I'm pleased that there's apparently some momentum in Agatha and James', and Agatha and Charles', relationships now. I'm looking forward to (view spoiler)[Agatha and James' romance hopefully going down in complete flames (hide spoiler)] in the next book.["br"]>["br"]>...more
Reasons I should have known better than to read this book:
1. The title 2. The cover
Reasons I read this book anyway:
1. Aliens! 2. Many, many, many enthusReasons I should have known better than to read this book:
1. The title 2. The cover
Reasons I read this book anyway:
1. Aliens! 2. Many, many, many enthusiastic reviews said the depiction of the alien culture was really cool and from the opening chapters this appeared to be true. 3. ALIENS. The first step is admitting you have a bit of a xeno kink. The second step is...well, I wish it hadn't been reading this.
GIANT HONKING REASONS I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN NOT TO READ THIS BOOK BUT DIDN'T BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INDICATED IN THE SUMMARY OR ANY OF THE REVIEWS I READ:
1. D/s. Extreme D/s. Public use of leashes and harnesses and all kinds of stuff that make me shudder -- and not in a pleasant sexy way -- to think about are employed. 2. Noncon. I say noncon instead of rape because the abuse isn't sexual, I guess, but Liam is chained up against his will. He is hunted down when he tries to escape. His free will is basically stripped away -- except he likes it because of course he's naturally submissive and OH MY GOD WHAT BAD FANFIC IS THIS 3. Slavery, basically, even if the author never cops to that. Just because you're like
doesn't make the slavery not slavery. I don't really care if your alien culture says it's okay. I don't feel okay about it. 4. Lines like:
"You need to be forced into that which is healthy for you"
“I would like to steal your control from you and force you to admit that even your body knows that it is mine, and it will react to me even over your own preferences"
GET AWAY FROM ME WITH THIS NIGHTMARE FUEL.
Look, I'm a big girl. I read a whackadoodle alien romance novel with a cover featuring a) a big purple guy with a tail and b) a scruffy naked dude whose neck looks sort of broken? I knew to some extent what I was getting into. Although admittedly, I did not think it would be this. This is so, so not my jam. I mean, good to know, right? I can definitely cross those kinks off the list. Buuuuuuuut I wish the summary for this book had been a little clearer. Or that I had been smarter and bailed once I realized the way this was going -- instead of grimly holding on in hopes that things would somehow get better for Liam. By my definition of "better," they didn't. The way Gala writes him, he would disagree, and hey -- who am I to kinkshame? If you like heavy D/s and vague sexual slavery, you will probably be super into this book, because on a prose level it's pretty well written and there is some interesting worldbuilding. But if you are not into those things...yikes.
I would have been safer reading a fic where Spock has some sort of weird flower penis or whatever. Lesson learned....more
Everyone seems to love this one and I'm bummed that I didn't. But I really, really didn't.
From the beginning, I had a hard time handling the fact thatEveryone seems to love this one and I'm bummed that I didn't. But I really, really didn't.
From the beginning, I had a hard time handling the fact that all of D's dialogue -- and thoughts! -- were in ridiculous tough-guy dialect. D's the assassin character -- so badass he no longer even has a name! -- but his dialogue reads like Third Mook From the Left's in some terrible mafia movie. Yet I squinted whenever he was speaking and moved on.
The other protagonist is an oral surgeon named Jack Francisco. Jack Francisco is a ridiculous thing to name your protagonist, even in the world of silly romance novel names. Jack Francisco should be a cowboy or rodeo clown, not an oral surgeon. But this is nit-picky so again I handwaved it and proceeded.
I was not rewarded. Jack and D's eventual hookup is abrupt and unsexy. I never felt the heat between them; I actually remember thinking, "I'm glad she's taking this slow" right before the first sex scene, because I was anticipating a ton more build up, as there had been next to nothing to signify mutual attraction at that point. But no. Sex happens about 1/4th of the way through, and then it's just dumb fights and idiotic self-endangering behavior for the rest of the book.
And the book is so long. For a story with dozens of hired killers running around, there is a shocking lack of tension. Maybe every assassin in this book is as droopy and inactive as D? Look, if I'm reading a romance novel about a hit man, it's because I want some sort of illicit thrill from a man who's highly competent and extremely deadly. I don't want some gravel-mouthed mope who's about as sexy and dynamic as the vampire Angel in guilt-ridden rat-eating mode. Let's just say this: Seville did manage to convince me that Jack could perform successful facial reconstructive surgery; I was not at all convinced that D had managed to kill undetected the 47 or whatever people he was always angsting about, unless they'd been on a bus that he accidentally drove over a cliff while blowing his nose.
So this is an excellent book if you want to hear about the exploits of a competent oral surgeon. Ladies.
Speaking of spicy stuff: oh, the sex scenes in this book! The numerous dull, interchangeable sex scenes. Seville's descriptions are either anatomical or filled with flowery metaphor: at one point D caresses Jack with "long, smooth strokes like raking a zen garden"; at another point, "Jack was just starting to spiral upward when D suddenly pulled out and seized Jack's waist, flipping him over as easily as one might a pancake on a slick skillet." Okay, so now I'm puzzling through mental images of zen gardens and pancake flipping. Hawt.
