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review 2017-02-20 17:26
Review: "A Fallen Heart" (Zero Hour, #2) by Cate Ashwood
A Fallen Heart - Cate Ashwood

"Ford took a deep breath and released it in a sigh. “I have never had a successful relationship. I keep picking these guys who are bad for me, or maybe they’re not bad for me, but somehow I turn them into guys who are bad for me.”

“You’ve had one bad ex. I get that he was an asshole, although you’ve never told me exactly what happened there either, but one bad relationship does not mean every relationship you have is doomed to be bad.”

 

This dialogue pretty much sums up my feelings towards Ford. Good Lord, if whining burned calories, he could hide behind every supermodel.

 

Nash was a sweetheart though, and he pretty much saved the story for me. Hell, he WAS the story for me. He was sweet, patient and passionate; perfect boyfriend material. And he put up with Ford and all of his stupid mixed signals when I would have kicked him to the curb a long time ago.

 

 

The "Cate 'I'm ALWAYS making all of my couples break up in the last third of my books' Ashwood" trademark felt even more forced and contrived here than usual. But since I was expecting it, it didn't bother me as much when it actually happened.

 

The criminal case follows the serial killer plot from the first book and it turned out much darker than I expected it to be. Some parts of it were truly heartbreaking. But the mystery lover in me outright HATED the conclusion to the case (if that's what it really was?). It seemed like Ashwood drew a random name out of a hat and just went with it. There were no clues, no hints and honest-to-Goddess, I had to go back and look up who this person, who appeared for half a page max, actually was.

 

 

But all in all, the writing was solid, the characters and their behavior and reactions were believable (but so very frustrating at times) and the criminal case was suspenseful (though quite unsatisfying in the end).

 

Oh, and the epilogue SUCKED!

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review 2017-02-15 19:26
Review: "A Forced Silence" (Zero Hour, #1) by Cate Ashwood
A Forced Silence - Cate Ashwood

"Adam watched him go, feeling the happiness radiating from him. It was in that moment, pants around his ankles, in a kitchen that looked like an IHOP exploded in it, he realized he was completely, totally, utterly in love. He waited, anticipating the fallout that accompanied such a heavy realization, but it never came. The panic never set in. The terror never took hold. He felt... good. Better than good."

 

I'm a little puzzled, because I shouldn't have enjoyed this book as much as I did. There were too many things that would normally annoy the ever-living fuck out of me:

 

  • a frenemies-to-lovers trope that doesn't really deserve that name, because it was never fully explained why Sam and Adam hated each other so much (other than Adam giving Sam the teasing nickname "Dex" (You monster! How dare you!) back in high school)

 

  • a relationship that was all about their physical attraction towards each other and only took place in the bedroom, with not one meaningful conversation between the MCs

 

  • a "mystery" (and I'm using that term loosely) that takes a backseat for 95% of the story, ends on a cliffhanger and therefore doesn't even deserve a mystery tag

 

  • the always annoying "deeply closeted guy who is afraid to come out because of his job" shtick

 

  • and of course Cate Ashwood's trademark "I'm breaking up with you for your own good" during the last third of the book

 

So I have no idea why I wasn't as annoyed as I should have been; the book kept me fairly entertained. Maybe because Sam and Adam's connection was so passionate and strong. Maybe because Sam never put Adam under pressure to come out. Maybe because the sex scenes were so well-written. I dunno.

 

So I'm giving this book 4 weak stars, but 4 stars nonetheless.

 

Thanks to Julie & Elsbeth for the BR!

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review 2017-02-15 15:03
Voyageurs
Voyageurs - Keira Andrews

I loved this.  

 

While short, Keira packs the emotional punch with this historical voyage through the Canadian wilderness.  

 

 

 

Set in 1793, this story follows the thousand mile journey of two men who over the course of their journey develop a relationship unlike either have ever experienced.  

 

He didn’t know how to feel. Exhilarated. Embarrassed. Apprehensive. Excited. Confused.

Fulfilled.

 

***

 

“You’re like me, aren’t you?”

Simon was puzzled. “Like you?”

“You wouldn’t want a woman even if there was one here.”

“No. I wouldn’t.” Simon was thrilled. Could Christian feel the same way he did? Did he sense the bond between them growing ever stronger?

“The others I’ve met, they…they weren’t like us. For them it was just to fill a void. A need. Nothing more. They’d choose a woman if they could.”

Simon pressed their lips together, wishing he could see Christian’s eyes in the gloom. “I’ve never wanted a woman. And I want every part of you.”

 

Discovery.

 

And yet, this one ended too soon, as all shorts do.  I could have continued with this for many many more pages.

