I read this book out of curiosity, with no preconceived notions. Merely because I was curious what kids would do in a world with no adults. I admit I...moreI read this book out of curiosity, with no preconceived notions. Merely because I was curious what kids would do in a world with no adults. I admit I was blown away.
Mr. Grant told me a story that I couldn't put down. From the beginning, my mind was full of questions about how this happened, how the kids would survive, what could prevent the same thing from happening again....So many questions.
Sam is the kind of boy you want to have around when the world goes crazy. He's definitely the reluctant hero type, but usually they come through for you like no other. Because they do what needs to be done, simply because it needs to happen. Not for glory, not for recognition. Sam doesn't want to be 'the guy', but he knows that no one else is going to do it. And when Caine and his posse come down from Coates Academy, taking over and making things mostly worse, someone has to step up to the plate to stop him.
This book is intense, violent, and sometimes sad. Some of these kids die. A lot of them get hurt pretty bad. I'm not a mother yet, but I love kids, and I hate to see them suffering. It was a bit painful to watch. Even harder was seeing the cruelty and potential for evil that some of these children showed. Drake, who is basically Caine's bully boy, is a psychopath. He loves hurting people, and he feels no remorse about doing it. In my mind, I was weighing the options, even thinking that they needed to kill him, because he was like a rabid animal, bent on destruction. I felt horrible doing that, but he's a loose cannon, and he's only going to get worse. I don't think saving this boy is an option.
One of the take home messages of this book is the consequences of a social structure that is pretty familiar to most of us. The dynamic that we see in a group of kids where there are bullies who find the 'weakest' people and torment then, doing everything they can to make life miserable for those kids. And this causes a lot of fallout, because people forget ethics and what's morally right so that they can have peace from the bullies. In essence, they become part of the problem, contributing to a micro-society in which children get hurt because everyone is afraid to speak up and stand up against the bullies and the ones who are 'running things' for their own twisted, self-absorbed reasons. It made me shudder to see what these children did to each other, because they thought it was the easiest option to keep control of things. I'll be honest. I was bullied and picked on big time. It made me hate seeing the so-called 'weak' or 'different' people get targeted and treated that way. I'm no fighter, but I made a promise that I'd stand up for someone who couldn't do that for his or herself. I was glad that the kids like Sam and Edilio (what a sweetheart) were more than willing to do that.
I had some issues with the decisions that were made by the kids. They had no real sanitation rules. They didn't use their resources effectively. They had very poor nutrition, unnecessarily, because there was a supermarket full of healthy things like fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains. They ate mostly junk like candy, ice cream, soda pop, you name it. I guess I was looking at things through 'grown-up' eyes, which did cause me some discomfort. I was glad that they did organize care for the babies and kids too young to watch out for themselves, because Mary and her brother took on that job. I was also glad that Dahra worked as the medical provider. Albert took over the McDonalds and provided food for the community. Even so, I see some problems ahead, unless the kids set up a civic structural system in which every person is accountable (over-thinking this, I know!).
I loved the relationship between Astrid and Sam. They had an innocent love but also a strong friendship and support system in which they watched out for each other and did what they could to help everyone through this situation. Astrid was the brain, very smart, but also very kind. She had to take care of her younger brother, who was autistic, and extremely gifted with powers. I'll get to the powers part later. Give me a minute. Not an easy task for a young girl, but she did it. I was rooting for things to work out for these two!
Another character who turned out to be a favorite was Lana. Lana is in a very bad position when the 'event' happens--the one in which all the people over fourteen disappear. She ends up getting horribly injured and is about to die, when her power to heal manifests. Oh, I was on the edge of my seat, seeing her stranded, wounded very badly, with only her dog to protect her from the wild animals in the desert. I was so glad that she was able to get out of that situation. Of course, she ends up in a worse situation that ties in with the kids in town, and in a big way, as this book culminates. It might seem like a deus ex-machina to have a character who can heal even the most grievous wounds, but I was glad that she did have the power. These kids have a lot stacked up against them already. They need all the advantages they can get.
Now, lets talk about the power. Some of the kids, Sam included, have supernatural abilities that start manifesting. I thought this part was very cool. How Caine approaches this, with his evil little posse' made my hair stand on end. I can't even conceive of children being as cruel as that lot were. The powers end up playing a pivotal role in this story, and I am sure that this will continue to be a very strong element in the forthcoming books. I liked the "X-Men" sort of element it brought to the story, and how kids that were often bullied and felt useless, got to play important roles in the fight against Caine and his Posse' of Evil.
I wanted to give the author a nod of thanks for making the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) a multicultural environment, with children of all races. Everyone is important, and it was nice to see that there was a rainbow represented here. That speaks highly to me!
