Review: In the Absence of Light by Adrienne Wilder

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Genre: Contemporary, Romance, M/M, LGBT
Pages: 261 (large pages + small font, so more like 400+)
Series: None (but there will be a spin-off)
Release Date: March 25, 2015
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

3.75 Stars

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For the purpose of this review, I’m going to divide this book into three, equal, parts: Beginning, Middle, and End.

In the first 33%, we’re introduced to the two main characters. Grant was a smuggler. But the business wanted to take him in a direction he wasn’t comfortable with, one without dignity or loyalty. So he quit. Now he plans to lay low for a while until the FBI stops trying to find proof against him. Those plans take him to the small town of Durstrand. He’ll stay there for two or three years, then disappear to a beach where US has no jurisdiction. That is, until he meets Morgan.

At first impression, Grant lets Morgan’s various tics, a result of his severe autism, fool him into underestimating him. Like most people, he assumes that the autism somehow affects his intelligence or maturity. Morgan is quick to put him in his place and, soon enough, Grant is completely in awe of the person Morgan is. And I don’t blame him. Morgan is… extraordinary. All the things he’s overcome, his sheer resilience and willpower, are admirable. But the romance happens too quickly.

I liked the beginning. I like both characters individually, especially Morgan. But I think, like with Wild, the author rushed the romance. I prefer my romances to be about the characters connecting as people rather some vague, unexplained intensity that simply exists between them. Which is what the case often was here.

Because of that, I didn’t entirely care about their relationship. I wanted them to be happy but it didn’t matter if they were happy with each other or without. The Middle I didn’t like. It was… sex. That’s pretty much all it was. I think there were four sex scenes in that duration alone and while it wasn’t bad, I read them and they were well-written, I was waiting for something to happen. Something important. I almost quite reading by the time we reached the End.

In the third part, things took a turn for the better — for me that is, not for the characters. There was a lot more stuff happening in that part, the pace was better and Grant and Morgan finally clicked for me. It was really good and, when the book ended, I was genuinely bummed because I was enjoying it so much. The action scene near the end lacked proper coherency but other than that, any problems I had with the book up until that point were cleared and, overall, this was a good book. The portrayed of autism, especially as severe as it was for Morgan, was well-done and I really liked the story.

Now I’m waiting not-so-patiently for the spin-off. I won’t tell you who it’s about because that might be a spoiler, but you’ll know when you read the book, which I definitely recommend doing.

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Top 3 Thursday: Books I Recommend

Even before I started the blog, the plan was always to incorporate more than just book review. I mean, those you can just post on Goodreads and Amazon, right? But I haven’t quite managed it. Mainly because I’m lazy. Then on Instagram, I saw that A Cosy Reading Blog started a ‘Top 3 Thursday’ thing and it seemed simple yet interesting, so I’m going with it. This time, it’s top three books I recommend to people.

 

1. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27237358I don’t think I talk about this book enough on the blog. I read it a long time ago (I’m rereading it right now) and it was amazing. It still stands as one of the best books I’ve ever read. The story is absolutely beautiful, heartwarming and heart wrenching. I don’t technically have a favourite book but whenever I’m asked, this is the one that comes to mind and the one that I answer with. Whenever I’m asked for a must-read book, this is it, because I think everyone should read it. It’s a breathtaking romance about overcoming loss.

 

2. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

19547856If Making Faces is a book with heavy emotion, this might be the opposite. It’s a very light, fun and cute read but also very meaningful. That’s a combination that’s difficult to achieve but somehow, Becky did it. I read this one over two years ago and it was my favourite reads of the year. It’s the kind of book that makes you happy and makes you think at the same time. It’s exactly my kind of book and about as perfect as it can get. I don’t think any sane person could ever dislike it, same as with Making Faces.

 

3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

3Last but never least, Harry Potter. Of course this was coming, even though recommending this series is complicated because most people have read it. Still, whenever some wants to delve into reading, my suggestion is always to “read Harry Potter” because it’s magical. That’s the only word I have for it. I mean, reading this series is practically a rite-of-passage at this point. You have to do it. And soon because the world is rife with spoilers since it seems that HP spoilers don’t even count as spoilers.

 

And those were the three books I recommend most often. The first is a personal, and amazing, favourite, the second is too likable to resist and the third is just important. That covers all the recommendation bases, don’t you think?

