Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Killer Mormons! But more about that later...
Ok, the big deal about this one is that you get to see the Sherlock/WatSherlock Holmes and the case of the Killer Mormons! But more about that later...
Ok, the big deal about this one is that you get to see the Sherlock/Watson meet-cute. I mean, this is one of the most important meetings in the history of all literature! Come on, people! Get excited!
It's only fair to mention that I've read and reread all of these stories a bjillion times, and these are by far my favorite classic characters. Well, except for Lizzie & Mr. Darcy... But I know I haven't read P&P as many times as I have Sherlock's mysteries, which should tell you something right there. I LOVE YOU, SHERLOCK! And, just to be clear, I loved him before he was all sexified.
Ok, so Watson is back from the war (he basically just got trounced on and then came home), and has wasted all of his money is running low on funds. Luckily, he runs into an old pal from school, who just happens to know of this guy who's looking for a roommate. One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, Felix & Oscar have found their forever home!
Alright, as far as the mystery goes, it's just Sherlock running around sniffing things, (implausibly) being able to identify cigar ash, and tracing the movement of criminals using day-old (tromped on) footprints. Given what we know about forensic evidence now, is any of this, in any small way, even remotely believable? Can Sherlock actually deduct the answer to this mystery from horse tracks, a dead man's bad breath, and a plain wedding band? You're goddamn right, he can!
So...WhoDoneIt? Now, I'm fully prepared to admit that I had forgotten about the Mormon Connection. I haven't read this one years, mostly because I prefer the short stories. Duh! But, to uncover the reasons behind the killings, Doyle takes us on a journey to the wilds of America! Specifically, Utah. Land of the Magic Underwear! This was where the tale of one man's thirst for vengeance was born. And it's all Brigham Young's fault. He was eeeeeeevil! Bwahahahahaha! I'm assuming that Mormonism (like most religions) has its share of shady skeleton's in the closet. Now, I don't claim to be an expert on these guys. And I don't personally know very many Mormons, due to their predilection for Salt Lake City. All I know about that religion is what I've seen on tv or read in books, and it's not much. They wear special underwear. They can't watch R-rated movies. And they used to go door-to-door, until the Jehovah's Witness got to be too much competition. There's something else I'm forgetting though... What is it? It's right there on the tip of my tongue. Is it that they write best selling novels about sparkly vampires? No, there was something that looked like a big pink elephant... Oh! I remember!
Yes. Well, from what I can tell, the only Mormons who practice polygamy now are fringe groups that are more or less shunned by their peers. And while I'm not on board with any religion, I doubt that this one is much weirder than most, at this point anyway. Plus, at least most Mormons seem to be pretty educated and well-off. It's not like Salt Lake City is one huge trailer park filled with toothless hillbillies. And (bonus!) they seem to have the sense to keep their crazy old people off the airwaves...
Or so I thought! Now that I've read this, I'm going to have to rethink my plan to move west! Who knew these guys were so devious!? Kidnapping, forced marriage, murder, and secret bird calls!?
Was this really a five star book? Fuck, no. But it's my favorite character's first book, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
The story itself wasn't all that special, but it was functional. The art, however, was absolutely hideoMiddle of the road police drama...set in space.
The story itself wasn't all that special, but it was functional. The art, however, was absolutely hideous. I've been trying to get over my hatred of ugly art this year. In fact, I've made it a personal goal to try and overlook styles that don't fit into the mold I have in my mind. Branch out, if you will. But this? I'm sorry, but it was everything I personally loathe. Distorted faces with gross features, and characters that are indistinguishable from one another. Don't believe me? Check this panel out...
In case you can't read the text, she makes a crack about his name being feminine & assuming he was going to be a woman, and he says "I assumed you would not be old enough to retire.". To which she replies, "And I'd assumed you'd be too old for high school.". Ok. Can you tell any difference in their ages by looking at them? I'm going to go ahead and answer for you. No. No, you cannot tell that she is an older woman, any more than you can tell that he is supposed to be a fresh-faced young man. The both look like recovering stroke victims!
Alrighty, enough bitching. The gist is that this young cop volunteers (for reasons yet unknown) to come work homicide on this shithole of a space station. He's partnered up with the crusty old chick who knows how to do her job, and doesn't want to take on the young pup. They do the cutsie cop thing where they bump heads, and grumble about being assigned to each other. As police officers do... For example, his last name is Dietrich so she calls him Marlene. If you get that joke you're probably at least as old as I am, or you're one of those young weirdo drama geeks. Put your cardboard pitchfork down, nerd. My son is taking a theater class next year in high school, so I just need to get a few shots in. You know, before I have to start supporting his acting career. You don't think joining drama is going to gay him up, do you?*
Shit! You liberals are awful touchy today!
Where was I? Oh, right. So they do the meet-cute, work their case, and eventually come to respect each other.
The case starts out with the rather unsurprising discovery of a dead homeless person (or the space station equivalent of a homeless person), but they quickly begin to uncover secrets that lead them to believe the death is connected to a high-level politician. Who has apparently had a stroke, as well.