If you're an adult and you don't think you could enjoy young adult books, this is one I'd recommend. If you're like me, you will be riveted to this exciting story. It has a lot to offer as far as entertainment, but also stimulates the brain, as you are confronted with this bad situation that this young kids have to face. I cannot stop reading these books. I'm way too invested now!(less)
This review is hard to write. Not because I can't think of enough wonderful things to say about this book, but because there are so many things I love...moreThis review is hard to write. Not because I can't think of enough wonderful things to say about this book, but because there are so many things I loved about it. I am very glad that I had the experience of listening to this book on audio. Hearing Mr. Gaiman read it is icing on the scrumptious cake. He has a beautifully expressive, soothing, and emotive voice. He wrote it, so he has the advantage of knowing exactly what emphasis to put on the different lines and passages, and how he wants the various parts read.
I had never read Neil Gaiman before this year, and it has been my pleasure to discover him. He is a wonderful fantasist, blessed with the understanding of the joy and the awe that fantasy inspires in a reader. In this case, he manages to take a very dark subject, death, and give it a sense of whimsy and beauty.
The idea of an orphan growing up in a graveyard seems morbid, however this book doesn't read that way at all (except perhaps the parts with the ghouls, but that was on purpose). Instead of reading about a lonely, abandoned child stuck in a place of death, I felt the warm, loving way the graveyard and its denizens adopted the orphaned toddler, raising him into a lovely young man. I felt as though I grew to know all the folks in the graveyard, as if they were members of a large, eccentric family. I loved how Mr. Gaiman would introduce a new ghost by what his/her tombstone said. It was just the right touch. This and the abundant personality of the ghosts helped me to avoid descending into sadness at the realization that these were all departed folks lingering on the mortal plane. It felt natural to me. That takes talent.
Similarly the whole idea of a murderer looking for an innocent child to finish what he'd started so many years ago could have been excessively dark. It was dark, but the darkness doesn't overwhelm this story, not knowing that the Bod is far from alone in the world. He has a strong wall of protection around him, in the forms of his ghostly family, his guardian Silas, his sometimes babysitter Ms. Lupesco, and the graveyard itself. And Bod grows into a young boy/man with quite a good head on his shoulders, a good heart, and one who is resourceful enough to deal with his very evil pursuer(s), and to learn from his missteps in the complicated world of the living.
I truly love this book. The mood, the story, the writing, and the narrator. It will definitely go on my favorites shelf. I think I shall have to get me a paper copy, because this is definitely one for a reread.
Ascension took me a while to read, when I typically devour most paranormal romances. The writing style didn't grab hold of me and refuse to let me go,...moreAscension took me a while to read, when I typically devour most paranormal romances. The writing style didn't grab hold of me and refuse to let me go, which is a shame. However, I did like enough about this book to keep me wanting to continue the series.
What I liked *The concept of ascensions was captivating. I loved the idea that there were various Worlds accessible via dimensional gates that only a person who had ascended could pass through. This had some metaphysical aspects that appealed to me as a person with interest in the ethereal and the scientific. *I liked the mix of high tech science with fantasy aspects which are integral to this book. *The romance was strong and involving despite the dense writing style. The steam and attraction elements were well done. *I'm a sucker for a brotherhood of warriors. What can I say? (view spoiler)[I like the way Roane sort of makes fun of the seemingly obligatory aspect of the brothers going out to a club to get drunk, drink blood, and have sex with willing, nubile females. This has become quite a convention of the paranormal genre which I can’t say I’m in love with. I like that Alison talked about how sexist that was with Kerrick, because it’s a thought I often have when I read these books, even as an admitted paranormal addict. (hide spoiler)] *Good action sequences, and the displays of superhuman abilities were well done. I had these images of large-scale, majestic battles between winged warriors. She conveyed this imagery very well. *There's something about winged people that just does it for me. These aren’t angels, but I’d probably lump them into that category because of the whole ascended being with wings aspects. *Endelle is a character that totally stands out. Normally, you don't see these kinds of outre', unabashedly over the top alpha females in these books. She is a good source of humor and I love that her word is law, even to this group of very powerful warriors. *I liked the concept of the breh-hedden. While the fated mate theme is nothing new, I liked the way Roane presents her version. Although I'm not 100% keen on the idea of a hot warrior who is your fated mate smelling like fennel/licorice (Marcus, a secondary character smells like licorice to Havily), at least it's kind of unique.
