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Book Review: The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (Bottom of the TBR Pile Challenge)

A bowl of fruit on a black background. A purple stripe across the bottom contains the book's title written in white.Summary:
It’s the 1960s in Canada, and Marian McAlpin is working writing and analyzing surveys for a marketing research firm.  She has a feminist roommate she doesn’t quite understand, and hangs out with the three office virgins for lunch.  Her boyfriend is comfortable and familiar. When he proposes to her, the office virgins think she’s hit the jackpot, her roommate questions why she’s following the norm, and her married and very pregnant friend seems hesitant about her fiancee.  None of this really bothers Marian, though.  What does bother her is that, ever since her engagement, there are more and more things she simply can’t eat.  First meat then eggs then even vegetables! She thinks of herself causing them suffering, and she just can’t stomach them.  What will happen to her if there’s eventually nothing left for her to eat?

Review:
I’m a fan of a few Margaret Atwood books, and the concept of this book intrigued me.  Since I run the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge, I was also wondering if this might actually be a new take on anorexia.  Unfortunately, Marian is not really anorexic, it’s more of an elaborate, overdone metaphor.  Perhaps the plot is simply dated, but the interesting concept, when fleshed-out, comes out rather ho-hum.

The novel is divided into three parts, with Marian using first-person narration for the first and third parts, with third person narration taking over for the second.  This is meant to demonstrate how Marian is losing herself and not feeling her own identity.  It’s an interesting writing device, and one of the things I enjoyed more in the book.  It certainly is jarring to suddenly go from first to third person when talking about the main character, and it sets the tone quite well.

It’s impossible to read this book and not feel the 1960s in it.  Marian is in a culture where women work but only until marriage, where women attending college is still seen as a waste by some, and where there is a small counter-cultural movement that seems odd to the mainstream characters and feels a bit like a caricature to the modern reader.  However, the fact that Marian feels so trapped in her engagement, which could certainly still be the case in the 1960s, doesn’t ring as true, given the people surrounding Marian.  Her roommate is counter-cultural, her three office friends claim to want a man but clearly aren’t afraid of aging alone and won’t settle.  Her married friend shares household and child rearing with her husband, at least 50/50.  It’s hard to empathize with Marian, when it seems that her trap is all of her own making in her own mind.  She kind of careens around like aimless, violent, driftwood, refusing to take any agency for herself, her situation, or how she lets her fiancee treat her.  It’s all puzzling and difficult to relate to.

The Marian-cannot-eat-plot is definitely not developed as anorexia.  Marian at first stops eating certain meats because she empathizes with the animals the meat came from.  As a vegetarian, I had trouble seeing this as a real problem and fully understood where Marian was coming from.  Eventually, she starts to perceive herself as causing pain when eating a dead plant, bread, etc… The book presents both empathizing with animals and plants as equally pathologic, which is certainly not true.  Marian’s affliction actually reminded me a bit of orthorexia nervosa (becoming unhealthily obsessed with healthy eating, source) but the book itself presents eliminating any food from your diet as pathologic.  Either Marian eats like everyone else or she is going off the deep-end.  There is no moderate in-between.

What the Marian-cannot-eat-plot is actually used for is as a metaphor for how Marian’s fiancee (or her relationship with him) is supposedly consuming her.  The more entwined with her fiancee she becomes in society’s eyes, the closer the wedding comes, the less Marian is able to consume, because she herself is being consumed.  This would be quite eloquent if Marian’s fiancee or her relationship with him was actually harmful or consuming, but it certainly does not come across that way in what we see of it in the book.

Marian presents herself to her boyfriend then fiancee as a mainstream person, and he treats her that way.  He does one thing that’s kind of off-the-rocker (crashes his car into a hedge) but so does she on the same night (runs away in the middle of dinner, across people’s backyards, for no apparent reason and hides under a bed while having drinks with three other people at a friend’s house).  The only thing that he does that could possibly be read as a bit cruel is when she dresses up for a party he states that he wishes she would dress that way more often.  It’s not a partner’s place to tell the other how they should dress, but it’s also ok to express when you like something your partner is wearing.  Personally I thought the fiancee really meant the latter but just struggled with appropriately expressing it, and Marian herself never expresses any wants or desires directly to him on how they interact, what they wear, what they eat, how they decorate, etc…, so how could he possibly know?  In addition to never expressing herself to her fiancee, Marian also cheats on him, so how exactly the fiancee ends up the one being demonized in the conclusion of the book is a bit beyond me.  He’s bad because he wanted to marry her? Okay…… The whole thing reads as a bit heavy-handed second-wave feminism to me, honestly.  Marriage seems to be presented in the book as something that consumes women, no matter if they choose it or are forced into it by society.  It is not presented as a valid choice if a woman is able, within her society and culture, to make her own choices.

