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review 2017-03-25 17:36
Fellside ★★★★☆
Fellside - M.R. Carey

The most fascinating thing about this book is the portrait of a secondary character, a nurse who joined the profession from a desire to help others. Starting with a struggle between duty and a legitimate anger over the crimes she believes were committed against a child, she gradually desensitizes herself to acts of negligence and violence that her self-righteousness allows her to justify, until there is little to distinguish her from the convicted felons that she tries to punish.

 

The main story was worthwhile, too, but the plot took forever to get moving. I enjoyed it overall, but this did not grab me and shake me the way that The Girl With All the Gifts did.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Finty Williams provides excellent narration.

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review 2017-03-22 18:36
Review: "Role Play" (Play, #1) by Morticia Knight
Role Play - Morticia Knight

"I love you, Phil, Sir, all of the yous."

Phil chuckled against the side of his neck then inhaled as if taking some of Terry inside of him. "I love all of the yous too."

 

Trigger warning: the title refers to a consensual rape scene between a master and his sub!

 

Well, wasn't this a nice little find. Of course, the premise was more than a little silly: three years ago, Phil abruptly left Terry because of a job. He basically dumped him without a proper explanation or good-bye. Now, Phil is back and tries to rekindle things with Terry. They agree to go out for lunch, where Phil confesses to Terry that during his absence he discovered that he's a Dom and into the BDSM lifestyle. And while Terry had never wasted much thought on BDSM at all, he immediately jumps head first into the role of Phil's sub only a few hours later. Um, sure. Ok. Whatevs.

 

 

But once I accepted that premise (or better: once I've put on my pink glasses) and decided to just roll with the story, it turned out to be actually really good.

 

 

The writing was more than just a little decent, it was actually surprisingly good and fresh. That and the author did a really nice job explaining the BDSM 101 basics.

 

The final chapter, which culminates in the title's role play scene, was really well explained and executed. While Terry's dark rape fantasy didn't bother me (probably because I saw how much effort Phil has put into it to make it satisfying for both Terry AND himself), it might still be a little too much for some readers, maybe even upsetting. So mind my trigger warning!

 

I recommend this book to people who never read a BDSM story before and want to dip their toes into this genre. You'll be rewarded with two flawed, but likable MCs, a respectful D/s relationship, and a second chance story with a lot of love. Oh, and did I mention that it was also HAWT?

 

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review 2017-03-18 13:36
Harvest Home ★★★★☆
Harvest Home - Thomas Tryon

Some books have such compelling action that I get completely sucked in, reading to find out what’s next, what’s going to happen on that next page. This is not that kind of book. Instead, it is a slow burning, wonderfully atmospheric story that sucked me into the mysterious events and curious characters, so that I kept reading because I wanted to know more, to mine the hints and subtleties to find out *why* people were doing and saying and events and stories were not matching up. I am not a fast reader, and with baseball games having started, I’m slower than ever, which is why it’s significant that I finished a 400 page hardcover in only four days. And that’s literally all I can think of to say without spoiling the whole plot.

 

This novel is not without its problems. It is certainly dated, but I wouldn’t say that it hasn’t aged well. More that it is an excellent snapshot of the cultural issues and fascinations of early 1970’s mainstream America. Although I have never studied the history of feminism, I am willing to bet that a modern feminist scholar would find a lot to dissect here.

 

One last thought. I first read this book when I was not quite a preteen, because it was all the rage at the time and my parents never noticed when I snuck their adult fiction off the shelf after they were done with it. They never would have let me read the novel equivalent of an R rated movie. So I didn’t have the maturity or the base knowledge to understand a lot of it (no internet in the 70’s and children were much more naïve then), and I’d forgotten most of the plot, so in some ways I was coming to this book unspoiled. And I’m glad of it. This book had been left on my parents’ bookshelves for 40 years, until I found it mixed into a box of my grandmother’s books, when my mother chose to give them to me as keepsakes rather than throwing them out. I was delighted to find it, and now I’m even more delighted after having reread it as an adult.

