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review 2018-03-31 00:50
Advanced Reader Review: The Punishment She Deserves
The Punishment She Deserves - Elizabeth George

Summary: Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England

The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens--Ian Druitt, the local deacon--is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered?

When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian's death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can't shake the feeling that she's missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow--mainly elderly retirees and college students--and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.

A masterful work of suspense, The Punishment She Deserves sets Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Inspector Thomas Lynley against one of their most intricate cases. Fans of the longtime series will love the many characters from Elizabeth George's previous novels who join Lynley and Havers, and readers new to the series will quickly see why she is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers of our time. Both a page-turner and a deeply complex story about the lies we tell, the lies we believe, and the redemption we need, this novel will be remembered as one of George's best.


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review 2018-03-15 17:29
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

It took me almost four months to read Pachinko. As I read, I began wondering about my slow pace. My fall semesters are busier, yes, but I still manage to finish most books in what's a timely manner for me. It certainly wasn't because I found the book hard to read in terms of comprehension or engagement. As I got closer to the end, I realized: it was because I was so invested in the characters and storytelling I had to take time to process the intense feelings the novel evoked. There are also regular gaps in time that take place between chapters where characters' situations change significantly; I needed mental space before diving into the story again. I can't think of another novel that required this sort of reading from me.


In addition to Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh, Pachinko has served to establish that "family sagas" can engage me, or at least when another culture is involved. Through the family portrayed here, I learned more about Korea, but it never feels like a history lesson. Everything comes from the characters. The novel also provokes thought about national and racial identity.


There were moments I dreaded, as with the return of a less sympathetic character, though not in a way that made me dislike the novel or its author. There were moments that shocked me to the point of gasping. There are many scenes that easily and vividly come to mind when I recall my reading, which I finished more than a month ago.


I would love to teach this novel. I have the feeling I may reread it some day, regardless. For me, that's a rarity, a compliment, and a sign of deep gratitude. 

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review 2017-01-29 22:12
She Deserves a Rich Thug
She Deserves A Rich Thug: An Urban Love Story - Laquita Cameron

Title: She Deserves a Rich Thug
Author: LaQuita Cameron
Publisher: Cole Hart Presents
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"She Deserves a Rich Thug" by LaQuita Cameron

My Thoughts....

For me that wasn't a read that I could fully understand where this author was going with her script. I was not sure of who I felt sorry for more with some of these characters [Akacia & Heavenly] seemed to be over the top in quite a weird sort of way. It was hard to see what some of these women would do for love being so 'sneaky, conniving, scandalous and simply ratchet! I didn't care for how they that those men treat them. And then I don't want to leave out that Cherry Red...only leaving me to say wow being that she was definitely one who didn't allow herself to be played with her being such a schemer and liar. Will she finally get what she deserves? Now for the men characters...Money K, Niko, Jamie, Travis, Trigger and Dean well all I can say is well I will stop here and just say you will have to pick up this read to find out for yourself how things go with each of them. This was indeed like several stories in one...Heavenly's, Cherry Red, and Akacia's. Hopefully in the next series we will find out more of the story because there is a lots more to be said about this story. Definitely money plays into the story and gives you that feeling that money can be the root of all evil. In the end who will be rescued out of all of this craziness? Well, again we will get more in the next series that I am sure will answer many questions like...who will finally get smarter and let some things go before its too late. So, if you like a story full of drama, betrayal and lies then you have come to the right place for "She Deserves A Rich Thug" will give it to you and more.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-23 04:17
Very enjoyable
What Everyone Deserves - Dan Ackerman

In this 1950s period drama, Junius is a New York City fertility demon with a crush. Ever since falling from heaven he's been alone. Except for the mothers and children he watches over. James Kelly Rosenburg, a black soldier with snowflakes in his hair, walks right into his life with a big problem. James Kelly, turned vampire during the war, is new to New York and its prohibition against vampire killing in city limits. Junius offers to teach him to overcome his bloodthirsty instincts and live a proper Manhattan life. Their growing friendship leaves them both conflicted as they explore a city both welcoming and alienated by their kind.



Dear Dan Ackerman,

I never read your work before, but I was intrigued when I read Ami’s review. I have to say that I have not read such unusual gay romance/gay fiction book in a while.