What could have been better *Honestly, I think that this could have stood a very liberal edit, at least 50 pages. I felt as though there were excessive pages and words used than were needed to tell this story. This was quite striking considering that I had a question mark in my mind over the whole concept until about 300 pages had gone by. A surgical use of words could have conveyed more of what the author intended in a more concise fashion, and made for a shorter, easier read. Admittedly, I'm a reader who prefers more short and snappy writing. I can get past that with a really compelling read. However, in the case of this story, it just felt apparent to me that not all the words she used were needed. *I felt that most of the warrior brethren are still somewhat sketchy as far as characters. I can name them and give brief traits about them, but for all the length of the story, I would have liked a better integration of them in the narrative than I saw. This made the book have a samey feel in comparison to other popular paranormal series out there, when there is more than enough to distinguish this book from others in the genre. *The villain was a bit sketchy too. I couldn't feel his motivations. I was told rather than shown these, and it didn't quite ring through to me. I hope that he is better developed in the subsequent books.
After a rather slow, frustrating read, with some moments of brilliance that spurred me on to keep reading, I can say I liked this book, but I did not love it. I like the ideas, and I really want to fall in love with this book. I hope that I will feel more drawn in with the subsequent books since I have gotten a introductory feel to this world. For a first book in a high concept series, Ascension isn't bad. It is just one of those books that it takes patience and determination to get through.
I started this one and put it down almost two years ago. I was distinctly disturbed by Ivy's backstory (from the Rachel Morgan books by Kim Harrison),...moreI started this one and put it down almost two years ago. I was distinctly disturbed by Ivy's backstory (from the Rachel Morgan books by Kim Harrison), featured in Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was not at all what I'd call a romance. Her relationships with the men in this story were dark, tangled, and unsettling. It's good to have some perspective on Ivy, but I'm afraid I don't have a good opinion of her character right now. Maybe that was the point, and we will see her evolve as she spends more time around the more innocent and sweeter Rachel. This was a beautifully written, but dark, dark story. Kim Harrison is one heck of a writer and she pulls you into the stories that she spins. I'm not into dark and sexual so much, and this story has that edge to it, hence I was a bit turned off. I did love the banshee part. Very cool! Four stars for the quality of the story, even though this one disturbed me.
Attempt #2 Went much better as I finished the Lynsay Sands story. I actually enjoyed The Claire Switch Project, and I didn't expect to like it. I thought it was going to be way too light and fluffy and annoying as Claire used her power to deceive the man she was in love with. Thankfully I was wrong. It just goes to show that you need to be in the mood to read certain books. This reminded me of a screwball comedy from the 80s (which I love). Claire has a unique ability that her friend manipulates her into exploiting to get a little revenge against the jerk who dumped her. Her scientist colleague, Kyle, is the man she's been in love with for over ten years, but afraid to say anything. Well, he asks her out on a date the very night she has to pretend to be her friends famous date (Brad Cruise, get it?). Hilarity and confusion ensues. It was cute and fun, so I ended up giving this one 3.5 stars.
Kelley Armstrong's Chaotic was interesting. The heroine is Hope, a half-chaos demon/half-human. She gets a high from chaotic/violent events that she has tried to channel into helping people working for the Interracial Council. She's on a mundane date (but on the lookout for anything unusual) and she ends up catching jewel-thief and somewhat rogue werewolf, Karl. It turns out that the people that she works for are gunning for Karl in the worse way, although he's not on the wrong side. They are. This reminded me of those beloved 80s action movies I watched too many of, even though I was probably too young for them. I have to admit that the first person didn't really seem to fit the story that well. I think third person would have gone over better. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Heck, I'm an easy sell with the werewolf theme, and the on-the-run theme combined. I also liked Hope's unique ability (if you can call it that) I look forward to reading Private Demon to further explore Hope and Karl. Four stars.
My favorite, hands down, was Dead Man Dating by Lori Handeland. It was so interesting and unique. Kit is a woman who is being relentlessly hunted by a demon who's looking for a very particular type of woman. Not too many of them found in the modern world, especially in the big city. Thankfully there is a rogue demon hunter (sorry, not Wesley Wyndham-Price) here to save her. Chavez is one sexy demon hunter. I loved the aspect of good versus evil, and finding out how to kill this demon that is gunning for Kit. I firmly believe that Ms. Handeland was inspired by Constantine, and I'm not complaining, since I love that movie and the idea of the comic book it's inspired by (I haven't read them yet, but I will). Being the complete folklore/supernatural nerd that I am, I ate this story up like Mexican food (my favorite). This was such a great story, and it flowed very well, hence the five star rating. Here I am hoping that it ties into the Doomsday Chronicles series that Ms. Handeland has out (which is in the you know what). Sign me up to read about these warriors fighting against the apocalypse.
