Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

14288998 This is a kind of sleeper trilogy in that I haven’t heard as many people talk about but is one that I have really enjoyed from the beginning. And YAY a final book that was not only NOT a disappointment but, at least to me, was pretty freaking awesome! I was kind of ecstatic when I got approved for this ARC because I’ve been really wanting to know what the hell happened with Perry, Aria and Roar after Through the Ever Night ended.

There is so much I like about this trilogy I don’t even know if I’ll remember to list them all. First and foremost is the lack of a love triangle. While there are 3 main characters and yes one is female and 2 are male there is never a moment that I get a romantic feeling between Roar and Aria which just makes me happy. Which brings me to the second thing I like about this trilogy so much – the friendships. The friendship between Roar and Perry is so great, just a real and honest friendship between two guys that is not ruined by jealousy over a woman. The friendship between Roar and Aria is even better in my eyes because it’s so rare to see in a YA book that a male and female can manage to be friends without feelings getting in the way. I love the friendships in these books. There are many, many more, even other important ones that matter, all why I love these books.

So as for this actual book – I didn’t love the beginning. I was a little annoyed with the way Roar and Perry were acting. I wanted to smack them both. I understood their pain after the ending of the last book but Roar in particular was acting like an ass and it was irritating me. But after we moved past that part I easily loved the rest of this book even more than the others. The action moved very quickly and was pretty much nonstop. The journey, both literally and figuratively, in this book is important and really moving to see. There are a lot of challenges to face and sacrifices Perry in particular has to make to get to the end. The anticipation of all of this has built throughout the series and this last book does a great job of capturing all of this effortlessly.

I was impressed with the end of the book – the last 20% or so in particular. I wasn’t expecting to get any of this in the book at all because this part felt almost like an epilogue. I appreciated the ending and while there were definitely sad parts – to the point where I was a little choked up – there were also the happy and triumphant moments as well. I was extremely satisfied with this conclusion to the series and feel that Rossi did what is almost impossible – took extreme care with the pacing of the relationships and the action, leaving me even more of a fan at the end of book 3 than I was at the end of book 1.

This book in particular is pretty difficult to review without giving away major spoilers so basically I loved the and felt it was a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy.

5/5 Stars

ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss.

~Melinda

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Book Review: Greenwode by J. Tullos Hennig

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Did you ever read or hear the stories of Robin Hood and think “A bunch of merry men hanging out in the forest together seems a little queer?” Well, J. Tullos Hennig confirms your suspicions.

Greenwode takes place in 12th century England, the beginning of the legend of Robin Hood. Young Rob is the son of a forester and firmly believes in the pagan Gods. He eventually take the place of his father as the Horned Lord. One day, while running an errand for his father in Sherwood Forest, he rescues a boy who had been thrown from his horse. Enter Gamelyn. Gamelyn is the third son of a nobleman and a good ol’ Catholic boy.

Rob takes Gamelyn home resulting in a friendship between Gamelyn and Rob’s older sister Marion. But Rob and Gamelyn are not quick to friend. Throughout the book, they are in a constant state of attraction/hostility. Gamelyn wishes that Rob liked him more, but they are both aware of the divides between them. It also doesn’t help that Gamelyn thinks everyone grew up receiving the same noble treatment and living the same noble life that he did.

Needless to say, there is a lot of conflict in Greenwode: Robin vs Gamelyn… Peasants vs Nobles… Pagans vs Christians. But for the stories sake, there is only one conflict that matters; that which is between one Pagan peasant and one Noble Christian… and the odds are NOT in their favor. Robin must deal with the fact that Gamelyn is basically his enemy; while Gamelyn must deal with the fact that he is in love with a peasant who is also male. I mean, if it was discovered he loved a man, it would mean death. Another classic case of doomed love.

