Release Day review: Bigger Love (Big Love #2) by Rick R. Reed

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bigger-love-by-rick-r-reed-9967-b

Blurb

Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can’t wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen. Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He’s quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman’s directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman’s mother is falling for Mike’s dad? Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms. See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self.

Review

So I really liked Big Love and fell in love with Truman in that story. I was psyched to see his story fleshed out! But….

First, most of the story – like 67% or more is really about Truman and other people including a pregnancy scare that takes up way too many pages for not a lot of return (that we see in this book).

Second, though I love Truman, I wanted to see his romance not read about him and though I loved seeing him triumph I wanted more with Mike… except Mike was 100% an asshole and I didn’t like him – ever.

Third, so since I didn’t get to really meet him and what I saw was crappy – I didn’t get invested in these guys as a couple AT ALL and I really felt like I didn’t want them together so when the ILYs jump out I didn’t buy them.

Fourth, there is a VERY creepy scene involving Mike and a citizen that is super gross – and when we find out who he is I was like???? How is that guy thinking he’s being a secretive closeted gay boy when he goes around in a vintage mustang that everyone identifies as his??? It didn’t make any sense and was very uncomfortable.

So… while I applaud Truman and still love him – this story was not up to his personal wonderfulness and I can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get paranormal: Evolved Audiobook by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

 

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Evolved-Audiobook/1541445112?qid=1536769755&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=Y3400SMA6Q7VHD21JS8D&

Blurb

In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise and mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, he thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN. Shaun is compatible to Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis.

But Lloyd soon realizes Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe. No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

Contains mature themes.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I am literally blown away by this story.

When I saw the blurb I pretty much said to myself – yeah – NO – and wanted to pass it on. I was a bit intrigued but mostly really put off by the robot in the future part of the story. That’s just not me.

Wellll…. Let me tell you. This story gripped me right from the start and I couldn’t put it down. NR Walker managed to do it AGAIN. She keeps coming out of left field with these books that are so DIFFERENT from what I’ve seen from her and she keeps hitting home runs! (See all the Spring Baseball references…. And I don’t like baseball! But they fit 😉 )

First, let’s look at this story. It has a fairly timely subject matter – we are probably on the cusp of artificial intelligence and as this story suggests we are in no way ready for it.

Despite the robot nature of Shaun, I loved his existential crisis and that whole “why am I here” thing is something all of us experience and the author was able to really capture this in simple ways that can be felt in us all.

The “Big Brother” aspect of this story is so accurate it’s frightening. We know “they” are listening – but what can you do that doesn’t involve living off grid in Montana?

And the romance. Ahhhhhh. So good. I totally cried at the end even though I knew it would be a HEA – NR doesn’t let us down. It’s a very touching ending and I was really pleased with her result.

Second, can we talk about NR Walker’s amazing brain? If you look at her title list we have things all over the map: from the outback, to Africa, to contemporary Australia, body image, butterflies, switched at birth, blindness, ménage, cops, vampires, architecture… and she’s like an expert on ALL these things! I totally want to have access to her time and resources – she must spend 50% of her time researching and the rest writing! I love it! (And am jealous of her beautiful brain 😉 ) Now we can add this futuristic techno drama to her list. Truly awe inspiring and wonderful.

So… from one non-sci-fi person to another – this is a sci-fi book you’ll want to read. It’s wonderful and touching and it will absolutely inspire all your neurotransmitters to fire!

6 of 5 stars

Audio:

What a challenge! How to sound like a robot who doesn’t sound robotic while still being non-human???? Well – Joel Leslie is up to the challenge and manages to find a way to do just that!

Shaun “evolves” in this book from a plain android to virtually a human and over the course of his narration Joel has to continually demonstrate this evolution vocally. He owns it! He does an absolutely brilliant job of making these subtle changes and helping us –the listeners – keep Shaun in that place that’s just a little unique. He also gives us the other characters in the story – android and human – distinct voices and personalities.

Well done and highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Undertow (Port Lewis Witches #2) by Brooklyn Ray

release day review

Nine Star Presents
https://ninestarpress.com/product/undertow/

Blurb

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is home to Crescent Cafe, a slew of micro-breweries, a downtown packed with antique boutiques, and violent, ancient storms. Thunder shakes rooftops and lightning cuts through dark skies, but Liam Montgomery has never been afraid.

Until now.

One night, Liam hears the scream of a kelpie, a Water horse whose cry foretells the beginning of a prophecy. Kelpies have not set foot on shore for decades, but as Liam digs into his magic and his family’s history, he uncovers a mysterious secret that could ripple into the lives of everyone around him.

