Once again, Nalini Singh worked her magic on me. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Hira was so mercurial, frigid ice princess one moment, vulnera...moreOnce again, Nalini Singh worked her magic on me. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Hira was so mercurial, frigid ice princess one moment, vulnerable, exotic girl-child another, saying hurtful things to Marc. I was thinking I would be disappointed with this story. However, I began to see that Hira was protecting her heart from more damage like what had been inflicted over many years by a father who was a real misogynist, who treated her mother terribly, and restricted Hira's life severely, despite maintaining the appearance of being a loving husband and father. She had been treated like she had nothing to offer besides her beautiful looks and gorgeously-curved body. Her father used her as a business pawn, forcing Marc to marry her if he wanted to court her. Of course, she didn’t know that Marc wanted a real relationship with her. She thought he just wanted a sexy trophy wife.
As the book unfolded, I could see why she kept Marc at such a distance, and was so icy to him, although I hurt as Marc did. By the end of the story, I loved Hira, and I admired her for the strong woman that she was.
As for Marc, I loved him pretty much from the beginning. In fact, I wanted to take him and give him a long, fierce hug. He has a lot of the traits I just adore in a hero. He was a fierce, strong man, a real survivor, but with a gentle loving heart that hid behind steely, cold armor. He'd been abused really badly by his lousy alcoholic parents, who sold him to a thief. He lived on the streets, and was wounded grievously more than once, which was why he had scars on his face and body. I adored this man. Like Hira, his scars were badges of honor to me. This man worked his way up from nothing. Truly, he did have a chip on his shoulder against beautiful women. A stupid rich girl played a cruel joke on him, teaching him he wasn’t good enough without his money and power. Since then, he kept his heart protected. He felt inadequate because of his scars and his ignoble Bayou origins. But, like Hira, being a man who pulls himself up by his bootstraps and makes something of himself, being a strong, powerfully magnetic man spoke highly to me. She called him her fierce desert chieftain, and I felt this was a fair assessment from her viewpoint of admirable men (unlike her father). Also he is very possessive. Another plus in a hero. It gives me tingles! Golden boys born with silver spoons in their mouths don’t resonate with me the same way. If you like Lisa Kleypas's self-made heroes, you would probably like Marc. He definitely gave me that vibe, which always have the power to turn me into a melted pile of hormonal goo. Marc really was the perfect package for a hero to this reader.
Initially, this seemed a little melodramatic, (which ain't necessarily a bad thing since I like drama), but I wasn't sure what to make of it. Hira's innocence and unwordliness seemed too over the top. I had to readjust my worldview and consider how truly inexperienced and sheltered Hira was. Once I got my vantage point straight, I was all in. The intense, honest emotions and the heart-wrenching angst of Marc and Hira's pasts, and how they reach out to orphaned children to give them love (I cried on those scenes and the ones about Marc’s tortured past), and the fiery passion between them (which had me fanning myself as I read), well this was an irresistible package that won me over!
I can't say that all people would enjoy this book. Even those who are fans of Nalini Singh’s newer works, the Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter books, might not necessarily love this book. However, I believe that the elements that make her a favorite, auto-buy author to me are very apparent in this lovely romance morsel. I’m very glad I got the chance to read this one. It’s going on my keeper shelf with my other Nalini Singh books.
Being Plumville is a love story about two people who knew they were each other's happy endings from a very young age. But society and the stupid notio...moreBeing Plumville is a love story about two people who knew they were each other's happy endings from a very young age. But society and the stupid notions of color, race, and what should and shouldn't be done managed to stand in their way for fifteen and more years.
Savannah J. Frierson takes the reader back to the late 1960s in the South where there is hope of things changing, but a lot of blood, sweat and tears will be expended to make things better. This is a world in which skin color dictates many things: how much you get paid, where you live, what kind of job you are able to take, even how well you get treated by others. It doesn't matter what you want for yourself or for your children. It is just the way it is.
The opening scene tells me a lot about Benny and Ceelee. Benny is protective, caring and possessive of little Ceelee. Ceelee loves and trusts Benny. Benny declares that he's going to marry Ceelee. However, it is not acceptable that Benny should feel that way about Ceelee, because Ceelee is black, and Benny has expectations that he must meet for his family and for Plumville. White future state judges (sons of prominent Plumville citizenry) don't marry black daughters of their family's housekeepers. So, Patty was forced to keep her young daughter away from Benny.
