"Slow Bullets" is just the right length and digestibility for a reader who wants a quicker science fiction novel. It's an interesting look at humanity"Slow Bullets" is just the right length and digestibility for a reader who wants a quicker science fiction novel. It's an interesting look at humanity and the hard choices people have to make to survive, and how a common need can help people get past superficial differences.
This follow-up in the Lockwood & Co series lives up to the promise of The Screaming Staircase. Stroud does good when it comes to ghost fiction. WhThis follow-up in the Lockwood & Co series lives up to the promise of The Screaming Staircase. Stroud does good when it comes to ghost fiction. While his characters are all by nature children (an important plot point of the series, since only children can clearly see and deal with the ghostly threats that are plaguing England), Stroud doesn't go easy on them. They face some very nasty ghostly threats, and the reader is fully along for the ride.
I am a huge fan of a good and scary ghost story, and there are parts of this novel that are genuinely thrilling. I strongly recommend grabbing this on audiobook. Katie Lyons does an excellent job.
The trio of main characters, Lucy, George and Lockwood, make a great team. Lucy is the 1st person narrator, and the readers feels everything she experiences. Lucy has the 'talent' of hearing ghosts. There is a ghost attached to a skull that George stole from his former employers. George is a geek when it comes to ghosts, and he is nearly obsessed with the idea of communication with a type three ghost, the strongest communicators among the spirits. He performs all kinds of weird tests on the skull, but thus far, it has only communicated with Lucy. Lockwood is the dashing head of the Agency. Lucy still holds him in awe, but she is starting to know him better and realize that he needs her and George as much as they need him. I liked how Lucy and George are like siblings they way the fight with each other and trade insults, but also look out for each other and have each other's backs.
Aptly named, this story is about the growing communication with the skull that Lucy is experiencing, and the dire consequences of that. The skull itself is pretty creepy and disturbing, and I could definitely see why Lucy hated the skull.
I really like how the story builds so well in these books. While I can't say that things start out calm, by the end of the novel all the stuff has hit the fan, and the risk to the leads is very real. Not only from ghosts but from morally bankrupt human beings as well.
Atmosphere is probably the number one requirement of a ghost story. If one asked any of the ghost story masters, they would agree with me, I'm sure. Stroud has endowed this novel with plenty of fantastic atmosphere. He also knows that building tension is also important. Check! There are scenes in this story that almost brought goosebumps on my skin. The ghosts in this book are genuinely lethal, and even the harmless ones are still plenty creepy. The manner in which these hauntings manifest definitely helps to make the most of both atmosphere and tension.
I really like this series, and this book was equally good as the first, if not better. There were a rare few moments where I felt like my interest wavered and the story lost momentum. But overall, the plotting was excellent. While I didn't expect to find a good mystery, he definitely delivered one, and I was happily satisfied and surprised at the reveal. I definitely have to give this 4.5/5.0 stars
If you don't read juvenile/middle grade fantasy or horror, you need to start doing it now, and add this series to the top of your list of future reads....more
I'll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of romantic comedies, despite my love of romance novels. This book seems tailor made for lovers of theI'll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of romantic comedies, despite my love of romance novels. This book seems tailor made for lovers of the fare, but despite that, it was a pleasant read for me. I think I liked the French perspective through the eyes of a surprisingly romantic man who shares a love of movies with me.
I finished this about a week and a half ago, but this is my first opportunity to write a review. I have steadily become very enamored with mysteries oI finished this about a week and a half ago, but this is my first opportunity to write a review. I have steadily become very enamored with mysteries over the past few years, and I love when the sleuth is atypical. In this case, it's a ten-year-old girl with an obsession for chemistry, poisons in particular. This book stands out because of Flavia's very unique point of view.
I am a big nerd. I won't even lie. I love trivia and I love science facts. While my interest is more biological science and medicine, I admit to a love of chemistry. I connected to her in this way. This young woman has set up her own chemistry laboratory and regularly does experiments with compounds based on her readings from her deceased relative Tarquin de Luce, whose laboratory she appropriated in her family's home. Flavia has a sense of loneliness being the youngest daughter of three and so different from her older two sisters (and the fact that they are caught up in their own interests) and a father who is emotionally unavailable due to the loss of his wife and his war experiences. Like many children who grow up surrounded by neglectful adults, Flavia is rather precocious and mischievous. When a man is murdered in her garden, she takes it upon herself to solve the murder, especially when her father is accused of the crime. And she does an excellent job.
I liked Flavia's investigative process. She uses the tools in her arsenal and gets fairly hands on solving the crime. She displays a fearlessness that might put an older investigator to shame. Flavia is observant and has an inquisitive and analytical mind that allows her to process the information she receives as she discovers clues about the man who was murdered and how it connects to her family and others in her small community. And it makes that the world is a lot smaller than one would think.
At times, Flavia does come off as a bit bratty. But it's to be expected, considering that she is more or less ignored by her family. I like that this book shows how family work. Even good families have some degree of dysfunction, but in the end, the love of family members usually comes out. I appreciated her relationship with her father's retainer, Dogger, a troubled man suffering from PTSD from being a prisoner of war, but very kindhearted and loyal. Flavia's viewpoint touches on very adult issues in a hopeful, often humorous and essentially truthful way that I really appreciated.
I liked the backstory about her dad and how it relates to the mystery. It was sad and kind of disturbing at the same time. You can see that the person behind the murder truly has no moral limits to what he'll do, and when Flavia ends up in his path, I truly feared for her safety.
This book is as much a coming of age story as a mystery. I love them, seeing life through the eyes of a child or teenager, as they learn that life is a lot more complicated that they previously thought, and how this narrative shows the resilience and inner strength and intuitive intelligence of young people.
Flavia is a fun lead character. I'll definitely continue this series and see what mysteries of life and chemistry she'll encounter and solve next....more
A historical mystery that seems tailor made for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but are looking for a more edgy character and different angle on the relationA historical mystery that seems tailor made for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but are looking for a more edgy character and different angle on the relationship between the detective and his sidekick. The mystery was pretty well developed and the story has some nice twists.
The Ocean at the End of the Land straddles the line of magical realism and fantasy, in my opinion. There is a good dose of reality, and did that reallThe Ocean at the End of the Land straddles the line of magical realism and fantasy, in my opinion. There is a good dose of reality, and did that really happen mixed in with some very visually stunning imagery. It's also quite sober and heartbreaking in a subtle, literary fashion.
I think there is a reason that adults continue to read stories with children as the main characters. We never truly detach or divorce ourselves from our child selves. It's therapeutic to look back at that time through the viewpoint of a child character in books and to work through the issues from our own childhood.
That is why I did connect very well with the narrator of this book. I remember vivid the powerful mix of fear, curiosity, joy and the intensely visceral assimilation of all sensations from my childhood. Also in some of the bittersweet experiences that the narrator has. Not in a small way, our parents are godlike figures to us. They live on pedestals and glimmer like gold, until they don't. Until something reveals their feet of clay. However, even as children, we want to keep believing in the purity of their perfection, because we can't not believe. That dose of reality finally takes effect as we near adulthood, if we're fortunate enough to hold on to that innocent view of our parents until then..
I felt the pain of this young boy as his family is nearly torn to shreds by the arrival of a very old, very cruel force. I felt his uncomfortable situation of being the only one in his family who sees through her seemingly benign facade. At the same time, I felt great comfort in knowing that Hattie and her family are there to protect and even coddle him, when his own family fails. I loved the way they take him in and feed him delicious, satisfying food that made my mouth water as I read this book.
I like that we don't quite get all the answers for who Hattie and her family are. We just know that they are old, very old, and they have enormous power. However, they are not invulnerable.
Gaiman succeeds as he typically does in tempering the truly sinister with the sweet comfort of the familiar and childlike. He knows how to use just the right phrasing to convey this duality in his storytelling. Even though this is an adult book, I feel that it speaks to the young girl in me.
I can't say much more about this book because my mind is not very clear right now, and I read this last week (and there have been some busy days for me), but I can say that this was an enjoyable reading experience. It accomplishes much in the short span of pages, and leaves this reader with even more to ponder and to ruminate on.
This is the first book by Gaiman I've read in print. I've been getting his narrated audiobooks from the library (and enjoying them tremendously). His writing stands up to both media formats, but I have a feeling that I will probably get this to listen to as well, because I love his soothing voice and the manner in which he uses that voice to better illustrate his words on the page for an auditory experience.
A huge thanks to Nenia for recommending this when I asked for a Nerd Romance. This was exactly what I wanted and more. I can't even begin to classifyA huge thanks to Nenia for recommending this when I asked for a Nerd Romance. This was exactly what I wanted and more. I can't even begin to classify this into a genre. It's so distinctive. First of all, it's hilarious! I felt like Connie Willis nailed what it's like to work in Corporate America. I could have changed the name of HiTek to the places I worked and it would have been exactly the same. The complete waste of time exercises they come up with in the hopes that it will increase productivity (when it actually interferes with it), the jive turkey meetings, and horrible acronyms, and the fact that said environment is so fertile for folks like Flip, Desiderata, and even Dr. Bullock. I loved the wry and deadpan humor. I mainly listened to this while I was doing my Wii Fit exercises, and this is one where you can't be quiet while you read. It made the exercise time fly by!
Sandra is a very accessible heroine. While she does have a snarky way of looking at the world, and the narrator has her sounding a bit superior at times, her inner voice is very realistic. You don't always see people in the most charitable ways internally, even when you make an effort to treat others well. Sandra's field of study is fascinating. She's a sociologist/statistician who investigates fads. I loved the facts about various fads throughout the many years of human history. While I feel that she is really a hater of Barbies and I like Barbies, I can't argue with her on most of what she says. I loved how Sandra processed Flip, who is a complete slave to fads and seems about the most useless person on earth. Flip is that person you know who just seems to make your life a living 'you know what', but then you realize that they do have a purpose in your life, and they help you to grow as a person. With that in mind, her sometimes superior way of looking at Flip and folks like her is put into complete perspective. I also loved how Sandra is a big reader and she processes life events in light of what she's read. This book is definitely for bibliophiles.
