A Mika Review: Damaged Package by S.A. McAuley

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Rating:  2.75 stars out of 5

Damaged Package coverForced into early retirement from his career as a SWAT officer for the city of Detroit, James Deacon knew that when he failed it would be a fall of epic proportions. He’s been living life by the tips of his fingers for over twenty years, and his new gig organizing a group of misfit military types into a functioning team—including his reluctant ex-fiancée—won’t return him to stable ground anytime soon.

Trevor Barrow has been on the move for the last seven years—hitting the road when relationships became too real or too much work. He’s home now, working in the hazardous world of bike messengers in the Motor City, and the only one of his eight siblings who knows he’s returned is his sister Cat. It’s not as if reconnecting with them matters anyway, because it’s likely he’ll be gone again soon.

Both men are lugging some heavy baggage, but when they chance upon each other in a dive bar it’s hard to deny their flaws are more like symbiotic quirks. Trevor’s backpedaling instincts and Deacon’s dance-dance party past may just be intersecting at a time when things are about to get explosive in Detroit.

I didn’t like this book. I found myself wanting to end it multiple times throughout reading it. I gave these ratings based on the basic level of relationship between Deacon and Trevor. The entire book felt disjointed to me. It was weird, and not believable. I didn’t buy into the corporate espionage angle one bit or that a 16 yr old boy would get emancipated from his mother and for 7 years was able to travel to 93 countries. What did he do to gain money, shelter, protection, and knowledge? I can’t believe that would have unless he had a fairy godmother out here protecting him and supplying him with endless funds. Then after being gone from home from 7 years, he’s able to return and start up a bike messenger service. Really, because it’s that simple? Trevor talks about these friends he’s got, and how he’s able to live in an upscale apartment building and have his own company at 23. He never once talked about formal education, any type of training. The one relationship he held dear to his heart the author decided to make a muck out of it. I didn’t like it, I felt it was too easy to place the blame and take away the only faith and trust in someone.

Deacon character’s threw me off a lot, whereas with Trevor I understood why he was closed off. Deacon’s character seemed unauthentic throughout the entire book unless they were in some sort of physical state. The story seemed to be told out of sequence. They kept referencing the Audra Price incident as his reasoning from getting fired from his job of 20 years? What did he do that was so wrong? From my understanding of what was said in the book was whispering in Miss Price ear about what she did; it felt like a gimmick and not realistic. The crux of the story was basically Deacon working for “The Dictator”, this wsapowerful man in Detroit who owned lots real estate and businesses. Why does one need an paramilitary/ swat team to deliver correspondences all over the city? The corporate espionage plot was so unrealistic for me. I felt like the author spent way to much time on it, and it didn’t solve, answer or satisfy me with the story.

The only plus for me was Continue reading

A Sammy Review: The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5:

“Don’t look elsewhere; look to what you have. And what we have is each other. Always. I know we live our lives as individuals. I can look out into the world and see that. I’m not an idiot. But I also know that thirteen billion years ago, there was no ‘we.’ There was only an ‘I.’ Everything that exists now existed then. Everyone who exists now existed then. There is only one of us. And that, Brendan, is not New Age bullshit. That’s physics. To our detriment, we emphasize our individual spirits and journeys over our collective spirit and journey. We teach our children that life is a process of learning, but if we’ve been around since the beginning of time, what could there possibly be left to learn? We only need to remember what we already know. Our struggles are not born of ignorance, but of forgetfulness. If you want to attract love, the first step is to embrace the idea that we are all connected to each other.”

The Eskimo Slugger coverTrent Days never wanted a life in the spotlight, but with the talent he has for baseball, the spotlight found him. He’s branded the Eskimo Slugger, awed by those he meets… and he hates it.

An unfortunate injury sends him back home where he meets Brendan, a law student with a flare. A skip on the record brings them back together, and be it auras or sparks, something keeps them together. It makes no sense, but within days they form an irreplaceable bond, one that will never break, not even when time stretches and lives come and go.

The question is, how do you measure the success of your life? Is it the number of home runs you hit or how many bases you steal? Or is it the lives you touch and the people who love you?

Before I go into my review, I want to note that I read this without reading The Nothingness of Ben or The Return first. Many people highly encourage doing so, but I took the dive and decided to try it without them. Do I think my experience suffered from it? Perhaps. I think there were nuances I likely missed, and that the last part with Trent and Brendan would’ve been more emotional for me had I been through the other books and experienced it there. Still, I enjoyed the book.

When I’m reading, I save page numbers for quotes. I can usually tell how much I liked a story by the number of quotes, and I’ll just say that this one has quite a few.

At first, I was hesitant. The beginning was a bit lackluster for me, including a slip-up in which the author named one of the characters before he actually introduced himself. It took me a while to actually buy into them, but once I did, I flew through the reading.

It’s important in a romance to have the main characters stand out, but I also love a good cast of side characters, and this was chalk full. The author did a brilliant job of weaving the life into their stories and making me care. I fell in love with Bill Walsh, Quincy, and of course Stanton and Hutch.

I will say that if you haven’t been spoiled as to the a particular theme of the book reincarnation, the chapter before the last one will be a bit of a shock to you. Hints are dropped throughout the story, but I’m not entirely sure I would’ve caught it as much if I hadn’t been spoiled previously. It’s sad on its own, but hopeful when you know the underlying story.

I’m very excited to read the other two books now and then maybe come back to read this again and find the little things I missed. Overall an enjoyable read that had a lot of heart.

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond. On the note of the cover, Paul Richmond did a great job of capturing an image that I think speaks to the story. There’s significance to the number 8 and it’s vague enough to let the reader have some imagination, while still capturing one of the characters.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback    All Romance (ARe)   amazon   The Eskimo Slugger

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Published September 29th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163216227X (ISBN13: 9781632162274)
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.bradboney.com/