This was a good read. Jonah Hex is a hero whose demeanor is as disreputable as his appearance. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty, and probably enThis was a good read. Jonah Hex is a hero whose demeanor is as disreputable as his appearance. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty, and probably enjoys violence too much. But he's not an amoral killer either. He makes his way to Gotham, and that place is definitely in need of a tough hero like him. Set in the late 1800s, more than a 100 years before Bruce Wayne is born, but Gotham is already a cesspool of corruption in the making. There is already a secret society who really runs things, and they are committing murders to send a message. Jonah teams up with the future founder of the Arkham Asylum, a psychologist who cannot help analyzing him, and there's a lot to analyze. He eventually comes to respect Hex for his methods, because there is no better man to have at your side or cutting a swathe of destruction in front of you to clear the way.
I'm not sure how much Bruce Wayne would respect or get along with Hex. Probably a certain level of respect, but I'm sure Batman wouldn't be as fond of all the killing that Hex does as a matter of course.
Other stories feautured different western heroes like El Diablo and the Barbary Ghost. I liked the Barbary Ghost because she is a kickbutt Chinese woman who takes on the crime syndicate who wiped out most of her family. How could I not like her?
This graphic novel is fans of good, old-fashioned western action. The supernatural elements are light here, but that's okay. There's plenty of action to keep this reader happy.
This is comic book history. It really is. Frank Miller tells an epic love story that a few sad people who have never heard of Daredevil and Elektra wiThis is comic book history. It really is. Frank Miller tells an epic love story that a few sad people who have never heard of Daredevil and Elektra will never know. It starts with two idealistic college students who meet and fall in love, and ends with them on opposite sides of the law.
I don't think I am exaggerating by saying that Elektra is one of the most lethal women ever written on paper. She is an accomplished assassin who uses her pointed sais to end the lives of those who either become her target, or get on her bad side (although she is not a psychopathic killer who murders at will). Like Daredevil, her entire body is a weapon. Elektra has renounced the law after the death of her father, so she sees nothing wrong in working for the highest bidder. This puts her in extreme contradiction to Matt Murdock/Daredevil, who believes in the law and supporting it even to his detriment (while he is a masked avenger, his work is to uphold the law). As such, Daredevil has sworn to bring her to justice.
What I liked about this book, among many things is that Elektra and Daredevil are like moons that continually encounter each other as they follow their individual gravitational paths. While their romance is doomed, it's clear that they cannot forget or disavow each other completely. In fact, they save each others lives more than a few times in this book. While they are enemies, their hearts are never parted from each other. It's romantic in the deepest sense.
The artwork was really good. I was especially impressed with the motion and energy of such athletic and graceful characters as Elektra and Daredevil. Elektra herself was extremely visually stunning. She is so iconic in her complete look in this graphic novel, I can see no need to change her look that much even so many years later (although it was done in the two movie incarnations, which I liked to varying degrees). Honestly, I liked her artwork in this better than in Elektra: Assassin, which looked muddy to me. When I started painting last year, Elektra was one of the first characters I attempted, because her look strikes me so profoundly.
The emotional landscape of the characters was very clearly portrayed through the artwork and narrative. Elektra's desolation at her father's death and the fact that Matt is everything she wants but cannot have, that he has moved on. Matt's determination to follow his hard path, despite the fact that his heart wants something else. And the end of their tumultuous love affair, it's brutal and abrupt, and Miller is unapologetic about it. And Matt is not ready to move on from Elektra, despite confirmation that she is denied to him in every way.
Some episodes in this volume were a bit more cartoonish than others. The character of Turk, a two-bit thug that is continually humiliated in his encounters with Daredevil, is clearly played for laughs. Matt's friend and partner, Foggy, is almost always drawn rather goofily, but even he has some very serious moments. I honestly didn't like Matt's girfriend, Heather, at all. Her personality seems very dated to me. Even though Elektra is a ruthless killer, I think she's a much better love interest for Matt. There is a deadly seriousness to the stories that feature Kingpin and Bullseye, two major adversaries to Daredevil. The first a methodical career criminal who veers more towards sociopathy, the latter a complete psychopath with some serious malignantly narcissistic tendencies. Kingpin has a vibrancy and a power, a charisma that comes off the pages at the reader. I don't like him, but at the same time, I liked looking at him and reading his dialogue. I can't stand Bullseye for reasons apparent and some I can't get into.
In my opinion, this is a groundbreaking series of comic books. Miller has given us the comic book antiheroine we always longed for, but assumptions about gender held many back from delivering. Even twenty plus years later, I think that Elektra will always stand out. She touches on the inner ninja that every girl secretly wants to be, even when we have been told that girls don't do that. This wannabe ninja is cheering!
Overall rating: 4.25/5.0 stars--Not quite 4.5 stars, but better than 4. ...more
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but heI loved this book!
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but he loves so good! I had no clue that this tough, lethal man that we met at the beginning of this book could be such a sweet, gentle, loving guy to Airiana. I think that is Feehan magic, how she creates this guys who are lethal and ruthless, but then they are so deeply in love with their heroines, that I end up sighing as I read the book. Now this won't work for some readers, but I am such a sucker for the mix of action and suspense and romance, and Feehan has delivered both in such a delicious combination in this book.