In spite of these plot and character issues, the book is still an engaging read with an interesting writing style.  I was caught up in the story, even if I didn’t really like the ideas within it.

Overall, this is a well-written book with some interesting narrative voice choices that did not age well.  It is definitely a work of the 1960s with some second-wave feminism ideas that might not sit well with modern readers.  Recommended to those interested in in a literary take on second-wave feminism’s perception of marriage.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Better World Books

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Book Review: Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead (Series, #4) (Audiobook narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers)

December 25, 2013 4 comments

Read-headed pale woman standing seductively against a purplish-red backdrop.  The book title and author name are over her.Summary:
Georgina Kincaid, Seattle’s best succubus, has been a foul mood ever since her break-up with author mortal, Seth Mortensen.  Her demon boss, Jerome, has had enough of it and decides to outsource her to Vancouver for a job investigating a group of Canadian Satanists who are drawing the wrong type of attention to Hell.  But when Jerome is kidnapped and all the Seattle area hellions lose their powers at the same time as the Satanists do a stunt in Seattle, Georgina starts to wonder if the Satanist group are more than just an annoyance. Maybe they’re part of some bigger plot.  Oh, and also, she can now have sex with mortals without stealing any of their life force.  Very interesting indeed.

Review:
A tight, intricate plot that links back to the previous books, steamy sex scenes, and an ever-expanding cast of diversely entertaining characters make this entry in the Georgina Kincaid series a delight.

Georgina’s whinyness after her break-up with Seth could get on the reader’s nerves if it wasn’t for the fact that her own friends and colleagues eventually call her out on it.  Georgina is a well-rounded character with flaws, and being bad at break-ups is one of them.  This book sees her go through the stages of a break-up in an interesting way, from rebounding to whining to anger to finally trying to come to terms with it and remain friends with Seth.  The fact that Georgina then gets the ability to have sex with Seth without stealing his life force is a serious temptation.  How she and Seth respond might rub some readers the wrong way, but Mead presents it in a very I understand how this could happen way.  What happens makes sense within the context both of the story and of who Georgina and Seth are as characters.  How they go on to deal with the consequences is also realistic.  People don’t get away with things without consequences in Mead’s world, but they also aren’t perfect.  Mead strikes the balance well.

The plot is complex and yet is a different problem from the previous books.  Taking away powers and having the most powerful demon in Seattle gives the characters an interesting problem to address.  Additionally, having Georgina travel to close-by Canada provides some great scenery changes, as well as some good laughs at the expense of the inept Satanist group.

The sex scenes range from brief one-offs with random men for feeding to unfulfilling sex with her bad-hearted rebound boyfriend to guilt-inducing passionate love-making with Seth.  Some of the sex scenes are steamy, others a bit dull, and others heart-wrenching.  It’s a realistic variety, although the reader does have to wait a while for the most passionate scenes.

One thing that bothered me a bit is that Georgina gets slut-shamed some for one of her brief hook-up choices.  Yes, she makes the choice out of her heartbreak, but it’s her body her choice, and I don’t like that even a succubus, apparently, can get slut shamed.  I also have to admit that I had figured out the final plot twist long before it happened, so although the plot is a bit complex, the big bad is predictable.

The overarching plot of the whole series, however, continues to grow in unexpected ways.  I finished the book intrigued to continue on immediately to the next entry.

The audiobook narrator brings Georgina to life quite willingly, although she does pronounce a couple words, such as “panang,” rather oddly.  However, she brings a perfect flow to the story.  She also reads the sex scenes beautifully.

Overall, this is an engaging and rewarding entry in the series.  Fans will welcome the new plot, variety of sex scenes, and growth of the overarching series plot.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Audible

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Previous Books in Series:
Succubus Blues, review
Succubus On Top, review
Succubus Dreams, review

Counts For:
Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2013 Badge

Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (Audiobook narrated by Steven Boyer) (Series, #2)

April 11, 2013 3 comments

Black silhouette of birds and trees against a moon and a red background with a face just discernible in it.Summary:
Will Henry, 12 year old orphan and assistant to renowned Monstrumologist, Pellinore Warthrop, is shocked to find a refined woman on Warthrop’s doorstep.  She is the wife of Warthrop’s best friend who has now gone missing in rural Canada while looking for the elusive wendigo (aka werewolf).  Warthrop insists that there is no such thing as a wendigo, but he agrees to go looking for his missing friend anyway, even if he believes his mission was ridiculous and an affront to monstrumology’s reputation.

