2.5 star review

Review: Confessions by L.M. Mountford

**A copy of this eBook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**

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When Mina returns for her stepbrother’s 21st birthday, she thinks her days of lusting after him are over. Caught up in the heat and passion of the moment, she is stunned to find them back in bed together; their feelings clearly far from resolved.

 

Well, where to start? Not much in the way of printed works causes me discomfort, but this short novella had enough taboo to skate the edges of social and personal acceptability. While the author provided a disclosure related to the consensual nature of the sexual acts contained, the events that played out seemed to hedge more along the lines of rape, than consent.

For the duration of this quick reading, I am sure my face was flushed with shock. The beginning was smooth, with a nice introduction to our main character, but quickly and unseamlessly fell into a dark pit of kink. I can get over the dalliances between the step-siblings, but the brutal scenes that unfolded soon after started to cross a line I didn’t know I possessed. I am all for an enthusiastic romanticized tryst, but the gang-attack of this 20-something model was a bit much. While I understand her initial stance was one of consent, Mina’s continual second guessing was enough to make me think that she wanted to withdraw that consent, but feared for her career.

Consent obtain through threat, is sexual assault.

This is my first experience with this author’s work so I can not comment on his writing abilities much more than I have already. For a dirty afternoon, or steamy evening read this would fit the bill. If you were hoping for complex character development and a solid plot,  you won’t find it here.

 

 

 

 

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4 star review

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer Lunar Chronicles 3 (audio)

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I just finished up Cress, third installment in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and it was perfect. The series is still being performed by the same voice actress, Rebecca Soler and she does such a fantastic job creating different personalities for each character in the story.  Consistency in audiobooks is something that I appreciate. Having done several other series, by various authors, it makes a huge difference in the quality of the storyline when the narrator is changed in the middle of the series.

I love trends! Keeping up with the fairy tale theme, Cress is Meyer’s version of Rapunzel. Some silimaries include a young women stowed away from childhood in a remote location, with hair longer than imaginable and who is resued by her prince charming. 

So far in this series it seems that with the introduction of a new kick-butt chick, an equally charming and troubled guy is added to the mix. Cinder has Kai, Scarlet has Wolf and now we meet Cress and Thorn. Okay, well Thorn was introduced in Scarlet, but he meets his girl and gets his story told in this book.

By now we have learned that Cinder is likely the long-lost Lunar Princess Selene, but that hasn’t made her quest any easier. If anything, her path is getting progressively more difficult with the addition of new facts and foes. In Scarlet, Cinder escaped from prison, made her way to the Benoit farm, discovered a portion of her past and got in touch with a minor character originally seen in Book 1 (Cinder).

At that time this character wasn’t named, but if we recall, a D-Comm was found by Cinder in Kai’s android assistant, Naincy. Cinder was able to make contact with the person at the other end of the Comm and found a young girl who specialized in computer hacking and programming. This mystery character was able to provide information that was vital to interrupting the nuptials between Kai and Levana, before that nonsense gets as far as we saw back in Scarlet. But as we now know, Cinder wasn’t completely successful in her attempt and had forgotten all about the D-Comm…until now. 

Reaching out with the Comm, Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf and Thorn reconnect with the master hacker and we learn that her name is Cress. Cress is a Lunar shell being held hostage on an orbiting satellite high above Earth. She had been in this confinement for 7 years, under the care of a thaumaturge in service to Queen Levana. The team puts together a plan to free Cress from her prison, and as is their luck, it backfires in more ways than one.

In short, Cress and Thorn get stranded in the African Sahara and find out that there may be more going on in the world than they could have ever imagined. Not to mention that Thorn is battling his own personal dilemma during his trek. Scarlet is feared to be lost forever and Wolf is suffering in her absence. Cinder is still trying to prove her innocence and secure her place with Kai, as a friend or maybe something more. Kai is stuck between doing what is best for his people and his conscience. Each character is progressing nicely and the lines are skillfully woven together to create a very coherent plot. There are several evils that the team is facing, but they all seem to center around Levana. Is her role so great that the entire story hinges on her defeat? I hope that the history of Luna is explored a bit in future installments so that I can start to get a feel for the bigger picture.


Why is there a plague that is affecting Earthens? Why does Luna hold the only cure? Why is Levana such a witch? SO many questions…so few answers.

Now that I am more than half way through the series I can tell where some areas are starting to wind down and wrap up. I can only hope that book four is as good as these three have been, but once a series gets this far along it can be hit or miss.

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4 star review

Review: Rogue with a Brogue by Suzanne Enoch

Rogue with a Brogue

This was an Orange Public Library new release find.