Finally, as a little bonus, I just have to mention Percy Jackson. It’s one of my favourite series, it’s fun, fast paced and action packed, and it’s hilarious. It’s also about Greek mythology (always a plus) and, most importantly, it has Percy in it, who is my favourite character (of all time and all forms of media).

And that concludes the list. Be sure to check out A Cosy Reader‘s post, and leave a comment about some of the books you find yourself recommending most often.

Review: RoomHate by Penelope Ward

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Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 280
Series: None
Release Date: February 3, 2016
Date Read: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

4 Stars

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Reading has being going slow this month (stupid exams) so I took a peek at my 2016-reviews-I-haven’t-posted-on-the-blog list. This was the lucky winner!

Amelia and Justin were very close as teenagers. Then she left, broke off contact and also broke his heart. Now, years later, Amelia’s grandmother has died and left her half of a house. The other half she left to Justin. This is the first time they’re meeting after all those years and Justin still hasn’t forgiven her. For Amelia, she can still see in him the boy she knew, past his hatred. But he has a girlfriend. Sharing a house is not going to be easy.

And before anyone wonders, there’s no cheating in the book. That’s the thing I would want to know first so I just thought I’d clear it up. Next thing, all novels give a certain impression about the kind of story you’re about to read. But with this book, that impression doesn’t fully stand. Less than halfway through the book, something happens that changes everything. And there’s a chance it’s not for everyone.

For me, I loved it. The first half of the novel wasn’t bad but I had some problems. Justin’s behavior bothered me a little and I didn’t think the writing was very good. Both of those things got a lot better as the book progressed.

Amelia also bothered at moments but not much. I actually really liked the characters of the book. They were unexpectedly mature. It felt so good watching two adults actually act like adults. There were times when the characters were about to do something stupid but the author didn’t let them, like she didn’t want the usual tropes lurking around in her book. That’s not to say that they didn’t make mistakes or were never irrational. But it was adults making mistakes instead of adults acting like children.

Also, like I said, the book took a direction almost halfway through that I hadn’t expected and, initially, was a bit miffed about it because that wasn’t the book I signed up for. But I realized that the direction was really good for the book because the last half was amazing. Especially the ending. I loved it.

I was so upset when the book ended because I wanted to keep reading about these characters, and this story. Not in a I-wanna-know-what-happens-next way, but because I genuinely enjoyed reading it. I had half a mind to flip to the beginning and start rereading. I restrained myself and only reread a few scenes. This read was better than I expected from the synopsis and I’d love to read more by the author (update from the future: I have read more by the author. She’s not always great).

But in this case, she did a really well. This was great book and I recommend checking it out.

Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

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Genre: Young-Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 389
Series: Under the Never Sky #3
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins

4 Stars

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Another addition to my series-I’ve-finished list! And the best part is that it’s a really good addition. It’s always wise to be wary of the last book of a series (especially if it’s a trilogy) but this was great!

I read the first two books what feels like ages ago, even though it’s only been a year, and I’d forgotten so much stuff. But a little skim through the second book, Through the Ever Night, and I was good to go. The first one is still a blur but I’m planning a reread soon. What’s important, and surprising, is that I have only fond memories of those two. And I’ll have fond memories of this one as well.

We start off a few days after Aria, along with Roar, comes back and after she and Perry save a group of dwellers; including Soran, who is supposedly not a horrible person anymore. Aria’s recovering from her gunshot wound and Perry is trying to manage the Tides and figure out how to get to the Still Blue. Roar is devastated over Liv’s death. I can’t believe she’s really dead. I though she’s still be alive somehow but no, she’s gone for good. And I feel bad for Roar …Or I would if he wasn’t being a total dick about it.

He has a right to be sad and angry, but is lashing out at Perry really the best option? The guy is trying his best to hold it together for the hundreds of people who are depending on him and Roar is no help at all.

Of course, refusing to talk about a problem isn’t the best choice either but you can hardly be mad at Perry for it. He’s one the most selfless people to ever exist. Everything he ever does is for others and with others in consideration. If shutting down a little helps him deal with his sister’s death, and the fact that his girlfriend left him in the last book, then give him a break. And Aria is really understanding of that. I always liked that girl. She even understands that she screwed when she left without telling Perry (that was really bad move).

