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IrinaZ

IrinaZ

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The Apothecary's Garden
Julie Bozza

That Day in Spring

That Day in Spring - B.J. Sheppard Slightly confusing trying to determine the time of each 'chapter', but the idea is great.

***3.4 stars***

The Tin Box

The Tin Box - Kim Fielding
“There’s always people who think they have the right to decide who other people are supposed to be.”



Anyone out there with a heart,

READ THIS BOOK!

It might be a work of fiction, but I'm sure this IS someone's story, many someones, unfortunately.

“I think most of those stories are really sad.”
“They are. That’s why they need to be told, William. So we can learn from them.”


I'm too overwhelmed right now to say much, but I'd say this - I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's worth every tear.

***5 stars***




But don't worry, it won't leave you depressed. Sad, yes, for what could have been. But the present story will make you feel good, promise!


Jimmy

Jimmy - Luke Hartwell OMG!

This was WONDERFUL!

How could something so short move me so much?

Brilliant!

Jumbo

Jumbo - Todd Young
***5 stars**

This is my favourite by Todd Young so far! It's amazing what he does with his imagination.

I don't know why so many people shy away from this author. I realise that to some it may appear weird, but to me, it's daring, HOT and beautiful!

What young man is not obsessing over the size of his manhood? If he's lucky enough to be proud of showing it off, then he's considered a stud. But what if it's on a smaller side, smaller than average even? The guy is tend to become self-consious and be painfully aware of his problem. Especially if it is constantly on display.

This story is about two 'freaks' finding each other. They both have issues and unusual, perhaps out of norm, fantasies. But together they make a perfect match.

I thought, exploring this idea was brilliant. We all have insecurities about our bodies, and some of them might be justified, but it's important to know that there is, or will be someone considering us beautiful, loving us and appreciating us just the way we are.

I also loved how the family dynamics were interlaced with the story, providing an extra layer to the plot. And, of course, a puppy love. How cute was that! :)

So, I don't know what are you guys waiting for? It's ok to push your limits from time to time a little. It's a romance, it's really well-written and it's scorching hot!

I'd say, READ IT!



;)

Let's Hear It for the Boy

Let's Hear It for the Boy - T.A. Webb 3.5 stars

I wish it were longer.

Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect - Julie Bozza
"What had he ever done, Fletch wondered, to deserve such a difficult lover? By being so difficult yourself, was the obvious reply."


"Content - composed, comfortable."

Happy.



That's how I feel after finishing this book.

I got all the important questions answered, most of what was missing in the first book, I've found here. And the ending was AMAZING!

I'm so delighted to have met this wonderful if a bit unusual couple. If I ever had any doubts that their relationship could work, I have none left now. Albert & Ash will stay with me forever.

“Love isn’t an emotion you feel, it is something you do. At its best, the word is a verb, not a noun.”


Highly recommend!

Thank you, Sofia, for introducing me to this wonderful author and holding my hand through this series!

The New Boy

The New Boy - Maddy Linehan DNF@ 65%

I tried. I really did.

But there is a reason why I'm not a huge fan of YA genre.



Especially when the MCs are 16 years old, and use words 'like' and 'totally' way too much. It makes me cringe.

I'm not saying it's bad, it's just not for me. I need at least a more mature writing to enjoy a YA book.

I still wanted to finish it, because I liked that the story is set in a small town not far from where I live, which endeared it to me from the beginning (pathetic, I know!). But it wasn't enough, I'm afraid. :(

Superhero

Superhero - Eli Easton ***5+ stars!***

UNPUTDOWNABLE!

And that's a lot coming from me seeing how I've rated only one YA book with 5 stars this year, and it was 6 months ago!

To say I was surprised would be an understatement.

Because this was amazing! And I loved everything about it. Who needs to sleep when there's such a brilliant story! A real page turner.

It was my second book by Eli Easton, and my respect for her continues to grow. This author knows how to make her readers feel and I couldn't help myself. Again..



So my faith in YA was restored at last.

Thank you, Lena for recommending it and insisting :)

And thank you, Eli for this wonderful book!



Highly recommend!


The Apothecary's Garden

The Apothecary's Garden - Julie Bozza BR with Sofia, Ingela, Eva, Barbara, Isabel, Tara and LENA! 25th August.

The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

The Definitive Albert J. Sterne - Julie Bozza I have so many thoughts regarding this book, but I'm not sure I want to bore everyone to death with them. So I'll try to be short and to the point.

First, the book is amazing. The plot, the storytelling, and the characters are each a study in itself. Julie Bozza is a wonderful writer. Her style is classy and sophisticated. She keeps her readers on their toes.

A few words about the characters.