The mystery isn't all that bad or all that good. It just is. I don't have any real complaints about anything (other than the art), so if you're a fan of police procedurals, you might really like this one.
This was gifted to me by my Shallow Reading buddy, Mike. Thank you!
*That was written in sarcasm font, in case you're an IDIOT upset. No need send the PC Squad after me.
Even though it's nothing super-duper new or special, I thought this was pretty good. Not mind-blowing, but decent.
The gist of the story is that superhEven though it's nothing super-duper new or special, I thought this was pretty good. Not mind-blowing, but decent.
The gist of the story is that superheroes are unionized now, and work for an agency called C.O.W.L., instead of doing things on their own. Which is great, because now they have health and dental, right? I'm still not sure of all the particulars, but the agency apparently farms their services out to the police force. They're right in the middle of renegotiating their contract, when (in the opening pages) the Supers take out the last Big Villain. Great! Except, now the city isn't so sure they want (or need) to shell out the big bucks these guys want to stay on the payroll.
The leader of C.O.W.L. is a bit shady (as union bosses usually are), and there are some secrets that he seems to have been keeping that has one of the non-powered agents digging around...in places he shouldn't. *cue suspenseful music*
Because it's set 'back in the day', the female team member deals with lots of blatant sexism. Sort of strange seeing one of the most powerful team members getting patted on the head like that, but it made sense for the time period.
Stuff happens, supers go on strike, people die, secrets are uncovered, and a few of the team members go sort of rogue. There's a cliffhanger ending, but I want to see how the story plays out, so I'll keep reading. I thought it was a decent twist on the superhero genre, but nothing that I would actively push on my friends. This one was another one gifted to me in that Humble Bundle. Thank you, Mike!
Maybe I just don't read enough horror/serial killer stuff, but I seem to like this one a lot better than most of my frien3.5 stars...perhaps a full 4?
Maybe I just don't read enough horror/serial killer stuff, but I seem to like this one a lot better than most of my friends. And that may be because I don't like scary serial killer stories, and (they're right) this wasn't scary. Even the gross stuff wasn't too bad! I mean, it's icky that this guy ate people's fingernails down to the bone, but I was expecting some really stomach-churning imagery, and lots of blood-soaked gore to be peppered throughout this entire volume.
Ok, so that was gross, but most of the stuff wasn't all that nasty. This guy gets a call from his friend asking him to please come to this little town, and help him figure out why so many serial killers seem to be coming from Buckaroo, Oregon. He's not doing anything important at the moment, so he puts his gun down...and heads out on an adventure!
It kind of reminded me of that movie, Scream. There seems to be an underlying vibe that this story is making fun of the ridiculous horror clichés. Especially in panels like these:
Seems to be a decent mysteryish sort of thing happening in this one, and I wasn't bored while I was reading it. Again, this isn't exactly the sort of stuff I gravitate towards, so any real Graphic Novel/Horror/Crime/Slasher aficionados out there...feel free to disagree with me. But I liked it enough to want to read volume 2!
Thanks (again) to Mike for another fun read!...more
I only had the 1st issue of The Fade Out, but it was enough to really get me excited about reading the rest of this volume. Big Thank You!Mike for gifI only had the 1st issue of The Fade Out, but it was enough to really get me excited about reading the rest of this volume. Big Thank You!Mike for gifting me with this one!
So this takes place in the early days of Hollywood, and focuses on a guy who works for the movies studio as (I think?) a writer or something. At any rate, he's not a actor. He wakes up from a drunken blackout, only to find himself in the home of a starlet. And she's dead.
Now, admittedly, this is basically the opening of almost every noir story out there. But somehow Brubaker still made it interesting. How?! How do you do that, Ed?!
Good stuff! Give it a try, if you get the chance....more
I feel like I'm being very generous by giving this 3 stars. Then again, maybe historical paranormal mysteries just aren't my thing? Don't get me wrong,I feel like I'm being very generous by giving this 3 stars. Then again, maybe historical paranormal mysteries just aren't my thing? Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a chore to read, but it never really captured my attention.
First, let's start off with what I really liked about the story.,. I loved Delia and Gabe's relationship. They are just such a rock solid couple, and there's a lot of mutual respect that runs both ways between them. I also love the way Moyer describes the city of San Francisco in 1917. She makes it seem like another character in her story, and really brings the time period to life. Moyer also does an incredible job bringing the side characters to life. Dora, Jack, and Sam are all vividly written, and feel very real on the page.
Unfortunately, the mystery isn't much of a mystery. You know almost immediately who the Bad Guy is, and then it's just up to these guys to find a way to stop them. And sometimes that approach really works, but it just didn't do it for me this time. There was absolutely no tension, so it felt like our intrepid heroes just plodded along toward the conclusion.