Fifteen years later, both Benjamin Drummond and Coralee Simmons have yielded to the dictates of their world. They live in the same small town, but inhabit separate spheres, black separated by white. Until Ceelee is asked to tutor Benjamin in English, or he will not longer be eligible to play as quarterback for their college football team. Benjamin has fallen into the mold of white prominent young citizen. He even jokes along with his racist friends about blacks, even if his heart doesn't feel that way. Deep down, he yearns for his friend Ceelee, and is secretly glad that he can reestablish that crucial connection that was missing in his life for so many years. But now, Coralee keeps him at a distance. She doesn't trust him anymore. To her, he is another white person who thinks he's better than her, thinks he can insult her, and treat her like a second class citizen. Benjamin is determined to show Coralee that he is different from the others. That he is worthy of her trust and friendship, because the truth was, he never stopped loving her. Coralee has to find the courage to fight for the love that she feels (has felt for many years) beneath the hurt and fear.
This book was a wonderful read. It was also very difficult to read. It brought the anger and rage to the surface. Knowing that in the United States blacks were (and still are in some instances) treated this way because of some bizarre belief that skin color determines intelligence, eligibility, and superiority. I was born a short five years after this book takes place. My mother and father (both black) lived in this world of Ceelee and Benjamin, dealing with the same issues. It is a painful thought to accept that one's life is not your own. That you don't get the same choices as someone else because that's the way it is. That it's okay for them to call you ugly names, and you have to bite your tongue and deal with it. That you can't love who you want to love without being rejected by your own people, and subject to physical harm by his people.
Ms. Frierson didn't make up any of that angst. This book is real. I rooted for Ceelee and Benjamin, even as I knew the road they traveled was a long, hard, ugly one. I could feel their frustration when they weren't even able to hold hands or express affection towards each other in public. It was okay for Benjamin 'try the dark berry', but he couldn't love a black woman. For Coralee, she was condemned and ridiculed for even thinking it was okay to date a white man. It was a lot to take, making this far from a fun, escapist read. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy or love this book. It was just a sobering experience for me, and sometimes I had to put this book down and regroup. I am glad I read this book, because I really appreciate Ms. Frierson's writing. Although painful at times, this gave me something to think about. It helps me to be grateful that I have the choices that Coralee didn't have back then, and not because I am smarter or more deserving than Coralee was. Although I have and will face prejudice for my skin color, my fate and my life is my own. I can love who I want, and if people don't like it, I have the safety and the ability to face that and not find my essential being damaged from it. I for one am grateful that people like Coralee and Benjamin and the real life Mr. and Mrs. Loving paved the way for interracial couples in the modern United States. People can say what they want, but their opinion doesn't legally amount to a hill of beans.
This was a moving, excellent book. It hurt my heart, but it also gave me hope that you can believe in love, even if it won't guarantee a perfect road ahead. But two is stronger than one. And love is worth fighting for.
Are you having a bad day? Do you need an Action Pick-You Up? Do you sometimes wish that the bad guys would get exactly what they deserve? Then I have a...moreAre you having a bad day? Do you need an Action Pick-You Up? Do you sometimes wish that the bad guys would get exactly what they deserve? Then I have a quick solution. Read a Jack Reacher novel!
Jack Reacher is the kind of guy who will kick some serious butt in the most brutal fashion, and it ain't pretty. I admit that I wince when I see someone die violently on tv and in movies. But I love action movies. Yeah, I know it makes no sense. Killing Floor is the kind of book that I would love to see as a movie (if Hollywood didn't manage to bungle most of the movies they make. )Yes, it has some cringe-worthy scenes, but I don't feel bad for the bad guys in this book at all. They were completely loathsome. While I don't consider myself a violent person, there is something deeply satisfying about reading a book with a kickbutt hero who deals with corrupt persons with no morals and no respect for human life, and deals with them hard like they deserve, but they certainly don't expect.
Things I like about Jack Reacher: *He can handle himself *He is a good person, but he don't play! *He is both the mysterious, strong silent type and a smart aleck with unforgettable lines. What a great combination. *He uses his brain and all the assets available. I liked how he assessed the various situations and was able to come up with a good solution, thinking on his feet. *He has a sense of justice that I can get behind, and he doesn't let the rules get in his way of seeing justice done (much like Repairman Jack from the F. Paul Wilson books). *He treats people with respect, except for lowlives who show that they aren't worthy of it. *He can kick some serious butt and teach the thugs some lessons they won't ever forget!
Who would I pick to play Jack Reacher in a movie?
