This is the first book by these authors that I’ve experienced. This one was on audio at my library, so I took the opportunity to read it.
UnfortunatelyThis is the first book by these authors that I’ve experienced. This one was on audio at my library, so I took the opportunity to read it.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this book was very good. At the most, it was somewhat entertaining, but the writing was just odd and didn't succeed with me. Gideon is a strange character. He never quite comes off as completely competent. Instead, he seems to bumble his way through situations. He is a fast talker and has a way of getting people to tell him what he wants to know, but I didn’t really count that as a significant skill. He's intelligent, but still slow on the uptake at times. I know that as a reader, we often have oversight in a situation that the character lacks, but I like to think that the main character can use the brains the Good Lord gave him. And I hate when the villain continually out-thinks him.
This book has this 'off' feeling that never goes away. I had hoped things would come together, but it stayed weird, and not in a good way, over the course of the book. I would use the term 'half-baked' to describe this book. Ingredients in this novel could have come to a good finished product, but they just don't.
While I don't like paper tiger villains, I felt that the villain was way out of Gideon's league. I didn't get this David and Goliath feeling where you have an unlikely hero who has the odds stacked against him and triumphed. Instead, I felt as though Gideon didn't have a chance against Nodding Crane. I was actually wincing at how inept Gideon was at times. I really hate being so harsh in my criticisms, but it's how I felt. I always hope for the best when I read a book, and this book never got to be better. It's just barely at 2.5 star read.
The saving grace was that I did listen to it on audio. The narrator, well-known actor John Glover, brought this story to life with his clever vocalizations and personifications of the dialogue. This is one of those cases when a good narrator can stave a sinking ship from going down, or mostly. While this book is not a good one, it was at times entertaining because of the narration.
I might seem foolish, but I want to try the next book, since it is also at my library on audio. My hope is that Gideon does get his act together and has learned something from his experience in this book. I'd like to see that Gideon has something to offer as a hero in future books. Maybe the authors have a better grasp on his character for his next outing. I'm holding onto my hopes! ...more
I don't use the term brilliant much when I'm writing reviews. But this is the term that just keeps coming to mind about this book. I knew I'd appreciaI don't use the term brilliant much when I'm writing reviews. But this is the term that just keeps coming to mind about this book. I knew I'd appreciate it, because I have an appreciation for Asian culture and people, and swordsmanship; and honestly, something about a book with a woman holding a sword on the cover just pulls me in.
This book speaks to me of a writer who loves Japan, both modern and ancient. Someone who has taken the time to investigate and learn the culture, even to the deepest levels. You can't gain that kind of authenticity any other way.
Bein has taken an idea about three swords crafted by a legendary swordsmith and created a beautifully rich novel around them. While this is labeled as fantasy, the fantasy element is that the swords have animus and their very natures affect the destiny of those around them. Bein cleverly unfolds his story with a combination of past and present narrative. I was a bit worried I would find the historical parts dry, but I didn't. It was fascinating. I realized how little I know about samurai and how bushido affects everything about their lives. The insight into this period was crucial in this novel, because the swords are over nine hundred years old. Since I haven't even lived in cities that old, I can't even conceive of owning something that old! But for a Japanese person, not such a stretch. Now add in the fact that these swords have shaped history in major ways!
It takes some skill to make an inanimate object sinister. But that's exactly what Beautiful Singer is. It's a sword that takes over the owner's mind and leads him hand and headfirst down the path of doom. This is why I don't go in for antiques! The other two swords have their own distinctive natures as well. What was interesting is that the swords can’t make you into something you’re not. They seem to work on the inherent nature of the person. This destiny attached to these swords brings Mariko Oshiro to the front door of elderly Professor Yasuo Yamada, who is the owner of a sword that a violent Yakuza criminal tried to steal. This twisted path could only be destiny, as all the forces send her in the direction of a deep bond with the nearly blind expert swordsman, who takes her on as a student. Because she is the only one who can stop Fuchida, a man who has been seduced by the voice of his own sword, Beautiful Singer.
