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Monster in his eyes by J.M. Darhower

Monster in His Eyes (Monster in His Eyes, #1)Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What on Earth does Naz find in Karissa? She is as stupid as they come and her abilities to hold up a conversation about anything worth talking about equal zero. She is 18, for Christ’s sake and the guy is 36 and has seen it all. At one point he even says to her he doesn’t want girls, he wants to be with a woman. So what is he doing with Karissa?

The sex, seemingly shit hot, is described in such a lacklustre way it borders on boring. Apart from the fact there is nothing sensual about it – even though I recognize a certain potential, but it is never fully carried out – the kinks are quite a bit over the top considering the girl is so young. If I was asphyxiated without expecting or desiring it I’d be severely distressed (to put it mildly). There is no foreplay to speak of, unless you count him getting on top of her (or vice versa) as sufficient stimulation. The guy just enters her and starts pounding – and this is described as being with a real man, instead of a boy, wow! Not to mention the fact that they use no condoms from the word go and the contraceptive device they use (before she tells him she is on the pill) is coitus interruptus.

If a girl gets her sexual education from this book she is doomed.

Super unrealistic plot (I don’t mind), the heroine is TSTL (I hate), the hero just my type (just add some sexual enlightenment, even though I admit he is perfect for the heroine). I am divided. I found it strangely unputdownable, still shook my head about myself.

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Death in the tunnel by Miles Burton

Death in the TunnelDeath in the Tunnel by Miles Burton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is another mystery with a super complicated solution. The culprits had to go to all sorts of lengths in order to commit their crime, and once more, this just doesn’t sound realistic at all. “Planes, trains and automobiles” could be the subtitle of this intricate construction.

It was an anjoyable read with a good country/town setting and – yet again – a great sidekick. I already liked Desmond Merrion in The secret of High Eldersham and again he was the best. Unfortunately I found the inspector rather dull and obstinate when he just wouldn’t give up his pet suspect. But as he was almost a secondary character – strange to say that about the main detective -, I just ignored him most of the time.

I’d love to read more stories with Merrion, but they are rather hard to come by. Too bad!

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I’m an Old Communist Biddy! by Dan Lungu

Die Rote BabuschkaDie Rote Babuschka by Dan Lungu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first visit of the Romanian literary world and it was extremely enjoyable. I read this book for Ally’s Romanian Writers Challenge. There are not many Romanian books out in German or English and some of them sounded truly depressing and way too extraordinary for my taste. So I debated a long time about what to read. In the end I settled with Dan Lungu as he seems rather down to earth AND funny. I was not disappointed.

I read this book in German, but it seems it will be out in English next year. The German title is “Die rote Babuschka” (The red biddy), so very close to the English and, it seems, also to the original title.

The story is told solely from the point of view of Emilia who, being told by her daughter NOT to vote for the communists in the upcoming elections, reminisces about the old and better times (as she sees it) when Ceausescu was still in power. The timeline was rather jumbled, something I don’t like very much, as Emilia went back and forth, jumping around in her memories from childhood back to the present and everything in between. Once I got the hang of it, it was ok to read her story that way, but I very much prefer chronological order. But, of course, memories don’t work like that.

Emilia’s point of view was perfectly understandable, even if it was misguided. The truth is, in the way one of her co-workers put it in the end, at the time they were laughing in self-defence. If you don’t laugh, all that’s left to do is crying. Did Emilia not realize that or did she just embellish her memories so she could live with them better?

Throughout the book were little stories that people told at the time about Ceausescu and his wife that were just another way of dealing with the situation of living in a dictatorship. Then there were episodes about the real life which were downright surreal. When Ceausescu is scheduled to visit, the whole workforce is slaving away in order to make everything look shiny and perfect (i.e. completely fake). The trees are painted green, mediocre corn plants are ripped out and replaced with corn from a model farm, black cows are removed because they give off the wrong vibes. It’s all very bizarre. Potemkin villages all over! It’s hard to grasp that people had to live that way if you don’t know it from own experience.

The book’s ending is an unresolved situation with Emilia being more confused than before. Just as well, isn’t that the state of all of us?

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I will definitely try to get a hold of more books in German by Dan Lungu. 

Romanian Writers Challenge

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A fashionable indulgence by K.J. Charles

A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen, #1)A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A real pleasure to read. A plot with way more than just romance, well-meaning relatives that turn out to be mean (and that’s putting it mildly), bitch relatives that turn out to be lovely. Political intrigue, gentlemen and their valets, a great romance and none of the usual bugbears, this story has it all.

The romance was quite unusual as there wasn’t any UST, yet I rooted for the two guys until the end. There were all sorts of issues to deal with but it all got resolved in a satisfying manner. Not too quickly, not too drawn out – just perfect. I’ve got to admit that Harry was a bit too careless for my taste, what with going to that shop all the time, giving George his coat (what WAS he thinking?) and simply being too quick to give his opinion where it was appropriate. But then, if he hadn’t been that way there wouldn’t be a story. Plus, Julius more than made up for this. I absolutely loved him.

Even though I love the concept of the series about the Ricardians, I will skip book 2 as I am not interested in Dominic and Silas, I am afraid. Richard and Cyprian, however, are a future must-read.

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