Can I tell you I adored Bennet? Oh my, he made my Nerd Love meter go off big time. I wanted to hug him with his horribly fashion-challenged self and his adorable Coke Bottle glasses. Man I wish I could find a Bennet of my own. :)
The sheep storyline had me dying of laughter. Yeah, sheep aren't the brightest animals, and you really understand why they need shepherds. I had no idea about the bellwether and it just draws the story together so well when we learn about it.
I tell you, this is a really clever and just wonderful book. It takes a lot of writing talent to take such dissimilar ideas as sheep, fads, Chaos theory and hair bobbing and actually craft a meaningful story around it. A nice sized read. It helped me enormously with my book reading slump because it was just so clever and vivid and kept me interested. I never thought I'd enjoy a book about something so non-specific as research into fads. I surely did. I definitely recommend this to readers who want something different. And for sure to those looking for Nerd Love and satire about the corporate work environment. It hits high on every point, so five stars!...more
Dead Things is serious magic noir. The name of this book tells it all. This book is about a man surrounded by dead and the consequences it has on hisDead Things is serious magic noir. The name of this book tells it all. This book is about a man surrounded by dead and the consequences it has on his life and his relationships with the living. The narrative is very cynical, with a main character who has a foul mouth and a dark point of view. Of course, anyone who has his necromantic abilities might tend to lose his faith in humanity and everything else. Despite that fact, I did like this book for the most part. Blackmoore lost me some near the end though. It was too abrupt and I didn't completely like the choice he made with the story. The end does make sense to some extent, and if this is a series, it will be interesting to see how Eric gets himself out of the mess he is currently in as of the end of this book.
I don't like to compare, but for male-lead UF readers, you could think of Eric as the darker counterpart to characters like Dresden and O'Sullivan, probably more like Connor Gray than the former. His gifts are part of him, and they taint his life in many ways. But in the case of Eric, his choices continue to alienate him from those who live and want connection with him. He fears tainting them or destroying them, but by walking away, he endangers them even more. Kind of a vicious cycle and a bound to bring on the existential crisis or dark night of the soul.
The imagery is what got me with this story. The world-building is suitably and necessarily dark for a story about a necromancer. His vantage point of life on the highways and backroads of America, seeing all the ghosts who either wander or who are anchored to their place of dying. In some ways a warrior for the light, but one who exists in the twilight and shadows. Eric sees and deals with many so-called deities and has little respect for them. Unfortunately, he makes a deal with one and will have to pay the piper very dearly.
I hadn't ever heard of Santa Muerte, the Patron Saint of the Narcos (Drug Traffickers) on the Mexican Border. A death goddess who started out in the Aztec pantheon, but found her way into the Narco-influenced border culture where she has plenty of followers. Blackmoore brings this mythology to vivid but disturbing life. A distinctive turn in urban fantasy that fits this very noir read.
I can't say Dead Things is for everyone. This is one is quite violent and kind of depressing in some ways. Lots of swear words and a great deal of irreverence on display, along with moments that border on being nauseating for the squeamish. Eric's choices aren't always admirable, but I did feel for him. He remains a sympathetic character despite his flaws. People around him tend to get hurt, and that's hard for me to read, especially since I can't 100% place that blame on his shoulders. I felt his loneliness and isolation, his front of apathy that doesn't quite hide a fear of being the screw-up that no can love, respect or stand up for. I wish his actions didn't turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to continue this series to see what happens next to Eric, and to hope that he turns things around and stops walking away from life and deeper into the world of the dead, while there is still some part of him that has a connection to the living.
Among Others is kind of like a love letter to bibliophiles, especially those who fell in love with books as a youngster, finding solace and comfort beAmong Others is kind of like a love letter to bibliophiles, especially those who fell in love with books as a youngster, finding solace and comfort between the pages of so many different stories. In some ways, Mor's character tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me of myself as a preteen. I went through some physical problems that made life very difficult for me. In fact, (view spoiler)[ I had a hip problem that caused me to walk funny and had to use crutches before and after surgery, and people accused me of faking, as if you'd fake an injury so you could have attention you really didn't want. I also remember sitting in the library during gym hour (which was awesome since gym was always my least favorite class because all the bullies seemed to be in gym class). It was one of the few things I liked about having my hip problem, that and having a couple months out of school. I hated school, not the books but the system. But most of all, being in one of my favorite places in the world for an uninterrupted hour of reading. Whatever good books I could find in the school library. The possibilities were great, if not exactly endless, because I did eventually run out of books that I wanted to read. (hide spoiler)] I also identified with how Mor saw her life through the lens of fiction. I think that people who spend so much time reading do tend to analyze life and books in that manner.
I found myself wanting to write down all the book titles, and even looked some up on my Kindle Fire as I read. I am not a heavy science fiction reader, but I did read tons of fantasy and some sci-fi when I was younger. This book makes me want to investigate sci-fi with a renewed interest. It seems to have much to offer Mor, and perhaps I will find the same appeal with further reading. As Mor did, I read all the ones my library had, and then some of the adult books at that point. I remember that joy, which I still have, of going to the library and bookstores and finding what new books I could read. There never seemed to be enough books. The identification factor was very strong with Mor in this regard. Also having divorced parents, and how that opens a wound inside you that doesn't ever seem to heal. Lastly, a sister I love dearly. Now, my mom wasn't an evil witch. Nor was I gifted with magic powers and the abilities to see fairies (although I would love to see fairies, to be honest. I guess I'm on the wrong side of the ocean for that).
In some ways, this book has a surreal flavor. Many times I wondered how much of Mor's magic-sensing abilities and magical frame of reference was just part of her imagination's way of dealing with some events that a young person doesn't know how to handle. But, then, I think that there is too much reality to the magic here to come to that conclusion, ultimately. At any rate, I liked how at times you couldn't tell.
This lovely book is a piece of fiction that feels so intimate and personal to me. I can only believe that the author poured her own love of books and some of her own experiences with books into this book. That kind of intense realness cannot be faked. Books are such a pleasure, one that never pales. You can find so much joy and pathos in a book that it literally is like opening a door to another world, where you can escape from your own little problems enough to gain courage to face another day. Whether that's a school full of mean girls, or parents who fight more than they show affection. Or physical problems, loss, loneliness, you name it. As an adult, that allure of books hasn't palled for me. I like to think that a grown up Mor finds just as much joy and solace in her books. And I can't fault her for it. I'm the same way.
This one felt a little less focused than Zero Sight, but I still loved it. Shier has come up with a winning series here, with a hero that takes me fulThis one felt a little less focused than Zero Sight, but I still loved it. Shier has come up with a winning series here, with a hero that takes me fully along on his journey. The concepts here are just awesome, and the plotting skillful. There's so much that I love about these books. And to think he writes these books while he's in medical school.... Keep writing!!!!
These books are fab on audiobook. Lorelei King is an excellent narrator. While I'm sure these books are enjoyable reading regardless, they are downrigThese books are fab on audiobook. Lorelei King is an excellent narrator. While I'm sure these books are enjoyable reading regardless, they are downright fantastic as audiobooks.
Darynda Jones is a hoot. No pun is too silly for her. Charley is hard to take too seriously, but she's definitely the real deal. Charley feels like every woman's id in some ways. She says and does what she thinks. I mean, she named her breasts and ovaries. But I like that she owns who she is. She had to work hard to be okay with her gift and her persona, even when her family doesn't understand her and some don't even accept her for who she is. I like how Charley is kind of boycrazy. She always notices and often flirts with cute guys. It makes her feel more realistic to me and adds to her distinctive persona. And let's admit, some of us girls are a bit boycrazy (we might not take all the guys home, but we do notice them). I like how the story can be outrageous silliness in some parts and very evocative drama in others.
Reyes is absolutely droolicious. Yeah, I don't like to think about who is his dad is though. But outside of that, yum! He is obviously cray-cray about Charley, and I'm a sucker for that kind of hero, for reals. There is a touching innocence about him. It sounds weird, but that's what I get from him. At the same time, man he's so lethal and kickbutt. He's a great match for Charley. I'm leaning towards Theo James as my Reyes.
I also really like Garrett. I like how they trade wisecracks and how even when he doesn't understand Charley, he's a good friend to her. My Garett is definitely Michael Ealy. I'm crushing on Garrett pretty hard now. I must admit.
I enjoyed picturing him as I read this book on the Garrett parts. (big smile)
This is one series where the secondary characters really add so much to the read. I like hearing how Charley interacts with the people around her. Cookie is a fun sidekick/friend/employee and the two of them make a wacky pair in their adventures in this book. Uncle Bob, or UB is an old softie. There are several secondary characters I really liked, and Ms. King made them all distinct in how she narrated their parts.
The mystery was good and I really didn't want to stop listening. It kept me guessing and working my way through the list of subjects. As a result, I ended finishing this in a little over 24 hours. I was making Valentines and doing my drawing homework, and it was great to listen to while I worked.
I'm officially hooked on this series. I'm super glad my library has most of these (if not all) on audio. This is definitely one to do the audios, because Lorelei King's narration is not to be missed. A great mix of paranormal/supernatural/ghost story, mystery and wackiness.
I ended up picking up the third book in this series first with Slash and Burn, but it isn't detrimental to read these out of order. The book is fairlyI ended up picking up the third book in this series first with Slash and Burn, but it isn't detrimental to read these out of order. The book is fairly self-contained, and anything you might need to know about Hunter's previous adventures are given as an aside or in short sentences that give an adequate frame of references to readers. So I think it's okay to start here.
Matt Hilton's Joe Hunter series is a good choice for action/adventure fans who like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Robert Crais' Joe Pike, and the character of John Reese from the television show "Person of Interest". If it's okay, I will make a few comparisons for readers like myself who can't enough of the tough guys who fight for the defenseless and kick some serious butt and take names (kickbutt artists).
