Book review: Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez

Fighting Silence (On The Ropes Book 1) by [Martinez, Aly]

I just finished reading Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez.  It’s a tear jerker for sure.  It starts with Eliza and Till when they’re children.  They’re both desperately poor, without parents who care about them.  They find refuge in an abandoned apartment.  Although they go to the same school, they’re not friends, but they both need a refuge, so they sort of agree to share this place.  It has nothing to offer, it’s just an empty room, but it’s a refuge, a place to escape to when life gets too hard or too miserable.

Over the course of their teenage years, they grow close.  They learn to trust one another and depend on one another.  Although they’re both attracted to each other, they keep it all above board, because their friendship is not just important, but necessary.  How can they survive the harsh realities of their world without each other?

I loved Till’s nickname for Eliza.  Cute, sweet and yet entirely real.  It was used to perfect advantage through the book.

I loved that life didn’t magically fix itself and all their problems were solved.  Slate and the gym were the perfect vessel to showcase a number of Till’s personality quirks – his passion, his work ethic, his devotion to his brothers, his temper, his integrity.

The brothers were excellent secondary characters.  I loved Quarry, he was great fun.

There was enough pace and action to keep me reading, and more than a few moments that were genuine tear jerkers.  Shut up, I didn’t cry.  Much.  *Blush*  I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone with spoilers, but the blurb tells you that Till is going deaf so I can share that much at least.  There were a couple of really powerfully emotional moments that stuck out for me, both of them relating to Till’s hearing in one way or another.  It’s incredible how some people deal with adversity.  It not only makes you realise how lucky you are, but also makes you stop and think how you would cope if life threw you those challenges.

Five stars from me.  I’ve already bought the next book in the series.  The prologue shocked the hell out of me and made me want to rant about authors who put spoilers in their prologues (can it even be a prologue if it happens before the start of the book?) but the girl has captured my attention for sure, and I’m so curious to see how this new version of Flint turns out, I’m definitely reading it.  Just you try and stop me.  *Laugh*

Music Monday: Burning Rain by Midge Marsden

It’s Music Monday again!

In February my husband and I went to a free concert at Blockhouse Bay beach. It was Midge Marsden, and this year he was supported on lead guitar by a family friend of ours, Chet O’Connell. We’d been to the same concert last year, and my husband had really enjoyed the bluesy style of music, so we went again.

No kids. Our daughter was at a friend’s house, and our son stayed home by himself. It was just me and hubby. A date night! *Bigsmile*

We sat on the beach and ate some weirdly gourmet burgers that we bought from a little food truck. They were quite mediocre for being so fancy.

The view to our right was just gorgeous. We watched the sea as it turned from a sunny afternoon to a balmy evening, with the sky slowly darkening to a deep blue and a really lovely tangerine-orange sunset. And all the while, we had fantastic live music playing in the background.

We had an ice cream, because we were on the beach and it seemed the thing to do. *Laugh* I wanted to get a photo for all my Northern Hemisphere friends who were suffering through winter, but hubby wasn’t inclined to get up until he had to. Then, of course, he decided he’d been sitting down too long and got up, when it was dark and there was no more view to be had. *Rolleyes* Typical.

We spent the last half of the concert dancing in front of the stage. By dancing, I mean we were tapping our toes and wiggling our asses, but we weren’t moving from one spot. There were too many people for proper dancing, but we don’t really do proper dancing anyway. A shuffle in place is good enough. At one point, while Midge was crooning some slow song, I was swaying with my hubby against my back, his hands around my waist, looking up at the stars, and I thought ‘This is a perfect moment.’ It was, just me and hubby, enjoying a really lovely moment, under the stars, listening to some fantastic music.

Of course, a lot of the music was fast paced, and man did Midge wail on that harmonica. Wow. Pretty incredible.

Of course, my favourite was Burning Rain. It’s a song I have in my playlist, but it’s way more powerful and rocky when he does it live. I’ve heard him play it twice, this year and last year, and both times it was awesome. I always liked the song, but it’s a whole other song when he does it live. Just amazing.

I hope this video works okay. I wasn’t able to watch it before sharing it. But the lead guitarist in this video is the same family friend, Chet O’Connell, who played with him on Friday night.

Apparently Midge is retiring, so this was the last time he’d do this particular concert, and I was Googling him earlier and found out that he’s stopping performing altogether. I feel extra lucky to have seen him twice. Such a good night. Because it was his last one, he did a whole bunch of extra songs, going way over time. It was awesome. He was singing because he wanted to sing, you know, but also as a thank you to all the people who came to see him play. And he did the most epic harmonica solo ever. I’m not a huge fan of the harmonica, but this was pretty awesome.