I will confess that she's autobuy for me and I didn't even read the synopsis. I was there because I knew it was a Prakenskii hero. I didn't read the blurb until I opened the book to read it, and I was like, 'cool.' So I didn't have much preconceived notions, but I was just in it for the ride, and what a fun, wonderful ride it was.
Most of the book takes place away from Airiana's sisters, but I didn't mind that. I think that the situation was crafted very well to the lead characters. While somethings will always be the same about Feehan's books (but those things are why I read her), the situation felt different in an appealing way. Maxim is in no way a carbon copy of his brothers. And Airiana is also distinctive from her 'sisters'. Despite her air element, she's actually quite cerebral and far from flighty and hippie-chick, like I was suspecting. I liked the backstory of her life and how it ties into Maxim's story. Airiana is a tough young woman. For such a small, delicate person, she can hold her own and she was quite the action heroine in this book. She's really a very cool, down to earth, mature for her age woman. She gets my seal of approval.
I feel that Feehan does a good job of plotting and tying her stories together. and this fits very cohesively into the series. She makes the idea of the 'Sisters of the Heart' all ending up with Prakenskiis a lot more plausible than one would expect. I'll admit that I am fine with it because I can't get enough of these guys.
I liked that the love scenes come later in the book. Considering how dangerous Airiana and Maxim's situation was, it made a lot more sense. I can't stand when they take an inappropriate 'sex break' in romantic suspense novels. When the the love scenes come, they are blisteringly sexy but also very romantic. Although both are wounded, the 'getting busy' part isn't implausible. the love scenes say so much about the love journey of these two characters. You can see how much Maxim cherishes Airiana and you can also see that Airiana truly trusts Max and gives her heart unreservedly. That makes me sigh happily.
There is a really cool twist in this book that I really liked, and it adds to the believability of Maxim settling into a normal life, which he never had because of his family and their tie to the Russian government. There was some horrible tragedy and wrongness in this book, but I think that Max and Airiana were in exactly the right place at the right time and they will make things right.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. I wanted to read it again right after I finished it. Lately, I've felt less sucked into books, and this book certainly breaks that trend for the better. I rejuvenates my romance novel juices and makes me want to go on a reading tear. I have a need for more high octane romance novel action books like this, with a yummy hero and heroine I really like for this long, hot summer I am facing! Please write the next book soon, Ms. Feehan!...more
Intangible Dream is the kind of Harlequin Presents that old-school fans will enjoy. Despite the lack of descriptive love scenes, there is plenty of paIntangible Dream is the kind of Harlequin Presents that old-school fans will enjoy. Despite the lack of descriptive love scenes, there is plenty of passion in this novel. And enough true love to make a diehard romantic sigh when they finish the last sentence.
It has a strong, fascinating hero who's pretty much obsessed with the heroine. Readers who love heroes who are stone cold in love with the heroine will find this book very romantic and James irresistible. Wilson maintains the tension of the reader sensing the hero's feelings, although we don't get his point of view. You feel like Gemma has underestimated his feelings for her, even though you don't find out how much until later on. Despite that, he conveys just enough and says enough to make it clear that he's crazy about Gemma. While Gemma puts up quite a fight against falling in love with James and into his plans for her, I could understand her reasons, even though I knew just how crazy James was about her. She was a bit too hurtful at times, although I think it was because she felt like she was a mouse caught in the lion's paws, out of self-defense.
Gemma has a sweet shyness and awkwardness about that I found really appealing. I could definitely see myself in her shoes, especially when I was younger. I am sure I would feel a bit overwhelmed by James' powerful personality, especially if I was youngish and very sheltered by an overprotective father (she's a very sheltered 24-yr-old) . The scenes in which James teases Gemma and draws her out of her shell are really appealing. They have a warmth and made me smile. Some readers don't care for young and innocent heroines, but they don't bother me, especially if their naivety makes sense and feels authentic. While Gemma is definitely naive, she wants to gain some agency in her life, and she has a lot of courage considering. After a life of being in a gilded cage with her dad, she doesn't want to change it to a gold cage as James' trophy wife. When she realizes his love is genuine and that she feels the same, that makes a big difference to her, and it shows in the denouement.
I think this might be one of my favorites by this author so far. I think James is a Class A Stalkerific hero (shows the possessive/jealous/obsessed traits I find a guilty pleasure, but not in a really psycho way that's too disturbing). I also liked Gemma a lot. They make a good couple and they made me root for things to work out for them. I recommend this to fans of the older Harlequin Presents, and for any fan of stalkerific romance novel heroes.
Wow, this novella is so action-packed, it feels like a full-length book! I seriously love this series now. The magic is fantastic and McHugh clearly kWow, this novella is so action-packed, it feels like a full-length book! I seriously love this series now. The magic is fantastic and McHugh clearly knows his legends. Nate is a guy I would love defending me, but I'd hate to have as an enemy. This is a series not to be missed.
This is by far the darkest book in the series so far, which is saying something. I think it might also be my favorite. I loved the magic and the superThis is by far the darkest book in the series so far, which is saying something. I think it might also be my favorite. I loved the magic and the supernatural entities in the book, and Nate when he's peeved is something to watch out for. This would make a great action movie, although I'd cringe on some parts. Nate is the man!!