Joe Hunter could probably sit down and have a cup of coffee with the other three characters. They might even start a "I Don't Take Crap And I Hate Bullies" Club. Henceforth, this concept will be abbreviated as IDTCAIHB in the rest of the review. In some ways, Joe Hunter also reminds me of Nate Garrett from Steve McHugh's urban fantasy series, in that he is a very lethal man who really doesn't like abusive people who take advantage of innocents. He seems to be a little more plugged into life than Jack Reacher, but he shares his ability to be brutal when necessary, although he has more of a conscience and feels a bit more regretful when he gets ugly with people. I think Hunter is much less of a loner than Reacher, and perhaps that is why he is more in touch with his emotions. I think more than John Reese (also more emotionally healthy). Oh, I should add that if Nate's invited, he'd drink tea, since he hates coffee.
Like most of the members of the IDTCAIHB club, Hunter has few friends and emotional connections. His besties are Rink and Harvey, both also tough as nails who have his back in a fight. I think it made it more realistic that Hunter did need help. He didn't come off as a superhero. He's vulnerable to all the things that affect most human beings, and he doesn't have any super-skills that inhibits a reader's ability to suspend disbelief. I like that he does have ethics/morals. They are more extreme in that he believes he's responsible for righting wrongs and dealing with injustice, not the police, since the police often fail to do what needs doing (his thoughts, not necessarily mine). Somewhat like Batman, but with more willingness to kill. While I am not advocating vigilantism, I can understand the reasons behind it (at least in fiction), and I admit that I am drawn to these types of characters who are there to help people and don't mind getting their hands dirty doing it. It satisfies that part of me that gets angry when I see gross injustice in society around me, although my personal ethics don't agree with an eye for an eye kind of justice. Fiction is a safe exploration of themes and concepts we don't condone or espouse in life, or so I think.
I could only give this book 3.5 stars, because I found the prose to be a bit simplistic. While I respect terse and concise writing, the writing seemed a bit facile at times. Matt Hilton is a competent writer, but I feel that his voice could be more distinctive and as a result, show the added complexities of a man like Hunter. While Hunter might seem like a simple man, there is an underlying thought process that members of the IDTCAIHB club have that is worthy of exploring. And this story deals with some heavy events. Yes, this is an action/adventure book, so the goal is not deep character exploration. But that doesn't mean that a little sprinkled in amongst the butt-kicking scenes would go amiss.
I have found that many action/adventure books don't effectively convey a romantic relationship. This is true of Slash and Burn. The embryonic emotional bond between Hunter and Kate went from 0 to 60 in too fast a time, and I couldn't quite buy into it. I would have preferred if the author either kept it light or used the page scenes more effectively to build romantic tension. Not enough to turn off romance hating readers, but enough to be believable.
The villains are not fluffy bunnies. Nope, they are varying degrees of morally bankrupt to seriously crazy. The Bolan twins are in a class all by themselves, really. I wasn't sure where the author was going, but the early pages of this book set up a suspenseful set of events that helps to drive the plot along. Huffman is the type of sociopath that seems more socially acceptable than vicious psychopaths like the Bolan twins, but I actually feel he's worse, because of the deep rot concealed under his smooth, handsome, sharply-dressed exterior. There are a few disposable villains that I feel could have been given more depth, since I don't like when an author sets up characters just to get killed off, aka Redshirts, to the Trekkies. That might work on an episodic TV show, but not so well in a novel. In general, I think the characterization could have used more development, and that's a major issue with this novel, along with the simplistic writing tone.
Readers looking for an escapist action/adventure novel with a IDTCAIHB kind of hero might consider adding Joe Hunter to their list of potential readers. I think that Reacher, Pike and Nate Garrett's books are better written, but this was a good read, and I did like Hunter. He's worth adding to my action/adventure reading list. ...more
Alright, I thought the narration on this book was way cheesy initially. But, like the bookcrazy girl I am who is a sucker for a good story, I got suckAlright, I thought the narration on this book was way cheesy initially. But, like the bookcrazy girl I am who is a sucker for a good story, I got sucked in.
This book is many things:
*Fun aimed at kids, but fun that an adult who isn't terribly cynical and superior could enjoy. *Penetrating, insightful look at human nature and society (don't laugh--it is). *Utterly disturbing view of the unscrupulous applications of modern science. I truly did feel my stomach lurch at some of the experimentation on children that the white coats were doing. What do we allow to happen in the name of the god of progress? *Fast-paced adventure *An exploration of a family that doesn't meet the typical, Leave it to Beaver definition.
The six members of the Flock soon found their way into my heart. I hurt for them when they suffered, and feared for their safety, and cheered them for their successes. I loved all of them: Max, Fang (he's pretty droolworthy for a fourteen year old--I think I would be crushing if I was that age), Iggie, Gasman, Nudge and Angel (adorable and kind of scary in some ways). They make quite a team. Max is a really awesome main character. I think she's a great role model for young girls. Her self-sacrifice and her determination to protect her family is admirable. She's a sharp, adaptable girl.
Oh yeah. The flying is pretty awesome. It made me almost wish I had wings...well, sort of.
Warnings: *Violence involving the kids and their scary pursuers *Some questionable actions (that these kids exhibit to survive) that most parents probably wouldn't want promoted or justified to their kids, such as stealing and destruction of property. I think the way it was handled is okay, as long as a concerned parent makes it clear that this isn't acceptable behavior outside of the circumstances of this book. *As I mentioned above, the author isn't shy about mentioning human experimentation, and on children, no less. A younger reader might find that pretty disturbing. I know I did, and I'm not particularly young (late thirties).
...Yeah. So I admit I got won over. This book gets four stars from me. It's actually very good. The chapters are really short, but don't let that fool you into thinking that content in this book is neglible. There is a lot to this book. It's not even what I would consider easily digestible. The author uses a lot of sophisticated vocabulary, which is great. I'm all for kids (of all ages) looking up words. Best way to expand your vocabulary.
I would recommend this to readers who are younger or who enjoy books aimed at a younger audience. It has a lot of adventure and action, and very likable characters. My eyes are on the lookout for the rest of the books in this series. ...more
Grave Mercy is a fantasy novel that feels like historical fiction. Our heroine is a young woman in 15th Century Brittany who has always been cast in tGrave Mercy is a fantasy novel that feels like historical fiction. Our heroine is a young woman in 15th Century Brittany who has always been cast in the role of victim, until she is delivered to the Convent of St. Mortain, the God of Death who masquerades as a saint to appease the newer Christian church. Now she is the wolf instead of the prey. Ismae is believed to be the daughter of this god, since she even survived being poisoned in her mother's womb, although she is forever physically scarred by that poison. She seems to be resistant to poisons and heals faster. While Ismae never felt special so much as rejected, when the choice is a life away from an abusive husband, and some agency in her life, she chooses to become a novice in the convent, learning all the many skills of bringing death to those marked by her god.
Not long after her first mission, Ismae is sent to masquerade as the mistress of Gavriel Duval, the bastard brother of the young Duchess of Brittany. Her Mother Superior has tasked her with spying on Duval to see if he is faithful to the Duchy. If Mortain marks him for death, she is free to kill him. Instead of growing sure that Duval needs to die, she falls in love with him, one of the few men she has met who is decent and caring to women, when her own father hated and abused her. But love won't be easy when Ismae is surrounded by intrigue and treachery in the young Duchess's court. Will her father guide her aim true in these tortuous waters?
I enjoyed this book a lot. While the author doesn't describe every detail of the setting and appearance of the characters, I obtained a very clear picture of what was going on. Better yet, the story simmers with atmosphere, quite Gothic. While this book establishes itself as a historical fiction novel, the paranormal/supernatural vibe teases at the senses. The manner in which Ismae knows that her god has selected a target is quite eerie but doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, because the story fits so naturally in both categories, paranormal and historical fiction.
As far as Ismae's character, she is quite admirable. She's incredibly lethal, and I think a large part of her lethality is her quick mind and her observant nature. She makes a very good spy but also a bodyguard because of those skills. I liked seeing the mystery unfold through her eyes. You see that she isn't always unbiased, especially when it comes to men, considering her past painful experiences with men. I did like that her view changes as she comes to realize that not all men are bad and women aren't the superior sex, because they are just as flawed. She also comes to realize that people can use religion of any kind as a tool for power and control, but that doesn't invalidate one's personal faith in their god. While Ismae is very skilled at killing, she's not a killing machine. She has a respect for life and no desire to torture or cause suffering in others. This was necessary for the story to feel right. This reader is fascinated with assassins in literature, but she hates cruel, sadistic acts, and a good assassin should always show self control (or so this fictional assassin connoisseur believes).
Grave Mercy is a successful book, in my opinion. While this is slated as a young adult novel, it doesn't feel as though it's trying to talk down or dumb down the story. If anything, it aims for a clean feel, meaning no graphic sexuality or depictions of violence. But this book doesn't need that. The storytelling gives the reader what they would want for a story of this type. The author writes about themes that affect women, especially women in the past. How their lives and choices are restricted due to their sex, and how that impacts nearly every decision they make, even if they are allowed to have that much control over their lives.
Ismae is a heroine that a reader can cheer for. A lethal assassin with a supernatural ability who realizes the world is a lot bigger, less cut and dried place than she first assumed. And that love is definitely a possibility for the daughter of death, but her life and her choices are ultimately her own....more
3.5/5.0 stars. Considering this was the first book I've read by KM, and this is not the first dragon book, I think I did pretty well, although I was c3.5/5.0 stars. Considering this was the first book I've read by KM, and this is not the first dragon book, I think I did pretty well, although I was confused initially. It was a fun read, but it didn't blow me away. I think I would have enjoyed this more if the narrative didn't seem so disjointed. I'm not sure that 1st person POV lends itself well to this sort of story.
I think I sabotaged myself with this book. I got so excited about it. I read too many good reviews. When I finally read it, it couldn't live up to thaI think I sabotaged myself with this book. I got so excited about it. I read too many good reviews. When I finally read it, it couldn't live up to that high expectations.