Another problem is that Delia herself isn't a very interesting character. Dora (Delia's mentor) is a bohemian medium who regularly puts herself in harm's way to rid people of evil spirits. Delia is a woman who sees ghosts...and tries to help Dora. Dora is flirtatious, full of life, and haunted by the painful emotions of everything she comes into contact with. She appears to have quite a (somewhat hidden) drinking problem in order to cope with what she sees and feels. She uses her knowledge of spells and charms to ward her home, and the homes of anyone who needs protection from spirits. Delia is a nice married lady who wants to make sure her husband and friends are safe. Do you see where I'm going with this? Why isn't Dora the main character, and Delia a side character? It doesn't make much sense to me to have the boring one as your lead, because (especially this time around) it felt like the story would have been better from Dora's point of view. I think the real kicker was when a spiritual fight (toward the end of the book) took place between Dora and a Bad Guy. Since Delia is the narrator, you never find out what went on while Dora was 'fighting'. ????? Are you kidding me with that?
Then you have the lighting-fast acceptance that everyone seems to have toward the spiritual world. Gabe is San Francisco's Chief of Police in 1917. And his wife is continually telling everyone they meet about her talent to see spirits, and nobody gives them a hard time. Ever. They're all like, SURE THING! I BELIEVE YOU! Nobody reports this to the newspaper's gossip column, his superiors never 'have a chat' with him, his officers 'trust that he knows what he's doing', and he still has a job. Are you shitting me?! There are WAAAY too many people in on their little secret for something like this not to cause problems for them. It would cause problems for a public figure today, much less close to 100 years ago!
Then there's the spirit world, itself. Are the ghosts benevolent? Are they trying to help? Are they confused and lost? Or are they evil? All we know for sure is that Dora and Delia don't trust them, and keep trying to 'banish' them. Ghosts are tricky little bastards! But it seems like it would behoove them to see what these specters actually wan, don't you think? I assumed after the first book didn't elaborate on the rules of the spirit world, that book 2 would have more answers...more clarification? More something to let the reader know whether Delia & CO should reach out to them, or be afraid of any interaction. I'm not sure I'm even explaining this very well, but the world building for the ghostly stuff is (in my opinion) sorely lacking in these books.
Anyhoo. Last, but not least, I felt like the ending was abrupt and a bit anticlimactic. It was just...over. Kind of like this review.
This is nowhere near what I would consider my normal genre, but I really liked it anyway. Broken Souls has that PulAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines.
This is nowhere near what I would consider my normal genre, but I really liked it anyway. Broken Souls has that Pulp Fiction feel to it that made me think of hard-boiled detectives and L.A. noirish stuff. Or at least, this is what I assume those books are like. *cough, cough* I've, uh, never actually read a True Crime story. But this was what I imagine they would be like. Take my ramblings with a grain of salt. Eric Carter isn't the kind of guy who has a girlfriend, he's the kind of guy who sometimes spends time with some dame who works at the diner. Again. Not really. But in my mind that's what he does. Also, in my head, he has a gravelly voice. What? That was an important part of my internal reading experience!
Ok, I was a little nervous going into this, because I hadn't read the first book. But I gotta say, Blackmoore did an excellent job weaving the backstory from the first book into this one. There weren't great gobs of random info-dumps, either. I was lost for a few pages, but after that, it was relatively smooth sailing.
So an Aztec goddess of death killed his sister, and fucked up his life on multiple levels. And, one shotgun wedding later...they're married. Why? Read the first book and find out. His mission is to find another mage with enough mojo to help him serve her divorce papers. And when the book starts, he thinks he's found just the guy for the job. Right up till the dude tries to skin him alive, all in the high hopes of wearing him as a meat-coat. Yeah. Probably not the direction he was thinking their meeting would go.
Eric's sort of an assy guy, but you end up liking him anyway. He's not a do-gooder, per say, but he's also not do-badder, either. Do-badder is a real word. I looked it up. And since I've already done the work for you, there's no need for you to check and see if I'm lying. Really. Even though Eric isn't the classic Knight in Shining Armor, he's still got enough of a good-guy vibe to keep you rooting for him.
The book's story centers on finding out who this skin-wearing dude is, and why he wants Eric so badly. But it also weaves into what is going on with his wife...and her ex-husband. The plot is good, the pacing is tight, and the ending left me wanting more. Like I said, it's not my normal cuppa, but I wouldn't hesitate to read the next book. ...more
If I were going to start worshiping a demon, he'd have to be the sexy kind. Not some gruesomAlso reviewed for TattooGirl Reads.
Tentacle Monster Alert!