Review:
I can’t believe it took me this long to get to the sequel of one of my rare 5 star reads, The Monstrumologist.  I gave my dad a copy of The Monstrumologist for his birthday, and his enthusiasm for the series brought my own back to me, so I joined in with him to read through it.  I had a bunch of credits stacked up on Audible, so I went with the audiobook versions.  My speedy father reading in print quickly outpaced me, but that’s ok.  I’m really enjoying the audiobooks, although I’m sure I will be reading the final book in the series in the fall when it comes out on my kindle. Can’t wait around for the audiobook!  All of which is to say, my enthusiasm for the series remains high, if not steady, and the audiobooks are just as enjoyable as the print.

Yancey does something brave for a second book in the series.  Instead of following the formula that worked so well in the first book and basically doing a monster-of-the-week-in-our-town method like Buffy and so many other urban fantasies, he changes things up.  There is a monster, yes, but it is entirely different from the first one.  This is a monster that might not even exist, unlike the anthropophagi in the first book who are almost immediately clearly real.  Additionally, Warthrop and Will must travel away from New England to go looking for the trouble.  It does not come to them.  Another good plot twist is that the story does not entirely take place in Canada.  It moves to New York City.  Thus we get both the dangers of the wilderness and the dangers of the city in one book.  These plot choices mean that what makes this series a series is the characters, not the fantastical nature of their world.  By the end of the book I was thinking of the series in terms of the relationship between Will and Warthrop, not in the context of what nasty beast we might meet next.  It thus does what great genre fiction should do.  It looks at a real life issue and dresses it up with some genre fun.  And the issues addressed here are big ones.  What is love and what should we be willing to sacrifice for it?  Is it more loving to stay with someone at all costs or to let them go to protect them?  At what point do you give up on someone?

The horror certainly felt more grotesque this time around, although it’s possible I just wasn’t remembering the anthropophagi that well.  This is a bloody book full of horrible things.  Precisely what I expect out of my genre.  There’s not much more to say about the horror than keep it up, Yancey.  Also that this might not be for you if blood and guts and profanity are not your thing.  But they *are* mine and, oh, how well they are done here.

Just as with the first book, the language Yancey uses is beautiful.  It’s rich, eloquent, visual, and decadent.  It’s a word-lover’s book.  An example:

But love has more than one face. And the yellow eye is not the only eye. There can be no desolation without abundance. And the voice of the beast is not the only voice that rides upon the high wind….It is always there. Like the hunger that can’t be satisfied, though the tiniest sip is more satisfying than the most sumptuous of feasts.

Stunning.

The characterization here remains strong for Will and grows much stronger for Warthrop.  Will grows and changes as a 12 year old in this time period in his particular situation would be expected to.  With Warthrop, though, we get a much clearer backstory and motivations for his actions.  In the first book we came to know Will.  In this one we come to know Warthrop, although Will is not left without any development.  It’s a good balance.  I also enjoyed the addition of two female characters, who I thought were well-written, particularly Lily, the budding young feminist determined to be the world’s first female monstrumologist.  She is truly three-dimensional in spite of her rather limited screen-time compared to Will.

The pacing doesn’t build steadily from beginning to end.  It rather builds to a first climax, comes back down and builds again to a second climax.  This makes sense, particularly in a werewolf book, but I must admit it felt a bit odd in the moment.  It almost felt like reading two books in one until it all came together in the end.  In fact, this is one of those books that gets better the more you look back on the story as a whole.  Be prepared to enjoy it more in retrospect that in the first reading.

The audiobook narrator, Boyer, has a tough book to work with.  There are a wide range of characters of multiple nationalities to act out (Canadian, German, French, New York, Massachusetts, etc…).  Additionally, at least three different languages are spoken (English, French, and German).  I’m not fluent in anything but English, but I did take German in university, and I can say that his German accent is at least passable.  He also does an excellent job creating a unique voice for each character.  I only rarely got lost, and that was generally due to rapid-fire conversation where each character only had a word or two.  I must say, though, that he does mispronounce a few words, which detracts from Yancey’s gorgeous writing.  I blame the audiobook director for this, though.  S/he should have realized and corrected this.  Overall, though, the mispronounced words are only in a couple of locations and do not deeply affect the reading of the book.