Fundamentally, Anna Dressed in Blood was a good book. There was really some art in the writing. Full of visually evocative scenes and descriptions, this book appealed to me esthetically and it also made me feel stirrings of unease, pity, and horror. What I didn't feel was a kinship with Cas. Cas is a good guy, a good hero as well. I just didn't connect with him. I have a thing for books with a male point of view. I enjoy reading them and getting inside the head of a male protagonist. With stellar examples of monster hunters like Dean and Sam Winchester from the TV show Supernatural and Cal and Nik Leandros from the book series by Rob Thurman, Cal had some hard acts to follow. I didn't ever get beneath the surface of his sarcastic, wounded by his father's untimely death exterior. I felt like an observer. When I read books, I want to be a part of the story, and feel the emotions of the characters. That can be a dicey thing with this kind of literature, but that's one of the appeals of horror and dark fantasy. If I don't get that engagement, I feel sort of lost.
On the other side, I did feel some emotions for Anna. When we first met, I was really shocked and quite horrified. But that didn't last long (well not as much). As I came to know her, I felt pity and curiosity for her, and a strange sort of sympathy and liking. Now the author did succeed at this. I didn't understand how she could make a love story out of this idea, and she created a very young, fragile seed of one between Cas and Anna. One that I am encouraged to watch grow or at least hope for the best. Other than Cas and Anna, the characterization was sketchy. I did like that Carmel was the 'it girl' with a heart. And I liked Thomas. He's a sweetie who reminded me of my TV husband Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds for some reason.
As far as the suspense storyline, it fell somewhat short. I don't care much for modern horror, with its dependence of shock, gore, and grisly, visceral violence. I like the gothic style, where atmosphere is pivotal. What we don't see feeds our imaginations and escalates the tension we feel to a razor sharp edge. There was some of that beloved gothic appeal, but it was ruined by the injection of teen slasher style horror moments and high school "mean girl/it clique" dross. That's a big turnoff for me. While I don't feel that Blake trivializes the horrible death of teens in this book, I think that going there sort of tarnished this story for me. Also, the climax was too abrupt and I didn't quite get a strong feel or read a strong enough connection between the Anna situation and the one that had steered Cas into his career. I felt like there were embryonic tendrils there that could have bloomed beautifully with more intensive narrative. But not enough in their present form. It felt like voodoo/malevolent entity lite to me. I honestly feel that this book falls into that category of books written for the new generation of tv and movie watchers (and no offense when I say that). The stories have the basic presentation of ideas that reads like a movie, but not in the visual sense. More in the sketchbook/screenplay-basic narrative. Mainly images and snarky comments, but where's the beef fundamentally? While this is not a bad thing in itself, it's not my preferred sort of writing when it comes to novels.
I can see why this book has so much appeal. There are parts that I give an A+ too (namely the imagery and back story of Anna), but they are more sparse than I would like in a book. The overall product is vaguely unsatisfying overall. I give it four stars because of the things I liked about it. I'll keep reading this series because I do like Anna and her relationship with Cas, and Thomas, the teen who befriends Cas, sparkes with his geeky sweetness. I'd like to see what mess they get into next. And I'd like to see if Blake can develop this good idea into something more meaty in the end.
Recommend with some serious reservations.
As much as it pains me, this book turned out to be a very low rated four stars....more
This was a solid four star book until the last hundred or so pages, when it really turned around, and I knew it would get the highest rating from me.This was a solid four star book until the last hundred or so pages, when it really turned around, and I knew it would get the highest rating from me. I must say I think the storyline is very imaginative, artistic and surreal. Ms. Douglas isn't an overly expansive writer, but she somehow paints a very vivid picture of the sights and surroundings, emotions and actions of her characters. Dark City is a nightmarish place, and the imagery rang loud and clear as I read. Sheol has an otherworldly beauty and feeling of peace, and the images of the Fallen appeal greatly to this angel-lover, even in the dark aspects.
I don't love the theology here. Earlier on, I choose to view this book merely as fiction and divorce it from my Christian beliefs, which is the wisest choice for me. Otherwise, I think the portrayal of God would be problematic for me. As a believer in the God of the Old and New Testament, I don't think there is a disconnect between the God of the New and Old Testament, as portrayed in this book, although I know many feel this way. God is shown as a vengeful, angry, unfeeling character, which is not what I believe. I believe in a God that is equally loving and equally just. If I view this merely as characters who have their own way of processing their relationships with God and their subsequent choices and actions, I can still enjoy this book very much, and I did. Outside of my disagreeing with some of the theology, I find the storyline very interesting, and the portrayal of angels is majestic and hypnotically appealing and arresting. I feel that Ms. Douglas writes this books in a very visual and cinematic way.
Azazel is not a nice hero by any stretch of the word, for most of this book. He is almost cruel to Rachel in some ways, although his reluctant feelings (and the fact that he is not a woman-hater) holds him back from hurting her physically. He made a choice that led to something very bad happening to Rachel, and I know some readers won't be able to get past that. Although I don't condone his actions, I understand the turmoil that was behind them. I do like his sea change later in the book, and I think he proved he was worthy of her love. I like how I was able to see how he evolves in his perceptions of Rachel, and as he changes in his feelings towards her, this difference is very apparent in his physical expressions of lust and later passion/love towards Rachel. I could understand that he was angry and hurting over the loss of his latest and best loved wife, and how he wanted to blame Rachel for that because of the prophecy.
As far as Rachel, I liked her from the beginning. She starts as something of a blank canvas, and as the story continues, more and more depth and definition is evident with her character. Her latent identity is slowly and deftly revealed, and it was interesting to process this. The myth of Lilith is interesting, although I have never put much emphasis on it. It ties into that pervasive belief that Judaism and Christianity is inherently misogynistic, which I have never agreed with. More than anything this is a manifestation of the way that these beliefs have been used as a tool for control over others, and through human and societal cruelty, and not due to God disvaluing women (take religion out of the picture and people would find another tool to use against others). Having said that, Rachel is a very sympathetic character, and I liked how Douglas gives the Lilith myth a human and emotional (and relatable) feel instead of dwelling on the horrific aspects of that legend.
As I alluded to earlier in the review, the romantic aspects of the story bloom later, because initially, it's very apparent that Azazel mainly has hatred in his heart for Rachel. It was hard to see that possibility of love initially, but by the end of the book, I did see it. I think that took some skill on Ms. Douglas' part. I went from thinking Azazel was a total loss, and hoping he'd just leave Rachel alone and in peace and safety, to wanting him to prove he was worthy of her and for them to be together. I feel that this ultimately was a successful romance because I was able to arrive at the conviction that they should be together. The love scenes were well-written, showing not just the act of sex, but the emotions, good and bad that went along with it. They were integral to the story, because they revealed crucial aspects of both Azazel and Rachel's psyche, and also their healing processes from damaged emotions and hearts from their journeys in life.
Ultimately, I was very impressed with this novel. This is not just from the viewpoint of a lifelong (and therefore biased) admirer of this writer (Anne Stuart). It is because of her obvious and proven skill as a writer. To take a story that somehow shouldn't appeal and make into something that intrigues me and gets under my skin, leaving me thinking about the story long after I finish it. This book won't work for everyone. Although clearly paranormal romance, there is something very atypical about it. The writing has this flavor that puts it into a different and not always comfortable category. However, I found this to be a feast for the reader's senses. This kind of book takes me on a journey and fully rewards me for the time spent reading it. I definitely loved it.
I picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of RI picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of Recluce a little more, this was a very good book.
Mr. Modesitt's style is fairly distinctive. He writes what I would call 'grounded fantasy'. He is detail-oriented, and spends a lot of time building his world and setting the scenes. He is clearly a 'foodie', because he describes food in great detail, and it sounds very scrumptious to me. I obtained a very comprehensive visual of this world in which Rhennthyl lives, rather like Renaissance era Europe, although with some later historical touches.
The concept of people who are able to visualize things into being, and how they become part of a Collegium was interesting. I felt that the process could have been a little more dynamic when described (the scenes were a bit one-dimensional at times), but it definitely had me listening.
Although I liked the spy novel-esque vibe, this book is probably a bit more political than I like my reading to be, with a focus on the tangled situations between various governments, the one in which this book is set, and nations that they danced around conflicts with. However, I can't say that it was extraneous to the plot of this story. In fact, The Imager Collegium plays an integral war in keeping the political situation balanced by protecting the Council (who runs the country), and resolving situations in a discreet fashion that allows the status quo to continue. At times, I did feel my mind wander a little bit when the discussions in this book delved too deeply into waters of political intrigue, because this reader is just not wired to be very interested in such subject matter. I liked seeing Rhennthyl think on his feet to navigate these shark-infested waters, though.
Rhennthyl is a protagonist that I appreciated reading about. He doesn't have an easy road, despite his formidable abilities (hard-earned and honed) as an imager. I liked that he does have to struggle a little bit, work hard, and think hard, even though he advances very quickly in the hierarchy of Imagers from a primary. He felt like an everyday sort of guy, not excessively intelligent, nice, or charismatic. Just normal. Enough of all those things for me to like him, though. The guy was in a tough situation, as the Collegium was basically dangling him out as bait for the assassins who were plotting to kill young imagers. I have to say that he held his own, and managed to extricate himself from many a bad situation.
I found the romance between Rhennthyl and Celiora (spelling might not be right since I listened on audio) to be well-written and very important to this storyline. She is a good match for him. She is wise, insightful, loving, and independent and strong. He's the kind of guy who wouldn't do well with a softer, malleable woman, and Celiora is the opposite of that in all the best ways. If things progress the way I believe they will, Celiora will be a great mate for Rhennthyl.
This was a fairly long audiobook, but I was happy to keep listening. Although Modesitt's writing might be a bit too detail-oriented for some readers, I like how he builds the foundation of how his magic system works, using quite a bit of proven science that makes sense, and a concept that I found interesting. I also loved the artistic aspects, as Rhennthyl starts his training as an artist, and continues to maintain that artistic sensibility.
I mentioned above, the only shortcomings with this novel were the sometimes dry political aspects, and the less than dynamic action sequences (I'm a bit of a tough customer when it comes to that). Otherwise, I think this is a very good fantasy book, that I would recommend to those who might be interested in this sort of storyline. I'm adding the next book to my wish list....more
This was a good start to a new to me series. Although it does have that standard male UF feel (which is not a bad thing), there were a few things thatThis was a good start to a new to me series. Although it does have that standard male UF feel (which is not a bad thing), there were a few things that nicely distinguish it from the others that I read and enjoy:
1. The lead--Jesse James Dawson (don't call him JJ) is pleasantly angst-free. I like angst as much as any other reader, and probably more, but it's nice when the character doesn't stoop over like a 90-year-old from the weight of sorrows on his back. I think a huge factor in this is my second point.
