Say "kitchen witch" and I'm there. (Especially when said kitchen witch tells me, personally, that I should eat nasturtiums, which I love...) There's jSay "kitchen witch" and I'm there. (Especially when said kitchen witch tells me, personally, that I should eat nasturtiums, which I love...) There's just something so. . . charming and quirky and endearing in stories around the theme of kitchen witchery, and this was no exception. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it's like magical realism's more universally palatable cousin (and we all know how I feel about magical realism). Think Practical Magic. Just Say Yes is the even more palatable cousin, actually – the kitchen witchiness is subtle, never beating you over the head with quikry magicfulness, which I imagine many people will appreciate.
If you’ve been around for awhile, or follow my Austen event, you’ll probably already be aware that I tend to find Goodnight’s stories equal parts cute, funny, and sexy; they never fail to win me over and put a smile on my face. This was fun and funny and quirky and cute, as expected. There's charm and warmth to her characters, always balanced by a sharp, incisive humor, coated in a veneer of light sarcasm (never bitter or obnoxious, just witty). She seems to do well at fleshing out her casts, too, with great side/peripheral characters that you always want to see more of (which means you’re seeing just the right amount of them – always leave ‘em wanting more, and all that). There’s a great mother/daughter relationship, and other friend and family relationships and interactions that help ground the story and build it up nicely. There were times I questioned Max, the male lead, and whether he’d really be so gung-ho about all of the goings on, and the way Jade consistently pushes him away, but I still think it worked – and frankly, maybe that's my own biases clouding my perception of him. But it was never enough to thrust me out of the story or make me dislike either of the romantic leads, or their relationship.
Speaking of the relationship, which is kind of a central focus in a romance, this one was sexy and fast-building in a way that could go really wrong and feel like it’s fleeting and meaningless, but it managed to keep from going off the rails into cheesy territory. It's – for the most part – believable, and there seems like a solid-enough foundation and chemistry for it to go somewhere after the book has run its course. Goodnight wisely tests the romance and characters, beyond that initial getting-together/will-they-won’t-they. She gives them obstacles, and opportunities to grow stronger together, which is something that really elevates a romance novel for me. It takes it out of the realm of quick fluff, and makes it that much more believable. On top of all that, there’s a good streak of nerdery that pop culture/nerdom fans will appreciate. All in all, I’m glad to hear there's more in the series AND I totally want there to be an offshoot business, with recipes and label designs and all of it.
I enjoy Noelle Adams as a fun diversion, but sometimes it feels like she's phoning it in. Things are a little too easy and too simple, and I would likI enjoy Noelle Adams as a fun diversion, but sometimes it feels like she's phoning it in. Things are a little too easy and too simple, and I would like some more genuine conflict and lingering tension in her stories in general. That said, this was cute, quick and fun, as all of her books generally are....more
2.5, right in the middle of the road. I don't even know why I can't stay away from Noelle Adams/Claire Kent books, but at this point, it's just a give2.5, right in the middle of the road. I don't even know why I can't stay away from Noelle Adams/Claire Kent books, but at this point, it's just a given. I can't quit them....more
2.5 I don't know why, don't bother asking. It was free on Amazon, and it was late and I didn't want to get out of bed to find the book I should have b2.5 I don't know why, don't bother asking. It was free on Amazon, and it was late and I didn't want to get out of bed to find the book I should have been reading, so I told myself that the idea of modern-day mail order brides could be interesting (and it was youtube-based, btw, and not email), so despite the fact that the cover is pretty meh, I thought I'd give it a try. It was fine, mostly forgettable, completely unbelievable, and why does everybody gotta go preggers-crazy in romances these days? But yeah, quick and free, and fairly painless....more
This popped up in my feed one night from someone commenting on another's review, and because I'm fascinated by the recent trend in "Billionaire" ev2.5
This popped up in my feed one night from someone commenting on another's review, and because I'm fascinated by the recent trend in "Billionaire" everything (like, seriously. Scroll through the indie romances and they're all Billionaire something or other), I thought it'd amuse me for a time. And it did. Eventually. Most of the time, I just found it horribly tacky. The book opens with a soldier's death, and yet that never stops people from being tacky at his funeral, at his family home, at the family business... And by people, I mostly mean his "devoted" brother, Carter, but not just Carter. These characters are gross, and beyond the parental figures (Carter's parents, Gwen's foster father, and Gwen herself), I found them fairly unlikable a majority of the time (and sometimes downright repugnant). I kept hanging on in the hopes that the ship would right itself (and because it was super quick anyway), and eventually, mostly, I think it did - but it could have done with a lot more time in the end of the story for me to believe in the development and personality shifts of the characters.