If I were going to start worshiping a demon, he'd have to be the sexy kind. Not some gruesome bastard with bad teeth, you know? Also, I'd want to get some decent perks out of it. Some sort of useful power would be nice, robes made out of that soft jersey cotton, and (most importantly) I'd like a nice insurance package. Maybe even toss in a 401k and some retirement benefits? I'm just throwing that out there for any of you who are considering joining a cult. Don't sell your soul to the first one that comes along. Negotiate for the best deal. What I wouldn't want, for example, is for the highlight of the whole thing to be my head turning into some kind of an octopus/butt...complete with tentacles. Some of you probably think I'm too picky about which monsters I devote myself to, but I like to think of it as being selective with my time. Devil worship can take a huge chunk out of your day, from what I've heard, and I've got a lot going on right now. That means, in all likelihood, I won't be joining a satanic sect anytime soon. Although, I'm seriously thinking about giving the PTA a shot, and I'm pretty sure some of those ladies sacrifice animals in their spare time...
That being said, this was a pretty cool little graphic novel. I thought (because I didn't read the blurb) that this was going to be a straight-up crime noirish thing. I also thought it might be set near the ocean, since the folks on the cover look like they are being caressed by a squid. Shockingly, I was wrong about that , as well. This story fall into the horror/noir/mystery/paranormal crime/graphic novel category, I think.
The plot goes a little something like this: There's a guy who meets an irresistible girl, who used to be his godfather's lover (there's a story there), but for now she's in a weird relationship with a crooked cop who love/hates her (which is another story), and the original guy wants to save her...sort of. Oh, yeah. And she's immortal or something. Plus, there's a group of Octopus-Demon worshipers who need to sacrifice Sexy Girl to their deity, in order to get rewarded with the Power of a Thousand Architeuthis (that means squids, by the way).
The art isn't what I prefer to look at, since it's all dark and pulpy, but it kind of grew on me by the end. I'm doubt this one is for everybody, but I enjoyed it. ...more
So, I get an email a while back from Cat, saying that she's gifting me this book, and sending the next one in the mail. Hmmmm. Should I be suspicious?So, I get an email a while back from Cat, saying that she's gifting me this book, and sending the next one in the mail. Hmmmm. Should I be suspicious? Is this some sort of a stinker that she doesn't want to read herself? Nah. She's just an unusually nice sort of person who sends me 'care packages', because she genuinely thinks I'll enjoy these books. And she was right!
Delia's Shadow is part love story, part paranormal thriller, and part historical mystery. Shadow is the name Delia gives to the unusual ghost that started haunting her (in earnest) while she was teaching in New York. She can't communicate with the dead, but she sees their spirits wandering around, sometimes attached to someone they loved in life. This particular spirit seems different, in that it is determined to get her attention. She feels this ghost wants her to return to her hometown of San Francisco. With no other way to rid herself of the the spirit, she gets on a train, and heads back to the women she considers her family. And it's not too long before Delia realizes the connection between her Shadow, and a serial killer who is hunting in her hometown. With the help of her best friend, Sadie, she's introduced to a medium named Dora. She understands what Delia is up against, and is willing to help her piece together the story of Shadow's life. And maybe more importantly, her death. Sadie's fiancee, Jack, and his partner, Gabe, are the detectives who are frantically working to prevent the killer from striking again. Not only does he show no signs of stopping, it looks as though he's getting ready to strike at the loved ones of the two men who are hunting him. With Sadie's life in danger, Delia has to overcome her fears and learn how to use her abilities to help stop this psychopath, before it's too late.
It was a really good story, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. However, if you're looking for a fast-paced romp, you won't find it here. The story moves forward at a decent pace, but Delia isn't an action heroine. She relays the messages and information to Gabe or Jack, and they head out to investigate. Part of me wanted to see her get out there and kick some ass, but the other part of me was glad that she wasn't stupid enough to do it. She doesn't have hidden ninja skills, and in this time period it would have been weird for her to be involved in capturing a criminal. So, no points for feminism, but points for historical accuracy. Also, I found it odd (and yet sort of refreshing) that Delia had no trouble convincing Gabe and Jack of the I See Dead People thing. Ok. To be fair, there's a whole lotta evidence (including some ghostly tantrum stuff) to point to the fact that she's not riding the Crazy Train. So. Either you'll be like me, and enjoy the fact that she doesn't spend the entire book trying to convince everyone she's not nuts. Or you'll think it was a little to convenient that everyone got on board with the idea so quickly.
I liked the POV shifts between Gabe and Delia, as well. He's a good guy with good intentions, and a pretty broad emotional spectrum. It was awesome to see a book promote healthy relationships between men and women. Jack and Gabe aren't controlling Alpha men, and neither Sadie nor Delia are fainting violets. It seems as though their relationships are built on...hang on to your hat....respect and love for each other. GASP!
If you've been looking for a paranormal/historical/thriller/mystery/ghost story...with a bit of romance, then check this one out. If you want a story about an ass-kicking Ghost Whisperer, then you need to keep looking....more
Weird. Supah-Weird. This looked (to me) like a cute romantic/mystery/caper sort of book. Bzzzzt Nope. This was full-up with all kinds of strange shit.
(Weird. Supah-Weird. This looked (to me) like a cute romantic/mystery/caper sort of book. Bzzzzt Nope. This was full-up with all kinds of strange shit.
