I loved this book for the chemistry and obvious love between Elizabeth and Garik. Garik is eminently lickable. The mystery wasn't quite as well plotte...moreI loved this book for the chemistry and obvious love between Elizabeth and Garik. Garik is eminently lickable. The mystery wasn't quite as well plotted, but it was still good. I liked the small-town atmosphere of Virtue Falls.
This promises to be an interesting read for fans of TV shows like "The X-Files" and "Fringe." It's a little bit of both, I think. It has a racial/ethn...moreThis promises to be an interesting read for fans of TV shows like "The X-Files" and "Fringe." It's a little bit of both, I think. It has a racial/ethnic diversity that I really appreciated. The leads include Doctor Randal Horne, whose decision to use a trial drug killed a patient out of arrogance and an unchecked desire for scientific inquiry without regard to the needs of the whole patient. He's gone on a walkabout and tapped into the interesting questions of the world that doesn't always adhere to strict scientific inquiry. His companion is the ghost of the woman whose life he inadvertently ended. A strange case brings him back to the United States. He works with a NYPD detective and two doctors from the CDC to solve the case of a corpse with an invisible head. From there, it's a segueway into more baffling scientific cases.
I liked the artwork and the story ideas. I'm sure I could poke holes into some of the science if I delved too deep, but I won't. I like the idea of a graphic novel series that follows in the path of weird case of the week shows I love so much. You have a good mix of characters: the scientist who was forced to open his mind; the older pathologist who is by the book and detail-oriented; the tough female cop who isn't close-minded to strange phenomena, but she's not too much of a believer; and the smart alecky younger doctor who provides a little comic relief. By the end of this graphic novel, there is hope for a procession of weird cases for the team to solve.
I'll be happy to follow this series as long as my library keeps new volumes on the shelves.(less)
Powers is an interesting concept. It looks at the superhero world from the viewpoint of superheroes being the perps and victims of murder. With this s...morePowers is an interesting concept. It looks at the superhero world from the viewpoint of superheroes being the perps and victims of murder. With this second volume, the victims aren't quite superheroes. They are college students playing an elaborate superhero role playing game that gets deadly when they get murdered by a superhuman.
This was dark and sad, to think that these kids were being murdered that way. And the root cause makes it even more distressing. Detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim investigate this crime, and Deena in her forthright way steps on some toes and gets herself in trouble. There is a part that is really funny, in a sick kind of way. So Walker is forced to solve the crime on his own for the most part. He calls in some markers with folks he knew from his superhero days.
I didn't like this one as much as the first book in the series. It seemed less dynamic, although it has an interesting statement on the concept of superheroes as celebrity and part of popular culture. The kids were playing with fire in big and small ways, considering dressing up like a superhero is illegal in the story and also for another huge reason.
Powers is for people who are intrigued by a different view of superheroes, but the story is focused on dialogue and characterization and less on action and over the top exploits of superpowers. In a way that's kind of refreshing, but you have to be in the mood for it. It was a departure from some of the other graphic novels I am reading right now, so I think the downer aspect of this book didn't quite work for me at the time.
This was a lot more coherent than the initial book, London Falling, but I don't think this book is very accessible to the average urban fantasy reader...moreThis was a lot more coherent than the initial book, London Falling, but I don't think this book is very accessible to the average urban fantasy reader. There is still a heavy British vibe to the story, which is a good thing, for the most part. Cornell takes the reader and the characters to some dark, strange places in a London that is familiar but eerily paranormal.
This is a thriller that took me into the twisted heart of darkness. Just when it felt like I was starting to get things figured out, more questions ar...moreThis is a thriller that took me into the twisted heart of darkness. Just when it felt like I was starting to get things figured out, more questions arose. I liked it, and it was a fast-paced read, even though it was a bit disturbing at times. I will be tracking down the first two books in the series.
This was a fast-paced, involving read. I liked the frequent action scenes and the globe-trotting, caperish narrative. While Nicholas is quite dashing,...moreThis was a fast-paced, involving read. I liked the frequent action scenes and the globe-trotting, caperish narrative. While Nicholas is quite dashing, the antiheroic Fox really steals the show. I would continue reading this series.
