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review 2017-06-02 23:04
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) (Audiobook)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

This is a tricky one, since there are two different plots going on here, as well as all the background set up on the protags. Plot 1 with the financial scandals going on in Sweden was of little interest to me. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it bookended the book, so it was slow to start and then the ending just kind of dragged on way past where it should have ended. Plot 2 concerns a missing niece and a 30-year old mystery of what happened to her. That part took up the bulk of the book and was easily the best part. It gets a little melodramatic,

because why stop at serial killings when you can add incest and child molestation,

(spoiler show)

 but overall was well-done. The only thing I didn't care much about it was that even this was shuffled around the various personal happenings in Blomkvist's love life and professional life, and there wasn't much opportunity for the reader to try to figure things out separate from the characters in the book (though I had no doubt who the perp was after a certain point, then I was hanging around waiting for the characters to put the hows and whys together).

 

I did like Lisbeth Salander. She's awesome and you do NOT want to mess with her. :D

 

The narrator, Simon Vance, was easy to follow along with and had a good range of voices for the various characters. 

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review 2017-05-21 19:22
Chaser - DNF @ 11%
Chaser (Bad Habits Book 2) - Staci Hart

Poor little rich boy. "Innocent" little country girl. No chemistry. Bored now.

 

The writing itself isn't bad, and the characters aren't unlikable. I'm just not wooed by The Life of the Rich and Useless and most of the focus so far is on Connor.

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review 2017-05-12 20:23
Res Gestae by dreamlittleyo
Res Gestae - dreamlittleyo

An excellent spn fanfic that I had previously overlooked, beautifully written and quite touching in parts. I will say no more as I don't want to spoiler the plot.

Source: archiveofourown.org/series/7322
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review 2017-02-14 04:47
Voyager
Voyager - Davina Porter,Diana Gabaldon

Oh, Voyager. You get so many things right, but that one little thing...

 

I've said numerous times over this "reread" while I've listened to the audiobooks for the first time that one of the things Gabaldon does best is write fully realized characters, even third-tier characters, and she certainly continues to do that here. Her attention to detail, her descriptions, the way she lets the characters pop out of the page give them all life. It's really amazing.

 

And then there's Mr. Willoughby, or make that Yi Tien Cho, a Chinese refugee stowaway who landed in Scotland and was taken in by Jamie. First, I need to acknowledge that none of these characters are perfect. Even Claire, who comes from the more contemporary 1940s-1960s, has her prejudices and she doesn't even come close to how close-minded and insular everyone else is once we get back to the 1700s. So Cho's pure hatred of the white men isn't what bothers me. No, it's that he's a walking stereotype of all the worst things you can imagine about the Chinese. Even when I was reading this for the first time in my relatively clueless late-teens, Cho made me uncomfortable. Now, I was gritting my teeth nearly every time he was on the page. It was grating. There was not one redeeming trait to him, and to make it worse, he's the only Chinese character in either of these series - in fact, the only Asian character, which makes his representation even more troubling. So I'm glad he's only in this book and none of the others. And all because Gabaldon needed a way for Jamie, with his severe seasickness, to survive the crossing of the Atlantic. Because all Chinese know acupuncture, don't you know. *sigh*

 

But onto the good things, mostly John Grey. <3 I decided to experiment with this listen and do something I've been planning to do for years, and that's read Voyager and the Lord John Grey books in chronological order. While I don't think I'll ever do that again, it was still a fun way to experience the stories and get in John's adventures alongside Claire's and Jamie's. I just love John and I hope Gabaldon plans to write more of his adventures, especially since I'm not planning to read any more Outlander books. Voyager will even be the last one that I reread since I didn't really enjoy the others that came after this.

Though I may just have to reread William falling into the privy in the next book some day. That scene is golden. Willie is just a prat and totally deserving of that fate. :D

(spoiler show)

The cast for those have just gotten too huge, the focus has moved away too much from Claire and Jamie, and they just refuse to end. Plus, all the rape. What is Gabaldon's obsession with rape? And while there's no on-page in this book for a change, we still have to hear about

poor Young Ian's recount of his rape by Gellie Duncan.

(spoiler show)

 

Other good things: the reunion between Claire and Jamie was great, and getting to see the Murrays again, even if just briefly, was fun. Fergus is all grown up and not yet a lazy drunk. Spending so much time on the Atlantic crossing could've been dull as hell, but Gabaldon keeps the tension up wonderfully with several adventures - though I do have to say this is the point where all these characters randomly running into each other gets a bit eye roll inducing. It's one thing when they're all confined to Great Britain because that's a tiny little island (sorry, my British friends, but it is), but when they're shipwrecking onto random islands and whatnot, I think it's okay to have them run into people they don't know in any capacity. 

 

And I do have to say, I prefer my Loa to come in the form of a hamburger-shaped drive-thru speaker than I do a creepy possessed mentally unstable white woman. Because problematic ableist tropes aside, who doesn't want their drive-thru speaker to also give them cryptic messages about the future?

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review 2016-12-26 10:22
Fun, Thrilling and Captivating
Empty Places - S A Laybourn

Empty Places was such a fun, thrilling, and captivating story I read it more or less in one sitting, something which came as a very pleasant surprise.

 

One of the reasons I rarely read m/f these days, especially suspense, is because all too often the female lead can only be described as ‘too stupid to live’. And, if I’m honest I have to admit that the blurb worried me somewhat. Threatening phone calls leave lots of scope for less than advisable behaviour. Thankfully Ellie Freeman did not live up to the stereotype. She does everything right; contacts the authorities, keeps a record of the threats made against her, and even accepts a gun although she hates the things. None of which saves her from the inevitable, of course.

 

In fact, this story kept on surprising me in that it managed to avoid being predictable completely. For starters, while the leader of the cult taking Ellie captive was every bit as creepy and crazy as you’d expect such a character to be, most of the other people Ellie interacts with there were no such thing. I liked that even now that I’ve finished the book I still can’t decide whether Ellie or Duncan was the stronger character; the fact that they both had their strengths and their weaknesses made them truly relatable.

 

If I do have an ‘issue’ with this story it is that Ellie, for me at least, gave in too easily in the end.  I won’t say anything else since I don’t believe in spoilers, but personally I’d have let him suffer for at least a short while.

 

What struck me most about this book though is how exquisite the writing was. The sentences flow, the balance between thought, action, and description was just about perfect and the story read so smoothly I was surprised to have reached the end when I did. The author transported me first to that desert and then to the mountains. I suffered in the blistering heat, enjoyed the cooling rain, and could see the desolation.

 

Long story short: if you want to read a very well written, thrilling, sexy, and thoroughly entertaining m/f romance, look no further. Empty Places won’t disappoint!

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