4.5 - REALLY enjoyed this book! I had stumbled upon it while browsing the Amazon Kindle store recently and happened to see this. I grabbed a sample af4.5 - REALLY enjoyed this book! I had stumbled upon it while browsing the Amazon Kindle store recently and happened to see this. I grabbed a sample after checking out the blurb with a plan to read just the first chapter. A few hours later, I had already grabbed the whole book and had practically gobbled all of it by the end of the day. This is going on my keeper shelf!...more
The Heist Society continues to be one of my favorite series. Well written, funny, interesting characters and smooth plots make each book a joy to readThe Heist Society continues to be one of my favorite series. Well written, funny, interesting characters and smooth plots make each book a joy to read. Narrator Angela Dawe narrates beautifully as she goes from Kat's voice to Simon's and in between. I would love to see this as a movie but only if the spirit, freshness and intrigue of the novels carry over into the visual stories. Looking forward to reading more of Kat's adventures with her fellow heist members!...more
A nice compilation of all the 'Diane' tapes Coop made throughout the Twin Peaks series. Some clips may jog your memory if you're a huge fan as they coA nice compilation of all the 'Diane' tapes Coop made throughout the Twin Peaks series. Some clips may jog your memory if you're a huge fan as they come direct from some of the episodes. Not really any new material but a must have for any TP fan. :-)...more
Excellent in between novella to whet the appetites of readers awaiting the upcoming release of The Iron Daughter. I had a minor wish after reading theExcellent in between novella to whet the appetites of readers awaiting the upcoming release of The Iron Daughter. I had a minor wish after reading the second book in the series. I'm happy to say it comes true with this book which features Ash and Meghan as they trek across Winter lands toward the Fae court. Lots of action, adventure and romance keeps this story within the vein of what makes the Iron Fey series so addictive. If I had one more wish, it would be for this to be available in print and audio for my keeper shelf!...more
The Losers GN came into my reading orbit after I saw previews from the movie. (I know, for shame!) But I'm glad it did. Although I did enjoy the movieThe Losers GN came into my reading orbit after I saw previews from the movie. (I know, for shame!) But I'm glad it did. Although I did enjoy the movie, I couldn't help feeling like a lot was left out.
Sure enough, thanks to a recent LA Times article, writer Andy Diggle said the movie version of The Losers was "a lot lighter, less grim and a lot less political". Naturally, I had to check out the original source material.
Ante Up begins right in the middle of the action after the black Ops team calling themselves The Losers plan on getting back the CIA for abandoning them on a prior mission. Clay, the head of the team, isn't keen on letting the agency go so quickly. So when he discovers all the underhanded shenanigans that the agency is involved in, he sees the prime time to get his and his team's identities and lives back. All with the help of the mysterious Aisha who may or may not be on their side.
I really enjoyed Ante Up. The mature rating is spot on with the amount of violence and cursing but the story is pretty awesome in dealing with true to life issues surrounding the government. Issues such as arms dealing and drug operations:
Jensen: So they're selling sh-- to the American people to raise money to protect the American people from the guys who produce the sh-- they're sellin' them in the first place. That is f-- up on so many levels, man...
Clay: Don't kid yourself. Only people they're protecting here are their lobbyist buddies in arms and oil.
Pooch: It's there right on the dollar bill, man--In G.O.D. we trust...
Roque: What the h-- does God have to do with it?
Aisha: Guns. Oil. Drugs. The holy trinity.
With an allusion to the Iran Contra situation of the 1980s, Diggle makes this series grounded with some interesting commentary that I wish was kept in the movie.
The strength is in the characters and how they interact with each other. Each 'loser' has his and her own personality and way of talking which bounces off their comrades well. Having a soft spot for awesomely deadly heroines, I loved Aisha even though she terrified me sometimes. I wish her character was more developed from the comic to movie translation.