But if this is your type of book and you can look past the tackiness, there are worse ways to waste 99¢, I'm sure, and it does have its moments of being effecting. It's worth it for Gwen's character, at least. (But if you're going in looking for abundant sexytimes, skip it. Tension, yes, but beyond that, not so much...)...more
Since I liked the Claire Kent works, I thought I'd give her other penname a try, and this was the first I stumbled across. Meh. In the beginning, it wSince I liked the Claire Kent works, I thought I'd give her other penname a try, and this was the first I stumbled across. Meh. In the beginning, it was a flat out NO. Really, really rough. It did get better, but didn't hold a candle to the character development or the chemistry of Escorted, or even Nameless....more
I have this goal of taking notes on a book when I finish it, to make reviewing it easier. I know myself; I willjump straight into the next book, and tI have this goal of taking notes on a book when I finish it, to make reviewing it easier. I know myself; I will jump straight into the next book, and things will get muddled, and then I'll forget half the things I want to say if I don't take notes. Sometimes my note-taking is really lax, but sometimes I love my nerdy, essay-writing self for being a note-taker, because then when I'm being a lazy ass and putting off writing a review (for no other reason than, say, a Firefly marathon. Again.), I'll at least have something to look over to refresh my memory and make me actually write the damn thing.
My review for Touch of Power is one of those, a thank-god-for-notes review. Why? Because I read it just before Christmas, all gung-ho about another Maria book and wanting to get up a review asap. But I mean, hello? Christmas and New Years, it's not like I was going to get anything done. And, um...now it's May. So that's how that works out for me.
But it was funny to me a bit when I looked back over my notes. Sometimes things get a little crappier in hindsight, and sometimes they get a little rosier. I think Maria's books tend to get rosier for me, and that's because I always have issues with the beginnings of them. I mean, take Poison Study, her debut and one of my favorite books, period. A friend recommended it to me, and within the first 30 pages or so, I was emailing her and asking her whyyyyy and was about to take it back to the library, until suddenly - it clicked. And I loved it rabidly from then on out. And I look back on it now as nearly flawless. The bumpy beginning never even happened. Looking over my notes for Touch of Power, I'm discovering that I've done it again. Or Maria has. She's made me forget that in the beginning, I was writing myself notes like this:
Maybe I've been watching too much Community, but Avry's narration is reminding me of Abed. It feels...almost meta-fictiony, like a cheesy voice over. It's not natural.
Maria said Poison Study took her about a decade, and I think it shows. I think she needs that length of time to stew and perfect and produce something with depth and originality. None of the others have come close to matching PS, and each seems to get farther from it...
God, I was a bitch fussy-pants. But here's the thing - the as-I-go notes stop after that. All the rest are post-book, and that's because I didn't put it down to make a note after that point. Like Poison Study, it clicked and suddenly everything was magic. Now don't get me wrong, I think the decade Maria spent on PS still shows and it is my favorite of her works without a doubt. Touch of Power doesn't quite measure up to that, but I'm okay with that. I don't expect other books to measure up to my favorites. Poison Study was fresh to me, and this is never not predictable. It skews younger and simpler, but I don't necessarily find this a bad thing. I'm okay with a foregone conclusion because sometimes it just makes sense. This was still well told and engaging, even if you could see what was coming, and even if there was a bit of a mustache-twirler-type villain.
The simple fact is, Maria writes an engaging story with rootforable characters and engrossing world-building. Always. I shouldn't doubt that because she's shown me time and again that if I just quit being a bitch fussy-pants and give in, I will be entertained and I will be very eager for the next installment of whatever it is she's writing. Ever. Period. Her romances are stomach-fluttery and swoony without being sickening; her heroines are kick-ass by human. Her tension is - my god, it's tense. Everything is always so tense! I love it! I'm using exclamation points!
Maybe she's some kind of wizard. I really don't know. But whatever it is, she's got it, and even if it doesn't always shine as brightly as one may hope, it still always shines. She writes books that make you want to recommend them to people, books you talk about and push. That says a lot to a book-lover. So if you haven't picked up one of her series yet, you should. You just should....more
2.5 I did another video review for this one (and if you want to watch it, you can here.) But if you're not into video reviews, here's a brief written r2.5 I did another video review for this one (and if you want to watch it, you can here.) But if you're not into video reviews, here's a brief written review, in the language of Bumped:
It was like, rilly rilly all about young girls pregging for money. Like, for seriously young. But it was okay, 'cause they were being, like, patriotic, and all the hot girls go Pro anyway, and it's just a delivery, so who cares? And if creepy old guy agents are making you major bank on that pregg, and your creepy parents are encouraging it, and you get to bump with like, the hawtest hunkaspunk in, I dunno, the whole Uni, then why the eff not, right? And, so, yeah, sometimes people die or have, like postpartum pyschosis, but it just means that they are rilly, like, not ProAm material, they are totally neggy.
But there are these Churchies, too, and they are total creepers who believe in keeping their preggs and having like, lots of them. And they want you to have god, and be obedient and whatevs, but maybe they wouldn't mind a little erection perfection themselves... But, yeah, they're still creepy.
So when these 2 sisters, one who's totally going to bump with, like, the cockjockey, and one who's like a total Churchie, get together, it's like for seriously predictable, and is rilly gonna get banned for like sex + religion stuff. Like total Sexigion. And yeah, some neggy people are going to be all like "Oh, where's the science? Why don't they just do like, artificial bumpage, blahblahblah" But that's just cause neggy people don't get it, right? Cause it's satire, bitches.
Oh, and it for seriously ends in the middle of a scene in a rilly irritating way....more