Thursday, January 8, 2015

Joint Review: Breaking the Silence (Hard Drive Series #2) by Tricia Andersen

Lacey and Tara are doing a joint review of this title.

Breaking the Silence (Hard Drive Series #2)Here's the blurb:
MMA Bad Boy Rico Choate falls for Avery, a deaf Marine – but will she stick around when she learns of his career in the octagon?

Rico Choate is a MMA bad boy with a love them and leave them attitude. That is until he meets Avery Walker, a deaf Marine who lost her hearing when her transport is destroyed in an I.E.D explosion in Afghanistan. He falls hard for her, even learning sign language from his friend, Chloe, so he can talk to her. However, Avery’s hatred for all celebrities forces Rico to keep his career in mixed martial arts a secret. How long can he keep such huge parts of his life separate? And if she does find out will she leave him or put her stubborn pride aside to stay with the man she loves?

Tara: Okay, Lacey. I must confess I had a very hard time with this hero at first. He comes across as such an asshole! I almost abandoned the story, I disliked him so much. It wasn't until the ....55% or thereabouts point that he began to earn some major points with me.

He grinned, and he knew his smile was as dazzling as the summer highway. I am just that incredible.

“You are beautiful. And I certainly was lucky to have you last night. But one night was all I wanted from you. Would you have had sex with me if I'd told you it was a one night deal?"

But then he rushes to learn sign language just to talk to this girl and he sticks up for her at the carnival and there's this huge moment when he realizes how badly he's treated women. 

What's your take on Rico?

Lacey: I found him to be very arrogant and unlikable in the beginning. The way he thinks of himself is as though he is God's gift to women...or more like the world. And as soon as he sees Avery, he wants her. I was kinda put off then as well because I wanted to see him do the work to get her-such as learning to sign to ask her out.

As I read on, I started to like him and I could tell he really cared for Avery, and her well being. So he eventually won me over on being a good guy. Perhaps Avery was able to bring him back down to earth. She gave him a reason to live, aside from being a MMA fighter.

Tara: I liked that, his having to actually work for a woman for a change. I think, however, he
learned sign language way too fast. Fluent in just weeks? I get he's a determined guy. I
mean, look at how much time he spends training,'ve attempted to learn and it's
not likely he'd be fluent that quick. I agree with you on the insta-love.
What's your opinion on Avery? Did you figure out her age? I had some trouble with that. I'm curious what conclusion you came to. I decided that after 5 years of the Marines and a couple years of recuperation and learning to sign, she'd be around 30, but the whole "I hate all celebrities because of ONE basketball player" seemed really young and immature.

Don't get me wrong. I loved her character otherwise. She's so kind, sweet, and the work she does for Veterans is awesome. But...she's not very Marine-like or independent.

I can give her the whole "I don't want to drive thing" even though I think it made her kind of a hypocrite with all her, "I'm a Marine, not a princess" boasting. She sure acted like a princess. And she becomes a weeping mess after one day of not hearing from Rico? Seriously?

Lacey: I never figured out her age, but I assumed late twenties or early thirties. I did like her for the most part. She didn't let the fact that she was deaf hold her back. She still went to school to get her degree. She did have to depend on people to drive her places, if I had been through the things she had, I might not be able to drive either. Every person reacts to situations differently, so I didn't hold it against her that she didn't speak or drive.

Tara: As a deaf person who strives to be independent, lip-reading is a necessity for me. I was bothered at first that she didn't lip read. Again with the "I'm independent" and when she's really not stuff...but I emailed the author and asked why she didn't have Avery reading lips and she said that Avery over-embraces deafness. Perhaps it's a barrier from the rest of the world. I can understand that, but it didn't fit with her character, who she constantly claimed to be. And I could get past this after reading the author's explanation, BUT the point is I had to email the author and ask. This was not made clear to me in the story. It should be clearer in the story.

Lacey: I've only met a few deaf people in my life, and while I've not met Tara in person, we have grown very close over the years with an online relationship. I did recently encounter two deaf women at a gym, and at first I had no idea they were. They walked up to the trainer I was working with and began talking to him. Sure, they spoke a little different, but I didn't think much of it. It was when the two ladies needed a sign they'd read clarified is when one said they were both deaf.

I don't know sign language, and neither does my trainer.So I did find it odd that so many people in this book knew how to, and could communicate in full sentences with Avery. Such as Rico, he learned sign language so fast.  He could sign and understand everything Avery said. Realistically, I would think he'd still need her to write a lot of what she needed, or him. However, this is a book of fiction, so I guess to progress the story along, the author wrote it that way.

I would have liked to see Avery read lips. It's just odd to me that she was so stubborn not to learn this when she needs it to communicate. I didn't always understand how she was taking classes. Did she bring a sign language interpreter with her?

Tara: Yes, it said at one point she had to watch an interpreter. She got all distracted one day 'cause she was daydreaming of Rico and missed some signs. The actual mention of the interpreter was just one sentence though, so it could have been missed.

Lacey: I know it sounds like I'm being hard on the author here. I really did enjoy the story, but these were aspects I had a hard time with and really made me stop and think.

I'm curious, Tara, how many people have you encountered who could sign? How does your current job accommodate you?

Tara: I can count on ONE hand all the hearing people I have met in my life who knew how to sign. So that is actually a quibble of mine in the book: how just about everyone Avery meets conveniently knows how to sign, except of course the hero. The people she works with, Chloe, Max, Mark. My workplace has never accommodated me in that manner. For me it's always been, "You're in our world. You figure it out. We're not doing anything special for you." And I've worked a variety of places. Maybe I need to become a barista? LOL

Lacey: I'm gonna take a moment to review a few points that I liked. I liked Chloe and Max a lot. I read this book first (it's the second in a stand-alone series). I will go back and read book 1. While it sounds like I picked the story apart early due to the heroine being deaf, it's only because Ms. Andersen put in a topic that got me thinking and talking. For the, I applaud the author. The fact that she got Tara and I talking is an accomplishment. This was not a book I read, put aside, and moved onto the next one.

I will be going back to read the first one, and I'm looking forward to it.

Tara: I liked them too, Max and Chloe. I noticed a reference to her having some kind of Vomiting Syndrome--another disability.

There were more things that didn't work for me in this story than did...but I thought the romance was really sweet once I got past the insta-love and I appreciate the author writing about heroines with struggles and disabilities in this series as she has been.

And hey, let's not forget to address the author's writing style. How'd you like the style?

Lacey: I think the author did a good job. She can tell a story. She knows how to add conflict to a story, stretch out the black moment, and not make the couple have an instant back together (something I myself as a writer sometimes struggle with). There were a few editing issues in the book, but I don't hold that against the author at all since authors typically aren't editors.

Tara: Agree. Great writing.

Lacey's Rating:

Tara's Rating:

Tara: And hey, guess what? We have the author with us today briefly telling us about the most challenging thing about writing a deaf character. I had to chuckle and nod my head as I read it. It is indeed very hard to drive and communicate when you're dependent on visual communication... I have to tell passengers, "I can't look at you right now, so shut up!" Please welcome Tricia Andersen.

When I started writing Breaking the Silence, I knew writing Avery, a deaf Marine, wouldn’t be easy. I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be. The first hurdle I had to jump was how to write her dialogue. With printed word it’s very difficult to interpret sign language. After talking to my proofreader Molly, who also knows ASL, we decided to treat it as our publisher treats any foreign language and put it in italics.

However, the greatest challenge wasn’t Avery, it was the other characters especially Rico. There were many times that I would write a scene and realized his body placement would make it near impossible for Avery to see his hands or lips. And the four hour car ride from Minneapolis to Des Moines where I originally thought they could get to know each other? Yeah…not without a major accident. There were several rewrites to put Rico in the right place to talk to Avery. But in the end it was completely worth it. These two are my favorite characters.

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