But anyway, to the plot. They need to get the location to the Still Blue, they need to get Cinder back, and they need to kill Sable. That last one isn’t necessarily about the Still Blue. Sable is just a despicable human being who needs to die. I don’t know if I hated him in the last book, but I so hate him in this one.

I also hated/wanted-to-strangle both Roar and Soran. First for being grade-A dicks, then for doing something really fucking stupid.  But they both grew on me. I really like how the author can make you like any character. I like the story, I like the protagonist, I like how easy these books are to read, I like the writing and how well it flows, I like the fast but unhurried pace… I like this series as a whole. I don’t often get to the end of a series and have it be on a positive note; it’s good to have that.

In the end, I’ve said all that I needed to (I think). This was a really good conclusion and it reminded me that I need to pick up something else by this author soon.

Review: Wild by Adrienne Wilder

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Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M, LGBT
Pages: 416
Series: None
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Publisher: Adrienne Wilder

3 Stars

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I think I read a survival-type book a while ago. I really liked it so I thought I’d like this one too. Having to survive in the wild is definitely an interesting concept. But there’s a point when you take it too far.

August is a model. He’s on a plane with his team and his boyfriend, heading to the next shoot when the plane goes down in an obscure part of Alaska. He’s the only survivor, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to last long since he’s injured, it’s extremely cold and the wreckage is surrounded by wild animals. Keegan saves him, not just from the animals but also from the weather and the injuries he’s sustained. But they’re in the kind of area which is far from civilization and where no sane man would want to live. Keegan is only there because it’s the only place he can be safe from his past while also paying for what he did. Keegan is the only chance August has of survival.

They have minimal supplies, there’s no hospital they can go to, and both freezing to death or being eaten seem likely. But Keegan knows what he’s doing. He’s survived there for ten years. And for the first third (maybe a little more) of the book, things were really interesting. August was an unhappy and grunpy camper but he was in a lot of pain so we can cut him some slack. Seeing the two of then trying to make the best of the situation… I liked reading about it all; both their backstories, the current hardships, and their developing dynamic.

It was after those 150-or-so pages that things got boring. Reading about how they survived in such conditions was interesting at first, but there’s only so much you can take. At some point, I needed more from the plot than just their domestic life in a wooden cabin or detailed instructions on how to clean a gun. It was… it was what I’d imagine (never watched the show) a very long episode of Survivor would be like. You know, if you take away the petty drama and add sex (I skipped most of the sex).

There’s wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I’m not the kind of person who need constant excitement but if you’re going to base the whole book on two people and their romantic relationship, then I’m gonna need more than generic character development. For example, I know that they both fell in love, but why did they? I guess they’re both very resilient people and that’s surely admirable but, for the moat part, I couldn’t help but think that their feelings were more about circumstance than about the two of them specifically.

August was on the verge of death so many times in the book and Keegan always saved him, and I felt like his feelings had more to do with Keegan saving his life. For Keegan, he’s been pretty much isolated for a decade. Then he finally has someone to spend time with and it makes sense for him to get attached. For all we know, it could have been any decent guy. August just happened to be the one.

I don’t know, maybe there’s more to them. Maybe I didn’t see enough of it. But still, to me, their relationship didn’t work that well. I wasn’t against them really and I liked how much they cared and did for each other, especially toward the end, but it fell short. And that was part of the reason that I found almost 200 pages of the book to be kinda… dull and uneventful. It wasn’t until we reached the 85% point that things got good again. By that time, it was a little too late for anything more than 3 stars.

Still, I liked the ending, and the book was well-written. I’m most definitely reading more from the author. This book simply wasn’t for me.

Review: Cut & Run by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

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Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, M/M, Mystery
Pages: 376
Series: Cut & Run #1 (there are nine books, all following the same MCs)
Release Date: September 1, 2008
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

2 Stars

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Have you ever read a book in which you really don’t like the writing, don’t really get the characters and, for the most part, you don’t particularly like the book, but you still keep reading it? Because that’s what happened to me.

This book is about two FBI agents. There’s a serial killer in New York. It’s a top priority case after the guy took the life of two agents, and Ty and Zane are partnered up to solve it. They’re total opposites. Zane, at first appearance, seems like the cookie-cutter, rule following guy. Ty is abrasive, rude and has many unorthodox methods. Right off the bat, they hate each other. But as their lives are constantly endangered because of attacks by the killer and as they spend more time together, they find that the two of them are not as different as first thought.

