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review 2018-05-06 00:29
Lord of Ravens (Inheritance #3)
Lord of Ravens (Inheritance Book 3) - Amelia Faulkner

CW: Child abuse, drugs:

Laurence sees back in time to the first time Quentin's father beats him. The scene cuts out as his father is preparing to rape him. It's brought up a few times afterward, but no further details are given. :( Seeing this also causes Laurence to try to score heroin later, thankfully unsuccessfully.

(spoiler show)

 

Well, this certainly didn't go in the direction I thought it would, at least in regards to Laurence and Quentin's relationship, which is a good thing. They only deepen their relationship here, and grow more intimate with each other, and after the last two books of patience and hard work to get to this point, I was happy for the guys getting some happiness. They deserve it.

 

We do finally learn what Quentin's father did to him as a child, which is exactly what I thought it was going to be (see CW above). The reason for why he did it was more messed up than I thought it'd be though, and I'm dreading when Quentin remembers or finds out. He's getting stronger and more sure of himself all the time, but his father has a way of reducing him to a scared little kid again.

 

We get to see Neil again, and he's a riot as always, and I love that he just accepts Quentin and clearly understands him as well as Laurence has come to. I wish we'd seen more of Ethan, Aiden and Maryam, but the story didn't allow much time for that, what with the introduction of Amy and Rufus - and we don't even really get a whole lot of time either, but what we do get looks promising.

 

In a book titled Lord of Ravens, I was expecting ravens to be a little more prominent and important to the central plot but that didn't really happen. Instead, Laurence gets a baby raven that he has to raise, and as with babies everywhere it does nothing but eat and poop the whole story.

 

I feel like this book was just a little disjointed, or more accurately that it served more as a bridge to the next book. There is a beginning, middle and end, but the main conflict is still ongoing, so nothing really feels resolved. I do like that Laurence and Quentin actually communicate with each other (though there is a brief Big Misunderstanding), and that real life considerations are taken into account when weird mystical things happen.

 

And lastly, I suppose it had to happen eventually: the geography fail. :P
-No matter what time of the year it is, the sun never sets as early as 4 PM or as late as 9 PM in San Diego. It certainly would never be setting at 4 and fully set after 9. Most people I know wouldn't say the sun is setting until it's within a half-hour of the sundown. (There are websites that'll give you sunset/sunrise times for any location on any date you could wish to know about.)
-Americans don't use meters to measure distance (unless they're scientists). We use feet and yards. Dating a Brit isn't going to change that.

 

There were also more typos in this one than I recall in the previous installments. The most distracting one was the constant use of "noone" instead of "no one." Hopefully this doesn't remain an issue going forward.

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review 2018-04-26 20:44
Past Perfect: A Novel - Danielle Steel

Past perfect by Steel_ Danielle
Cybil and Blake married almost 20 years and they have 3 kids-2 in high school and one in first grade, born and raised in NYC and love it there.
Blake gets an offer in San Fran and goes out to check it out-there is nothing that will keep him from going there and making tons of money-he has to persuade his wife and kids to go also...
Not only did he take the job but bought a huge house, very old for them to move into.
20,000 square feet 1902 house with storage that included all art and furniture. Cybil loves the place and the move will give her time to finish writing her book and still do design work if the offers come.
They all arrive with their high tech devices and it's quite the contrast to what the house is all about...
Eathquake occurs and things are moved to new locations prior to that.... Youngest keeps thinking there are hidden passages and ghosts...
Cybil had seen the prior residents as ghosts and tries to explain what she saw when she sees the pictures on the walls.
She reads the family historical book and finds out who they all are and calls in someone who specializes in ghosts and he tells her they feel comfortable there and she wants them gone!
Like how the families meld but i still think it's very weird. What Cybil finds in the book and acts on it is really weird! Servants think the whole family is crazy talking to themselves as they can't see the old family.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

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review 2018-03-28 22:33
A great study of the Celtic Revival and the visual arts
The Rediscovery of Ireland's Past: The Celtic Revival, 1830-1930 - Jeanne Sheehy

As a force fueling the development of an Irish national identity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Celtic Revival proved an important movement in modern Irish history.  Yet with such luminaries as William Butler Yeats and J. M. Synge among its leading figures, the literary expression of the movement has overshadowed its other elements.  In this book, art historian Jeanne Sheehy seeks to provide a more complete understanding of the Revival by examining its impact on the visual arts of the era.

