I am sad that this series is over, but it ends in such a satisfying way. I do think that this series is required reading for those who like fairy taleI am sad that this series is over, but it ends in such a satisfying way. I do think that this series is required reading for those who like fairy tales and especially clever retellings. Each volume ups the ante on the grim aspect of fairy tales. Each book seems less appropriate for a younger audience. I'm torn on that. Mr. Gidwitz is obviously a teacher, and he understands the young minds he writes for. I mean, he has to in order to teach them. I'm going to trust that he knows what they can handle, but my personal limit would be 12 or older for these books. There is way too much dark violence and subject matter for kiddos younger than twelve, to my thinking. Also, the cruelty of adults against children in this book is highly disturbing.
I also think this is the saddest out of the series. Wow, the things that our young protagonists are faced with really tore at my heart. And how the cruelty and neglect they experienced warped something inside of them. Gidwitz deals with the psychology of abused/neglected children in a poignant way without getting too soapboxy.
There are some great life lessons here. Family, loyalty, honor, integrity, kindness, and making moral decisions. These kids have to raise themselves and that leads to some issues when they are faced with adult moral decisions. Along the way they make mistakes and have to learn from them and 'face the music.'
This book breaks the 4th wall in a way that the other ones in the series did not. At first, I really didn't like that about the book, but then I saw how integral it was to the story. It was also good because Gidwitz doesn't follow the predictable pattern I expected.
Johnny Heller truly is an awesome narrator. If he didn't win an award for narrating this series, then he was cheated. He deserves it. He was all in, and you would have to wonder how he didn't get emotionally affected by this book as he read. Not just in horror or sadness, but in hilarity, because this book involves all those emotions.
I am biased. I love fairy tales a lot. Yet, I think that increases my standards for fairy tale retellings. Gidwitz is a writer who clearly loves fairy tales just as much as I do, if not more. He respects the genre, and it clearly is a huge creative influence on him in crafting these marvelous books that add very much to the cultural relevance of fairy tales.
If you have not checked these out and you like fairy tales, what are you waiting for?...more
Runner was raved about by one of my Goodreads friends, so I picked it up from the library. This story is about a man who happens to be in the best plaRunner was raved about by one of my Goodreads friends, so I picked it up from the library. This story is about a man who happens to be in the best place at the right time, and makes the decision to help a girl that changes his whole life.
Sam Dryden has this irresistible compulsion to go running at night, in a certain area. He's been drifting after his personal loss, and believes this is due to his restlessness, and perhaps an existential crisis. He meets a girl who begs him to save her life from her pursuers and makes a split decision to do exactly that. It's fortunate that he's not just a typical guy. He's highly trained in black ops work, and equipped with all the assets needed to keep Rachel alive. It gets more interesting from there. Because Rachel isn't your typical twelve-year-old. Not by a long stretch.
This novel has some really cool ideas. It's like the X-Files episode of Pusher with some heavy duty action thrown in. Rachel's psychic abilities are seriously scary! Sam is a bad*ss. Great combination. It reminded me favorably of one of my favorites series, The GhostWalkers (minus the romance and with a few different aspects).
The things I loved about this book was the bond between Rachel and Sam. Sam assumes a fatherly role, with a little bit of friend thrown in. Rachel definitely needs a parental figure who is honorable and willing to make enormous sacrifices for her, considering her past. One might at first take it for granted that Sam would go so far to defend a young girl. The reveal could have compromised my perception of Sam as a really good guy who acts as Good Samaritan. I thought at first it would, but in the end, I was okay with it. I definitely believe that things happen in our lives for specific reasons, and they were meant to come together, no matter how it happened.
I loved the action elements. I also liked that the story is far from predictable. You don't always know right away who exactly is the big bad. There are a few characters who are doing some nasty things, so it's a coin flip at some points. The story flips things around. All you know is that Sam is a good guy and the right guy to be the bodyguard to Rachel. Things get twisty in that we're dealing with people who can literally get anyone to do whatever they want. You wonder at what point are the characters doing something of their free will. I have some huge issues with control, and that's a very scary thought that someone could control me and make me do something I would never do otherwise. I think Lee understands how truly frightening that is.