But the getting-to-know-you process sucks. For me, that is. I’m sure the two of them were having the time of their lives. I was not happy. The writing in this book is a mess. The coherency of the prose of very low and there are POV switches in ever paragraph because apparently, the authors were going for omniscient third person perspective but failed. Then there’s the dialogue. I literally can’t remember the last time I read such poorly constructed interactions.

What’s worse is that there are a lot of conversations. Like, there are actual consecutive pages full what the authors are trying to pass off as “banter”. In really, it’s awkward, it’s clumsy, has not flow and basically makes no sense. It’s like someone guessing what big, bad, macho type men would talk like. Because, of course, it’s absolutely crucial to assert that the two main characters are total badasses who really don’t like each other. In short, the many conversations between the two men achieved next to nothing and were just the same I-don’t-like-you and I’m-macho thing over and over again.

The mystery part of the novel was one that I was really interested in (I seriously think that crime and mystery novels would be right up my ally if I’d just read some). That is until we finally found out what the pattern/link between the murders was; because I refuse two believe that none of the highly educated agents connected the dots. It’s just not possible. The killer, in the end, was an easy enough guess but I didn’t really see his motivation for his crimes. It didn’t make sense.

In the end, what I’m saying is that this was not a good book. If I sat down and told someone the story within 5-10 minutes, they’d think it was good. But if the same person were to read it, the opinion would change. It’s a promising idea, one that’s trampled by the very poor execution.

Even the characters would have been way more interesting if the writers weren’t so busy trying to make them all macho and shit. Because the few scene in which they seemed to actually progress as characters and in their relationship, were good. The mystery part, though, seemed like it was little more than an excuse for the MCs to communicate and, after pointing out so many flaws, I still can’t get over the fact that I didn’t hate it.

I think it’s because the story was promising; that kept me going. Hell, I might even read the sequel. I kind of want to. But the fact that there are nine fucking books following the same two characters… that makes me hesitate. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But even if we overlook the (excessive amount of) sequels, I still don’t recommend this book. It does not live up to the hype.

Review: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

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Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology (Greek & Roman)
Pages: 448
Series: The Trials of Apollo #3
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

5 Stars

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I’m going to start with the dedication. I like Rick’s dedications; like the evil one in House of Hades or the sweet one in Son of Neptune. This time, it’s more of a fun little warning about what’s to come.

To Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, I hope you’re pleased with yourself.

And having read the book, I find it to be spot-on. I don’t think any of his books so far have hurt quite this much. So keep some tissues handy because Uncle Rick did not pull any punches.

And on that happy note, let’s get to the review. At the end of The Dark Prophecy, Apollo got a very long prophecy (a sonnet) telling him about his next quest, one that would involved the labyrinth. Initially, I thought that’s what the title of the book meant. But the burning maze is different. It’s a part of the labyrinth that’s been… infected, you could say. It’s controlled by the third and last emperor and the third Oracle is in the middle.

We always knew that the third emperor was the worst of them, the most dangerous. Even in this book, Apollo’s afraid the moment he starts to suspect about the emperor’s identity. And boy does the emperor live up to the hype. The guy is evil with a capital everything. He’s also smart, swift and very resourceful, with a bunch of evil and powerful allies and minions. It’s not hard to understand why Apollo’s afraid.

Speaking of Apollo… He’s still brilliant. I’ve loved his perspective from the first book and even as things get more and more grave, we can always rely on him to cheer us up. But more than, I’m so proud of how far he’s come. You can tell just from his narrative that he’s a very different guy from the one he was at the beginning of the series. He’s more compassionate and considerate. He’s learning about the hardships of life as a hero. He hasn’t become this utterly selfless person (which is neither all that bad nor surprising since he’s still a four thousand year old former god) but he no longer expects others to simply do stuff for him. He cares about others and is willing to risk his own safety and comfort for them. That’s a pretty big thing, if you ask me.

Also, I love Meg now. She’s not the easiest person to understand but the more time we spend with her, the better we get to know her. She was scarred heavily by Nero and she’s not someone who’s eager to talk about her feeling. But I find her tendency to shrug off big news, or simply give a one-word response, quite charming. She’s a girl of a few words but she’s good for Apollo.