Basically, I think where I and this book part ways is that the book takes itself way too seriously. This is a ROMANCE about an ASSASSIN falling in love with his TARGET. That's a pretty cracky concept. Maybe...have fun with it? This does not need to be -- and probably shouldn't be -- a work of high literature. It should be sexy and fun. But in my opinion, Seville's 0/2 here.
One final example of my issues with this book: like I said, it goes on forever; it has more epilogues than The Return of the King. When you finally reach the last one, and you're expecting something like a depiction of D and Jack's happy life together, instead Seville gives you a graphic description of child murder. One that has nothing to do with the main plot, by the way. I guess it's just in there to remind you that life is terrible.
Anyway, that's what you get for a sexy feelgood ending. All in all, I think I'd rather read the adventures of Jack Francisco: Cowboy Dentist....more
I was really looking forward to this, but I found it incredibly disappointing. I loved the idea of LunSigh. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal this ain't.
I was really looking forward to this, but I found it incredibly disappointing. I loved the idea of Lunella as a character, but her narration was really flat and repetitive, and the plotting of this felt messy and scattered. All this volume needed to do was set up Lunella and Devil Dinosaur as a team, but I feel like it completely skipped over the moment when they bonded. This wasn't funny or feelsy, and it should have been both. Alas.
The issues with Amadeus Cho (<3!) did remind me that I wanted to start his Hulk run, so that's something, at least. ...more
I agree with the general consensus that Lansdale seemed fairly tired of Hap, Leonard, and their shenanigans when he wrote the previous book in this seI agree with the general consensus that Lansdale seemed fairly tired of Hap, Leonard, and their shenanigans when he wrote the previous book in this series, Captains Outrageous, but fortunately he took a nice long break before apparently deciding he missed these crazy bastards. Lansdale, Hap, and Leonard are all back on top form here -- in fact, this book has some of the best action sequences of the series so far. There's also some nice Hap angst as he deals with another descent into dime-store moral philosophy. And since Lansdale is back on form, these parts are beautifully written, and the contrast between Hap's self-reflection and the gators, guns, and general mayhem of the rest of the book is again delightful, and one of the things that keep me coming back to this series.
Though the main thing is really just how evident it is, on every page, that Hap and Leonard and Brett all love each other. That's surprisingly rare: a series where the characters all like each other so much.
That said -- I would absolutely read a spin-off devoted to infamous assassin Vanilla Ride....more
A frustrating book, due to how good it almost was. On a technical level, Easton is a better writer than pretty much any other romance author I've readA frustrating book, due to how good it almost was. On a technical level, Easton is a better writer than pretty much any other romance author I've read in the last few months, save Keira Andrews or Courtney Milan. Prose, dialogue, worldbuilding, characterization -- miles above the rest. But this book's plotting is abrupt to a bizarre degree.
Toward the beginning, a dramatic event happens -- and the consequences are quickly glossed over. It's the inciting incident, so I was willing to go with it, but then Easton does the exact same thing with her main story. At the highest point of tension, she skips right to the epilogue -- and jumps over what would really be the most interesting part of the narrative. I have no idea what led to this authorial decision, but for me, it really let this story, and these characters, down.
On a shallow note, I must admit that as much as I've enjoyed some of Easton's other books for the plot-characters-world trifecta, her sex scenes have always left me cold. Unfortunately, they continue to do so here. Pooh....more
Beautiful, poetic, and full of vivid and intensely evocative imagery. I'm sure that in the hands of a lesser writer, I would find the scattered styleBeautiful, poetic, and full of vivid and intensely evocative imagery. I'm sure that in the hands of a lesser writer, I would find the scattered style deeply annoying -- chapters full of often loosely connected paragraphs, almost little prose poems -- but Woodson has the skill to pull it off. Still, I'm enough of a traditionalist to long for a little more cohesion. ...more
Jake gets taken by a Yeerk! I've been reading too many romance novels and am uncomfortable about how I phrased that!!!
Ever since The Worst BestsellersJake gets taken by a Yeerk! I've been reading too many romance novels and am uncomfortable about how I phrased that!!!
Ever since The Worst Bestsellers pitched the idea for a gritty Animorphs Netflix reboot, I keep picturing how I would write scenes and plot points for this TV adaptation no one has hired me to do and that doesn't exist.
To start with, I was disappointed that (view spoiler)[everyone figures out so quickly that Jake is be-Yeerked. I guess this had to be the case, because if the Yeerk were left alone for two seconds, the first thing it would do is tell all its Yeerk buddies all of Jake and his friends' secrets and then the series would be over. But if I were making this show, it would be hard to resist the temptation to drag it out a little longer. Faux-Jake (Fake? Ha!) fooling all his friends while the real Jake screams inside his own head is just SO CREEPY and intense and you've gotta milk that for at least a couple sweeps episodes. (hide spoiler)]
I was impressed with how clever and vivid the scenes of Jake's initial capture and (view spoiler)[the Yeerk's attempted nighttime escape (hide spoiler)] were. 10/10 would not change.
