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review 2017-02-20 05:27
The Girl from Rawblood, by Catriona Ward
The Girl from Rawblood: A Novel - Catriona Ward

Some families describe their histories as haunted due to wars, famines, and other traumas. But in Catriona Ward’s The Girl from Rawblood, the family is genuinely haunted. The Villarcas of Rawblood have all died young and horribly after getting married. Consequently, Iris, the youngest and last of the Villarcas, has grown up isolated to protect her from the family curse. Even though she follows her father’s rules (most of the time), the curse might be coming for her anyway...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.

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review 2017-02-18 20:47
upside: light femdom, downside: i want to dick punch this guy
Tangled in Sin: A Bound and Determined Novel - Lavinia Kent

A generally informal review... in theory I'll put together a cleaner one to send to netgalley and  post on my main blog.  But something for now.


Not necessarily out of any particular inclination or fetishism on my part, but I've been really getting tired of the guy ALWAYS being the dominant one.  And we get in book where we meet this strong minded, strong willed female lead... who turns out to be the subbiest of subs.  Not that you don't see that behavior in both men and women, but let's mix it up, no?


James has the whole alpha male/I know what's right for the wimmin thing going on... which is pretty much how they got into this whole situation (and why Cynthia, 'Sin', is pissed off at him).  And he just does not get it when it's spelled out to him pretty plainly.  Well, that detail may be a bit historically accurate, but considering how little actually historical details matter in this book besides scenery, it's slightly less necessary.


Sin... well both her and Jasmine had some pretty damn good moments.  Jasmine really doesn't put up with shit from her brother.  Sin is the innocent ingenue here, but she's not stupid.  I actually had trouble not freaking out at one scene where she's on her way to an assignation, and is literally trying to figure out how to make her escape b/c she's learned that James is the reason for the abduction and if he finds out she knows he'll probably not let her leave until they have to get married.  Like, her thought process just hit me in the gut.  But she's smart, she gets what she wants and she makes him see what the hell she's talking about.


Two bits I liked:


"You are missing the point entirely and this is why I would  not marry you if I felt I had any choice.  You decided what I want or what I should want and then I am expected to agree with you.  How would you feel if I did that?  If I made the decisions about what you should want?  If I took control?"




"I will give you some credit for what I can see is a great compromise on your part.  I just wish you could understand mine.  You think you have the right to decide what choices I can make by myself and which I need help with.  You cannot trust that I can decide when I need help?"


"When I am your husband it will be my right and indeed my responsibility to make those decisions."


"Do you hear yourself?  And you wonder that I am not sure if I wish to wed you.  Hell, I am not sure I wish to wed at all."


His brow furrowed, the lines between his eyes growing deep.  "I truly don't wish to argue with you, Sin."


"But you refuse to see my point."


"I am trying.  I don't understand what has you so upset.  Men make certain decisions.  It has always been this way."


"That doesn't mean it always should be."

Also, the stick up his ass creep who's been hanging around Madame Rouge's (now Blanche's)?  He ended up worse for wear after encountering him.  *applauds*

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review 2017-02-18 12:02
The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae (Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #3) - Stephanie Laurens

Angelica Cynster knew that she was going to have to get to know a man she sees across a crowded room, the necklace from the Lady says that he's for her, little does she think that he's going to kidnap her and bring her to Scotland, little does he know that she's partially good with this plan and is going to help. I kept thinking of the phrase about a man chasing a woman until she caught him.

Thankfully not a Stockholm syndrome story (not quite, she is a bit more enthusiastic because of the necklace before it all starts and she just gets caught up with it. I really enjoyed it. The couple worked for me.

But please, can we have fewer hulking brutes as heroes?


I get it, I do get it, big men are interesting to some people but honestly the huge guy and tiny woman trope is just overused at the moment.  It's like people prefer the Beast to the ordinary guy in Beauty and the Beast and all the men in their world are like that.

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review 2017-02-18 08:21
Review: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers

Quick review for a progressive read. I read this over the course of a week, and it feels like I finished a marathon (in a good way). "Redeeming Love" came as a recommended read to me and it's my first experience reading Francine Rivers. If there's something to be said about her writing, Rives really knows her characters, conflicts, and has a way of weaving the narrative to make the most of the emotional gravity contained in the story.

This is a romantic retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, set in the year of 1850 during the American Gold Rush. The story starts out showcasing the experiences of Sarah, a girl sold into sexual slavery at a very young age, ultimately being renamed "Angel" by those who exert control over her. She grows up leading a numbed life as a prostitute. While she has those she calls friends, her heart is closed, and she doesn't have a single male figure in her life that she trusts or respects given what happens to her mother and the way other people have treated her personally.

Michael (Hosea) is a farmer who falls in love with Angel as he's conducting business in the city and sees her passing by (by a guard/handler no less). While their initial encounters are tense, Hosea struggles to try to get to know Angel by buying her time with the wages he earns. He doesn't use the time for any intimacy, but rather talks to try to get to know her and break down her defenses and distrust. He ultimately rescues her by making her his wife and taking out of the abusive residence she's in. Despite his promises of love and seeing her for the person she is rather than her horrible experiences, Angel still doesn't trust him and thinks he'll end up hurting her. She flees from him many times, thinking she won't be able to escape the pain of her past and subjecting herself to what she believes she deserves. Ultimately it's a story of redemption and acknowledgement as Angel and Hosea's relationship progresses, not just between each other, but with the people they come to know - and the challenges they face in their communications and environment around them.

I really appreciated the entire cast of characters in this book - they were very well drawn and vivid. While Sarah/Angel/Amanda appears to be an insufferable character due to the way she treats many of the people in this novel, it was hard for me not to rally behind her because I understood her grief, I understood her pain and how twisted it made her perceptions and relationships. It was difficult not to get emotional for what she endures and how she lashes out at the people around her when they try to help her with the best intentions. Her vulnerabilities show in places where she's challenged and doesn't know how to reconcile them, giving her due dimension. The joy for me was watching her grow as a person through the thick of it all. I liked Hosea as well, though he also had his share of stubborn streaks and flaws through the course of the narrative. The side characters in the novel were easy to follow and identify with as well. It's a compulsively readable title that gives due investment and tribute to the narrative and matters it chooses to mirror. If there were one thing that slowed the experience down for me, it'd probably be the fact that the self-references of the narrative to the characters in the Bible probably weren't needed, because it was already clear in the retelling that Hosea's character was modeled after...Hosea. It seemed a little meta to have Hosea talk about Hosea as referenced in the Bible. (He's named after the character, for goodness sake. At first I was like "Maybe this was done just to make it clear that this was rooted from a Biblical story", but you kind of get that in the context of the narrative itself. )

It was one of the strongest Christian fiction titles I've read to date, though. It doesn't feel too overbearing (certain parts of the narrative drag their heels, but it was more towards the end than the beginning). I took the better part of a week reading this just to take in the writing and the narrative for what it was worth, and I would honestly revisit the story and more of Rivers' writing given the opportunity.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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review 2017-02-17 16:08
Kin of Cain - Matthew Harffy

Set in Anglo-saxon Britain  (630 AD),it represents a classic adventure story  ( really a story because this is actually a novella) and it has all the right ingredients:the king,the mead hall, the warriors, a famous sword,the ice-cold marshes, death and the shadow of a monster.An absolute brilliant read. 

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