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review 2017-03-06 02:02
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley

As usual, I regret that I didn’t review this sooner. My memories of this book are fuzzier than I’d like, but at least I took notes while reading. I’ll do the best I can.

Beth Ackerley used to be an elderly woman’s companion until the woman died and left everything to her. Now Beth is a wealthy but lonely widow. She thinks that marrying Lyndon Mather will help relieve her loneliness, until Lord Ian Mackenzie warns her about Mather’s mistresses. Since her idea about remarrying didn’t work out, Beth decides to travel to Paris and spend her time painting instead (never mind that she has never painted before in her life).

The thing is, Ian has decided that Beth is going to be his wife - not because he has fallen instantly in love with her, but rather because he wants to have sex with her, and sex with a respectable lady like Beth requires marriage (even Beth wonders at the logic of this). He follows her to Paris, where she asks that the two of them be lovers, but nothing more. The situation is complicated by several murders. An inspector warns Beth that Ian is probably the killer and can’t be trusted, while Beth finds herself unable to believe that Ian could ever murder anyone. But Ian is definitely hiding something

I had heard lots of good things about this book when it first came out. It’s been sitting in my TBR for ages, and a recent Booklikes Romance Readalong gave me a reason to finally dig into it. It...was not what I’d hoped for.

One of the appeals of this book is its unusual hero, who the author wrote as having Asperger’s syndrome. Those exact words were never used in the text - Ian was instead called “mad” and committed to an insane asylum by his own father when he was only 10 years old. He was later released by his eldest brother. In the book’s present, Ian obsessively collects Ming bowls and considers himself incapable of love.

I’d love to read a review of this book written by someone with Asperger’s. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about this aspect of the book. On the one hand, the details of Ian’s behavior fit with what little I knew about Asperger’s. On the other hand, I wondered about the accuracy of the book’s depiction of Ian’s relationships with others.

It bugged me, a lot, that for most of the book Ian couldn’t seem to interact with Beth in any way except sexually. Sometimes they talked about their personal lives, but their conversations almost always veered towards sex, even before Beth broke off her engagement to Mather (which, by the way, struck me as hypocritical). I expect romance novels to have actual romance in them, but for the most part this book just had lusting and sex. And as much as Beth referred to Ian as her “friend,” there was also very little in the way of what I’d call “friendship building” scenes.

There were some nice moments. For example, I loved the scene in which Beth rattled off some details about Ian’s newest Ming bowl acquisitions and then told Ian that she’d picked up a book on the subject. This was the kind of thing I’d have liked to see more of. Unfortunately, I could probably count these kinds of lovely scenes on one hand. I felt like Beth and Thomas, Beth’s deceased husband, had a stronger and more appealing on-page relationship than Beth and Ian. Awkward.

Aside from my issues with Ian and Beth’s almost purely sexual relationship, I also had problems with Beth in particular. For a woman who considered herself to be at least a little worldly, she had terrible self-preservation instincts. That’s the only thing I can think of to explain her decision to ask Ian to be her lover when, only minutes before, an inspector told her that Ian might be a murderer. I couldn’t understand why Beth believed in Ian so strongly. I mean, through less rosy lenses Ian’s behavior could easily have been interpreted as that of a predator. Shortly after meeting Beth, he told her things he knew would prompt her to end her engagement to Mather. Then he relentlessly pursued her, despite only recently having met her. Oh, and he also attempted to strangle the inspector right in front of her.

Then there was the scene in which Beth agreed to marry Ian. I loathed that scene and, if I had been Beth, I’d have held what Ian and Mac did against them for a long time. They decided they knew what was best for her, and then they did their best to make sure she had little choice but to go along with them. I wish she had raged at them, or been icily angry at them. Instead she just gave in. Some of the best moments in Ian and Beth’s relationship happened after this point, but absolutely none of it was good enough to make up for that one scene. I’m not a book thrower, but I came very close to doing just that.

Anyway, the mystery subplot was interesting and kept me going, even though the resolution was messy and unsatisfying. This was a quick read that kept my attention, but unfortunately it wasn't anywhere near as good as I had expected it to be. Also, none of the very obvious sequel-bait left me with a desire to read anything else in this series. Mac and Isabella’s relationship, in particular, struck me as being more unpleasant than intriguing.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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photo 2016-07-19 22:07
Everyday Aspergers



"Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman's marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath the light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic boys, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read -- especially those who love people who are just a little different.”


(I write this as someone who loves people who are not just average -- my novel The Eagle Tree is about just such a person.)


The new book by Olympia-based Samantha Craft ( @aspergersgirls ) is EVERYDAY ASPERGERS and I highly recommend this book as a great set of vignettes about life on the spectrum #actuallyautistic http://amzn.to/2a9XzX9

Source: www.amazon.com/review/R5E0IDX5J5V03/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1610058054&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books
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review 2016-06-07 15:26
His Pretend Baby
His Pretend Baby: His Pretend Baby: 50 Loving States, Oregon - Theodora Taylor

This was cute.

