their reservations and play at being together, exploring each other and perhaps even learning a little about themselves as well.

Review:
Its weird, normally when I don’t like a book, I can pick that one element that made it so for me – the characterization, a situation that I couldn’t get past the believability (even in fiction), but in this book, there just wasn’t that one thing overall that I could pinpoint – it was more of a general dislike. I chose to read it for 3 reasons – 1) it was on a list of challenge books in one of my goodreads groups that I had to pick from; 2) it was a new to me author and I am always interested in trying those out and 3) it fit for another reading challenge (snow in the title) – so there were multiple reasons why – and while some of my GR friends had given it iffy reviews, my normal ones that I look and trust hadn’t read it – so I decided to give it a chance – I kind of wish, I had paid more attention to the naysayers.

I think my biggest issue, if I was to chose one, was how dated it felt. The book was published in 2010 and as far as I could tell (there were no specific dates mentioned), it was supposed to be a contemporary. However, it was set in a college where the students didn’t have their own computers – the one main character had to go to a computer lab (and get permission to use it) in order to write his term papers. Now, maybe I am out of the loop, but when I graduated college in 2005, all of the students had their own computers, it was basically a requirement – yes, we did have a computer lab off campus but that was for the math/engineering types who had to have all those sorts of funky programs (I took one class there and never again) – so it was very disconcerting to read about it when I couldn’t even point out the time period. I mean, if it had been maybe set 10 years earlier (and mentioned in the book), it would have been more believeable.

My second issue was that in general, I just never really connected with the characters – there were just too one-dimensional – Mark, the primary main character was going to be a veterinarian because that is what he thought was a good and acceptable job to counter the fact that he was gay – but it just didn’t ring true – most people I know who want to be doctors/lawyers/vets – anything that requires multiple years of school need to have that passion. From the description, I also thought that he was in veterinary school already – I mean, with the term – “focused on his goal of becoming a veterinarian” as the first line in the description – but he was really pre-vet doing his undergraduate degree.

The other character, Cliff, I felt was slightly better as a character – but there was still just something that didn’t work. He kept pushing for things and then all of a sudden did a 180 degree character turn – which resulted in my biggest pet peeve the “huge misunderstanding,” which was ultimately solved wayyy to quickly…

As a review, I’m personally not a fan of writing negative reviews, I mean, I hate it when I have to write about how much I dislike a book – and yet, I think that sometimes they are needed. In this case, I felt strongly enough about it in a negative light that a review was warranted. Overall, I would give it 1.5 stars – I finished it because I needed to and while i had major issues as described above, the writing wasn’t bad – there weren’t any major grammatical errors or anything like that. It just didn’t quite work for me.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Red + Blue – A.B. Gayle

Red+Blue
Author: A.B. Gayle
Series: #1 in the Opposites Attract series

Book Description:
Fresh from backwoods Minnesota, actuarial student Ben Dutoit is ecstatic to land a job with Sydney Sutherland Family Insurance, one of the few companies that offers life insurance to people in the high-risk category. The fact that he gets to work in Gay Central, aka San Francisco, is just the icing on the rainbow-colored cake. Ben sets himself just three goals: be out and proud enough to participate in the Pride parade; seek out the company of like-minded souls in the clubs; and maybe, if he’s lucky, fall in love. But the men Ben meets are everything he’s not: suave, confident, sophisticated, and sexy. Unlike redneck Ben, they’re blue bloods from blue states, born with status, wealth, and the responsibility that comes with the package. Ben’s still wondering if red and blue can mix when he discovers what risk really means. The global economy tanks. The job he looked forward to is in jeopardy, and every dream Ben ever had is threatened, especially love, the biggest dream of all.

Review:
The cover is the first thing that drew me to this book, I loved the division of the Red and Blue – because it gave you the idea that there were going to be 2 distinct points of view to the story. And then having to figure out who was going to be the red and who was going to be the blue. I also liked how the author used the shifting perspectives to tell the story (the same period is told twice though both of the main character’s eyes, and then the last section is an alternating POV). My one complaint, and this is part of what stopped the book from being a complete 4 star read, was that the ended seemed very abrupt. Everything was jacked up, and then voila, in the space of about 4 pages (I would guess) since I was reading on my kindle, everything was fixed…and I was kind of left with an empty feeling, like it wasn’t quite complete.

I did enjoy the fact that the author took a risk with several of the topics included in the book (specifically HIV in a secondary character), however, I’m not a fan of the bitchy female that seems to routinely appear in many m/m books. It is almost like it is a required trope in the genre, I would look to see more books with supportive female secondary characters, or at least non-bitchy, manipulative ones. I look forward to more books by this author in the future.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Redemption – Olivia Duncan Craig


Redemption
Author: Olivia Duncan Craig

Book Description
It’s a different world. Space has been colonized, the wealthy fly to work rather than drive, and slavery is legal.
Jason’s family has been ripped apart by tragedy. The only way he can save the ones left is to offer himself up as a bondmate. The more he’s willing to give, the higher the price he can command. And Jason is willing to give a lot.

Devin is wealthy and heartbroken after the wife he adored walked out on him. He isn’t looking for love. All he wants is a relationship he can control. Buying a bondmate seems like the perfect solution.

Yet when he purchases Jason’s contract, Devin gets more than he bargained for.

Review
Redemption is one of those books that if it had never shown up as a potential book in a reading bingo challenge (lesser known m/m books), I likely never would have picked it up and that would have been a pity. It is a book that makes me want to go out and keep trying self-published authors, because the quality of the writing and the presentation of the book were top-notch. I felt like I was reading a book that has been released through one of the bigger publishing houses.

When I was first asking people about what book I should pick (I had it narrowed down to this one and 2 others), I was told that it was a book with slavery and non-con scenarios, so when I started to read it, I was expecting something a lot harsher than what I ended up reading. Truthfully, it was rather sweet. There is slavery in the world, but the individuals enter into it through their own choice and then there are pairings made that seem to be very similar to being on match.com or chemistry.com (something like that).

I will definately be stalking this author for future books and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. 3.5 stars (but I am really tempted to round up to 4).

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review: Knight of Pleasure

Knight of Pleasure
Knight of Pleasure by Simone Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GRL12 Author 1 (of 146) – Simone Anderson

I’d give this 3.5 stars rounding down to 3. When I was looking through books for the bingo category this week, I choose Simone Anderson because I had previously read a book of hers and enjoyed it, and I knew that she was attending GLR12, so I could double use the book for another challenge (yeah, I’m that much of a reading challenge dork).

I liked the pairing of Ethan and Dean and how their relationship developed. I think one of the better things about the book was how Dean who had never been in a BDSM relationship before didn’t just agree to be in one, like it seems to happen in so many other books – you could see his conflict in making his decision and his struggles between the Marine that he had been and the submissive that he was at heart. At the same time, I think Ethan tried to push him into the scenario too quickly and at times I thought he could actually damage their budding relationship rather than strengthen it

One of my only tiny pet peeves in general is the use of military terminology and inaccuracies – the Marine Corps symbol is the eagle, globe and anchor, not just the globe and anchor. A uniform hat is a cover, not a cap (this wasn’t in this book, but another one I read around the same time)

Buy for Kindle –

View all my reviews

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in GayRomLit12

 

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