Last few characters I wanna mention are Jason, Piper and Grover. I liked meeting up with the former two again but honestly, Grover stole the show. He’s another character who’s come very far from his first appearance in The Lightning Thief. Grover’s always had a very pure heart and a desire to help. Now, he’s more capable, more sure of himself and braver than ever. He’s become a leader, something I wouldn’t have expected of him. He and nature are a very crucial part of the novel

Overall, I loved this book, even if it did hurt a lot. This is the most series book in this series so far and, hopefully, the most tragic because I don’t think I can take any more. Still, I can’t wait to see what more Rick has in store for Apollo.

Review: Sanctuary Found by Sloane Kennedy

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Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M, LGBT
Pages: 307
Series: Pelican Bay #2 (Works as standalone)
Release Date: February 25, 2018
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

5 Stars

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I was a little wary about this one. We met both of these characters in Locked in Silence and I liked them. But the age difference thing… A couple of years ago, I might not even have read this book just because the (eleven years?) age difference is more than I’m comfortable with. Since then, I’ve become a lot more open to stuff. I mean, I never thought it was wrong or anything, just preferred not to read about it. Now, I’m cool.

And I gotta say, I’m glad for that because the age difference isn’t a problem. Yes, Isaac is young (twenty-one) but only physically. He’s been through enough in his life to earn the right to not be considered naive in the slightest. For one, he basically raised his kid brother Newt, and now they’re on the run from something. When they arrive in Pelican Bay, it’s in the middle of a complicated situation (the end of Locked in Silence). Isaac has come to apologize to someone he stole something from. When the guy offers Isaac a job and a place to stay for a while, with his brother Newt, he reluctantly accepts.

Maddox is the older brother of the guy’s boyfriend, both of whom own, live and work on an animal sanctuary. Maddox is in town so that he can try to repair his relationship with his little brother. Isaac, the young, troublesome guy, isn’t anywhere on his plan. But he’s attracted to Isaac anyway and finds himself questions some thing.

The great thing about this, though, is that it’s not a freak-out kind of questioning. Maddox is actually very chill about it. He’s the kind of guy who goes with the flow. If he feels something, he’s not going to try to suppress it just because it’s something new or something different. Not only is Isaac male, he also likes to wear some make-up and bright clothes; yet Maddox never cares about any of it. He accepts Isaac exactly as he is and that makes him amazing. I wish everyone was as open to change as him. The world would be a much better place.

Isaac himself is equally amazing. He’s always afraid of things that could go wrong. His past could come back and ruin everything, he could be beat up in the street for wearing make-up, he could find himself completely broke and desperate to take care of his little brother; so much could go wrong and he’s aware of it all. But it never stops him. He keeps his chin up and keeps going. His bravery in expressing himself and being good for his brother; it’s inspiring.

Speaking of the little brother… Newt is adorable. So, so cute. I loved him. Between these three people, the book is already great. Then you add in the very well-written relationship between Isaac and Maddox, the setting of the sanctuary and the great overall story, and the book just works. I’m not sure I could think of anything that’s wrong with it. This is another book that makes you question why some things are considered wrong (like a guy wearing make-up) and opens you up even more, to acceptance. Highly recommend.

Review: Carrie by Stephen King

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Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 242
Series: None
Original Release Date: April 5, 1974
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

4 Stars

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I watched the movie a few years ago, the new one with Chloe Grace Moretz, and it was very grusome. I thought it would take away from my experience of reading the book (I rarely watch the movie before reading the book, for that specific reason) but I was surprised to note that didn’t, and not just because there are some changes.

I liked getting more insight into character motivations. But before I get into that, the synopsis. I’m a bit unsure on what to write because while I usually write from what I think the book is about after reading it, the format has somewhat stumped me on that front.

It’s about a girl, I guess. She’s in high-school and treated horribly. She’s an unusual girl, and the daughter of a extremely religious mother who thinks of menstruation as a curse/punishment by God, and breasts as “dirtypillows”. In school, she’s pranked and teased and laughed at until you’re not surprised that she has a psychotic break. And a psychotic break she does have, near the end when she kills a lot of people with her telekinetic abilities.