I am so glad I gave this anthology another chance. I have to thank Mel for inspiring me with her love of Karl Marsten. It really turned out to be a great read, and makes this girl who doesn't date that much pretty happy that she didn't go on any of these dates from hell (Sorry. I can't resist a bad pun).(less)
This was a very interesting and unique foray into the world of magic noir, or noir occult detective fantasy fiction. Corine Solomon is a fairly confli...moreThis was a very interesting and unique foray into the world of magic noir, or noir occult detective fantasy fiction. Corine Solomon is a fairly conflicted, and troubled character. Her mother was a practicing witch who was essentially burned to death by the suspicious and intolerant townspeople in Kilmer, Georgia. Before she died, her mom endowed her with her power, in the form of the ability to read objects. However, it comes at signficant cost to Corine. She bears the scars of the readings on her hands and fingers. Scars to match those deep in her soul.
After she almost died on one of their cases, Corine cut out in the middle of the night, leaving her boyfriend and business partner, Chance behind. She left because she didn't believe he loved her, and that he was just using her for her abilities. She left because she let him in and paid the price. In her life, Corine learned that caring for others is a losing proposition. And Chance messed her up too much inside. So she fled to Mexico, running a pawn shop, and living as close to a normal life as was possible for her.
But, eighteen months later, Chance shows up. His mother has been kidnapped, and he needs her special gift to find her. Chance has a special gift of his own, incredible luck. Unfortunately, his luck isn't so good for those around him. That, and Chance is just way too self-controlled and distant for her, despite being gorgeous and her weakness emotionally. They strike a deal, she helps him find his mother, he helps her get revenge against the people who killed her mother. And, it's just business. Their relationship is over, or so Corine says.
This story twists and turns, and shows a side of Texas very familiar to me. The aspects of Mexican culture ring very true to someone who's spent a fair amount of time in that environment, and add to this story like the spice of chili powder. Corine is a narrator who is not always nice and kind and neat, but she sneaks in on you, so well that you end up liking her for all her flaws. Chance is delicious--dapper, half-Korean, completely intriguing, and very much in love with Corine, but unsure how to show it. He's the enigmatic guy who sounds great on paper, but probably isn't the best boyfriend. But what in life is perfect? I wanted Corine to forgive him, even seeing his flaws. There's also interesting secondary characters, such as Chance's friend Chucho, and his wife, Eva, who help this couple in many important ways; Jesse, who's a cop in Laredo with a gift for empathy. He appoints himself as Corine's mentor in the world of the gifted, but he wants to be more. Maybe, Corine wants more too. Sex is not an issue, but falling in love is. Can she have all the wild, crazy sex with Jesse, and avoid falling into the trap of loving Chance? And there's a killer who considers himself the hand of God. Is he going to help or hinder Corine and Chance in their search for his mother?
Normally, I don't like my noir urban fantasy too filled with romantic angst, but it was well done and fitting in this story. After all, Corine's life is very turbulent, and that's a big part of her life. I have to say it really added to this story. I have a feeling her future will always be entwined with Chance, and that's not such a bad thing to me.
The magic and occult aspects were very intriguing. There were some parts that were borderline scary. I think Ms. Aguirre told a great story of dark magic being used to further the criminal enterprises of those who prey on the strange entity that is the border of Mexico and Texas. I had little trouble believing that the cartels would hire witches and warlocks to employ sorcerous magic to keep business going.
If I had a complaint, I think that the tension could have been sustained in some of the suspenseful moments. The execution tended to be somewhat anti-climatic. Otherwise, this was a great foray into the dark world of bordertown Texas and Mexico, where magic is alive and well. Corine is a character I got invested in, and I definitely want to read more stories with her. And I hope that Chance stays in the picture. He's quite a character, himself.(less)
Lily is a great protagonist. I love that the elements of her Chinese-American heritage were well-integrated into this story. I love her no-nonsense, d...moreLily is a great protagonist. I love that the elements of her Chinese-American heritage were well-integrated into this story. I love her no-nonsense, down to earth, cop personality, but also that she is open-minded enough to appreciate her gifts and to realize that there are things that go bump in the night.
The aspect of the werewolf society took a unique, but confusing term. I like that Ms. Wilks built a culture, complete with a separate religion for the werewolves. They are very earthy and sensual, and not just in a sexual way.
Rule, I haven't made up my mind about him. I am not sure I really like him yet. He's very morally ambiguous and almost detached in some ways, other than his primal werewolf nature. All I got to know about him were aspects that didn't appeal to me. I am not sure that I feel he's a good mate for Lily, but time will tell.
