2 star review, Miscellaneous

Review – The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

Quality of SIlence.jpg

Set in the extreme landscape of Alaska, THE QUALITY OF SILENCEfollows the story of Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby. Yasmin arrives in Alaska to be told her husband, Matt, is dead, the victim of a catastrophic accident. Yasmin, unable to accept this as truth, sets out into the frozen winter landscape, taking Ruby with her in search of answers. But as a storm closes in, Yasmin realises that a very human danger may be keeping pace with them. And with no one else on the road to help, they must keep moving, alone and terrified, through an endless Alaskan night.

In a story that explores the very limits of human resilience, The Quality of Silence is as much about a mother learning to hear her deaf daughter as it is about their journey across the vastness of Alaska, and proves, once again, that Rosamund Lupton is a storyteller of class and elegance.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I picked this up because I am always interested in a books treatment of a Deaf character. So bear in mind, much of my perspective will be from my interest in that topic. FYI, this has previously been released, but for some reason it is being rereleased.

And the Deaf 10 year old is beautifully written. We get such fascinatingly clear insight into her perception of words and language, and it feels real to me. What I wasn’t so enamored of was how the narrative jumped between Ruby and her mother’s perspectives and Yasmin’s present and past. It was a jumble that was difficult to follow and often felt stilted and disjointed.

There’s a lot going on in this book though. There’s something very meta about Ruby’s linking of current events with her perspective of language, plus there is the relationship angst between Yasmin and Matt, and on top of that there is the mystery/thriller aspects. It is busy, so while I understand that this is literary fiction rather than genre fiction and that the author is trying to do something here, it is just too many things. I wish the author had stuck with only playing with the narrative structure with Ruby, and pared things down a bit. As it is, trying to cobble together the disparate narrative structures of the two heroines, while giving us insight that may have made Yasmin and Matt’s relationship more poignant, caused the story to drag in ways that often made reading this story a chore.

However, the portrayal of Ruby was evocative and compelling. She is what kept me reading, and I think that despite my misgivings about this book, I may recommend it to the older Deaf students in my life.

“CREEPY: looks like hands turning into jellyfish; tastes like cakes that are alive; feels: too close”

“I don’t want Mum to hear something on the radio again or on Mr. Azizi’s CB and for me not to know what’s happening till later. So I’m going to use Voice Magic. That’s what it’s called, like, “Hey, presto! I can hear and speak! Ta-da!” It’s this program I have on my laptop that turns someone’s mouth-voice into typed words on my screen. That’s the magic part. And because the screen is lit up it’s my secret weapon to hear even in the dark. Though it’s not always convenient to be carrying a laptop around. And it doesn’t work if there are lots of voices, because it scrambles them all up together. But if there’s just one person, you’re OK, so I can just imagine me on a dark night with a boy wanting to whisper lovey-dovey things to me, and I make him wait while I pull my laptop out of my enormous handbag. That’s a joke! I don’t have a handbag. And I don’t have a boyfriend. I AM TEN and I think it’s really silly that people in Year Six have boyfriends or handbags.”

Ruby is simply delightful. And as irked as I was with her mother, who was so focused on forcing her to fit into the hearing world, the “real” world, so someday others would hear her, that she refused to hear her daughter herself, in many ways it was lovely to see her learn her daughter. And relearning herself. So the meandering narrative mirrors the journey of discovery; not only of the mystery, but of relationships, and of self. But frack, it drags in so many ways. If the author had tightened things up I think the suspense would have had greater impact, driving the story as a whole.

Things picked up I guess at around 65-70% in, and from there things really moved. And we get a really poignant punch from the continued use of language from both Ruby and Yasmin as a metaphor for their lives and selves. The mixture of use of sign language, text, and voice really hit me in the feels. And I thought perhaps this would be a book I was glad I had read, even aside from my love for Ruby as a characters.