2. Jesse is a happily-married family man! It was so refreshing to have a hero who is not a loner who avoids women or just uses them to fulfill his male needs, or both, but is deeply in love with his wife. The moments of intimacy and married people exchanges caused many 'aww' moments or smiles as I read. It's clear that Jesse doesn't take his wife for granted. He respects her as an equal with formidable strengths that balance him out. He knows his wife doesn't take crap, and he doesn't shovel any her way. At the same time, he is protective of his family in a way that I think a guy should be with his family. I loved how much he values his wife and his little girl. I have a big soft spot for a hero who is a father or has a fatherly vibe to him, so I dug the scenes in which Jesse plays with/takes care of his daughter. I can see why Jesse has the empowerment to go out and fight the good fight like he does.
3. Jesse is a modern samurai. He follows the bushido code. Let me make it clear that I am a huge ninja/samurai/Asian martial arts fangirl. Although I lack the discipline for the Way of the Warrior, I had mad respect for Jesse's adherence to this philosophy. Although he is not a religious man, he has a code which directs his behavior, instead of drifting through life aimlessly. It rounds him out as a character in a solid, but not over the top way instead of this story being about his A)determination to get vengeance, B)leftover childhood issues, C)being a happy-go-lucky ne'er do well that merely stumbles into heroic situations.
4. The concept of Jesse working as a champion--fighting demons to win back people's bartered souls was very cool. I like that there was rules to be followed, and I admit that the demonic aspects were a bit chilling, although not in a macabre, in your face, way. It felt very real-world and entirely possible. A nice foundation for world-building in this series.
5. The conversational narrative was good. Jesse has enough snark to put me in the wise-cracking UF male mode that I like, but it's not forced or obvious. It was interesting seeing Jesse interact with his co-workers at It, a trendy store that I would equate to the real-life store Hot Topic. They are very much of the new generation, and Jesse is in his thirties and a grown man with grownup responsibilities. They call him Old Guy, which I found hilarious. It may not seem like a huge age difference, but as a woman in my thirties who has worked with people in their teens and early twenties, it can actually be a fairly large gap at times. Long story short, Jesse gets cred as a realistic character who I can buy into for a series. I liked spending time in his head and I would come back.
This was a pleasant, relatively quick read. I think it's a great start for a new series, and there was enough hooks here to get me coming back for more. I liked the story, the characters, and the concept. The action parts were good and the humor had me laughing and nodding along. That makes this a thumbs up book for me. Four solid stars, and my recommendation to fans of male lead UF along the lines of Harry Dresden or Atticus O'Sullivan. In other words, both fun and meaty. ...more
I can't imagine how hard it was to write a novel about kids being forced to kill each other. Probably much harder than it was to read it. After all, iI can't imagine how hard it was to write a novel about kids being forced to kill each other. Probably much harder than it was to read it. After all, in my limited viewpoint as a person who also writes (although unpublished), I really dislike hurting my beloved, lifelike characters, and much less killing them, or having them do terrible things, unless they are supposed to because they are evil.
But Ms. Collins had to take kids between the ages of 12-16 and force them to deliberately harm each other.
It's a journey into a world in which a whole society plans events and festivities around such barbarism. It's not the Roman Empire. It's a dark future in which North America has become a much smaller continent called Panem. The society is a dystopic one in which the resources are not so much limited as restricted and deliberately kept from those regions whose denizens participated in a rebellion over 40 years ago. Their punishment is to have twenty-four of their children, two from each District, selected in a process called the Reaping. Those who are chosen must go and fight in the Hunger Games. If you've seen Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, then the phrase "two men enter, one man leaves" sort of gives you the idea. Except in this case, it's twenty-four kids enter, and one leaves.
Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, grows up to the age of 16 in this world. She has been taking care of her family since she was 11, hunting illegally in the forests beyond the fence around District 12, bringing back fresh meat and wild plants to feed her young sister and mother. Her heart has become hard so she can survive. But when the day comes of the Reaping, and her young sister Prim's name is called, she volunteers to go to the games in her place, almost unprecedented. Most people know that they won't return, especially the poorly-trained and outfitted tributes from District 12. But her sister is not going to face the sure death that awaits her in the Games. Not when she can.
The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, the baker's son. A boy who did a life-saving act of kindness to Katniss several years before, one she can never forget. She doesn't like him for that reason, also because he reminds her of what she doesn't have, as essentially a townie, when her family lives on the fringes, the offspring of a deceased miner. However, they will have to form an alliance dreamed up by their sponsor, Haymitch, who won the Games many years before. He's a drunk, but he is going to do what he can to keep at least one of them alive in the Games.
I wasn't looking forward to reading this. I don't care for dystopian fiction. And the thought of kids killing each other, well it doesn't work for me. However, I decided to give this a read and bought the book a few years ago. Managed to put it off until now. When the Action Heroines group on Goodreads selected it as a group read this month, the choice was made. I started it, and was crying, not too far into the book (made even more painful by the fact that I have a nasty cold right now with a bad sore throat). I was sucked in.
I love a tough, survivor heroine, and Katniss is definitely that. Not only a survivor, but a girl who made sacrifices for her family. She's without a doubt, a very well-developed character. I like the fact that Collins takes the effort to describe Katniss' thought processes so well in this book, her woodcraft, her no-nonsense approach to life. How she suppresses those soft emotions that would have been a liability to her in her present situation. But deep down, how Katniss has the potential for love, and she does love. When Katniss bonds with another tribute, a young girl named Rue, who reminds her of Primrose, I could literally hear and feel my heart breaking. We all know how this ends. And Katniss best of all. But that doesn't mean you can stop feeling emotions, even when the brutal reality of your existence and forced choices seem to dictate otherwise.
That's part of what makes this a difficult story. The fact that kids are forced into a world in which they starve to death, not because there is nothing to eat, but because someone feels that they shouldn't have the basic things like a full belly and a safe life, for political reasons. That's going on today in this world. It should break a person's heart, and it does. Is this so very out there, when in real life, there are child soldiers in the world right now? I know I'm going towards "Soapbox" territory, so I'll stop myself. Yeah, I guess that's the point. Why should I keep my blindfold on to these horrors and immerse myself in safe, happy tales all the time? And forget that events like this do happen (maybe not in this obvious, fictional landscape kind of way), but in a way that is lot less showcased, and much more brutal.
I admit I liked the role reversal here. Peeta, the boy is more emotional, more approachable, more in need of protection. And Katniss is tougher, more armored, the protector. That doesn't hold true across the map, for Peeta shows depths that surprise Katniss and the reader. And likewise, Katniss has her moments when she doesn't have it all figured out.
Since this is first person, we don't get to find out how the grown-ups feel about this travesty. But I can surmise that people like Haymitch, Cinna, even Effie feel their share of anguish for the roles they play every year, as they watch twenty-four more children go off, most of them to their deaths, even if it's well-hidden.
It's a mad world, and all this comes together in this story to propel me through a gamut of emotions, most of them uncomfortable. I could almost identify with the kids, that horror of knowing, "This is it." The Games are real. I was there with them, and I wasn't spared the realness. I guess that's another reason to respect this work, that the author doesn't soften such a terrible concept. She doesn't allow you to settle into a false sense of security that it will be alright. That would only be a form of contempt in my mind. If you're going to go there, then bring it. And she does.
My final verdict: The Hunger Games is tough reading. But it's complex and powerful, and completely involving. I couldn't stop reading this until I was done.
Very good, short but sweet read. Ms. Lockwood is a talented writer, giving the reader the opportunity to see life through Asia's eyes. Normally, 1st pVery good, short but sweet read. Ms. Lockwood is a talented writer, giving the reader the opportunity to see life through Asia's eyes. Normally, 1st person point-of-view is less than ideal for a romance story, but it worked with this book, because of the fact that it was about Asia coming to terms with her fears of being left by yet another man. I could understand Asia's reluctance to get involved after being dumped by man after man. The reasons that the men were leaving her were shocking, but it totally made sense. I liked Asia, and I felt for her. I think her reactions were realistic, under the circumstances.
This book had an element I don't like: I have never been in agreement with women fighting over men. I think it's demeaning both to the women and the men. A man worth fighting over, would never want his woman to lower herself to do that. And a woman should have enough pride not to go to that level. Just my thoughts, anyway. I liked how it was handled in this story, mostly. I liked that she avoided the "Big Misunderstanding" tactic. The reasons behind Asia's boyfriends breaking up with her had an deep and somewhat disturbing aspect to them, that gave this story a little more depth, although this wasn't delved into as deeply as it could have been. I chalk that down to this being a very short story.
Since I'm a serious Anglophile, Ms. Lockwood gets points for Colin being British. And he really was a sweet, considerate guy. He was sexy and gorgeous, but a very good guy. I could see why Asia fell for him. He was the real deal, willing to commit himself to her and wait for her to be sure of her feelings for him.
I'm not much for the modern relationship deal--happy for now, let's see where this goes, kind of resolution--but it fit with the story and with Asia's issues about trusting herself to another relationship. I wish that Colin had come along before she had such baggage, but it worked out the way it was supposed to, I suppose. Even with this story being about a couple who were having a 'no strings attached' relationship, there was enough emotional connection that I was able to enjoy the story despite that (and I knew it along those lines going into it).