I'm loving the Hellequin series even more after reading this book. Nate is a Grade A Kickbutt Artist. The magic is pretty darn enthralling. SensitiveI'm loving the Hellequin series even more after reading this book. Nate is a Grade A Kickbutt Artist. The magic is pretty darn enthralling. Sensitive readers will find aspects of the storyline hard to read at times, but I am glad that Nate is there to deliver some hard justice to horrible villains in this book. This series is not to be missed if you're a fan of urban fantasy.
This was a very good follow up volume in the Saga series. It reads as though it picks up immediately after the first volume ends, which is great. I enThis was a very good follow up volume in the Saga series. It reads as though it picks up immediately after the first volume ends, which is great. I enjoy this series, but at times, I feel as though the writer/artists are deliberately trying to be shockingly gratuitous with their subject matter. The violence is quite graphic and there are at least two borderline pornographic scenes on top of the sexual content that I feel is acceptable in a mature-themed graphic novel. I didn't even understand the point of showing the porny images, honestly. I took a double take, and I felt like I had to look again to make sure I saw what I thought I was. One was so gross I had to show my aunt. I couldn't even see what the point of that was.
After all my ranting, I guess I have to explain what appeals to me about this graphic novel. What wins me over with this series is the fact that at its heart, this is a story about the purest forms of love. It's a story about a family that is committed to stay together and fight for a life for their young daughter. Even the cold, amoral bounty hunter turns out to have an altruistic side for a child who is in a very bad situation. I am a sappy, diehard romantic, and I can't help but love a story where enemies fall in love and are willing to face any obstacle for their family, where people sacrifice and fight for love. I enjoyed meeting Marko's parents, and I can see why Marko fell so hard for Alana. She reminds me of his mother in the best ways. Similarly, Marko reminds me of his father, the more gentle, but steady as a rock member of the partnership.
As before, I loved the narrative of Hazel, the young daughter of Marko and Alana. I have a feeling she will be the best of both of her parents, and she will be tough as nails for all she has gone through in her short life. The way this story is written, they are in almost constant danger, and you know that it's only going to get worse, considering that they have the rulers of both planets on their tails, and a very determined bounty hunter.
I just plain love the setting and the out there science fiction/adventure tone. If they toned down some of the violence and sexual content, I could see this is a fun series for basic cable. Of course, they could go in the direction of the HBO/Cinemax and Showtime series and keep the over the top stuff as well. I'd probably end up watching it, but I admit I would cringe or cover my eyes on some parts. That's how I roll.
Anyway, despite the porny parts, I really enjoyed this second book. I'm looking forward to the next installment....more
Oh man! I loved this book. Baldacci took the firm foundation he built in The Innocent and kicked it up sky high. It was like he asked, "How can I realOh man! I loved this book. Baldacci took the firm foundation he built in The Innocent and kicked it up sky high. It was like he asked, "How can I really do something interesting with Will Robie in the next book?" And he did. He introduced Jessica Reel. Jessica Reel is the female counterpart to Will, and that is something indeed. Jessica is Grade A, high level lethal kickbutt to the extreme. Her life is as edgy as you can image, just like Will. I love bonafide tough women characters, and it's kind of hard to find the well done ones. But Baldacci has impressed me, because that is definitely Jessica.
I liked her so much, I really didn't want her and Will to be adversaries. Good thing that Baldacci resolves that very well in this book. Because if you have someone guarding your back, you'd want someone like Will or Jessica. And you definitely wouldn't want them gunning for you!
As far as the action, this book is high level. Yet, the plot and a workable story isn't sacrificed just for a good action scene. Everything holds together, and if it served the story better not to have an onscreen action scene, Baldacci wasn't afraid to do that. This book is a good combination of action and thriller/suspense. I don't love a lot of political conspiracy-type storylines because I just find it dry, but it's well done here. Not too much to bore me, but sufficient for the story. With characters like Will and Jessica, you have understand what their motivations are and what would push them over the edge, and that was here in the novel.
The pacing was excellent. I never got bored. Any downtime between action sequences progresses the story and allows us to learn more about the characters. Actually one of my favorite parts of this book was seeing the way Will and Jessica's minds worked. It's uncanny how their minds seemed to click. That was the fun of this book. Had Baldacci decided to take it in another direction, it still would have been a fantastic book, but I liked it better the way it was done. And I have high hopes to see more of this dynamic duo, or at least see Jessica pop up again.
I did get my other wish for this book, I did get to see Julie again. She wasn't in this book as much, but it fits the story. It was just good to know that she and Will are still in each others' lives and they know they can count on each other. Also great to see Nikki Vance and Blue Man again.
I can't say enough good things about this book. Just adored it. I definitely want to get copies of these books for my collection, because Will is definitely on my list, and Jessica as well. Please write more books about Will, Mr. Baldacci!...more
The Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of naThe Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of nature. Her personality is hard to pin down, even if you know her very well, which few people do. And she makes a very bad enemy. While some characters might go to Africa to run away from their past or to define a new life for themselves, Monroe is the opposite. She was born in Africa and raised there. Although she is Caucasian American descent, Africa flows in her veins and helped to make her who she was, and not all in good ways.