But how could anyone resist the comic potential of actually showing on screen the scenes where (view spoiler)[Ax pretends to be Jake? (hide spoiler)] Awkward and ironic: my favorite types of humor!
Anyway, I am really upset now that I am not no one is making this show! GET ON IT HOLLYWOOD.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I wanted to read something warm and feel-good and this...almost worked for me. I liked Vince with his big crazy loving Italian family, finally comingI wanted to read something warm and feel-good and this...almost worked for me. I liked Vince with his big crazy loving Italian family, finally coming to terms with his sexuality at almost 40. But in the same way that the alternating POVs didn't jibe for me -- Vince's chapters in third person, Trey's in first -- I found Trey's half of the story less convincing. It verged on misery porn: poverty, horribly alcoholic mother, supposedly caring grandmother and friends who never do anything to help (either Trey or the plot), and a weird obsession with virginity. I simply didn't buy Trey's reasons for abstaining from sex; it felt to me like the authors just really wanted him to be a virgin, so he had to be a virgin. Vince and Trey fall in love so quickly, and Vince goes from being unable to admit he might be gay to wanting it in the ass so fast -- I don't know, I actually started to feel bad for them that they're each going to be the other's only male lover, especially since (view spoiler)[they get engaged to be married at the end! (hide spoiler)] For a supposed slow-build, this was too fast, too soon, too sudden, and I didn't believe it....more
Harry Houdini was a larger than life figure; his marriage to Bess Houdini has always been, in my mind, one of history's great tragic romances. Yet somHarry Houdini was a larger than life figure; his marriage to Bess Houdini has always been, in my mind, one of history's great tragic romances. Yet somehow Victoria Kelly has managed to make both seem petty and small. Now, I'm no expert on the Houdinis -- unless reading Wikipedia, listening to that super epic Kate Bush song, and being literally the only person to watch the show Houdini and Doyle grants one expertise. Nevertheless, Kelly's depiction of the couple felt wildly out of character to me: the way she writes them, neither Harry nor Bess even seems clever. They are pedestrian at best, awkward and gullible at worst. I didn't buy Kelly's characterization, so this book was never going to work for me.
It might have worked better, however, if the tone she was going for was gritty realism. Instead, this book attempts a spiritualist solution that even Arthur Conan Doyle would have found dopey. I strongly believe that this book, properly done, would have left me in tears (Kate Bush's song has made me a little sniffly from time to time); instead, I felt nothing the whole way through, except an urge to roll my eyes. There's no spark to the romance, no verve to the characters, and the ending is so cheesy it's likely to cause lactose intolerance. Where was the magic?...more
Why is this book called The Encounter? We just don't know.
Tobias is a sad bird who does sad bird things like live in a drawer in his friend's attic anWhy is this book called The Encounter? We just don't know.
Tobias is a sad bird who does sad bird things like live in a drawer in his friend's attic and nearly commit suicide at the mall. Man, these books are impressively dark for a kids' series! It's good. It's so good. Bring on the '90s-era Scholastic book fair pain!...more
I listened to The Worst Bestsellers' episode on the Animorphs series and now I'm trapped on the nostalgia train!
It's a pretty fun train, though.
Edit:I listened to The Worst Bestsellers' episode on the Animorphs series and now I'm trapped on the nostalgia train!
It's a pretty fun train, though.
Edit: I realized as I was proudly entering this into my booklog that this is the second book called The Visitor that I've read this year (the other, as you can see from clicking that link, was rather different). Contemplating that made me wonder -- why the heck is this installment called The Visitor anyway? The plot of this one mostly has to do with Rachel spying on her old friend Melissa, whose parents are controlled by Yeerks, in the form of Melissa's cat. Who exactly is the "visitor" in this scenario? Rachel in cat form? Or the Yeerks themselves? If so, that's kind of a downgrade from The Invasion of the last book. First! The aliens invaded! Now! They've come...to tea!
This is some deep Animorphs reading, you guys....more
"Mature" is not a word one would usually apply to Lydia Bennet, but this was a surprisingly mature and imaginative take on Lydia's part of Pride and P"Mature" is not a word one would usually apply to Lydia Bennet, but this was a surprisingly mature and imaginative take on Lydia's part of Pride and Prejudice. That Farrant manages to accomplish this while staying true to the original story and creating her own lively, engaging narrative voice is truly impressive -- I picked this up while ordering, intending to do my due diligence by reading a few pages, and found I couldn't stop. Farrant finds depth in Lydia while still acknowledging her childishness and silliness. It helps to be a modern reader, aware that Lydia is a teenage girl who's likely extremely bored, but I don't think Farrant hammers in that point, or any other, too harshly. This book doesn't exactly provide Lydia with the happy ending one might want, nor does it (view spoiler)[fully redeem Wickham, much to my relief -- I'm not sure there would be a way to do that without going deeply OOC or soppy (hide spoiler)]. But this is a more positive spin on her fate, and her character. Plus: it's fun....more