Monday, 7 December 2015

Review: The Single Staircase

The Single Staircase The Single Staircase by Matt Ingwalson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

Well, the good thing is I couldn't put the story down. It was an intriguing little mystery. There could have been more detail as to who Owl and Raccoon were, and any attempt to explain who they were was kind of contradicted.

For example, Raccoon was supposed to be the quick, clever, sneaky one but it was Owl who tricked his way past a suspect, a suspect, I might add, that Raccoon insisted they investigate.

A quick, engaging read, good for Law & Order fans.

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Review: The Solace Pill

The Solace Pill The Solace Pill by Jason Werbeloff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe I didn't appreciate this book as much as I should have because I was reading other things at the same time, including Werbeloff's wonderful anthology Obsidian Worlds.

For me, this was Werbeloff's first mis-step. I liked it, it was creative and unique, but I found the jumping around very confusing, especially at the end. Maybe it was all very clear in the author's mind, and it just didn't get on paper right.

I think this book demands focus and dedication from the reader and I don't think I gave it enough. Certainly for hardcore sci-fi fans, it'll be well liked but I think it was too heady for me.

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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Review: Mazie Baby

Mazie Baby Mazie Baby by Julie Frayn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There will be spoilers. You have been warned.

This is not the book I was promised by the synopsis.

Let's break the synopsis down, shall we?

Mazie schemes to save herself and her daughter.

Only kind of. Ok, I will give credit here. I do like the gift card trick Mazie was pulling, but otherwise there wasn't so much scheming as 'just in case', or a dream of freedom or something.

Her plan will work, if she can out-maneuver the monster who is a master of manipulation and control.
Also, no.
This is my big problem with the book. The synopsis makes it feel like she pulls a Gone Girl or a Sleeping With The Enemy. Like she escapes her abusive husband and has to stay hidden from him, always just barely one step ahead of him.
But she doesn't.
Because she kills him. And pulls a Loranna Bobbett on him. (Look it up, kids!)

While I didn't feel her husband was particularly manipulative other than the standard hit-sorry-flowers-goodboy-hit-sorry-flowers routine, I don't want to judge. An abuse victim is trapped in a horrible cycle and I'm not going to blame her for staying or falling for his "charms". But, his manipulations have been exaggerated.

Also, holy crap, what kind of...idiot just randomly goes "I think I'll go rape my daughter. Lookit those tits!" out of absolutely no where?! Sexual predators and child molesters are more cunning, devious, and opportunistic than that. Just...ugh.

She’s got one thing going for her, the one thing she truly owns. Mazie has moxie to the bone. But will it be enough?

No, she doesn't! She's utterly clueless how to survive on her own. She doesn't even think to dye her eyebrows to match her hair colour so everyone can tell it's fake. She doesn't realize that her "nosy neighbour" was once abused herself even though the signs are clearly there, or maybe it was just predictable, I don't know.

Her survival is dependent on kind souls that never question her and just give her free stuff or the means of a life. Like coffee. And rides. And jobs. And apartments. And lawyer services. And house brokering.

The middle of the book becomes a redundant cycle of "Dining establishment, oh no a cop! oh good the cop's gone with no reason to suspect anyone of anything, motel time!, dining establishment."
This happens about three times, all while name dropping Tim Hortons, and by the way, Canada, amirite? Canada. Tim Bits. Canada. Double double.

It became irritating and I'm Canadian!

The new love interest, because of course there's a new love interest, actually creeped me out more than the abusive wanna-be rock star husband. He came across as a Nice Guy who inserted himself into Mazie's new life because he felt he would be good for her and just couldn't see it. So he had to be nicer. Eventually she'd come around. Also, his name was Norman. Do not name your Nice Guy Norman. Especially when your heroine is running from the law and a secret and is shacking up in motels.

Just sayin'.

Overall, not great. I've seen this story done before, and done better.

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