Monthly Archives: February 2016

Review of In the Middle of Somewhere, by Roan Parrish

In the Middle of SomewhereI bought a copy of In the Middle of Somewhere, by Roan Parrish.

Description from Goodreads:
Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

This was one of those novels in which I adored some of it and was annoyed by other bits. And some of both features are personal and subjective. I love the whole gentle giant trope and that definitely defines Rex. But I hate when characters start throwing around “baby” this and “sweetheart” that as soon as they have sex. I liked that the characters had such visceral reactions to one another, but couldn’t really get down with the insta-lust.

Contradictorily, I love that the book was a good solid, long read but it felt a little overly long at times. I like a hot sex scene and there are some smoldering ones here, but I thought there were more than I needed. I liked that both characters had issues and problems, but I also sensed that some of the past traumas felt like throw-aways, tossed out for an interesting emotional punch but serving very little real purpose in the plot. It was like the author tried to get too much in.

I loved the language and writing here, but the repetition of stock phrases really got on my nerves. I liked and could relate to a lot of Daniel’s grad school/university experiences but also thought it read like a lecture on working for a university at times.

So, as you can see, I’m torn about how I feel about In the Middle of Somewhere, but when it comes right down to it I liked Rex and Daniel, as well as the side characters, and I’d be interested in reading the sequel(s).

Review of Lady Lazarus, by Michele Lang

Lady LazarusI borrowed Lady Lazarus, by Michelle Lang, from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Descended from the legendary witch of Ein Dor, she alone holds the power to summon the angel Raziel and stop Hitler and his supernatural minions from unleashing total war in Europe. The Nazis have fighters more fearsome than soldiers, weapons more terrifying than missiles, and allies that even they are afraid of SS werewolves; the demon Asmodel who possesses a willing Adolf Hitler, and other supernatural creatures all are literally hell-bent on preventing Magda from possessing the Book of Raziel, a magical text with the power to turn the tide against Hitler’s vast war machine.

Magda, young and rebellious, grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Budapest, unaware of her family’s heritage. When her mother dies, Magda–ready or not–is the Lazarus, who must face the evil that holds Europe in an iron grip. Unready to assume the mantle of her ancient birthright, but knowing that she must fight, she sets out across Europe searching for the Book. Magda is desperate enough to endanger her soul by summoning the avenging angel Raziel.  When she sees him in the glory of his celestial presence, her heart is utterly, completely lost..

There was so much to like about this book, the Jewish heroine, the platonic love between Magda and her angel (at least in the period of the book), the difficulty of the angels’ task, the best friend who I decided was her lover, the cyclone-like battles between good and evil that feel like the centre of the world only until you remember the big bad is still lurking out there waiting to pounce (reminding the reader about the importance of perspective), some of the writing (all is pretty good, but some passages really wow), and Magda’s genuine and undeniable growth as a character. There is a lot to appreciate. But there was just as much that bothered me personally.

I got tired of Magda being clueless of everything. Why, oh why, are heroines always ignorant of themselves, their power, their ability, their strengths? I am just tire, TIRED of this being the kernel at the centre of just about every book I read that has a female lead. Why?

I thought the book dragged in places. The reader spends a lot of time in Magda’s head or traveling. After being clueless and not knowing what to do Magda always seemed to defeat her enemy with ease and I was never entirely sure how she managed it. This feeling of ho-hum another one done is only exasperated by the fact that the book ends on the eve of Hitler’s attack on Poland, so the whole thing kind of wraps up where I thought it was going to begin. And lastly, I thought there were an uncomfortable number of characters that showed up when needed and then just disappeared again.

So, I’m about balanced between those things I really liked and those things that annoyed me.

Review Trailer Park Fae (Gallow and Ragged #1), by Lilith Saintcrow

Trailer Park FaeI borrowed Trailer Park Fae (by Lilith Saintcrow) from my library, mostly just because of the cover is so pretty.

Description from Goodreads:
Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that’s the way he likes it. He’s left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae—by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer’s Court is breaking loose.

So, this was not what I expected. I was expecting a light urban fantasy. It was, instead, a fairly dark read, which to be fair is kind of the more traditional Sidhe kind of story.

I’d still have been cool with a dark tale, though. I like gritty things. But this was just so darned slow. I mean, things happened. People died. There was a whole coup even. But it was all narrated in such a plodding, overly verbose, flowery, ho-hum kind of way that it felt dull. Plus, I wasn’t really feeling the lack of pay-off in the end. I liked the characters and it’s an interesting plot, so I can’t say I didn’t like the book. But I’n not sad to be finished with it either.