Daily Archives: April 1, 2015

Nothing Special by Jay Northcote

Dreamspinner Presents:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5279

NothingSpecialBlurb

Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

Review
(from previous site)

Noah is a shy guy, a little low on self-esteem, but knows something good when he sees it.

Sol, named after the sun, is as hot as all that, but, surprisingly, a super-sweet guy, too.

Noah sees Sol day after day on the train and one day Noah gets brave enough to ask Sol out and, wonder of wonders, Sol agrees! The two end up on the longest first date ever and with very little fanfare, find themselves in a relationship.
This is not a book full of angst or mystery. It is just so stinking fun, touching, nice and sexy… I loved it. It was like eating a bowl of ice cream on a hot afternoon. Tasty, sweet, and leaving you feeling happy you took the time out to appreciate it.

I absolutely loved that Noah, though amazed at his good fortune, almost never lets his self-esteem issues get in between him and Sol. I loved how the families were not the problem, or society. Instead it was just two guys, genuinely caring for each other, navigating the first days of a romance and taking it all the way to their happy ever after. I LOVED the ending. LOVED IT!

Jay Northcote’s writing is crisp and well-paced. The editing is perfect and the over all effect is a very tight, happy, well-done novel.

I highly recommend it and give it 5 of 5 hearts.

5

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The Pack or the Panther: Tales of the Harker Pack Audiobook by Tara Lain Narrated by Max Lehnen

Dreampsinner Presents:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5287

PackorthePanther[The]AUDMedBlurb

Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For 24 years, he’s lived to please his family and pack – even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land.
Cole then meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself.
When Analiese runs off to marry a human, Cole finally has a chance with Paris, but the solitary cat rejects him, the pack, and everything it represents.
Cole discovers the gangster wants Paris, too, and won’t rest until he has him. What started as a land dispute turns into World War Wolf! But the bigger fight is the battle between cats and dogs.

Review
(From previous site)

This is a unique shifter book in that Cole is no typical alpha. He stutters, he’s awkward, he’s shy, and – he’s mated to a panther! Paris, his mate, is extremely cat like, shifty, sinuous, slinky and … solitary. This makes his being mated to Cole very hard, and forms the crux of their dilemma.
Tara Lain likes to give us quirky, sometimes odd MCs and then show us why we should love them. It takes some doing – Cole is really stiff and sometimes hard to read. Paris is very cocky and stand-offish, hard to wrap your mental cuddle around. In the end, however, we see their soft-underbellies and they manage to worm their way into our hearts.
I had to combine the audio and book review together because the unique nature of the book influences the audio version’s palatability. When I read this book earlier in the year, I loved it straight away. Gave it 4.5 of 5 hearts. Then I read the second in the series, and loved it even more! I was therefore excited to listen to the audio very much.
Ugh!

At first I had to stop listening and go back to the book. Was it the narrator or the story that was bothering me so much? So, I went back to read the book again.
Ahhh – I get it! The rhythm of the book, the writing style, mimics animal thought and impressions. Something that translates really well on paper, but would take a discerning eye/ear for to read aloud. Tara does a funny play on words, uses sounds and pauses that work to put you in the mind of a wolf running through the woods. Maybe no one could do it well, hard to say, but the unique wording and timing just didn’t translate well when read aloud by Max Lehnen.
Max’s voice is sort of garbled, like he has a mouth full of marbles, and the lack of clarity bugged me. Then there was his inflection. I tried to tell myself that not everyone needs to “act” a story out. A good narration can be one where the narrator disappears leaving us only the words, not his interpretation of the words. But Max didn’t do that either, at least not real well. He had just enough inflection to draw notice to himself, but not enough to do justice to what he was reading.
To appease my curiosity, I looked at some of Max’s other reviews and read similar complaints, and some high praises. Some people really liked his style – thought he was genuine and sincere, others thought he sounded hokey and patronizing. I have to agree with the latter. I won’t say he isn’t a good narrator, just that he didn’t do this book justice.
I so wanted to like this audio book! I wanted to get the next book in the series on audio, too but… I won’t. Not now.
So overall- I highly recommend the book The Pack or the Panther, I give it 4.5 of 5 hearts! As for the audio version, I’d say listen to the sample on audible.com – if you’re the type that likes that sort of “old timey” voice, then you’ll love Max’s interpretation, but it didn’t do it for me. I gave the audio version a 2.5 of 5 hearts.

Overall 3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

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