Readers who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as...moreReaders who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as its romance genre status. The characters are emotionally all over the place and that was wearing. Overall, pretty good.
It took me forever to get into this book. If it had not been a book I committed to review, I would have DNF'd it. Finally, I reached a breakthrough an...moreIt took me forever to get into this book. If it had not been a book I committed to review, I would have DNF'd it. Finally, I reached a breakthrough and I was able to finish it. It turned out to be good, but I feel the writing needed more work to be more accessible. I love British just about anything, but I think some of the Britishness of this book didn't translate very well on paper.
A dark, twisted, and at times, incomprehensible urban fantasy novel.
Another hilarious installment in this series. I love spending time with IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, who can't seem to stay out of trouble in the...moreAnother hilarious installment in this series. I love spending time with IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, who can't seem to stay out of trouble in the line of duty.
I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had connected to the characters more than I did. The suspense angle was well done and I was genuinely surp...moreI think I would have enjoyed this more if I had connected to the characters more than I did. The suspense angle was well done and I was genuinely surprised at who the killer was. I would consider this straight suspense, not romantic suspense.
I don't use the term brilliant much when I'm writing reviews. But this is the term that just keeps coming to mind about this book. I knew I'd apprecia...moreI don't use the term brilliant much when I'm writing reviews. But this is the term that just keeps coming to mind about this book. I knew I'd appreciate it, because I have an appreciation for Asian culture and people, and swordsmanship; and honestly, something about a book with a woman holding a sword on the cover just pulls me in.
This book speaks to me of a writer who loves Japan, both modern and ancient. Someone who has taken the time to investigate and learn the culture, even to the deepest levels. You can't gain that kind of authenticity any other way.
Bein has taken an idea about three swords crafted by a legendary swordsmith and created a beautifully rich novel around them. While this is labeled as fantasy, the fantasy element is that the swords have animus and their very natures affect the destiny of those around them. Bein cleverly unfolds his story with a combination of past and present narrative. I was a bit worried I would find the historical parts dry, but I didn't. It was fascinating. I realized how little I know about samurai and how bushido affects everything about their lives. The insight into this period was crucial in this novel, because the swords are over nine hundred years old. Since I haven't even lived in cities that old, I can't even conceive of owning something that old! But for a Japanese person, not such a stretch. Now add in the fact that these swords have shaped history in major ways!
It takes some skill to make an inanimate object sinister. But that's exactly what Beautiful Singer is. It's a sword that takes over the owner's mind and leads him hand and headfirst down the path of doom. This is why I don't go in for antiques! The other two swords have their own distinctive natures as well. What was interesting is that the swords can’t make you into something you’re not. They seem to work on the inherent nature of the person. This destiny attached to these swords brings Mariko Oshiro to the front door of elderly Professor Yasuo Yamada, who is the owner of a sword that a violent Yakuza criminal tried to steal. This twisted path could only be destiny, as all the forces send her in the direction of a deep bond with the nearly blind expert swordsman, who takes her on as a student. Because she is the only one who can stop Fuchida, a man who has been seduced by the voice of his own sword, Beautiful Singer.
This book is just so good. It’s amazing how the story just drew me deeper and deeper. I wanted to find out about how these three swords could draw people into relationship with each other from historical to modern times, and not always in a good way. But ultimately, the right people end up in the right places, until we end up in the present with Mariko and Yamada’s story.
If you’re looking for an over-the-top fantasy story with all kinds of out there scenes, this isn’t the book. If you want a book with an excellent narrative building on a concept that seems magical, if you don’t believe in swords that are blessed and cursed, then you’d enjoy this book.
The cultural aspects had major appeal. As I mentioned earlier, the look at bushido and historical samurai was a good learning experience. But equally important was the view into modern Japan. I especially appreciated that the main character was a Japanese woman, who dealt with a society which is profoundly sexist, and she was driven enough to fight for what she wanted and needed in life, even as she ran into stumbling blocks of prejudice within her own agency, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. I admired her drive and determination. I also liked seeing the walls come down between her and Yamada, as she realized that this old man was what she was missing from her life, the companionship and the belief in her that he offered. Yamada, I adored him! No words! I can easily see why Mariko came to love him so much. Relationships can be pigeon-holed because it is the natural way of humans to classify what is hard to define. But they are so complex. They provide what we need in this life in a way that goes way beyond labels. That’s how Yamada and Muriko’s relationship impacted me. And also Keiji and Hayano’s back in the 40s. Heck, all the stories added so much texture to this book.