Monroe doesn't let fear define her, instead she walks in defiance of it. Being afraid is not her problem. It's the rage and anger she keeps under lock and key. She struggles against demons from her past that simmer in her blood and make her heart beat fast with the tribal beat of war. Control is a way of life when she knows just what she's capable of. Yet, she is unafraid to go into dangerous places when others would shirk such a responsibility. When Emily Burbank's adoptive father contacts her to find out what happened to his daughter in Africa four years ago, she is going to have to go back to the place she was born and face her ugly past.
I love to read about heroines who are tough and resourceful. Who can kick butt just like the action heroes. Monroe is definitely one of those kinds of heroines. I like that she is very adaptable and clever about thinking through situations. While she has other weapons, she uses the one between her ears very well. Her personality is really abrasive and she's not what I would consider a typical "likable" heroine. And yet, there is something about her that resonates with me. I like that she is such a survivor. I mean, who could go through what she did and still be 100% sane and free of scars? She actually is quite sane, although I think deep down, she fears what lurks in the abyss she keeps locked away inside. She's sort of the opposite of Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness. She's been there and she walked away. It holds no appeal for her.
I liked the complex relationship that Monroe has with Francisco. I didn't expect it, yet when it happened, I thought, "Of course." I knew that Monroe would have to come full circle and get closure about Africa in order to heal. That process was ugly and painful, but necessary. I also liked her relationship with Miles. Each encounter helped to shape her in different ways, as relationship with others should do.
While I didn't like everything about the narrative, I did like how the author builds tension and unfolds the story, and keeps me guessing what's going to happen next. While one could easily draw conclusions about what happened in Equatorial Guinea, it's different from what I thought, and complicated. I think this is a book that lends itself well to audio, because some of the written facts about Emily's disappearance and the various places she went/the stonewalling she encounters, and Monroe's search in those places might be a bit dry on paper. I also think that some of the action scenes could have been more suspenseful and intensely written. There was a sense of risk, but it was a bit muted at times. As far as the narrator, I liked her voice a lot. She captures who Michael aka Monroe very well.
This is one of those books that doesn't build up one's faith in humanity. Corruption runs so deep and twisted in this world, and some places are built on this foundation. And while some of us who are lucky to live in a more lawful country, those same individuals go to other places in the world and make things worse in their conquest for power and money because they can get away with that in some places in the world, where life is cheap. Like some of my other thriller/suspense/action hero favorites, Monroe is there to teach them a lesson, but in her case, that lesson is a costly one for her as well.
I couldn't imagine living the life that Vanessa Michael Monroe has lived. One of the things I love about fiction is that I can go on a journey with a distinctive heroine like Monroe and see life through her lenses. I can feel her pain and her anger and experience the victories and defeats she has, and it helps me to understand that life is a complicated thing, but we can make it through things we never imagined possible.
This book might not work for everyone, but I found it interesting and thought-provoking. It felt unique and Monroe is an unforgettable heroine. She's kind of lawless in some ways, but deep down, she has a code that she won't stray from. She's a complicated women. Readers who enjoy this kind of heroine or a reader looking for something different might enjoy The Informationist....more
How much can a person survive before their humanity is destroyed?
Cassie is a young woman who will learn exactly what makes her human and what would caHow much can a person survive before their humanity is destroyed?
Cassie is a young woman who will learn exactly what makes her human and what would cause her to lose the intrinsic element to her nature. She goes from being a normal teenager who has nothing more to worry about than whether her epic crush on Ben Parrish will be returned, to losing nearly everything, and living in a earth decimated by an alien invasion that is nothing like the ones showcased in movies and books thus far.
The aliens want the earth, and view humans as pests, much like we view cockroaches. Their solution, to kill off the majority with cataclysms and world-wide pestilence, and let hysteria and suspicion do the rest of the work.
What happens when humans can't trust each other and start viewing each other as the enemy? It's not much longer before humanity becomes extinct.
Cassie learns the hard way that she is safer alone, trusting no one, but she made a vow to her brother, and she will do anything to keep that vow. When her life is saved by Evan Walker, every hard lesson she learned to stay alive in the earth devastated by the alien invasion will be tested. Can she trust, when trust has led to betrayal?
This is a bleak and heartbreaking read. I listened to the audio, and I would highly recommend this medium because it makes the story that much more personal. The narrators, Phoebe Stohl and Brandon Espinoza allow us to view the story through their eyes, and feel their pain. Their voices portray the passion and pain, the angst and longing, and the violated innocence of young people who are in a horrible situation that they cannot escape.
While this is okay for the older end of the young adult audience, I don't feel that subject matter is appropriate to kids younger than 14. The atmosphere is dark and desperate, and people die in this book. Lots of them, and many in horrible ways. Not only that, but people are forced to kill others to survive or as part of the consequences of the invasion. But don't misconstrue me to be saying this is full of gratuitous violence. Many who have read Yancey's Monstrumologist series know that Yancey is not afraid of gore, but he doesn't take that tactic in this book. Instead, his tone is frighteningly realistic. Don't think that just because the majority of the characters are children, that he will take it easy on them. You'd be lying to yourself.
As a reader, I was sucked into this world, and I asked myself how I would adapt or deal with the circumstances that our characters faced. I am amazed at the resilience of the young. That Cassie could stay strong in heart and her mind whole after seeing what she's seen and being forced to make decisions she never would have faced before. That Ben could find the strength to keep living under his burden of guilt for surviving when his family and many others didn't. That they both could deal with the massive betrayals they suffered.