I enjoyed this book enough to continue reading the series. I like it moreso as an urban fantasy than a romance, and as a good werewolf novel. I wasn't really feeling the appeal of Rule as a romantic hero. (less)
I can't say enough good things about this book. It was so unique and very intense. The characters are so real that they jump off the page at you, and...moreI can't say enough good things about this book. It was so unique and very intense. The characters are so real that they jump off the page at you, and their suffering palpable. The first book in the series, Tiger Eye was good enough that I knew I wanted to continue reading, but this book lit me on fire for this series.
Shadow Touch starts with a shot to the heart. You see poor Artur at a crime scene, reliving the suffering of the horribly-murdered woman by using his ability to touch things and see what happened in the past in that place, by having contact with the same object that person touched in the past. The dark visions take their toll on Artur because he experiences everything that the other person feels. From the beginning, I knew I would love Artur. To subject yourself to that kind of torture to make sure that justice is done.
I was predisposed to love Artur as I love Russian heroes, and he's one of the best I've ever read. He's very attractive and appealing as a hero, but he is flawed and vulnerable too.
Elena is a wonderful woman. She goes into hospitals as a volunteer and uses her ability to heal the sick. She doesn't do it to get glory, and stays under the radar, because she feels her ability must be used to help others.
Marjorie Liu did such a good job of creating a compatible couple in this book. There is no doubt that Elena and Artur should be together. There is a bit of a delay before they actually meet, but honestly it was very important for the story to be set up. But when they meet, there is an instant connection. Arthur's telemetric abilities have seriously weakened his brain, and he is on the verge of death when Elena saves his life. When she does so, their souls merge. She goes into his body and leaves part of her soul there, the good part, which gives Artur the strength to fight the evil web of a horrible woman, who is one of the scariest villains I think I've ever read about.
I lived for the interactions between Elena and Artur, because their relationship is serendipity in action. This is one of those books where you really want the couple to stay together and fall deeply in love. They just complete each other in every way. Their pure, accepting love for each other is the balm to the wound caused by the evil cruelty perpetuated by the bad guys in this book.
And on top of that, there is a great suspense/intrigue plot in this story. Liu does a good job of balancing the emotional aspect with the adventure, giving you characters that you get deeply invested in, and putting them in dangerous situations that make you hold your breath. The way she writes this book, you do believe that magic is possible, and that people can have extraordinary abilities. I really love the concept behind Dirk and Steele as well (I'm an occult detective novel fan). She also has some snarky humor (and camaraderie between the quintet of people who meet in a research facility run by the bad guys, including Elena and Artur) that I found very enjoyable.
Fans of Russian heroes and those with an interest in Russia will enjoy this book. I am just very interested in Russia so it was great to see how much detail Liu put into describing the country and the people. This book made me want to book a trip to see this very intriguing, and old part of the world.
And like the cherry on the top of the sundae, Artur is ex-Russian Mafia (sigh). I have a bizarre interest in them as well. Artur had a very bad life and did bad things, but he didn't get a lot choices, abandoned by his mother in an orphanage where he was abused and starved, and ending up on the streets. My heart went out to Artur. He was really a decent man despite what he had to do to live. There was no question that he was a moral person, and he suffered for his past sins.
Elena has to deal with some moral issues as well, as she realizes that the power to heal can also be used to kill. She has to face a serial killer who is being used by the villain to do her dirty work. This serial killer develops an unhealthy fixation for Elena. Serial killers have a real ick factor for me, but I must say it was handled well. This dynamic and many of the scenes showed what a strong, although deeply caring person Elena was. She was quite the smart aleck and had no problem telling other people what she thought. I liked her a lot.
The Dirk and Steele series really is one of the underrated paranormal series, but I recommend it highly. There is some of everything going on in this series. If you like psychic characters, healers, shapeshifters, antiheroes who have incredible supernatural powers that you cannot even guess about; not to mention, intriguing sexy men, and a great romance, you should read this series.(less)
If you like your urban fantasy/occult detective novel with a touch of the horrific, then The Nightside books are up your alley. John Taylor is very en...moreIf you like your urban fantasy/occult detective novel with a touch of the horrific, then The Nightside books are up your alley. John Taylor is very enigmatic. He has abilities. He can find things, usually things that don't want to be found. There are things that go bump in the night. And most of them live in The Nightside. It's a dark, scary place that is somewhere near London.
John Taylor is a wanted man in the Nightside, and has sworn not to go back. You know about good intentions. When a girl goes missing, he is asked to go there to help find her. Strapped for cash, he can hardly turn down the exorbitant fee he is offered And John feels the need to help people (although he'd hardly own up to it).
I became a fan of Simon R. Green when I read this book. He has a great sense of humor, on the wry side, often dark, but funny all the same. Yet there is a core of goodness even in the muck and yuck of what happens in this place where it's always 3 am. It's John Taylor. He's all hard-bitten exterior, but inside there is a hero hiding.
