There is something absurdly appealing about this series to me. I guess it's because it's so crazy and out there. A team of super-villains is selected There is something absurdly appealing about this series to me. I guess it's because it's so crazy and out there. A team of super-villains is selected from the population of Belle Reve, a maximum security prison in the middle of the Louisiana swampland designed to house dangerous meta-human criminals. the only ones selected for the team are the ones who survived vicious torture without breaking. They have nanite bombs implanted that will blow their heads off if they don't come back to the prison after the mission is completed, and are sent into missions where their chances of survival are extremely limited.
I haven't read much Batman in a long time (queued up on my reading list), so my experience with Harley Quinn is based on watching Batman movies and tv shows. She's seriously crazy and homicidally inclined, but in a strange way, I kind of liked her. Don't judge me! I'm trying to process it myself. Deadshot, I think I might be developing a crush on him. Stop judging me! I find King Shark disgusting. I hope he dies. He's yuck. Black Spider is interesting, although I don't trust him. Not that I trust any of these guys, but he has a sense of superiority because he's a vigilante who likes to kill criminals. A bit of self-righteousness can make someone very dangerous because they are good at justifying even their most questionable actions. El Diablo is quite a character. An ex-street criminal who felt severe remorse after flaming down a house full of women and children. He has the ability to start fires, and his numerous tattoos are burnt off in the process. There are a few other characters who round out the very fluid team membership. Amanda Waller, warden of Belle Reve, is the no-nonsense command officer for the Squad. She don't take no mess. She is fierce, and lays down the law with the members. It's do or die for them.
I think the creators of this series like the fact that they can go for it. You don't get those moments where the 'hero' wouldn't do 'that' or they wouldn't cross that line. They are pretty much what you think: violent criminal offenders who have a personal agenda for what they do. Admittedly, some have a bit more of an ethos than others. Their first mission is about as crazy as it gets. Getting dropped in the middle of a sportsdome full of people infected by a technovirus. Yeah, crazy!
Can I admit I'm shipping Harley Quinn and Deadshot? Well I am.
I'm really sucked into this series. There is a tremendous meeting of the minds between Castle and Cole-Alves. They almost don't have to talk, but commI'm really sucked into this series. There is a tremendous meeting of the minds between Castle and Cole-Alves. They almost don't have to talk, but communicate via body language. This is probably a good and bad thing, because they both understand their rage and need to punish those who have taken their loved ones away and will do the same to others. Even the secondary characters have an impact on the storyline. I liked the dialogue between the two detectives on the trail of the Punisher and his new ally. One represents the side of the person who is sympathetic to the Punisher, and who thinks he's doing the right thing, the other on the side of the law and true justice. I think they represent the duality of the reader, their thoughts on both sides of the equation.
The artwork is gorgeous. I think the artist is excellent at conveying the sense of purpose and the intensity of the characters on their faces, making up for a lack of dialogue, and also conveying action on the page.
I especially liked the Punisher/Spider-Man/Daredevil crossover. Daredevil is determined to steer Cole-Alves off the path she has taken, when he failed to do so with Castle.
I am going to be sad when I run out of this run of The Punisher. I still don't know if I'm ready to read the more hardcore Garth Ennis version, and I like the dynamic of Cole-Alves....more
Lady Ayla is threatened with either marriage to the powerful, conquering lord Margrave von Falkenstein or for her lands to be confiscated and Synopsis
Lady Ayla is threatened with either marriage to the powerful, conquering lord Margrave von Falkenstein or for her lands to be confiscated and her people killed in war. With her father ailing from a long-term degenerative condition, she has assumed command of his lands in his stead. She refuses the Margrave's offer of marriage, knowing that it will mean war, because she realizes giving into him is the wrong decision to make for herself and her people. On a trip through a nearby forest to notify her vassals of her need for men to protect Luntberg Castle and its villagers, she is robbed by the fearsome, dreaded, red-armor-wearing Robber Knight, who dares to take her money, property and her beloved horse, although he spares her life and doesn't harm a hair on her head. Lady Ayla vows to see him caught and hanged.