While clearly science fiction, the use of technology is minimal, but it feels credible. Enough that the presence of the alien invaders is undeniable. But not so much to blunt the realism of the novel.
The tension is neck-breaking, sustained until the last words of the book. I honestly had to take my time listening to this. It's so bleak and depressing at times, it doesn't make for 'fun' reading. But at the same time, I can say this was a fantastic and moving book. I think this book shows what can be achieved in young adult literature. Showing teenagers and young people in a scenario where as much is demanded of the reader as is of the characters. Not lightening the subject matter just to get a YA rating, or fantasizing or sensationalizing the story either to get more readers. From the beginning, I was engaged in this novel, and even when things got harrowing and I feared for what would happened next, I couldn't turn off the CD player and refuse to finish the book. I had to know what Cassie would do next, how she would handle the next situation. If she would find her brother and save him.
Yancey made me care about these people. He made me rage that children had to make these kinds of decisions, but at the same time, he didn't give me a convenient villain, not in the easy way that can happen in fiction. Instead, I was continually forced to reevaluate the situation and my hypotheses, along with the characters. There were times, I just gave up on making a guess on what was going to happen and I just kept listening and decided to let the chips fall where they may.
You wonder what an author feels when he puts his characters through the depredations seen in this book. Does it hurt like he's hacking off a limb? Does he smile gleefully at the computer screen? Or does he feel the grim determination of a surgeon who is cutting into their patient to save its life? This is a question that books like this make me ask. In a strange way, I feel more connected to the writer of a book like this, because I can imagine that the creative process was a demanding one. The they sweated and shed their own blood to write a book just for me to read.
I recommend this book fully to readers who are prepared to face the bleak, upsetting content of this novel. To walk in the shoes of these young people who have to face the end of the world head on, and can't close the book and read something else when it gets too painful for them....more
This is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHughThis is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHugh touches on some very recognizable figures in fantasy and folk legends and mythology and in a way that made me go "Hmm!". It's pretty gritty and quite violent. I'm not sure I was in love with the sexuality expressed in the story though. However, this book definitely keeps your eyes glued to the pages, and the magic was fascinating and darkly alluring and repulsive in parts. I am thrilled I am able to read and review this series, since I do love my urban fantasy.
I liked the intricate way that the spiritual beliefs of the characters and magic were interwoven into this story. There is depth in this novel, but itI liked the intricate way that the spiritual beliefs of the characters and magic were interwoven into this story. There is depth in this novel, but it was also an easy read. I'd recommend it to traditional fantasy readers.
Stormdancer has such a distinctive feel that impacted me as a reader. The mix of rich Japanese-like culture and folklore with a dystopian twist. The mStormdancer has such a distinctive feel that impacted me as a reader. The mix of rich Japanese-like culture and folklore with a dystopian twist. The main character is a brave but troubled young woman who earns my loyalty and encourages me to stand up for what I personally believe in.
But the one thing that really won me over was the connection between Yukiko and the arashitora, who she names Buruu. I’ve been an animal person since I was a wee lassie, and the bond between humans and animals is very important in my life. To see the love and trust that grows between Yukiko and Buruu, and their devotion almost brought tears to my eyes, because I am a true sap about stuff like that. Buruu is a majestic and beautiful creature, although fiercely lethal and untamable, as a legendary creature should be. I loved that although Buruu doesn’t tame down or change in his essential nature, he grows as the bond with Yukiko develops. They teach each other things important for their journey.
The world of the Shima Isles is a dark one. The place hovers on the brink of ecological disaster, and many crimes against humanity occur daily. The Shogun is clearly mad, and his power without limitation. On top of that is the Guild, which strives to make more of their poison lotus, despite its cost to their world and the people within it, and burns people who they view as heretics, probably all of which are innocent. In this kind of world, it’s hard to have hope, which is why Yukiko begins this story as a sullen and miserable young woman. She’s lost more than she can reconcile, feels the personal sting of betrayal daily, and it’s wounded her emotionally. What a good time for Buruu to come along, although their connection is not without anguish for them both. But in this world, personal sacrifice is necessary to right the terrible wrongs occurring. In the end, they are healing and comfort and safety to each other in a dark place. Together, they will not be defeated.
Stormdancer is a very good book. While it took time for me to get into the flow of terminology and world-building, I appreciate the author’s efforts to create such an immersive, fascinating world. The Japanese cultural elements appealed highly to me. Of course, I loved the strong young heroine, among many strong capable women who fight for their world just as the men do. The action scenes brought to mind some of my favorite martial arts/fantasy movies. I admit I am a serious fan of swordplay, and this book has some beautiful and bloody evidence of this martial art, along with others. I could see this is a gorgeous anime-style film, but I hope that it is made in live action, with its all Asian cast. I would definitely pay money to see this on the big screen.