The love scenes were steamy, but not excessively descriptive, and certainly not erotic. So I'd recommend this for a fan of interracial romances who doesn't like erotica. If you'd like a quick, well-written, enjoyable interracial romance, this one's very good. Give it a try. ...more
Granted, Bloodfever seems to have less forward momentum than Darkfever, but I still loved it. I like this voyage of self-discovery that Mac is on. SheGranted, Bloodfever seems to have less forward momentum than Darkfever, but I still loved it. I like this voyage of self-discovery that Mac is on. She is growing up the hard way. I think the first person POV works beautifully, because this is fundamentally Mac's story. Of course, Barrons is a huge draw. He's delightfully enigmatic, querulous, and his feelings for Mac come through clearly, even though Mac doesn't really get it. I think Barrons is crazy about Mac. He is very possessive of her, and it's not just because she's his OOP detector. All the simmering jealousy pheromones are turning the air around Mac bright red and screaming "MINE". I could put a Supreme Court-winning case together about Barrons' feelings for Mac, but I won't belabor the point. Yes, he's a bit of a jerk, but I have to say I love him! He's a hard man, so he loves hard. I think I'm okay with that. Mac can handle it. I'm glad that KMM writes this series (thus far) in such a way that Barrons is compelling and desirable as a character, but he doesn't quite steal the show from Mac.
I like the writing here, with some elegance, but not overwritten. Emotions are conveyed through imagery and the intensity carries through to my heart as I read. I feel Mac's anguish over her sister, and it takes me to that dark place where I am sure I would live if something horrible happened to my own sister. It helps me to identify with Mac in a way that I probably wouldn't normally, since we don't have a whole lot in common. That's the sign of a good writer for me.
If there are any downpoints, I feel that some aspects are a bit too oblique. We get the whole "wink, wink, keep reading treatment" that I find irksome when it comes to series reading. Let's face it, I'm going to keep reading the books, so you don't have to lead me on. At the same time, I do think a little mystery is good, but maybe not so much mystery.
I won't go on and on about the faerie stuff. If you know me, you know already that I have a huge fascination with all things fae, so it's a forgone conclusion that I would love those aspects of this book. I believe that KMM and I share a kindred love for faerie legends, and this is lovingly inscribed throughout this series and her Highlander series to a lesser extent.
This won't be a long review like Darkfever. I think I've said enough about my feelings for this book. There were some parts that didn't really propel the story forward, but the writing, the characters of Mac and Barrons, and the city of Dublin are so engaging, that this one is a fiver for me. The emotional elements of Mac's story truly draw me in and don't let me go. And I'm totally down for more Barrons! I don't know when I'll get to Faefever, but I know I will be looking forward to spending more time with Mac and Barrons in the meantime. ...more
I was happy to find this on audio at the library, although I have a paper copy. It’s easier to squeeze in an audiobook sometimes, and I thought this wI was happy to find this on audio at the library, although I have a paper copy. It’s easier to squeeze in an audiobook sometimes, and I thought this would be an enjoyable listen. I was right. The narrator drew me right into the story. I loved the manner in which Barbara Rosenblatt endowed these characters with a distinctive voice in the audiobook. They were real to me as I listened, and I was quite vocal in my reactions to this book. In other words, I was fully engaged!
At first I thought she made Amelia sound rather superior and stuffy at times, but I came to appreciate the irony she underlined her pompous-sounding narrative with. Amelia seems able to laugh at her own foibles, which is nice, although it doesn’t compromise her strong sense of self. Amelia is a very confident person and this comes through in the narration. She is also very set in her ways and used to being authoritative. It was really interesting seeing her meet her male counterpart, the singular Mr. Radcliff Emerson. While this isn’t a steamy book in the slightest, the sparks did fly. I loved the journey of seeing these two fall in love. I could predict that they would end up together, and this process was highly enjoyable. They met on an equal level, and while they clashed in some ways, it was in the way that makes for a very interesting life together full of good tension and mutual challenge. They will never be bored with each other.
My manner of listening to audiobooks can make things feel rather disjointed, because I can only dedicate an hour or two a night to listening or longer if I am doing something that I can devote my mind to while keeping on task. So it did take a while to see where the story was going. But this is one of those books where you enjoy the trip and don’t worry so much about the destination.
Peters endows this book with very rich atmosphere. I was on the trip to Egypt along with Amelia, Evelyn, Emerson and Walter. Most interesting is how we see Egypt through the eyes of an upper-class educated British female. While I would not in any way classify Amelia as a racist, she does have a gentle sense of superiority that comes through in her tone. I had to decide if that was offensive to me, and ultimately it wasn’t. It was realistic, honestly. I can’t expect a 19th century person to view things through the same 21st century multiculturally-aware viewpoint that I have as a reader. Although risky to compromise some degree of likability with Amelia, it turned out to be a wise artistic decision on Peters' part. While that superiority is there, it is mingled with a sense of awe, respect, and love for Egypt that encompasses its people, even if their ways and culture may strike her as peculiar and lacking to her British sensibilities.
Even though the story is through Amelia’s point of view, I felt I gained a very complex vantage point of its characters. Yes, Amelia tinges their descriptions with her personal views, I still felt like the characters had a realism that went above and beyond her perceptions. Of course, my favorite character other than Amelia was Emerson. What can I say? I love grumpy heroes. Yes, he is a bit of a sexist. I think it’s too much to call him misogynistic, although he can be rather unkind in his descriptions of women. He spoke to me of a man who was quite inexperienced and somewhat awkward with women and tended to mask these feelings of insecurity by projecting his negative opinions on women based on his limited experience with them. That’s why I was glad that Amelia met him head on. A strong, confident woman like her was the only kind of women that he could fall in love with, and the only kind of woman who would put up with him. I also enjoyed Evelyn and Walter. They were a bit more typical for a historical novel, but their characters were very appealing. Evelyn is a sweetheart, and Walter was a genuinely nice man. Evelyn’s journey spoke a little bit about the status of women in 19th century society, and I loved how Amelia raged about the situation and the actions and choices the more conventional-thinking Evelyn was forced into making. Their friendship was another powerful aspect of this book. I can see these women being friends until their dying day.
My favorite scene in the book was when (view spoiler)[Emerson saves Amelia from the snake. It was very romantic to me. You could see very clearly how much Emerson cared for her, even though he was completely inept in expressing it verbally. Of course, I also enjoyed his proposal near the end. Peters understands how to write romantic tension! (hide spoiler)]. While not a romance, the romance was very satisfying. And we get two for the price of one with Evelyn, Amelia’s companion, and Walter, Emerson’s younger brother. And while I didn’t care for him at all, Lucas was also an interesting character and a good foil for the Emersons. The secondary characters don’t quite get as much point of view, but we gain knowledge of them through Amelia’s vivid descriptions.
If there was one aspect that felt a little weaker to me, it was the mystery component and its resolution. It was a bit predictable. I had figured out most of it earlier on, although I almost talked myself out of it. Maybe that was a good twist that I was forced to reevaluate my thought processes and still end up surprised that they were right, with one part I didn’t suspect. The mummy aspect could have been cheesy, but surprisingly it wasn’t. I would say that readers shouldn’t go looking for a hard mystery here, but more of a travelogue, light mystery with romance set in a very vivid historical landscape of late Victorian Egypt. With that expectation, this book is very enjoyable. The characters make this book shine, and I loved the ironic and British-flavored humor. I am glad that I was able to listen to it, and I can see myself doing a reread and continuing the series. This is a very solid 4.5 star read. I recommend it to fans of Victorian set-historical fiction and lighter mystery with a nice dose of romance. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** Sugar Daddy was one of those books that I dreaded reading, in all honesty. Let me tell you why.
1)I do not like chick lit or women's**spoiler alert** Sugar Daddy was one of those books that I dreaded reading, in all honesty. Let me tell you why.
1)I do not like chick lit or women's fiction. I like a story that has a defined beginning and a defined end, that has landmarks, and ends on a happy note. To my understanding, chick lit and women's fiction does not need to meet these expectations.
2)I was dismayed that one of my most beloved authors was leaving the historical romance scene (my most beloved subgenre within my favorite genre) to write contemporary novels. I feared that the amount of quality historical romances would be that much more diminished than before with her leaving it behind.
3)Because I am such a big fan of Kleypas, I was afraid I would read this book, and truly hate one of her books for the first time.
4)Let's be honest, I abhor love triangles. Whenever I pick up a book, and it has the phrase, 'torn between two lovers,' it goes back on the shelf. I won't buy it. I like my romance predictable in this sense. I want to know who the heroine ends up with before I start the book.
So, having said all these reasons I put off reading Sugar Daddy so long, I am very glad I read it, and I found it to be an excellent book. Was it perfect in meeting my expectations? To say yes would be a lie. I did have the following issues with Sugar Daddy:
1)The beginning seemed drastically different from the end. The book starts out as a coming of age story about a young woman, Liberty, and her journey through life, the good and the bad, and her all-encompassing, soul-defining love for her sister. The end becomes a romance story in which Liberty has to decide which man was right for her. The large shift was quite jarring for me as a reader. Although I dislike chick lit/women's fiction, I am a great big sucker for a great coming of age story. I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte last year, and that is probably one of the best I've ever read. I'd also put forward Where The Heart is by Billie Letts, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and of course, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee as my top list of coming of age stories. I loved this aspect of Sugar Daddy. I was transfixed by the story of this young girl, and how her life evolved. Then, all of a sudden, it became about which man would she end up with. One could argue that this was part of her story, and yes, it is. But I felt the focus had shifted from Liberty's journey to explaining which man was right for her, almost a bit of show and tell, to me as a reader. I would have liked to see more of Liberty putting the pieces together and coming to a more organic understanding of the man she belonged with. Also, there seemed to be less focus on Liberty's relationship with Carrington towards the end of the story. It was noticeable, because of how prominent a character Carrington is earlier in the book. It's not that I didn't want to see Liberty have a life and a love outside of her sister, but I thought the tone should have remained consistent. Fundamentally, I was left with the feeling that I didn't know what kind of book Ms. Kleypas was trying to write here.