(view spoiler)[Does anything about the blurb make you think that the heroine eats children because she's a supernatural monster? Yeah, I didn't think so. (hide spoiler)]
Ok, beyond the odd stuff (view spoiler)[AKA Leila eats gross raw meat to keep from chowing on babies (hide spoiler)], this was interesting enough that I wanted to finish it out. And possibly might even go back for more of these characters some day. Also, I grabbed this while it was free on Amazon, and I tend not to complain so much when the author is handing out freebies. I did feel like it got a tad chaotic at times, but for the most part, it was a fun way to pass the time.
Warning: The hero is a dick (view spoiler)[who kidnapped a little mute girl. I kept waiting for the Surprise! The kid was in danger at her home! Or even maybe that he somehow knew the kid and her family. Nope. He just took her, because he needed...not even really sure. It seemed like he used her to blackmail Leila into helping him, but he probably could have just thrown cash at her and gotten the same result. You know, minus the whole 'traumatizing a child' and 'terrifying her parents' thing (hide spoiler)]. And the heroine isn't exactly lovable, either. (view spoiler)[ She was having an affair with a married man, and he left her when his wife got pregnant. Leila got pissed off, and... Well, she attacked the wife, and somehow sucked the baby out of her womb and ate it. Not exactly a nice thing to do, you know? *gags*(hide spoiler)] However. Those very things that skeeved me out, also made the characters kinda interesting. Or at the very least, different than I was expecting. So if you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, this might just fit the bill.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Loved this! So I read this on Jeff's recommendation. See, he wrote a review for another book by this guy called Tourist Season. And in his review he haLoved this! So I read this on Jeff's recommendation. See, he wrote a review for another book by this guy called Tourist Season. And in his review he had the nerve to call people from Florida 'loopy'. Well, I grew up in that lovely state, and I'm normal...right? Hmmm. It got me thinking. So I asked one of my friends. The conversation went like this: Me:You don't think I'm weird because I'm from Florida, do you? Them: Remember last summer? Me: Yeah? Them: Remember when you killed that snake? Me: The copperhead? Yeah, so? Them: I've just never seen anybody chop off a snake's head with kitchen shears before... Me: Oh. Well, my mom always used to keep a machete by the front door, but my husband put ours in the upstairs closet somewhere. Ha! I remember this time when a moccasin got in our house, and she pinned it to the couch with that machete and then cut it's head off with a steak knife! wipes a tear Good times... Them: Um. Seriously? Me: Well, it's not like she could shoot it! Them: A machete?! Why do you have a machete?! Me: Are you seriously saying you don't have a machete? Them: .... I think you've answered your own original question.
So. Maybe there are a few things I do differently. And maybe it comes from being raised in the Sunshine State. Who can really say?
Anyhoo. This book was so much fun to read! You can definitely tell the author is from Florida, because he describes it perfectly. I was so homesick by the time I got done, I couldn't stand it. I can almost taste the humidity just thinking about it! sigh
Joey and Chaz go on a cruise for their 2 year wedding anniversary. Which is so romantic! Except Chaz is a douche. And he shoves his wife overboard. Why? Well, you really need to read the book to find that out, and I'm not going to spoil it. But let's just say that he's incredibly stupid. And unlucky. Because Joey doesn't drown or get eaten by sharks. Nope, Joey floats to safety on a bail of pot, and then gets fished out of the water by Mick. Of course, hanging on to a bail of weed in the middle of the ocean gives a girl a lot of time to think about her questionable choice in men. It also gives a girl a lot of time to get pissed off. So, while going to the police might be the sane thing to do... Doesn't revenge sound so much better?
I lovedlovedloved all of the characters in Skinny Dip, but Tool was probably my favorite. He's horrible, disgusting, and awesome all rolled into one. Read the book for Tool's sake, if nothing else!
I don't normally read books like this one, but I'm glad I stepped out of my box for a few days. Thank you, Jeff! ...more
There are two ways I typically use the word creepy, and this book contains examples of both. A) Creepy: I'm in the house by myself, and I hear something thunking around upstairs. Veeery creepy! Honorable mention: You wake up in the middle of the night, and one of your little kids is there. Just staring at you. Watching you sleep. Creepy little bastard. Or B) Creepy: I went shopping with a friend. We ran into her brother, and she greeted him by giving him a kiss on the mouth. *shudder* Creepy! Honorable mention: You see a woman nursing her six year old child in public. I don't care what the La Leche Nazi's say...it's creepy. The kid has teeth. Toss an apple at 'em, and wait till you get home to permanently scar their psyche.