Albert. The loner. An intelligent perfectionist, no-nonsense man with the healthy dose of pride and vanity, who's been suppressing his feelings for so long, he considers himself being incapable of such human emotions. Had he lived a few centuries ago, I could have easily pictured him sitting in a richly decorated study in a gothic castle situated miles away from any civilisation. I think it would have suited him best.

But despite his impenetrable walls and outer indifference, there's a vulnerable side to Albert, when it comes to Special Agent Fletcher Ash.

Now Ash

I could express my disapproval of his actions and frivolous behaviour, but I won't. If there's something I'll take from this book is that there's no black and white in life. Everything could be explained, looked at from both sides and even understood and hopefully forgiven. Doesn't mean it didn't hurt like hell, but

“He had never expected to feel temptation. He wondered if Miles or Rebecca ever had.” ~ Albert


So. Albert understood, too.

Temptation is an intense and usually unexpected impulse. But any human being, single or not, is privy to it. The difference is in wether one is willing to act on it, and, by crossing that line, sacrificing something more precious on the way, making decision to satisfy one fleeting impulse, and by doing so hurt a person you care about immensely.

But there might be reasons for it, explanations. What does one do when something's missing in a relationship? How to move on after some major mistakes, betrayal? Is it possible to save such relationship and reach a compromise without losing one's identity and too much pride? Without losing hope, and friendship, and love? Not to allow bitterness and regrets make your life miserable?

The agony I've gone through reading this book was worth finding those answers. At least, for Albert and Ash. They are so different, yet each of them compliments the other perfectly. They have something really special together. And I'm sad to let them go.

The only thing I've missed here is some glorious make up sex. I was running on the painful memory of the X-intruder and everything they have done for so long! All I wanted was just little something to erase the nasty images from my mind. It would also have been nice to see Albert acknowledge the missing part of their intimate relationship and try to change his ways or at least indulge Ash on occasion. As it was, it did feel a little dry, as some other readers had pointed out already. But I have a suspicion that it was just the author's intention.

The mystery/suspense was perfect, in my opinion. Being in the serial killer's head felt as disturbing as watching a horror movie. It certainly will make me extra weary of any charming, friendly and good-looking men from now on. Lesson learned :)

All in all, highly recommend, with the word of advice to consider it more of a psychological thriller and be patient with the character building for the first half of the book. It will all be worth it in the end.

***4.5 stars***

P.S.: Looks like I haven't managed to be short, after all. Sorry :)

Perfect Day

Perfect Day - Josh Lanyon A very emotional short story about the unrequited love. Beautifully written and thought out. The characters come alive from the first page. Lanyon doesn't mess around. I like that. Usually, I need more time to develop feelings for my MCs, but found myself involved and caring from the beginning. Plus, it hit too close home. I'm sure, at some point in our lives, many of us had fallen for someone who wouldn't return the feelings. And it hurts like hell to be unloved, rejected, it makes you feel unworthy and insecure.

How did people get over this?
They obviously did. Every day someone fell in love with the wrong person and had to pack up all their fragile, misguided hopes and unwanted affection, and move on to the next picnic table.


I wish people didn't need to have a close call to be able to see that sometimes the person they're looking for

is right next to them.



***4.8 stars***

After I Win

After I Win - Freddie Milano *3.5 stars*

Lovely short story of coming out.

The Duke's Deception

The Duke's Deception - Sasha L. Miller No. Just no.

I was looking for a small distraction, and found this freebie on Smashwords. But instead of taking my mind off the heavy thoughts as I hoped, it just irritated me. Such a waste of time.

Hell & High Water (THIRDS Book 1)

Hell & High Water (THIRDS Book 1) - Charlie Cochet At some point in the past, I've overindulged in PNR genre, and just couldn't stomach it anymore. But I've never read PNR M/M before, so I've decided to give it a try. And I'm glad I did, because it was a very entertaining read.

Despite the slow beginning and too many technical details, I got hooked somewhere around 40% of it, and found the THIRDS adorable. I know they were supposed to come across as a special professional military organisation, but their childish bickering and immature behaviour made it hard for me to take them seriously. I loved their bond and affection towards each other, and often found myself laughing at their quips and witty remarks.

Dex is a real child-man. Such a sweetheart. I loved his ability to charm everybody around him and smile even when he hurt. I thought Sloane was a perfect match for him, too. They've had a good chemistry. And the sexual tension between these two was off the charts. The sparks were flying!

However, the mystery part of the book was quite predictable and not very well executed, in my opinion. I've guessed who's the bad guy and how he's done it from the beginning. So it didn't manage to keep me on my toes like a good mystery normally would. But, having said that, the romance here had more than made up for it. Just the right amount of angst and drama for me, it was very engaging, sexy and fun.

