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Search tags: Christine-d’Abo
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review 2019-02-13 19:17
Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes
A Thousand Perfect Notes - Christine Drews

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I honestly don’t know how to feel about this one. I wound up getting a finished paperback, I saw it in the bookshop and couldn’t resist after seeing how pretty the cover was. At just under 300 pages it’s a fairly short read.

 

A contemporary YA set in Australia. – Trigger warnings for abuse both mental and physical.

 

15 year old Beck lives with his mom and younger sister Joey. Beck’s German mother was a piano prodigy in her youth but circumstances cut her glorious career short so she’s decided to live her dreams through her son instead. Beck is forced to practice complicated classical piano all his spare time before and after school. He lives in a very strict environment where everything revolves around his piano playing.

 

His mother is one of the most brutal, violent YA parents I have come across in a long time, she was absolutely vile. She ridicules Beck every opportunity, as if she’s looking for anything to criticize his playing. She uses threats and violence. Beck is allowed no friends, no freedoms, only focus on the piano; even school seems to be a second thought. The mother has spent every last cent she has on the piano Beck plays and they are not well off. Something she never fails to remind him of.

 

Poor Beck is a shrunken, pitiful mess. He’s afraid of his own shadow. The story is told from his point of view and his voice is just heart breaking. I spent most of the novel wanting to hug this poor kid and take him away from his horrible home life. He has a small relief in his delightful younger sister Joey. Joey is a loud and bright kindergartner who loves her big brother.

 

Because of the violence hanging over his piano playing Beck has no idea just how good he is, since all he’s heard is he’s never going to be good enough. He has a secret hobby of writing his own music. For a school project Beck is paired with August, a flighty girl who’s a big animal rights activist. She’s airy and full of personality, doodles on her hands, walks around with no shoes. August was nice enough, but there was something about her that I didn’t get. I couldn’t really connect with her character at all.

 

While Beck is trying to get through school with as little effort as possible, August despite her somewhat flaky personality, is a straight A student. She’s determined to get a good grade on the project. She slowly begins worming her way into Beck’s life, meeting with him before school so they can walk Joey to the kindergarten together and discuss their project. She bonds with Joey and tries to find out more about Beck. He’s clearly resisting and doesn’t want to know, but she just doesn’t seem to want to accept that.

 

As the days progress they get to know each other and little by little, Beck slowly starts opening up to August, learning to like some new music, some new foods. It’s sweet watching them come together, but…eh, there was just something not working for me where August was concerned. She gave off this sort of “I’m so speshul because I’m different” vibe I didn’t gel with as a reader. One thing I really did like about August was her parents. Her parents run an animal sanctuary, and they were awesome. I loved August’s parents.

 

Meanwhile Beck has the threat of several very important performances hanging over him, and things are not going well. When things don’t go well his nightmare of a mother goes into violent overdrive. It’s horrifying to read as things go from bad to worse for Beck. We learn a little about his mother’s background when Beck’s uncle – a very famous pianist comes to visit. But it’s no excuse for her behaviour. And the uncle is not trying to excuse it, at least.

 

It’s not an uplifting story at all, really. As mortifying as some of it is, there are some scenes that were beautifully written, capturing Beck’s terror at home, the loathing he has for the piano, the secret desires and longings. While some of it was rather boring and slow. It has its moments as well were hope shines through in a rather grim story.

 

Certainly shows a lot of promise for a debut. I rounded up and gave it three starts (it’s somewhere between a two and three for me).

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Orchard Books for the review copy.

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review 2019-01-30 15:56
Treasure quest
How not to marry an Earl - Christine Mer... How not to marry an Earl - Christine Merrill

Part of Those Scandalous Stricklands. Charity is determined to find the family's missing diamonds and in order to preserve her future from marriage to an unknown, the Earl of Comstock who should be arriving any minute now from America. She meets an intellectual stranger on the estate, claiming to be the Earl's Auditor and sparks start to fly. She's not sure what to do, but she's determined that her future should be her choice.

I liked Charity, practical and no-nonsense and a lot of fun. You could also see how the Earl was caught by his lies and unsure how to reveal the truth without alienating Charity. I was entertained by how the staff tried to defend and help Charity, you could see how she was liked by the staff.

A good solid story with entertaining characters and a house with mysteries.