While I agree that is definitely for young adults and for older readers who enjoy young adult fiction, I like that Kristoff doesn’t curtail his writing merely to fit in the current YA trend. The violence is quite descriptive and there is some sensual content (although fade to black). The storyline is quite dark, with the ecological sabotage for power and money, the cruelty and violence against so called enemies of the state, and the disregard for the welfare and needs of the citizenry. I think there are good lessons in here, although I don’t think Kristoff ever strays into PSA territory. It’s inherent and beautifully integral to this novel. Personally, I think this book is fine for readers 14 and older. However, I would recommend a parent reading it first. This one is very close to a five star rating, but since some scenes lacked clarity, I ended up giving it 4.5/5.0 stars. Despite that, I highly recommend it to dystopian, fantasy, and Asian folklore fans. ...more
The Innocent is perfect for fans of the enigmatic, laconic, capable action/thriller hero. Will Robie has already been added to my list of kickbutt art The Innocent is perfect for fans of the enigmatic, laconic, capable action/thriller hero. Will Robie has already been added to my list of kickbutt artists. Robie kills people for a living on behalf of the US government. He’s very good at it. He has never failed a mission yet, until he is hired to kill someone who clearly doesn’t need killing. He has to flee the scene to stay alive, and ends up on a bus out of DC with another runaway, a young girl named Julie. When he observes that someone is trying to kill her, he takes out the assailant and gets Julie off the bus, seconds before it explodes. Normally Robie is a loner, but this time he has to take on a partner, a person to keep safe while he figures out why their paths have crossed and people seem to be gunning for them both.
I enjoyed this book a lot. Baldacci develops a story of obvious complexity with great skill. He makes it look simple with his straightforward writing. However, layers keep getting pulled away to reveal something very multifaceted as the two various characters' lives intersect in a way that seems random initially. I liked how he conveys Robie’s expertise at what he does. He’s the real deal, Robie is. He’s very observant and skilled, but understated about it. I loved the dialogue between Robie and others, particularly Julie. This book had me laughing a lot. A big, tough guy like him finds out just how mouthy a teenage girl can be (and they can be very mouthy). She’s almost like a chip off the block with her own set of survivor skills. She’s had a tough life and is just as much a survivor as Robie is himself. Although this game they are in is high stakes and playing for keeps. She needs a protector who knows a lot about getting the bad guys dead and keeping alive.
I’m really glad my library had this book. I practically devoured it. I would love to read more books about Will Robie, and hopefully Julie will show up as a cameo. I can’t believe they will see the last of each other.
Definitely recommend this to fans of literary tough guys. Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars. ...more
One Rough Man sounds like a strange title on first glance, but it fits the character of Pike very well. Pike is a tough guy who went through a very hoOne Rough Man sounds like a strange title on first glance, but it fits the character of Pike very well. Pike is a tough guy who went through a very horrible personal tragedy that made him even more rough around the edges. He's kind of like John McClane, with added military training. He's the guy who's there at the right time (although not exactly your first choice), and the one who has to save the day.
Initially, this was a slow start. The author gave us a lot of intel into running surveillance operations and some inner operational lingo and dynamics that were a bit sluggish to read, and one might be tempted to think this was going to be a military/spy procedural. But once you keep reading, you realize there is plenty of action. I think that's par for the course when you read a new author and learn their way of telling a story.
We get an inside look at terrorists and their methodology, which I appreciated, because it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. However, in their mind, there is a twisted method behind what they do, and at least I got a glimpse into that. And it seemed plausible. It gives me shivers that folks like that are walking around planning to unleash chaos all around us.
Reading the afterward was enlightening. Apparently Taylor took some ribbing from friends in the military over this book, but at least they read it and told him what he had gotten wrong, which was good. Since I have no military background, I don't know enough to catch errors, so it's good to know that an author does his best not to make them. And better yet, no military secrets were exposed in the making of this book! I hate when I see stuff on tv that could affect US operational security and I always worry if terrorists are taking notes!
As far as Pike, he isn't always likable. Well, he's grumpy. I like grumpy heroes, but I know that doesn't work for everyone. He had lots of reasons to be surly and unfriendly, considering what he was suffering. I like that Jennifer kept it real with him and told him he was a jerk when he needed to hear it. Pike is a bad@$$, a man with a well-deserved reputation, and seeing him in action was great. I had some good laughs and some fist pumping moments. Yet despite his tough guy nature, he had moments of doubt and fear, believing he was a dead man a time or two. But at least he kept his cool. He was able to handle his fear and work through it. His sense of honor might be shaky, but it never abandoned him, and that made me love him even more.
I really liked Jennifer. She was pretty well-developed, with her own inner turmoil and angst. Boy was she brave. I liked that she was a companion that more than held her weight with Pike, even after she had met her obligations to him and vice versa. They made a good team, communicating well and looking out for each other's back. I liked how they had a meeting of minds and while there was a connection, their actions made sense for their situations.
The villains were interesting. Not just the expected villain, but someone who should have been doing the right thing. I was kind of shocked at some of the things the villains did. I can't imagine turning off one's morality like that and doing something so awful as was done in this book, especially when you were part of a group that had such high moral expectations. Maybe I am just naive.
The action was great. Not just shooting, but some good hand to hand combat, and a good sense of risk along the way. While Pike is definitely all over it, and Jennifer turns out to be a budding action heroine, they didn't have it easy. There were some moments I was on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I can.
All in all, a very good read. I would definitely like some more Pike and Jennifer adventures. Not to mention the mega loose end. I can't wait to see Pike rip open a can of you know what on that person.
