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Review: Nothing Between Us by Roni Loren

[ 0 ] April 1, 2015

nothing between us book coverReviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

Georgia Delaune does not like to leave her home. Due to fears of the past, she tends to take a more “subtle” approach and stay inside (AKA spying on her neighbor). Coby Wilkes, Georgia’s gorgeous neighbor, whose window gives direct access to plenty of shows, is a counselor and Dom at the Ranch. He’s sensitive to Georgia’s needs as he knows she is watching his every move. What began as a simple love story, one that I thought would take the turn of Colby helping Georgia move on and forward due to her past experiences, changed rather quickly.

Although I started to get into this book, as the new character, Keats, was introduced, I instantly lost interest. I am not a huge fan of reading male on male action and initially, I thought Georgia would fall in love with both of them separately. Instead, everyone fell in love with each other and had plenty of one-on-one love scenes, some too graphic for my taste. I struggle with two men sharing one woman, and although it may be preference for some, I find it tasteless and almost degrading. It was hard for me to finish this book and being quite honest, I did skip over some of the “love” scenes that made me uncomfortable.

Nothing Between Us centered on a love triangle that was too easily accepted and did not have any real meat to it. Since I am not familiar with the lifestyle, I also had a hard time understanding how Georgia was just “alright” with everything and was encouraging to Keats and Colby’s relationship, especially since Keats used to be Colby’s student. I would have loved to have more of a storyline revolving around Georgia and her past, though this could have been told in previous books.

All in all, I was not a fan, however, after reading other reviews it could be because I have not yet read the other five books in the series and with that, was unable to fall in love with the characters over time. Roni Loren writes great erotica, just not for the faint of heart.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Rebecca is passionate and insane, empathetic and aggressive, loud and predictable. She loves reading, writing, shopping and creating. She is what she is and it may not be what the world wants but it is what it is. Love.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Lincoln’s Billy by Tom LeClair

[ 0 ] April 1, 2015

lincoln's billy book coverReviewed by Len Steiner

INITIAL GENERAL COMMENTS: Tom LeClair, an experienced author and reviewer for the New York Times and other publications has scored a huge historical plus with his revealing novel about Abraham Lincoln as supposedly revealed by Lincoln’s law partner and closest confidant. He reveals facts and anecdotes about one of our most revered presidents that are not only interesting but also very amusing and down-to-earth. The author discloses comments and dialogue plus stories about Honest Abe that unmask the great man and normalize and humanize his personality. This is very enjoyable and informative reading.

SPECIFIC COMMENTS: Lincoln’s Billy outlines and relates Lincoln’s early life and contrasts him with the contemporaries of the period. It also “humanizes” the man by relating such Lincolnesque attributes as his Kentucky twang, his love of relating “stories” and small talk on numerous subjects that were of interest to everyone in his captive audience. The book strips all of the covering from Abe Lincoln and bares his common and down-to-earth personality as told by a very close friend and partner. The author does an excellent job of telling the story as related by the partner and includes pages of entertaining dialogue and enlightening prose. It also covers his relationship with his “difficult” wife, Mary Todd. Lincoln’s Billy is a must read for anyone that enjoys history, oratory, humor, and down-to-earth dialogue. Some of it is even a slight bit on the bawdy side.

What is the best part of the book?: The best part of the book that refers to “Abe the Lover” concerns Lincoln’s visit to a so-called “local girl.” “Lincoln went to see the girl with a note from me, and she agreed to satisfy him. Things went on right. Lincoln and the girl stript off and went to bed. Before anything was done, Lincoln said to the girl, ‘How much do you charge?’ ‘Five dollars,” she said. Lincoln said, ‘I’ve only got three dollars.’ ‘Well,’ said the girl, ‘I’ll trust you, Mr. Lincoln, for two dollars.’ Lincoln thought for a moment and said, ‘I do not wish to go on credit. I’m poor and I don’t know where my next dollar will come from and I cannot afford to cheat you.’ Lincoln got up out of bed and the girl said, ‘Mr. Lincoln, you are the most conscientious man I ever saw.” Now that is an excellent and human example of Abraham Lincoln.

Additional comments on plot, characters, language, etc?: The book is unique in that it provides excellent and unique characterization of all of the main individuals in the novel including an in-depth depiction of Abraham Lincoln that is revealing, amusing, interesting, and surprising. Lincoln, one of the most revered presidents of the United States, is shown as a normal human being with normal interests, concerns, and desires based on true facts supposedly compiled and related by a close confidant. LeClair does not exaggerate but tells the real story of a great man of history. This book should be a must read for everyone.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Len is a published writer, is retired military, and lives in Alabama. He also worked for fifteen years in government and private industry as a Senior Technical Writer. He is an active member of three writer’s organizations.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The Permanent Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: The Like Switch by Jack Schafer & Marvin Karlins

[ 2 ] March 31, 2015

the like switch book coverReviewed by Garret Rose

Humans have the need to love and to be loved. Relationships are integral to our growth as well as a means to help us navigate through an interesting and sometimes difficult world. Sometimes that doesn’t come easy. If you are an introvert, a.k.a. a shy person, or timid around people, then The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over can be a great fit for you. It can teach you how to look for signs of attraction (either friendly or romantic), as well as how to maintain the appropriate space, eye contact, and physical contact in a budding relationship. Schafer and Karlins give advice on the “Friendship Formula”, “The Laws of Attraction”, “The Curiosity Hook”, and a very important chapter at the end titled “The Perils and Promise of Relationships in a Digital World”. If you are a person who feels that they need help in these areas or others, than this informational book can be a helpful tool and guide.