But don’t be quick to hate on Gamelyn, he has his own problems. He has an ailing father and a cray jealous older brother. And then there’s his kinswoman, who is also a negative presence in his life. She wants to help him achieve his destiny as a Catholic priest. Granted, he was probably going to be a priest if Robin hadn’t been so sexy. Clueless Gamelyn is also blissfully unaware that his kinswoman is a crazed abbess trying to hunt down all pagans.

Greenwode gives us a better understanding of Robin of Loxley. We see that before becoming a hero, his life full of love, confusion, conflict, and danger. Of course, there is also the addition of the magic and a couple of supporting characters (big sis Marion and Gamelyn’s jealous brother). All of these things help guide Robin to become the legend we know.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and the story. If you’re into historical (?) gay young romance novels, then this is the book for you. Just be forewarned that you might find yourself googling the definition of a few words or skimming through the overly descriptive parts. Greenwode also ends on a cliffhanger so you’re going to have to read the second book to find out if anyone got their happy ending. Pun kinda intended.

Little what? Are you calling me an ass?

4/5 stars

~Eddie

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The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

15995144This book takes place at the decline of the Cetlic Tiger in Ireland. Pokey Burke is an unscrupulous builder who is at the center of this particular story. The story happens in a village on the outskirts of Limerick. Pokey, who hasn’t paid taxes or stamps for his employees, shuts up shop leaving housing estates unfinished and a trail of woe behind him.

The book is told by 20 odd people with a chapter each going into detail how they were screwed over in some way shape or form by Pokey, from employees who can’t collect the dole because he didn’t pay their stamps to people left behind in dealing with the fallout, mainly his father. I liked how the book was laid out, the individual stories and how each person dealt with their own misery. The take on rural village life is spot on in how people gossip and act, the language used as well as the typical Irish mentality of looking out for number one when the need suits.

There is a lot of swearing in this book, also the dreaded “C” word is used less than a handful of times, but it is used quite a bit in Ireland, so consider yourself warned. I think that some of the vernacular might be hard to follow for most people.

I think that this is an amazing first book and very well written. It brought me back to when I lived there. I look forward to reading his other book.

ARC copy provided by Netgalley

5/5 stars

Crash.

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Unraveled Blog Tour: Q&A w/ Sam & Gray

20140125-105324.jpgVi: Gray & Sam, I hear that you both are considering going back to college? What courses are thinking of taking?
Sam: I’m taking classes on merchandising (which are my least favorite) and fiber arts which is really cool. I’ve been experimenting with knitting lace which is really a challenge. Gray’s been pretty patient with having a lot of threads around the apartment but sometimes he says we have more yarn at our place than at Knit Together.

Gray: It was a lot better when she was knitting stuff for me. I look good in a lot of stuff but not lace. I’ve been taking some online courses on communication and leadership but the Corps has me attending classes too. A lot of leadership courses with the Air Force guys. Man, they have good food over there. I may have enlisted in the wrong branch.

Vi: Sam, how did you get started with knitting? What’s the most difficult thing you have made?
I got started knitting when I joined a support group after my husband died. It was the only widow group I could find that had women there under the age of 50. The most difficult thing I made was a sweater for one class. We were challenged to incorporate as many different techniques into one project. It’s pretty hideous.

Gray: ugliest thing ever. Even uglier than, well, you know, Vi, but I don’t want to ruin it for everyone.
Sam: It is really, really ugly.

Vi: Gray, how has Bo & Noah changed since leaving the service?
Gray: They’ve got longer hair. Or at least Bo does. Their focus is completely different although I feel mine has changed now that I have Sam so I don’t know if the separating from the service changes you so much as the people that you surround yourself with.

Vi: Sam & Gray, favorite bar drink?
Sam: I like a good old lemon lime margarita with a mix of Patron Silver and Patron Citronge.

Gray: Straight up and strong. Whiskey, scotch, that sort of thing. But I usually drink Coors while watching the Padres.

Vi: Sam & Gray, what is your favorite word? [Shamelessly stealing this from Actors’ Studio]
Sam: Adventurous

Gray, laughing: I’m not sure I can say my favorite word on the blog here.