My feelings for this book are so intricate, that I’m having trouble putting them into words. So I’ll just end by saying I just loved this book so much. It may not hit you the same way, but I hope that others find something to offer them in Daughter of the Sword. (less)
Leopard's Prey is Remy Boudreaux's story and he lives up to the anticipation he built when he entered the scene the first time in Savage Nature. It's...moreLeopard's Prey is Remy Boudreaux's story and he lives up to the anticipation he built when he entered the scene the first time in Savage Nature. It's been a year since I read a Feehan book, so Remy's book is a great way to break my fast. I knew Remy would be 'something else,' the kind of hero only Feehan can write. With Bijou, he gets the story and the heroine that I wished for.
I will freely admit that the GhostWalkers is my favorite series by Feehan, and the others pale in comparison, so I make sure my expectations reflect the fact that all the redoubtable Ms. Feehan's writing gets measured against this series, because of my inestimable love for it. However, I am always very happy to get my hands on another book by her, since I just plain enjoy her writing. She has some interesting stories with characters I fall for and burning hot and emotional love stories. That's what this romance fan loves.
Anyway, Leopard's Prey is steeped in Louisiana bayou atmosphere. The characters are almost all natives of this region, and based on my short visits to this part of the United States, I felt like I was taking another trip down there and enjoying it, taking in the sights and sounds. Additionally, the feel of family is strong in this novel. The Boudreaux clan of brothers and sister, along with the larger Leopard Clan, are tightly bonded to each other, loving and teasing each other, sometimes in mean ways (but it's all in fun). Bijou, who had just about the most dysfunctional childhood ever, needs a family like this, full of people who watch out for each other, even as they give each other a hard time.
Bijou is the daughter of a notorious, yet beloved rock star. This is very important to the story because it affects everything in Bijou's adult life and all her relationships. He failed her beyond measure as a parent, scarring her self-esteem and sense of confidence, despite her incredibly beautiful looks and formidable musical talent of her own. I really liked her character. Despite her awful start in life, she's grown into a wonderful woman with a generous heart and a strong core, despite her insecurities. Remy and Bijou have a long-standing and deep bond from an event a long time ago, when he saves her life as an eight-year-old, but their lives go in different directions. Remy is quite older than Bijou, but in some ways, she has as much to teach him and he does her. Remy needs to learn the language of love that Bijou speaks. He takes it for granted that she night not understand how special she is, when she doesn't have that frame of reference at all. Growing up the way she did, how could she? Remy knows intellectually that Bijou is clueless on their shared leopard heritage. However, he doesn't get that she might interpret the strong sexual attraction they share as merely a function of the Leopards' sexual needs and not any higher bond between them, or that she is special to Remy. So a good chunk of the book is about them exploring their relationship and coming to understand just what it means on both sides to be together (paired to the murder mystery).
Bijou and Remy had great chemistry. The love scenes are quite scorching. Feehan makes a big deal about the leopard's need for rough sex, and it does veer in that direction, but nothing too out there or tasteless, in my mind. I do roll my eyes a bit at the whole 'dominating' aspect of the love scenes, 'cause that's not my thing at all. There is no question that Remy is a sexy beast though! I like how Feehan uses the love scenes to show the different aspects of their relationship: primal, affectionate, deeply emotional and fiercely intimate, and even playful. I also appreciated how Feehan presents the leopard nature. She gets the aspect of this big cat right, and it fits in with this story of human leopard shapeshifters. In some ways, this story reminded me of the film Cat People, but with a much happier ending that I always wished for.