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review 2019-01-29 23:08
A Death on the Way to Portsmouth (Lady Ashes Mystery Short Story) by Christine Trent
A Death on the Way to Portsmouth - Christine Trent

Date Published: May 30, 2018

Format: E-book

Source: NOOK

Date Read: January 26, 2019

Winter COYER/24 in 48 Read-a-thon

 

Blurb

Violet Harper might be fearless when it comes to caring for the dead, but she trembles at the thought of boarding trains-those behemoths of belching smoke and screeching brakes. Nevertheless, she must travel via one of these beasts from Southampton to Portsmouth. The undertaker's anxiety turns into horror when a fellow passenger is murdered as the train carriage enters a tunnel. Can Violet discover who the murderer is before the train reaches its next stop?

 

Review

This was my introduction to the Lady Ashes mystery series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave me enough background/context to understand the characters of Violet and Sam, without taking away from the present action, which is a murder on a moving train. I can't wait to read more in this series!

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review 2019-01-20 06:09
The Ice King and the Black Widow
Spider Game - Christine Feehan

The Ice King and the Black Widow

This is my revised review for the book. It's been a while since I read it, but I needed the time to coalesce my thoughts. I am pretty darn disappointed, to be honest. Yeah, I still gave it four stars, and I'll explain why later. 

I was loving the first 1/2 or so of the book, and it went downhill shortly thereafter. Trap was an ahole from the beginning but not in an intolerable way. I actually kind of liked him initially. I really enjoyed the banter on the scene at the beginning where the guys are hanging out in the bar. The GhostWalker camaraderie is one of my favorite things about there books. It was pretty fun how Trap was calculating how many peanut shells were on the floor and got the guys involved in, and then Cayenne had come up with her own estimates that were close to his. I felt like they had a pretty good meeting of the minds. 

Trap had his moments, but later in the book, he was a serious douche bag. I liked the initial love scenes, but towards the end of the book, the scene on the airplane was just freaking rotten how he treated Cayenne just because she was having a bonding moment with a member of his team and then the sex after that. I don't like any butt play, and I do feel that I was highly disappointed that Feehan chose to spring that on me as a reader. I know most readers don't care about that, but I am not into that and I try to avoid books that have it. A big part of my issues with the sex were his motivations. It was like some sort of possessive/masculine domination/punishment for making Trap feel jealous on the plan. That nearly made me throw the book against the wall. I think Cayenne deserves better. He knew how crappy her life has been. He is very protective of her, but then he seems okay with pulling jerk moves on her. He's a highly intelligent guy, but he acts like he's all testosterone and 100% caveman sometime. Apparently, sex is his main outlet besides his work, so I guess being kinky is part of his nature. The way he's treated his past lovers is questionable, and I'm not saying he gets a pass for it, but i would hope you would get a clue that you don't treat a woman you're suppose to love and adore that way. It's a big deal how he built his house for her and to make a place that she was safe. But then he gives her reasons not to trust and feel safe with him. It's sad because I really wanted to like Trap, but I think he blew it for me with his behavior.

Cayenne, on the other hand, I loved consistently. She was lethal and tough, but also tormented and emotionally vulnerable. I felt bad that she couldn't leave Trap, and although he couldn't leave her, he just needed to treat her better. I normally love the whole fated to be mated thing, but in this book, it seems like a bad thing. I really want to believe that people should be with someone because they are deeply loved in return and there is caring and trust between them.

I'm having a real issue with the escalation of erotic sex tinged with violence in the later books that Feehan is writing. I still love her writing and her books, but I'm really nervous now that she's going to go full bore with the stuff I'm just not into and have no desire to read. I had to skip some scenes in Fire Bound (not between the H/h, but when the bad guys were abusing a woman). I would have to have to start skipping H/h scenes in her books. I enjoy the plotting and the ongoing storylines too much to quit reading her, so my hope is that she doesn't keep escalating with her content. If it comes down to it, I may have to just read the non sex scenes when they get over the top.

I'm still giving this four stars, because I love the GhostWalkers storyline so much, and I really, really enjoyed the first part of the book. I can't give it more because of how much of a cad Trap was and the butt plug stuff (eww).

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review 2019-01-15 16:14
Choices can be hard
A kiss away from scandal - Christine Mer... A kiss away from scandal - Christine Merrill

Hope Strickland has to deal with the problem of the fact that there has been an earl found for the family estate and he's on his way. He has requested an audit and she's worried that some of the items her grandmother sold will be missed. Her sister's husband engages Gregory Drake to help. A self-made man he's well known for fixing the problems of the aristocracy. Hope thinks that the best way to save the family is to marry the new earl but she finds Drake a distraction.

It's interesting and fun and I enjoyed the read. The Grandmother is so funny. Every scene she's in she steals the show.

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