Overall this is an excellent follow-up to a remarkable first book in the series.  It brings to the table that which made the first so powerful: YA horror with rich language set in a historic time period.  But it also changes things up enough to avoid falling into the monster-of-the-week trap.  The entries in the series are part of a larger story, and that can be seen.  Fans of the first book should pick up the second book asap.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Audible

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Previous Books in Series
The Monstrumologist, review

Book Review: A Cold Night for Alligators by Nick Crowe

Snout of a gator on a yellow background.Summary:
One day on his way home from work, a homeless man shoves Jasper in front of a subway train.  Waking up months later from a coma with medical leave from his job, his (now ex) girlfriend living in his house with her new boyfriend, religious Donny, Jasper decides to join Donny and his best friend Duane on a trip south from Canada to Florida.  Donny and Duane are going fishing, but Jasper is on a hunt for his brother who disappeared ten years ago at the age of seventeen.  He has a hunch he may have returned to what was previously a happy family vacation spot.

Review:
This is one of those situations where I recognize that the book is well-written, but personally I just didn’t like it.  The combination of the plot and characters struck a sour note for me, although I can see other people enjoying it.

I struggled because I simply did not find a single character to like.  I didn’t like Jasper, his ex Kim, her new boyfriend Donny, the best friend Duane, the long lost Aunt Val, well, you get the picture.  None of them were people I could relate to or sympathize with.  Not a single one!  That is rare in a book for me.  I can relate to characters from all over the world and all over time itself, but here. Yeesh.  I mean, it’s bad when you’re agreeing with the villain (who you also don’t like) that the main character is a pussy.  That’s just generally a bad sign.

I also found myself struggling some with the flow of the plot.  It’s rather unevenly structured with random side stories such as an entire chapter devoted to Duane taking a bar bet to eat 19 pickled eggs.  So much time devoted to this point (that was gross to read about) and it never turned out to be relevant.  It felt at certain points like Crowe was writing just to write, and it’s not that they’re badly done scenes, they’re just not relevant to the book.

Similarly, and consider this your spoiler alert, characters escape alligators just a few too many times.  Having one character who is a gator whisperer is fine, but having other characters repeatedly escaping gators is just insanity and unbelievable.  It left me wondering if Crowe has ever actually watched the Discovery Channel.

Overall, this is a book that left me decidedly lukewarm.  The characters are so average as to be dull, and the way they look on the rest of the world left me feeling a bit sour.  I would recommend this book to people who enjoy literary fiction that moves at a slow pace, as well as those interested in a Canadian’s view of Florida.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Netgalley

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Book Review: Hetalia: Axis Powers Volume 2 by Hidekaz Himaruya (Series, #2) (Manga)

November 15, 2011 Leave a comment

China Germany and Italy standing on the globeSummary:
The manga featuring the countries from WWII as characters is back this time focusing more on the future of the nations after WWII instead of the history before WWII.  Russia’s dilemmas with his sisters the Ukraine and Belarus are explored.  Canada’s persistent ability to somehow be invisible to most of the rest of the G8 nations (and also to be mistaken for America).  The various vignettes are punctuated with Japan-kun and America-kun visiting each other’s homes and attempting to reach a cultural understanding.

Review:
Himaruya’s tongue in cheek representation of global politics and national cultures is just as strong here as in the first entry into the series.  I appreciate that he addressed before and after WWII first.  It puts everything into an interesting historic perspective.

The art is still gorgeous.  The countries who are “relatives” of each other are similar looking but still decipherable from each other (although Canada probably wishes he looked a bit less like America).  There is a lot to feast your eyes upon on every page.

I again found myself laughing uproariously at the wit within the pages.  Every country is teased by the author, including his own.  He points out shortcomings without judging them too harshly.  It is what it is, and the more I read nations as characters, the easier it is to see the world as one big loopy extended family.

I particularly appreciate how Himaruya explains the former Soviet Union nations’ problems so clearly.  It’s something that I must admit as an American we didn’t ever really address in school, so this was all new to me and yet I came away knowing the facts from a manga.