This book is just so good. It’s amazing how the story just drew me deeper and deeper. I wanted to find out about how these three swords could draw people into relationship with each other from historical to modern times, and not always in a good way. But ultimately, the right people end up in the right places, until we end up in the present with Mariko and Yamada’s story.
If you’re looking for an over-the-top fantasy story with all kinds of out there scenes, this isn’t the book. If you want a book with an excellent narrative building on a concept that seems magical, if you don’t believe in swords that are blessed and cursed, then you’d enjoy this book.
The cultural aspects had major appeal. As I mentioned earlier, the look at bushido and historical samurai was a good learning experience. But equally important was the view into modern Japan. I especially appreciated that the main character was a Japanese woman, who dealt with a society which is profoundly sexist, and she was driven enough to fight for what she wanted and needed in life, even as she ran into stumbling blocks of prejudice within her own agency, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. I admired her drive and determination. I also liked seeing the walls come down between her and Yamada, as she realized that this old man was what she was missing from her life, the companionship and the belief in her that he offered. Yamada, I adored him! No words! I can easily see why Mariko came to love him so much. Relationships can be pigeon-holed because it is the natural way of humans to classify what is hard to define. But they are so complex. They provide what we need in this life in a way that goes way beyond labels. That’s how Yamada and Muriko’s relationship impacted me. And also Keiji and Hayano’s back in the 40s. Heck, all the stories added so much texture to this book.
My feelings for this book are so intricate, that I’m having trouble putting them into words. So I’ll just end by saying I just loved this book so much. It may not hit you the same way, but I hope that others find something to offer them in Daughter of the Sword. ...more
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
Kelly Hunter is two for two now. I tend to avoid the Modern Romances for Harlequin Presents, but now I know I can get a satisfying read when I reach fKelly Hunter is two for two now. I tend to avoid the Modern Romances for Harlequin Presents, but now I know I can get a satisfying read when I reach for her books. She writes chemistry beautifully. The attraction between her characters sizzle, and the dialogue jumps off the page. Her characters are layered, three-dimensional, and have issues, but they work through them and communicate.
I love the Bennett family, just from the two I've read, this and The Maverick's Greek Island Mistress. I am especially fond of Jake, and I am excited to read Red Hot Renegade. She's already set the stage for the reunion between lonely warrior Jake, and delicate but strong Jianne. I wanted to meet the rest of the Bennett clan after the first book, so I worked on acquiring the Bennett books that were published, and I bought this one when I saw it was out, expecting an enjoyable read. However, Madeline and Luke's romance took me by surprise. I was expecting the story to be about a hot affair that slowly becomes love, but there was a depth and an intensity to their emotions from the start. They didn't fall mindlessly into bed right away. They spent some time getting to know each other first. Initially, a compelling attraction drew them together, but they weren't sure they liked each other and what the other person represented in each of their minds. But respect developed very quickly. They just had to come to realize that they could be together, and not compromise who they both felt were integral aspects of their being. I loved the touches about Luke's job. He defuses bomb and explosive devices, and he can be called to work at a mere moment's notice. He's not eager to give that job up, for any woman, so he settles for casual relationships. But he wants more with Madeline, even if he's not sure how to make that happen. Madeline is considered an older man's trophy wife, despite the fact that she brought his corporation back from the brink, and expanded it in the time since his death. I like that she freely admits that she didn't love her husband and married him for security. After her tumultuous youth, she deserved it. I respected her for who she was. Sometimes marriage is about things other than true love. William loved her and gave her security, esteem, and devotion when she'd never had that as an orphan and ward of the state. She showed William respect and devotion in turn, and he had no reason to complain. She didn't deserve being judged by anyone. I'm glad Luke realized that he was wrong to judge her that way.
I loved the Singaporean setting. Something about Asia always calls my name. I could see the appeal that drew Madeline, Luke, and Jake there, despite them being Australian. I loved how Madeline adopted Po, a streetwise, orphaned youth, and provided a safe, stable home for him with Jake, and later Luke and herself. And then there is Madeline's bossy savvy housekeeper who saw Luke clearly despite his tough warrior facade. These elements just reinforced the feeling of family that this book resonated with, in a delightful way.