Liam’s tea-leaves spells out murder. The life of someone he loves is on the line. An unwelcome kelpie speaks in riddles. The Queen of Water demands a sacrifice.

The Montgomery name is soaked in blood and secrets. Liam’s fate is sealed, but he’ll do whatever it takes to change it—even if it risks his circle, his magic, and his life.

Review

This shouldn’t be a book that I even want to read and yet I not only couldn’t wait to read it, I loved it! Super loved it!

It’s sooooo well-written. The descriptions are absolutely breath taking without being over done or feeling disproportionate to the story. Though this is new adult/young adult, in book two things take a decidedly more heated turn and the chemistry between Liam and Ryder is scorching! And yet the sex itself isn’t so over described that your own imagination isn’t required. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to describe things in such a way as to be specific but vague enough as to leave room for imagination.

The magic in this book is also off the charts. Wow. Not only do Liam and Ryder explore their powers with one another but there is something new in town after Liam and Liam has to use his powers to protect himself and Ryder.

There is a lot of new information revealed in this story and I can’t wait to read the next installment. This is in no way an ending but it still felt very satisfying. I think, if I have to directly compare, that this is even BETTER than book 1, which – let’s face it – rarely happens – but it sure seemed to here!

Highly recommended! (not a standalone)

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/when-everything-is-blue-by-laura-lascarso-9991-b

Blurb:

Theo Wooten and Chris Mitcham have been friends for years, despite Theo’s nerdiness and Chris’s golden boy charm. Theo lives next door to Chris with his twin sister and his mother after his parents divorced. His relationship with his father is rocky, his social status a mess and his sister is much cooler than he is. For the last year Theo has been attracted to Chris, and he feels bad about not telling him but is afraid of losing their friendship. When Theo’s sexuality is revealed will he be able to keep all the people he cares about?

Review:

overall:
I rather enjoyed this book both for the quality narration and the interesting Coming Of Age story. It is both poignant and funny, and written in a lyrical descriptive way I love! This book is a great YA Coming Of Age that is sexy and achingly heart waring. If you like YA with lots of sexy times this just might be the book for you! This story is full of emotion and realness, it’s a beautiful tale of self-discovery and knowing one’s worth.

Story:
This is a classic Friends To Lovers with Theo and Chris sharing this incredible bond that goes beyond social status and ethnicity. I say this because throughout the book that issue comes up, both as racist slurs, jokes and material value VS love and caring. The best example is Theo’s parents, a white dentist and a Hispanic immigrant. Theo’s father keeps measuring his value in money, and despite the fact his mother is not financially sound you can clearly tell she is much more supportive and caring than his cold, selfish, alcoholic father. These important themes are incorporated well into the story and give it more depth. Another notable element is Theo’s namesake, his great uncle, who has dementia. Captain Wooten is a wonderful side character that is a mirror image for Theo, showing him what happens when you let fear and familial expectations dictate your life choices. Theo is very much struggling with his identity and how he wants to live, and his visitations to his Uncle show him a side of his family he did not know about.

I love how this book shows a true teenage struggle, the exploration of sexuality and questionable decisions fueled by hormones and confusion. Theo is sucked into a relationship with a boy he probably shouldn’t, despite being in love with his best friend Chris. I know many reads shy from books where an MC has a relationship with another character, and here it is described in detail. I personally do not like these kinds of things in stories but here it was fitting, it felt very human to me, and VERY teen like. Chris, his best friend and supporter is such a mature young man, I loved how he steered Theo through the turbulence of his coming out and his relationship with his father. He is the rock that Theo leans on, and he has a very optimistic attitude. The way they get together and explore their connection was wonderful, frantic and gentle at the same time. Also, their relationship is much more HFN then HEA, and that also is fitting these characters and where they are in their life, this is just the beginning of their story.

Narration:
Michael Mola did an amazing job narrating this book, I especially liked how he used breath and added a lot of effects in his narration. He truly preformed this book, and it added a whole new dimension to it. He had a distinct voice for every character, juggling many personalities with ease. The only thing I would change is the accent he did for Theo’s voice. Theo is described as coming from a home were his mother spoke Spanish to him growing up. His twin sister is said to understand but not speak it and it implies that she is trying to “pass” as white American rather than Ethnic. However I do not understand why the narrator chose a Spanish accent for Theo, especially when he did not pull it off so well. It sounded weirdly French and awkward, and in no part of the story does it say he had an accent, nor does it make sense if his twin does not. It was such a shame as everything else from his tone to his pitch was so good and I really enjoyed and admired his skill in performing this book. It’s not a deal breaker for me but was a constant let down and the reason I gave this book 4 Stars and not 5.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review