Where to start with this book… It’s not that it was a bad book, but it wasn’t a great book either. Overall the story was good and the writing was better than many of the romance novels I’ve read, but at the same time I felt the author could have done better.
I have to partially wonder if I stack the decks against this type of novel when I generally read them after having finished a tome of a classic (this time it was Middlemarch). But at the same time I have to think that it should still hold up regardless of what precedes or follows it. I will say that this book was definitely further along in the editing process than many of the galley’s I’ve read previously which was a nice change. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
As I said above, the book was a good read and I flew through it as it is just under 100 pages. The story was engaging enough to keep me interested and the steamy scenes were few and far between which I appreciate more than just a book that’s all steam and no story. I wish there was more character development as I felt there was a lot more to all of the characters but especially Tavish’s sister and mother and Iain’s father. There were enough hints about all three of these characters that I would’ve loved to know more!
One of my friends put it best, ‘So apparently Cujo is just a bad lifetime movie with a rabid dog’ and although he was referring to the movie, it pretty much sums up the book as well. I just was not impressed and couldn’t get into the novel. The major plus side was that it felt like a short novel.
If you haven’t figured it out yet I didn’t enjoy this book. I am glad I can now say I’ve read a Stephen King novel but overall it was lack-luster and disappointing. I didn’t choose to read this novel on my own, it was the selection for our April Books into Movies library book group. So my disparaging review is totally legit. I did have major issues with the formatting of this book. I read this book through Overdrive from my local library and somewhere during the conversion process a lot of mistakes were processed. It was really distracting and felt more like a galley than an actual published book.
I had a lot of problems with the book especially after it started out with such a good sense of terror and what was to come. I definitely freaked out within the first ten pages, but that feeling slowly disappeared and never returned, a lot of this had to do with King’s writing. It felt like he was writing down to his readers, almost dumbing things down for them and this bothered me. (I will provide a caveat that I read this in the middle of reading Middlemarch which is incredibly well written.)
When I saw the title of this book I clearly had to read it, mostly because at a party in December my friend Caroline was talking about 50 Shades of Gray and accidentally said this title and we both were like YES.
I have not read, nor do I intend to read, the original, but from what I’ve quickly researched they are pretty similar. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
This was not a bad book, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a great literary achievement either, but it wasn’t bad. I had a few issues with it, but I appreciated the refreshing writing style of the author and the tongue-in-cheek comments and countless pop-culture references that made me smile and or question why I’ve the social skills/knowledge of an 80-year-old southern woman.
What really helped with this book is that I was able to identify with the protagonist on some level, and isn’t that what you’re looking for in any book you read?
“It’s not that I have a problem with being gay, I don’t. I just grew up in the type of family that didn’t like talking about feelings and certainly never uttered the word ‘sex’.” (Chapter 2)
While waiting on another book from the library I decided to request a copy of Blessed Isle from NetGalley. I had luck with the Tucker Springs series and wanted something light and fun to read and I wasn’t disappointed. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return.
This is how you write a romance novel! (To me at least.) There’s no rushing into things, there’s no the world is ours after 2-3 months (or shorter) and there’s plenty of conflict and potential heartbreak. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the Wham Bam style of romance novel, but they’re just not the type of love story I’m generally drawn to. In addition, there’s a subtlety about Beecroft’s writing and her efforts (and total success) at keeping the sex out of the book. In doing so she created a novel that was much less low-brow than you would assume and the focus was shifted to the love story and the time period, which really only adds to the story. And to top it off, Beercroft did a good job of building at least one sympathetic character,
“But one day, perhaps, when the world has grown kinder, this journal will be read by less jaundiced eyes. To them I will be able to say there was fidelity here, and love, and long-suffering sacrifice, and joy. To them I will be able to speak the truth.”
I received a copy of this via request on NetGalley and I am so happy I requested it. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return for it.
It’s times like this when I wish I went into teaching at some level to share a story like this with my students. It’s heartbreaking, but hopeful and I can only imagine what it would be like if I were an Irish teen reading this in the mid 1990s after it was written. Honestly, I would’ve felt just like Neil when he found out he wasn’t ‘the only gay in the village.’
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this novel and Tom Lennon (a pseudonym to protect his Catholic-school teaching identity and he’s still unknown) as an Irish author writing about LGBT characters had the decks stacked against him: Jamie O’Neill can do no wrong, John Boyne won me over with The Absolutist, Damian McNicholl put up a good effort with A Son Called Gabriel and Oscar Wilde is, well, Oscar Wilde. Needless to say, Tom Lennon did not disappoint, and as I listed all of those authors I realized his story pre-dated all of the rest by at least a decade with the exception of Oscar Wilde, so I’m excited his story is being introduced to the US.