I fell in love with the THIRDS guys and I'm looking forward to the second book in the series in hope not only to see more of Dex and Sloane, but to witness some other characters getting their HEA too. Cael and Ash, for instance, please? That would be nice ;)

***3.8 stars***

When You Were Pixels

When You Were Pixels - Julio-Alexi Genao What a brilliant short story!

Beautiful and poignant, it was exactly what I needed.

*4.5 stars*

Outlander

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon BR with Sofia, Rosa and Otila

Finally

After so many years of working up the courage,

I've read the Outlander,

And 'met' Jamie and Claire..

Now, I would have liked to say everything I think and feel here, but I'm afraid, my head is a mess, and I can't form any coherent thought right now.

Because, I might have started it like this..



But that's how I've finished it..



So, here's my rambling.

It's a well-known fact by now how LOOOOOOOONG the book is. What people who haven't read it don't realise is that 70% of it is irrelevant and rather tiring. I, personally, love Scotland and so, at the beginning, found myself truly fascinated with the beauty of it by the way it's described. I thought they were important details, making it easier for a reader to find their way to that part of the world and fall in love with the Highlands. So that worked for me quite well.

Then, I got distracted by Claire's behaviour and could think of nothing else but this: why had she so easily abandoned every thought of her husband, how could she betray him so easily, and then the worst - why, when Jamie risked so much for her, had she run away from him selfishly. I couldn't stand her attitude for the most part of the book. It saddened and infuriated me.

Then we have Jamie. Our lovely, brave but oh so innocent Jamie-laddie. I adored him from the moment he's introduced in the book. And kept on loving him and feeling sorry on his behalf right up until the point, when he'd beaten Claire nearly to death as a punishment. I know, it's about different times where wives obeyed their husbands and got punished all the time. But I read it in the 21st century, and my very core protested against it. I didn't like it. And that made me even moodier.

On we read about millions of absolutely unnecessary things, descriptions of flowers, birds, healing tactics, lots and lots of silly things that in small measures would add to the story and my general knowledge nicely, but in quantities like this, just overload me to the point of explosion.

Now, don't get me wrong, the writing is brilliant! And DG definitely knows how to weave a story and keep a reader intrigued. I've noticed how she tried to find the excuses for her MC's actions up until the very end. But I wanted to draw my own conclusions. And, I found it irritating that in the end she even wrote a chapter titled Absolution, in which she tries to make us accept and forgive all their sins. I didn't like that either, and found her many convenient twists of the plot quite manipulative.

However, there was a point in a book, where I couldn't put it down. It was the highlight of the whole story, in my opinion. That happened when Jamie rescued Claire from being executed as a witch, took her away from the Castle Leoch, and on the way he FINALLY gets the truth from her. And Jamie, bless him, takes her to the stones. To her husband. He lets her go.. That was the best part by far! I thought, if it carries on like this, I'll end up loving it after all.

But no. After some peace and quiet comes horrible storm. And it tore me to pieces.

I'm not a faint-hearted reader. Usually, I can handle quite a lot of gore. But the rape scene just scrubbed me raw. Now I understand why so many Outlander fans don't want to go into Lord John Grey series. The homosexuality is portrayed here in the worst light possible, eliciting very strong feelings of hatred and disgust towards it. And, even though it might be corrected in the books that follow, a reader will still remember that scene and cringe with the image of it. I couldn't help but feel the wrongness of it somehow. Maybe it was just me, rebelling against any prejudice. But I hated it.

And, to finish me off, my lovely innocent Jamie, whom I've started to forgive at the sight of all his tortures, goes off the rail completely and beats his Claire again. After he swears to never ever do that. It broke my trust in him. And it broke my heart.


So, that's how I feel after so many days, late nights and every free minute of reading. The best word would be depressed. Because I feel tired and moody and betrayed. And even though, there were some nice things about this epic saga, I found my interest declining rapidly towards the end that made me even more frustrated. From now on, I'll be wary of such long books, that's for sure. And in this case, I'd rather wait for the TV series to come out to find out how does this story continue. Because, even though I'm a patient reader, this was too much even for me.

I'd only like to add that I can understand how so many others would love this book. It's very easy to forget that it was written 23 years ago when things were slightly different. And I'm pretty sure, had I picked this up when I was younger and more naive and when my brain wasn't soaked with hundreds of various modern books, I'd have adored it and carried the dear memory of it through my life, too. But having waited for so long, and expected something out of this world extraordinary, it didn't stand a chance in this day and age for me. However, I'm grateful for the experience and still would like to watch the series. No more tomes for me in the nearest future though.

Thank you, Sofia, Rosa and Otila, for trying very hard to push it, even when it got stuck along the way. I said it and I'm saying it again - I wouldn't blame you if you DNF it. After all - reading is for pleasure, not a torture. So have fun with your usual books, girls! And don't force yourself ;)