In any event, although this may seem like another shoot-em-up conspiracy comic series, definitely check out The Losers for some great characters, epic action movie style storytelling and humor. I'm definitely hooked and will be checking out the rest of the books! ...more
4.5 - This is easily a 5 star story. Ms. Nelson weaves a wonderful love story mixed with action packed suspense and some welcoming surprises along the4.5 - This is easily a 5 star story. Ms. Nelson weaves a wonderful love story mixed with action packed suspense and some welcoming surprises along the way.
Royal Stone is tired of job hunting on a hot Memphis day. As she steps into a little restaurant unknown to her called Mother Russia, she has no idea how much her life will change. She comes upon a handsome Russian in an expensive suit playing the violin. Right away, she is entranced by his music and him. He offers her food and some refreshments and soon he's offering her a job for her new boutique opening up called Dmitry's Closet. Complete with room and board, Royal can't resist the invitation. She's lived a life from one foster home to another, never really settling anywhere. She takes up the job and soon enters a lavish lifestyle led by the charming, handsome and enchanting Dmitry.
I loved this book. I really liked the fact that even though Dmitry's profession and lifestyle is revealed in the blurb, the story takes its time to reveal it slowly. First we see him as a person, then we see how he treats those around him before the truth about how makes his money is revealed. I love antiheroes especially when they're written with such complexity like Dmitry. I don't think I've read such a compelling character this year since Jon F. Merz's Parallax which features two deadly yet sympathetic assassins in the lead. It also reminded me of Anne Stuart's Ice series although Dmitry is not as cold and calculating (but he does have his moments)! Kudos to Ms. Nelson for writing such a wonderful love story with a side of action and suspense. She really went into the brutal structure of the Russian mob and brought out the reality of it in society along with a heavy dose of the current economic situation. Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres to read and she did it awesomely. I also loved the fact that she handled the love scenes so sensuously. Often IR books nowadays get so crude and short on the emotion that there's no time to really connect with the character but Dmitry's Closet allows you to really feel for both Dmitry and Royal and understand how they see each other through one another's eyes.
As I said, this is clearly a five star story but I give it 4.5 starts due to some grammatical, homonym and spelling errors that interrupted the flow of the story at some points.
Other than that, the story was excellent, the characters were engaging and I'm jazzed to add this to my keeper shelf. I look forward to more works by Ms. Nelson if this is what we have to look for in the future!
This is definitely going on my best of 2010 reads list....more
4 1/2 - What an excellent novel! I love it when historical romance balances both aspects while keeping true to the setting the story takes place in an4 1/2 - What an excellent novel! I love it when historical romance balances both aspects while keeping true to the setting the story takes place in and Gold Mountain doesn't disappoint. Sometime ago I was researching around the setting and time period depicted in this story. It mentioned the rise of the Chinese immigrant males taking African American wives and I loved that the author centered around this not only as a way of writing about that true aspect but to center on a type of couple that isn't given much spotlight.
Gold Mountain focuses on Quiang, a Chinese railroad worker, and Leah, an African American woman who runs a laundry/store with her best friend Clara. They meet one day when Quiang comes to the shop one day to have his shirt cleaned. Although they each speak a different language, both the hero and heroine take time to communicate with each other and of course the most basic communication, that of the heart, begins to bring them closer together. As they battle the social obstacles of their time and try to navigate just how to live each day, Quiang and Leah grow closer and find out just how much they need each other.
I loved this book! I was a little nervous about reading it because the publisher is known for kinkier fair but Gold Mountain was sensual and sexy without going over the edge to crudeness. Kudos to Ms. Cullars for writing such an engaging tale that had me on the edge of my seat, fascinated by the history and cheering for the hero and heroine all at once. I really love her voice and the way she takes time to build chemistry between the leads. There are some scenes of violence in the story but they definitely complement the story and give the reader and idea of what the leads had to go through and how harsh the conditions were for them. Overall, my only complaint is that I wish the story were longer!
