Category Archives: Cheryl Rainfield

[REVIEW] Stained – Cheryl Rainfield

Cheryl Rainfield
Stained
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Bullying, abduction, rape, murder.

Unpopular opinion time!

There seems to be an unspoken rule that if something has a positive message, you can’t disagree with how it’s presented. Actually, that rule is spoken after someone dares to criticise the message’s vehicle.

There’s a lot of messages I like, but dislike how they’re presented. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” song may be upbeat and positive, but Madonna’s “Express Yourself” is way better. (They’re two different songs, Tezzy; you can’t compare them! Listen to the music, and tell me they don’t sound similar. Don’t lie.) It’s not even the best song on the Born This Way album. (“Government Hooker” is, followed by “Scheiße”.)

And if you dare say you don’t like the TV show Glee, people call you anti-gay, anti-arts, and a hater. I stopped watching after the first season when it stopped pretending to have a plot (teen pregnancy). It instead became just karaoke, with storylines written around the songs, instead of writing the stories first and then finding appropriate music.

And now there’s Stained. Sarah Meadows judges people as much as they judge her, but the difference is she doesn’t vocalise her opinions. She thinks of her best friend as “plump”, and doesn’t want to hook up with Nick because she doesn’t deem him good-looking enough. And if she thinks of her friends like this, she does worse of others.

“You know you can trust me.” As soon as someone says that, you know they can’t be trusted. We can tell from the book’s message that Sarah will survive, and we know who does it from the quote, so there’s no mystery or suspense. Thus the interest factor goes down.

Nick is so freaking rude towards the police, keeps accusing them of not doing their jobs, and not trying hard enough to find Sarah… UP YOURS, NICK! You have no idea what police go through, how many different cases they have, and how they are all top-priority cases. NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU! Have some respect.

“Doesn’t seem right, bad things happening to good people, does it? If it had to happen to anyone, it shoulda been one of those mean bitches, like Madison.” What the hell does that mean? Do some people, more than others, deserve to be abducted, raped, and maybe murdered? I’ve heard victims of crime say they wouldn’t wish what happened to them upon their worst enemy. But this book totally does!

I AM NOT AMUSED.

So in this story, all good-looking people are evil and all not-so-good-looking people are good? It’s a subversion of the classic fairy tale trope, but it’s still “us versus them” mentality. Prejudicial, too.

The novel’s heavy-handed message is to be your own hero, to save yourself. But it’s repeated so many times that I fear the hidden meaning: That if you can’t free yourself from literal imprisonment, that if you can’t dissociate during rape, that if you can’t prevent yourself from being murdered…YOU SIMPLY AREN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH?!

I’m so offended I can’t even respond to that.

So yes, a supposedly positive message with a poor delivery. Subtlety is a writer’s best tool: Allow readers to come to their own conclusion rather than shoving it down their throats. They’ll appreciate it more, and it won’t leave such a bad taste.

This is such a disappointment in comparison to the author’s other work. Cheryl Rainfield’s début, Scars, is brilliant, and I highly recommend it. It’s not just “an issues novel” – it’s also a mystery, and that “whodunnit” aspect makes Scars a prime choice for binge-reading.

But StainedI agree with your message, but I disagree with how you present it. Morals are supposed to be something that the lead character, and readers, learn at the very end of the novel. NOT hammered at them all the way through it. Even if I like what you have to say (and I do), I DON’T LIKE WHEN PEOPLE PREACH AT ME. Themes are supposed to be subtle, a discussion starter so readers can decide for ourselves what we think a book means.

What a let-down, for such a fabulous premise. This should’ve been a tense psychological thriller. But it isn’t.

P.S. I know the author didn’t intend to offend. And if the novel was more subtle, I wouldn’t have even thought about hidden meanings. But writing and story-crafting are very difficult to master.

[REVIEW] Parallel Visions – Cheryl Rainfield

Cheryl Rainfield
Parallel Visions
Rain and Sun Press (US: 20th November 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Read this in two evenings. Felt rather short. Would’ve liked to know more about the setting, other than the air quality. (Which country/province/state?) Would’ve liked the characters to be more layered. The bad guy is obvious from the start, and when Kate questions her visions it’s not believable because we all know what she’s “seeing” is real. Think the story could’ve done with more mystery.

I like the novel, but I don’t quite love it. It’s hard-hitting, which is the point, but the lack of subtlety makes it feel like the story is told and not shown. All that said, I’ll read anything Cheryl Rainfield writes, and I’m particularly looking forward to getting my mitts on Stained.