This past week I did some traveling out-of-town and knew I would have some down time to waste in a book. After hitting up the local library, and stocking up on both audio and printed books, I was ready to hit the road.

The title of this book basically tells it all, unless you wanted to be difficult and use literal definitions of the words.In that case, it would be a fine book about a wild pachyderm who wears the shoes of an Irish peasant. While in some circles that may sound like quite the must read, I’m just not up for elephants at the moment. So, lets just assume that whoever you are, that you are a fellow bibliophile and have read a historical romance or two (or 500, whatever). In that case the title is very obviously about a Scottish bad boy.

Suzanne Enoch is yet another new author for me to explore. What I really enjoyed about this example of her work was that it wasn’t just sex sex sex sexxxxx, with throbbing this and jiggling that’s. There was a very good storyline, with great character development and interactions. I won’t lie and say I have never read a book like this before, because I have, but what made this different was that the attraction and romance between the characters actually took the time to grow as they went against the grain in a  centuries old familial conflict.

The MacLawry and Campbell dispute has a very Romeo and Juliet feel to it. They were raised to basically hate all members of the opposite clan, and this went of for many generations. It was to the point that the current generation had no clue as to why the other family was so despicable. Under normal circumstances the two families never would have had chance to interact. The Campbell’s had moved to England for a better life, while the MacLawry’s worked for growth and improvement in Scotland.When Ranulf MacLawry, the leader of the clan, set out to create a truce with the Campbell’s (and fell in love with a Sasannach) Arran MacLawry, traveled to England to set Ranulf straight. What Arran didn’t expect was that he would fall for one too.

I honestly enjoyed this title, and hope to find more by Enoch. Her style incorporated stylized writing to emphasize the accent of the Scottish characters, and it offered an appreciated sharp contrast to the more proper Englishmen. Another aspect was the usage of Scottish terminology as the characters spoke to one another.

If you have some down time, it wouldn’t hurt to give this one a try.

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4.5 star review

Review: Silk and Steel by Kat Martin

Silk and Steel

Earlier this month I was wandering around the Minneapolis/St . Paul airport, trying to waste some time while I waited for my flight.  I found a fairly good-sized book shop and my inner bookworm overpowered my frugal sensibilities and the hunt began.  My first time through, nothing caught my attention,  but on second glance the stereotypical cover art of a historical romance reeled me in! At the time I didn’t know this was the second book in a series, and it didn’t have the feel of a serial. I also didn’t know that this was an older title. I found it on the new release wall (with a new release price), but as I collected the image and link for this post I discovered that it was from the early 2000’s.

I love love love these cookie cutter books. Even though they mostly follow the same outline (ie lady in distress either convinced or entraps an affluent man into marriage ), I enjoy the nuances that each author uses to make their story unique.

Kat Martin’s SIlk and Steel is no exception to this concept. Her character development was well done, engaging and not too cliché. There was sex, but it wasn’t just about the sex. The characters had to learn about each other, and through that emerging friendship the reader gained some insight to the lives of each individual. I would recommend this title, without hesitation. It was a quick read, with a total time of about 4 hours. The total page count is about 370 pages.

Lady Kathryn Grayson has had a bit of bad luck. Her parents have both died, and with no close relatives to act as her guardian Kathryn (and her inheritance) was overseen by her Uncle Lord Dunstan. To keep the money close, and Kathryn out-of-the-way Dunstan has her imprisoned in a home for the mentally ill. This claim of insanity was based on a peculiar hobby Kathryn enjoyed taking part in during the late hours of the night. For nearly a year she suffered at the hands of those that should have protected her; but while she waited, she planned. Once an opportunity presented itself Kathryn made am escape and fell into the world she once had once belonged to…and into the home of Lucien Montaine.

It’s a topsy-turvy romance, with just enough suspense and drama to keep it interesting. It was a solid read and a great intro to a new writer for myself. I can’t wait to see what else Martin has to offer.

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4.5 star review

Book Review: Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

The Bleeding Heart

By Christopher Fowler

Usually, I am not one to pick up a book by an unfamiliar author unless someone I trust recommends them. I took a leap of faith this week and checked out Christopher Fowler’s Bleeding Heart, after the local librarian suggested it. I could not be happier with her recommendation! Fowler has quite the bibliography under his belt with several standalone novels and a long running series centered on a specialized detective unit in London. The PCU, or Peculiar Crimes Unit, helps to protect the citizen of London from crimes, which may otherwise cause fright or distress. There is a team of investigators that handle these crimes, usually unbeknownst to the majority of Londoners.

Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart is the eleventh or twelfth installment in Fowler’s Bryant & May series. I could not find where this distinction was mentioned, but after looking at Fowler’s website, I realized it had not been updated with this title. Even though I had no previous knowledge about Detectives Bryant and May, I did not feel lost picking up this late in the sequence. At various points throughout the story, there were hints and minor remarks made to events I can only assume took place in the earlier books, but it did not affect this specific storyline. The investigative nature of this plot gave many opportunities to understand the inner workings of the detectives’ thought processes. Bryant is a little unconventional and often looks outside the box during the investigation. These alternative methods included trips to see a self-proclaimed witch and a magician, amongst other adventures. He also consults bizarre books that date back centuries to find connections to this modern crime. May, on the other hand, is more of a “by the book” detective who doesn’t give much credence to the dark arts and mythologies. He is an anchor of sorts for Bryant and helps to keep him out of trouble with the higher-ups. These old-timers are sticking together to make their way in a changing city, the only way they know how.

Fowler is very skilled in his character development, without being drawn out or excessively wordy. A great many number of conclusions can be made based solely on the features of an individual’s appearance, their home space or even working environment. These nuisances truly connect the reader with the characters. If I can get my hands on some of the earlier installments, I would love to see how the main characters have evolved from the beginning up until this current title.

All in all, if asked if I would recommend this title it would be a hands down yes. The only draw back that I experienced were the differences between American and English English. Some of the spellings, phrases and terminology threw me, but after a few chapters it wasn’t as noticeable. So, grab a cuppa and check out Bryant and May!

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1 star review

Outlander: A book report by a grown woman

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Warning: Contains spoilers and rape discussion. You’ve been warned.

When my lovely friend Erin asked me if I wanted to review Outlander by Diana Gabaladon, I screamed like a dying horse, and agreed in the most nonchalant way possible. Then I realized that I’d have to look at the book with a more critical eye than

“OMG, he took that kilt off, and they SMOOSHED”!

But, then I came to the conclusion that she wouldn’t have asked me if she expected scholarly…or coherent. I’m who you go to for belligerent, hysterical fangirling.

I was introduced to Outlander by a friend who described the book as being “inspired by an episode of Doctor Who, and there’s men in kilts…EVERYWHERE”! Enough said. I was sold. She must have been a salesman in a previous life. I found this book to be more Game of Thrones than Doctor Who.

Claire Randall is on a second honeymoon with her husband of six years, Frank. They’ve only spent two months of real time together. The rest was spent apart during war, but now it’s 1945 and it’s time to lose them drawers. They’re in Scotland, so Frank can do some research because nothing says honeymoon like research. Pace yourself, tiger. (fans self)

After visiting some Scottish Stonehenge  in the middle of the night (without good ole Frank) she trips the light fantastic, and is thrown back in time, landing on a soft cloud of loin devastating kilts.

The sex for the first half of the book was handled a la Greek tragedy. It all happened off stage left somewhere. Where, I presumed it happened without incident and everyone enjoyed themselves for how vague it was. But I will say that I understood the author’s intent. With Frank, it was to keep you from being invested in him as a love interest. Once Claire began her sexy relationship with Jamie she slowly introduced more details as their relationship grew. Very creative use of writing to withhold an emotional connection, and then to foster one later on. Applause all around. Very well done.

Now, I have a bone to pick with Ms. Gabaldon. Her overuse of the words “dirk” and “gorse” drove me insane. At one point I literally invented a drinking game where I took a drink every time I read either word. I almost couldn’t finish reading the book and had to go to bed. She stops the over usage after about page 400-ish, but until then it is almost unbearable.

I have tried to stay away from spoilers for those that haven’t read the book that are planning to read it, but I must discuss one more thing. There is a lot of discussion of rape. Almost rape to be exact. Which, is not necessarily a problem for some, but it was a problem for me. I didn’t enjoy it, and I didn’t find it see why she needed it in the book to show Claire’s vulnerability, or the vicious barbarity of the time frame. Just my two cents. Then, there is the rape of Jamie by Jonathan Randall. I can only describe it as viciously brutal, with such psychological savagery that it left my stomach upset well after I had laid the book down. I understood that it was vital to the books plot, but I still did not enjoy reading it, and this is my warning to anyone else who finds such things disturbing to put this book back on the shelf. It’s not for you.

I will repeat that this is a well written book, it is unfortunately not my cup of tea. I would not read it again, nor will I be reading the other books in the series. The author is repetitive, and uses certain themes that hit me the wrong way. While I could discuss those, I think they’ve been better stated by far better writers of reviews on this particular book. I’ll let you read those instead of repeating the same sentiments with less succinct words.

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