 

*Highly Recommended*

 

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review 2017-02-14 16:29
Book Review- The Dry
The Dry - Jane Harper

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This is a mystery novel set in Australia about a Federal Agent called Falk who returns to his hometown to attend his best friend's funeral.
This is a great novel, it is well written and constructed. Harper cleverly and skilfully creates an atmospheric, brooding and tense tone to the novel, which she manages to keep up the whole way through the novel, in fact the novel gets more close and claustrophobic as the story progresses.
There are numerous strands running through this novel; a life changing event that occurred in Falk's childhood, and the "suicide" of his best friend in the present day. Falk tries to figure out the answer to both these puzzles through the novel, we as the reader puzzle over it with him.
The novel features a selection of great characters. Falk is our main character, and the character whose internal thoughts we follow through the novel, however there are a whole host of supporting characters that are very well crafted.
I enjoyed reading a novel set in Australia, it's a setting I don't read about enough, but I was extremely impressed with how well written the small town that the novel is set in was. The closely knit town is one where everyone knows everyone and there are no secrets. This oppressive and intrusive atmosphere was so tangible through the novel, it was a really intense feeling, which I thought Harper created brilliantly.
This novel uses flashbacks to show us the life changing event from Falk's childhood, and it becomes another puzzle that we have to figure out. The flashbacks really create the sense of mystery though, we are drip fed the answer to the mystery, and I thought Harper did a great job of creating the suspense, and juggling the two narratives in two different times.
I have seen some reviews of this novel which have been a little disappointed with the lack of romance in this novel, but I thought it was refreshing to not have very much romance. I think a romantic subplot would have distracted massively from the mystery and the intensity of the novel and actually there aren't any characters in my mind that would make a good romantic partnership anyway!
My only slight criticism of the novel was that the plot was a little slow moving. For a mystery novel I would have preferred a little more pace but the plot was interesting even if it wasn't the fastest moving!
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, it had an interesting setting, a very suspensive and intense tone, and some great twists towards the end!!

Source: acascadeofbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/book-review-dry.html
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review 2017-02-14 04:47
Voyager
Voyager - Davina Porter,Diana Gabaldon

Oh, Voyager. You get so many things right, but that one little thing...

 

I've said numerous times over this "reread" while I've listened to the audiobooks for the first time that one of the things Gabaldon does best is write fully realized characters, even third-tier characters, and she certainly continues to do that here. Her attention to detail, her descriptions, the way she lets the characters pop out of the page give them all life. It's really amazing.

 

And then there's Mr. Willoughby, or make that Yi Tien Cho, a Chinese refugee stowaway who landed in Scotland and was taken in by Jamie. First, I need to acknowledge that none of these characters are perfect. Even Claire, who comes from the more contemporary 1940s-1960s, has her prejudices and she doesn't even come close to how close-minded and insular everyone else is once we get back to the 1700s. So Cho's pure hatred of the white men isn't what bothers me. No, it's that he's a walking stereotype of all the worst things you can imagine about the Chinese. Even when I was reading this for the first time in my relatively clueless late-teens, Cho made me uncomfortable. Now, I was gritting my teeth nearly every time he was on the page. It was grating. There was not one redeeming trait to him, and to make it worse, he's the only Chinese character in either of these series - in fact, the only Asian character, which makes his representation even more troubling. So I'm glad he's only in this book and none of the others. And all because Gabaldon needed a way for Jamie, with his severe seasickness, to survive the crossing of the Atlantic. Because all Chinese know acupuncture, don't you know. *sigh*

 

But onto the good things, mostly John Grey. <3 I decided to experiment with this listen and do something I've been planning to do for years, and that's read Voyager and the Lord John Grey books in chronological order. While I don't think I'll ever do that again, it was still a fun way to experience the stories and get in John's adventures alongside Claire's and Jamie's. I just love John and I hope Gabaldon plans to write more of his adventures, especially since I'm not planning to read any more Outlander books. Voyager will even be the last one that I reread since I didn't really enjoy the others that came after this.

Though I may just have to reread William falling into the privy in the next book some day. That scene is golden. Willie is just a prat and totally deserving of that fate. :D

(spoiler show)

The cast for those have just gotten too huge, the focus has moved away too much from Claire and Jamie, and they just refuse to end. Plus, all the rape. What is Gabaldon's obsession with rape? And while there's no on-page in this book for a change, we still have to hear about

poor Young Ian's recount of his rape by Gellie Duncan.

(spoiler show)

 

Other good things: the reunion between Claire and Jamie was great, and getting to see the Murrays again, even if just briefly, was fun. Fergus is all grown up and not yet a lazy drunk. Spending so much time on the Atlantic crossing could've been dull as hell, but Gabaldon keeps the tension up wonderfully with several adventures - though I do have to say this is the point where all these characters randomly running into each other gets a bit eye roll inducing. It's one thing when they're all confined to Great Britain because that's a tiny little island (sorry, my British friends, but it is), but when they're shipwrecking onto random islands and whatnot, I think it's okay to have them run into people they don't know in any capacity. 

 

And I do have to say, I prefer my Loa to come in the form of a hamburger-shaped drive-thru speaker than I do a creepy possessed mentally unstable white woman. Because problematic ableist tropes aside, who doesn't want their drive-thru speaker to also give them cryptic messages about the future?

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