Fair warning though, the ending was left almost wholly in the air. We never find out what happened to Mr. Azizi, or Coby or secondary characters. And we don’t even get any resolution for our main characters. There were no neat resolutions and I was entirely discomfited by where things were left. If you are looking for a love conquers all, heroines prevail over the bad guys, righteous winners, etc, well this isn’t your book. And it was painful, because in spite of the irritating meanderings, or maybe because of them, you really get to know the characters, and feel for and with them, so to be cut off from them so abruptly was literally, physically painful. Consequently it isn’t my book either. I don’t necessarily require a happy ending (though I infinitely prefer them), but personally I do require resolved endings. It was what made me so nuts about Gone with the Wind, a physical pain I still feel all these decades later, and why I pined until a librarian kindly directed me to Scarlet, and why I accept that as cannon…but that is perhaps a post for another day. In any event, the plot twist at the end downgraded my overall rating even further.

I honestly want to cry, but I am also remarkably angry at how it all played out. So 2 very personal stars, mostly only that high because of Ruby. But I would add, if you can handle an ambiguous ending it is well written, and if you enjoy books that play with the actual use of language itself, not just the words but the actual use of language, then this might be your book instead of mine.

The Quality of Silence

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2 star review

Review – Wild Cat by Christine Feehan

Wild Cat.jpg

Consider this spoiler warnings and trigger warnings and any other damned warning you can think of.

A simple request for Siena Arnotto: deliver a gift to her grandfather’s friend. One look at Elijah Lospostos, hard-bodied and stripped to the waist, and Siena succumbs to a feline stirring she never felt before, and to Elijah’s reckless and pleasurable demands. But when that pulse-throbbing moment ends in the murder of an unexpected intruder, Elijah accuses the shaken and confused Siena of setting him up.

Then Siena discovers the truth of her Leopard heritage, of the secrets in her grandfather’s inner circle, and the sinister plot of revenge that has put her in jeopardy. When Siena’s grandfather is assassinated, she realizes the only man she can trust is Elijah. Now as her Leopard rises from within, Siena and Elijah share not only an animal instinct for survival—but a desire so raw and wild it may be the only thing that can save them.

Yeah, don’t let that blurb fool you. Siena starts out an idiotic, oblivious, blithering fool so worried about her libido and her looks that she never took a moment to merely take a look at her life. And Feehan turned Elijah Lospostos, a character I have been waiting on for years, into a sadist, and brute, and all but a rapist. After the situation with his sister he damned well should have known better. And because of his actions she is sent back to a situation where she is brutally beaten, then her grandfather is murdered, and then she is freaking mauled and almost died. And that is just the first part of the book.

It did get better, don’t get me wrong. Siena grew a backbone, or at least half of one, pretty damned quick. She had to, all things considered, though Feehan doesn’t seem inclined to let any of her heroines grow too much anymore. And Elijah figured it out how bad he effed up, but he didn’t do what any sane and rationale person would have. Move past it he says? I don’t think so. I figure Feehan used the method she did as a short cut to make her grow up. But personally, I never moved past it and don’t see how the reader can be expected the believe Siena moved past it either. And Joshua, another character I’d liked actually laughed about what Elijah did to her. Not laughing about the situation, but more mocking Elijah for how badly he screwed up. There was no thought to how Siena felt, no righteous indignation one her behalf. Just mocking his friend like it was a prank gone awry.

Things seemed to be smoothing out, but then because these idiotic men can’t be bothered to tell Siena what the hell is going on and what the hell their plans are, she ended up in even more turmoil than is needed. It was gratuitous.  And just when you think maybe Elijah is serious about settling things out, he effing spanks her. I am not even kidding. Siena has gone through all of this and he effing spanks her because HE is an ass. No apologies, no real remorse, nothing. And weirdly enough, she isn’t hurt or upset, she finds it funny. If I didn’t have so such anger and irritation over the whole book up to this point, maybe I would too, because she wasn’t intimidated at all. But I just couldn’t.

Looking back through it, as the story progressed he was rather sweet, still overly dominant and aggressive, but sweet. It was a good difference from the way Eli treated Cat in Cat’s Lair. I would have felt completely differently about the entire thing if it weren’t for the way she started them out. But it is like Feehan just couldn’t let him be sweet with her without being completely brutal first. It is like there is some quotient she feels like she has to adhere to.

And the way she is building the world and the reason why these men have been setting things up they way they have is really interesting. There have been hints, but many things have been made clear.