I immediately thought of Josh Lucas when Jack is first described. Why? Because Josh is hot, he's a good actor, he has the attitude and the presence to play Jack, and the coloring and physical description. Yup. Josh is my Jack. I will not budge on that.
Do you still need a reason to read this book?
If the answer is no, I suggest you go find a copy of this book and have a ball reading it. If you don't want to read Killing Floor by now, then I can tell you truly haven't been completely annoyed with how scumbags manage to take advantage of good people and get away with it. Or maybe you just don't like adrenaline rushes in a book, and action-packed suspense with some nifty twists and turns. If that's the case, I still like you.
Um, Danielle. You sound kind of gleeful about this violent book and I'm a little scared of you right now. Should I be? Are you a closet vigilante?
Not at all, even though I love Batman and Jack is definitely going on my favorite hero list. No, it's just very good wish fulfillment to read books with tough guys like Jack who can and will take care of the bad guys and have you going, "Dang!" What can I say? I grew up in the 80s, the Golden Age of action films. It's too late for me now....(less)
I have to thank my Goodreads friend, Jess R, for encouraging me to read this book. All she said was, Rhyzkahl was like an Anne Stuart hero, and I was...moreI have to thank my Goodreads friend, Jess R, for encouraging me to read this book. All she said was, Rhyzkahl was like an Anne Stuart hero, and I was there. And I am so glad about it.
Mark of the Demon gave me one heck of a read. Diana Rowland managed to take the concept of demon summoning and write a story that got past my personal hang-ups about that idea. I like that she made it clear that her concept of demons veers from the Christian concept, because I don't know if I could have been down with reading about a heroine who was dealing with Satanic demons. Okay, my hangup, not yours. But, anyway, that helped me to get on board this book.
Occult detective novels are like candy to me. I devour these things. Essentially, an occult detective novel is a mystery with paranormal aspects. In this case, Kara Gillian is a police homocide detective who has a hobby/calling of demon summoning. She does this because it's in her blood. Her aunt was a summoner, and she finds out that her grandmother was one too. When her aunt taught her this art, it helped her to get her life on track, and to find a sense of purpose, something she could feel confident about. It turns out her summoning skills, and her ability to sense arcane energy, will come in handy in investigating a series of very grisly murders by the Symbol Man.
I flat out loved Kara. She was insecure, foul-mouthed, socially awkward, but strong and intelligent, and very likeable. I like that she wasn't the resident sex bomb that all the men wanted. I get really tired of that over-used device in female lead urban fantasy (which causes me to search out male leads just for a break from it). She was very good at her job as a police officer, even though she didn't always have confidence in her abilities. I liked that she thought things through, and had a habit of 'faking it until you make it'. In other words, showing you had things under control, even if you are a shuddering wreck inside. I liked that because I often use that technique. I have to be honest, I saw a lot of myself in Kara. She hadn't had an easy or normal life. She wasn't good with people, and because of what she was, she hadn't had a busy social life as far as men. I liked that she was pretty good with being one of the guys, and handling that wall of chauvinism that women often face when they are working in male-dominated environments. She didn't act like a bimbo to get her way. She used the natural abilities and skills she had and didn't play up to men's flawed perceptions of women in the work environment.
The mystery was tightly-plotted and well-executed. I had some suspicions about who was behind the murders, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong. Although the arcane elements tied heavily into solving the case, Kara also used good, old-fashioned police investigative techniques just as much. Ms. Rowland managed to integrate her experience in criminal investigations into this story in an interesting and believable fashion.
The arcane elements were very interesting. I have zero personal interest in pursuing studies in the occult, but I find it fascinating to read about arcane/occult lore in fictional books. This story has some elements that felt unique and personal, crafted by the author to create her own world with its own rules. I liked that a lot about this story.
And then there's Rhyzkahl. Hello! Yummy much? Scary much? Yes to both questions. He's not a demon, by the way. He's a Demonic Lord, which are like the top of the top in demonic hierarchy. He's not scaly and gross with horns, either. He's hot. Really hot. I was thinking, sex with a demon? Not sure about that part. But, when I read about this very sexy, human-looking (well better than human looking since he's absolutely perfect), and smooth, polite (unless he's ripping you to pieces), and charming, the sex part didn't weird me out at all. It was more like, Wow! I can see the appeal with Rhyzkahl. I can also see why Kara is scared of him and wants him out of her life. But, Rhyzkahl has an interest in Kara. We find out what that is to a certain degree, but there are still questions there. Does he like her for who she is, or what she can do with her summoning skills? He seems kind of possessive of her. Is that a sexual thing or a power thing for him? The verdict is still out on that one. But I will keep reading to find out.
