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review 2016-05-31 05:10
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

31/5 - This isn't working for me. The footnotes are bothering me particularly. I barely know anything about the Dominican Republic and I feel like Diaz expects me to be well versed in their history and their notable historical figures, as well as other pop culture references that are as clear as mud to me. For example, on page five he mentions Darkseid's Omega Effect and Morgoth's Bane and while there is a footnote it made me even more confused, it starts out with

'"I am the Elder King: Melkor, first and mightiest of all the Valar, who was before the world and made it. The shadow of my purpose lies upon Arda, and all that is in it bends slowly and surely to my will."'

and continues on waffling like that for another few sentences. I have no idea if that's from a book, movie, video game or something else entirely and that means that whatever Diaz was trying to tell me by including that reference in the book has been completely lost on me, and however many other readers don't understand the quote.

Another source of constant confusion, and thus frustration, is the use of untranslated Spanish phrases. I don't speak Spanish, I read Spanish even less so if you want to use another language in a book written in English there needs to be a translation within the text or a dictionary at the back. Not being able to read whole lines of dialogue because I don't read the correct language can really alienate a reader (this one especially). These few lines on page 26 encompasses all my frustration

'Listen, palomo: you have to grab a muchacha, y meteselo. That will take care of everything. Start with a fea. Coje that fea y meteselo!'

What does any of that mean?! It's not like it's a single word that I can determine the meaning of through the context of the surrounding words. It's all incomprehensible to me and means that the surrounding scene makes that much less sense.

I'd gotten to the point that before having a look at some of the other reviews I was thinking of DNFing. Now that I've read those reviews and understand that my problems are not mine alone and that they won't magically disappear by the end of the chapter has encouraged me to stop thinking of DNFing and simply do it. Life's too short to read books I'm not enjoying (and highly unlikely to begin enjoying at any time within the 335 pages of the book), maybe if there was a big revelation and turnaround I could will myself to keep going, but the reviews don't mention anything of the sort, so I just can't do it.

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review 2016-02-05 03:16
Piper by Helen McCabe
Piper - Helen McCabe

4/2 - Finding an editing error in the summary is always an ominous beginning... To be continued...

5/2 - I've been struggling with this for the last four days but it's just too much like work, so DNF at page 109. Like another reviewer I think the plot in general is a good idea, but it's been executed dreadfully. The writing is amateurish and everything is so vague and badly described that nothing makes sense. I wouldn't even attempt the sequel to this, or anything else by this author. This is going in the donate pile.


POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge: A Book Based on a Fairytale (The Pied Piper)

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review 2015-09-11 09:26
Renegade Son by Lisa Jackson
Renegade Son - Lisa Jackson

11/9 - Dreadful characterisation, characters with ridiculous motivations, repetitive writing, and multiple instances of unprotected sex. In fact, the morning after their first sexual encounter, my first thought was "the way this is going she'll be pregnant and infected with herpes by breakfast time". The best thing about this book is the fact that the words are large and the pages have wide margins, meaning not too many words per page, meaning I was able to read 120 pages without too much time wasted. 120 pages are plenty of pages to decide if this book is worth continuing, which it wasn't. Chase refuses to explain his suspicions regarding Caleb to Dani, so how can he ask her to trust him just on face value? Dani doesn't trust Chase, enough that she repeatedly has heated discussions with him over his trespassing onto her land without her permission, but as soon as she looks into his eyes all her perfectly reasonable reasons for distrusting him disappear and he becomes trustworthy enough smile and laugh at and get close to. The two of them had the same argument at least three times in the 120 pages I read - him demanding she trust him at face value (he actually asked that, verbatim), her telling him she couldn't just trust him at face value because he's partnered with her arch enemy and probably there under his instruction but then every time she changes her mind because she finds him attractive.

I gave up on this one during the third instance of that same argument, I just couldn't be bothered with it anymore. When I started reading this last night I was hoping that the book would surprise me and I'd be able to rate it above the 2.96 average rating that it has on GR. In my opinion it's far worse than the average led me to believe. Usually I save the one star ratings for books that are badly edited along with everything else, but the story was so weak that I couldn't honestly give it two stars. I hope that Jackson's writing has matured since she wrote this in 1987, I've been looking forward to reading her romantic suspense books and that won't be an enjoyable prospect if her writing isn't better than it is here.

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review 2015-09-02 04:02
Fix You (Fix You, #1) by Beck Anderson
Fix You - Beck Anderson

2/9 - This didn't work for me. The writing was fine, but the connection between Andy and Kelly was more friends than lovers. I felt like Andy was too immature for Kelly - deciding on a whim that he didn't want to go skiing with friends as planned and instead calling Kelly to come and pick him up from the airport, without any kind of warning. What if she'd had something to do? What if the boys had afternoon activities that she needed to drive them to? You can't just turn up and expect a single mother to entertain you without prior notice.

I hated that Andy smoked and can't believe that Kelly could put up with it. We're not told exactly what Kelly's husband died of but it certainly sounded like some kind of cancer, possibly even lung cancer considering his first symptom was breathlessness. My grandma died from complications of bone cancer (when her bones began to degrade they released calcium into her bloodstream which poisoned her), but she was 80, it's not like the cancer took her early (which it could have, she'd already survived a decade with bone cancer, had a double mastectomy and complete hysterectomy due to cancer being found in both her breasts and ovaries). Grandma was already at the end of her life, but I can't imagine watching someone I loved die of cancer long before their time (I'm going with cancer as his cause of death) and then being around a smoker. I'd constantly want to scream at them that my father/brother/best friend/whoever died of cancer and that I can't be around someone who is voluntarily sucking in air of cancer, like they want to die of cancer.

I think Kelly and Andy would do better as running buddies than lovers. I felt like they had nothing in common, except the running. I have so many more interesting books to read that I just couldn't continue with a passionless couple like these two. I gave up at page 80.
  I won't be reading the sequel, if I can help it.


PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A Book that Made You Cry

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review 2015-08-15 06:52
Illegal by José Ángel N.
Illegal - Jose Angel N

I received a free Adobe Digital Editions copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley, this has not compromised my ability to write an honest and critical review of the book.

23/2 - I just finished the six page foreword by F. Gonzalez-Crussi. It was very well written, informative and properly punctuated. I just hope the author's writing is of a similar standard, because otherwise Gonzalez-Crussi's is really going to shine a spotlight on any editing errors - they will be even more obvious and irritating than they would have been if we hadn't had six pages of such lovely prose. To be continued...

26/2 - The author's writing is good, not quite as lyrical as the foreword, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. If Jose Angel N's writing style was similar to F. Gonzalez-Crussi's I would be a bit suspicious considering the journey his life has taken. I do wish that the Mexican interspersed with the English was readable by all - I don't know any Mexican and so I've had to guess from the context what the three instances (so far) of Mexican language mixed into the English were meant to mean. To be continued...

3/3 - Simply ran out of time to finish this. If I ever get the chance to continue reading I will.

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