Sam: It’s a profanity. Starts with F.

Vi: Sam & Gray, what turns you on?
Gray: Sam turns me on. Everything about her. Her smell, the way she moves, her little sighs. Fu-, ahem, love it all.

Sam: Hearing Gray talk. He’s so vocal and it makes me know that he’s excited to be with me. Makes it easier for me to be more free, all of the time.

Vi: Sam & Gray, or you morning person or night owl?
Gray: I have to be a morning person.
Sam: I like sleeping in. I admit it. And I think because I tended bar for so long, I enjoy the night hours but it all works out.

Vi: Sam & Gray, how do you liked your bacon cooked?
Sam: crispy
Gray: Same

Vi: Gray,your mom named you after a romance novel hero. Do you believe in happily ever after?
Gray: After Sam, yes. Before her? Probably not.

Vi: Sam, do you read romance novels? If so, name a recent favorite book? Do you believe in HEA as well?
Sam: I love reading. I think reading and knitting go together. As for my favorite recent book, well, I loved Sabrina Elkins Stir Me Up. It featured a young Marine and a chef and it reminded me of some of the guys around Pendleton. Made me teary a little. And yes, I totally believe in the HEA and that I’m living mine with Gray Phillips.

Gray: Love you, babe. Love you so much.

<strong>Thank you both for taking time to answer questions. You are both are so darn cute!</strong>

Thank you Jen Frederick for allowing me to be a part of this tour!

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Book Review: Something Like Autumn by Jay Bell

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There’s always two sides to every story, but in a love triangle, there’s three. Something Like Winter is the second book of the seasons and it tells the story from Tim’s point of view. Since I was never a fan of Tim, I didn’t read it. You don’t have to read it before reading Something Like Autumn, but you can if you’d like. Something Like Autumn, the finale, is all about Jace, who we all know and love from the first book, Something Like Summer. The book is all about the experiences he goes through, whether good or bad, to find someone who’ll love him the way he loves them.

We jump into Jace’s past, when he was just a confused teenager who was having problems with being gay. His doubts soon disappear when he meets Victor. Strange, homeless Victor. They hit it off right away and Jace easily falls in love with him. But unfortunately, Victor refuses to be tied down to anyone or anything. This of course causes problems in their young love, because Jace wants to be tied down. He wants the marriage, the family, and the commitment. He wants to be loved forever.Victor, though he really does love Jace, is never going to want those things too. Despite their obvious differences, they have the typical “on again. off again” relationship over the years. Eventually their relationship comes to a complete end. And although Victor was similar to Tim… I didn’t really hate him. I mean, the guy had issues. He might have even been a little cray.

Now we get to the story we all know, the part where Jace meets Ben. But this time we see that not only did Jace save Ben, but Ben also saved Jace. And they were just perfect for each other. Had it not been for cray cray Victor, Jace wouldn’t have been the saint we were all attached to in the first book. Jace’s back-story with Victor explains how he was always able to forgive Ben, because he still loved Victor just as much as Ben loved Tim. He knew how he would feel seeing Victor again… and he can’t blame Ben for succumbing to those feelings. Victor helped Jace understand that first love doesn’t die. Your feelings don’t go away too when a relationship ends. Now we know what made Jace so “perfect.” And knowing is half the battle.

**SPOILER ALERT**

Because this is Jace’s story, we are once again hit with the super sad part of his life that made us cry like little babies in the first book. Although, this time we get more closure. Yes, I was secretly hoping Jay Bell was going to write that it was all a dream in the first book and Jace and Ben grow old together and have a giant family. But nothing changes and we once again say goodbye to our hero, Jace. Despite all the heartache, we did find out that he had a good life. He had found his happiness.