That’s what makes this series awesome.  It’s factual without being judgmental.  It sees the humor in local customs and quirks.  And somehow it teaches you something in the meantime.   Highly recommended to all.  Just remember to start reading it at the back. 😉

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Public Library

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Previous Books in Series:
Hetalia: Axis Powers, Vol. 1 (review)

Book Review: From This Moment On by Shania Twain

November 14, 2011 8 comments

Up close image of Shania Twain.Summary:
Shania Twain shot to fame on the country music charts in 1995 with her second album The Woman in Me.  Her music was part of the new generation of 90s country, featuring such artists as Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, etc…, that would blend country and pop for a new sound.  In her memoir Shani recounts her life from her childhood in the northern part of Ontario, Canada to her sudden fame to the heartbreaking realization that her husband was cheating on her with her best friend to her recovery and new life.

Review:
While other girls of the 90s were obsessed with The Spice Girls and Britney Spears, I fan girled out over Shania Twain.  My family was a country music household to begin with, so getting my parents to be cool with me listening to pop was always a creative act.  (I remember I got away with listening to Britney Spears by getting my mother to listen to Hit Me Baby One More Time and like it and then revealed that it was Britney Spears. I’ve always been a wily lady.)  In any case, I needed to employ none of this trickery to listen to Shania.  As country music she had the stamp of approval, plus my big brother had bought her cd.  I was 8 years old when The Woman in Me came out, and I remember being completely blown away by “Any Man of Mine.”  (Go watch the video.  I can wait.)  I was blown out of the water.  Whereas most country I’d heard prior was all about love and heartbreak and cheating husbands, here was a woman saying loud and proud that she deserves to be treated right, dammit!  Let’s just say it really appealed to the feminist inside me.  When I found out she was from “the bush” of Canada and a poor family closely tied to Native culture, well, I was insanely curious, but Shania has always kept her private life private, so I was left to wonder.  Needless to say, when I heard at the beginning of this year that Shania would be publishing a memoir, I pre-ordered it.  I had to know more about this woman whose music so spoke to lonely little rural girl of the 90s.

Shania’s memoir is very different from any others I have read.  She does not involve many storytelling tropes.  She only quotes people twice in the entire book.  She reflects a lot, similar to, perhaps, if you’ve ever had the chance to listen to an older relative think out loud about her life.  It does not read like a story, but it does feel as if you were granted a couple hours of private access to one of the more private country stars.

The strongest part of the book is without a doubt when she is reflecting on her family and upbringing in Canada.  It becomes abundantly clear that perhaps Shania’s reclusiveness has more to do with the fact that while she loved music she had no dreams of being a star.  Her mother decided her daughter would be a star and pushed her into it.

Imagine what a burden that is for a young girl. I just wanted music, not necessarily a music career. But because I felt obligated by her dedication to me her singer, I never had the heart to consider anything else in life, even though I’d dreamed of maybe becoming a veterinarian. I also developed a passion for design and architecture that continues to this day. In fact, that’s probably what I would have pursued had my mother not been so forceful about music. (location 1634)

I find it fascinating how often famous people were pushed into that career path as a child.  What makes parents do this?  I remember when I was a kid I wanted to “be a star,” and my father sat me down and told me to think really hard about it, because I’d lose all privacy and normalcy.  I gave up on the idea and decided to be a reclusive writer instead.  So what makes other parents push their kids into it?

Well, it’s obvious Shania’s mother had an incredibly rough life.  Her family was below the poverty line with young mouths to feed.  Her mother’s relationship was abusive, and she struggled with depression.

The perpetual undertow of financial instability took its tool in other ways, as it usually does, compromising my parents’ love for each other at times and no doubt feeding my mother’s recurrent bouts of depression. (location 189)

Ah.  I can only guess that Shania’s mother saw a chance for financial stability for her daughter’s future in her talent, pinpointing most of her life’s troubles on a lack of money.  Funny how Shania then succeeded and went on to have similar problems simply on the opposite end of the financial spectrum.

The section of the book dealing with fame, recording, making music videos, etc… is frankly disappointing.  Shania barely brushes the surface of what actually went on behind the scenes, instead focusing in on how drained and dissatisfied her newfound fame made her feel.  Passages largely read like this:

I was starting to feel as if I’d lost my chops at life’s fundamentals—and I’d been someone who could survive on my own in a cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity in subzero temperatures and snow up to my butt. Now, with a skilled full-time staff at home to handle every domestic and personal chore for me, I felt…useless and inept. (location 4905)

An interesting reflection, no doubt, but I really wanted to know what happened during the, at the time controversial, “The Woman in Me” video shoot in Egypt, for example.  Details like this combined with the reflections on the dissatisfaction of fame would have made for a more powerful book, in my opinion.