Taylor is an interesting protagonist. He has quite a legacy that he is running from, and doesn't fully understand. He doesn't know that much about his parents, except that his mother was/is a heavy hitter in the Nightside, and his father was fairly normal. As the books unfold we find out just how powerful his mom is. There is a prophecy that Taylor might bring about the end of the world if he succeeds in finding his long-lost mother. Taylor goes to the future long enough to see that it's not what any of us want, especially me (read the book and you'll find out why. Poor Razor Eddie).
This book is full of interesting and rather dark and scary, but often humorous at the same time secondary characters like Razor Eddie, Shotgun Suzie, the gun-happy, rather butch female friend and sometimes enemy of Taylor, and The Harrowing, very scary beings with no faces wearing suits and with hypodermic needles for hands, who are out for Taylor's blood, just to name a few. There are some strange and unsettling things happening in the Nightside, and for that reason I would warn a reader. Green tends to describe the violence in a very horrific way, but I feel the humor keeps the subject more light. I am a bit squeamish, and I love these books, so I think most interested readers could handle them. So if you are willing to take a walk on the darkside, come on down to the Nightside. John Taylor can tell you more than he cares to remember about this place. (less)
This book has a really cool premise and takes things in a different direction from the other paranormal series right now. I really did like that about...moreThis book has a really cool premise and takes things in a different direction from the other paranormal series right now. I really did like that about the book. However, I do feel the romance suffered because of the time that had to be spent on building the world and the lore for this new series. I really wish that Ms. Dodd had been able to preserve her excellent ability to write a great, sensual romance and still accomplish setting up this series. Normally her love scenes are fairly blistering. They were a little more on the tepid side. I felt as though I barely got access to the intense relationship between Jacqueline and Caleb. What I saw of it was so intriguing, yet I wanted more.
As for the action and suspense, that was excellent. Ms. Dodd introduced an interesting cast of characters that I'd like to see more of. She kept me guessing who the saboteur was until the very end, which can be difficult for an author to do. There were some thrilling moments that had me on the edge of my bed and the elliptical trainer (the predominant places where I read this book. Also while waiting for my clothes to dry in the laundry room). I liked the paranormal aspects, and as I said earlier in this review, they felt different and unique. There were times I didn't know what to think of this story and I was afraid for the first time I would dislike a Dodd book. She is one of my favorite authors, and rarely disappoints, so I was glad I didn't have to say that.
I like that she uses a more Judeo-Christian kind of lore in this book, fighting against the devil. I love most paranormal themes, but it's nice to see something in a paranormal romance that is relevant to my everyday existence as a Christian. Kudos to her for that.
Overall, I have to give this four stars because it was an enjoyable book that sucked me in. I took away a star because the romance seemed to be lacking somewhat in this story. I did feel like there was telling that Jacqueline and Caleb were deeply in love, instead of showing. Nevertheless, I look forward to reading the forthcoming books, and definitely will add this to my keeper shelf.(less)
The Chosen Ones is really shaping up as a paranormal romance series. And this one is my favorite so far. It has the 'right stuff' to be a good read fo...moreThe Chosen Ones is really shaping up as a paranormal romance series. And this one is my favorite so far. It has the 'right stuff' to be a good read for me.