There are moments where this can feel a little like Emmet’s guide from The Lego Movie titled “How to make friends and have everybody like you”. Perhaps the reviewer didn’t need information on how to make better eye contact as well as appropriate stances for conversations. Some of the information was self-explanatory, but then again, one never knows. This book can be a useful tool into building better relationships as well as a source for some very astute and interesting anecdotes for the strategies given.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Garret loves literature! He is creating the Vernal Journal for his students as well as anyone else that is interested in literature – be it fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, or even miscellaneous! Garret’s goal is to share, review and make connections to the world and each other.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Dark Intelligence by Neal Asher

[ 3 ] March 30, 2015

dark intelligence book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Dark Intelligence is the first book in a new series called Transformation in the Polity Universe. The book begins by introducing Thorvald Spear in a virtual resurrection room. He has just been resurrected from his recently recovered memory implant. Apparently, he was found sitting in a jewelry store window set in a nice brooch.

After going through his acclimation process he has a chance to absorb his last memories and it leaves him with a need to revenge himself and his friends. It appears his last days with his friends were on a planet fighting against the Prador. One of their own ships carpet bombed the stronghold and wiped out the whole unit. This and some other not so pleasant memories coming back to him leave him with a burning hatred for one Penny Royal, a rogue AI. He adjusts to being resurrected 100 years after his death pretty fast–spurred on by his desire to return the favor to Penny Royal.

Thorvald needs information to track this rather enigmatic AI. Being out of commission for a 100 years leaves one with some rather outdated info. While digging for information on Penny Royal, Thorvald finds many stories about the AI, showing that she was not idle while he was indisposed. One of her victims/supplicants/treasure seekers was Isobel Satomi, a rather important up and coming crime boss. She went to Penny Royal requesting help and she got what she asked for, though not exactly what she wanted.

Penny Royal has a reputation of being able to supply whatever one wants, for a price. Almost the genie in the bottle. However, her deals often have a very Mephistophelian bent. If you aren’t careful, you get exactly what you wish for. Thorvald learns that Isobel was one who got more than she bargained for and he approaches her with promises of reversing the problems, as payment for services she can render.

Dark Intelligence is a very interesting book and Penny Royal is a “chess player” like none other. She always seems to be three steps ahead of everyone else. I enjoyed listening to this book and found myself eager to get the next one in the series to see where things will lead to. It did have a good story arch and one could stop with this book, but why? While this is decent sci-fi, I think it is a great twisted mystery and worthy of a read–or a listen.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Audible.com. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

[ 2 ] March 30, 2015

never fade book coverReviewed by Carrie Ardoin

Never Fade is the second book in the Darkest Minds series, and the tone of the novel is dramatically different than that of its predecessor. Whereas in the first book the reader gets to see the main character, Ruby, as a somewhat fragile, confused ex-prisoner, we now get to see her as a soldier working towards the cause of saving other young people like herself.

The book picks up six months after the events of The Darkest Minds. Ruby has joined and very reluctantly risen up the ranks to become a respected leader in the Children’s League. She is often called upon to use her psi abilities to read the minds of those who know important information about what the League is trying to accomplish. All this has come at quite a price to Ruby: the friends she met and became close to when she first left her camp, Chubs, Zu, and Liam, no longer have any connection to her.

Ruby’s world is fast paced and though a lot of thrilling things happen to her, I didn’t find myself as engaged in her story as I did in the first installment of this series. I believe this is mostly because several new characters are introduced rather quickly in the first half of the story, and Ruby is not one to open herself up to new people (or anybody really). Therefore, you don’t see her making connections or feeling much. After only six months of her new work, she is jaded.

The second half of the story really ramps up, as the friends we got to know and love from Ruby’s past come back into her life. These are the people Ruby cares about, and the tone of the book and Ruby’s voice changes completely after they are reintroduced.

Though I’d classify this story as a dystopian political thriller, there are small doses of romance scattered in as well. The small amount that the book does have is very engaging and will make your heart beat faster. The author is talented at writing these small love scenes, and I hope to see more of them in the next novel of the series.

The end of the book moved very quickly, and didn’t really wrap up what at times were quite confusing political storylines for me. I can tell the author is laying the groundwork to have this all finished in the final novel, but it made for puzzling reading sometimes.

I am definitely ready to see how Ruby’s tale will end, because I love her as a main character and I have enjoyed watching her develop. I know not every tale can have a happy ending, but I am hoping for a satisfying one.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable. 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Disney-Hyperion. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Mailbox Monday

[ 9 ] March 29, 2015

Welcome to Mailbox MondayMailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at the Mailbox Monday blog

Here are the books that made their way into my mailbox last week:

Paper Review Copies

thrill me book coverkiss me book coverdeath marked book coverking ya book coversolitaire book coveryou can trust me book covericefall book covertrusting liam book coverthe phantom of menace book coversorceress book coverwhen it's right book coverfollow your gut book cover

Digital Review Copies

they call me crazy book coveri don't have a happy place book cover

Additions to Personal Kindle Library

comfort of lies book cover

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