Recommended to fans of tough guys with the training, smarts and attitude to get the job done....more
I admit I am reading these books out of order, but it hasn't hurt. I like Crais' spare writing style, yet how he writes description beautifully, bringI admit I am reading these books out of order, but it hasn't hurt. I like Crais' spare writing style, yet how he writes description beautifully, bringing Los Angeles to life for me as I listened. I was a bit disappointed with how quickly it ended, leaving me with some questions about why the killer was operating. The same narrator as The Watchman, and he does the Cole/Pike books perfectly well, so I shall not complain.
I exhaled a dreamy sigh whenever Pike came around. He is utterly lickable. (Did I write that in my review? Pausing to drool...) Back to the review... I am quite fond of Elvis too. I don't feel that I know him as well as Pike, but that's my fault for reading these books out of order.
It was very awesome to see Carol Starkey from Demolition Angel again. She seems a little better adjusted, but smokes like a chimney. I enjoyed the banter between her and Elvis.
This one is a low four because of the sparse detail on the killer and how it wraps up. I think the characters are a strong point for me with this series, and the mystery part is sort of an added bonus, so I can can still rate this one well. It's a four because I really liked it for the reasons I mentioned. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! ...more
There was too much about this book I didn't like, even though the idea is interesting, and the writing isn't bad, and the action is almost non-stop. IThere was too much about this book I didn't like, even though the idea is interesting, and the writing isn't bad, and the action is almost non-stop. It was too gritty and dark for my tastes. I guess I'm just not into zombies, regardless of the type.
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
A very good installment in the Death series. Eve is completely authentic as a tough police woman, but I like that Roarke sees her in a more intimate wA very good installment in the Death series. Eve is completely authentic as a tough police woman, but I like that Roarke sees her in a more intimate way as his wife. Yet he embraces her as a strong woman and stands by her side. That's a good man! The mystery was good, although it did drag a bit towards the end. Still, it was an excellent book despite that fact.
I loved this book. It was so rich and intricate, a whole new world. I adore Rossamund. I just wanted to hug him the whole book. I loved his relationshI loved this book. It was so rich and intricate, a whole new world. I adore Rossamund. I just wanted to hug him the whole book. I loved his relationship with Europe, how she called him "little man", and was tough on him at times, but you could tell how much she loved him. I loved the deft manner in which Cornish examines the ethics of the man versus monster conflict, which intimately involves both Rossamund and Europe.
This is a book not to be missed by fantasy lovers. Highly recommended, but start with Foundling.
Let me preface this review by saying that one of my favorite books of all time is an action/adventure novel set in Antarctica. So I was trying so hardLet me preface this review by saying that one of my favorite books of all time is an action/adventure novel set in Antarctica. So I was trying so hard not to compare them. Trying hard (sighs dramatically)!
When you read a new author, there is always that 'getting to know each other' period that can at times be rough. With this book, it was a bit rough. Wasn't sure about the way he told his story. I couldn't get a feel for the characters. Some felt a little thin to me. I told myself to give it a chance. Glad I did. But as I kept reading, I got drawn deeper into this story. This is one of those 'wait for it' type reads. And yes, Beck does deliver.
Warning to the Wise: Stay out of deep caves!
Oh man. It just kept getting worse. I really have an issue with creepy crawly stuff and Beck kept it coming. I had no idea that the storyline would go in this direction. This is one of those books where I was highly vocal as I read. A whole chorus of "Ugh! Yuck! OMG! Ick! That's nasty." You get the idea. I'm a bit claustrophobic and since I don't like creepy-crawly stuff, you definitely won't catch me going into some prehistoric cave after reading this book. I mean, I love animals and nature, but this place was freaky! I like that uncrossable barrier between hidden ecosystems in which humans are scrumptious prey. Very much, thank you! My innate fear of contagion was going crazy in that place!
Alex Hunter. He's the man!
While my true Special Forces literary husband will always be Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield, I have to say that Alex is pretty cool. I love his super-abilities. And he's a very humble kind of guy. He's all about the mission, and he is a protector. Honorable. He's not on some ego trip. I even liked how he had to stop himself from hulking out. That was kind of different--in a good way. I will be reading more of his adventures.
Man, the body count!
This is one of those books where people are dying right and left. And in nasty ways. Oh, that poor guy with the you know whats eating him up. Ugh! It sucked! I liked a lot of characters who didn't make it. And that tool, you know which one I meant, he caused a particularly painful death for one of the guys. He bit the dust in a nasty way, so he didn't get off scot-free. But still, the loser! This is one of those books that you shouldn't get attached to any characters, 'cause you never know....
Cold Settings Are Awesome!
I love cold weather and I have this strange love for Antarctica. I was excited to read another book set there. This book is kind of a cheat in that regard. Because they end up underground and it's warm and like a tropical type (in a really strange way) ecosystem, we don't get a lot of cold weather action. In a way that was cool, because I was not allowed to draw comparisons to my beloved book of all books. If you know me, you know which book I am talking about.
Don't get me wrong. I love me some Russian characters. But that Uli is such a jerk. I couldn't stand him. A sadistic, evil, horrible, thug. He lacked some depth for me, and I couldn't even think he was a cool villain. He was just a jerk. Like a particularly psychotic schoolyard bully. The whole Russian part didn't really do much for me anyway. I think that it did add some tension to the story, but fundamentally, this is more of a man versus nature conflict story. That part got my attention much more. Ugh, huge slug-monsters and worms. Ick!