I really hope Ms. Cullars writes more historical romances. We definitely need these types of stories to show more of how minorities lived and fell in love thoughout the ages and with Cullar's masterful storytelling, it'll be all the more interesting. In the mean time, I'll happy grab some goodies from her backlist and start reading them as I wait for her next release. This is going on my best of 2010 release reading list.
If you love historical fiction and/or romances, definitely check out Gold Mountain!...more
I first became acquainted with Speak via the 2004 movie starring Kristin Stewart (in her pre-Twilight fame), Elizabeth Perkins and Steve Zahn. All gavI first became acquainted with Speak via the 2004 movie starring Kristin Stewart (in her pre-Twilight fame), Elizabeth Perkins and Steve Zahn. All gave excellent performances in a wonderful film. I was fascinated by the portrayal of Melinda, a girl who couldn't find her voice or her place in the world after losing her friends when she called the cops at a party last year. As the story goes on, Melinda lives in mostly in her head, narrating and giving commentary that feels very real amidst a fake world. But there is something deeper going on with Melinda and the moment she is able to voice it, she finally finds her voice again.
This was a wonderful novel not only for Young Adults but for Adult readers as well. I found myself chuckling at Melinda's commentary and agreeing with her. There were a few quotes she mentioned that really stuck with me. Things such as:
"Sometimes I think high school is one long hazing activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they'll let you become an adult. I hope it's worth it."
makes the narrative feel very fresh with a setting and atmospherethat folks of any age can relate to. Laurie Halse Anderson writes in a way that doesn't feel like an adult trying to be a teenager. I sympathized with Melinda and even though I knew what happened to her at the beginning, it was still grappling especially in the end when Melinda is confronted by her attacker.
I listened to this on audio format narrated by Mandy Siegfried who did an amazing job with the voices of the teenagers and the adults. Each character jumps off the page to color Melinda's world. Melinda has an inner strength that is always there despite what happened to her and it was a joy seeing her work toward finding her outer strength.
Speak is going on my keeper shelf. I highly recommend checking this out if you enjoy Young Adult fiction that really colors the life of high school, being an outcast and peer abuse. ...more
I LOVE this anthology. Every time I would finish one I would dive right into another. I skipped around, starting with the stories involving The FamilyI LOVE this anthology. Every time I would finish one I would dive right into another. I skipped around, starting with the stories involving The Family (sort of like an Addam's Family whose members each have a special something about them) and simply couldn't stop. I would have been up all night if I kept going because each story offers something new. And it's always a wonderful twist to see how the title factors into the theme of the stories.
I'm definitely going to continue to work my way through all of Bradbury's stories and I'll be resisting this at a later date. For now, this goes on my favorites wall of master storytellers. I look forward to reading and loving more of Bradbury's works in the near future!...more
The Iron King was a book that came way out of left field and took me off guard. I'm a recent fan of Young Adult books, especially of the speculative vThe Iron King was a book that came way out of left field and took me off guard. I'm a recent fan of Young Adult books, especially of the speculative variety, and being a fan of practically anything fae related I was quick to jump on the book. Julie Kagawa's intro into the world of the Iron Fey was addictive and after finishing the first, I couldn't wait to dive back into the world to see what the cast of characters was up to in their next adventure.
Just like I hoped, The Iron Daughter turned out to be another wonderful visit with a couple of old friends. While reading this, I would always promise myself just to read a chapter or so before bedtime. I never kept up that promise because I would always get sucked into an obstacle that seemed like all hope was lost or a threat of losing one of the characters. Ms. Kagawa has a way of keeping the pace going while putting her characters through the hardest of times and making them suffer. My hats off to authors who can do this because it adds a real sense of danger and keeps me flipping pages.
Although the first book didn't lead itself to a love triangle, quickly becoming a new go-to trope in YA fantasy these days, this book fully explores it. Although I'm biased and already have a favorite of the two, I wish the story would have focused on said character and Meghan's developing relationship as they work through trying to be together despite coming from different worlds. In the end, there was enough to satisfy this wish and even the ending was more than I could every hope for. (Thank you, Ms. Kagawa for that ending.) Looking back, I can definitely see shades of A Midsummer Night's Dream in how the setup between the three is presented.