Kelly Hunter has made it to my autobuy list after this book (although I had previously made a note to read all her Bennett books after The Maverick's Greek Island Mistress), and I am counting the days until Red Hot Renegade is in print. I'd recommend her to fans of short contemporary romance. ...more
It's very true that if you do something well, people will notice. That's how I feel about this book. Zoe Archer did a fine job with Warrior. If I wereIt's very true that if you do something well, people will notice. That's how I feel about this book. Zoe Archer did a fine job with Warrior. If I were to imagine a dream book based on my favorite historical action/adventure movies, with the romance ramped up, then this is a very good example.
Warrior has a couple that I totally loved. Gabriel is a man's man, and I adored him for it. He's not macho and overbearing. Nope. He's just a rough and tumble guy who's spent his life as a soldier, and it's made one heck of a man of him. He worries about his lack of social polish--but his worries are groundless as far as I am concerned, and Thalia too. I adored him. I liked his confidence as a warrior, his ease with dealing with very hostile situations, his deep sense of honor. I liked how he committed himself to protecting Thalia and seeing her fulfill her mission. He was willing to stand up for a cause that didn't even make sense to him. And he showed a remarkable ability to adapt and to react to the very strange situations he found himself in. I loved how he adored Thalia for who she was, and didn't feel the need to change her into the average Englishman's ideal woman. She was his ideal, instead. Gabriel might consider himself rough and unpolished, but he definitely knew how to take care of his woman.
Thalia was an awesome heroine. I liked that she wasn't the typical English rose. She'd been raised in Outer Mongolia, and was a woman of that world. She'd yearned most of her life to take up her father's work with the Blades, and when she got her chance to prove herself, she was determined to do so. Thalia respected Gabriel for who he was, admired his strength, and the innate essence of him. She realized that he was the man she'd been waiting for, but couldn't believe that he'd want her and not a perfect English lady. Seeing their love affair unfurl like a blooming flower was such a pleasure. This book is very steamy, and wildly romantic. A perfect combination. There are many sigh-worthy scenes between Gabriel and Thalia. I was very invested in this couple, and I was cheering for their happy ending together.
On top of the great romance, this is a fantastic historical adventure. I loved the setting and the way that it was as much an integral part of this story as the romance. I think Ms. Archer did a great job of bringing this rollicking, good old-fashioned (in the vein of Indiana Jones and Stephen Sommers' the Mummy movies) story to life. Ms. Archer showed a respect for the Mongolian culture and its people. Before this book ended, it felt so familiar to me, I could have been on the Mongolian steppes myself.
The action and adventure aspects were fantastic. There is a sense of risk throughout this story, right from the beginning. I loved the fact that although Gabriel was a formidable warrior, he was not blood-thirsty. He respected life, but was more than willing to fight and kill for a worthy cause. Conversely, he went out of his way to save others. (Sigh break required) I liked the fact that Thalia could more than defend herself. I loved how things unfolded in the final confrontation in this book. Thalia didn't get shut out of the action, just because she was a woman. In fact, she plays an integral role in fighting the Heirs.
I think that Ms. Archer handled the multi-cultural aspects deftly. There is no preachiness here, but she addresses the imperialistic drives of the British Empire, using it as a backdrop in which there is a struggle between two groups who differ in their attitudes about how the British Empire will succeed. One group, The Heirs, wants to use the magical treasures of various cultures around the world to expand Britain's influence. The Blades of the Rose want to protect the cultural heirlooms and preserve the heritages of the various countries. I loved the fact that there were major players of various ethnicities in this story, and none stereotypically portrayed. I am already enamored of Catullus Graves, who is the intellectual giant of the Blades, constantly inventing nifty instruments to assist them in their endeavors. And the best part is he's black (and very British). I love to see the breaking of cultural stereotypes that portray people of color as intellecutally inferior (when the truth is that people of black heritage have been responsible for many scientific advancements in society although they typically remain unacknowledged for it). I remember talking to Ms. Archer on an Amazon forum about multicultural characters in urban fantasy. She posted about Catullus having a book of his own, and I put this series on my wish list right away, not just for that reason, but because I love historical adventure, especially with fantasy elements. She is my heroine!
The magic was very grand in this novel. There were some very novel elements, and I loved how the magic of the Sources was such an intrinsic, naturalistic force, tied to the people and their lands. It was beautiful. Ms. Archer has a great imagination, and she put it to very good use in this book.
I must say that the praise for this new series is well-earned. I had to think long and hard about what I was going to say in this review, because I hate being repetitive. I want my words to count here. A great book deserves a well-written review. It's the best tribute to an exceptional author and her work. I am a huge fan of Ms. Archer now, and I cannot wait to read more of her books. ...more
This book is a piece of literature that flows and that immerses the reader in the story. It was a required read for Sophomore English in High School,This book is a piece of literature that flows and that immerses the reader in the story. It was a required read for Sophomore English in High School, but I wanted to read it and finish it, because the writing is so effortless and involving. I love Asian culture, and this is a must read if you are at all interested in China and the lives of people in the history of China. It is the story of one family and their struggles. At times heartbreaking, but always involving, a reader will never forget this story and the people who inhabit it. I really should read more by Ms. Buck....more
I love winter, and I was overjoyed at the prospect of reading a duo of paranormal stories based on folklore relating to winter. Even cooler, I read thI love winter, and I was overjoyed at the prospect of reading a duo of paranormal stories based on folklore relating to winter. Even cooler, I read this in December, although in Texas, we don't exactly get much snow. It was chilly outside at least, so it added to the mood.
I enjoyed the lesser-utilized winter folkore in both of these books. In the case of the Michele Hauf story, A Kiss of Frost, it was Jack Frost. I never thought of Jack Frost as sexy, but Ms. Hauf really manages to make her version quite sexy. However, I had trouble with the fact that the heroine would essentially pick up strangers and go with them to a hotel and have fun sex with them like it was no big deal. I think that's very risky and scary behavior in the modern age of serial killers, stalkers, murderers, and sexually-transmitted diseases that can kill a person. I couldn't get past that to enjoy this story to it's full potential. It's a shame, because it really was a cool idea of having Jack Frost be an assassin for the Winter Gods and Goddesses. I didn't like the cold nature of the frost fairies, but that definitely is typical for the fae to be untouched by human emotions. Jack would have to try not to allow his human woman's passion to melt his cold heart, but he didn't do a very good part of it. I did like that the heroine's career was essentially as a snowflakeologist, for lack of a better term. She was a bit flighty for a scientist, but oh well. I'd give this story 2 1/2 stars.
I liked the second story by Vivi Anna, Ice Bound, very much. It utilized Japanese folklore of the Snow Maiden, who was forced to roam the icy roads and would often kill strangers with her icy kiss. She falls in love with a scientist and doesn't end up killing him, but takes him back to her icy prison that she has been cursed to exist in forever by her betrayed lover. The only time she can leave is when she goes out to lure an unsuspecting traveler to his icy demise. But in the case of the hero, love causes her to spare him, but he has to help free her from her icy prison before they can be together. This was a really cool story idea. It was also interracial, which was great. The heroine was a Japanese woman (or spirit if you prefer). The hero was an American White scientist, with just enough nerdiness to be endearing. He's not really a nerd, just had a cute nerd vibe to him. This was a neat story, so I'd give it four stars.
I find that these Nocturnes are just too short to give time to develop a really meaty story, which I have gotten used to with full-length paranormals. It was a little less obvious in this short story format. If I liked the first story more, this would have been a four star read all around. As it turned out, it's three stars....more
My favorite stories in this anthology were "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison and "Six" by Marjorie Liu. Ironically, they weren't ChristmaMy favorite stories in this anthology were "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison and "Six" by Marjorie Liu. Ironically, they weren't Christmas stories.
"Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison
This story looks into Rachel's past, when she was eighteen, fresh out of community college, and determined to recover from her childhood of severe illness and to get a job working for Inderlander Security. Her brother Robbie is in town for Solstice Night, and wants her to go back to west coast with him and go to a four year college to continue her Earth Witch studies. Rachel isn't interested. Her life is in Cincinatti. They make a deal that if Rachel can raise her father's ghost and he will agree to her going into the IS, and sign her permission slip, then Robbie will support her decision. In the process, Rachel raises the spirit of Pierce, a male witch who was working for the older version of IS, tracking a vampire who preys on young girls. This was a great story. I liked how Rachel got to strut her young stuff, showing the strong woman she would one day grow into. I liked the sweet chemistry between Rachel and Pierce. It was also nice to see Rachel's family. Her brother is kind of bossy, but Rachel holds her own against him and Pierce's inbred chauvinism very well. Kim Harrison's excellent writing skills are ably-demonstrated in this short story. 5 stars.
"Run, Run Rudolph" by Lynsay Sands
At first, I wasn't sure I'd like this story. It seemed too pedestrian. Heroine owns a clothing shop. Hero owns a shoe shop. At first I wasn't sure of the tone, and the Kim Harrison story gave it a hard act to follow. Forgive my non-paranormal contemporary snobbery. As always, it helps to keep reading. It was actually really funny. I was giggling and laughing out loud like crazy! Jill was a pretty sharp heroine. She figured out pretty soon how to use the abilities that had been forced on her by a crazy scientist who used to work with her brother. This story is related to "The Claire Switch Project", which is in Dates From Hell. In that story, Jill's brother creates a machine that can destabilize molecules to allow a person to change their form to whatever they visualize. This story has a little bit of the goofy vibe of the previous story, but I liked it much better. The humor found me at a good time, I guess. I thought that Nick, the guy that Jill had been sweet on for months, was a very nice guy. I liked that he accepted Jill for what she was, helped to protect her from her pursuer, and he had felt the same way about her for months, but was waiting for the right time to declare his feelings. This was a nice, fun Christmas short story. 4 stars.
"Six" by Marjorie Liu
Marjorie knows what us comic book/action-adventure movie/romance novel-reading fangirls want! In this story, the heroine is a police officer who was trained from a young age to be an invincible fighter. She has no life outside of her work, and suppresses her longing for anything more beneath cold, hard determination. Her whole body is a weapon, and she knows how to use it. The hero is a necromancer, and they are fighting vampires that are straight out of Chinese folklore. I felt like I was watching one of those awesome Hong Kong action movies, which I love! I loved the intense bond between Six and Joseph. I loved that this book was set in China, and that the heroine is Chinese and the hero is Chinese and Russian. This book takes place on New Years' Eve, and it was interesting to see how that holiday is celebrated in China. Boy, I wanted some dumplings after I read this story; since one of the characters makes them, making me drool in the process. I think Marjorie Liu is a highly talented author, and I am kicking myself for letting all her books accumulate on my tbr pile. I plan to rectify that in the New Year. 5 stars.
"The Harvest" by Vicki Pettersson
This story took so long for me to read. The idea is intriguing but the execution was fairly tedious. I think that it would have benefited from lots more dialogue and action instead of explanatory narrative. I did like the idea of a war between good and evil and how it's been told in comic books, which the forces call 'manuals'. Zoe was a strong, vivid character. I thought she showed a lot of mettle, striving to protect her daughters and granddaughter, even at the price of giving up her own legacy. The relationship between her and her ex-lover and comrade was bittersweet. It was interesting how Ms. Pettersson built this story around Thanksgiving, and how she integrated it into this story. The Buddhist spiritual aspects are underutilized in urban fantasy. I think I would have loved this story if had been more active, with more showing. As it was, it was kind of boring. I'm sad about that. 3 stars.