*I loved John. His powers. His wounded heart. His passion. His goodness. I loved the whole outcast/hermit/mountain man thing he had going on. He was rocking the dreds, overgrown beard, animal skins, and cowboy hat. I know it sounds goofy. But he totally was. And his abilities, the awesomeness!!! How he can control energy and use it to manifest force fields, and make a woman happy in an intimate moment with those powers. I think it's readily apparent that John is one of the most powerful of the Chosen Ones thus far. And he'll make a great leader. I really liked Genny too. She was a good woman, coming out of her overbearing father's shadow. I like that she decided to take control of her life, and she didn't settle for less than she deserved from John or anyone else. *The storyline was good. How John was once on a team of Chosen Ones with Gary (the dude who was in a coma the first two books). Gary turned out to be a glory-hound loser who got his team killed, although he blamed it on John. But before that, he just had to sleep with John's wife. What up with that? So when John finds out, he's not a happy camper, but he still tries to save both his wife, Gary and the rest of the team on an ill-fated mission. When he fails to save all but Gary, he becomes a dropout, and goes back to the place of his birth, the rasputye in Russia. That's where he meets Genny. Genny's father signed a deal to pay for Genny's trip to Russia to study the endangered lynx cat, something she's always wanted to do. To make up for that, she has to try to recruit John to come back to the Chosen Ones. She really doesn't want to do it, but she doesn't have much choice. When she meets the illusive John Powell, sparks fly. Not only that, she really liked John. He's a nice guy, gentle despite his fearsome reputation and in harmony with the natural world that she loves so much. But the town doesn't trust or like John, because of their fear of the rasputye and those strange folks that come and go from the area. They do the Frankenstein thing, and John and Genny have to flee into that magical world between worlds. And John isn't the sweet guy she thought she knew when he finds out she came to recruit him back to the Chosen Ones. He turns into a real wild man then! That wasn't all bad though. (grins) *This story felt a lot more linear and coherent than the first two books, although the second one was a lot better than the first, with a better romance story. The romance in this one really shines. I liked that the beginning of the book shows the development of Genny and John's relationship, and the last part of the book shows how they relate to the group of the Chosen. At this point, I am a lot more invested in the team of Chosen, and my mind is speculating on where the storyline will take them. *The paranormal elements are nicely different from some of the other paranormal series. I particularly like the mythos of the Chosen Ones and the Others. Both children coming from a background of being forsaken/abandoned children with abilities. If they are lucky, the Abandoned Ones get the chance to have a good life, and form bonds that allow them to use their powers for good, becoming the Chosen Ones. If not, they end up on the dark side, serving evil as The Others. And evil is a demanding boss. (view spoiler)[ An interesting development that the Big Bad in this series is the Big Bad. You know who! Those parts are very creepy, especially how he controls and tortures his minions. (hide spoiler)]
Final Thoughts: Yeah! This series won't have universal appeal. But I really like it. I like the way Christina Dodd writes romance. I must admit that I love her heroes. Her heroines are women you like. And together they are magic. I wasn't sure how well this series would work, but I must say it's working very well. So, five stars for this one from me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
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.
I'd give this 3.5/5.0 stars because I liked it and the characters. Kayla and Quinn were good kids, and their adventure was kind of a novel idea. I can...moreI'd give this 3.5/5.0 stars because I liked it and the characters. Kayla and Quinn were good kids, and their adventure was kind of a novel idea. I can't rate it higher because some parts were slow moving for me, and the story felt unfinished, unpolished, and maybe a little too simple in the overall narrative style. The 3.5 stars also indicates that it's a clever book in a lot of ways, with a good deal of promise. I'd like to read the next book in the series to see how things progress and what Kayla and Quinn are up to next. Let's keep this very short and sweet, so I'll end this review here.
What lessons did I learn from this book? Angels are as scary as they are majestic. Whew. I really don't want the angel apocalypse hitting anywhere I l...moreWhat lessons did I learn from this book? Angels are as scary as they are majestic. Whew. I really don't want the angel apocalypse hitting anywhere I live like it does in the Nightside. Also don't get in the way of an angel with a mission. You will not survive the encounter. In this case, the angels are after someone who has the Judas Cup, not the Holy Grail. Yeah, you can guess this cup is probably not going to be used for benevolent purposes.
The action is fierce, the horror is very evident, the humor is crisp, and the glimpses of humanity in the characters make it go down nicely when it could have been over the top. There are folklore bits nicely woven into this story that I really appreciated, such as Black Annis, one scary lady for kids and grownups alike. Although I had my shuddery moments, I loved this book, and am eager to read more in the series.(less)
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but he...moreI loved this book!
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but he loves so good! I had no clue that this tough, lethal man that we met at the beginning of this book could be such a sweet, gentle, loving guy to Airiana. I think that is Feehan magic, how she creates this guys who are lethal and ruthless, but then they are so deeply in love with their heroines, that I end up sighing as I read the book. Now this won't work for some readers, but I am such a sucker for the mix of action and suspense and romance, and Feehan has delivered both in such a delicious combination in this book.
I will confess that she's autobuy for me and I didn't even read the synopsis. I was there because I knew it was a Prakenskii hero. I didn't read the blurb until I opened the book to read it, and I was like, 'cool.' So I didn't have much preconceived notions, but I was just in it for the ride, and what a fun, wonderful ride it was.
Most of the book takes place away from Airiana's sisters, but I didn't mind that. I think that the situation was crafted very well to the lead characters. While somethings will always be the same about Feehan's books (but those things are why I read her), the situation felt different in an appealing way. Maxim is in no way a carbon copy of his brothers. And Airiana is also distinctive from her 'sisters'. Despite her air element, she's actually quite cerebral and far from flighty and hippie-chick, like I was suspecting. I liked the backstory of her life and how it ties into Maxim's story. Airiana is a tough young woman. For such a small, delicate person, she can hold her own and she was quite the action heroine in this book. She's really a very cool, down to earth, mature for her age woman. She gets my seal of approval.