And I was all ready to break up with Feehan. Except that ending was super sweet, and she set up two characters and I fell in love with Alonzo. If his book is next I am terribly likely to go back to her knowing it is just going to piss me off. Just like I fear she’s going to piss me off with Trap in Spider Game. Because she did the same thing with making Wyatt Fontentot such an awful character in Viper Game and then dangling the sequel bait new character.

I don’t like myself very much right now.

Wild Cat (Leopard People, #8)

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2 star review

Review – Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan

Dark Ghost

He wasn’t civilized or tame. He had his own code and he lived by it.

Monk. Bounty hunter. Vampire slayer. Andre Boroi has spent centuries battling the undead, holding out against the dark with honor. But now, gravely wounded by master vampire Costin Popescu, Andre will be easy to track—his spilled blood marking the killing trail for Popescu and his hungry band of underlings. Andre’s only chance is to disappear into the gray mist of the Carpathians. To wait. To hope.

She had a healing touch and a scent that was his lifeblood.

In the mountains in search of a precious crystal, geologist Teagan Joanes suddenly finds herself hunted by those she once trusted. Then she comes across the warrior—wounded, wanting and irresistible. Andre has been craving her for an eternity: his lifemate. Her warmth envelops him. Her scent pulsates. And with every beat of her heart, Teagan surrenders to a passion she can’t possibly comprehend.

Now they are bound by destiny, but is it enough to keep them safe from a stalking, relentless darkness that threatens to swallow them alive?

This is book 28 in Feehan’s PNR series. There have been ups, and downs, and general WTFery, and I am not sure I have really loved anything since Dark Slayer. But Feehan has some sort of hold on me. She was one of my gateway drugs into paranormal romance and I find myself still being dragged along.

Mostly I was just bored. The good included much less of her “precious” language, and no WTFery from the infernal triplets. Andre and Teagan were mostly alone for this book, so there was a ton of navel gazing on both their parts. And quite a bit of their early relationship kind of squicked me out. I am not sure precisely why, because isn’t wasn’t as overt as Cat’s Lair, but still, it left me feeling queasy. And then when he converted her, he was somehow completely unaware of how painful it would be? How the heck could that possibly happen among a telepathic race? He got the message that a psychic woman could be converted through 3 blood exchanges but never information about how it occurs? Completely unacceptable at this stage in the game.

Mostly though, the story left me feeling bored. Which is a shame because if I remember correctly Andre was one of the most obnoxious when it came to the newly mated females, which could have opened the door to all sorts of interesting exchanges with other characters, but none of that happened.

Feehan did open up to another group of ancient males in the monastery, so there may be room for more interest. But somehow I doubt it. If Gary’s story goes the way I expect it to go then that may finally be the story that enables me to let go.

2 stars

Dark Ghost (Dark, #28)
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2 star review

Review-Doctor-Patient Confidentiality (book 1) by Eme Strife

***ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review***

Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

By Eme Strife

Eme Strife, author of this series, reached out and asked if I would be interested in reading and writing a review for the first installment in her series “Patient Confidentiality”. After reading the prologue, I was hooked. It had just enough steamy romance/sexiness to reel me in.

I should have known it was too good to be true. After the prologue, I was tossed into the mundane ramblings of a college-aged woman who had an affinity for the f-word. A goodly portion of the first…second…maybe even third chapters was dedicated to her trek across campus to get to class. I waited and waited for things to pick up and get sexy but that never came through. The hot and heavy scenes from the prologue were no where to be seen in the book. I was so confused by this I actually downloaded the file again to ensure I had a full copy.

In short (and based on the length of this booklet that’s all I can give), if you are looking for a bait and switch, or something to pass the time in the bathroom, this may be a piece for you. It had 117 pages, and when read on my Kindle; the last 20% was dedicated to advertisements for other books written by Strife. If I had known, prior to reading, that this was essentially a small portion of a larger book, I would have skipped the review. I am not a fan of serial booklets, which could have been presented as a single standard length book.

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2 star review

Review – When an Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais

When an Alpha Purrs

I received a copy of When an Alpha Purrs in a contest from Book Loving Pixies. And I absolutely agree with Tracy, I read Eve Langlais for the humor, and was waiting to get this book until it fit my budget. So, I was completely thrilled to win a copy. Thanks Pixies!