2)This evolves out of my first issue. I felt that the romance aspects were slightly underdeveloped. In my opinion, more time should have been spent on developing the romance between Gage and Liberty. In my opinion, much more time was spent on the romance (or at least the evolution of Liberty's love for Hardy) between Hardy and Liberty. I could see in a general way, why Gage was right for Liberty, but I really needed more for my heart to accept on a deep level that he was the right choice. Part of this unsureness came from the fact that I think having Hardy betray Liberty was a bit of a cop-out. Yes, we know that Hardy was committed to getting ahead by any means necessary. But it didn't quite ring true for me. Hardy was shown as a very good, honorable person growing up (even if he didn't believe it about himself). Yes, he was a bit of a skirt-chaser, but he stuck with girls who were up for the game. His caring for his family and for Liberty and her family didn't match up with how he acted when he returned to Liberty's life. So I was left feeling that, perhaps Liberty would have chosen Hardy, if he hadn't betrayed her that way. That didn't convince me on the romance between Gage and Liberty. Don't get me wrong. Gage was definitely the right man. Although I didn't get quite as much of a fix on him as I did Hardy, I could see his appeal and why he was the man that Liberty would fall in love with as an adult. But more narrative on him, definitely would have been appreciated.
3)I really disliked the scenes in which Liberty was exploring her sexality with Luke, who was her high school boyfriend, and the guy she dated as an adult before Gage. Now, I will admit that this ties into my dislike of chick-lit. I like to see a romance between two people, the heroine and the hero. I don't want to see them having sex and being involved with other people. If they had other relationships before, then I'd like that to be in the past, and not revealed during the book, other than a couple of lines of exposition, or through something that is revealed in dialogue. I knew that Liberty didn't love those guys, and she was a woman who wanted love. So it felt wrong to me. I especially hated the scene when she lost her virginity. I was really mad at her for that decision, although I could understand the pain that drove her to it. This would have went over better with me, had the women's fiction aspect of the story been continued through to the end, without the shift to a romance. But since the last 1/4 of the book was written as a romance, this left a bad taste in my mouth. I really didn't like the way things unfolded when Hardy returns into her life. The passionate kiss with Hardy felt wrong. Could you do that with an ex if you were deeply in love with a new man? Liberty wasn't the flighty kind of person who would do that. It felt out of character to me. Also the part in which Liberty decides to spend time with Hardy to find out if there was anything there. In my mind, if her feelings for Gage were so strong, would she have felt right doing that, even if he was a good enough man to let her? I don't know the right answer, but it didn't feel right to me. I think this is something that I would expect in a chick lit novel and not a romance.
One aspect of the book that I didn't really love, but I could see why it was done, was the attention to detail on the accoutrements of the upscale life that the Travises and their associates had. I think Ms. Kleypas did a great job of describing this through Liberty's eyes, but I was kind of 'meh' about it. To some degree, those of us who grew up with modest surroundings, do have a wide-eyed awe at what those who 'have' possess. But it is only so interesting. I think I would have preferred more time spent on showing Liberty's emotional interactions with Gage and his family, to a greater degree. Maybe dropping a designer name here and there, and describing things as needed could have sufficed. Perhaps this is unfair of me to comment on this, considering that Ms. Kleypas's phenomenal ability as a writer of beautiful, vivid description, is one of her strong points for me as a reader. I think in this instant, it was too much of a distraction from the emotional focus of this story.
So you may ask, how this book garnered a five star rating. I have to give it five stars, because it's a really good novel. It really affected me emotionally as a reader. And that is one thing that will always have a writer coming out ahead, for me. I found the love story between Liberty and Carrington to be the most beautiful and profound aspect of this story. The scenes in which Liberty takes on this responsibility and shows her love for her sister excelled. I cried numerous times reading this book.
Other reasons I give this book a five star rating: The beginning is excellent. The way in which Ms. Kleypas describes Liberty's life in a small town in Texas really resonated with me. It took me back to my time at this age. Hot, lazy summers, kooky relatives and neighbors. Having a family that wasn't always perfect, but loving them hard and strong, regardless. The awkwardness of being a girl who is in that stage where she feels ugly and invisible. This book could have been about a girl I knew growing up. Maybe a little bit of me, as well. That identification factor was so powerful, that I was sucked in as a reader. I wasn't going anywhere and doing anything until I finished this story.
And then there's Liberty. She's an unforgettable character. She had grit and determination. She had a unique way of looking at the world. She approached situations with the tenacity that I could not help but admire. Her strength was the best kind of strength to me. Not cussing out people or fighting at the drop of the hat, but hanging in there, enduring, doing what had to be done to keep going, and to achieve one's goals. I loved Liberty being that kind of person. And I wanted her to be happy. I cheered when she did get her happy ending. That's what I read this books for, after all.
Also, there are few writers who can create such appealing heroes as Ms. Kleypas. Gage had a magnetism that reached out of the book and slapped me in the face, in a good way, for all the short time he had in this book. Although he was a jerk to Liberty, initially, you could still see his appeal. I wanted more of him. And then there's Hardy. Well, I fell in love with Hardy as a young man. I could see why Liberty loved him so hard and so long. That's why I had some issues with the way he was written when he returned, because he made such an impression on me initially in this book. I know that I definitely have to read Blue-Eyed Devil to get more of him, and to see him become the man he should be, not who he thinks he is.
Well, for all the rambling that I did in this review, I feel that I could not have possibly expressed my feelings for this book with the clarity that I wish I could. It's so hard to unravel something so complex in such a short time for a review. But I feel that I have captured the essence of my feelings about Sugar Daddy. I do have to say a few things to Ms. Kleypas to end this review:
*Thank you for having the courage to write this book. *Thank you for stepping out of the box and pouring your heart into this book. *I'm sorry that I doubted that you could write a contemporary romance with heavy chick-lit leanings that I could enjoy. *Will you please continue to write excellent books that challenge me as a reader, make me cry, and keep me up late at night because I can't bear to put the book down?
Lastly, I say from one huge Lisa Kleypas fan to another: if you have not read Sugar Daddy, read it. I think you will find much of value in this book....more
Okay. How to write this review without the whole thing turning into a Hardy Cates droolfest. It's going to be very hard, because I love the man!
One UpOkay. How to write this review without the whole thing turning into a Hardy Cates droolfest. It's going to be very hard, because I love the man!
One Upon a Time, There was a Guy Named Hardy Cates...: I met Hardy Cates in Sugar Daddy, and I have to say that I sure did fall hard for him. Big time! Hard as a young Liberty Jones did. I could see that beneath that mind-numbingly sexy bad boy veneer was a sensitive, loving, good-hearted person. My feelings never changed for him. (view spoiler)[ As much as I loved Sugar Daddy, I truly did take exception with the fact that my beloved author Lisa Kleypas was taking a shortcut to her happy ending by making Hardy seem like a bad guy so Liberty would have a reason to choose Gage. I don't think Hardy deserved that. Am I putting him on a pedestal? Nope. But Hardy could have been the guy who didn't win Liberty simply because the older Liberty knew that Gage was the man she wanted. Not because of the dirty trick he pulled. I was so disappointed with that! Naturally, I was exceedingly thrilled to see Hardy get his day in the sun in this book. And boy does he shine. (hide spoiler)]
Oh, No! Danielle's Reading a Chick Lit Book! Not Again! : Although this book is still a lot more chick lit-oriented than I normally would prefer, I found myself taking it in with an effervescent fervor that I found surprising. Although maybe that's not surprising at all in the sense that I never doubted Lisa Kleypas' ability to write a beautiful, enjoyable book. I am familiar with LK's experimental spirit that causes her to try different elements in her stories, and I admire her for that. And for this chick-lit non-fan, she did a bang up job. This is a nicely-done hybrid of chick lit and romance and it's successful on both counts.
There is much time spent on Haven's life apart from Hardy. Not too much, thankfully, but necessary all the same. Page time is spent on a marriage that turns out to be nightmare for Haven. As I read about Haven's marriage, I felt this strange kinship with her. I've never been married, nor have I been in a bad relationship like her. But I have been in situations where I felt like the intrinsic person I was didn't seem valued, like I was being absorbed and eaten away until nothing remained. I loved how visually this is illustrated with Haven's dream about being a Barbie doll whose body parts slowly fall off until nothing is left. That feeling is so real for people who have been in those toxic relationships where your identity is nothing but a reflection of that other person's. A sounding board for their brilliance, glamor, perfection. For what I call 'go with the flow' people who don't need to be the center of attention, and who often sacrifice their own needs for others', because they attract the emotional energy suckers like a vacuum. I wanted to cry bitter tears for Haven. And I did cry. I cannot get over how traumatic it was to read about the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her husband. How he took everything of value from her, and it wasn't enough. I yelled at Haven to get out, to say no. I wished that she had ran off with Hardy that night of Liberty and Gage's wedding. Unfortunately, she didn't. On the other hand, how can we skip through the bad parts of life that help us to be who we were meant to become, that make us strong, so we can get to the good parts? Life doesn't work that way. Would Hardy and Haven have lasted (as the people they were then) if they started their happy ending that night, or is their love stronger for what they experienced in the two years apart? I think the latter. Unlike my so savvy romance reviewing sisters on here, I didn't mark quotes, but I loved what Haven thinks about herself and Hardy together. That their respective broken areas make them fit together so much better. I truly believed that to be the case.
Haven was a beautifully layered character. She might have come off as the spoiled little rich girl, if not done so well. I didn't get that from her. I did see her insecurities and her desire to be loved, feel worthy, and special. I hurt for her that this led her into such a terrible situation with her husband. I hurt for her that she didn't get the love that she needed from her mother or father. Their version of love worked okay for her brothers, but it didn't really satisfy the little girl who had never felt valued by her parents. I could identify with Haven's tendency to want to make others happy, often at her own expense. I loved seeing her grow as a person. I loved her for her having the courage to confront some truly scary situations and take control of her life from the fear that held her back and caged her. She was a wonderful heroine. Liberty is a hard act to follow, but I think Haven did a really great job of claiming her own place in my heart as a heroine.