When Ayla and her steward find a sole-surviving, wounded man in a field of bloody, mutilated bodies, they bring him back to the castle. His name is Reuben, and he claims to be a merchant, but he is really the same Red Knight. If he reveals his identity, he will be hanged as a thief. And he is too weak to flee for his life from his wounds and a subsequent fever and infection. As he is nursed back to health by the beautiful Lady Ayla, his cynicism and overpowering self-interest gives way to love. Can Ayla keep her people safe from a deadly siege, and avoid falling for a man below her station who she believes is not telling her the whole truth about his identity?
The Robber Knight is an entertaining trip back in time to the medieval era. The narrative voice is lively, with subtle humor and vivid characterizations. Reuben is the perfect rogue character, a man who hasn't decided if he wants to take the trouble to be a better man again, until Lady Ayla shows him he is capable of it. Ayla is sweet and determined, a woman of her times. Beneath her ladylike exterior, she has the heart of a lion and a backbone of steel. The secondary characters, such as the old vassal but still capable knight and fighter, Sir Isenbard, are well-developed.
Mr. Thier clearly has a background in medieval history, and a talent for writing a story that is enlightening about the period, but in a very entertaining, readable fashion. The depiction of medieval castle warfare is lifelike and realistic without being overly graphic. The reader learns the ins and outs of protecting a castle against invaders alongside Lady Ayla, and her people, most of whom have lived in a time of peace and whose war skills are limited to non-existent. I cheered along with them as they survived numerous assaults due to the advice of the injured Reuben.
Readers who enjoy romance stories will appreciate the slow build of attraction and feelings between Ayla and Reuben. The author makes the most of their every moment together to show romantic tension and growing love between the characters.
The Robber Knight is a story that will appeal to readers who have interest in the medieval period. It's an edifying read, flows and keeps the reader's interest with engaging characters and a well-paced narrative. This reader recommends it, despite the fact that the cliffhanger ending pricks at one of the biggest pet peeves of mine.
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
Disclaimer: You cannot take these Deadpool graphic novels seriously. Deadpool is a wise-cracking mercenary who is also cracked in the gourd. His graspDisclaimer: You cannot take these Deadpool graphic novels seriously. Deadpool is a wise-cracking mercenary who is also cracked in the gourd. His grasp of reality is tenuous, and thus, through his eyes, our view of the world is as well.
I think that Marvel uses this character for some comic relief (although I think Spider-Man as well to a lesser extent). Of course, readers have to have a twisted, darker sense of humor. When I started reading this, I was hoping that Deadpool wouldn't do any killing of innocent people, and he mostly doesn't. It's complicated. He has a conscience in the form of a dead SHIELD agent who shares his mind with him, and I think that deep down, Deadpool isn't a bad guy. Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part. No, seriously, he does try to minimize collateral damage and help people, showing a strange sense of ethics.
The artwork was bright and reflected the craziness of Deadpool's mind and his adventures. Another great thing about this book was the prodigious cameos it had: Iron Man/Tony Stark, Luke Cage/Power Man, Daredevil, even Spider-Man.
The story is seriously whacked, so I wouldn't recommend it across the board. It's for folks who have a strange sense of humor (I can count myself among those, even though some of it was on the edge of my own tastes). And for those who like a seriously kickbutt main lead who can go all ninja on his enemies, even while he's spouting foolishness and who is quite obviously insane....more
I was so enthralled with this book, I didn't want to put it down. It has the intensity that I crave in a historical romance with excellent writing. ThI was so enthralled with this book, I didn't want to put it down. It has the intensity that I crave in a historical romance with excellent writing. The characters had a complexity that made them real people, and not always in good ways. Our hero lives up to the scoundrel name for sure, but his path of redemption makes for delectable reading.
I have to give this one 4.5 stars, because it's just that good. I am adding Juliana Gray to my must read HR author list.
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.
Okay, this was definitely a five star book. Steve McHugh definitely brought it with this fourth full-length book in the Hellequin series. Nate is defiOkay, this was definitely a five star book. Steve McHugh definitely brought it with this fourth full-length book in the Hellequin series. Nate is definitely going into my top ten of serious bad*sses!