This story picks up right were The Iron King left off and there are some awesome revelations that come to a head in continuation of the groundwork that was set in the first book. We get to know more about the fae courts and how they work, there are characters who are introduced and there's an interesting twist in the revelation of what memory Meghan lost to the Oracle in the previous book. I was hoping we'd find out eventually and I was excited to see how it ties into the story here. There's also an interesting twist to the mean girls situation that Meghan faced in the first book which is paralleled in the Fae world. I'm hoping we see another visitation of that situation with a stronger and wiser Meghan the second time around especially after the school events in this book.
I was sad to some characters go after I had grown attached to them and I commend Ms. Kagawa for creating great characters to incite such feeling from this reader; all the while putting them in mortal danger at each turn. The story lulls a bit in the middle during a making up sequence but quickly picks up toward the end to bring another obstacle in the fray. There's also a new array of awesome characters including a zombie corporate clone army in an office space setting, a viral fae and a cheery fae with a royal disposition and a fondness for pet names. I love the voices that come from these characters and being a big fan of audio books (which is how I fell in love with the first book in the series) and I can't wait to hear the narrator bring her and the other characters to life.
Fans of Fae political intrigue, adventure and fantasy YA works will love this series. You can tell Ms. Kagawa is inspired by a lot of different classic fantasy literature from Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll but she clearly makes these characters and situations her own within this world. What I love about each of these books is that they have clear endings. Each book has it's own set of problems and a main conflict which is solved by the end but is left open enough for more stories within the world. The Iron Daughter is no different in that we end on a wonderful note with Meghan completing her missions and also leaving it open enough for another story to see what happens due to the consequences of their decisions. I loved it. I highly recommend this series and this book which is also going on my fave 2010 best reads list.
FTC Advisory: This review is based on a galley received by NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. ...more
Nolwynn Ardennes has become one of my favorite new authors with the way she writes her characters with so much complexity and bite. Her upcoming WalkiNolwynn Ardennes has become one of my favorite new authors with the way she writes her characters with so much complexity and bite. Her upcoming Walking on the Edge came just as I was getting into Anne Stuart's romantic suspense books and I have to say both whetted my appetite for more books of it's type.
Amelia Jamison awakens to a life that doesn't feel quite like the one she left before her boating accident. Her husband Peter doesn't feel like a loving husband and is more interested in keeping her sedated on pills than comforting her. She notices his sneak calls and the way he's always "at the office". As she tries to jog her memory to the life she led before, she remembers snippets of a man she may have been intimate with during a time where her life may have been completely unlike what she expected. During one of Peter's outings, she decides to start on a track that would soon lead her in the path of a high ranking police official...
Gerard Besson is the commissaire of Marseille. After losing the love of his life to a bombing accident that nearly took his own life, he has thrown himself into his work. Once he notices a mysterious woman following him, he is on alert. As attracted he is to her, he knows she could sent to catch him off guard when he least expects it. At her persistence, he soon finds that he may share a dark past with her. Amidst a twist of events Amelia closes in to her her true identity and eventually discovers her true connection to Gerard.
This was an awesome read. I couldn't figure out what was going on and in a suspense that's exactly what I want to keep me turning the pages. The action and mystery was taut and the turn of events kept taking me by surprise. Gerard was a hot hot hot hero and I can so picture him as a serious yet very masculine type like German actor Thomas Kretschmann. In fact, if this book becomes a movie one day (I would so love that) I hope Thomas K. gets to play Gerard.
