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review 2015-04-24 00:40
Review: Black Rainbow by J.J. McAvoy
Black Rainbow - J.J. McAvoy

Initial reaction: I'm pretty vexed I wasted the better part of a few hours total reading this book. Choppy and juvenile dialogue, half-developed characters, and yes, it feels like a fanfic of the TV series "How to Get Away with Murder." I didn't think the latter at first starting the novel, but between the switching of Before/After scenarios, Levi's mannerisms and teaching style, alongside the style of the cases, everything about it seemed like a pale imitation to me, plus with too much shallow sensuality and repetition (If I had to read the word "slam" one more time...)

Full review:

I think the collected sentiment that I'll start with on this review is: at least I gave it a shot. This was my first read from J.J. McAvoy, and I knew that she'd written fanfiction based works at some point in the past with respect to narratives based from Harry Potter and Twilight. I'm not sure if this book is based on something she wrote in a fanfic measure before or if it's just a matter of inspiration, but this book had plot elements that were way too close to the ABC TV series "How to Get Away with Murder." That didn't sit well with me throughout the read.

Don't get me wrong, this is its own tale - albeit a weakly penned one. I think even if people reading this aren't familiar with "How to Get Away with Murder", it would still come across as a weak narrative taken by its lonesome. It was hard to maintain interest and focus with how juvenile and threadbare for development it was. Not to mention a whole host of other narrative issues.

The story revolves around a dual-perspective narrative between Levi and Thea. Levi is a lawyer and professor at Harvard Law School. He's well-renowned, super strict, and only taking 12 students into his firm following their completion of his class (Annalise Keating would not be impressed with this mirrored scenario, albeit slightly tweaked). He also happens to be a musician (though this isn't really a focus, he plays guitar some nights at a bar and this is how he ends up meeting the heroine.)

Thea is 23-year old African American woman (yay for a POC heroine at the very least, but I don't know how well that comes across for this particular story) who is dedicated to taking care of her teenage sister in the aftermath of her mother's death. Thea's mother was also a very high profile lawyer, though she died of a terminal illness. Thea's relationship with her mother was not so fond despite her mother's highly regarded reputation. Thea wants to become the best lawyer she can be and use that to take care of her sister. She will do whatever it takes.

Here's where things get complicated: Thea and Levi meet at a bar and have all measures of an instalove connection ("Bada-da-da, I'm an instalove machine, and I won't work for nobody but yooooou..." I haven't used that reference in a while.). They agree to have a week of mind-blowing sexytimes and then separate, going on with their regular lives. Well, fate doesn't work in their favor of forgetting, because Levi and Thea discover that they're professor and student on the first day of classes. (So we have the cliche teacher-student erotic story here. Though you might as well say they throw that moral/power question out the window early on. *sighs*) Thea even has to defend herself in order to keep her seat in the class on the first day, by a technicality. There's even a scene where - after class - she gives Levi his underwear and watch that he left back at her place (he keeps the watch, tosses back his underwear for her to keep and she stuffs it in her purse and she curses her weakness to do that. Meh.)

The story starts off trading between the week of their sexytimes and the present day - which was jarring enough and mostly unnecessary because it doesn't really contribute to the main storyline. I think the aim of including the week of sexy times was to establish their rapport and connection, but it ended up making the read very tedious to get through for all that back and forth. It didn't help that the sexytimes were written with such static dialogue. It wasn't steamy or sexy or a turn-on, it felt really annoying.

Part of it was also narrative repetition. While my Kindle copy only counted the use of the word "slam" 25 times throughout the entire book (I previously wrote "bang" and it should've been "slam". I regret the error...and not being able to use a Ricky Martin reference there.), the fact it was in the first half of the book as often as it was during the sexy times was too much. I didn't really feel the connection between these two leads at all.