As for Ryan Kristoff? I grew to like him. At first, I was thinking, 'Stuffed Shirt.' But, he actually has an appeal. He's smart and he has knowledge in the occult world, and he ended up being a very good ally and partner to Kara. It will be interesting to see where their association goes.
Mark of the Demon is occult detective urban fantasy in all the best ways. The sensual/romantic aspects don't overwhelm the story, but tie in beautifully. The characters are appealing and life-like. I care about Kara. I want to keep reading about her. I want to see what her association with Rhyzkahl is going to bring into her life in the future. Ms. Rowland wrote one heck of a book here. Mark of the Demon gets my stamp of approval. Give it a read!(less)
Ilona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that stor...moreIlona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that story, one that has stayed true in the subsequent stories that I have read by this team. With On the Edge, they have continued that excellence, providing me with a novel that is multi-faceted, genre-wise and story-wise.
Although I grew up in the Midwest, my roots are Southern, and I do appreciate books set in the South that show the real ways of Southerners. In this case, I saw something very real and almost familiar in Rose, her brothers, grandmother, and friends and neighbors. I smiled when Rose threw the boys in the car and took them to Walmart. Yeah, that's real. Real people do shop there. How many times do you read a book where the characters go to Walmart to buy not the designer shoes, but the ones that look close enough to pass muster? How about a heroine who buys ground beef and adds rice and bread crumbs to stretch it? Yup, that's real alright. How about those moments when you have to stretch your paycheck and hope you have enough money left over the week to buy gas so you can get to work? I've definitely been there. And the love and ties of family, having to work hard all day and get home, take care of your family, go to bed, and get up and do it again. I think a lot of readers can identify with that. So what if Rose is magical, along with everyone in her family? That's a little more on the fantasy part of the scale. But this combination is why urban fantasy is so irresistible to me. The real and the surreal nicely entwined.
The ideas in this story strike me as very unique and different. I liked it a lot, even if some elements was pretty odd, like a reanimated grandfather who likes to eat stray dogs' brains. Or the fact that a lot folks in the Edge community can curse people, or send flashes of powerful energy out of their bodies. And then there is the shapeshifting younger brother of Rose, Jack. The other young brother is a powerful necromancer (hence the zombie granddad). And things get even more interesting when Declan shows up. Rose's powerful flash abilities have made her an asset to Blueblood families who want to integrate her genes into their family lines, one way or the other. She has become wary of men for that reason, since most of her suitors didn't ask nicely. So when too good to be true Declan shows up to claim her and take her back to the Weird, the magical lands that are adjacent to the Edge, she definitely doesn't eagerly go off with him. She makes an oath with the handsome warrior that he can have her if he succeeds in her three challenges. However, they have big problems on their hands, as there are horrible, magical hounds that are devouring Edgers for their magic. And they really want to get their hands on Rose and her family.
I loved Rose. She was a heroine that you could hang with, and that you'd be slightly in awe of, because she knows how to take care of business. She's the type that you tell to do something, and she takes about five minutes or more, and she's back and ready to get the job done. Not the heroine who is infallible and annoyingly perfect. Nope, she's the heroine that you love because she tries so hard, and she has the determination to do what is necessary. I loved Rose's commitment to her brothers, how she raised them from a young age after her mother lost her mind and her father ran off treasure-hunting. Jack and Georgie (her brothers) are adorable and genuine little boys, despite their very unusual abilities. They were sweeties and reminded me of the poem about what boys are made of (you know, snails and puppy dog tails). You could see why Rose loves them, even though being a single mom to her brothers is far from easy.
Declan was a great match for Rose. He was just as determined and capable. He might be a rich princelike guy, but he was down to earth enough that this didn't bother me. And I do like tough, warrior heroes, I won't lie. He took to the kids very quickly, and he treated them like they were his own. He even makes pancakes for them. I liked how he was as much a thinker as a doer, a problem-solver not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was a guy who made a commitment and stood by his word, no matter what. Declan was definitely a knight in shining armor, and I could see why Rose fell in love with him.
William was also adorable. I felt for him, and I will probably end up reading Bayou Moon soon to get more of him. I liked his wildness but also his goodness and how sweet he was with the kids (I am a sucker for that).