Runner is probably equally suspense and action, with some paranormal/science fiction thrown in. It's a really cool premise. It looks like this will be a series, so I wonder what will happen in the next book. I do want to read more of this series and see where the author goes next with the characters he created in this book....more
I liked the artwork in this volume much better. Selina's features aren't harsh in this version, and she does have the sharper, intelligent beauty of aI liked the artwork in this volume much better. Selina's features aren't harsh in this version, and she does have the sharper, intelligent beauty of a cat. The story was pretty good, but the ending was a bit anticlimactic as far as the Dollhouse storyline. It was really disturbing what the Dollmaker was doing to those poor streetwalkers. I'm glad that they had Catwoman to fight for them.
I liked Catwoman's team-up with Spark. The inclusion of the Talon storyline was good too. Catwoman's sympathy for the Talon made sense in light of her antiheroic/villainous reputation. Catwoman continues to toe the line of moral ambiguity. Her actions are often spurred on by self-interest even if she does the right thing.
This was a nice chance to see some less represented characters front and center: Stargirl and Martian Manhunter. They are members of the Justice LeaguThis was a nice chance to see some less represented characters front and center: Stargirl and Martian Manhunter. They are members of the Justice League of America and the only ones who can help liberate the Justice League members who are entrapped in a psychic prison, and evert world destruction.
Together, they make their way through a surreal set of challenges in which they are incorporated into or witness the punishing illusions that their fellow superhero colleagues are subjected to. In the process, they must face their own fears, and tap into inner wells of courage.
I wasn't familiar with Stargirl, but she seems like a good analog for the average girl. While I think most young women and girls look up to Wonder Woman, we're not Amazonian princesses (with goddess-like powers), and there will always be a realization that Wonder Woman is in some ways an unattainable standard. However, Courtney is an average girl, albeit one who has gained access to a staff that gives her extraordinary powers. Her youth and hope is a real asset in this crisis.
This is a three star rating because I didn't get into the story that much. I felt I was just trying to finish it so I could return it to the library. Perhaps it was hard to connect to the story outside of Manhunter and Stargirl's dilemma. I much preferred the previous volume, with the ensemble cast who kept my interest. If my library keeps getting these, I'll keep reading them. ...more
I like the style of this series. An armchair adventurer with an interest in history and culture will get their desires well satiated as they accompanyI like the style of this series. An armchair adventurer with an interest in history and culture will get their desires well satiated as they accompany Jaya on her adventures. To anyone who is a Francophile, look no further.
Madison Carmichael loves the small-town lifestyle she'd grown up with in California, and has no desire to leave Serenity Hills. But all that iSynopsis
Madison Carmichael loves the small-town lifestyle she'd grown up with in California, and has no desire to leave Serenity Hills. But all that is threatened when Jake Colt shows up, claiming that he's the new owner of Oak Hills, her parents' winery. Jake is son of the owner of Colt Enterprises, living a rootless dilettante life as a vice president in name, although he mainly jet sets around the world, looking for the next adrenaline rush. He made a deal with his father that if he could make the winery profitable, he could be in charge of his own subsidiary of Colt Enterprises, far away from the father he's despised since he was ten.
Madison hates Jake from first sight. He reminds her of another city-bred man who broke her heart. She doesn't trust his intentions, not as the new owner and boss of her parents, or the seductive twinkle in his eye when he looks at her. Jake likes what he sees of Madison and wants to explore their attraction, at least as long as he's in town. He hires her struggling photography business to take some photos for his new marketing plans for the winery to increase its exposure, concocted as an opportunity to spend time with her and to gain her trust. However, Jake discovers a real affinity for the winery business and realizes that he really takes this business endeavor seriously. As Jake and Madison spend time together, they realize that she can teach him the delights of home and family and he can teach her to be more spontaneous and open to adventure.
