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review 2018-06-24 19:45
Reeve of Veils (Inheritance #4)
Reeve of Veils (Inheritance) (Volume 4) - Amelia Faulkner

Hmmm, not sure what to make of this one. 

 

First, this goes back to Knight of Flames timeline and gives us Freddy's POV, so there's a lot that's repeated. Pretty much the first and last quarter of the book, in fact, and I ended up skimming the bulk of those parts, looking only for new details. About the only new thing we learn during those parts is that Freddy's a bigger jerk than I originally thought he was. We get confirmation of his powers, which are more extensive than hinted at prior to this.

 

As for the new stuff in the middle, well... Freddy's a jerk and I prefer not to read POVs of jerks. Mikey's somewhat better, but he's been a victim for so long that he (and Freddy) actually deludes himself into believing he's left that behind even as he willingly becomes Freddy's literal plaything. Which brings me to the second thing.

 

Second, there's just no way to see Freddy and Mikey's relationship as anything other than D/s, which is a dynamic I don't enjoy. Just because Freddy thinks he's doing good by Mikey and Mikey's getting out of the ghetto doesn't erase that. Freddy might want to see themselves as equals for whatever reasons he needs to, but they're really not.

 

Plus, Freddy's just not that good of a guy. He's not a complete bastard, but he's barely one sidestep away from Kane - and even that's only until he succeeds in his plan to off dear old daddy, which I assume is the next book, and then he will be exactly like Kane. Morals and ethics mean nothing to this guy. Or to Mikey. So I guess they are perfect for each other in that respect, but they're certainly not a couple I'm rooting for or care about, and the insta-love here is just completely unbelievable given that Freddy's practically a sociopath.

 

Ok, I give Freddy credit for not violating Mikey's sexual consent. But since he violates consent in every single other respect with everyone around him, that credit doesn't get him very far. It gets him a crumb. A crumb mashed into dust.

 

The good news is you don't actually have to read this book. The last two books made it perfectly plain that Freddy's manipulating Laurence and how, and that he's trying to line up Quentin to kill their dad. So this book ends at pretty much the same point as the previous book, just with a bit more info than we had before. 

 

Two more little nitpicks:

 

Mikey's a drug dealer and a high school dropout who's never been outside San Diego. He's not going to measure distances by kilometers. This same thing happened with Laurence in the last book. We use feet and miles in the USA. There are various conversion charts and calculators available online. This sort of error shouldn't happen, and it pulled me out of the story both times.

 

And lastly, mailbox flags work the exact opposite of how they're used here. When you have outgoing mail, you raise the flag. When the mailman comes, he lowers the flag and leaves the incoming mail. If the flag is up, that means the mail hasn't been delivered yet, not that it has been.

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review 2018-06-23 19:11
The Valley of Amazement
The Valley of Amazement - Amy Tan

I did something while reading this book that I have never done before: I flipped to the last page to see if it had a happy ending. Because good lord does Violet get put through the ringer.

 

This is often a difficult read, so I'll say upfront: if sexual exploitation makes you squeamish, you may want to skip this book. I'm usually one who wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole, but while the tone was unflinching, the details when divulged were detached enough to not affect me too much. Everyone has different tolerance levels and triggers, though, so it's something to consider.

 

This is set in the first half of the 1900s in China in the culture of the courtesan houses. It resembles Memoirs of a Geisha in that respect and it doesn't shy away from how young girls were sold and stolen into this life, but beyond the inner workings of the courtesan houses, this is a much different story with a different focus. 

 

As with all of Tan's work, this story is about the relationship between mothers and daughters, but unlike her other stories, this one is told primarily through Violet's POV. We follow her from a young, conceited girl growing up in her mother's courtesan house - not as a courtesan though, just to be clear on that point. She can only see how things effect her, how her mother is distant and aloof, and how she doesn't feel like she's loved enough. After they're separated by a ne'er-do-well and Violet is sold to another house, she must use her fierceness and determination to survive her new life and come to terms with the many twists and turns that her life makes. 

 

It's not all dire. She has a friend in the courtesan house to help her and protect her as much as possible, and she knows how to navigate this world better than most, though she makes many foolish decisions along the way. There are good moments as well, and Violet learns how to appreciate others, the depths of love and sacrifices that we make for each other along the way, all of which helps her to better understand the choices her own mother had made. But every time she takes a step forward, she's knocked twenty steps back. It's a long hard road, but there is a hopeful ending.

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review 2018-06-21 22:21
Nobody's Child - Victoria Jenkins

Wow! Wow! Wow!

The book was off the hook! There were so many stories going on in here with characters and crime all over the place. I was like WTF is going on? This is cray, cray.

And, I loved it. 

The author wrote these side stories without letting you in on who the character is, so you can only guess, and guess, and then try to guess again. I know I was all over the place with my guesses (yeah they were mostly wrong).

The crimes are heinous and will give you the creeps. And the jaw dropping ending will have you going "No Way!!"

I love this series and can't wait for the next one!

Thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. 

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review 2018-06-10 05:35
*Bangs head on table*
Why Men Don't Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes: The Ultimate Guide to the Opposite Sex - Allan Pease,Barbara Pease

Oh, my! What was young me thinking? I bought this book when I was probably a late teenager. Who knows why! Honestly, this book is not great. I flipped to a random page and it is talking about training your children. Children are not pets. It also says a child's behavior is the direct result of how the parents raised them. Not always true!

* Learned behavior - Blame the mother.

* Retrain your man

*Don't nag at your kids, train them

* Men need 30 minutes to "fire gaze" after a long, hard day at work. Leave the man alone.

*Mother-in-Law: An anagram of Woman Hitler

*Young people are more likely to lie, cheat & steal.

It actually says if a man tells an offensive joke, don't get offensive, because if you do, it is you who chose to be offended. Then it gives examples of so-called jokes a man might tell. I won't tell you the answer, but to give you an idea. What's the difference between a tart and a bitch? What's the difference between a woman with PMS and a terrorist? Why do men give their penis a name? What can you say to a man who's just had sex? The answers... are sexist and of course, they are offensive. Why can't someone be offended by them?

Jokes and humor do ease pain, as the book points out, but there is a line you can cross.

Judging from the title, it's obvious the book treats men like they are not smart, and the book really does! Some guys might be clueless, some girls might like shoes, but not every single one.

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review 2018-06-08 00:14
The Tuscan Child - Rhys Bowen

 

Joanna is studying to become a lawyer, and all that is left to do is to take her bar exam, but she has been out of work for a while because of an accident and a boyfriend, when her father, Sir Hugo Langley dies. He has always been a distant father, and Joanna doesn't know much about his life at all. And now she is all alone since her mother died when she was 11. She must go home and settle up his affairs and go through his things when she happens upon some items that seem to have a mystery to them from his past. Italy? To try to learn more about her dad, and unravel some questions that they items have raised, she travels there, and instead of finding more answers, she finds more questions and mystery. 
The story shifts from her father during WWII as a downed fighter pilot, and Joanna, 30 years later, so through the course of the book, it comes full circle. I particularly liked the parts of the Tuscan food, scenery and culture. (Needs to have a companion cookbook! hint, hint Ms. Bowen). The only part that disappointed me was that I wanted a happier ending for a couple of the characters (and I won't say who as that would be a spoiler), but given that it was mirroring life at a particular time, I suppose it was realistic. >sigh< All in all, I thought it was a good book.

 

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