1st October 2013 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Steve Bein
Year of the Demon (Fated Blades, Book 2)
Penguin Roc (US & CA: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit – and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the mask – or of its deadly link with the famed Inazuma blade she wields. The secret of this mask originated hundreds of years before Mariko was born, and over time the mask’s power has evolved to bend its owner toward destruction, stopping at nothing to obtain Inazuma steel. Mariko’s fallen sensei knew much of the mask’s hypnotic power and of its mysterious link to a murderous cult. Now Mariko must use his notes to find the mask before the cult can bring Tokyo to its knees – and before the underboss decides her time is up…

Rachel Caine
Fall of Night (Morganville Vampires, Book 14)
Penguin NAL Signet (US & CA: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Thanks to its unique combination of human and vampire residents, Morganville, Texas, is a small college town with big time problems. When student Claire Danvers gets the chance to experience life on the outside, she takes it. But Morganville isn’t the only town with vampire trouble… Claire never thought she’d get to leave Morganville, but she can’t pass up the chance to finally attend her dream school, MIT. After all, getting to invent anti-vamp devices with Professor Anderson – a Morganville exile herself – sounds like a dream come true…until Claire realises that there are sinister forces in play, and she’s not the only one with a vampire-related agenda. Without her friends Shane, Eve and Michael, surviving a killer schedule may be hard…but with them, it might turn out to be impossible.

Amy Rose Capetta
Entangled
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Seventeen-year-old Cade is a fierce survivor, solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar. Or so she thought. Her world shakes apart when a hologram named Mr. Niven tells her she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan. Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws – her first friends – on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.

Máire Claremont
Lady in Red (Mad Passions, Book 2)
Penguin Signet (US & CA: 1st October 2013); Hachette Headline (UK: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man… Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze – which so mirrors his own – he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

Lauren DeStefano
Perfect Ruin (Internment, Book 1)
Simon & Schuster (US & CA: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream. Unless you approach the edge. Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge of Internment, the floating city in the clouds where she lives, can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. If she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in her best friend, Pen, and in Basil, the boy she’s engaged to marry. Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, he is the boy being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find – or whom she will lose.

Becca Fitzpatrick
Finale (Hush Hush, Book 4)
Simon & Schuster (US & CA: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made and a friend’s ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want. The battle lines are drawn – but which sides are they on? And in the end, are there some obstacles even love can’t conquer?

Cheryl Rainfield
Stained
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that – or succumb to a killer.

Jessica Verday
The Beautiful and the Damned
Simon & Schuster Pulse (US & CA: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Cyn Hargrave is on the run, but she can’t escape her dark past. The brother of her murdered boyfriend is convinced she’s the killer – and now he’s tracked her down. Cyn has only one person to turn to, and she can’t stand him. Avian knows the evil that lives inside of Cyn, but he’s still compelled to help her. As the thirteenth Revenant he’s scorned by heaven and unwanted by hell, so he understands what it’s like to be a part of two worlds and not fit into either. Together they will need to deal with the danger that follows her – and the danger inside of her – before one of them destroys her.

October 2013 Releases

Done with September 2013 Releases? Here are October 2013 Releases. For future releases, check Reading Wishlist.

NOTE: If you’re reading this in Feedly, any posts with images don’t look formatted correctly. Just click this blog post’s title to take you to WordPress.

Continue reading

Happy Canada Day!

It’s July 1st, and you know what that means…Happy Canada Day! Here are some books by Canadian authors on my wishlist – perhaps they’re on yours, too:

R. J. ANDERSON Quicksilver
KELLEY ARMSTRONG Thirteen/13 Forbidden Omens Wild Justice Sea of Shadows
JES BATTIS Bleeding Out
MEGAN CREWE The Lives We Lost The Worlds We Make
SEAN CUMMINGS Poltergeeks Student Bodies
KATHLEEN PEACOCK Thornhill
CHERYL RAINFIELD Parallel Visions Stained
MICHELLE ROWEN Bloodlust Countdown
EVE SILVER Rush
AMANDA SUN Ink

[COVER REVEAL] Stained – Cheryl Rainfield

Am part of the official cover reveal for Cheryl Rainfield’s Stained. Yes, there was a previous cover but it was too “graphic”, so they changed it. (I prefer the original cover, but that’s just my opinion.) Below the book info is a contest link, but it may just be in “preview” mode until North America’s clock changes to Tuesday 18th June. (You’ve living in the past, USA – get with the times! ;-) )

Cheryl Rainfield
Stained
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US: 1st October 2013)
Buy (US) (Hardcover) Buy (US) (Kindle Edition) Buy (UK) (Hardcover) Buy (UK) (Kindle Edition) Buy (CA) (Hardcover) Buy (CA) (Kindle Edition) Buy (Worldwide)

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that – or succumb to a killer.

Contest

5 New Covers (Garner, Hart, Metcalf, Pfeffer, Rainfield)

Continue reading