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review 2015-11-27 19:38
Missed the Mark
Make Me: A Broke and Beautiful Novel - Tessa Bailey

I read this to finish out the series (and because I have to have something to do on the treadmill), but I was ultimately pretty disappointed. Russell and Abby are the last members of two complimentary friend groups. Russell's drinking buddies, Ben and Louis, paired up with Abby's roommates in the two preceding books. Early on, Russell and Abby friend-zoned each other, but now each hopes for more. But, because their communication skills suck, neither can admit it.

 

There were issues here which could have been interesting. Unlike his friends, their lovers, and Abby, he is an uneducated blue-collar worker. He's smart and ambitious -- he runs a successful construction company on the verge of expansion -- but he's never been to college and he wasn't raised with a summer home in the Hamptons, the way Abby and Louis were. He's especially sensitive to the class difference with Abby because his mother was a blue blood, "settled" for his blue collar dad, and came to tragically regret her choice.

 

On the other hand, Abby's always had tons of money, but it's only ever served to keep her apart from people. Her parents are cold and distant, her schoolmates were social climbing snobs, and her coworkers won't talk to her because she's the boss's daughter. She's always craved love and acceptance, not money. 

 

I am sensitive to class issues, and I like to read about characters who encounter and navigate class distinctions in believable, relatable ways -- so this book should have been right up my alley. Unfortunately, here Abby and Russell never really talk about this -- Russell just keeps being told to get over it, as if his anxieties are wrong or inappropriate.

 

Also, even more than in the previous book, Need Me, several of the plot twists thrown into this book to drag out the story are so unnecessary, and based on misunderstandings that could have been addressed if the main characters would just talk to each other like grown ups.

 

Finally, there's a villain in this story who doesn't get his comeuppance. I hate that.

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text 2015-11-09 03:25
I feel like I mostly post about books I don't like so here are some I did like.
Career of Evil - Robert Galbraith
Need Me - Tessa Bailey
Make Me: A Broke and Beautiful Novel - Tessa Bailey
Chase Me - Tessa Bailey
Land of the Beautiful Dead - R. Lee Smith
A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

&

I don't mean to write reviews mostly for books I haven't enjoyed, but looking back at my blog, I guess that's what I've done. These aren't going to be full reviews, though.

 

Robert Galbraith's CAREER OF EVIL - Another Cormoran Strike mystery and the relationship between the detective and Robin becomes more interesting as the series moves along. I did get lost a few times on the sheer number of people in this book, and the mystery gave us a nice look into Cormoran's past (along with Robin's past) but the highlight for me of these books are Cormoran and Robin themselves. The mystery part is well done, but like the frosting on the character cake. 

 

NEED ME, MAKE ME, CHASE ME by Tessa Bailey. Okay, this "these are stories I liked" is a little bit of a lie -- I hated NEED ME. If I'd read that book first, I probably would have skipped the others. But, lucky for me, I read the final book in the series first (MAKE ME) and it was a fun romance. So was the first book in the series, CHASE ME. NEED ME had one of the worst heroes I've ever read, and although I can usually deal with student/teacher romances (it can be a fun erotic trope especially when it's done right) I just felt icky the entire time and thought the hero was a complete asshole who never redeemed himself. And the heroine was very young and she acted like it. So even though it might have fallen in the category of New Adult romance, I was just ugh over that one. 

 

LAND OF THE BEAUTIFUL DEAD by R. Lee Smith. Smith is an amazing writer, a fabulous world builder, and is in dire need of an editor. This book is long and there are so many wonderful bits, but I'll admit to skimming through part of it, especially toward the middle when the story is bogged down by repetitive scenes with Lan's handmaiden and her lessons. Then, during the last third, the story takes off again and finishes beautifully. 

 

Lee can create freaking magic at times. In this book, she takes a character who goes beyond "bad boy" and who is a terrible, murderous, tyrannical villain ... and makes him sympathetic. Just really amazing. 

 

A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS by Paul Tremblay. This was an entertaining horror novel in the tradition of the Exorcist (which it gives all the nods to) and obviously written by someone who knows the genre well. There was a meta aspect to it that was fun, and the story itself well done. A slightly ambiguous ending and an unreliable narrator are used to good effect -- there's an element of distrust between reader and book, but it's never so much that I was frustrated or felt that I was just being jerked around.

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review 2015-08-12 23:56
Make Me
Make Me: A Broke and Beautiful Novel - Tessa Bailey

Russell's issues got to be a bit much and while the sex scenes were hot, some of his sex talk was a bit awkward. I was glad Abby stood up for herself early on.

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review 2014-12-20 22:44
The Lions of Al-Rassan
Лъвовете на Ал-Расан - Guy Gavriel Kay

I feel kind of cheated because of the skipped year but in the same time I'm grateful I was spared from the trainwreck in  slo-mo it apparently was. Still, it annoyed me and this is the reason I'm reducing half a star. Pffft, whatever.

 

 

It was a rich book, showing the cultural and religious clash between three countries and faiths marvellously. Not sure why it's being marketed as sci-fi in my country since it's obviously high-fantasy but hey, at least it's translated and more people have the opportunity to get to it (and feel my pain). i'll recommend it endlessly, I'm generous like that (especially with pain).

 

I really liked the characters.

Strong, self-assured women.

Clever, proficient men.

I'm especially fond of Ammar and Miranda. ^^

 

[spoiler]

In my headcanon AU everyone (important) lives and Jehane, Ammar, Rodrigo, and Miranda form a happy menage a quatre.

(spoiler show)
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-03-30 17:26
Still we are the road; we are the bridge; we are the conduit
Checkmate - Dorothy Dunnett,Vintage Books

I don't feel coherent enough to review this book, and I'm not sure I ever will. What I can say is that it is painful and it is beautiful and I will read it again.

 

 I've got a playlist of sappy songs with the only purpose to comfort myself.

 

Also I've got the perfect Lymond in my mind:

 

 

And some of my favourite quotes:

 

She stood now in another country, whose sun burned and whose air was too rare for her breathing. And she stood there alone, with the words of a warning for company:

Tant que je vive …

Long as I live, my heart will never vary
For no one else, however fair or good
Brave, resolute or rich, of gentle blood.
My choice is made, and I will have no other


("Tant que je vive, mon cueur ne changera
Pour nulle vivante, tant soit elle bonne ou saige
Forte et puissante, riche de hault lignage
Mon chois est fait, aultre ne se fera.")

 

***

 

'Kate is my friend. That is true. But the songs were for her daughter. And the passion, for ever.'

 

***

 

'We have reached the open sea, with some charts; and the firmament.'

 

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