On the Edge has its dark, gruesome elements, but I'm okay with that. I like some dark in my fantasy. I loved the juxtaposition of the everyday with the fantastic and surreal. The Andrews have a great way of writing descriptively and setting the scene without overdoing things and info-dumping. I like that the narrative is spare in some places, and the character sketches give you enough to get an idea of the folks in the story, but you can still learn more as you read. There are times you have to figure things out as you go, which is what I prefer, to be honest.
Although I am sure this book wouldn't work for everyone, I had a ball reading it. I liked everything about it. The romance was great, but the fantasy elements were equally important. I'd recommend this to a reader who likes fantasy but wants to try romance, and a reader on the other side of that equation.(less)
Very good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radar...moreVery good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radar for death, you get dead very quickly. I found her character very credible. I won't deny that I sort of have a fascination with fiction stories about assassins. This is a good one. Estep builds a three-dimensional character here with Gin. She's not evil, but she's not a a saintly person either. How can you be when you kill people for a living?
That's where the grays come in. If you knew what some of the folks she's killed have done, then you might not count it as such a loss. Ashland is a place full of dark souls, you see. The whole place is corrupt to varying degrees, except for Donovan Caine. He truly is the only honest man in this place. So imagine the dilemma when they discover an attraction between them. Between the cold-hearted (but warm-pantsed) assassin and the straight arrow cop. Yeah, that makes for quite a conflict.
If you like magic noir, definitely check this book out. If you like bad*ss women who know how to get the dirty jobs done, definitely check this out. If you have a problem with women who are a bit callous about sex, you might have a problem with Gin. I'm not big on that trait in a heroine (or a hero for that matter). I did like how she does the pursuing when it comes to Donovan. That was kind of cute. And she can be a bit of a bully when she wants to. I can understand why her character is that way, having lost her family and lived on the streets. It's made her into a hard woman, one who doesn't let anyone make a victim out of her. For all that, she does have a sense of honor. At least someone does in this place. As for Caine, he was a bit self-righteous at times. I totally respect his sense of honor, but I think he needs to open his mind a little and ask the whys instead of just blindly following. I find it hard to believe he was completely oblivious to the corruption in his police department. I think he was just willfully ignoring it. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and vice versa. If his partner was doing that horrible stuff, why didn't he have a clue? I like that Gin didn't try to defend herself to him. Why should she? She was true to herself, and he had to accept her or leave her. Either way. I like that he can't put her into a box and forget about her either. Too bad Gin can't get this cop out of her mind either. That relationship is fraught with issues.
The magic was cool. I liked the concept of elementals, and how many folks in Ashland had elemental magic. I liked the use of runes to identify people, and how it was used to seal magic, if you will. The vampires felt sort of extraneous, but maybe that's because I'm jaded with vampires being in every single urban fantasy series!
Overall, this was a very good book. Gin is a very lethal, fascinating character. I didn't like everything about her, but I liked a lot. I loved that she was so bad*ss and capable. She does a lot of the saving, but she also works together with others, so there was balance in that. Donovan is an interesting love interest. It should be entertaining to see where things go with that angel. I also liked the foodie aspects (being a big foodie myself), and the glimpses of Southern life and society. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy enjoy dark, gritty urban fantasy, and tough female leads. I will definitely continue this series!
Thanks for recommending this book off my tbr pile, Suzi!(less)
If you don't like kids in your romance, this might be a hard sell for you. For that's a big part of this story. Billionaire, hard-working businessman,...moreIf you don't like kids in your romance, this might be a hard sell for you. For that's a big part of this story. Billionaire, hard-working businessman, Jack Mason, has inherited his niece after the death of her parents (his sister and her husband) in a plane crash. His niece has serious emotional issues, and has managed to chase off every nanny Jack has hired thus far. Additionally, Child and Family Services is making noises about taking her away. His lawyer gives him one solution: marriage. Jack isn't ready for marriage, but he refuses to let go of his niece, even though she's adopted. So, he decides to advertise for a nanny, and convince her to marry him for two years.
When he has his interviews with nanny candidates, he's impressed with Annalise Stefano from the beginning. She's a good-looking woman, although understated. But she also has a calm, cool, collected demeanor he finds very appealing. And then, there is the masterful way she deals with Isabelle in full tantrum mode. He's a bit worried at her lack of experience, but circumstances occur that prompt him to hire her. She's definitely the best person for the job, able to bond with Isabelle, but also give her a sense of order and security, dealing smoothly with Isabelle's tantrums. Soon, it's clear that he can't keep his hands off her, and she seems to feel the same way. But Annalise is a person who tries to be control of herself at all times, and she wants to put Isabelle's needs first and foremost, which is what he wants too. Yet, he also wants her. He feels that the chemistry between them is too strong to resist. There were some interesting conversations regarding this issue that made me laugh.