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.
It was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how thIt was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how they got together. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn't like it quite as much as I wanted to though. I think that was because Gideon is so sex-bombalicious nerdtastic in the other books, I wanted to see more of his oh-so alluring geekiness. Instead, he was much like the other Breed males in his demeanor although there was a cool part about him creating a precursor to the laptop we know and love today (cause guess what I'm typing this review on right now?). Thus, this book didn't really stand out that much from the other books. That was probably my biggest issue and why this wasn't higher rated. Also, I didn't like (view spoiler)[how Gideon promised not to fight in the field because of Savannah's fear of it. To me, it makes her into the bad guy to take that away from him. Fact is, they live in a world with a lot of violence, and I think that Gideon's status as a warrior is honorable and something to be proud of. Yes, there is risk, but he's very good at what he does. I wouldn't want to take that away from him. It does answer why he doesn't fight, but since he had a bullet stuck in his head, that was just as good a reason for him not to fight (hide spoiler)]. Even though Gideon wasn't as geeky, I still liked him a lot. I love his typical British colloquialisms, which we see in this novella as well.
What I loved was getting to know Savannah. I really, really like her. She's very young, but she has a maturity that I respected about her. She's a very intellectual person with a keen mind, and I could see part of why they were drawn to each other. Also her strong sense of right and wrong, and that traditional heroic urge, which is addressed in the novella. When she gets a vision of Gideon by touching his sword, you could instantly feel that bond begin between them, and when they meet, the rest is inevitable.
One thing that stood out to me was that Adrian stays grounded in the 70s setting throughout this book. The scene when Gideon tells her to call the Order, she has to grab coins out of her purse and run outside to a pay phone. That was really well done. At first, I expected her to pull out her cell phone, and I would imagine that would be Adrian's gut instinct to write that, but she remembers that they don't have cell phones at that time. I was instantly reminded that this is set about thirty-odd years in the past. She didn't have to keep hitting me over the head with descriptions of bell-bottoms and stuff like that either.
Ultimately, if you're a fan of the Breed series, I don't see why you wouldn't like this. It has the same feel and intensity of the other books. I think the biggest draw was getting to see Gideon and Savannah's backstory on paper, and although it was a short novella, it was well done and I believe in their love, past, present and future. Of course, it was awesome to see more of Tegan, 'cause I just love him!
And I'm really happy to see a popular paranormal romance novelist who is upfront and comfortable with depicting a loving, committed interracial relationship in her books. Kudos for that, Ms. Adrian.
A respectable four star read for me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's pI am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's present to me for my birthday! That said, let's get to my review:
**Disclaimer: This review is as spoiler-free as I could make it!
Wrath, Son of Wrath and Beth Randall have come a long way since Dark Lover, and it's been my pleasure to accompany them on the ride!
When I first read Dark Lover (about eight years ago), I will be honest in saying that my biggest draw was not Wrath or Beth, but the world and the storyline of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the strange world within a world of Caldwell, New York. While I enjoyed their relationship, it didn’t blow me away, and neither character is my favorite in this series. However, I knew I was going to keep reading the series, and boy am I glad.
With The King, I feel that an immensely important chapter has been closed in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and it makes me happy because I feel that all the Brothers and their Shellans have found peace and the close bond of family, drawing close friends into their net. I also feel a sense of excitement in knowing that the storyline can continue and branch off in different ways and directions, and the waters seem uncharted. While there are tendrils that Ms. Ward has planted in this novel, I honestly don't feel I can predict too much about what is coming next. It's going to be fun to see where the story leads, and I am in no way ready for this series to end.
I feel we got to see some added depth to Wrath that was very good for expanding my view and appreciation of the King. He came to terms with some major hurts and issues he was facing, and I felt the flashbacks were a crucial aspect of the storyline. Wrath always regretted that he could not save his parents and he divorced himself from the concept of family and his legacy so long out of a sense of fear and guilt. In this book, he came to terms with his past and how his future did not have to be governed or hemmed in by fear. I loved his evolution as a King and what that responsibility came to mean for him. It was joyous for him to get everything he needed, but didn't even realize he wanted. Even though I know things didn't end well for his parents, their powerful love for each other and their son was still inspiring to me.
