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review 2017-06-13 16:22
Well this is a first...
The Ties That Bind - H. Davidson

I really gave this one a lot of consideration once I'd finished reading it and ultimately I came to the decision that for a number of reasons in spite of the fact that I did finish this book, I won't be rating or reviewing it. 

 

'The Ties That Bind' turned out not to be the book for me.  While I found that I was able to appreciate the story that the author wanted to tell there was just too much of it that didn't work for me.  So at the end of it all I have to admit that for the first time since I started writing book reviews I've decided that I'm going to take a pass on reviewing this one.

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review 2016-06-11 08:59
Darkness, forgiveness and endings (but not where and when you think)
Ties that Bind (The Complicated Love Series Book 3) - Neeny Boucher

I was provided a free copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review as part of a book-review tour. Having read the three novels I recommend that the whole series is read to get a better grasp of the story and the characters. See my other two reviews for full details.

In book three of the Complicated Love Series, we follow the story of Dina and Riley from where we left them in book two, when they had worked through some of the issues that had ended their previous marriage, but there were still many secrets and actions the characters had taken that their loved one didn’t know about, ensuring further complications. Again the story is told in alternating chapters from each of the protagonists’ point of view and there are some jumps in time where we get to learn more about the events surrounding their wedding and then the traumatic divorce, which had been referred to, but not discussed in detail. There are fewer changes in time (I wouldn’t call them flashbacks as they seem to come at points in the story where both characters are thinking about that particular event and they’re not exclusively narrated from one of the character’s perspective) than in book 2, and the narration is more straightforward, although it also swings to extremes, reflecting the emotions the characters go through. When things seem to have been solved between them, with all secrets revealed and both of them accepting the other for what and who they really are (and in the process accepting themselves too), thinks get much darker.

There are some sex scenes (I would rather call them sexy and passionate) but less explicit than in book two, and there is a hilarious scene early on in the book involving a cat. Well, there are several funny scenes involving that cat. Again there are funny and sad scenes in the novel, although I found them more finely balanced than in book two, with the ups and downs a bit less extreme.

I was particularly touched by the conversation between Dina and Riley’s Mom, a character that had been particularly difficult to understand up to that point. On the other hand there is a psychiatric diagnostic offered as an explanation in the novel that as a psychiatrist I had my doubts about, but even with that I enjoyed the ending.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters I had come to love in the previous book, and gained respect for some of the ones I didn’t like that much. Gabby, one of my favourite characters, comes into her own and she sizzles. The style of writing was again easy to read, dynamic and with great dialogue exchanges. A fitting conclusion to the series.

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review 2015-01-29 00:06
The Ties that Bind by Jayne Ann Krentz
The Ties That Bind - Jayne Ann Krentz

29/1 - What's worse, a really boring classic where the main character/narrator is waffling on about God knows what, or a dated romance featuring a TSTL heroine (my first use of that phrase/acronym, YAY!) and an asshole hero? I think the one thing that tips the balance in the dated romance's favour is that the pages are thick and the writing big, which meant that while I grimaced and shook my head through the whole session I managed to read 70 pages in half an hour last night.

After getting started I remembered that I had read another of Krentz's early books a couple of years ago, Witchcraft, which didn't impress me much. If I had remembered that when I saw the book at the library I may not have picked it up, but at the same time I might have held out hope that not all her early books were nearing the level of 'dreadful'. It's not just that it's dated - the amount of unprotected sex going on Shannon (female MC) should be pregnant and suffering from a horrible STI by the end of the book - it's also too short for any kind of character development.

Shannon's excuse for chasing after the stranger who's moved in next door was weak and stupid, but her reasoning for deciding Garth was a brooding author/poet was even worse. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or swear at the book. I don't understand why Shannon decided that Garth was the one for her. He was rude and dismissive of her and made it pretty clear that he wasn't in the least bit interested in her or her dinner party. He then made it even more clear when he insulted her other guests on numerous occasions. Why was she any more than civil when she saw him the next morning at the café?

Usually I don't mind, and even quite enjoy, alpha male characters in romances, but those alphas have redeeming features to balance their possessiveness and need to control the heroines - a good reason for feeling the need to protect/control them (a bad guy), deep, abiding love and passion for the heroine and usually a lack of horribleness. Garth has all the bad traits of an alpha with none of the good ones. He's abrasive, abrupt, rude, has no sense of proper manners, and is treating Shannon like a prostitute who he has a regular weekend appointment with. Except Shannon's not getting paid.