Fearless Love is an enjoyable sweet contemporary romance. Initially, I felt disconnected from the lead characters, but they grew on me as I read more of their story. Jake isn't that likable initially, too much the textbook rich playboy born with a silver spoon in his mouth. However, he started growing on me as it was evident that his cavalier lifestyle was a reaction to deep hurts from his childhood. He shows a lot of consideration and concern for Madison, which belies his insistence that he doesn't want to get serious for her or have feelings involved. In that way, he earned my respect. It's gratifying to see him realize that he can put down roots and take life seriously, with the right motivation. Madison has her prickly moments that are at times borderline rude. While I could understand her inability to trust Jake, her attitude may rub some readers the wrong way, especially since she allows a past hurt to prejudice her against Jake and ‘pigeonhole' him unfairly. Her feelings for him are divided: a powerful sexual attraction warring with a head knowledge that he's bad for her based on her past failed serious romance. Kadence is very capable at developing the chemistry and growing emotions between the leads in an organic way. Their photography adventures provide plenty of bonding moments that show that they have a lot of potential together.
The small-town vibe is appealing, with evocative descriptions of the local natural wonders, and I liked the story about a famous star-crossed couple from the town's history. It was more than evident why Madison would love her town so much. Madison is surrounded by loving family and friends, showing Jake the positive side of small town life, which he needs to see. Readers who enjoy ‘fish out of water' and ‘opposites attract' romance as well as small town settings will appreciate that about this story. Also the fact that there is no rush to sexual intimacy, but a nicely paced development of their relationship, may appeal to readers looking for a sweet rather than erotic contemporary romance.
Fearless Love is a short, enjoyable romance with a good lesson about how easy it is to judge people unfairly without taking the time to know them or understand them on a deeper level. It also has a good lesson about letting go of past fears and embracing future opportunities with courage.
Another really good book in this series. I always get sucked into these books, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I am a huge fan of Sister AnAnother really good book in this series. I always get sucked into these books, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I am a huge fan of Sister Anselm. She's a whippersnapper! This story got my ire going for sure.
This is a hard book for me to rate. It's been a while since I read it, but I still haven't changed my mind about what I thought I should rate it (I thThis is a hard book for me to rate. It's been a while since I read it, but I still haven't changed my mind about what I thought I should rate it (I thought I'd be in between and I still feel that way). I will say that it was really quite satisfying for an impulse buy.
There is something that just works about space westerns. Even if Fox did cancel Firefly because they were crazy, I knew that show was magic in the first five minutes. I mean, isn't space the final frontier? Well, Bowers captures all the wildness, the corruption and the lawlessness of space. And he puts a newbie Marshal (who was once a war hero) in a situation where his determination to see justice done might just get him killed.
Overall, this was a well-written book. I do feel that Bowers captured a really gritty feel and showed how deeply corrupt things were on Ceres and in the mining asteroid belts. It did remind me of how things were in the Real Old West. While Nick is definitely a White Hat, he has no issues with getting his hands bloody.
Readers who are sensitive to topics of sexual violence will definitely want to be careful with this book. There were aspects that made me absolutely livid, because that is a really sensitive topic with me. Sometimes I even had a anti-male rage going on, but Nick was just as hot about what was happening, so it does prove that not all men are like that. Yeah, what the Farringtons were doing to women in this book (and allowing to be done) was seriously dark. It made it hard to keep reading at times. I listened to this on my Kindle Text-to-Speech and it was a very visceral thing to hear about the abuses that were taking place at the Farrington Lockup. I'm not a violent person, generally, but this book made me feel murderous.
Overall, Nick was a very likable character that I respected. I totally felt his strong need for justice. I'm wired that way as well. However, I was conflicted about Nick's love life. I felt like his aversion to commitment was more of a throwaway to fit into the concept of him as a roaming marshal. It made me feel he was a bit skeevy, to be honest. At least he showed integrity in many other ways (and I can't fault that he was honest with the women he was involved with). I think it's deeply icky for character to bed hop, so I definitely could have done without that.
I feel that the secondary characters could have been a bit more developed. Misery was barely three-dimensional. Monica moreso. I loved that they were both black women. :) I did like David quite a bit. He seemed like one of the more fleshed out secondary characters, strangely enough.