The last section of the book addresses Shania’s time off from music, the birth of her son Eja, and the dissolution of her marriage to music producer Mutt Lange.  This part is hard to read, because it is so abundantly clear that those around her have used and abused Shania (her husband cheated on her with her best friend in Switzerland).  This is a woman for whom for her whole life family and being in touch with nature have mattered to her far more than anything else, and yet these things seem to be denied her.  It saddens me that the woman who sang such strong music has in fact spent most of her life trying to make other people happy.  This memoir was written as a way to deal with the end of her marriage, and I hope that through it Shania has found some peace and starts listening to her heart about what she really values and needs.  It is so evident in the last third of the book that she is trying to buy happiness with more and more property and perfectly built homes.  If only there was some way for the peace and quiet loving singer/songwriters of the world to get their music to others without suffering from the entrapment of fame.  Maybe the internet will help with that.

Overall, I found this to be a moving memoir, if a bit flawed.  It meanders sometimes and skips over some things that fans would definitely want to know about, but it is an interesting insight into the mind and life of  a famous country singer and gives an interesting look at the negative effects of fame, even if they aren’t as huge as drug overdoses.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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Book Review: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler (series, #1)

Woman standing in harbor.Summary:
Jane True lives in a small coastal town in Maine and cares for her father, a stubborn fisherman who refuses to leave his hometown.  This means Jane is stuck in a town where everyone pretty much thinks she’s crazy.  Everyone except the lesbian couple who run the local bookstore where she works.  Even Jane thinks there’s something off about herself what with swimming near the deadly whirlpool The Sow in the ocean in the middle of the night in the winter on a regular basis.  But then a neighbor winds up dead, mysterious people show up, and Jane finds out she’s half-selkie, and nowhere near as crazy as she once thought.

Review:
First things first.  I absolutely, completely, 100% love the character of Jane True.  If she lived in my neighborhood, we’d definitely be the best of friends.  She’s smart and loyal with a biting, classic yankee sense of humor.  At the same time though, she’s human, flawed, and makes mistakes but not the sort of mistakes that would make you hate her.  I also really related to her relationship with her father, as mine has the same debilitating heart disease that her father has.  Seeing her see in him the same, strong, blue collar daddy who raised her and who now is struggling with an illness was really refreshing to see in a paranormal romance.  It seems like dads tend to be absent in the genre in general, when let’s face it, a lot of women’s dads remain an integral part of their life, even when grown-up.

The storyline itself is fairly complex, and it was a delight to see modern rural New England in literature.  The characters also take a random jaunt up to Quebec, which honestly we definitely do periodically.  I’ve been to Canada more times than I’ve been to the American south for instance.  The settings were fabulous and well-envisioned.  Normally I would complain about Jane’s love interest, but it’s obvious to me that she’s going to outgrow him with time.

The one thing I actually didn’t like about the book was the sex scenes, which is kind of problematic for a paranormal romance since that’s kind of half the point.  Jane insists her man uses a condom.  Ok, fine, write that in there once and then we’ll assume that they have safe sex for the other encounters.  The thing is though, Mr. Man Candy complains about having to use a condom every single time, and every single time asks her if they really have to….by dangling the wrapped condom in her face.  This is not sexy behavior!  This is reason to ditch a guy behavior.  She said use it, that means use one until she says otherwise quit being a baby.  And frankly, quit ruining my sexy reading by turning into an asshole right before the sexy times.  The whole entire sex scene situation is problematic throughout the book, and just gets worse each time they do it.  There’s one scene in particular when Jane is down on her hands and knees, and the dude is behind her, and he dangles the condom in her face.  Like randomly he’s behind her, she’s getting excited, he’s touching happy places, then bam there’s a condom in her face. WTF. This is not how paranormal romance should work.  I get it that we’re not supposed to 100% like the guy, and this is part of the way of showing us he’s an asshole, but still.  I hope the whole sex scene situation improves in the next book.

Overall, the character is a rich, engaging, Mainiac with a biting sense of humor, and the world Peeler has created is diverse and engaging.  Hopefully the boyfriend situation improves in the later books.  Given how much I like the main character (which is rare in paranormal romance), I’ll definitely be reading the next entry.  If she sounds engaging to you as well, and you like paranormal romance, you’ll most likely enjoy this book.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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