Beth's storyline was thought-provoking. She was all over the place emotionally, and I understand why. I feel that she was at some of her deepest lows and her highest highs both in this book. While the story is about her, as Wrath's shellen, I think that more of the story was about Wrath. Her role seems more peripheral, but in a pivotal way. I still enjoyed reading about her character journey in this book. Beth is the best Queen for the race, and I can think of no other shellan to stand at Wrath's side.
Beth and John Matthew
I think this book explored their relationship in a more satisfactory fashion than any of the proceeding books. They know they have each other's backs, and the readers as well. Also, it shows that although you may have your desired life partner, you also need the connection of family (blood and found). I almost thought the thing Ward said would never happen was going to happen, but it turns out that it wasn't necessary. I like the way the story unfolds instead. That John Matthew remains his own person, and his relationships with others aren’t hinged on his secret heritage.
Xcor remains a complicated male, not quite likable in many moments, and captivating and deeply sympathetic in others. Since I like my characters complex, he definitely has my interest, and he may turn out to be a new favorite of mine in this series. He remains a wild card in this new series arc, his behavior not the slightest bit predictable. To his great surprise, his feelings for a certain Chosen have opened closed off parts of his psyche, and this cannot be a bad thing at all. I think he will have a potential enemy in his own nest, but he’s not unaware of that.
Layla is on shaky ground, but she is making her own choices and defining herself as a female. In her own way, she may have helped to avert a war that wasn’t going to end well, and that’s a good thing. I’m happy about that. I’m very excited to see where the story leads her next.
Assail and Sola
Assail is probably the most amoral of the lead characters in this series to date. His behavior chilled me at times, but he was also very sweet in others to Sola and her grandmother. It’s hard to know what to make of him. I hope we see more of his viewpoint. I can’t believe their road ends here. Sola’s in a place where she has to deny the desires of the heart. How long will she be able to tune out the siren call of her unwise feelings for Assail, who logically seems like a ‘very bad man?'
The Shadows: Trez and iAm
I am jubilant at the expansion of their storyline. These two promise to be a gamechanger in the series. We will finally explore the world of the s’Hisbe, and what a fascinating world it is. Trez has been running from his past for a long, long time, dragging his brother iAm along for the bumpy ride, as iAm has ever been his self-appointed guardian. iAm will soon step out of his brother’s shadow and find his own destiny, since Trez must soon face the music. Trez’s character is both repellant and alluring. He breaks my heart in many ways, but I feel hope for his future. I am drawn into this exploration of the dark path he has walked. The Shadows, once merely loyal allies of the Sympath King, have their own grand tale to be told.
I didn’t expect her secret struggle at all. Another case of ‘keep reading’ to see how she will get her happy ending. And she had better!
The Usual Suspects
It's always a pleasure to see the various characters who have had their books, and at the same time, I want more of them. I don't think the WARDen could ever sate my desire for enough of each character, honestly.
JR Ward, like every other author, has her own distinctive voice. There are aspects to her storytelling that turn off some readers. While I can see where she can overdo some of her affectations (like the brand name dropping and the copious use of slang), I love reading her writing. I feel that her depiction of the ancient culture of the vampires and their various subspecies is very poetic and dramatic, like an epic in its own way. Her romantic exposition lushly romantic and deeply sensual. It wraps around me like the dark spices her bonded males exude for their mates. Her tendency to adapt an urban vibe doesn’t bother me, because I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition to the very antiquated rituals of the vampires. While I can’t deny that the Black Dagger Brotherhood is at its heart a soap opera (not a bad thing in itself), it’s an enthralling one that draws me in and doesn’t let go of me until I read the last page (although the stories and characters continue to linger deep in the recesses of my imagination long after I finish the books). I feel like the Brothers, their shellans, and their friends/associations are part of my family, and each book release is like a yearly family reunion that I don’t dare miss. If only I was as excited to go to my real life family reunions!
