Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

The book was well written and easy to follow but I found the characters lacked depth and the ending was a little abrupt.
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Layne Fargo's debut novel, Temper, is a thrill ride of obsession, passion, and what it means to be devoted to art more than well-being. Pitched in an email from NetGalley as something fans of the Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan, would love, I figured I would give it a try and request. For the first time in a stupidly long time, I have been presented with a book that is exactly what I was told it would and so, so much more.

For fear of giving away any good stuff, I will make a lot of this vague, but the story follows two points of view, one from Kira and the other from Joanna. Kira is an actress fighting to make ends meet while she strives for her big break. Joanna is one of he two people behind one of the larger theatre companies in Chicago looking for what she truly wants. The one thing that ties these two together is a script written by an unknown author and the man who plays the lead, Malcolm Mercer.

When I say this book is like Black Swan, I am only talking about the aspect of passion, and striving for that perfection while being allowed to feel and move through a scene, through a performance as though it could be reality. That is really where the comparison ends and it because a dance of psychological warfare between unmovable forces. This is where I would compare it to the play adaptation of Venus in Fur (my favourite show of all time).

The way every character moves around the others is so complex as they all become intertwined to the point of being knotted in each others' faces is hypnotic. The layers so carefully worked that even the predictable is set up as though that was the purpose of the moment. I saw the ending coming a mile away - the principle of Chekhov's Gun is very real here - but I didn't care because that didn't change how beautifully executed it was. It's a cyclical story of desperation and egos and arrogance while also one of desire, love, jealousy, and what it means to be obsessed with perfection.

I almost hate the degree these characters had me obsessing over them, but it has been a long time since a character like Malcolm Mercer has had my little queer heart racing. Even Kira had me wishing I was her more than once, while I've felt Joanna's pain so viscerally it almost made me want to cry. I know these people, I want to be these people, I am afraid of these people, and I love all of it.

I know I am absolutely gushing without giving much substance here but this is a book I highly recommend going into as blind as possible. Don't read the reviews on GoodReads. Skim the synopsis on the back. Pick this up and let it eat you whole. You won't regret it.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster and Ms. Layne Fargo for the opportunity to read this Advanced Readers Copy of "Temper".

The stage is set with a small cast of intriguing characters. Our author takes us on an intense journey of betrayals, dramatic sexual tensions and deep dark thoughts throughout the creation of a theater play called "Temper".

Told from the 2 female lead characters viewpoints. "Joanne" and "Kira" are strong female characters with many secrets and agendas to reveal... the twists and turns keep coming as tempers build and we are kept on edge until the final curtain call.

This is a badass story with an exciting behind the scenes peek at theatre productions.

4 stars
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The story is told from two points of view; Kira is an ambitious actress and Joanna is a co-owner of a small theatre company.  Mal is the other owner and an actor and director.  Mal will stop at nothing to bring out the best in the actors with whom he works.  This is a tension filled novel about ambition and manipulation and is best suited for someone who likes books that are a little different. I found it riveting and haven't stopped thinking about it since finishing it.
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First time reader of a theatre psychological thriller. This isn’t a mystery or a whodunnit... but a book that draws you in and I wanted to get through it to just figure out where it was headed.

It was a quick read and the short alternating between two main characters made it easy to get through. This is definitely a book a bit out of my comfort zone and one I necessarily wouldn’t have picked up to purchase in a book store. 

I think the ending is fairly predictable but still enjoyed the story getting there. I like how the author kept a lot of elements vague, even big twists, leaving a lot to the readers imagination.
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Short chapters and alternating perspectives make this fast paced and easy to read in a sitting or two. The tension slowly but constantly built and the overall tone was ominous and foreboding. I knew that something explosive was going to happen and was just waiting for it to detonate. I have to say that I did predict what would happen pretty early on but it didn’t impede my enjoyment of the build up at all. If anything it made me even more eager to get to the finale which felt inevitable. I’d like to be a better person but I’m apparently terrible and I got the ending I anticipated and had hoped for. It may have been predictable but it was oh so satisfying!

The characters are for the most part awful people, to the point that I didn’t feel bad when horrible things happened to them. This is the kind of book where you have to embrace all the worst impulses in yourself and just let your evil freak flag fly. Enjoy the nastiness, revel in the manipulation, and embrace the betrayals. This is like watching one of those old day time talk shows that always ended in name calling and some sort of physical fight. You just keep eating your popcorn and are thankful that particular mess isn’t your life. The same kind of voyeuristic urge is satisfied by “Temper” although in a much more refined and highbrow way. If you find the misery and anguish of others amusing then this book is for you. I generally do not enjoy this intense level of schadenfreude but for some reason this book drew me into its smothering embrace and wouldn’t let me go. After a while I didn’t want to be let go. This psychological tale reveals just as much about the reader as it does about the characters and you might not like what you see reflected back at you.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Gallery/Scout Press for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
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I was intrigued by this book as I've always been a fan of theatre-based lit and really liked Luckiest Girl Alive which it is compared to in the blurb. Temper is definitely more for the 50 Shades crowd than the All About Eve fans. The plot was minimal, the characters intentionally dislikable. Most of the focus was on sexual tension and relationships, with a really dark ending with lots of ambiguity. While this wasn't the book for me, fans of 50 Shades and similar books will likely enjoy it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Hmm. What a hard book this was to read and review. I've never read anything remotely close to what I just finished. This is for sure one of those books that you should go into blind. That's what I did and that's why I think it held my attention throughout the whole book. It was a slow read for me, I didn't overly like the characters or even the story but for some reason I couldn't put it down. I almost didn't finish it but at the same time I knew if I didnt it would be all I was thinking about. I needed to know how it ended even though I knew how it was going to end. I still needed to read it to see it play out and to see if I was going to be right. If you like suspenseful reads this is for sure for you. Frig.

Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada and netgalley for allowing me to read and review this early ! And messing with my head alittle one this review
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Rounding up to 3.5 stars.
I feeling generally indifferent about this book.
The plot took a while to build, therefore leaving all the suspense and the thriller aspects behind. I found myself waiting for the climax at every page turn, for a climax that never really came.
I’m also indifferent about the multiple perspectives, it was okay but it could’ve been okay without it as well.
I do have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the ending though, that is what saved the book from an overwhelming sense of “meh”.
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Did not finish this one. Just didn't enjoy the dynamics of the characters and the weird sexual tension. It was not for me.
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5 syllables to describe this book! PSY-CHO-LO-GI-CAL

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that folks who enjoyed 50 Shades will be drawn to this story as well. With an element of sadomasochistic sexual tension  and an in depth psychological  plot, this is a story that crosses genre boundaries and leaves the reader wondering where in the world this this going???

There is much mind trickery as the plot delves into the violent side of acting and manipulation. This is one of those books that blurs the reality between what is real and what is not by using actors and a play called Temper as the setting. The story alternates between Kira and Joanne. Joanne and Mal own a production company that puts on radically tense and lifelike performances. Mall has the infamous reputation of pushing actors over the edge of sanity. When Kira, a flailing and emotionally damaged  actress with no foreseeable prospects lands the leading role across from Mal, she believes she can outplay the manipulations that are sure to come her way....but can she?

So...why only 2 stars? Well, I was not captivated by the plot. The “acting” as a plot element wasn’t that interesting for me. I don’t enjoy reading about actors and plays nor do I care to learn about acting terminology. I also thought the build up was weak and lacked authenticity. I had a hard time believing that things would turn out the way they did. I also wanted to learn more about a Joanne as her character didn’t seem  fully developed.  I kept waiting for a crescendo that never seemed to arrive. I wanted way more punch!!! 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was one of those books that I thought I would like much more than I did. I’m sure there are others who will appreciate some of the plot elements more than I did.
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After years of trying to break out as a theatre actress, Kira Rascher finally lands a role alongside Malcolm Mercer in Temper, a new play. Malcom is a director known for pushing his co-workers beyond their limits. Kira is sure she knows how to handle him, but isn't sure about Joana Cuyler, the co-founder of the theatre where Kira will be working. 

This was absolutely excellent. It's told in alternating first-person views by Kira and Joanna from the day of Kira goes to audition for the play to the night of the play itself. The chapters are short and snappy, ending at clliffhangers that force you to keep reading to learn what happens next. The book has a great momentum and pacing. There is a very small cast of characters, all inexplicably tied to each other - and they all stand to lose or gain something throughout the novel.

This is a story about the dangerous nature of power and ambitions, and how they can poison everyone involved. By the end, you’ll question what’s real and who’s insane.
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A mesmerizing thriller with a cast of damaged characters who slowly unravel as the pages turn. Just read it. Compulsive and consuming.
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This is a dark, foreboding book. Not a ton happens, plot-wise, but you'll still find yourself turning pages late in the night when you should be sleeping. I'm not sure there's a character that you'll be rooting for, but you will definitely want to know how everything plays out. There's nothing cute or surface-level in this book, it's raw and layered, with all the messy aspects of human nature amped up to distressing effect. It's a well-written suspense book with an added bonus of behind the scenes theatre stuff.
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Layne Fargo writes a hauntingly beautiful tale about the lives of the actors, producers, directors, and technicians fighting for recognition in the ultra competitive Chicago theatre scene.  The novel is written from a dual perspective, both chronicling the lives of two young women, Kira and Joanna, working under the controlling thumb of a ruthless but enchanting director Mal, the former as his lead actress the latter as his second in command. In rich, spellbinding prose, Fargo weaves a sinister tale of sex, anger, and intense artistic passion gone wrong.

 I particularly enjoyed the feminist undertones woven throughout the novel. The female and male characters express and revel in their sexuality and sexual orientations unapologetically. Ultimately, at the novel’s conclusion, Kira and Joanna fight back against Mal’s oppressive, paternalistic ideologies and realize their true talent and potential outside of his control. 

I also enjoyed the building tension Fargo created in Temper. With every turn of the page, the tension becomes more and more palatable until the inevitable snap comes. Fargo also wrote an intensely claustrophobic novel. Despite its setting, Temper is close knit, which only adds to the novel’s mounting tension. Fans of quiet thrillers like the Death of Mrs. Westway and those interested in the dark side of the theatre scene will appreciate this rich, and haunting novel.
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I enjoyed reading this book. It had a good story to it. I liked the variety of characters in it. It is my first book read by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
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