I can only give this in the four stars region because I feel like this story could have been longer. I felt like I missed something when it ended. Maybe I am just very rapacious when it comes to books by this author. She gets me hooked and I hate when the ride is over too soon. The story moves along at an expansive pace, and before I knew it, things were wrapping up. For those who are following the Leopard storyline, this doesn't add a whole lot to the overall Leopard shapeshifter species arc from the beginning. It focuses on the Boudreaux family and the specific group in the Louisiana bayou. Some of the original guys show up in cameos, which was cool. As far as the storyline, it was more of a murder mystery/romantic suspense with paranormal romance, and lacks as much action as some of Feehan's books. I did think the mystery was quite suspenseful and the aspects of the murder was kind of gruesome and disturbing. The killer was not the person I expected at all (Well, I got this sick suspicion later on in the story and was hoping I was wrong). The reasons were very chilling for that person's actions, although there could be no palatable reason for what the murderer was doing.
Although not a five star book, it was higher in the four star range, because I enjoyed reading it immensely, and I tried to savor reading it. I could have done with more book, as I said earlier, so that takes off from my rating. I couldn't subtract too much because of the high enjoyment factor. I have so much fun visiting with Feehan's characters in the various series, and I admit the Leopard series did sneak up on me. I loved Bijou as much if not more than Remy, which is saying something. She's a sweet woman, and you just want her to have her happy ever after. I'm glad that her prince is Remy and she's going to be a part of the Boudreaux clan and will get the family she missed out on. I'm curious to see what Feehan comes up with next in this series.
I want to thank Shawna for recommending this book to me. In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of Nora Roberts' romance novels, although I do like her J...moreI want to thank Shawna for recommending this book to me. In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of Nora Roberts' romance novels, although I do like her JD Robb In Death series. While this book didn't change my opinion of her on convert her to a must-read author for me, I enjoyed this book, and I can see she is a very good writer. Having said that, I don't find her romance style very moving personally. As far as suspense, she definitely works better for me.
This novel feels like an odyssey. It starts with a very young, innocent teenage girl whose rigidly structured, emotionally vacant life is completely destroyed by one bad decision she makes out of rebellion. Nora Roberts invests us in the emotional and intellectual journey of this young woman, and I completely felt for and loved young Elizabeth. This was highly crucial to go back to when things went pear-shaped so that we could relate to the older version of this character, who is now living as Abigail Lowery.
What didn't work quite as well as the diversion that the storyline takes with the Blake family and their out-of-control son. While this was more germane to Brooks Gleason's (Abigail's love interest) narrative, I don't think it really tied very well into the main plot of Abigail, what and who she was running from, and I'm not sure it was that important to Brooks' characterization. Even at the end, I wasn't convinced that it was necessary to the story. More than anything, it was just added local color.
The romance part mostly worked for me, but it didn't set the page on fire. Roberts idea of romance just isn't dramatic enough for me. Even the sensual scenes didn't have much spark for me. I could see the love between Abigail and Brooks, and I really liked how Brooks was willing to be there for her and to be whatever she needed him to be. Although at the same time, Brooks could be quite obstinate and set in his ways kind of guy and forceful (in an aww-shucks, disarming but I'm a brickwall manner) about getting his way in situations. He was like a immovable mountain about some things, and Abigail had to be the one who changed her viewpoint in those areas. It was funny and kind of cute how he pushed Abigail out of her unemotional/controlled, Fortress of Solitude mien and left her completely discombobulated. I can see their marriage being very interesting, considering the way their personalities are so different. Where Abigail is the analytical, rule-oriented person, Brooks is very instinctive, and emotional. At the same time, he's a very steady guy who you know you can trust. That's highly appealing. I do feel like they were able to meet each other halfway and didn't steamroll each other, which was good. So I could believe they were a perfect match.
Ultimately, what I loved most of all is how Brooks was perfectly fine with earning his way in Abigail's insular life by letting his actions show he was trustworthy and that deserved her love. He also didn't try to take away Abigail's need to make decisions and autonomy in her life, because he knew how important that was. Sometimes, I imagine it was hard for him not to take it personally, but he looked past his own feelings to the whys and was willing to give her that and support her on things she really needed.
As for Abigail, I think loving Brooks helped her to grow in crucial ways. For her to know it was okay not to understand the rules for everything, and to just go with the flow emotionally in relationships that were based on mutual trust. I think the O'Hara/Gleason clan will be good for Abigail, but I think I would find them overwhelming at times. They are quite pushy! I can't imagine Abigail not feeling that way based on her previous familial frame of reference.