Ultimately, the story transitions to the present and we see Thea not only tangling with a prejudicial competitor (There's a white guy named Atticus in Thea's class who competes against her and says "Why's it always about race with you people?" and "African Americans are always the one to pull the race card." I just about threw my e-reader against the wall. Thea responds that she moved to the north - U.S. - to get away from "you people" to mock him, among other comments.) but also deal with another thread of story involving her relationship with Levi, her missing father, and her little sister.

Ultimately, as much as I saw potential to develop this storyline into something much fuller than what it offered - this was no "How to Get Away With Murder" as far as a smart, engaging, invested and developed storyline was concerned (and the narrative similarities, between the shadowing, the before/after exchanges, among other smaller details for me really took me out of the story). The narrative was drawn and tedious to get through, and I could barely pinch enough flesh for development from the characters between sexytimes, despite some very tough subjects (racial attitudes, sexual abuse, false incarceration).

In the end, it wasn't worth the time for me to read and I didn't care for it at all.

Overall score: 0.5/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.

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review 2015-01-19 07:53
The Untouchables by J.J Mcavoy Review
The Untouchables - J.J. McAvoy

The Untouchables
Ruthless People #2
Publication Date: January 22, 2015
Also in this series: The Untouchables

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One Secret. Multiple Casualties. Everything Melody Callahan has ever been told about her past is a lie. Her father lied. Her husband lied. But like all secrets…they come out. Not only is her mother, Aviela, alive but she won’t stop until she tears down everything Liam and Melody have spent the past year building.

With a new target on their back and the media now focused on their family as the Presidential election approaches, Liam and Melody must fight on two battlefronts. Melody is torn between being in love with Liam and wanting to kill him for lying to her. Being in love and showing love are two different things in her world. Liam wants to do anything to protect his family even if that means hurting the people he loves.

Family is everything… but what happens when they’re out for your blood? Everything they have been through is nothing compared to what is coming...

Warning: This book contains adult language and subject matter including graphic violence and explict sex that may be disturbing for some readers. This book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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Source: bibliophilicmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-untouchables-by-jj-mcavoy.html
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review 2015-01-02 14:08
Ruthless People Review
Ruthless People - J.J. McAvoy



"Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets the Sopranos..." To the outside world, they look like American Royalty, giving to charities, feeding the homeless, rebuilding the city. But behind closed doors is a constant battle for dominance between two Bosses, cultures, and hearts.

Ruthless People is a romantic crime fiction set in modern day Chicago, and follows the life and marriage of Melody Giovanni and Liam Callahan—rivals by blood and leaders through fear. Their marriage, arranged by their fathers in hopes to end years of bloodshed between the Irish and the Italians.

Liam believes he’s getting a simple-minded wife, one he can control, one who bends to his every need . . . the complete opposite of Melody. She knows exactly what type of man he is, and would rather die than give up the power she has spent her life building.

The Mafia of the past has evolved, and with rival bosses gunning for them, Melody and Liam will have to learn to work as one to take down those who stand in their way.

1 Marriage x 2 Bosses = 3x the Chaos


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Source: bibliophilicmadness.blogspot.com/2014/04/ruthless-people.html
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review 2014-08-10 18:19
How to Insult An Entire Country
Ruthless People - J.J. McAvoy

I have never felt so insulted in my entire life. J.J McAvoy's "novel" is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read and she has managed to successfully insult an entire country and culture.


Here's a tip for you all: if you want to write a popular Mafia book, do your fucking research. Do not, under any circumstance, make up bullshit to cover up the fact you have no clue what you're talking about and do not fucking use Google Translate to butcher a whole language. 


I haven't been this mad since... since ever, really.


A Little History Lesson As Aly Knows It:


1) The Italian and Irish Mafia have always been allies, never enemies, which makes the marriage between Liam and "Melody" (for an Italian Mafia Princess, that's a stupid name) entirely inplausible. If they married to make their alliance stronger, I would've believed it.