I’m sure that I could nitpick about the things I felt could have been better written, but I don’t want to. It won’t make me feel I wrote a better review, and I’m not sure it would change my rating at all. I just want to bask in the glow of a new release of one of my top three series. I don’t drink JR Ward Kool-Aid, but I certainly enjoy her fine literary comestibles.
**The countdown has begun until next year’s release.**
Crystal Gardens is for readers who enjoy their historical romance with strong paranormal elements. In this case, a huge part of the story is the conceCrystal Gardens is for readers who enjoy their historical romance with strong paranormal elements. In this case, a huge part of the story is the concept of 'psychical energies.' Both Evangeline and Lucas have paranormal abilities, and they are drawn to Crystal Gardens, Lucas' deceased uncle's estate by no accident. In the case of Lucas, he comes to investigate his uncle's murder. Evangeline comes to soak up the atmosphere and work on her series of serial novels, and also to investigate the place that her father (a man who studied psychical energies and invented machines that ran on these energies) was obsessed with. Evangeline is also fleeing a murderer and ends up running right into Lucas' arms, which is a very good thing! Lucas is just the knight in tarnished armor to keep her safe.
I enjoyed listening to this book on audio but it did fall short overall. The narrator has a very dramatic way of reading it. Sometimes, her voice sounded a little odd (especially when she narrated the male characters), but I loved her British accent, and that each character sounded distinctive. I think that Quick's books lend themselves very well to audiobooks. Her style is very focused on the mystery components, and the romance seems to take a bit of a back seat at times. This would probably bother me more if I was reading than when I listen to books. That is not to say that the romance wasn't good. It was. I just could have used more than I got. I do feel that she emphasized the paranormal elements too much. She used the term 'psychical' excessively. I think that the reader gets the point about the paranormal energies and she could have spent time on building up the story in other ways. I do think Quick excelled in her descriptions of the Gardens and its otherworldly atmosphere. I felt like I was there in the Gardens, which might be a very strange experience indeed.
Unfortunately, the characters didn't feel as well-developed as I would have liked. I found Evangeline and Lucas likable and intriguing, but I don't feel that I knew them as well as I wanted. I feel that Quick did more telling about them than showing. Maybe she could have caused their characterization come to light more organically if she had spent more time on revealing who they were than explaining about the paranormal elements of the Crystal Gardens. At the end of the story, I could feel their attraction and feelings for each other, but I didn't get to explore this powerful love that supposedly had developed between them. Since this is a romance, that is crucial. I found the love scenes well written and passionate, and I really liked this about the book. I did feel the attraction between Evangeline and Lucas, although Quick sort of stole its impact by implying it was related to the psychical energies. Lucas is the kind of hero I love, strong, intelligent, compelling, and dangerous in an appealing way, but something was missing from his portrayal. Evangeline was a good person, a sweet woman who is independent and intelligent, and I wanted things to work out for her, but she wasn't distinctive as a character. The secondary character were barely fleshed out. I did like Evangeline's friends Clarissa and Beatrice, as well as Lucas' siblings, Beth and Tony. I also like Molly, Evangeline's maid, and Stone, Lucas' manservant, but they weren't as vivid as I would have liked. Judith, Lucas' stepmother seemed more lively in her characterization, especially with her feelings of antipathy towards Lucas and the reasons for them. The way Lucas treated Judith endeared me to him. He was respectful and he took his responsibilities for her very seriously even though she had never treated him well. The villain was quite cardboard, and his motivations were shallow. He shows up just in time for a thrilling climax, but he spends very little time in this book overall.
I guess it's clear I wanted to like this book more than I did. I liked it, but I think that this author is capable of writing a better book than this. I say that with all respect for her. I hope that the next books in the Ladies of Mystery have the spark that this book was lacking, because I think this series really has potential. And I am a sucker for the Victorian Gothic romance! ...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
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
Leopard's Prey is Remy Boudreaux's story and he lives up to the anticipation he built when he entered the scene the first time in Savage Nature. It'sLeopard's Prey is Remy Boudreaux's story and he lives up to the anticipation he built when he entered the scene the first time in Savage Nature. It's been a year since I read a Feehan book, so Remy's book is a great way to break my fast. I knew Remy would be 'something else,' the kind of hero only Feehan can write. With Bijou, he gets the story and the heroine that I wished for.