Ami mentioned in her review that the book felt like gay fiction to her and I have to agree even though it is filled with paranormal creatures. I cannot quite explain why it felt like gay fiction – maybe because people and creatures who filled the pages felt so real despite being demons, vampires and fairies? Junius aka June being a fertility demon and James being a vampire is not just an allegory – Junius’ job as fertility demon is to care for mothers and children and future mothers and he does it with all the kindness and tenderness he is capable with. When he meets James, a newly turned vampire (seven years ago) and his maker, old world vampire Anastasia, June is attracted to James , but first and foremost he wants to teach James how to survive as vampire without killing people. Because James really really does not like killing people, however Anastasia (Annie) feels that this is the only way vampire can survive.

So the readers get to observe June and James Kelly (because he prefers to be called James Kelly, not just James ) meeting during couple of years – the book starts In December 1952 and ends some time in 1954, however the time from one meeting to another is usually couple of months give or take. At first June teaches James Kelly how and when get blood from willing recipients, how to stop on time and why it is necessary to take care of those who gave you blood afterwards. Then they start meeting for other reasons. June is the kindest, sweetest soul and I really liked him. He wants somebody to take care of - he has a cat named Gordon, but he wants a partner since before his ex, a demon of sex broke up with him. They are on completely friendly terms though.

James is clearly appreciating what June is doing for him and enjoying his friendship more and more, but he is not gay, see? And thank goodness he did not say that – he just seems sure that he does not want whatever June wants from him (and trust me, think of it June may, he is not loudly asking for anything and does his very best to be a good friend for James).

Over the course of couple of years or so James is finally acknowledging that he is in love with Junius. I was convinced – opinions may differ of course, but I thought it was clear that James Kelly was attracted but was scared to acknowledge it. I just really liked how it was written – with restraint, not over the top. Maybe this is another reason why the book felt more like paranormal gay fiction with romantic elements  rather than just straight romance – it did not feel melodramatic and over the top. Believe me, I have nothing against melodrama – but somehow paranormal or not, I thought author achieved the level of realism or at least believability that I do not often to see in many contemporary m/m romances.

James’ not being happy in the partnership with his maker, blond Anastasia was second underlying source of conflict in the story and it made sense to me – vampires clashing over whether to kill humans or not seems like the most obvious reasons vampires would clash. However, even that storyline did not feel over the top to me and I think this was a good thing.

The story takes place in New York in early 1950s and while I am not really sure whether the settings were well researched, what I learned of New York while living here made me think that yes, settings were very well researched. Also, while once again I am not sure if the dialogue was exactly 1950s, I thought the attempt at least was made.

And I was so very pleased with the ending.

Grade: B+


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review 2016-11-01 03:13
What Everyone Deserves (Dan Ackerman)
What Everyone Deserves - Dan Ackerman

3.75 stars rounded up

"You deserve what everyone deserves. To be with someone who you care about, who cares about you, and neither of you makes each other do things you don’t want to do."

Well, this is definitely different than what I usually read. First and foremost, for me this falls into gay fiction (or gay historical fiction) rather than my usual MM romance read. The relationship between June and James Kelly was moving slow, we had no explicit sex-scenes, and the ending was more of a hopeful note, much like ending in ‘fiction’ rather than ending of ‘romance’. And yes, that is IMPORTANT element for me as a romance reader, okay? So I need to point that out.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this book. Mainly because I fell hard for Junius “June” Thompson, malak-ha satan, among the first fallen. June is a very sympathetic character. June is kindhearted, he is good with babies and children, he cares for his plants and pet cat … and as a fertility demon he has the deep need to care for things that produce life.

His loneliness, his yearning for love and companionship… all of this just spoke volumes for me. I cared for him deeply. I wanted June to be happy. I wanted to hug him, gave him the companionship he needed. Hey, I’m an asexual woman, June only wanted to be with men … I could be a good roommate for him, right? Cause we won’t have sex *lol*.

James Kelly, on the other hand, was more difficult for me to connect with. He was rather fucked up, in my opinion. Yes, I could somewhat grasp his internal emotional battle: James Kelly was a black man in the 50s, struggling with his sexuality, and he was turned into vampire and then had to live against what he wanted (his maker wanted James Kelly to kill people). But I felt that he kept hurting June with his rejection and his perception about how wrong and unnatural it was being with men.

Which was why I wasn’t really sure about the relationship; it wouldn’t be an easy one for sure. At least, both men are basically immortal so June has forever to gradually work on James Kelly’s personal issues about same sex relationships.

I liked Ackerman’s writing though – this is my first experience with him. I liked the Manhattan atmosphere that he created, alongside the paranormal creatures that roam the street. I liked that he wrote characters I could emotionally care for. If Dan Ackerman writes another LGBT fiction, I will give it a try for sure.

A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls

The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

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