 

Sheehy begins by tracing the origins of the movement to the developing interest in history throughout Europe in the early nineteenth century, particularly in medieval history.  This fueled the first significant study of Irish antiquities, particularly those of the Celtic and early Christian (pre-English) eras.  These discoveries generated a growing respect for Ireland’s cultural heritage, one neglected by elites in recent centuries who sought to identify themselves more closely to English culture.  Now Irish emblems such as the shamrock and the harp became symbols of Irish pride, and were seized upon by activists such as those in the Young Ireland movement as badges of identity.

 

Sheehy chronicles this development with a sure command of the artistic developments of the era.  She notes the reflection of the movement in the painting, sculpture, and architecture of the era, demonstrating how the Revival was reflected in nearly every field of artistry.  Though she concludes that a distinctively Irish style failed to develop from the Revival, she nonetheless identifies several threads of development that demonstrate the importance of the Revival to Irish art from the era.  Thoroughly researched, generously illustrated, and well-written, this is a valuable study of its subject, one that offers an added dimension to studying the interaction between culture and nationalism in modern Irish history. 

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review 2018-03-18 19:23
Stories Beneath Our Skin
Stories Beneath Our Skin - Veronica Sloane

This is a simple story with some great characters, and the various relationships are generally well done. I did feel like the some of the side stories, in particular the one of Joy and Cole, were lost in the shuffle, which is strange since it's needing to help take care of Cole while Joy's in rehab that acts as the catalyst for Liam and Ace to take the next step. I really liked the friendship between Liam and Ace, though I didn't really feel the romantic relationship between them. Thankfully, there was enough else going on that it didn't bother me. (Frankie and Goose had more chemistry going on, and they were just the subplot.)

 

I know this is a reissue and this was previously released by a publisher that I'm not familiar with. I'm going to assume that the various technical issues are due to the reissue. There were missing paragraph breaks, especially when dialogue was involved, and it made it difficult at times to figure out who was speaking when. However, there were various grammar issues too: words split in the middle, incorrect punctuation (again, usually around dialogue), missing words and even incorrect words (then instead of than, duel instead of dual, etc) and just weird word choices that I couldn't tell if the author was just trying to reinvent the wheel or really didn't know how those words were supposed to be used.

 

I was also expecting more detail on the tattooing, since that was a big part of the plot, but that left a lot to be desired. Oh, and how did no one correct poor Cole when he thought Mars was closer to the sun than Earth? Sure, he's four, but that's no reason not to correct him. Bad parenting, guys. Bad!

 

So 3 stars overall for the story, but half a star off for bad editing/formatting.

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review 2018-03-03 21:44
Between Sinners and Saints (Audiobook)
Between Sinners and Saints - Marie Sexton

Why did I wait so long to read this?

 

Well, because I found out there was a Mormon character and I always worry about that being done wrong. And while Levi's family isn't a carbon copy of my own or other Mormon families I know, I can still see this family dynamic existing in real life. It's almost too easy to see it. Even the church presidents spews the "love the sinner but not the sin" nonsense that Levi's family does here. Sadly, the Church isn't contend with just that. The book really gives a fully detailed and nuanced view of the various Binders and how they feel about Levi being gay. It's never questioned that they love Levi, some of them just don't know how to love him unconditionally like the Church also teaches us to do. His family runs the full spectrum of strictly following Church doctrine to believing it's high time the Church get off their high horse and catch up with the times.

 

Still, I can see how some readers not familiar with Mormonism or Mormons might hate Levi's family, and that's okay too.

 

Ok, onto the good stuff. Levi starts out a selfish windbag who's only concern is where to stick his dick. Working for a gay night club in Miami gives him plenty of hookups but little else. He doesn't realize how hollow his life is until he meets Jamie. Jamie is a massage therapist who Levi goes to for help with his surfer's hip and Levi, in true douche bag fashion, tries to seduce Jamie. Jamie though has a lot of trauma in his past and he quickly throws Levi out on his keister where Levi belongs. When Levi finally realizes what an asshole he's been, he has a turn around and he and Jamie become friends.

 

This is a nice slow burn, as Jamie and Levi get to know each other, and Jamie learns that he can in fact trust Levi. Levi in turns learns how to put someone else's needs above his own. It's the start of the change to a better life for both of them.

 

The romance takes it's time and doesn't rush things, and I didn't feel like Jamie's sexual awakening in the latter half of the book was too easy. It's anything but easy for him, and it's Levi's patience and understanding that goes a long way to helping Jamie become comfortable with his own body and letting himself be vulnerable.

 

The narrator, John Solo, does a fantastic job with the story and characters. He really brings the story to life, and his voices for the various characters are all well done and feel perfect for each one.

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