2) The Italian Mafia would never let a woman or a child train to murder. Not because women can't do it but because women and children are revered in Italy. Without women, there would be no children and without children there wouldn't be a family. Which makes Melody's training "from the age of seven" a load of bullshit.


3) Women stand by their husbands in the Mafia and get a say in what they do. It's not unpopular. You're putting at risk a family, so you might want to get the okay from your wife. In Italy, family is everything whether you're part of the Mafia or not.


4) A name means fuckall. It's utter rubbish that if you have a certain surname, the Mafia will come after you. My surname is a popular Italian surname, yet we're not part of the Mafia. So what fuckery is this?


5) The Mafia was never interested in drugs, which makes the "drug kingdom that started before time" another load of crap. It began with properties and land. They were staking a claim. It then moved on to alcohol during the abolishment of it in the 20s. Drugs only came into the picture in the late 50's/60's, when the young power-hungry men came to power.


6) They wouldn't shoot a pregnant woman because they felt like it. Are you fucking kidding me?


If You're Going to Write in Italian, Do it Right.


The fact that McAvoy completely destroyed the Italian language makes my blood boil. The fact that she used Google Translate to do so makes me even angrier. HOW did this get published and how on earth does it have so many 5 stars? I'm shocked that McAvoy didn't think this through, considering Italians will probably read this.


For example:


Il mia bambina dolce should be La mia dolce bambina (my sweet child, female)



You NEVER say "addio", you say "arrivederci" or "ciao" when saying goodbye. By saying "addio" you're accepting that you will never see that person again. 


Benvenuto abbordo should be Benvenuti a bordo. (Welcome aboard)


Sei in ottone, idioti maleducati, egoisti e cazzo, razza di mangiare, dormire, uccidere e gobba come cani! makes no fucking sense whatsoever. It's a bunch of insults thrown together that make no sense. "Sei in ottone" means "you're in hard metal"... what? "egoisti e cazzo" means "egoist and dick" so I have no idea what that means. "Gobba come cani"... food like dogs? What?


Voi tutti mi fai schifo is supposed to be Mi fate tutti schifo. (You all make me sick)


Questo libro mi fa schifo. This book makes me sick. Moving on:



Stop Sprouting Bullshit Like It's Going Out of Fashion:


This book is hilarious, purely because it tries so hard to be terrifying, yet it makes the characters look weak and childish. There's so many "fucks" used in the 60% I read that it made my eyes bleed. Constantly playing with their guns, stabbing and shooting each other, then having sex is like awfully done fanfiction... and there's a lot of awful fanfiction out there.


First of all, the Mafia (if they cared about not going to jail and/or dying) would never be in the centre of the public eye like Liam and Melody. This happened decades ago, but now? Now they're quiet and keep to themselves. Why? Because money can't buy anything.


Speaking of money, they wouldn't use credit cards like their lives depended on it. Hello? Money trails. The police would be all over you like a badly treated rash, for goodness sake. 


They wouldn't threaten the police, they wouldn't shoot random people in public because they felt like it. In fact, the Mafia are still standing today because they're somewhat intelligent... unlike Melody and Liam, who are so power hungry and naive, they should probably just sit down with a Monopoly set.


Also, the "no divorce" rule because Melody is Italian and Catholic is laughable. That law hasn't stood in decades, yet this book is written like it's supposed to be taking place in the 18th Century, not the 21st. 


This book is by far the most terrible pile of crap I have read this year.


The POS Characters


Liam is an asshole and Melody is a bitch. Usually, I don't mind a bitchy MC but there's an 'appealing' bitchy and then there's the 'stop fucking bitching before I high five you in the face with a shovel' bitching. Unfortunately, Melody falls in the latter category.


All she does is whine, shoot, stab, whine, creycrey, whine, shoot, stab, complain, swear, complaining, swear, whine, complaining, creycrey... you get the picture, right?


