TRIGGER WARNING: The novel features child abduction, child abuse, child murder, and cat murder.
SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for theTRIGGER WARNING: The novel features child abduction, child abuse, child murder, and cat murder.
SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the novel. They're behind a link in Goodreads, but not elsewhere.
NOTE: The copyright page states, "A different version of this book was published as On Me, In Me, Dead Beneath Me."
The cover summary's a bit vague, so it's hard to know what to say in case something is considered a spoiler. Hmm.
Deanna Madden's full-time job is as a nineteen-year-old camgirl named Jessica Reilly. The business of it seems well-researched, though there are camming scenes that add nothing to the overall plot - so why are they included?
Deanna hasn't left her apartment since she moved in three years ago. She never has people over, and even makes the package deliverer (who seems to drop by every day) forge her signature so she doesn't have to face him. She pays her neighbour in pills of his choice, so he collects her garbage...and locks her inside at night.
Deanna frequently has the urge to kill. She figures if she locks herself in and keeps everyone out, there's a lower chance of her murdering anyone.
(view spoiler)[When her door is unlocked during the day and Deanna's good ear is covered, she doesn't hear when the package deliverer, Jeremy, bursts into the apartment. At first, Deanna tries to attack Jeremy, but he easily overpowers her, and her thoughts of murder turn to thoughts of sex almost instantly.
The narrative makes a big deal about how Deanna supposedly wants to kill everyone, but her actions just don't ring true. Apparently lust/love cures her, because she's able to leave her apartment fairly simply. She makes the decision, and then she goes, with barely any hesitation. This would've been more believable if Deanna had progressed in stages: first, outside her apartment; second, into the elevator; and third, outside the building. Instead, Deanna overcomes these psychological obstacles in one clean hit.
Deanna easily locates the child, deals with the perp, and the child's family promises her anonymity. While the novel is supposedly an "erotic thriller", it doesn't fully succeed in either aspect: Some cam sessions have nothing to do with the overall plot, and aren't erotic; and the straightforwardness of the crime issue elicits no thrill.
As to why Deanna has urges to kill: as a teenager, she walked into the family home to find that her mother has killed her siblings and father. So Deanna kills her mother. That's it. I believe with the appropriate medication and therapy, Deanna would've been able to process and cope with life afterward much more effectively. I believe she never really was a murderer-to-be - killing her mother was simply a response to what her mother had done to the family. Since Deanna doesn't kill anyone after that, the whole "I'm a killer" facade seems just for show. She has plenty of opportunity to kill Jeremy, yet falls in lust/love with him instead.
As for Jeremy, he has no problem with Deanna supposedly wanting to kill him. Sure, she came at his throat with a knife, but she's hot, so...not a big deal, supposedly? WTF?! What is this book: Hush, Hush? I know that criminal/killer-as-love-interest is a trope rather common in romance nowadays, and we're all supposed to brush it off because "it's fiction - it's not real". But attempted murder doesn't say "hot" to me, but your opinion may vary. (hide spoiler)]
The novel's premise is a winner, but its execution lags far behind.
P.S. The "girl" in the title is actually a WOMAN: Deanna Madden. I don't understand this titling trend of "girl", when "woman" or "lady" would be more accurate.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
TRIGGER WARNING: Ableism, and lots of it. The society based on ableism, so it's pretty inescapable. Thankfully, the story is told from the point of viTRIGGER WARNING: Ableism, and lots of it. The society based on ableism, so it's pretty inescapable. Thankfully, the story is told from the point of view of someone who believes that ableism is wrong - otherwise the book would've been unreadable.
Is The Fire Sermon post-apocalyptic or fantasy? Maybe it's supposed to be both. The post-apoc elements work best, but the fantasy elements had me questioning the world-building.
There was a nuclear blast, which blighted the land and decimated the population. The blast caused mutations in all future births: always two babies born at a time, one boy and one girl. (No mention of any intersex.) Why always two babies? Or why not two boys, or two girls - why always one of each? (Having completed the novel, my questions remain unanswered, but maybe we learn more in future books.)