Overall, this was a good collection and a nice holiday read. ...more
There is drive-thru paranormal and there is sit down, multi-dish, stick to your ribs and set your taste buds on fire meal eating. Both are good, depenThere is drive-thru paranormal and there is sit down, multi-dish, stick to your ribs and set your taste buds on fire meal eating. Both are good, depending on what you want. As a paranormal fan, I love a book that I can devour in three hours and get my PNR fix. But as a reader who likes to be wowed, I love Marjorie M. Liu's style. I figure if you don't like her writing style, you won't make it past the first ten pages. She writes intricate and textured. Her world-building involves all the fives senses, and includes initial moments that make you wonder where she's going. However, if you keep reading, you'll get your answers. I love that when I was reading this book, I kept asking was this paranormal or urban fantasy. Being a love of both, I'd rather have a paranormal that leans towards UF with the world-building and depth of storytelling, but has a monogamous couple who will get their happy ending together, and love sitting back and reading to see this unfold. This is one of those books where I felt like it was taking a while to read, and I was enjoying myself. When I got impatient, I settled down and experienced the writing for what it was. Again, no fast food here, but a satisfying meal that took some time to consume instead. I wasn't disappointed.
Things that stand out in this book:
* The cultural experiences in this book were to die for. I am a serious armchair traveler. I will tell anyone I know. I haven't had the opportunity to do much world traveling, and so I appreciate doing so in my reading. This book takes place in Taipei, Taiwan, and in Hong Kong and Mainland China. If there is one set of cultures I feel a strong pull towards despite not sharing that heritage, it is Asian cultures. With this book, though I have never set foot outside of the US, I was there, walking the streets of Taipei, Hong Kong, and experiencing the natural beauty of a small town in the mountains of Sichuan. I felt everything as though I was on the journey. Every element tied into the story, and not some random info-dump to proved that the author had done her research on the places she wrote about. I don't doubt that Ms. Liu has been to these places, and I thank her for taking me on a three-dimensional journey along with the characters. * True love between a boy and girl comes full circle--A strong romantic, I am. I loved the idea that Mirabelle and Dean grew up together, loved each other intensely. Even though they had thought each other dead for twenty years, their hearts never recovered and they never stopped loving each other. When they reunite, the magic is there and although they are older and had different life experiences, their bond is much more strong and richer as adults. I loved that they never doubted each other or their bond, and they didn't try to convince themselves that time had erased that bond. I think friends becoming lovers is one of the most romantic storylines ever written. You know each other so well, that this connection only deepens when you realize that you are each other's happy ending. * The characters: Dean is tough as nails, sarcastic, quick on his feet, a man who acts more than he talks. From the beginning, I loved him. He was wearing an Optimus Prime Transformers t-shirt, how could I not. And the fact that he loved Mirabelle so much, he'd never gotten over her. Happy Sigh! Mirabelle is a bonafide kick*ss heroine. She doesn't play. Even for an academian, she's not pushover or wilting flower. Although Dean might have saved her a few times, she reciprocates. I found myself saying, "Dang, girl." at the way she handled some of the bad guys. She's my kind of girl. * I spoke earlier about the impressive world-building, and on top of that, very novel, intricate storytelling, steeped in Chinese dragon folklore with believable archeological aspects. * Whenever I read Liu, I feel like I am watching action movies, specifically Hong Kong Action movies, where the fantasy elements go hand in hand with the kick*ssery. She couldn't make this movie geek happier. I am sure that she also stayed up late to watch movies like "The Bride with White Hair," "The Heroic Trio," and others. She brings this sensibility to paper so well, it reinforces how much I enjoyed those movies. * A host of intriguing secondary characters inhabit this book. Good, bad, and somewhere in-between. And ethnic diversity is the name of the game. Thanks for that! Monochromatic UF and PNR is disappointing in so many ways to this reader.
Marjorie M. Liu isn't for everyone. I imagine some readers will lose patience with her writing style. That's okay if she doesn't work for some of those readers. She works for me. What I invest in reading her books, I get back threefold. That's why she's a keeper for me!...more
I finally finished my reread. It was taking too long! I'm glad I finally just gave in just read this straight through the past couple of days. I alterI finally finished my reread. It was taking too long! I'm glad I finally just gave in just read this straight through the past couple of days. I alternated between the Kindle version and my paperback, which is a little more beat up than it was when I started. Purses are not the best habitat for books, but what can a bookworm do?