Let me tell you about the timeline for this 'epic' romance. She chases him down the beach and invites him for dinner that night. He is horribly rude and insulting and then propositions her at the end of the night. She practically throws him out (as would be completely understandable). They meet the next morning in the café and she decides that the fact that she feels 'drawn' to him is reason enough to forgive his previous behaviour. They see each other frequently over the next two days - walks on the beach, etc. He gets her to go out for dinner with him on the third night of their 'relationship'. They have sex that night. They have sex like rabbits over the next few days, before Garth goes back to his high pressure job at an electronics company in Silicon Valley. Before he leaves they decide that the arrangement will be that he'll stay and work in San Jose during the week, then drive back to Shannon's house in Mendocino for a weekend of sex before going back to work again. Sex on the third day (that's day, not date), a relationship that involves weekendly booty calls by the fifth day. I know this was the 80s, but this isn't meant to be a romantic fantasy for commitment-phobic men.

I'm continuing despite all the very good reasons not to because it's really fast reading. To be continued
...

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review 2014-12-15 20:35
Q & A THE HERESY WITHIN
The Heresy Within - Rob J. Hayes

The other day I bumped into a friend of mine while Christmas shopping. (Actually, our wives were shopping; we were relegated to bag duty.) So to pass some time – and get out of the way of crazed shoppers – we found a coffee shop and had a short conversation about life, including what books we’d recommended the other give a try. And during those few minutes of relative safety, The Heresy Within was discussed. A Question and Answer session that went something like this.

 

So another self published fantasy. Aren’t you tired of getting burned by those things yet.

 

Yeah, lots of them are pretty bad, but usually I can find something to like about them. But The Heresy Within was actually pretty good. Definitely, something right up any fantasy fans alley. Plus, the series has been picked up by a publisher, re-edited and revised, and has a sequel coming out next year. You should pick it up. It has witch hunters, man!

 

Witch hunters? I didn’t know this was a Warhammer novel.

 

It’s not. And, yeah, the author did say in some interviews that he was a HUGE witch hunter fan and definitely tried to emulate the “cool” factor of what Warhammer did with those guys, but this is his own interpretation of them, in a world he created from scratch. Plus, they are called Arbiters, not witch hunters.

 

So why should I read Mr. Hayes version of witch hunt . . . I mean, Arbiters when I already love the Warhammer witch hunters.

 

First, these witch hunters are more than a little different. Sure, they wear a long, leather jacket and hunt down witches with their magic, but they don’t have the hats. Nope, no cool pilgrim hats. Yeah, that does actually suck immensely. All joking aside though, they have a great back story about their origin, who they work for, how they are trained, and how they practice their magic.

 

OMFG, please don’t tell me you’ve become a fan of those books with the cool, quirky magic system. I love Sanderson, but I can’t take another one of those things.

 

Naw. You know I generally stay away from those. Here the magic system is not the star, by any means. The story is the focus, but the magic system, with its curses and blessings and enchantment of objects, really livens things up, making the Arbiters pretty awesome in a fight without being overpowered or feeling quirky.

 

So what is the story about anyway?

 

Actually, there are three interlocking stories about three very unique people who accidently bump into one another, get entangled, do something pretty exciting, then move apart again later on. And, no, “It was destined” to happen stuff or anything like that. They really just accidentally get involved.

 

Okay, I’ll bite. Who are the three people?

 

First, we have Jezzet Vel’urn, a swordswoman, whose mantra in life is that a woman has to either fight or f**k her way out of most hostile situations, and she generally finds the later option more enjoyable – though it can be distasteful at times. Then there is the Arbiter Thanquil Darkheart, who spends his time hunting down and burning heretics for the Inquisition but now has been given the even less savory task of uncovering a conspiracy within his own order. A job that he desperately doesn’t want to do but can’t get out of, because the orders came from the God Emperor of Sarth himself. Finally, there is the outlaw, murderer, and thief called the Black Thorn; a criminal who is renown for killing Arbiters. And somehow, these three come together in the Free City of Chade and find themselves working toward the same goal of uncovering The Heresy Within.