And that’s not a spoiler. We find out pretty early on that Carrie kills many people in her highschool. The specific circumstances and what really broke her, not to mention the extent of the harm, is more or less hidden but we get a general idea of what will happen. That’s what I was talking about with the format. About a third of the book (maybe more) is in the form of reports, interviews, stories or analysis of the incident. The fact that this is set in the normal world in which telekinetic abilities are not supposed to exist is a topic of major discussion.

And I really liked the format. Most of the time, I’m wary of books that use different formats because it’s often used as a gimmick rather that something that contributes to the story (like in Everything Everything).

But here, the discussions and reports regarding the incident were very interesting. They not only gave us a good study on how people would react to such a thing, but also created a sense of dread, which I’m guessing was the purpose. The story of what happened with Carrie White is a big deal and it was treated that way, but the reports never seemed to keep in mind the fact that Carrie was just a young girl, a human being, and not a thing that happened to people. That’s exactly how shit goes down in real life and I like that King understood and portrayed that.

Also, Carrie’s perspective was definitely enlightening. That and the reports and stuff I mentioned were my favourite part of the novel. The rest, the perspectives from other people, I couldn’t really get in to. Especially Chris, who you could call the “villain” of the story. Her character just didn’t click with me.

Another thing I didn’t love about the book was the street and shop names. I get that, with King, the towns his stories are set in are just as important as the people, but the constant telling of what avenue or street we were on got confusing and became a hassle. I also thing King may have overdone it with the extent of bullying that goes on in school, even with teachers involved; though I did like the principal. But maybe the severity was necessary for the end result. Also, I don’t know what went down in American school in the 70s so… I can’t really say for sure.

Overall, this was a book that was very different from what I was expecting. It was very interesting. I liked seeing the different angles from which the incident was viewed. And the fact that this was King’s first novel… safe to say that I’m looking forward to read more.

Review: Locked in Silence by Sloane Kennedy

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I’m letting this Random-shirtless-Dude cover stay because, if you ignore said Random-Shirtless-Dude, it’s not bad. I like the font, the background and the colour scheme.

Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M, LGBT, Disability
Pages: 284
Series: Pelican Bay #1 (also works as standalone)
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

4 Stars

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Nolan and Dallas were in high-school together. They weren’t friends because Dallas was the popular jock and Nolan was the butt of every joke and prank, bullied mercilessly. For Nolan, getting out of the town of Pelican Bay was the best thing to happen to him. He became a concert violinist, playing with some of the best symphonies in the country.

But circumstances, all of them unfortunate, have brought him back to Pelican Bay, ten years later. And while he’s mourning his career and doing his best to keep his family afloat, he meets Dallas again. Only, it’s not the Dallas he remembers. This Dallas has been shunned by the town and lives alone in a wildlife sanctuary, the animals his only company. He’s lost his voice, his family and has no friends. The need for a job is what brings Nolan to Dallas and that’s where their story starts.

There’s history between Nolan and Dallas, despite the fact that they ran in different circles in school. Some of Dallas’s “friends” were Nolan’s biggest tormentors and even though Dallas never participated, he also didn’t stop them. That’s something that causes a lot of guilt in Dallas.

The guilt is a part of the reason Dallas is unwilling to approach Nolan in any way. And his life has pretty much sucked so it makes sense why he has issues with self-worth. Nolan… he was fine until everything went wrong in his life. Now he’s in a bad place too and their relationship, Nolan and Dallas’s, is a lot about healing and understanding each other. It was a good relationship, but also a complicated and sad one. They were both pretty beat down by life and but their consideration for one another is a warm light through all the bad shit going down.

I had a feeling that I would like this book and I did. I liked the setting of the sanctuary, the two of them taking care of animals, even bonding with and through them. Dallas had a pet wolf-dog hybrid who follows him around and is quite protective, there’s also a bear and kittens and dogs and even a grumpy Zebra. I’m not really an animal lover (they’re just too unpredictable) but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the animals in this book.

And overall, I really liked it; with the slow burn romance, the unfortunate but strong and kind characters, and the really sweet story.

The only thing that ever bothered me was that Nolan cried an unusual amount. But then I tried to put myself in his place and I can honestly say that if I felt as hopeless as he often did, I would want nothing more than to sit in a corner and cry all day. So I get where he’s coming from. The four stars are because this feels like a four-star book. That’s all.