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review 2018-07-02 14:29
Fifty Shades New Zealand Style
Fierce (Not Quite a Billionaire) - Rosalind James

This ended up being a big old nope at 20 percent. I usually love Rosalind James's books. I recommend her Escape to New Zealand series to anyone that asks about a really good romance with some hot scenes.


Premise is that this book follows a New Zealand Mr. Grey (Hemi) coming along and deciding that he is going to (swear word) a woman (Hope) that he meets when he goes to see a photo shoot set up.



James can usually turn a phrase and make me see her characters, but I had a hard time even picturing this whole thing. She tried to turn her New Zealand characters into Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and it did not work at all. 


The little we find out about Hope is that she is struggling to make things work for her and her teenage sister. They are sharing a tiny place in New York (I think it's a studio) and she's working for an insane photographer. When she meets Hemi she feels intrigued by him and he weirdly decides he is going to have to have her. Cause that's what doms do I guess (I have no idea). Hemi arranges things so that Hope gets a job at his company and from there he is going to make sure that she eventually gives into him (barf). 


Hemi is crude and sorry not sexy at all to me. I was done after he propositions Hope in his office and she rightfully slaps him. Of course James has Hope thinking to herself that she could not helped being turned on by the whole thing and I just quit this book at this point. I just got frustrated because a scene before this Hemi tries to force Hope into going out to dinner with him and she says no to that. He even tries to force her to go overseas on an assignment even after she explains why she can't (her sister being left alone is a huge problem). So he's not exactly blowing my socks off with empathy. 


I would recommend passing on this one. 

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text 2018-06-22 14:34
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Fierce (Not Quite a Billionaire) - Rosalind James

This is awful. Going to be a DNF. This is a terrible book that reads just like 50 Shades of Grey though the billionaire in it is not white, he's Maori. It's gross he is sexually harassing someone that works for him and is trying to force her to go out with him and after she says no to that, demands to see her the next day. Next day pops up and he tells her he wants to "swear" her and she slaps him, but also can't help being turned on. Nope. 

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review 2018-06-09 06:53
Fun non-Western fantasy . . . but with too many spiders TT_TT
Akata Warrior - Nnedi Okorafor

Entertaining fantasy adventure read, but WAY too many spiders for me, lol. The initial jolt of awe for the world building from the first book has worn off a bit, but it's enjoyable and seamless to settle back into. I recommended Akata Witch as a potential MG crossover, but the characters and their relationships have aged up in this sequel, so parental guidance is recommended. Nothing too explicit or anything, it's just that the discussion of adult relationships might not appeal to younger kids. Excited for book three!

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review 2018-05-25 23:13
Fantastic Historical Romance
My Fierce Highlander - Vonda Sinclair

My Fierce Highlander by Vonda Sinclair is an amazing historical romance.  Ms. Sinclair has delivered a well-written book.  The characters are absolutely phenomenal.  Gwyneth was sent to the Highlands after she found herself unwed and pregnant.  She rescues Alasdair when he is injured while battling her cousin's clan.  Gwyneth and Alasdair's story is loaded with drama, humor, action, suspense and sizzle.  I enjoyed this book from cover to cover and look forward to reading more from Vonda Sinclair in the future.  My Fierce Highlander is book  1 of the Highland Adventure Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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review 2018-05-23 18:35
Fierce (Raisman)
Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything - Aly Raisman

I truly believe that if this autobiographical piece by now 23-year-old gymnast Aly Raisman had been lived, written and published a generation earlier, it would have had the same cookie-cutter content as every other seize-the-Olympic-moment biographical publication: I had a supportive family, I had goals from early on, here is who coached me, I competed at this and placed second, I competed at this and placed first, I competed at this, placed sixth and was devastated, I got injured, I worked towards my comeback, here are my (blandly edited) feelings about my principal competition, etc. etc.

Frankly, this is still the majority of the book's contents, and what else could you expect in the biography of someone still so young, and who still has so much future income that could be drastically affected by misplaced public statements revealing too-deep or too-bitter feelings about some matter or another.  Actual personality, warts and all, is the privilege of the private and the elderly.

But this is the age of #metoo and of holding to account, and Raisman, at the tender age of 15, was by her own account initiated into the far too numerous club of the victims of sexual predator Larry Nassar.  Like too many others, probably, I admit that I read this not because I am a fan of her career (I am only a lukewarm follower of gymnastics, unlike figure skating), but because I genuinely wanted to see what she would choose to write about that. And, let's be clear, I would have been much happier if she hadn't had anything to write about in the first place.

I think she has exercised good judgment (and/or been well advised) in what she has written and left out.  She describes, but only briefly, and not repetitively, Nassar's grooming tactics and how he took advantage of the highly demanding (some might say abusive) competitive atmosphere of Marta Karolyi's isolated training camps - or similarly isolated-in-plain-sight situations when far abroad at competitions - to gain the girls' trust with gifts and sympathy. She draws her line in the sand at the details of what he did behind closed doors, to her and others. Those would, in any case, come out in the press at the time of his public trials, where she would speak out at more length, and I honour her courage and that of all her peers in doing so at that time when it would make the most difference. But clearly she is well aware that in this ghastly world, there are too many who would read such details with avid and prurient attention.  Instead, the most extended treatment of the Nasser subject comes in two specific chapters, one in which she describes how an investigator hired by the Gymnastics Association came to speak with her, and she was unable to provide details or confirmation because she still had so much self-doubt and so much faith in the authorities that she could not yet fully conceive that she had been abused and not been protected. (Her account of her subsequent call to the US Gymnastics Federation, where she was more or less told to shut up, is even more dismaying, and is no doubt part of the grounds of the lawsuit I'm given to understand she has filed against them).  The subject of the emotional effects of abuse, where she tries her best to give support and courage to readers who are being victimized (and passes on some practical information about support organizations), forms her final chapter.

If you are a fan of gymnastics, there are some solid details and some amusing stories about the competitions here (as well as some nice colour pictures). Her descriptions of her various high-level routines (which, like many Olympians, she remembers right down to each wobble) are clear and fun to read alongside the video we are now so privileged to have at our fingertips.  If you are an outsider to that obsessed athletic culture, as I am, you cannot help raising eyebrows at the still-admiring tone in which Raisman describes the culture of discipline in which extreme fatigue and injury are largely dismissed and the battles over weight and proper nutrition are constant.  If you are a decent human being, you will be left with a feeling of terrible dismay that somehow nearly all of these happy, chummy, resilient, talented young women were also dealing with periodic sexual assault from an adult whom all of the authority figures in their lives had told them they could and should trust.

It makes one look back at all those bland, "I competed here and placed second; I held true to my goals and won the Olympics"-style sports biographies from earlier generations with a wary and jaundiced eye.  Is there a flood of revelatory volume 2s forthcoming? For the athletes' sake, I hope there is no need.

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