 

Lol. That was funny how you put the name of the book in your answer. I see being a reviewer hasn’t really improved your comedy routine any.

 

* Please note that the next few minutes of the conversation have been omitted due to extensive use of foul language, threats of blackmail due to things each party knows about the other, and somewhat pathetic attempts at smack talking by middle aged white men *

 

Well, it all sounds good, but I know you, there are things you didn’t like about the book. Go ahead and tell me now. I want to know everything about it before I actually buy it.

 

Well, if I had to criticize . . .

 

God, you always criticize everything. Spit it out already. What didn’t you like?

 

After the three characters get together, they have to journey somewhere, and the book absolutely crawled at that point. That might be okay if the events or character revelations or world building focused on were important later on, but here nothing that happened added much to the ongoing story, so it read like filler material. It was really more like “Oh, there has to be a journey because it is a fantasy” thing so many books include, and I can’t stand that. Filler material really annoys me.

 

So I’m assuming the writer stuck the ending? (For those who are wondering, “stuck the ending” is my friends way of asking if the ending was good.)

 

Yeah, it was a great ending. Some epic fights, betrayal, sex, and even a few surprise decisions by our three stars. Good stuff. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

 

At this point, the conversation turned to sports, how our wives were spending all our money, and the weather. Middle age dudes always mention the weather, you know. 8)

Source: bookwraiths.com/2014/12/15/the-heresy-within-the-ties-that-bind-1-by-rob-j-hayes
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review 2014-12-09 14:51
The Ties That Bind (Georgie Connolly #2)
The Ties That Bind - E.L. Lindley

Author: E.L. Lindley

Kindle Edition

Crime/Mystery/Thriller

 

After a harrowing couple of months, Georgie and James Finn prepare to take their relationship to the next level, only to find their plans scuppered by the arrival of Georgie’s estranged mother, Marilyn, who is accused of murdering her husband. Suddenly Georgie has to deal with issues that resonate back to her troubled childhood. 

 

Georgie Connolly is back. And although she may have been under the impression she and James Finn could spend quality time together after the traumas of recent weeks and their entanglement in the seedy world of a Russian gangster, a phone call from Los Angeles Defence Attorney, Leonard Spalding puts their plans on hold. Georgie’s mother, who abandoned her when she was six, has been charged with the murder of her husband. Bail has been set and Marilyn is now, much to Georgie’s discomfiture, released into her custody. Georgie hasn’t seen her mother for ten years and initially Marilyn’s self centred attitude clearly shows why mother and daughter are not close and explains Georgie’s reluctance to let go of her deep-rooted feelings of hurt and abandonment.

 

As James listened intently the attorney explained the situation and it wasn’t good. Georgie’s mother had married a man called Charles Beck, seven months ago and had actually been residing in Beverley Hills. He was left reeling by the idea that all this time Georgie had no idea that her mother was living here, in LA.  He could have quite happily strangle the woman on Georgie’s behalf.

 

James and Julie Sellars have become partners in a private investigation and security business and have decided to take on Marilyn’s case. James has serious doubts about the validity of the accusation levelled against Marilyn after speaking to Detective Sean Collins, his and Georgie’s very good friend and newly promoted Lieutenant in the Hollywood division. As James and Julie’s investigation deepens the case becomes ever more involved.

 

Callie Delaney, Georgie’s best friend, has offered to have Marilyn to stay at her house, much to her husband Eric’s chagrin. Georgie, on the other hand, is grateful and guilty in equal measure. She decides to put her time and effort into research for the job at hand. Little does she know this, along with her mother’s situation, will lead her into peril from the world of gang culture with its appalling and sordid crimes.

 

I’m really enjoying this series and the way the books are written, with serious and sometimes deadly implications as well as a light-hearted and humorous slant. Thank goodness Georgie and James’ unpredictable relationship gains ground eventually, with both ready to admit their feelings although even then, nothing goes smoothly. They’re each too good at disrupting the balance and it doesn’t help that James is struggling with life after the Marines and Georgie is focusing more on making her documentary about the public schools system. 

 

E.L. Lindley has created a great cast of likeable and realistic characters. Georgie is fortunate in her supportive network of friends and I love that she has her own personal friendly cab driver. Georgie is still as impulsive and liable to put herself in dangerous situations however, and this instance is no exception. 

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