 

Previous Updates:

Pg 50: http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1540577/harvest-home-progress-50-401-pg

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review 2017-03-15 02:24
Midnight Riot (or, Rivers of London)
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch,Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Oh, boy, that was fun! And funny! This is like the UK's answer to Harry Dresden - if Harry was way more mellow and his dog was a slipper with ears. Harry's dog might be named Mouse, but he ain't tiny. :) Toby still has it where it counts though.

 

Survey says: Harry kicks ass; Peter is swell bloke.

 

The world-building was pretty well-developed throughout the story, not just for the magic stuff but for London itself for us non-Londoners who don't know how London works. I imagine it's told in a politely backhanded enough way to still be amusing to those who live there though. We're told only what we need to know when we need to know it, and aren't info-dumped for no reason, yet it still manages to set things up for later books.

 

The case was interesting and certainly unexpected.

Punch and Judy is just messed up, y'all. And to think that was considered appropriate entertainment for the whole family back in the day.

(spoiler show)

Leslie looks like she's getting set up to be the Murphy of this universe, only much more mellow and less awesome. Though she could still end up being awesome later. We'll see. 

 

I'm not sure at all why the American publisher changed the name of the book from Rivers of London - since the rivers actually are pretty important - to Midnight Riot. Sure, there's a riot and it happens at night, but it's not even the climax of the book. Com'n. Did they really think we'd need the promise of a riot to get us interested? That's horrible. This isn't like trying to get kids interested in a bunch of old guys sitting around discussing the meaning of life to a bunch of rocks (BORING!) versus wizards doing cool magical stuff with stones (AWESOME!). There was just no reason to change the title, and maybe it's just me, but it also introduces an unfortunate (most likely completely unintentional) racial implication. Peter's mixed-race. There's a riot. Must be connected, yeah? Let's make it the title! Boo! Bad job, American publisher! Bad job! 

 

The narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, did an okay job. He has a nice voice, all silky and rich and mmmmm...wait, what was he saying? ;) I did tend to get caught up in the sound of his voice and miss the actual words he was saying, having to go back and re-listen and mmmmm... :D The downside is that he really needs to learn how to breathe properly when he's narrating. Lots of deep inhales at pretty much every stopping or pausing point. Comma? Time to breathe. End of sentence? Time to breathe. I did listen to the sample for the next book, and he seems to have improved on this point, so I'll continue with the audios.

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review 2017-03-11 19:54
108 Days ★★★★☆
108 Days - Lisa Lindell

“I am appalled. The doctors don’t actually enter the room to examine the patient? They read the chart, full of lies and omissions, and look through the window. Well they can see a nice IV pole when they look in the window. I guess none of the dozens of nurses we’ve told about his face bothered to note in his chart, ‘Wife concerned about disappearing, bleeding face.’ This also explains his eyes. The doctors never bothered to look at the patient, and none of those nurses bothered to write, ‘Wife concerned about melting eyeballs.’"

 

While this book was not a pleasure to read, there was value in doing so, as a health care professional. It provides insight from the family’s point of view into how hospital care is provided, communicated, and coordinated. There is also value in this first-hand account of how dysfunctional family relationships can adversely impact the providers’ ability to communicate and coordinate care. Who should the health care providers talk to? Who can make medical decisions? Wife, mother, father, brother, sister, cousin? Girlfriend? Partner? Without a medical power of attorney, this became a vicious power struggle between family members that medical and hospital staff had to navigate.

 

Since the events of this book in 2003, the acceptance of “patient centered care” as an essential component of health care quality has grown tremendously, and many of the attitudes and barriers that the author encountered are actively addressed, but I have no doubt that patients and families still experience them. We should do better. We must do better.

 

This story also illustrates how impossible it can become to simply manage day-to-day responsibilities when a medical crisis strikes, and what a blessing small kindnesses can be. The author was moved to tears by these practical but unglamorous offers, to mow her lawn, to clean her pool, to babysit her children, a bag of groceries, a paid long-term parking pass for the visitors’ parking lot.

 

I’ll finish with these wise words from the author: “I probably don’t need to state the obvious, but at the very least, everyone needs to have a medical power of attorney. Something like this could happen to you at any time. As Americans, we think we have basic rights and authority. When my husband became incapacitated, so did our rights and so did my authority to protect him.”

 

Previous Updates:

 

23/104: http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1538423/108-days-progress-23-304-pg

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