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review 2017-08-17 06:09
The Heart of Henry Quantum
The Heart of Henry Quantum - Pepper Harding

This book was compared with A Man Called Ove and Love, Actually, a book and a film the blurb refers to as beloved. And that is a big reason I chose this book on NetGalley — because I did love both of them.

 

Unlike Ove, this story does not feature a loveable character; in fact, only one of the three main characters, featured in different parts, was one I would consider compelling. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that the story revolves around a couple who has, for the most part, given up on love, where Ove's story was one of a love lost and mourned. This is a more cynical story, with an edge to it; Ove is a curmudgeon where Henry, despite being described as socially-awkward, has managed to have an affair that inspired a woman to leave her marriage. In Henry's long day's journey into shopping for his wife's Christmas present, I was reminded of Harold Fry, (in a good way) but at the same time I wanted to scream at him to just buy the damn perfume and get back to work. I understand the point wasn't the perfume, but still, it was aggravating given that the premise involved such an easily accomplished task as opposed to a complex journey.

 

I saw in some reviews outrage that the story contains offensive, inappropriate language regarding mental health, among other things, and I agree — there were several cringe-worthy statements made by the main characters. This is not a matter of being true to a character, the statements were gratuitous and would have been better left unexpressed.

 

I would guess that the relatively small number of reviews I've seen has as much to do with that last point as it does the poor comparisons in the blurb — perhaps aligning with something like Shopgirl or Little Children, both of which sprang to my mind while reading, would have helped. Aside from the poor choice of certain lines of dialogue, the book still would have appealed to me, but my expectations would have been very different.

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review 2017-08-17 04:45
Summoner of Storms (SPECT #6)
Summoner of Storms (SPECTR Book 6) - Jordan L. Hawk

That was one hell of a ride!

 

I liken this series to working similar as a season of tv. This is a complete arc and can be read on its own, with a beginning, middle and end. There is room left though for more stories to be told, and if the second series Ms. Hawk is working on is anything like this one, I'll be eager to read it. But I don't know if I can wait months in between books, and she's only halfway through the next series. Dilemma! 

 

I'd sworn off vampire books way back in high school when I tired of Anne Rice, and I really haven't read very many at all since then where the vamps were front and center. There's the Dresden Files, and now this, and both that series and this one do some really refreshing things with their version of vamps. (I guess the Kate Daniels series does too but that whole series was bordering on corn with a hefty side of cheese. ... Cheesy popcorn? Yeah, I think that fits. Starts off promising but you just can't finish the whole bag.) Here, the "vamp" in question only has the blood drinking to liken it to common vamp lore, and even that isn't used in the usual way, so I really enjoyed how everything was changed up and made its own thing. Also, no sparkling. No sparkling is always key to a good vamp story. :D I'm not going to rush and start reading more vamp-centric stories after this, mind you. I really am done with that genre, but I'll make an exception for this series.

 

I did get rather bored with the sex scenes. Maybe reading these one at a time as they came out, they might not have seemed as numerous. But reading the bundle, one story after another, I just started finding the sex scenes tedious halfway through, and by this one I was skipping them to get back to the plot. 

 

Another thing that got repetitive was how Ms. Hawk reiterated basic information - characters' appearances, basic background info, etc - in each book, I guess so those who decided to come in halfway through wouldn't be lost. It started to drag things out that didn't need to be dragged out. Thankfully, she did keep these bits to the bare minimum, but even those bits I started skimming/skipping. And what is her obsession with tigers? No, stahp!

 

Once again, Ms. Hawk shows her flare for action as the team figures out the big conspiracy afoot and all the plot threads come together in one epic climax. This is one of those stories I would love to see on the big screen. There's even a new development with J/C/G that opens up all sorts of possibilities for the next series. And then there's Sean, who inspires various complicated feelings. He's easily the most interesting character here and has the most potential to really grow in the next installment. 

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review 2017-08-16 11:47
Review: Be True To Me
Be True to Me - Adele Griffin

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I actually had a request wish granted for this one. An enjoyable read, though very meandering and almost no plot until right before the end.

 

The novel tells the story of two different girls on an exclusive island during the summer of 1976 and the boy they both want the attention of. I don’t quite get why it had to be set in 1976, the setting didn’t really do anything for the story. The setting didn’t really make much difference, the plot could have easily worked as a modern day summer story.  

 

Jean has been living in the shadow of her prettier, popular, older sister Daphne for her whole life. Only this summer Daphne is off to Europe, so Jean can have some fun without having to be compared to Daphne. She’s really looking forward to it. Jean comes from a very well to do family who are summering on the exclusive Fire Island. She has a couple of best friends and meets a good looking boy, Gil, the nephew of one of her parents’ snooty friends. Gil’s friendly and easy going. They share a night out in New York before heading to Fire Island for the summer, but it’s enough for Jean to be head over heels for him. It’s kind of insta-lovey and she’s obsessed pretty quick.