A lion’s pride isn’t defined only by those he commands but also resides with his hair, so when a human dares to butcher Arik’s mane, he gets his revenge—and claims her as his mate.

A billionaire CEO and leader of the largest East Coast pride, Arik is a ladies man and a lion. Used to commanding others, and obedience, he can’t believe it when a hairdresser with tempting curves chops off a hunk of his precious mane.

But her biggest mistake is in running from him.

Run as fast as you can, little mouse, because this cat loves to chase—and pounce.

Oh, and he also likes to nibble on tender bits. What he doesn’t expect is to fall for a human woman, a woman who can make the impossible happen because everyone knows lions can’t purr…until now.

Now onto the review:

Continue reading

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2 star review

Review: The Guardians (books 1-5) by Lola St. Vil

1.The Girl 

2.The Fallout

3.The Turn  

 

4.The Triplex   

5.The Quo

Lola St. Vil seems to have perfected the art of the cliffhanger. The first book of this series was a free download offered on Amazon, which I downloaded on a whim. After reading the first in this series, I was hooked and had find out what happened to these characters. I went ahead and read the next four installments. My addiction did not stem from an enthrallment with the life altering literary skills portrayed {insert heavy sarcasm} by St.Vil, but more so out of frustration that there was no resolution in the first book. After reading the second and third books, and starting the fourth, I hoped that the conclusion was finally near! I was once again let down. For every minor revelation, a catastrophic conflict arises.

I can’t say that I would strongly recommend this series, unless you were looking for a simple and quick read to fill some time. There are numerous spelling and grammatical errors that can be irritating at times. These books were written as a YA series, and if I had known this prior to reading, I probably would have passed it by. The excessive use of slang by Jay was distracting and took away from the story, while adding little to the character development. Emerson’s constant emotional meltdowns and temper tantrums painted her as a weak hero, who could not be taken seriously. While her background story was a little dark, her closeted upbringing resulted in an immature high school student who seemed to expect to receive everything she wants, including someone else’s “husband”. Ameana was a b*tch from the very beginning. Playboy Marcus is a confused teen who wants his “wife” and girlfriend too.

In the end, I can say that I have no interests in pursing the remaining three or four books in the series. Between the ever-changing storyline focus, spelling errors and poor character development I can easily say good riddance to you Guardians.

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2 star review

Review – Viper Game

Viper Game
by Christine Feehan

Viper Game


WTF did I just read? No really, WTF? The first chapter or so, I kind of heaved a sigh of relief, I could maybe put this series down. This is almost a spin-off of the spin-off of the series. She’s introducing new characters all the time without finishing the ones we already have. And the evolution of the powers and manipulations have become more and more off the wall. I don’t think I have really LOVED this series since Deadly Game and Conspiracy Game (books 4&5 which I went back and re-read those two this weekend and I still love them).We’re on book 11 now, and all I can say is WTF you guys.

We have viper assassin toddlers, y’all. I’m not even playing with you, so let me say it again y’all – VIPER ASSASSIN TODDLERS. I could probably just stop right there, but that isn’t the end of the WTF-ery. We also have a heroine who is addicted to sex, but the hero can temporarily “cure” her if she gives him blow jobs. Yep, so that happened, and it gave Feehan a reason to amp up the whole why are they even having sex during this TSTL moment? We also have a man who can walk THROUGH walls, and mutant zombie cyborgs. Yep, that happened too. Furthermore, there was virtually no cohesion with the rest of the series or past characters, just a whole bunch of sequel bait potential heroes. And Whitney’s reach has just grown unbelievably vast and his scope so psychotic that I am just waiting to find out that he is being controlled by Xavier, Xaviero, and/or Xavyion, and that the animals he spliced into the Gostwalker genes are actually from the leopards or werewolves, and that Zenith is based off vampire blood. It is THAT crazy.

Unfortunately, for me, I literally could not put this down, and the sequel bait totally worked, because I really must read the next book to see what she pulls out of her hat next. So yeah, I am still in, but I am not exactly happy about it, nor is it for any really good reason.

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