October 15th, 2014

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

A couple of days back, I finished reading Osprey Elite #154: Vietnam Airmobile Warfare Tactics, which I found somewhat interesting. A new technology, intended to change warfare, but perhaps not quite so powerful as was hoped. In any case, the book gives a viewpoint of how this affected the planning and combat of the Vietnam War.
miranda_colour

#68-71

#68 Ken Follett "A Dangerous Fortune" (audible)
One very hot sunny day, several boys in a boarding school defy the rector's prohibition and go for a swim. What happens on that day will have haunt them for years and will only be resolved much later. A completely engrossing book with wonderful characters - the types you can love or hate, but cannot remain cold. I've really enjoyed it.

#69 Priscilla Royal: Sorrow Without End: A Medieval Mystery #3
Another good mystery with prioress Eleanor and father Thomas. The doubts both of them are suffering make the plot nicely three-dimensional.

#70 Rosalind James: Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand)
I normally don't read chick-lit. Picked that one up, because it was about New Zealand. I guess, it is not a bad example of its genre, but it is the genre itself which does nothing but annoy me. The heroine is used to taking care of herself and not trusting anybody else to do it. The guy she meets is on the contrary inclined to take care of everything. She continuously snubs him, and he always patiently comes back, because he is understanding. I guess, an infinitely understanding rich and famous All Blacks captain is every girl's dream, but I just could not manage to suspend my disbelief.

#71 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: "Purple Hibiscus"
I don't think I would ever buy this book. Picked it up at an exchange. Immensely powerful and deeply disturbing. The story told by a Nigerian girl, whose father is a very religious person, and manages to combine helping others (orphanages, schools, hospitals, people from his home village) with unbelievable cruelty to his own family. The extent of the cruelty does not become apparent immediately and what is even more horrible is the Stockholm syndrome, which the family members seem to have developed. For example, the wife keeps praising her husband for not exchanging her for a younger, more fertile woman, omitting to mention, the many babies she had lost because of the beating he has given her.
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Book 89

Firelight (Darkest London, #1)Firelight by Kristen Callihan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was SO hard for me to review. First off, looking at the blurb I thought it was a paranormal mystery with maybe some romance. I totally missed it had won romance awards. I am completely the wrong audience for this. I did win this from Goodreads in return for a review which does not influence my review. Honestly some parts of this were good and other parts were so very bad. (and some I didn't like because again, not a romance reader) I averaged them together for the three stars and that might be generous because the stuff I didn't like the most I felt were things that were deeply flawed. (consider this your spoiler warning)

And one of those deeply flawed passages was the opening chapter. We have Lord Benjamin Archer, freshly returned to Edwardian (or late Victorian, it's hard to tell) London. He is a cursed man hiding behind a mask and in fact we won't learn the true nature of the curse until nearly the end but that is neither here nor there. He sees two young men sparring in the street (because that's what street kids do, spar with swords) and naturally one is a teenaged girl (because any more we can't have strong women acting like women of their time. It's become a cliche at this point). I could handle that but at one point she's set upon by thugs and he does sort of come to her rescue and she holds him up at knife point and feels him up for weapons, and I do mean feels him up. What teenaged girl is going to do this to a masked ominous stranger? Especially in the late 1800s? And he has a massive hard on that we have to hear about in great detail to the point Archer feels like a sexual predator.

Cut to the next scene a few years down the road where sword-girl, Miranda, is now robbing jewelry stores with the awesome power of corseted boobs and her absolute beauty (of course she's beautiful, it's a romance). And at this point, the only reason I haven't given up is when I win a Goodreads giveaway I really DO think it's only fair I read the whole thing. But we quickly learn, Miranda's scumbag dad who had her stealing has found a way to deal with his debts. She's going to marry Lord Archer, the very next day. And she has no say in this because she is a fire starter and burned down her dad's place of business causing this ruin. Yes, I did say firestarter (which will become the least used paranormal ability ever because seriously it comes up twice in the whole thing but she angsts about it always).

Miranda marries Archer. No one seems to think this is odd. A quickie marriage in the late 1800s to a lord. Yes, Archer is considered a freakshow to be feared but still, the tonne don't seem to think anything of this. A close-knit wealthy society and no one says boo about him marrying someone who was at best one-time middle classed and at worse is now a thief (and oddly her sister is married to the policeman who is working the mystery in this).

Now what DID work for me was the murders of Archer's friends that all hook back into the West Moon Club and whatever it was they did that left him cursed. I did really like that and the author does a good job of describing that. Miranda does at least have a good backbone. Archer is your typical alpha male in romances (for me that equates to jack off. This is why I don't read romances. Alpha males. I have the urge to throat punch them).

What didn't work for me because again, romance, was the insta-love. Yes, yes I know people swear it can exist. Not in my life and the few times I've seen it, it was usually insta-divorce in a year or so. I accept it as part of romance but I don't like it. I didn't figure that into my review because that's a me thing and not a reflection of the author. But on the other hand, I don't think she gave us a solid reason that Archer and Miranda are so in love. They don't even trust each other. She never tells him she's a fire starter. He doesn't tell her the whole curse. Neither shares until the very end when her ability becomes a MacGuffin for stopping the immortal villain of the piece. And they don't have sex at all until nearly the end (because of his curse and him not wanting her to see him).

Anyhow, several elderly wealthy men are dead and Archer is being framed, though not particularly effectively. They were all his friends (but we're kept in the dark as to just how old they are so the secrets of the West Moon club can be kept for the last quarter of the book. I found that interesting. I liked McKinnon who is so very obviously a werewolf (though it is never shown). I was never sure really what he was up to because, I hate to say it, the secondary characters aren't as well drawn as Miranda and Archer.

The ending was fairly good. This seems like it might be a series. I'm not sure where you go from here other than a) McKinnon is a werewolf and b) we have a firestarter Lady now so I guess they could at least be secondary characters.

Now the scene that nearly stopped me cold and almost earned this a DNF tag (which I don't even have since I don't waste time reviewing books I don't finish) was a scene where Archer is fighting the villain and Miranda follows him (keeping in mind he has no idea she can start fires) The villain escapes and Archer doesn't give chase because it's too early in the novel to catch him he wants to be sure Miranda is all right.

She provokes him into losing his infamous temper and really it didn't seem like she did. She teased him about not punishing her at which point he tosses her against the wall and decides her punishment will be to be treated like a cheap whore. Keep in mind they've not had sex. He wouldn't know if she's a virgin or not but it would be a reasonable assumption given the time period. He proceeds to finger her to climax and I'm not sure if this is supposed to be hot to the reader but it was a complete creep-fest to me. Miranda isn't complaining about it (though she does feel a little humiliated later when she realizes they are in a freaking public alleyway). She seems to enjoy it.

Afterward we find out he's been seriously injured. So not only do we have this dubious consent thing going on, he should be bleeding everywhere. Yeah yeah he always wears black but you can smell blood. She doesn't notice this?

Another thing that bothered me but not nearly as much as that was that Miranda is forced into using her flames to protect herself. In public. People know who she is. NO ONE says a word to the cops and it is never brought up again other than her angsting about it. She fried a man like Sunday's roast and gets away with it.

I will say that is it well written but it was simply not my sort of thing.



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