I feel that Feehan does a good job of plotting and tying her stories together. and this fits very cohesively into the series. She makes the idea of the 'Sisters of the Heart' all ending up with Prakenskiis a lot more plausible than one would expect. I'll admit that I am fine with it because I can't get enough of these guys.
I liked that the love scenes come later in the book. Considering how dangerous Airiana and Maxim's situation was, it made a lot more sense. I can't stand when they take an inappropriate 'sex break' in romantic suspense novels. When the the love scenes come, they are blisteringly sexy but also very romantic. Although both are wounded, the 'getting busy' part isn't implausible. the love scenes say so much about the love journey of these two characters. You can see how much Maxim cherishes Airiana and you can also see that Airiana truly trusts Max and gives her heart unreservedly. That makes me sigh happily.
There is a really cool twist in this book that I really liked, and it adds to the believability of Maxim settling into a normal life, which he never had because of his family and their tie to the Russian government. There was some horrible tragedy and wrongness in this book, but I think that Max and Airiana were in exactly the right place at the right time and they will make things right.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. I wanted to read it again right after I finished it. Lately, I've felt less sucked into books, and this book certainly breaks that trend for the better. I rejuvenates my romance novel juices and makes me want to go on a reading tear. I have a need for more high octane romance novel action books like this, with a yummy hero and heroine I really like for this long, hot summer I am facing! Please write the next book soon, Ms. Feehan!(less)
This graphic novel is about the day that Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, changed mutantkind forever. It happens after a sequence of upsetting event...moreThis graphic novel is about the day that Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, changed mutantkind forever. It happens after a sequence of upsetting events break her fragile mind, and put others at risk due to her incredibly powerful, world-shaping powers.
The X-Men and Avengers have to decide what to do about Wanda. With her mental breakdown and her intact powers, surely she will continue to pose too much of a danger to others around her. Her brother, Quicksilver, desperate to save his sister, convinces her to do something to distract the various superheroes and mutants from what she has done and is capable of doing. As a result, the world changes into what seems like a better place, but some mutants cannot believe in its false promises. Particularly Wolverine.
Wolverine and a powerful mutant child named Layla seek out various mutants and superheroes and recruit them for a mission to go to the seat of the throne of of the House of Magnus (Magneto aka Eric Mangus Lehnsherr, from which he rules over a world in which non-powered humans are second class citizens, and mutants are superior. They know this is a dangerous mission, but the world cannot stay in its broken state.
"House of M" reads like a "what if" set of stories. Some characters have a much happier life, and it's devastating to them when they realize things aren't as they seem. But they know that doing the right thing means sacrificing their own seeming happiness.
The end is even more devastating, and it sets up the events that lead to future events that unfold in various other Marvel titles. I've been reading a lot of Marvel lately, and it's enlightening to see the puzzles come together. Reading this book wasn't exactly an uplifting experience. It was quite sad and bewildering. I guess I could fully empathize with the characters and their heartbreak as they navigate through a terrible situation that only gets worse.
This is a pivotal story arc in the Marvel Universe, so it's good that I was able to read this from my splendid library, even if it was a downer overall.(less)
My first review got sucked into the Review Twilight Zone, so here we go again.
Zatanna is an interesting mix of showmanship, jocular affability and inc...moreMy first review got sucked into the Review Twilight Zone, so here we go again.
Zatanna is an interesting mix of showmanship, jocular affability and incredible magical aptitude. Her costume is a shirtwaist and tails, with a top hat, and she brandishes a magical wand. Her enemies tend to underestimate her abilities, big time. She's more than capable of taking on the practitioners of the darkest of magics, as evidenced in the story arcs of this book.
This book was an improbably successful mix of a light-hearted vibe and kooky magic tricks and a glimpse into the world in which sorcerers practice dark arts and demons trade power for souls. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. I think it's because Zatanna successfully straddles that line of fun-loving, cheerful stage magician and truly talented wizard who uses her skills to protect humans from the world of evil sorcery that she is familiar with through past battles and a heartbreaking loss.
I am watching "Young Justice" on Netflix (fantastic show, by the way!), and Zatanna was on an episode I watched today, and it was serendipity that I had read this around the same time. I think she's a cool character with a skillset that is distinctive compared to some of the more famous DC Comics heroes. I found Justice League Dark at my library, where she teams with other sorcerers and wizards to combat dark magic, and I'm looking forward to reading more Zatanna graphic novel content.
I'd recommend this to readers who aren't too squeamish about sorcery and magical content. One of the baddies is really, really bad, and some folks die in terrible ways due to evil magic, so not for the faint of heart.(less)