I'd highly recommend this read to all suspense enthusiasts (romantic or otherwise) and those who love a good story. Although this isn't due for release until 2010, this is already going on my best reads of 2009. I'm definitely going to give this one a re-read because of the many intricate details in the story that I know I may have missed the first time around....more
Against the Odds is good ole fashioned romance wrapped in your favorite blanket. I really enjoyed the author's voice in this story and the way she preAgainst the Odds is good ole fashioned romance wrapped in your favorite blanket. I really enjoyed the author's voice in this story and the way she presented the story, although not traditionally romance, was a nice welcome addition to the genre.
As we open, our heroine Raine is getting a divorce from her cheating husband Jerome. She moves to New Mexico, leaving the comforts of her home and her high paying modeling job, to start anew on her friend Caroline and David's farm. As she settles in, she gets to know the farm hands, an easy going life and eventually David's brother Hayden. Although interest is there for both Raine and Hayden, they start out as friends and get to know each other before entering a romantic relationship. As they continue their relationship, they battle people and life as they try to find their own happily ever after.
The trials and tribulations the couple face aren't entirely complex more so than life itself getting in the way. People with a certain viewpoint for how they should live their lives and who they should be with try to deter the couple. And Hayden himself who has been burned and used to living by himself for so long has some trouble breaking down his walls. I loved that he was a complex characters who, although an easy going sweet-natured sexy country boy also had tendencies of a romantic Alpha hero when his family or those he loved were threatened. I haven't read many contemporaries featuring cowboys but if they're anything like Hayden, they may be my new favorites to look out for!
The story is written in first person and it reads like a close girlfriend writing you a letter as she gets on with her life. Raine is a character you can relate to with a good head on her shoulders and a good heart. You want to see her finally find the happiness with Hayden who quickly became one of my fave romance heroes as we got to know him. The first person narrative doesn't allow for getting to know him intimately as some romance heroes but Raine does give an idea for his personality and background through her descriptions. I have to say, I adored the ending which doesn't just end at the altar. We get to see Hayden and Raine's family and how Hayden dotes over his children (which is too cute).
If you're looking for a contemporary romance on the sweeter side and gives you a good feeling by the time you get to the end, I recommend picking up Against the Odds. Jewel Adams is another author I'm definitely going to keep an eye on. I'll also be checking out her other works available. ...more
Okay you know a book is good when you start talking back to the characters.
I seriously yelled, "are you freaking kidding me?!" at the end of this bookOkay you know a book is good when you start talking back to the characters.
I seriously yelled, "are you freaking kidding me?!" at the end of this book. Listening to it on audio (Livingston does an even better reading this time around), I had to stop what I was doing to take a listen at the action packed ending.
I liked Darklight much more than Wondrous Strange. I didn't mind the fantasy elements since I'm a huge fantasy fan and thought this was a nice splash of fantasy romance, one of my fave subgenres. I liked the action in Darklight and the way things moved at a quicker pace as secrets were revealed and dangerous, suspenseful fights were narrated on the stage.
One of my pet peeve tropes in romance is the "I have to break up with you to save you" and I noticed shades of that reared it's head here. Obviously, this is the middle of a trilogy and it'll fuel interest to keep this reader definitely reading, but it would have been nice to see a twist on this trope so it didn't seem so frustrating.
With that minor complaint aside, I really liked Darklight and am bummed that the final book in this trilogy is months away. Gah! Definitely can't wait to see how this one plays out!...more
If I had one wish for a change in Storms in a Shot Glass, it would be format wise to bring it to the small screen, preferably on BBC. I'm a BBC addictIf I had one wish for a change in Storms in a Shot Glass, it would be format wise to bring it to the small screen, preferably on BBC. I'm a BBC addict and this story would be a perfect dramedy series that would keep me hooked until the very end.
'Storms' not only centers on Jane Smithers and Michael Rindaldi but also the people that surround their lives. It's as much a contemporary romance as it is a story about coming into responsibility, finding love and forgiving and learning to love our families (parents) despite their flaws and past.