 

Jean was nice enough, if a little dim. She’s sheltered, spoiled and very naïve. Whether it’s a rich people thing or whether the drinking laws in 1976 were less strict, I don’t know, but there were lots of parties and everyone was drinking, even the teens. (Might be a rich people world thing, I vaguely remember something along the same lines in the modern day Gossip Girl series of the parents not caring too much if their teens drank at social functions).

 

Jean has a habit of shooting her mouth off and speaking no inhibition regardless of hurting anyone when she drinks. She does this quite a bit. She can also be very selfish, but I don’t think she realises this. This shows more towards the end, when she does something that appears on the surface to just be her wanting the cute boy for herself, but if she hadn’t done it, then an outcome that was tragic might have been different.

 

Fritz was the more outgoing, can’t remember her background, but she came from a family of lesser standing, army kid I think. There were definitely some class issues when Fritz got friendly with Gil and was given a cold reception by his family simply because she wasn’t from a family as well to do as theirs. Fritz joins her best friend for the summer on Fire Island, and hits it off with Gil too. Fritz had a lot more personality than Jean did. She was friendlier and more outgoing.

 

The novel is told in alternating points of view from Jean and Fritz as they both try to get Gil’s attention. I can’t say I liked Gil much at all. While he comes across all polite and friendly, charming and good looking with a great potential future, he was clearly playing these two girls against each other. Telling one something different to the other one. He gets them both pretty obsessed with him, even though he does eventually choose one over the other, the other can’t let go. There’s very little interaction with the two girls together, there’s hints that could be a rivalry but it’s not really explored.

 

It’s very slow and meandering. And as I mentioned earlier the plot is almost non-existent. Until the end when things take a rather surprising turn. Didn’t see it coming at all. I did think it was well written, and while I can’t see the point of the 1976 setting, the actual place the girls were summering in was lovely. The setting was well described, the characters were all well fleshed out. Despite being rather slow at points, I did enjoy the novel. Don’t know if this is something I would read again, but I would definitely read something else by this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for granting my wish to read the title.

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review 2017-08-15 04:38
Destroyer of Worlds (SPECTR #5)
Destroyer of Worlds - Jordan L. Hawk

SO MUCH ACTION! Which Ms. Hawk has always been good at writing and it really shines here. Things with Spectr are not all they seem and the reveals here are nerve-wracking. There are twists and turns aplenty, so I won't say more so as not to spoil things. :D

 

As I said in my review for the first book in this series, I don't read M/M/M or polyamory of any kind. I was hesitant to start this one at first, but eventually decided to give it a go when the first one was offered free. I thought that it being M/M(/M) would make this series more along the lines of what I'm used to while still offering something new. I'm not a fan of insta-love, which this series definitely uses, but the implications of it aren't ignored and I do like that. The somewhat dubcon-y undertones of the first book, what with the involuntary possession and all, didn't help but that hasn't really been an issue for awhile now. I do wish though that John and Gray had more interactions prior to this, because while I can see why Gray would be falling for John, being influence by Caleb's feelings and thoughts, it's much less clear why John would be falling for Gray beyond having a yen for "phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space." It's at least acknowledged, so I'm hoping we'll get more of that interaction in the final installment. 

 

Can't wait to see how this ends!

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review 2017-08-14 20:33
The morning fog, every morning
A Goddess in the Stones: Travels in India - Norman Lewis

I read this for the BookLikes-opoly game.  Somewhere back in my blog posts is the history. . . .

 

Anyway, I got the Kindle edition free when Open Road Media was giving stuff away last year, and it fit whatever square it was that I landed on.  So I read it.  I knew nothing about author Norman Lewis, and not a whole lot about India, other than what I've picked up reading a few novels set there -- The Far Pavilions, Shadow of the Moon, The Zemindar, The India Fan, Blood Moon over Bengal and The Moonstone.

 

Lewis sets out in the early 1990s on an exploration of a part of India that the tourists don't see, where the indigenous tribes still live supposedly much the same way they have for centuries.  I was expecting something like Margaret Mead or Bronislaw Malinowski, and I was even prepared to set aside what I expected to be Lewis's racist, colonial point of view in order to enjoy the book.

 

The racism and colonialism are there, but there wasn't much else.  The hotels were bad, the food was bad, the phone service was bad, the roads were bad, and Lewis never got to see any animals.  No tigers, no elephants.  Every morning he and his driver set out in the fog, and there were such lyrical descriptions of the fog, as though some dramatic, evocative narrative was going to unfold.  It never did.

 

Government was intruding on the tribes, tearing down their traditional homes and replacing them with concrete houses.  That's the primary thing I came away with, other than the fog.  Tribe after tribe - I've forgotten their names, which were often similar to each other -- with little in-depth exploration and virtually no personification.

 

Was there a goddess in the stones of the temples he encountered?  Oh, I think so, but I'm not sure.  Not enough of one to be memorable.  The book just didn't live up to the title, or even the cover.

 

I finished it, because I truly wanted to learn.  All I learned was that there was nothing there.  Not even a tiger or an elephant.

 

 

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