Back to Hardy:
Oh, what a man. Once again, Ms. Kleypas hits the mark in crafting her characteristic self-made hero. There is something so enduring, so distinct about Hardy's essence. He shows up the oh-so prevalent stereotypes about trailer park/small town/good ol' boy guys (I won't use the less nice terms). What others might consider unworthy, I can't help but love about him. He's down to earth, honest, real, vital, and not afraid to be a rough, real guy. That appeals to me big time, even if I didn't think I would necessarily go for that type of guy. A man who came from nothing, and pulled himself up painfully. A man with an inner drive and ambition that actually embarassed him. Like Haven, I totally didn't think he needed to feel shame about that. A person cannot choose where they come from, but they can choose what kind of person they will be in the future. Hardy chose to be about something. He had a reputation for being twisted, (view spoiler)[ and what he did to Gage in Sugar Daddy was wrong, (hide spoiler)] but I felt that Hardy had honor. He was a man that would fight and work for what he valued. And he treats women with respect and consideration. That's really important to me as a person. Although I think Hardy is one of the most physically sexiest heroes ever written, I also love his capacity for gentleness, how he loves all of Haven and values everything that she is. Haven thought that Hardy just wanted to use her to get back at her family. But I never saw it that way. Hardy wanted Haven for the unique person she was, that drew him to her like a moth to a flame, and he showed how much she meant to him through his actions. Deep down I think she believed that about him. (view spoiler)[ The fact that she calls him when she's stuck in the elevator when she could only call one person is very telling. (hide spoiler)] Even when he didn't always do things the right way or say all the fancy words, he showed it. And I was glad that Haven could see that there was something of value to Hardy even though everyone warned her away from him. I have to tell you, I am not saying this lightly. Hardy is one of my favorite heroes of all time. He's definitely going in my top ten list, and near the top five, I think. And that's an honor. I don't know how you did it, Ms. Kleypas, but you hit solid gold here.
Blue-Eyed Devil is a book that came to mean so much to me, despite its brevity. There is so much in this book that calls to my book-loving soul. Lisa Kleypas writes so beautifully. She's a very funny, and insightful person when it comes to human nature. The way in which she shows the interactions between people is very true to life. Although I love her historicals, I do feel that she has convinced me of her skill as a contemporary writer. She shows me what there is to be appreciated about the present, when I tend to be more captivated by the past and the fantasy worlds, which seem so much more tantalizing. The conversations and the confrontations that the characters have in this book are real to me. I often felt like I had been there, both in situations with my family, friends, and with co-workers or bosses. That as much as the soul-stirring, heart-melting romance won me over in this book. I loved Sugar Daddy, but I have to say that I loved Blue-Eyed Devil even more. I give this book the highest recommendation. You might not like it, and that's okay. But I love it enough that I wish you'd give it a try.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Lost World is a classic work of action/adventure that has a lively feel that made for a very fun read. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, best known for hisThe Lost World is a classic work of action/adventure that has a lively feel that made for a very fun read. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, has a way of writing an engaging tale. For readers who fear reading books published prior to the later 20th century out of the desire to avoid dry, stale language, I would offer up this book. Although it shows the sentiments, good and bad, for the period in which it was written, the writing tone could easily be as modern as a work published in the recent years. It doesn't have much of a dated feel to this reader, except in one way that I will address later. Mr. Doyle takes the scientific debates of the later Victorian, early Edwardian period, and gives us vivid characters to speak for the different viewpoints, making what could be a dry discussion of evolutionary biology and the various proponents or antagonists therein, and instead crafting a diverting read.
Challenger is by far the most hilarious character in this story. He is completely pompous and arrogant, assured that he knows everything, and of his utter superiority in every way. He is oblivious to the idea that anything should shake his massive self-confidence. Although he is right a lot of the time, sometimes he's very, very wrong (or his way of analyzing and approaching things is just skewed), not that he lets that bother him much. Mr. Doyle created an iconic figure here, so it doesn't surprise me that he wrote other stories about Challenger. He's too good a character to let go of.
Summerlee is mostly a foil for the more vibrant, and sometimes often obnoxious Challenger. He doesn't come off quite as vivid as either Challenger or Roxton, but he adds to the scope and detail of this story with his acerbic, strong, but not bull-like in the way of Challenger, personality. He turns out to be a very valuable member of the exhibition, both for his counterpart role as the voice of reason to the more bombastic Challenger, but also for his scientific knowledge and rationality in the face of very eye-raising events in the Lost World.
Goodness, I did love this character. I have seen and encountered those in popular media who exhibit the Great White Hunter stereotype, but Roxton didn't strike me that way at all. He's an alpha male in all the good ways. He wasn't one-dimensional, only driven by the hunt and sport (as I feared), although those were important things to him. He's a man's man, but he's also a thinker and a doer. He is a man who lives life to the fullest, and doesn't let fear or 'can't dos' stand in the way. He is a lot more compassionate and crusading that I expected. I thought he would be self-serving and superior. That's not him at all. Roxton is another iconic, larger-than-life character, that no doubt fueled many of the adventurer types that have populated later literature and cinema/television stories in this genre. In his own way, Roxton is also a foil for Challenger. Challenger is convinced of his self-importance, and ever ready to take credit for what he does. Roxton likes the thrill and the challenge. He claims his trophies, but it's not about the right to brag. It's about the doing for him. His very apt, if "school of hard knocks" wisdom saves the day many a time on this journey.
Malone is the point of view of this novel. We see everything through his eyes, and his wry observations make for some very humorous moments. Doyle also uses Malone to convey the wonder of the Lost World. He describes both the dangerous and fearsome aspects of the lost world, and the rare and eye-opening beauty in a way that pulls me into the narrative head first. Malone and Roxton seem to be contrasted in ways in that Malone is a bit more of the thinker, who wishes he was the doer. He has quite a case of hero worship for Roxton, but Malone proves to be very valuable on this expedition, both as a source of information, and by his own feats that save and protect the various members on the expedition. He turns out to be a character that one should not underestimate or dismiss.
You take the good with the bad:
When it comes to older books and stories, one prepares to see some rather disappointing exhibitions of racism come into play. As a reader of classic and pulp literature, I have had it hit me very badly with some authors, and others where I was surprised at how enlightened their attitudes seemed. For the most part, this wasn't as bad as it could have been in that sense. However, it did bother me and made me wince how the one Negro character was referred to as 'our faithful' and as though he was an unintelligent object or possession pretty much every time. I found it very patronizing and offensive. His speech was very stereotyped (poor English and using the word 'Massa'), and showing slavish devotion to his white 'betters'. He was even referred to as being as intelligent as a horse. You could take that in the manner in which it was intended (which I did), as the man being less intelligent than white men, or you could take that as Doyle believing horses are smart cookies. Out of this whole book (which I had mainly favorable reactions to), this aspect left a bad taste in my mouth. It seemed as though the views of the South American natives were more enlightented than the black man. Yeah, that smarts. Also there is a tone that speaks of the inherent superiority of the white man and Europeans. I'm not beating up Doyle. I'm telling it like it is and how it affected me as a reader of color. I realize that these were the prevalent thoughts of the time. But this is not something that makes me a happy camper. Thus, it dulls the shining light of this story somewhat for this reader.
On the good side....:
The science, botany and zoology, exhibited in this story seemed quite knowledgeable, showing that Doyle did attempt to do his homework. I am no dinosaur expert, but I did recognize many of the older names for dinosaurs which probably came into common knowledge around the period in which this was written. This story also conveys a detail about the South American rainforests and tropical environs that made for a seemingly credible read. I felt like I was along for the journey, but immensely glad that I was just reading this book on my Kindle when it came to encountering vicious carnivorous species and the rather vile apemen.
The Lost World is a piece of classic literature that no respectable adventure fan should go without reading. If you enjoy movies like Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider, or any other of the many treasure hunting/lost world expedition movies and tv shows, then take a little time to explore one of the forefronts in this genre of literature. I give it a thumbs up.
After more than a year away from reading Nightlife, I thought my love for this series would be a fluke. I'd read the second book, and the thrill wouldAfter more than a year away from reading Nightlife, I thought my love for this series would be a fluke. I'd read the second book, and the thrill would be gone. Not even close. What a fantastic world Ms. Thurman has created. I don't know how she managed to bring two characters to life that I love so much.
Cal has really come into his own. He's still a major smart-aleck, with some self-hate issues, but he's even more lethal as a warrior, incredibly strong-minded, and fiendishly clever, although so self-deprecating you would think he was useless. I have found that he is starting to sneak up in my affections, although Niko has claimed my heart.
Ah, Niko, would you marry me? I just love this man. Too bad he's not real. He of the razor sharp sword that he wields with deadly precision. His exquisitely neat housekeeping skills. He cooks beautifully. His discipline and calm. The fact that he is more deadly than the Ebola virus. And then there's his love for his younger brother. Who could ask for anything more?
Just reading about these two guys doing, well nothing, is enough for me. But, thankfully, Ms. Thurman has created a whole new adventure for these fellows. It's a roller-coaster ride from the very beginning. There are moments where the pace slows down for a little bit, to allow the reader to catch her/his breath, but then it's off again. I lost count of the number of times that either Cal or Niko got injured and needed medical attention. Be assured that their adversaries fared worse.
I like what Ms. Thurman did with the werewolf lore, although her weres come off looking not-so-glamorous. And there are plenty of other mythical creatures in this story, adding to the pizazz and overall character of the New York and sundry that Cal and Niko live and fight to stay alive in. This book veers into horrific and dark fantasy territory, which is another thing I like about it. Who knew the modern world could be such a scary place full of beasties that made the fairy tales just that little bit macabre, that you didn't think were real? Well they are, at least in this series.
Niko's relationship with Promise, he and Cal's vampire co-partner in their detective business, has blossomed beautifully. It's pretty obvious how much this tenderhearted, elegant, but deadly when it's necessary vampiress cares for him. Who can blame her? Cal's love life would be looking good if he would let the fair Georgina into his heart. But his fear about what his auphe side would bring to life is causing him to keep her at a distance. But it's apparent to pretty much everyone just how much he cares for his little seer.
Robin Goodfellow, boon companion to the brothers, returns. He keeps things light when necessary, yet kicks butt like it's going out of style. He has connections like you wouldn't believe, aiding in getting very difficult things accomplished, fights at the brothers' side, while flirting with Niko (who he has the hots for, who can blame him?). It's impossible not to love him, morally flexible, pansexual flirt that he is.
Just like Nightlife, this lovely noirish urban fantasy story about Cal and Niko Leandros has established a place in my heart and on my keeper shelf. It makes me want to dive right into the next book in the series, Madhouse, to spend more time with these guys, who I love dearly. You probably noticed that....more