My thoughts this time around:
*Reno, you are such a brat, and how I love you. You sexy thang! Why did it take you so long to admit you were crazy about Jilly. You were a goner from the beginning. I wish you could have refrained from putting your big cowboy boots in your mouth so much because you were trying to push her away.
*This book is really kind of chaotic at times. It's okay though. I liked the wild pace and the energy. It felt like an Ice book, but on speed.
*Jilly sure did have a potty mouth. I think it's a function of her age and trying to put on armor against the world. Her mother is an idiot, and her father is barely around. Other than her older sister, Summer, she practically raised herself.
*I thought the fist fight between Reno and Taka was hilarious. They really did act like family. It was funny how even Reno was scared of Taka. Taka is pretty scary, except maybe to Summer.
*I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Tokyo, but this book makes me feel like I did.
*I loved this book just as much. A wild, crazy love story. Complete escapism, with two people who are young, gorgeous, and in love. Sometimes that's exactly what I need to read.
Rain is definitely my Reno. He doesn't have the waist-length red hair, but it's not much of a stretch to see him with that look. Here's a picture of him after he cuts his hair and dyes it black.
Romola Garai definitely reminds me of Jilly. In the book, she has brown eyes, but otherwise, she pulls of the rebellious, but innocent, and highly cerebral persona of Jilly very well.
Reno is a lethal weapon, I decided he would be a sai. Technically sais aren't sharp except on the tip. They are mostly a defensive weapon, but a sai is a nasty weapon in the right hands. Reno plays like he's feckless, but he's just as lethal as the other men of the Committee, and he's also Yakuza, which is a double whammy.
I needed this book right now! ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Original Review
I loved this book. I know a huge part of it was the Japanese hero. What can I say? I absoutely adore Asian men, and Reno is such a interesting guy. He's not a nice guy, but boy is he sexy and in the heart he is a decent human being. He is one reluctant to fall in love hero, but deep down I think he fell for Jilly at first sight. He makes her pay for loving her though.
This book is action-packed and you don't get much down time. But it added to the almost Bonnie and Clyde appeal (without the overt criminal elements).
Boy the sex scenes are probably the steamiest I've read in an Anne Stuart. You really get the tension and the fire between Reno and Jilly. Jilly has no ability to resist Reno, and she knows it. Heck, I'm not sure I'd do better resisting him. I'm still trying to figure out Jilly's failed sexual experience. I'm scratching my head over that one.
For some reason I wasn't digging Reno's red hair. That bothered me a lot. I could deal with the tattoos, which has shown how I've changed in the years. But the red hair just didn't sound attractive to me. Probably because I love the glossy black hair of Asian men. Yum!
I have a secret fascination with the Japanese Yakuza, which was delightfully indulged somewhat with this book. I loved the tidbits about Japan that Stuart throws in. Not like a person who researched Japan, but truly loves the city and its inhabitants. This book made me want to jump on a plane and go to the country.
I was a bit worried about Jilly being so young, but it really didn't ruin the book for me. I think the way Stuart dealt with her young age was appropriate. She wasn't always certain and didn't always react the right way to situations, but who does at the age of 20. Reno also shows that he is a twentysomething and somewhat rebellious type, and so his actions were fitting.
I love the Ice series, although they definitely go there for romances. This book is no different. I think this one is my favorite because Reno is not as machine-like and completely apathetic about morality as the other heroes were (Don't get me wrong, I still love Bastian, Peter, Taka, and Killian for all their ruthless killerness). In fact, Reno has to work hard not to feel anything, particularly for Jilly. It's clear early on that Jilly is his Achilles' heel, although he makes her believe he can't stand her. If you're looking for a nice little romance with normal people who always do the right thing, and no body count, don't read this book. If you want an adrenaline ride with two characters who passionately love each other, even though they know it's folly, I think you will love this book. I adore Anne Stuart, so I was along for the ride. I thought the frenetic, intense, crazy adventurous theme of the book juxtaposed with glimpses into Japanese culture were thoroughly enjoyable. The book even ends with a wild climax that makes you wonder what these two will be up to in the future, but you don't doubt for a second that they will stay together because they are soulmates....more