This was a good action/adventure novel. While not perfect, it has some things to commend it, namely, creeptastic moments where the characters are pitted against icky prehistoric gross monsters. I liked the high-tech weaponry, especially that gas-projectile gun (very cool). And a pretty cool lead with some awesome abilities. Aimee was very likable too. She knew her stuff and her personality was good. I will read more of this author, and stay my butt out of deep, subterranean caves!
I'm eternally grateful to Hugh for turning me onto this series. There was a Pike-shaped hole in my life that I didn't even know was there prior to lisI'm eternally grateful to Hugh for turning me onto this series. There was a Pike-shaped hole in my life that I didn't even know was there prior to listening to this book. Now, I can't go back to that Pike-free universe. In all seriousness, I really enjoyed this book. I totally loved Pike and Cole. They definitely have a great friendship that allows them the freedom and the support to be themselves. That's definitely a blessing.
First and foremost, as I said, I dug Pike. I love the strong, silent type. I like that Pike is so utterly dangerous, but also very honorable, and really a Boy Scout in the way that he truly will go to HELL and back for something he believes in. He's a real protector, but he spares no sympathy for those who pose a thread to others he feels honor bound to protect. He's very taciturn, yet I felt like I grew to know him in the important ways via flashback and by the way those in his life regard him. A man like him has a way of scaring people, but those who know him well, truly, truly respect him, and his well-chosen words and physicality. Pike has this killer edge, but also this lonely, hurting boy aspect that makes me want to give him a hug, make cookies for him, and tuck him in and read him a bedtime story. I loved the way he handled Larkin. He had a way of getting her to behave, because he saw through her games, and he gave her what she needed. To be seen and to be cared for. I can totally see why she fell for him. I did too, Larkin. Although this wasn't a hugely actiony book, I definitely got the feel that Pike was a formidable guy. He doesn't play. And I tell you, that's what I want in an action hero. Although you are scary Pike, I might call you in real life (and I don't say that to most of the guys on my dangerous hero list).
Elvis Cole has a great sense of humor. And I am a sucker for a guy with a sense of humor. In the book world, my book boyfriends are the dangerous, scary types, the truly honorable men, and the guys who make me laugh (out of that list, the last two make a guy very appealing to me in real life). So, although Pike is definitely in my dangerous hero book boyfriend list, I could see me liking a guy like Cole in real life a little more. He's also very smart and perceptive. I liked the way he handled Larkin. Her ATTITUDE didn't faze him in the slightest. And although he doesn't always get Pike, he has Pike's back for sure! He's a great friend. And I can't wait to read his books.
Larkin should have annoyed the crap out of me. She reminds me of a real heiress that I really don't think much of. God tells me I shouldn't judge, and this book helped me to deal with that, because I really don't know what it's like for the heiress girls who act crazy and are famous for being rich debs. I don't walk in their shoes. This book helped me to see what life was like for a girl like Larkin. I felt for her. I could see that she was wearing armor and that armor made her prickly and compelled her to act 'stupid.' I never would have thought she'd be a good match for a guy like Pike, but she is. I have to say I'm pretty fond of Larkin. Hope to see more of her.
Yeah, I like bodyguard stories. Especially with a hero like Pike. I liked that there was a heavy suspense element moreso than action. It wasn't just about Pike keeping Larkin safe from the bad guys, but him trying to figure out why they were trying to kill her. I think some of the plot was a bit thin in places, but I still enjoyed it, and I felt it was well-done overall. The pieces came together, and I didn't feel like I predicted what was going on. The story progression took me to a conclusion that made sense to me. I liked that although Pike has the loner vibe, he really does use his connections and rely on people he trusts to get the job done.
Crais' Writing Style:
I thought that this book was written in a very visually appealing way. Mr. Crais writes a catchy, stylish story. Not overly noirish, but a contrast between gritty and beauty and naturalism in an unexpected way and in unexpected places. Pike comes off as very iconic. Instead of being described completely, I was given enough to get an image of him in my head. His sunglasses that hide his cold blue eyes. The way his mouth twitches when he expressed the small bit of emotion on his face. His brisk, economical way of speaking. The gentleness he shows Larkin. The violent moments aren't drawn out, but quick, yet no less brutal when needed. Usually an author might over-describe these parts to intensify these moments, but Crais doesn't do that. He writes them speedy, like they happen in real life. I don't think his approach is one of action, but more of suspense, and that comes through.
Los Angeles isn't the most beautiful place to this reader. I don't care much for the city, frankly. But Crais finds the beauty in this place, but also exposes the seamy aspects that I associate with the City of Angels. The place of both exorbitant wealth and extreme poverty. Where starlets and heiresses are just a few block away from brutal gang-bangers and the ugly taint of urban decay. This place comes to life in his capable hands. If I ever miss LA (which is unlikely), I can read his books and get my fix.
I gave this one 4.5 stars because I felt some of the pivotal aspects wrap up too quickly. I wanted more page time on a few aspects that I didn't get. But overall, this was a fun ride, and Pike is my baby boy now. I want some more!