I said that to say this, All Those Broken Angels is full of creepy. You have the Ooooh-Woooo (that's my ghostly wail, in case you couldn't tell) moments when Richard's Shadow comes out to play, but then you also have quite a few Ewwwww? moments. Kind of like the examples from B, I wasn't totally sure how creeped out I should be by the Ewwwww? moments. Like, sure it's semi-weird for someone to kiss their brother on the mouth, but as long as they're not frenching him...it's not really wrong, is it? Maybe they just do things differently in their family? Or the nursing thing? My kids' old pediatrician always bragged about how she nursed her kids till they were 5 or 6. It's healthy, and gives them antibodies! *GAK* So yeah. Not wrong-wrong, just icky from my (and a lot of other fucking people's) standpoint. *GAAAAAAAK* Sorry. I just...uuuuuuh! The problem is, I can't thoroughly explain the parts that I thought were borderline gag-worthy, without spoiling the plot. And the plot is actually pretty good! So let's just say that Richard is a bit closer with his Shadow than I expected. In fact, the Shadow got close with the other Melanie, too. All that closeness gave me the heebie-jeebies. Especially when I found out the truth about the Shadow.
So you go into this not knowing whether the Shadow is good or evil. And there's a lot of grey area involved in finding your way to the end of the story. Some of what happened was fairly obvious, but some of it took me by surprise. There's also a serial killer angle to the story, and I really did not see some of it coming. Very well done! There's this one part where Melanie is drinking tea, and all of a sudden it hits you... Ahhhhhhh!
I may not have loved every part of it, but I finished it in one day, if that tells you anything. Also, I haven't read tons and tons of young adult horror. I've read some, but I wouldn't call myself an expert on the genre. I'm purely rating this on my enjoyment level, because I don't have a lot to compare it to. It was good, but there were too many times I did a WTF?/Facepalm for me to rate it any higher.
Digital arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
First off, how fabulous is that cover?! Stunning! Beautiful, haunting, gorgeous. etc.. I seriously wish I had a hardback edition of this book, becauseFirst off, how fabulous is that cover?! Stunning! Beautiful, haunting, gorgeous. etc.. I seriously wish I had a hardback edition of this book, because I'd display the shit out of it.
I really enjoyed the writing, the pace, and the whodunnit murder-mystery aspect of it. I picked it up yesterday afternoon, and I finished it before bedtime. It's not a short book, so that says something right there. So, even with all of the flaws, I couldn't bring myself to 1 star this book for that reason alone.
Sadly, there were issues. Issues that simply cannot be overlooked and swept under the rug, regardless of how quickly I devoured it.
The magic. This was downright hokey. Her hands crack open, and water comes out? WTF?! As a plain mystery, this would have been a much better story, but whatever this 'elemental power' thing was, just kind of ruined it. It was campy, ill-explained, and ultimately mostly unnecessary.
The romance... Ok. And I'm being totally serious when I say this. It was such a calf-eyed insta-love, that I thought it was a red herring to throw us off the trail. I assumed that there was no way for this to be an actual romance worth taking seriously. The end would clear it out of the way, she would find someone else (or not), and I didn't need to worry that this bullshit was for real. Whoops. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to explain how awful it was. I just can't...
The ending. Did no one care enough to step up and tell the author that this was a wad of unbelievable nonsense? I have a hard time believing that anyone out there would be able to cheerfully swallow that down as a remotely reasonable explanation. I'm wrong. Of course I'm wrong, because I see several 4 and 5 star reviews for this, so, yeah. Some folks bought it. (view spoiler)[The whole thing hinges on your ability to believe that two tweenage girls could successfully swap lives. One girl is next in line to be a Duchess, and the other is her maid's daughter. They are half-sisters, not twins, but the author seems to think that a house full of staff members who have known them both (most since birth) wouldn't notice this. Why? Well, they went off to boarding school together. None of the adults charged with the future Duchess' safekeeping caught on, because she staying in her room when they first arrived. Riiiight. I guess the staff didn't meet her when she got there? Then they dyed their hair. Awesome disguise! They took 'lessons' from each other. Just like Parent Trap! Except they're not identical twins... And when they came back home a few years later, everyone just assumed that the 'subtle' changes in...oh, I don't know...BONE STRUCTURE was just due to growing up. Everyone? Even her best friend/boyfriend, and Oscar the observant family butler? WTF?! No. NO! Maybe, just maybe this could have worked if the 'maid' hadn't returned with the Duchess. But both girls under the same roof? The reasoning is that no one notices maids. Ok. Perhaps the other aristocrats might not have paid any attention to her, but the other servants in the house most certainly would have. Are you kidding me with this shit?! (hide spoiler)]
In the end, I'd say the writing is good, but the unbelievability of some of the plot elements really took its toll on me.
I received a digital arc from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review
Bluebeard has always been hands-down the creepiest fairy tale to me. I mean, the guy had an entire room chock full of dead wives! And they di4.5 stars
Bluebeard has always been hands-down the creepiest fairy tale to me. I mean, the guy had an entire room chock full of dead wives! And they didn't pass away from old age or disease. Then there was the new wife... She's given a key to the room and told not to use it. Well, duh, of course she's gonna look! And since she broke her promise to him...She must die!!!! Alright, that's the really condensed version of the original, but you get the gist.