I liked that the two mains were a little off center. I especially liked how being on the spectrum manifested itself in many of Go's personality quirks. I also liked how well the author used Nyla's past to inform her present personality. It wasn't over-done to the point where I felt like it was a cheap shortcut, but rather just a smart underline to explain why she is so protective of herself.

I will say I think this book felt short. It ends at 15% on my kindle e-reader. It is hard to say how long this book actually is because it is bundled with three other full length books. In page length I would estimate with was about 150? maybe. It is enough to create a grounding in the characters and get you invested in Go and Nyla but not enough to fill in some emotional blanks. For instance Marco's death in the beginning didn't seem to touch Nyla. She expressed regret but it felt just like a set up to just get her to the MOC with Go. Also in the end she does something really, really

huge cutting her former best friend's throat with a piece of glass and watching her die and bleed out  

(spoiler show)

and yet, we jump to an epilogue and there doesn't seem to be any emotional fall out from that.

But all in all I did like this. It was fun. Go and Nyla were sexy. And they worked well together and had good chemistry. I just wish the book had felt just a bit fuller.

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review 2016-06-04 17:13
The A to Z of ASDs: Aunt Aspie's Guide to Life - Rudy Simone,Stephen M. Shore

This is okay. I liked some of it, but other parts feel like they were added in for girth.


What we have here is an alphabetical listing of advice/guide for those who are "on the spectrum:" Autism, ADHD, Aspberger's Syndrome, etc. In my opinion this isn't specifically for that though. Some of this is good advice for people in general. I do want to add that I think there are a lot more people in our society that are on the spectrum than we are aware of. They just don't get help for their tendencies. I wish some of this advice were maybe backed up by stories from people living on the spectrum.


Some of this was amusing, but felt like general ranting (which I am not saying is a bad thing):


Arranging things (see OCD) I recently saw a TV show where a forensic psychologist implied that a man was a psychopathic killer by asking him if he arranged his socks by color in a drawer. Aunt Aspie was was shocked and appalled! If arranging things were aa system of mental dysfunction, imagine hoe difficult buying groceries would be... "Excuse me, can you tell me where your pasta is?" "I don't know lady,your guess is as good as mine... somewhere." Neatness and tidiness means there is one less thing to confuse us in our day.


Some of us take it to an extreme level. Those people make good overseers, organizers, engineers, teachers...


The entire time I was reading this I kept picturing Tyler Perry's Madea reading this book to me. To be honest, it was quite entertaining to imagine.


My main problem was the formatting of my ecopy. The ABC's were not bold, at times I found it almost difficult to decipher between one topic to the next. I reslly had to pay attention when a simple use of bold would have sufficed.


For each letter there is more than one topic, often times there are quite a few. Examples: Gender Issues, Sex, Relationships, Self-Pity...



There is quite a bit of good information here. I think this would be of great help to a family member wanting some understanding without feeling overwhelmed, or someone just needing something funny to lighten a recent diagnosis.


Review copy via Edelweiss.

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review 2016-02-01 02:53
The Gazillionaire and the Virgin - Lisabet Sarai
  I loved this book. I loved Theo. He has Asperger's Syndrome and does not do well in social situations nor in new situations. Rachel wants to help him with his charity organization but keeps upsetting Theo although she is able to calm him down most of the time. They are attracted to each other but it is not smooth sailing for them.

There is so much about this book I loved. I liked that Theo and Rachel have reversed roles. She is the one with the money and he is the virgin. I liked that Rachel brin
I loved this book. I loved Theo. He has Asperger's Syndrome and does not do well in social situations nor in new situations. Rachel wants to help him with his charity organization but keeps upsetting Theo although she is able to calm him down most of the time. They are attracted to each other but it is not smooth sailing for them.

There is so much about this book I loved. I liked that Theo and Rachel have reversed roles. She is the one with the money and he is the virgin. I liked that Rachel brings him out of his shell. Theo is dominant in bed and Rachel is submissive but she tops from the bottom at times. Theo needs that because he is so new at sex. Had circumstances not revealed each other's kink level to the other, this would still have been a story I wanted to read. Watching Theo learn and gain confidence in the bedroom which carried over to his public life was wonderful. When Rachel is threatened Theo is there for her. When he's hurt because of his unrealistic expectations of her, I could understand and feel for both of them. When Rachel shows Theo how badly she wants to be in his life, I cheered for her and hoped he could look past his pain. I liked that they could work together in and out of the bedroom and that they could build towards the future.

This book is one of the top five hottest books I have read. These were two of my most favorite lovers. I was wrung out when I finished it but what a delight!
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