Ben and Jace both loved two men in their lives. And although they never stopped loving their first, it didn’t stop them from loving each other. We all knew Ben was meant for Tim and Jace was meant for Ben. The first book made us ache for Jace who seemed to have gotten the raw end of the deal. But in Something Like Autumn, we learn that Jace got everything he wanted in life with Ben. He got the marriage, the family, and the commitment. He had found someone to love him forever.

 

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Book Review: Something Like Summer by Jay Bell

110102 Something Like Summer Cover wB.cdrEveryone might remember their first crush, mine was Matthew Lawrence from Boy Meets World, but everyone always remembers their first love. Something Like Summer is a story of first love, told by Ben. Ben came out when he was 14. Since then, high school has been rough, but he’s got a great family and a fantastic best friend. The summer after turning 16, Ben develops a crush on a guy he sees run past his block every single week. After chance discoveries and careful “stalking,” he finds out the boys name, Tim. Ben’s persistence pays off, and the boys eventually get to know each other. Their friendship soon blossoms into love, but high school romances are almost always flawed.

The real issue in their relationship is Tim. Tim comes from a rich and religious family so he is ashamed of his feelings for Ben. His cowardliness forces them to keep their relationship secret. Ben, blinded by his love, agrees to Tim’s every demand. The strain of keeping their relationship hidden dooms it to failure and the two split before the end of senior year. You will grow to hate Tim in the book, I’m just warning you now. Like hate him. To the point where you are either yelling at Ben for being dumb or Tim for the same reason.

The story jumps forwards three years and Ben has met an attractive flight attendant, Jace. Jace is 6 years older than him, but the maturity of his age is a blessing. Jace is honest, loving, forgiving, and simply perfect. He’s too good to be true really. With the help of Jace, Ben experiences what a real relationship is suppose to be like. Sure they had a few rough patches, but nothing like Tim. Team Jace all the way. But uh oh, who’s that suddenly jumping back into the picture when everything is going perfect for Ben? Why it’s none other than Tim and he wants Ben back. Of course he does.

The story gets really frustrating at this point. Soooo frustrating. You are once again going to be screaming at Ben and Tim, while trying to reassure Jace that it will all work out. I get that you never forget your first love, but Ben’s recurring feelings for Tim and his inability not let go was maddening. And poor Jace, who is overly understanding on Ben’s trouble staying true to him because of Tim. You will ache for Jace for being able to love Ben despite all the crap. You might even yell at him to grow a pair and fight for his man, but if you do, you will regret it later.

While the story starts about a simple crush, the complexity of it (just like relationships) grows as the story unfolds. I won’t ruin any of the big spoilers for you, just be prepared to be angry, frustrated, sad, and super sad. And if you happen to enjoy the story, there’s two more in the series. One told from Tim’s point of view, and one from Jace’s. Spoiler Alert: Tim’s is still frustrating and Jace’s will make you cry.

Only 4.5 stars because the ending really pissed me off.

4.5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Book Review: Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

18332666This story is about teenagers in an eating disorder unit of a hospital. It opens with Jack, AKA Bones, settling into his room on the unit, he is an anorexic starting a 6 week program. His room mate is another guy called Lard, an over eater who wants to be a chef. Then there is Alice, a ballerina who just wont eat even though she has been in and out of hospitals with serious medical problems relating to her anorexia. Bones, Lard and Alice form an unlikely friendship. Bones falls for Alice and while she leads him on a merry dance of her own there is a lot of pain in their relationship.

Each learns to deal with their issues and why they have eating disorders. Family therapy sessions reveal more than what should be revealed. Some parents don’t want to accept why their child has issues with food and that they may be the reason behind it.

This book tackle serious eating issues and the reasons behind them. I have never read a book about this condition before and did enjoy it. It brought to light why some people become anorexic, bulimic or overeaters and how they feel about food and themselves. There is love and redemption to a certain degree in this book and while it does highlight serious health issues it doesn’t do it in a heavy handed hand, or for that matter too lightly. I was drawn into this book and finished it in one day. It was well written with characters you wanted to feel for.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

4/5 stars

– Crash

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