Liam, on the other hand, is a misogynistic POS who is looking for a good slap  on the face. Not only does he act like every woman should fall at his feet, but he also likes to promote rape culture by screaming stuff like:


He stopped for only a second to look me over, and the storm in his eyes raged worse than I had ever seen. "This is your one and only chance to tell me to stop."


Okay, first of all if a woman decides that no, she would not like your periwinkle in her vajyjay any more, you will stop screwing her. She doesn't get "just one chance" to say no, she can say no whenever the hell she likes, whether it be before or during the act. Okay? Cool.


Next point: 


"The moment the ink touched that fucking paper, you were mine. Mine to fuck. Mine to fucking command, and mine to put in your fucking place."


No, asshole. She is not "yours" and she is definitely not yours to do with how you please. She is a goddamn human being, with goddamn feelings, freedom of speech and human rights. She is not your pet. She is not your toy. You treat her with some damn respect, just like you want to be treated with respect.


Obviously, McAvoy has done 0 research in how marriage should be, too. Whether it be done for business or love, you treat your partner with respect at all times. Unless your contract states you're a sex slave or something, you have human rights and freedom of speech.


Melody and Liam spend more time beating each other up than trying to get to know each other... as they should be doing. It's not sexy, it's not hot. It's disgusting and you do not see this kind of shit in other Mafia books. Why the hell would you write something that goes against every human principle and moral? WHY?


Also they try so hard to be scary, but fail miserably. They're not scary, they're like annoying school kids trying to win the upper hand.


He was "Boogeyman of the East" and I was the unknown "Wicked Witch of the West".


I'm terrified.





Time for Sex? Nope, Time to Laugh!


Oh man. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at sex scenes that are meant to be "steamy". These are so awfully done, I found myself clutching my sides and howling instead of blushing and giggling like a schoolgirl... which I would prefer.


Here are some samplers:


I fucked her like she was a bitch in heat.



His dick was pointed right at me.



I felt my cock trying to detach itself.




And those are just samplers. The actual scenes are incredibly funny, what with the grunting, screaming, yelling, squishing... it couldn't get better, really. 


Word of advice. I once spoke to an author of erotica and I asked her how she managed to write such appealing scenes without sounding too OTT or funny. Her response was: "I read them out to my husband and if it turns him on, I know I did well."


Sounds stupid, but if you manage to make someone horny by reading your stuff, it works. If, however, 9 out of 10 people laugh, it's probably not a good sign.




Wherefore Art Though, Grammar?




It always shocks me when an author's grammar and spelling is awful. Mine isn't perfect, I know that, but at least I try to do my best. I edit and re-edit my work, I use spell check, I ask my friends to look at it... but when it's published work? I'm completely gobsmacked.


McAvoy's grammar in this book is eye-burning.


"It's nonnegotiable"



"He's going sign and he's going accept I'm not normal"



"I knew needed"



"Try not hold their faces underwater"



"Where their brothers where"



"'LIam," said arching toward me"



Need I go on? I wouldn't complain if it happened once in a while, but we're talking every single page. And in every single page, it happens once, twice and even three times. This obviously has not been edited. At all.




The Treatment of Women



Is bloody disgusting. Reading this, you'd think women couldn't bloody vote. Liam and Melody continuously put down and slut shame other women because of their looks, their sexuality and how they spent their money. Again, I think they don't know what freedom of speech and human rights are.


"You are a floozy, a manky, a whore, a woman of no importance or brains with nothing to note but a good ass and a deep throat."



"She pouted and it was ugly. Most of her facial expressions were ugly, but I didn't keep her around for her face, or her brain for that matter."



"Ugly people didn't have to stay ugly forever."



*rolls eyes*





0 stars. Safe to say, I won't be recommending this to any of my friends.


Final Notes: I am Italian, born and bred. I moved to England when I was 10/11 and taught myself how to read, write and speak English. I think I've done a pretty good job and this book not only insulted me as an Italian, but it also insulted my intelligence. McAvoy should have done her research.


Fuck this book.





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