They did a bunch of songs that I recognised but hubby didn’t, which surprised me even though it shouldn’t have. My parents had different tastes in music to his parents, as mine were teenagers in the 60s and his were teenagers in the 70s. They finished off with The Rolling Stone’s The Last Time, since it was his last time playing this gig. It was epic, with everyone singing along, including the two of us.  Such a good night.

The romance reader’s book tag

I found this tag and couldn’t resist.  I mean, it’s like it was made for me!

This tag was started by Not Just Romance Novels and Romance Queen of Booktube.

What age did you start to read romance novels?
In my late teens.  Up until then, my favourite genre was fantasy.  I loved Anne McCaffrey in particular.

If you could pick one hero to meet from your favourite romance novels, who would it be and why?
Hmm…  This is different from ‘who is your favourite hero’.  It’s one thing to enjoy a character as the hero in someone else’s story, but another to actually want to meet him.  I think I’d like to meet Tristan Lavelle from The World As He Sees It by A M Arthur.  He fascinates me.  He’s such an interesting character and I think he’d be fun, not intimidating.

The World As He Sees It (Perspectives #2)






Who are your favourite romance authors and why?
I like authors who can make me forget that I’m reading a book.  Captivating action, or intriguing characters.
Authors who I’ve read multiple times and ranked highly include A M Arthur, Maya Banks, Patricia Briggs, Mercy Celeste, Dianne Duvall, Barbara Elsborg, Tammy Falkner, Andrew Grey, Hannah Howell, Sloane Kennedy, Tempeste O’Riley, Jaime Reese, R J Scott and Nalini Singh.

What is a favourite romance novel to re-read?
Oh, I did this for #T5W in favourites I’d like to revisit.  But the ones I’ve re-read the most are probably Morganna by Jackie Ivie and Whispers In The Dark by Maya Banks.

Morganna (The Brocade, #4) Whispers in the Dark (KGI, #4)

What book would you recommend to a non-romance reader?
Well that very much depends on what genre they normally read.  If they were a fantasy reader, I’d definitely recommend Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker trilogy.  It’s a fabulous fantasy series, but with a wonderful romance wound through it.

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1) Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #2) Heart on Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #3)

Which is your favourite – contemporary, suspense or historical, and why?
Hmm, there are far more subgenres of romance than just those three.  I like to read a variety.  I started with mostly historical, but these days the majority that I read are contemporary.  I do like some suspense.  I also like m/m books.  I also like some military ones.  Definitely fantasy and paranormal ones, including shapeshifters, healers, psychics and more.  And sometimes a mixture!  A romance novel can have more than one subgenre.


Do you read romance novels?  Let me know some of your favourite authors and subgenres.  And feel free, of course, to do this tag in your own blog.

The better person

Their lives so shallow,
so fucking meaningless,
their only worth derived from
grinding others’ hopes and dreams
into dust they snort for their amusement.

Pathetic, worthless waste of space,
echoing through my head until my
reflection screams it the way
I wish I could spew it in
their smarmy faces, but
even at my worst, I’m
better than them.

Music Monday: Gin Wigmore

It’s Music Monday again, and I wanted to share a post I wrote for’s Soundtrackers activity in early February.

As I write this, I’m sitting on a blanket on a grassy hill north west of Auckland listening to Tami Neilson. I hadn’t heard her music before today, and I’m really enjoying it. Quite catchy and with good rhythm. Makes you want to wiggle your ass.

I’m glad the music is good, because I haven’t been impressed with the wine and food here at the North West Wine and Food Festival. We’re at the Hunting Lodge, where Steve took me for our wedding anniversary last month. We had a beautiful Hunting Lodge pinot noir and I’d looked forward to having it again. But although there are four or five wineries represented today, each only has two wines available, and both the Hunting Lodge ones are white. There’s no one to talk to about the wines, the only way to try one is to buy a glass at $10. And the food isn’t anything to write home about. Somehow the Hunting Lodge, who charge $38 a main, are selling fries, hot dogs and pizza. What the actual fuck?

But in less than an hour, Gin Wigmore is taking the stage. I’ve been wanting to see her live for ages, but last time she did a tour, I couldn’t afford tickets.

I have three Gin Wigmore songs on my playlist, and I’m hoping I’ll have more after tonight. I’m definitely going to be adding some Tami Neilson!

So here’s some kiwi music for you. I know she’s been living in the US for a while, but she’s a Kiwi.