The whole time, Jack is thinking about his master plan: marriage. He's sure Annalise is the right person for the job, in many ways. Jack is able to convince Annalise to marry him, and they form a very happy family. However, Annalise is keeping a whopper of a secret that will change things between them in a huge way.
I have to say that I loved this book. It was a slow evolution, although I knew that it was going to be a strong read from the beginning. Day Leclaire writes very well, and I thought her characters were very charismatic, from Jack to Annalise, to young Isabelle. Add in a pregnant Great Dane, and it's magic. But, the ending. Now that was just fantastic. That's what earned this book a five star rating. If a reader is too cynical to believe that lives can interconnect so seamlessly to form a perfect whole, then that reader won't like this book. However, I like to believe that we all go through rough experiences in our lives, but they have a reason, and they open doors to greater possibilities. This is one of those books.
If you don't care for kids in romances, I'd say give this one a try. It wasn't sappy. It was very well done. I don't see how it couldn't bring a tear to your eye. (less)
William's story lived up to my expectations. He is a very cool character that more or less stole the show from the hero in On the Edge. Not that Decla...moreWilliam's story lived up to my expectations. He is a very cool character that more or less stole the show from the hero in On the Edge. Not that Declan wasn't a perfectly good hero. Well, he was a bit more 'golden boy' than I like my heroes. But he worked for Rose. As for personal taste, I go with William!
What can I say? I like 'em edgy. I appreciated how the Andrews shaped Williams character and showed all his textures and layers. One would think that a changeling would be a pretty basic guy, all id. Not William. He has a dichotomy, although he does aim for simplicity in his actions and thought processes. And wonderfully self-controlled, considering. He had to learn it the hard way, which is organic. I think he was very true to his nature. He had that primal, violent aspect, but also a loving, sensual (and not just in an erotic) nature. Although he had never been part of a family, you could see that he valued and treasured the concept of family. I especially liked how he reacted to Cherise. Just on a primal level, he fell for her and 'knew' she was meant for his. Even with that instant feeling, nothing was guaranteed in the story. There was a long journey for them, and that love story adds to but doesn't take away from this distinctly gritty fantasy read. Although I will put this on my urban fantasy shelf, I guess it really isn't UF. It's more like rural fantasy. Hey, would love more books in this sub-genre!
Speaking of rural fantasy, I loved the local color. With On the Edge, that was a major appeal of the story, the down-home Southern ambience of the story. This story goes even deeper. This is about swamp people. It felt very authentic and real. I think we can all identify with having an interesting family. How we have various relations that are just kind of odd, but we love and accept them because they are family. That's this book in a nutshell. Cerise's family was full of characters, each one distinctive. They gave her a headache and sometimes a heartbreak, but they were blood, and blood is thicker than water. So what if her family has some folks that aren't strictly human? Every family has quirks. I loved Cerise's loyalty to her family, and better yet, that William could respect that and realized that his Mate's family was his family now.
As far as adventure and action, this book has it in spades. As with other books by Andrews, it can be gritty and gory. The whole storyline about the scientific/magical adaptations was rather stomach-churning! If you're squeamish, you might not want to eat while reading some parts. William is seriously awesome as far as his warrior skills, and Cerise more than holds her own. In fact, she rocks the house. She's a tough, strong woman, the kind of woman you want to high five. Despite being tough, she has some vulnerabilities that give her a realistic portrayal. I could identify with her love of family but her feeling of being trapped by obligations. I liked her a lot. On top of her emotional and mental fortitude, Cerise is an incredible swordswoman, which definitely works for me, because I love swordplay. I also liked that her family is full of tough guys, of both sexes. Particularly, liked Kaldar and Aunt Marid, and little Lark. Let's not forget Gaston. But all in all, quite a brood, the Mars!
This was a long book, for sure, but there wasn't filler. I think moreso that there was a lot of story to be told, and no need to cut some of it out. We got William's fully-fleshed story and I loved it. Although I fully adored On the Edge, I love this in a different way. I think that's a great progression for a series, that each one feels different, although it captures what I love about Ilona Andrews' writing and stays true to their voice.