In each birth pair, one is Alpha and the other Omega. (It's random which child is which, so thankfully no sexism.) The Omega may have missing limbs or extra digits, whilst the Alpha is the "stronger" one. (I warned you about the ableism.) Due to the blighted land, crops don't grow well, and modern technology is seemingly non-existent for most, so I'm unsure of the jobs situation. Because of finances, and the government's scare campaign, as soon as Omegas are weaned they're cast out, usually sent to an Omega relative to raise.
But there's a rare form of Omega, like Cass. She has the "correct" numbers of body parts, but instead she's psychic. Cass seems to feel that being a seer is...well, a "disability", but since Alphas and Omegas alike both want to use her for it... Maybe everyone EXCEPT seers think it's an advantage? Cass has some seer angst here - she fits in with neither Alphas nor Omegas.
Cass's Alpha twin, Zach, is a political mover and shaker. But he doesn't fit in with his fellow Alphas, because Cass wasn't sent away until they were thirteen, so Zach's dealt with being suspected of "poison" just as much as Cass has, until their separation. Zach resents Cass for not turning herself in earlier.
But there's one thing preventing Alphas from killing their Omegas (and if you thought it was a conscience, you're wrong). Twins are somehow linked, so that when one of the pair falls seriously ill or dies, so does the other. Born together, die together. A political big-wig like Zach doesn't need to be assassinated - his enemies could simply kill Cass instead.
Fantasy is not my forte, and I can only keep interested in slow travel for so long. Also, the New Hobart section doesn't add much, and could have easily been shortened. While I admire Cass's altruism, I never warmed to the other major characters (Zach and Kip).
Iffy world-building aside, The Fire Sermon grabbed me from its concept, and kept me with its post-apocalyptic intrigue. Francesca Haig's well-crafted secondary characters and fleeting glimpses of technology left me wanting more - and there are two books to go in the trilogy, so onward and upward!
P.S. I ship Cass with Piper.
P.P.S. Dream Works have the film rights. There are various roles suitable for actors with missing or extra body parts, so hopefully CGI will not be required (or "required"). Likewise, my two favourite characters have "dark skin", so hopefully their actors will be people of colour. (Please don't let the characters be whitewashed!)...more
Normally I won't touch a YA romance, unless it has a speculative element, but Temptation hooked me at "Amish". This is a romance with big obstacles anNormally I won't touch a YA romance, unless it has a speculative element, but Temptation hooked me at "Amish". This is a romance with big obstacles and true conflicts to overcome. It's not melodramatic, and not contrived. And what's more, I really hoped Rose and Noah would work it out - and I almost never feel that way about romance in fiction.
The first in a series, Temptation ends with a happy-for-now, rather than a happily-ever-after, and this realism is much welcome. I'm very much looking forward to Book 2.
(Note: The heroine's father is named David Cameron. Someone forgot to remind the author about the British PM.)...more
**spoiler alert** I'm not violent, but if I were one to physically throw a book against a wall, I'd throw this one. Nothing to do with the writing's q**spoiler alert** I'm not violent, but if I were one to physically throw a book against a wall, I'd throw this one. Nothing to do with the writing's quality, but with a particular story element. I'm offended. Not personally offended, but it still feels insulting in general. Perhaps you'll feel different.
In the big climax scene (involving a civilian grandmother aiming a rocket launcher, no less) the heroine's spine is damaged. Not fully severed, though, so I could've predicted the ending, but with most books I find it best to just read - and not think.
So Cece's in a wheelchair, feeling sorry for herself and shutting everyone out. This goes on for about three months. Then Blain proposes to her, and Cece agrees conditionally. Then she manages to stand up - swaying, but unassisted. That condition: the wedding will only happen when she can walk down the aisle. About a year later, they're married and pregnant.
So that's a happy ending? Why couldn't Cece have remained paralysed? Do wheelchair people not deserve love and marriage? Maybe the short-term paralysis was only put in the story to create conflict, so it shouldn't be such a big deal, but I am freaking pissed off. What the hell? Are the author and publisher saying that love cures disabilities, or that paraplegics don't deserve love and marriage? This was probably not their intention, but that's how it comes across. Admittedly, this book was published back in...2005, perhaps, but I think my point of view would have been the same then. But I could be in the minority - I'm able-bodied, so I may not have a right to feel offended in this case. Huh....more