I will freely admit that the GhostWalkers is my favorite series by Feehan, and the others pale in comparison, so I make sure my expectations reflect the fact that all the redoubtable Ms. Feehan's writing gets measured against this series, because of my inestimable love for it. However, I am always very happy to get my hands on another book by her, since I just plain enjoy her writing. She has some interesting stories with characters I fall for and burning hot and emotional love stories. That's what this romance fan loves.
Anyway, Leopard's Prey is steeped in Louisiana bayou atmosphere. The characters are almost all natives of this region, and based on my short visits to this part of the United States, I felt like I was taking another trip down there and enjoying it, taking in the sights and sounds. Additionally, the feel of family is strong in this novel. The Boudreaux clan of brothers and sister, along with the larger Leopard Clan, are tightly bonded to each other, loving and teasing each other, sometimes in mean ways (but it's all in fun). Bijou, who had just about the most dysfunctional childhood ever, needs a family like this, full of people who watch out for each other, even as they give each other a hard time.
Bijou is the daughter of a notorious, yet beloved rock star. This is very important to the story because it affects everything in Bijou's adult life and all her relationships. He failed her beyond measure as a parent, scarring her self-esteem and sense of confidence, despite her incredibly beautiful looks and formidable musical talent of her own. I really liked her character. Despite her awful start in life, she's grown into a wonderful woman with a generous heart and a strong core, despite her insecurities. Remy and Bijou have a long-standing and deep bond from an event a long time ago, when he saves her life as an eight-year-old, but their lives go in different directions. Remy is quite older than Bijou, but in some ways, she has as much to teach him and he does her. Remy needs to learn the language of love that Bijou speaks. He takes it for granted that she night not understand how special she is, when she doesn't have that frame of reference at all. Growing up the way she did, how could she? Remy knows intellectually that Bijou is clueless on their shared leopard heritage. However, he doesn't get that she might interpret the strong sexual attraction they share as merely a function of the Leopards' sexual needs and not any higher bond between them, or that she is special to Remy. So a good chunk of the book is about them exploring their relationship and coming to understand just what it means on both sides to be together (paired to the murder mystery).
Bijou and Remy had great chemistry. The love scenes are quite scorching. Feehan makes a big deal about the leopard's need for rough sex, and it does veer in that direction, but nothing too out there or tasteless, in my mind. I do roll my eyes a bit at the whole 'dominating' aspect of the love scenes, 'cause that's not my thing at all. There is no question that Remy is a sexy beast though! I like how Feehan uses the love scenes to show the different aspects of their relationship: primal, affectionate, deeply emotional and fiercely intimate, and even playful. I also appreciated how Feehan presents the leopard nature. She gets the aspect of this big cat right, and it fits in with this story of human leopard shapeshifters. In some ways, this story reminded me of the film Cat People, but with a much happier ending that I always wished for.
I can only give this in the four stars region because I feel like this story could have been longer. I felt like I missed something when it ended. Maybe I am just very rapacious when it comes to books by this author. She gets me hooked and I hate when the ride is over too soon. The story moves along at an expansive pace, and before I knew it, things were wrapping up. For those who are following the Leopard storyline, this doesn't add a whole lot to the overall Leopard shapeshifter species arc from the beginning. It focuses on the Boudreaux family and the specific group in the Louisiana bayou. Some of the original guys show up in cameos, which was cool. As far as the storyline, it was more of a murder mystery/romantic suspense with paranormal romance, and lacks as much action as some of Feehan's books. I did think the mystery was quite suspenseful and the aspects of the murder was kind of gruesome and disturbing. The killer was not the person I expected at all (Well, I got this sick suspicion later on in the story and was hoping I was wrong). The reasons were very chilling for that person's actions, although there could be no palatable reason for what the murderer was doing.