So, Strands of Bronze and Gold is a retelling of that story. And to add to the creepy atmosphere, this one has a Gothic flavor to it. It's set in pre-Civil War Mississippi, and Bernard is a plantation owner, so slavery and the Underground Railroad play a part in the story as well. However, don't go into this expecting an accurate historical portrayal of either. It's just a side note in the plot to keep things interesting. As a retelling of Bluebeard, though, I thought it was a total win, and one of my new favorite retellings!
The complaints I've seen in other reviews seem to drift toward the fact that it's not a fast-paced book, there are too many descriptions of scenery and clothes, and that the heroine is a Mary Sue. I'll give you my opinion of those three issues, and then you can decide if this is a book you'd like to read.
First off, the pacing was perfect for a book like this. There is a slow-building horror to the situation that Petheram finds herself in, and (I thought) it was done very well. She starts off hearing mild alarm bells, but ignores them until she finally hears the klaxon blaring. Of course, by then it's too late. To me, that's not a slow story. As far as the myriad of descriptions go? Eh. Petheram loves all the nice clothes and expensive gifts that Bernard gives her, and she's undeniably impressed with all of he wealth in her surroundings. It's part of the reason she ignores some of those initial early warning signs. However, by the end of the book, she realizes how foolish and easily taken in she was. I'm not one of those readers who likes a lot of scenery written into the story. Give me enough to get the gist of the surroundings...and then move on. So will you be annoyed by descriptions of dresses? No idea, but I didn't feel that the story was bogged down by overly descriptive writing.
Finally, is Petheram a Mary Sue? Not within the confines of this kind of story. For the time period, for her age, and for what she was aware of, Pentheram was actually quite brave. There were several times she stood up for herself and others, but part of this story is about exposing the psychology behind abusive relationships. Bertram was in equal parts very charming and very violent. At first, he seems to be a very likable and handsome man, and his eccentricities seem benign. But as the story unfolds, she realizes that everything he does is a form of control designed to keep her submissive. And what can she actually do about it? In reality, how easy would it be for a young woman of that time period to just up and leave her legal guardian's home? Not very. Naturally, as the reader, you know from the moment she pulls up in her carriage that she's about to enter the house of a serial killer. And it's also pretty easy to to scream and rant that YOU would have done something differently. However, as evidenced by women in today's society, there is something universal about the minds of abusers and victims. It happens every day, and not just to weak-willed women. I've watched formerly strong independent women get sucked into this kind of psychotic nightmare to varying degrees. The how and why are a lot simpler than people think. It starts with something like a comment about how maybe 'your jeans don't fit the way they used to', that turns into comments about how 'no one else would ever want you because of the way you've let yourself go'. Or maybe it just starts with an innocent sounding question like, 'who were you just talking to on the phone?', that ends up over time turning into wild accusations like, 'I know you're cheating on me with whoever you were talking to!'. Verbal abuse is bad enough, but these kind of attitudes can quickly escalate into violence. One of the biggest problems with violent abusers is that they didn't just punch their girlfriend or wife in the face on the first date. See, if they had done that, there probably wouldn't have been a second date. Unfortunately, the violence comes after the woman is fully entrenched in the lie that she somehow needs him. And of course, the old standby that he loves her and it will never happen again. It's easy for those of us in a healthy relationship to think that it couldn't happen to us, but the truth is, given the right circumstances, it could happen to anyone. Now, whether or not you decide to fight back and get the hell outta there if it does? Well, that's entirely up to you. And that's what Pentheram's story is really about.
From the few reviews I'm seeing here, I'd say I'm definitely in the minority. Everyone else seems to love this one. Anyway.
I didn't enjoy the2.5 stars
From the few reviews I'm seeing here, I'd say I'm definitely in the minority. Everyone else seems to love this one. Anyway.
I didn't enjoy the story, and I had a hard time caring about the main character. Possibly because she had no idea who she was for the first 80% of the book. Without a strong sense of self, she just seemed like a shell who allowed things to happen to her. Which, I think, is what the author was going for. It just went on too long for my personal taste. If her real personality had emerged sooner, I think I would have been able to get into the story a bit more.
Then there's the fact that I hated her true love and her husband. Not so much at first, but by the end of the book I was hoping there was going to be another option besides either of those guys. Blech.
The writing isn't bad at all, but I was really bored the entire time I was reading this. However, I think this is less a case of Awful-Book, and more a case of Not-My-Type-Of-Story.
Thank you to Edelweiss for a copy of this ARC....more
For those of you who don't know, Ally Carter is the young adult author of The Gallagher Girls (a series abo Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book
For those of you who don't know, Ally Carter is the young adult author of The Gallagher Girls (a series about an academy that trains teenage girls to be spies) and The Heist Society ( an Ocean's Elevenish series about teenage thieves). Double Crossed is the highly anticipated crossover novella that brings these two different groups together. *insert squealing tween fangirls here* I've never read any of the Gallagher Girls books, but I have read the first book in the Heist Society. While I thought it was cute, it didn't really inspire me to run out and grab any more of Carter's stuff. However, after reading this, I might just change my mind.