Now I'm wondering what these folks can get up to next in the Edge, Weird, and Broken, or all of the above! Glad there are more books in this series to read!(less)
This is one of my sister's favorite books, which always makes me want to read a book, since she has good taste. She's usually not wrong about the book...moreThis is one of my sister's favorite books, which always makes me want to read a book, since she has good taste. She's usually not wrong about the books she raves about. The other night, I decided to give it a read, since it has a flower on the cover, I needed a pure, happy romance book to get my mind off of darker thoughts, and it would meet my Spring challenge. I was glad I did. I love the old school romance books. They seemed to build up the romance story in a more believable fashion. As well as the chemistry. I must say Sandra Brown did a great job. She built up the sexual tension expertly in this book. Each scene and interaction, both in the past and the present, showed the attraction between Laura and James. Their kisses and caresses escalated that tension until they consummate. I miss that feeling of expectation of when they finally will do it, instead of the more prevalent insta-sex of today, which really just makes the romance fizzle before it begins. After they have sex, what's the point really in reading the romance? I like the romance to come first. But that's just me.
Other things I liked about this book: *There is something about Southern-set books. The ambience of that location, with all the societal aspects, the simmering heat, and the conventions of Southern folk. I could smell the gardenia and honeysuckle, taste the sweet iced tea, and feel the humid breeze against my skin. It is a clever metaphor for the heated sexual attraction between the characters that is burgeoning right under my eyes as I read. *I love books where the H/h knew each other growing up, although they didn't get together, merely flirting around, or having the unconsummated attraction that will culminate when they reunite later on as adults. *The bad-boy made good storyline: Although I didn't like the snobbery that Laura showed initially against James, I liked the dynamic of Laura and James having been in different social spheres. James was the son of the town drunk, and Laura the daughter of one of the town's more prominent families. James was pretty much like James Dean in the old 50s movies, a greaser with a bad attitude. But he was always a hard worker, just dealing with more pain and rage than a young man can carry and still have peace in his heart. It was good he shook the dust of his hometown off his feet and set off to make a life for himself, and his fortune. And he created his darling little girl, Mandy, who needs a mother. Good thing Laura is there to fill that job. James had a master plan of coming back to his hometown and making a good reputation for himself. Laura's found out that her father left her a mountain of debts and has to sell her house. It's a heartbreaking decision for herself, especially when she has to sell it to James, who she doesn't think is good enough for it. Things change in her thinking, and I was glad that she was able to open her heart and mind (although James had always been in her heart, even if he was way 'too bad, too experienced, too everything' for her). James sure has a way of bringing a girl around in her thinking. James has some revising of his views to undergo too. He wants a perfect southern maven wife, and doesn't need love or passion (at least not with her). He thinks Laura will fit the bill, until he realizes how much passion she has inside, and how much he feels for her. I think Ms. Brown did a good job of showing how James and Laura got to know each other past the misleading perceptions of each other they had (fostered by a society that is way too fixated on such things), and realizing how much they loved each other.
There was a lot to love about this book. I takes me back to the golden days of contemporary romance that I sincerely mourn nowadays. I've read a few of her older books, but I guess I should have paid more attention to Sandra Brown's contemporary romance. Now's as good a time as any.(less)
As my second book in the Jack Reacher series (although #16 in publication and a prequel in sequence), The Affair wasn't a shabby audio read at all. Th...moreAs my second book in the Jack Reacher series (although #16 in publication and a prequel in sequence), The Affair wasn't a shabby audio read at all. The narrator Dick Hill has a terse, noirish delivery that adds to the story. He sounds a bit older than I would associate with Reacher, but he definitely has Reacher's 'you ain't the boss of me' attitude and conveys his ruthless, efficient approach to solving injustices. I think he is a good choice to narrate for the Jack Reacher books. I do have to admit that I was giggling like a schoolgirl on the love scenes. I can't help it. Audiobook love scenes always strike me that way, and especially with an older male narrator who sort of gave them a 'dirty old man' vibe!
It's interesting. This seems like a simplistic storyline, but when everything came together, it wasn't. The Affair is the story of small town secrets tied in with the bigger and murkier waters of powerful people who feel the impunity to do whatever they want. Child kept me guessing. I went back and forth about what was going on and who was behind it. He really had me going and thinking that the killer was someone I really didn't want it to be. In the end, I was like, "So that's not the killer?" That was well done.