Although not a five star book, it was higher in the four star range, because I enjoyed reading it immensely, and I tried to savor reading it. I could have done with more book, as I said earlier, so that takes off from my rating. I couldn't subtract too much because of the high enjoyment factor. I have so much fun visiting with Feehan's characters in the various series, and I admit the Leopard series did sneak up on me. I loved Bijou as much if not more than Remy, which is saying something. She's a sweet woman, and you just want her to have her happy ever after. I'm glad that her prince is Remy and she's going to be a part of the Boudreaux clan and will get the family she missed out on. I'm curious to see what Feehan comes up with next in this series.
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.
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 probably would have rated this higher if I hadn't been so strung out from sleep deprivation and just feeling so tired and worn out this past weekendI probably would have rated this higher if I hadn't been so strung out from sleep deprivation and just feeling so tired and worn out this past weekend. I feel bad about that, because that's the reason why I hoard my favorite authors' books for when I am in a good/receptive mood. Even with my beloved books, I can set the bar high and being moody can interfere with my reading experience. I guess it seems silly to qualify a four star rating. But Anne Stuart/Kristina Douglas is probably one of the authors I will have near my dying bedside, other than the Bible. That's how much I love her books. Anyhoo, let's get to the review.
I was looking forward to Michael's story because he seemed more light-hearted and jocular than the other Fallen. Lo and behold, he is a moody grump in his book. I can sort of get why. He's forced to get married for a prophecy to a woman who will die after he mates with her. He's chosen celibacy and the warrior life over sex, love and marriage (the Fallen variant). It's not that he didn't like sex. He gorged himself on it shortly after falling, and it was just empty for him after a while. He decided he likes his monastic warrior lifestyle better. Plus, he's repelled by the fact that Fallen are blood-eaters. Because of their curse for falling, they must ingest the blood of human women to sustain their lives. Fortunately, Michael can take just enough blood from the Source, the wife of the Alpha of the Fallen, to sustain his bodily needs. Other than that, he's not tempted in the least by women, neither for sex nor for blood. Until Victoria Bellona.
Now I thought the concept of Tory being a goddess was kind of weird. This story is based on Judeo-Christian legends of the fallen angels, although Douglas takes an extreme right turn with some of her theology. I can't say I love some aspects of that, which I have mentioned in my reviews of the first two books in this series. At any rate, throwing in the Roman pantheon just felt weird. She had a good explanation for it, and since it's her book, oh well. Having accepted who Tory was, I got over that, and just experienced her character. I liked Tory a lot. She's feisty and independent, especially considering the way she was raised. She could hold her own against Michael, and often kept him off balance. I loved seeing how she conquered her warrior angel with her personality and just being herself. He had no chance against her! I loved her silly names for him, like "Your Impeccable Angelic Magnificence." I mean, how does a stoic warrior angel confront that? He just has to give in.
While the world-building isn't award-winning (fairly basic), I love the interactions between the characters. How Douglas shows hate turn into love so well. She writes love scenes that evolve as the relationship between the characters evolves, which is the way it should be. You see these hardened heroes turn to slush before they even realize it. You smirk and say, "I knew it!", and enjoy the ride. I also love the description of the angels with their wings unfolded and their majestic beauty. I just love angels! Although Douglas is not a wordy writer, she conveys the heavenly beauty of even the fallen angels with words that say so much and paints such a vivid picture.
In the end, I didn't think much of the suspense elements. I don't care for the idea of Uriel being both the ruler of heaven and the big bad. Nor did I like the concept of Dark City and Beloch. But I did love the angelic romance on display. The interactions between the Michael and Tory, as well as catching up with the other Fallen make up for any world-building/suspense shortcomings. Had I been in a better mood, I would probably have been more forgiving. But four stars isn't bad at all.
Despite the things I don't like about this series, I do love the angels, the snarky heroines, and the romance, dark, although love always wins out, and I am excited for Rebel, because Cain looks to be a very bad boy indeed! Since I know who his love interest is, this should be very interesting!...more
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!
This book was so good!! I loved Coburn. What a man!!! You can tell I was a happy reader by the number of exclamation points I've used thus far. HonorThis book was so good!! I loved Coburn. What a man!!! You can tell I was a happy reader by the number of exclamation points I've used thus far. Honor was a good heroine too. Very intense and awesome suspense. Very close to five stars. Rating: 4.5 stars.