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review 2018-06-23 21:16
Broken Promise
Broken Promise - Tara Q. Thomas

An almost enemies to lovers romance, a cat and mouse game with The Gentleman, and some twists and turns brings the Sons of Broad series to a close. Lots of secrets are revealed in this final book in the series, and it moves at a faster pace than its predecessors. I did have a problem with a couple of things toward the end that seemed to have information missing, making the conclusion feel a bit rushed for me. Nevertheless, Kipling and Alyssa are, hands down, my favorite couple in this series. I liked the banter between them as they move toward romance, and they make more logical decisions under pressure than the other couples in the series. I also liked than in addition to finally learning The Gentleman's identity, we get the backstory on how it all began and why he's so determined to destroy this family. While each book has focused on a different couple, the main storyline has been a continuing one from the beginning, so I would suggest reading the books in order to get the full story. Despite the couple of issues I had with the ending, this one is, in my opinion, the best in the series.

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review 2018-06-22 23:45
Shiny Broken Pieces Audiobook
Shiny Broken Pieces - Sona Charaipotra,Dhonielle Clayton

See my review for Tiny Pretty Things here.

 

It wasn’t great.

 

It wasn’t terrible.

 

It was kind of ‘meh.’

 

What I did enjoy was the depictions of actual dancing, of the ballet classes themselves, of the class getting ready to perform Swan Lake. I’ve read another ballet book where the dancing is described in terms of the physical actions taken, not a lyrical description, and I think the authors pulled off the feelings of what it is like to dance from the point of view of three characters whose lives revolve around ballet.

 

One of the reasons… ok the ONLY reason… I decided to read this book was to find out WHO had pushed Gigi into an oncoming car in the previous book. Tiny Pretty Things left this as a cliffhanger, which I despise, and I was pretty much OK with that for a long time. In Shiny Broken Pieces we find out pretty early on who it was definitely NOT… but then find out who it definitely WAS about halfway through. It seemed kinda early-ish for me, but then the rest of the novel focused on this massive Swan Lake performance.

 

One of Gigi’s defining characteristics is that she’s black, and in ballet, that’s really rare. However the authors couldn’t decide if everyone always stared at her or if she managed to blend in with the other ballerinas. I guess she could do both, but I found it wavered from one extreme to the other depending on what looked better to the plot without any consistency. Gigi was stared at A LOT, almost as if the students of a New York school had never seen a black girl before… I thought it was strange, but I do not study ballet nor do I live in New York City, so perhaps I’m not the best authority on that. In contrast, people did not stare at June, or Bette, the other two protagonists, however Bette is the epitome of the beautiful blonde white girl and June was half Korean and one of her primary characteristics was that she blended into the background.

 

I mean, whatever! I thought it was inconsistent but maybe that’s how people actually act. I don’t even know anymore. What is literary criticism anyway? *existential crisis*

Although I really liked the presentation of June’s anorexia and bulimia, I was a little confused how one teacher could indicate that June is too fat and everyone else was concerned she was too thin. Consistency was also an issue in Tiny Pretty Things, so maybe it’s just these authors.

 

Another thing I found grating was Gigi’s narrator. She had this really annoying delivery in a kind of monotone where she sounded really depressed, but then when she did dialogue she inflected much better. Her general narration annoyed the funk out of me. I don’t think Gigi was actually depressed, just bent on revenge, so was not pleasant to listen to. In contrast the other two narrators of Bette and June didn’t sound like they were uninspired and just reading from a script they hated in a job they hated, they actually delivered some entertainment.

 

I also want to say that I didn’t particularly like any of the characters in this novel, but I don’t think it’s a requirement in enjoying a book to like characters who are awful to each other as the main plot point (see Wuthering Heights, one of my favourite books BECAUSE I hate the characters).

 

I will mention that I’m not comfortable with how it ended. There was one of many characters seeking revenge for acts committed against them and they ended up losing everything while other characters who instigated the bullying kind of got rewarded? Like, I get that ballet is a cut-throat biz but I felt really sorry for the character, who was only twisted up because someone had bullied them and they was seeking revenge. The other thing that irked me was that the people who did the really bad things in Tiny Pretty Things (pushing Gigi in front of the car, glass in the shoes, killing the butterflies) were all LGBTQ characters. Like, the victims got screwed over and the biggest bullies got everything they wanted.  So yeah, not cool. I like Mean Girl books because they get their comeuppance, and I didn’t feel satisfied with how everything ended.

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review 2018-06-05 18:42
A Broken Billionaire
A Broken Billionaire - Loryn Brantz

Yeah no.  This isn't working for me at all.  

 

At least it was free but the next 40 pages is $2.99.  Nope. Nope. Nope.

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review 2018-06-04 04:08
Hot read, overcoming prejudices to find love
Broken - Bruce Rodgers,Juliana Conners

I enjoyed this story about two men who were drawn to each other despite their roles. Lance had me rooting for him to cross certain lines, and I loved how he followed his heart. Brad was more hesitant and waffled almost too much for me, but as he figured out what was important, I changed my mind. The realistic feel to their world made it a good read.

This was a freebie I found, and this is my unsolicited review.

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text 2018-06-03 23:57
Fantasy Flights June Meeting - Urban Fantasy
Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older
Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish
Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang
Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst
Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes

The librarian usually sends out links for each months topic. This month, her links include an article titled something like "what is urban fantasy" that only says it's a marketing category and a list of "where to start" that has more male authors than female authors. I, just, I don't know, ya'll. If I were introducing someone to UF, I'd probably talk about the use of noir tropes in contemporary fantasy settings, broken vs unbroken masquerades, and Carrie Vaughn's theory, "these books are symptomatic of an anxiety about women and power." But, sure, here's a dude saying it's meaningless marketing and a list of mostly dudes to read.

 

The other big UF reader in the group is going to be out of town for this one, so I'm trying to psych myself up to deal with a room full of guys all talking about Harry Fucking Dresden. 

 

I'm also bounding myself by recommending in-progress series or stand alone books. A few months back, one of the members asked for recommendations for completed UF series that weren't PNR, and I want to avoid repeats. Okay, he didn't say PNR, he asked for books that weren't all about vampire sex. So at least one person may have some non-Dresden. . . take a deep breathe, Saturdays, you don't want to start another fight in book club.

 

Whatever. I love this genre. 

 

Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older. So far this series has 2 novels and 3 novellas and is dynamite. The protagonist is an artist who discovers her legacy includes channeling spirits into physical forms. She makes her graffiti come alive. Yeah, that's right, I talk all that shit and then start off with a book by a man.

 

Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish. Action packed with an unlikable heroine, this series follows an antiquities thief and her vampire hunting cat through endless poor decisions and explosions. I adore that she isn't good with weapons and doesn't have powerful magic abilities. I just recently finished the 4th installment, and the heroine is consistently a train wreck.

 

Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang. Fast paced, plenty of violence, and her magic power is being really good at math. Do I need to go on? 

 

Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst. A teenage vampire gets stabbed by a unicorn and finds herself able to go out in daylight. Her family decides to enroll her in high school so she can lure teens back to the rest of the bloodsuckers. This is a lighthearted, almost rom-com book that is exactly as much fun as my first sentence indicates.

 

Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes. The protagonists are all human in this not-quite police procedural where strange murders point toward incomprehensible motives.

 

 And I think I'll stop there. I really want to add about 10 more books. We'll see where the night leads.

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