Child has an interesting way of being very brisk about describing some aspects of his narrative, but descriptive in a vivid, emotive way about others. I felt immersed in this small town with its racial divisions, brutal poverty and a seething sense of injustice that comes from the eternal 'haves versus the have nots'. As it does to Reacher, injustice sits heavy on my stomach, so even though Reacher can be highly ruthless, in a way it's a rewarding thing to know that there is an avenging angel out there at least in the fictional world to fight for those who have been disenfranchised and denied of their rights and their voices. I suppose that's why Reacher is around. When you have these kinds of situations with so much brutality and casual discarding of lives, it makes you want a meaty fist of vengeance like Reacher who is there to clean up the mess. His descriptions of Army/military life also grabbed my interest. I don't know if he got all that right, but it sounded plausible to me. At least some of the governmental parts struck a familiar note.
Reacher is an interesting character. He's really kind of a basic sort. His view of life is so simple and without the extra qualifiers that most characters seem to have. He understands authority, but he also has a habit of doing what he thinks is right even if that's against the dictates of authority.
Sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux was an intriguing character. Ex-marine and sheriff of Carter's Crossing, the daughter of the long-term sheriff. She's a bit of a study in contrasts. The romance between Reacher and Deveraux was fairly basic, although Child effectively conveys the attraction and mutual respect between them. Neither is a good bet for a long-term relationship, but I still wished that things might work out in that direction (view spoiler)[(even knowing this is a prequel so that wasn't in the cards) (hide spoiler)].
The Affair was a good book, but I felt an emptiness when it ended. I don't know if it was just the stripped down nature of the overall plot or that I felt unsatisfied with the overall nature of things that went down. It bothered me to see those people die like that and how it was handled. And while Reacher did what he could to make things right, it doesn't bring those people back, or prevent it from happening again. And Reacher pays a heavy price in the end to do what he did, or maybe for being the kind of man he is. Was that a deliberate thing on Child's part? Maybe. Overall, a pretty good book that I'd recommend to fans of thriller/suspense and kickbutt heroes.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I enjoyed this book. It has a lot of heart and humor, and the characters are fun and likable. For those who would like an older couple romance, you'll...moreI enjoyed this book. It has a lot of heart and humor, and the characters are fun and likable. For those who would like an older couple romance, you'll find a great one here with the secondary couple.
Dancy Flammarion is quite an unusual character. A young teenager who has been on her own for a while, guided by a seraph who leads her to monsters she...moreDancy Flammarion is quite an unusual character. A young teenager who has been on her own for a while, guided by a seraph who leads her to monsters she needs to kill. I first became acquainted with Dancy in Alabaster, and I was drawn to her character. I wanted to protect her, even though she is much more fierce than I could ever see myself. In Alabaster, I wasn't quite sure of how much was real and how much wasn't, as the writing was quite surreal. In this graphic novel, I think you pretty much know that Dancy isn't living out a psychosis of what's happening to her. Sometimes graphic novels don't tell stories well, but that is not the case with this one. This story leads itself very well to the visual medium, so I am glad that they decided to make it into a graphic novel.
The artwork is beautiful. Although some imagery is dark and disturbing, I still see a lot of beauty in the manner in which Dancy's fine features are drawn and painted (as well as another young woman she encounters), and even the choices of color and design in the darker scenes. The motion of the wolves is conveyed very well, even down to their musculature and sinews. Dancy is an albino, and the artist captured this excellently, from her white hair, white skin, and to her red/pink eyes. The artwork also brings the Gothic Southern atmosphere to vivid life. It is spot on with that otherworldly feel of the South, where a bloody history and rich folkloric heritage (slavery and Civil War) has tinged the land in so many ways. Even in the daytime scenes, the hot sun seems barely able to protect against the dark monsters lurking in the shadows.
The stories are nicely sinister, with just enough menace to make for a scary/slightly disturbing read without going over the line into the grotesque and unpalatable. The lettering captures the feel of Kiernan's prose very well, and I could clearly hear the syrupy thick Southern accents as I read. I was holding my breath as I read, not sure if Dancy was going to make it out of the very sticky situations she faces. She's very good at what she does, but she's not invincible, so she faces very real threats along the way. I appreciate how things ended. I'm not ready to say goodbye to this special young lady.
I think this is a good read for those who are inclined more to classic horror, because it has such great atmosphere, and the storylines are tailored towards the older themes of horror. As I mentioned above, the Southern Gothic feel, but also a bit of the Lovecraftian sort of mythical feel. It makes me think of those occult detectives who are alone in their fight against the monsters of darkness, such as Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John and Kolchak. This is awesome because Dancy is a young woman, and she doesn't need a man to rescue her.
I have to give this one 4.5 stars because it was very nearly perfect. I hope for more Dancy adventures in the future.(less)