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Search tags: I-have-no-excuse
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review 2016-10-15 08:57
Fifteen-year-old me would've loved this.
Marrying Mister Perfect (Reality Romance Book 1) - Lizzie Shane

Thirty-something me has no patience for gutless heroines pining after oblivious idiots.


I still love tropes pining and angst, but first give me a character I can stand to watch pine. Give me someone who isn't afraid of living and going after something she wants and give me a real reason why she should pine in silence instead. Don't give me "for four years she was his doormat and loved every second of it because of his kids." 


The rating wavered between one and two stars, but I've read worse. Much worse. 

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review 2016-08-07 20:33
I read it so you don't have to
Night Watch - Josh Lanyon

I knew what I was getting myself into when I clicked that buy button and yet I did it anyway.


If you haven't noticed, I've had issues with Lanyon's work ever since I stumbled on an old book that had the characters spouting that reverse racism is a thing. Or something like it. Thing is, Lanyon spins a good yarn, if you ignore the whitey lenses of privilege, and I keep hoping maybe I'm wrong. I'm not. 


Yeah, this is a sweet four star novella of two adult men spending a non-explicit night together and possibly finding a new start while waiting for a escaped prisoner to get caught or come after them.


But Lanyon can't leave well enough alone and (s)he has to make a dig about police violence and young unarmed dead persons. Race isn't mentioned, but considering this novella is published in 2016, you have to be willfully blind and/or privileged not to see what (s)he's getting at. Sure, twelve thousand words in a romantic novella isn't going to solve police brutality and racism in America, but Lanyon didn't have to be as dismissive as this:


"'Are you serious? Do you really think the majority of cops approve of shooting unarmed civilians? Of shooting kids? Do you really think guys like me want to see a departmental cover-up?'


In the face of his quiet scorn, I felt a little ashamed. 'No. Of course not.'


'There are some bad actors. We all know it. And there are some guys and gals who would be better cops if they had better training. We all know that too. But most of the men and women I work with are out there cleaning up the human garbage the best they can with the tools they've been given—and putting their live on the line every single day to keep people like you safe to write the truth however you see fit.'"


And then the narrator muses how he was wrong but not completely, and how much he likes his police protector for being able to argue the subject dispassionately. And they agree it's a sore subject for the both of them.


Sore subject indeed.

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review 2016-05-11 21:39
Sympathy for the Devil.
To Whisper Her Name - Tamera Alexander

Post-American Civil War "inspirational" romance novel set on a Plantation in 'Dixie' isn't a thing I'd normally read. But see, I have this friend who recommended Tavia Gilbert as an audiobook narrator and I wanted to read a stand-alone book before committing to an "impossible to keep up with the reading order" series.


You can thank Tavia Gilbert for the second star, because without her voice and narration I wouldn't have finished this book.


Olivia is a destitute widow of a traitor and Ridley is a traitor soldier for the North looking for a new start. He's determined to learn horse-mastery from a black man he met during the war and she's relying on nepotism for her new start. Of course nothing goes as planned, but I did like the parallels of Ridley learning to handle a skittish mare and gaining the animal's trust just as he had to earn Olivia's trust.


The thing is, the setting is inherently racist, but the story didn't have to be. Alexander could've shown just how ugly and difficult it was for everyone to adjust to the end of slavery, but instead she tiptoes around the issue. Sure there are overtly racist characters who are frowned upon but mostly tolerated and there's actual violence, but that too is sanitised.


The black characters, freed slaves, have returned willingly to work on the Belle Meade Plantation. Apparently all of them since no one is mentioned missing or departed. Suspending my disbelief on that and accepting that the loyal servants stayed for whatever unmentioned reasons, they seemingly have no life outside serving their white betters and worshipping in their church. All the delightful characters I wanted to know more about existed only to share their wisdom with the white protagonists on their way to enlightenment and God. And yet, somehow, Alexander finds a way to add depth and complexity to her secondary white characters...


Then there was the owner of Belle Meade Plantation, General Harding. A Confederate soldier who refused to cut his beard until the South won the war. Spoiler: His beard remains uncut at the end of the book. He continually idealises the South, but is never forced to admit that he wants to reinstitute slavery. He agrees to pay his black workers the same wage as their white counterparts when someone suggests it him but at the same time voices his opinion that the black race is only fit for manual labour. He respects Robert Green, his head hostler, a black man and former slave, but doesn't even think about promoting him to the position of a foreman.


And for all this he is venerated. Harding is respected by the main protagonists who both come to see black people as people instead of cattle to be auctioned. General Harding is so respected by the romantic hero of this book that Ridley Cooper cannot leave Harding's employ without revealing his secret about fighting for the North and against the South and in doing so Ridley risks losing the extra pay he earned for himself. No, Ridley chooses to let General Harding decide whether or not Ridley should keep the money.


The underlying theme in this book is getting the Belle Meade Plantation, and by extension the South, back on its financial legs. It's just a little difficult to see under all that inspirational frosting.



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review 2016-04-01 12:49
That ship has sailed
The Awakened Mage - Karen Miller

This was an audiobook, so I don't have any notes or detailed quotes on all the things that annoyed and irritated me. Suffice to say that the reliance on well worn misogynistic tropes and writing has got old. If we add to that the disappointing and forced hetero-normative non-romance and a boring all-powerful villain, there just isn't enough left for a second star.


I do know that Miller has written more books since, but I'm going to go with no. This author isn't for me.

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text 2016-03-01 14:55
Deadly Peril: A Georgian Historical Mystery (Alec Halsey Mystery Book 3) - Lucinda Brant

It's when you can't stop listening because the voice in your ears is ah-mah-zing and talented, but if you slow to think about what that heavenly voice is whispering you lose your wits.




The writing isn't worth stepping on in a farm yard, but the narrator is brilliant and I can't understand why he hasn't read more books and books I actually want to read.


Might rant about this later.


Short version:


LGBTQ representation nightmare to the power of three.

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