The Volkov storyline was very intriguing, but I was left feeling a little disappointed at the conclusion. The resolution made sense, but I was hoping for a more face to face confrontation. I guess that's the action/drama hound in me. I guess that was the best way to handle it, but man I would have loved some buttkicking and a show off. Abigail was kind of a bad@$$, but she never got to show it. Oh well.
Overall, this was a good read.
Things I loved:
*Such a brilliant, analytical, heroine *Brooks' laid back, but Bulldoggedly stubborn personality and his southern charm. *The descriptions and imagery built by Roberts writing. *Russian mafia storyline and how Abigail continually gets one over on them *Crazy O'Hara/Gleason family dynamics--like watching reality tv *Abigail's dog Bert *Small town slice of life
The Gods of Gotham was an impulse audio read from my trusty library, and it was definitely worth the read. The narrator really took this book where it...moreThe Gods of Gotham was an impulse audio read from my trusty library, and it was definitely worth the read. The narrator really took this book where it needed to go. His voices were subtly different for each character. He endows Timothy with the integral mix of hardened cynic and stubborn idealist which defines his persona. For Valentine, Timothy's jaded older brother, his tone is more sardonic and poised, what I would expect of a borderline shady rakish fellow such as Valentine. The narrator also does the voices of women well. He doesn't fall into the trap of endowing all women with a high falsetto, but instead their voices are higher than men and have the feminine softness expected of women, without each one sounding like a clone. Even the children's voices are well done. I would give the narrator five stars alone, although I am not committed to giving this whole book that rating.
Readers who have watched the television series Copper or the movie Gangs of New York will find this world familiar. Set in New York City in the mid-19th century when the influx of Irish into the country reached an epic high, the author doesn't hesitate to be real with the situation. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from historical documents of the time, including some horribly bigoted written statements against Catholics and particularly the poor Irish that came over in the wake of the Potato Famine in Ireland. It paints a very vivid picture of the realities of this time with all the depths of the ugliness of human nature on display.
There were more than a few wince-worthy moments, from the rampant racism against Irish and blacks (among other marginalized groups, even Jews), and not to mention the horrible bigotry towards Catholics. All these are crucial to the story, although Faye focuses more on the Irish-phobia and the racism against other groups is a realistic backdrop. One aspect that I found the most chilling was the casual acceptance of existence of child prostitution. This was just one of the many extant social ills of the time, but the idea is so abhorrent that it did make this read a little more difficult for me. I was grateful that Timothy in his own way takes a hard stance against this.
Some readers might find the portrayal of women in this novel quite jaundiced. I can't really point fingers in that area, since most of the characters have their share of stains on their soul. Having said that, I really did not like Mercy Underhill. Although I realize that Timothy is deeply in love with her, I hope he gets over her, because she does not deserve him, and not because of her failings but the callous way she treated him. I liked Mrs. Boehm and young Bird a lot. Their characters help to give texture to the story and to further define Timothy's own characterizations. Despite his cynicism, his deep sense of justice is shown in how he interacts with their characters in particular, but also in other ways.
It's obvious I really liked Timothy and with good reason. He's a good everyman hero. Imperfectly perfect as a lead for this book. I liked that he has a keen detective mind, but his reasons for having it have to do with his background as a bartender and his own hard life in New York City. He's very down-to-earth, but honorable at the same time. His conflicted relationship with his older brother is a very important aspect of this novel. Readers who enjoy the theme of familial relations (often troubled) will appreciate their relationship. There is a deep seed of bitterness between them that tarnishes many of their interactions, and I was glad the author took the time to delve into that, and the reasons turn out to be very crucial to the story. I rather liked Valentine, even though he has some very questionable morals and his behavior is quite debauched even at the best of times. Deep down I think he's a good man who truly loves his brother, despite his admittedly flawed moral compass.
Overall, Gods of Gotham is a gritty, atmospheric historical mystery/thriller that made for very good listening. From a stellar narrator in Steven Boyer, to well-crafted historical details, to characters that are far from one-dimensional, this has all the ingredients for a good read. Although not a five star book, it's definitely a four star read with my thumbs up to it and recommendation to readers who enjoy historical mysteries and thrillers. I will be picking up the sequel, Seven for a Secret very soon.(less)