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review 2017-11-18 17:53
"Snowblind - Dark Iceland #1" by Ragnar Jonasson
Snowblind (Dark Iceland) - Quentin Bates,Ragnar Jónasson

I must be missing something here. "Snowblind" attracts lots of four and five-star reviews and is the first book in the best-selling "Dark Iceland" quintet, yet I found it fundamentally unsatisfying.

I'm told the language is poetic. I can see that it's trying to be. I quite liked the way in which Jonasson expresses the soft oppression of never-ending snow in phrases like

    "The freezing darkness swallowed him up."

and

    "He had tried to listen to classical music to drown out the deafening silence of the incessant snowfall, but it was as if the music magnified the gloom."

It works but it's not exceptional.

I'm familiar with snow and deep cold and the claustrophobia that living beneath a mountain can bring. They're well captured here but not well enough to sustain the book.

The plot stretches my willingness to suspend disbelief and the way in which our young policeman unravelled the secrets seemed to me too hard to swallow. The man isn't just intuitive, he's psychic.

I think the heart of my dissatisfaction with this book is the policeman Ari Thor. I could not find a reason to care for him. He seems an empty man. He starts many things but finishes none. He ties himself in knots about integrity and gets indignant about love and yet is too weak to live to either standard. I know he's young but if he's that callow, where's the interest?

If you fancy a Miss Marple in the snow, set around an Icelandic village drama society rather than an English one and with modern accents, local colour and the occasional stab at the lyrical, then this is the book for you.

I'm sure it would make great television. All the moody camera work and mournful atonal music could fill the gaps where the rest of the novel should be.

I had a similar reaction to Ann Cleaves' "Raven Black" and that made great television and has a huge fan base so perhaps I'm just not equipped to savour this kind of book.

I don't think that's going to change so I'll pass on the rest of the "Dark Iceland" quintet.

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text 2017-11-18 15:44
Semi-hilarious update to "oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck"

 

Link to original

 

First of all, I did learn that it was apparently the community media operation that created the messed-up advertisement, although they may have had direction -- including text -- from a member of our group.  That remains to be seen.

 

Second, there's some background to this that I chose not to include, but that has now become mildly amusing.

 

Before each of our events, I compose and send out an email invitation to our "supporters."  These are people who sign up at an event, leaving their name and email address, saying that they wish to be notified of future events.  I've done this for four or five years now, and the list has grown to the point that I have to send the notice out over the course of a day if I don't want Yahoo to shut my account down for spamming!

 

At our last membership meeting earlier this month, I was asked by the president of the group if I would send a copy of the invitation to the membership as well.  I think part of her reason for this was because she didn't trust that I was actually sending it out, or maybe I'm just paranoid.  Anyway, I dutifully sent it out to the membership last week -- a week earlier than it goes to the list.  I received a couple of nice responses, thanking me for doing this volunteer task and complimenting me on how well the text was written.  (No typos, for one thing.)

 

One member, however, chose to criticize me on two points.  One issue was a judgment call; I explained to her why I chose the option I did.  Hardly arguable, since the underlying facts were correct, as she had acknowledged.  The other issue was not arguable at all, since the underlying facts were what she herself had provided.  So I just laughed it off.

 

But when the "oh fuck" item showed up, with all its errors, and the question became does anyone even recognize them -- or care -- I just rolled my eyes and engaged in a lot of swearing.  Then came the chuckle.

 

Last night I received another little "thank you" note from another member of the group.  She addressed me as "Laura."

 

Conclusion -- They don't even know enough to care if they wanted to.

 

Dunning-Kruger rides again!!

 

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review 2017-11-12 22:28
Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!
Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can't tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn't try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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review 2017-11-11 22:25
Power Play (Scoring Chances, #3) by Avon Gale 5 Star Review!
Power Play - Avon Gale

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

 

After spending years guilt-ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

 

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

 

Review

 

So, I am loving Avon Gale. She is really pitch perfect in this series so far. We get fully realized characters, hockey, great love stories, and human complexity with no false drama. Sexy as hell as well.

 

I read the blurb to this book and I think. Hmmm. Its going to be angsty bleh but it is not. It is wonderful.

 

Misha and Max. Agghhh. Great opposites attract with Max as sunny hero and Misha as dour. They love each other so. And I want every joy for them.

 

Misha is grrrr sexy and tortured but he is also a grown ass man who handles his business and is emotionally available.

 

Mas is thoughtful and resilient. I want to go re read this finely writing romance right now.

 

A comfort read for years to come!

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review 2017-10-21 17:24
Slow Heat by Leta Blake Review
Slow Heat - Leta Blake

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he's long since given up hope that he'll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He's fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can't be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha--as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn't sure it's worth it. But Jason isn't giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This is a stand alone gay romance novel, 118,000 words, with a strong happy ending, as well as a well-crafted, non-shifter omegaverse, with alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. Content warning for pregnancy loss and aftermath.

 

Review

 

Leta Blake is a very good writer and this is a compelling world that she has built.

The heroes are a fascinating. The fated mated troupe is examined with care as is the aspects of age difference, fertility, and gender.

There are no women but this book is a lot of about women's rights or really the truth of being in the body that gives birth.

It is a heart breaking book but you will be believe in the HEA.

Why it is not a higher rated book for me is that I wanted more of the love story and some of the body issues of men giving birth just ... bleh. lol And I couldn't settle in with the tone of the book but I can see someone else really loving it.

 

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