Jane makes a mistake during a vulnerable evening and sleeps with a neighbor during a particularly bad, and not mention vulnerable, time in her life (hence the metaphorical title). She ends up pregnant and has to decide how she's going to care for her baby amidst her crazy lifestyle. In her life are two carefree Russian twin models named Ileana and Ilyanka Petrovich (and I love how the author makes them accentuate her name as "Jaane"), her socialite mother Marenka who loves to make her life miserable, a slew of step fathers but none as fatherly as Charles and her boss Umberto Rinaldi. Umberto is estranged to his son named Michael who hasn't forgiven him for leaving his mother and him behind and for not being a good father. Michael also has his assistant Rory and friend Phillip whose relationship (and life/freedom) goes swiftly on the rocks when his girlfriend is expecting.
The dialogue was snappy and I could hear the posh accents jump right off the page. I loved the cast of characters in this story and there is always something happening between Jane and Michael. The story takes time to allow their affections to grow and we get to know them as people. There are some funny moments as well as dramatic ones. Being a lover of the UK, I loved experiencing the sights, food and overall culture that is embedded in the characters and their environment. I especially loved how I never knew quite what would happen because the characters lived and breathed off the page with their own minds and actions. When Jane and Michael did get together it was sizzling and sensual on the pages.
"Storms" doesn't come out for release for another year but I'm happy to add it as my first Best Read of 2010 and already I'm adding it to my keeper shelf where I hope to add a print version soon! Nolwynn Ardennes is an author to watch!...more
Wow! What an excellent debut from Julie Kagawa. The Iron King is the first in the Iron Fey trilogy and I must say I am addicted to this series right oWow! What an excellent debut from Julie Kagawa. The Iron King is the first in the Iron Fey trilogy and I must say I am addicted to this series right off the bat.
Ms. Kagawa opens the book with our heroine Megan Chase dealing everyday teen life battling wits with her parents, caring for her baby half brother Ethan, a jokey best friend and her crush on the most popular boy in school she is sent to tutor. Amidst all of this, there is something otherworldly in the air. Things move out of the corner of her eye, her best friend is acting strange and strange creatures seem to overtake everyday people. Soon the world of the Fey opens up and Megan is called to save her baby brother when he is switched by a vicious changeling and puts her family endanger. Megan's journey sends her through a maze of strange creatures and customs, numerous bargains and debts and a secret revealed about her family history and ultimate future.
I LOVED this book! Although I lament the fact that current fantasy writers have overused the European mythologies to the point of cliche, The Iron Fey takes these myths and breathe new life into them. I loved the idea of the Iron Fey seeing the old courts as the past while they, purveyors of iron, current and advanced technology are the future. The characters are fully developed with Megan being a down to Earth character who is a bit of an outcast in our world but soon finds her footing and strength in the Fey world. She never becomes overbearing to the point of arrogant, she always keeps her head even though her choices aren't always the best ones. I sympathized with her plight and loved her sayings. I was rooting for her to find her baby brother and survive each obstacle that was thrown her way.
I also loved the way the potential romance was handled here. Not to spoil too much but I had a feeling that someone close to her was more interested than he let on. Although that was left unsaid here, I have a feeling it'll be making head way again. I was torn between this character and princely one who is completely and utterly swoonable in the romantic sense. By the end, I was rooting for this character and gasped every time something happened to him. I hate to biased but I'm rooting that she ends up with the latter character. And if she doesn't want him, pass him on over to me!
The Iron King is one of those novels that you hate to put down. There's always something happening and always something about to happen that keeps the action and plot development well paced. It's a good and bad thing because I get to see what happens (good) but the fun is over faster (bad). It's also a bummer because I'm hoping my next read is just as satisfying. Kudos to Harlequin for presenting this in their new Teen line of books. I'm a new fan of Ms. Kagawa and while I'm clamoring for the next Iron Fey entry (August 2010, counting down the days!) I'll be checking out other books in HQN's line.
The Iron King is the first entry into my Best of 2010 Reads.
If you liked The Iron King and are looking for similar books. Might I suggest the following with similar themes and Fae mythology: