What I’ve Read – March 2015

Light Boxes – Shane Jones (Library book)

February is persecuting the townspeople. It has been winter for more than three hundred days. All forms of flight are banned and the children have started to disappear, taken from their beds in the middle of the night. The priests hang ominous sheets of parchment on the trees, signed ‘February’. And somewhere on the outskirts of the town lives February himself, with the girl who smells of honey and smoke…

This is a strange little book, that does read like a fairy take and I keep thinking about it. I wonder if Shane Jones has SAD because some of it felt like he was describing how I feel in winter.

 This Is What Happy Looks Like – Jennifer E. Smith (Kindle TBR List)

When 17-year-old Graham Larkin sends an email to a friend about his pet pig, Wilbur, the last thing he expects is a response from the other side of the country, from one Ellie O’Neill. As their online friendship blossoms, they begin to reveal more about themselves but crucially leave out the truth about Ellie’s past and Graham’s career as a Hollywood heartthrob. And when a new location needs to be found for Graham’s next film, he jumps at the chance to visit Ellie’s hometown, Henley, Maine.

And highjinks ensue. This has been sitting in my TBR list and I finally got around to it. I liked it, it was lovely that the relationship didn’t solve everything that was wrong in either of the lead character’s lives and that the adults where flawed but not evil or neglectful. Just a lovely, gentle book.

Rock Hard – Nalini Singh (Bought)

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

I tried to resist I really did, but in the end I couldn’t and I spent £2.49 and had a couple of hours of escapism from Nalini Singh and it was worth it. I can see all the flaws in Singh’s books, but frankly I don’t care, it was fun and in the middle of this month I needed fun and some reading ‘crack’, it made all the bad of that work week go away and it was worth it!

Golden Son – Pierce Brown (Library Book)

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

Words cannot describe how much the end of this book did for me. Talk about a cliff hanger, I’m going to have to wait at least 10 months for the next one, I really enjoyed the book, there’s a lot going on but I liked Darrow coming into himself, beginning to understand not only what he had to do but how to change that mission into something better, even though the ending killed me. I what to know more about the world, especially the Osidians. I’ve seen Red Rising and Golden Son shelved in the YA and the Sci-Fi sections of the library, it’s pretty gory though so for older readers.

Rocky Mountain Heat – Vivian Arend (Kindle TBR list)

This was free and my feelings about it are best described as ‘huh’. So it’s the start of a series and Barter Books would shelve it under ‘spicy books’ rather than straight romance. So here are my issues with the book.

1) It feels like the start of a series. There are six brothers (in romanceland, they have big families ’cause sequel bait). Other than our hero, this book is setting up the next ones so we’re introduced to all the brothers, one has a secret (I would say gay or maybe sub), one can’t have kids due to mumps, one has a problem girlfriend that no one else likes, the twins like menage.

2) The heroine. She’s 21, the hero is 10 years older. The heroine has spent 3 years doing college courses to prepare her for the role of ‘ranchers wife’ because she’s been in love with hero for years and all she wants is to be married to the hero and be a ranchers wife. She didn’t get a college degree. I have no issue with women (or men for that matter) staying at home and being housewives if that’s what is best for them and their families. I’m a feminist and the core of that is being able to make a choice. However, at 21 this fictional person has decided that being married to the hero is all she wants and she has been making all her life choices based on a man picking her, this is no way to make a choice. All of this has been done with the encouragement of his parents, which is squicky. She is so caught up with this guy, she’s still a virgin…which leads me to issue 3

3) The unprotected sex, dear God, the unprotected sex. Apparently, it’s his way (subconsciously) of staking a claim (which is just disgusting, women are not things to be claimed with the application of sperm). Our heroine is offended by the idea that a baby would be a mistake, should she get pregnant with all the unprotected sex. Now I come from a family of very fertile woman, neither my brother or I were planned babies, my mother’s aunt (who went on to have 13 children) got pregnant the very first time she had sex. In my world, unexpected pregnancy is not a unusual or terrible thing, God knows, accidents happen, contraception fails, we can all get a bit carried away but that amount of carelessness? No, no, no…

4) Where the hell are the heroine’s parents? They live nearby, the whole basis of the plot is that heroine as an only child was always over with the hero’s family. Apparently because they’re introverts, they don’t only not understand her need for a big family, they don’t sit that girl down and have a talk about what the hell she’s doing with her life.

5) The HEA is a 21 year old, pregnant and married to a man 10 years older than her. I just see divorce in the future. I am aware that I read NA books with heroines the same age but they feel like themselves, who happened to meet someone young, not like someone who had no thoughts or ideas outside of being a wife to this person…

The Shadow Cabinet – Maureen Johnson (Library Book)

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory’s life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It’s only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death. With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found – as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. Old friends and new are drawn into the effort. And Rory must come to understand the mystery of the Shadow Cabinet, which holds the key to everything.

I really liked ‘The Name of the Star’ and ‘The Madness Underneath’ and I really liked this one, which I thought was going to be the last. H who read it with with me tells me it’s a five book series, which on one hand, annoying and on the other bloody good job too, there are far to many loose ends to tie up. What are Sid and Sadie up too? H really liked it, her one thing was that Rory keeps explaining stuff, she (H) already knows. H is a Londoner (despite being born in Paris) and has a godmother and a granddad that are Londoners and have sort of made it their mission to make sure that she and her siblings know about London. So there explanations in the book that H and I just know; what The Knowledge is and that it makes your brain larger, what and where the Serpentine is and so on. I didn’t think that the information was info-dumped into the story and Rory is American so it makes sense that this stuff is new to her, also this west Londoner quite liked the stuff about Highgate because it’s not my old ruined cemetary of choice (that would be Brompton) I really liked that Rory isn’t just dealing with the strangeness of the events happening around her but also just England and it’s differences from the US

England is strange in many ways, and one of those ways is that they leave things like Stonehenge sitting at the side of the road. I think I expected something more like Disneyland, with all kings of buildings nearby, and maybe a waterslide called Druid Dunk or something. Maybe I thought it would be larger, or behind a wall. No. It was just there, in the field. It wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. Several of the stones had fallen over, so really, it was just a pile of rocks. Important rocks, to be sure. England loves important rocks.

I’m sort of annoyed that I have to wait for another two books (but not as annoyed as H is!) but I’m keen to see what she’s going to do with it.  Finally, just one tiny thing but black cabs don’t have 2 seats in the front, you can’t sit up with the driver (yes it was in Hades an practically a dream sequence but I’m a stickler for stuff like that (brother’s a cab driver)

Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill (Library E-Book)

freida and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men.

The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril.

And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known..

This book recently won The YA Book Prize. I can absolutely see why it appealed to the judges. It was a nasty book, O’Neill has taken all of the most toxic things about being a girl/woman and made them the only things girls should be in her world. Girls should be thin, pretty, they shouldn’t think too hard, they shouldn’t be ‘hysterical’, they should do as they are told, they should have sons, they only exist to please men. Girls or eves don’t have capitalized names because they aren’t worthy of them. The world in the book is one where 40 is ancient, in girls, where 4 year olds are trained to be like this until they are 16 and chosen either as companions, concubines or chastities (used to teach the eves). It’s a toxic world and freida is not a nice person although this is perfectly understandable given what she’s been taught. What I can’t understand is why she and isabel where friends and what I wanted is to see more of isabel and freida’s friendship and know more about what is going on with isabel. At the end of the book, we find out why isabel is putting on weight and what has been going on, but I wish that we had seen more than freida’s very warped, self centred and insecure pov. This is not a book with a happy ending either. My experience of reading it is a lot like when I read Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, I can’t say I enjoyed it but I couldn’t stop reading it and I know I’ll be thinking about it for a while.

Deep -Kylie Scott (Bought)

After reading Only Ever Yours last month, I wanted something cheerful, easy and happy. This absolutely hit the bill, in terms of ridiculous HEA New Adult romance.

Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins’ ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben’s the only man she’s ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn’t looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She’s his best friend’s little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he’s not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he’s always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible . . . but will it lead to a connection of the heart?

It was silly, it’s total fantasy, wish fulfilment but it still has little things like this….

…”Still, kinda pissed you came in here, though.”

What a silly statement. I gave him both brows up and Oh really in the eyes. Start out as you mean to go on and all that. Because at no stage would I be answering to the man for where I went and what I did. Trust and respect, etcetera.

which makes me happy. Because wish fulfilment is one thing but strong minded heroines that understand the difference between ‘what I want’ and ‘what he wants’ are good. H read the last one and I’m pretty sure she’ll be reading this soon. I’m still not comfortable with her reading it but at least the heroines aren’t doormats (Twilight, I’m looking at you!). However, it was perfect, something I didn’t have to think about that wasn’t going to make me heave. And given my issues with Rocky Mountain Heat, I don’t know why this didn’t make me heave but you know I’m complicated like that.

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About nicdempsey

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One Response to What I’ve Read – March 2015

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Read – April 2015 | Nic Dempsey

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