I do think Bowers is working out his issues with religion in his fiction. He seems very cynical about organized religion, but I don't get that he's anti-God or anti-people of faith, but just not a big fan of some of the behaviors that occur in the religious community. I can respect that a writer uses their fiction to work out their issues, as long as they don't obviously get out their soapbox, and he didn't do that. So we're cool. I agree that the minister was pretty ridiculous to take his beautiful, young virginal daughters into a mining community with the worst of the worst and not expect something like that to happen. It's not that I don't believe in God's protection (I definitely do), but he didn't even rely on that, but just this arrogant belief that he had been called there to minister to the Lost (and he could save all the souls). So, yes, I was feeling Nick when he read the minister the riot act.
We read this for the Action/Adventure Aficionados group and I felt the action was definitely high caliber. Nick isn't afraid to dive into the fray, and the suspense was killer. I mean these folks were evil, and there are few things more disturbing to me than corrupt law enforcement.
I can't quite convince myself that this is a four star book. It's hovering, so I'd have to go with 3.5 stars. One of my pet peeves is abrupt endings and when tension dissipates too quickly, and I thought that was an issue. And honestly, I think a lot worse things should have happened to the bad guys, based on how horrific their behavior was.
I will probably continue this series, but I am not feeling Nick's bed-hopping, and I hope that isn't a pervasive trend in this series.
I think fans of Firefly and the movie Serenity and also of the show Ripper Street (not Western but about the law in London in a very rough area full of corruption) would like this book. But be warned, it's not for the faint of heart!...more
I liked this for the mystery more than the romance, although I did like both Grace and Julius. I just think the romance was sort of an afterthought. II liked this for the mystery more than the romance, although I did like both Grace and Julius. I just think the romance was sort of an afterthought. It's worth a read though.
This is a book that will make your stomach turn flips as you read it. Unger kept me from trusting that anything would be okay in this book. Quite a joThis is a book that will make your stomach turn flips as you read it. Unger kept me from trusting that anything would be okay in this book. Quite a journey.
I enjoy the heck out of the All Star Western/Jonah Hex graphic novels. Hex is such a character. Not at all a Boy Scout, but he dives into to the frayI enjoy the heck out of the All Star Western/Jonah Hex graphic novels. Hex is such a character. Not at all a Boy Scout, but he dives into to the fray to defend those who need defending. It sure was interesting to see Hex as a fish out of water in the present. He's not a man to fall in with authority just because, which becomes, well, problematic. However, Hex gets on his feet fast, with the help with a young woman with a taste for older rough and tumble bad boys.
The sex and violence are pretty prominent, but it's not as skeevy as one might think. I also liked how not one story is alike in this volume, but the story arcs have plenty of surprises and twists and turns. I was not expecting what happens in the last story at all. There are lots of cool cameos in this. I never thought I'd see Hex and The Man of Steel in the same comic, but I did!
I'd have to give this a 3.5/5.0 because I wasn't enamored of the facial rending of the characters, moreso Zatanna. For lack of a better word, she lookI'd have to give this a 3.5/5.0 because I wasn't enamored of the facial rending of the characters, moreso Zatanna. For lack of a better word, she looked a bit goofy at times, with the exaggerated eyes and arched brows. I'm a bit of a Zatanna fangirl, especially from the previous Paul Dini run, and I liked her look so much better in those. It's a shallow thing, but I can't help how I feel. Overall, the story was good. Pretty straightforward, not a lot of surprises. A cute way to team up to admirable, strong female lead crimefighters, with slightly different approaches. I liked the strong foundation for their friendship and that they made such an excellent team together. I liked the Green Arrow cameo, but I was glad he was strictly a guess star and didn't participate in the major story arc unnecessarily. This is Black Canary's show.
I think readers who enjoy Black Canary and Zatanna will like this book. You may or may not enjoy the art more than me. I was jazzed like crazy that my library had this. Keep them coming!
I liked this one. Giulia is a fun lead with an interesting background as a nun, and a supportive husband. A nice touch of noir in a cozy mystery-styleI liked this one. Giulia is a fun lead with an interesting background as a nun, and a supportive husband. A nice touch of noir in a cozy mystery-style read.