Alrighty, you have two society kids at a charity function, and both are more than they seem at first glance. When a group of gunmen take the room hostage, they each utilize their own different set of skills to bring the bad guys down. *insert theme from Mission Impossible here*
The story itself was surprisingly fun. And I say surprising, because I am nowhere near the age of the intended target audience. No, it's not gonna blow your mind, but it was really good for a novella. And since it's short, it's a good way to see if these might be something you'd be interested in, without having to commit to a full-size book. I don't think prior knowledge of the characters is a must, either. I recognized Hale from the Heist Society, but I had no idea who Macey was, since she's a Gallagher Girl. It didn't impact my enjoyment of the story at all, but there may have been a few inside jokes that I missed. I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a fast-paced easy read, or maybe just looking for a book for that special tweenage girl in your life.
Good ghost story for the younger readers, but I think older teens and adults will be bothered by some of tThanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
Good ghost story for the younger readers, but I think older teens and adults will be bothered by some of the plot holes involving Daisy's powers. At first, Daisy's gift seems to be the ability to short out electronics. Not a cool gift. Yes, I would like to return this gift, please. It's defective, and I would like a refund. No, I don't have the receipt. Why? Because I obviously didn't purchase this for myself! I thought the purity ring Dad got me for my last birthday was shitty, but this year he went too far! TOO FAR! Yes, store credit will be fine, thank you. As you can probably guess, her power gets a little more useful as time goes on, but I doubt the poor girl will ever be able to own a cell phone. In fact, this was where the plot holes come in. Why can't she have a television in her home, but she can ride in cars?
I noticed this because I used to own a POS when I was in my 20's that would totally shut down whenever this certain sensor would go out. Seriously, I would be driving down the road, and that fucking turd-mobile would just stall out. You may have passed me on the side of the road...I was the girl kicking the shit out of a blue Chevrolet.
Huh. I had managed to repress those memories until I read this book. Thank you, Ms. Buchanan! But back to the original point. Why she could she could be around some electric-powered things, and not go near others? Not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but it bugged me.
As for the rest of the story, it was pretty good. The story opens with Daisy being sent to check on another student, because the girl had been in the bathroom a little too long for the teacher's comfort. Turns out, the teacher was right to be worried. The girl, Vivi, was trying to OD on sleeping pills. Fortunately, Daisy managed to get help in time to save her. This experience ties Vivi and Daisy together in a way neither one of them expects. See, Vivi has a secret, too. Since she was a child, there has been a spirit who has been protecting her. Now that she's older, she's fallen in love with him, but his presence is fading out and getting weaker by the day. He had been gone for a while when Daisy found her on the bathroom floor. Oh. So that's why she tried to kill herself... Hmmm. Nope, she's still an idiot. Something about Daisy's presence managed to re-energized him, and now Patrick (the ghost boyfriend) tells Vivi that he thinks Daisy has the power to help them be together. They just have to convince her to help them. And then there's Danielle. Danielle is Daisy's best friend, and even though she knows about Daisy's secret, she's not ready to believe Vivi about the whole ghost/soul mate thing. Well, until she and Daisy start having different versions of the same frightening dream. Somehow their past lives were all connected, and if they want to survive this lifetime they'll need to solve a mystery that happened over a century ago.
Warning: There are some illustrations that pop up from time to time during certain parts of the book. To be very honest, the first one scared the shit out of me. I wasn't expecting it, and when I flipped the page (or pressed the button, to be more accurate) there was this creepy penciling of a chick holding a big-ass knife. I'm pretty sure I peed myself a little. What? I've had four kids. My bladder control is shot to hell.
In the end, I'd recommend this one for someone looking for a horror-lite ghost story.
Uhhhhh.... The last part of the book was pretty good, but to get to it you have to wade through some pretty murky waAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
Uhhhhh.... The last part of the book was pretty good, but to get to it you have to wade through some pretty murky waters. I had a really hard time understanding what was going on for the majority of the book...and not in a good way. There were numerous times when I couldn't even figure out who was speaking, mainly because it wasn't clearly stated. It's not that I like the Bob said, "Such-n-such" style of writing, but there has to be more than just quotation marks letting me know that someone else is talking after a while. In little doses it's a good thing, but after a page or so? Well, I lose track of who is saying what. Especially if there are more than two people in the conversation.
In the beginning it was also had to swallow Elle's attraction to Brian, mainly because she was so frightened of him. I didn't understand how she could switch gears that fast. She would be almost ready to pass out from a panic attack (because she was convinced he was a dangerous stalker), but she was simultaneously blushing and feeling butterflies in her stomach? Oh God! I think he's going to kill me! *swoon* He's so gorgeous! That just wouldn't happen. I've known quite a few guys who were extremely attractive, but they gave the the creeps. So. While I recognized they were good-looking, nothing fluttered around my abdomen except that tingly Danger! Danger! feeling. And honestly, that's more of a churning nausea than a tingle. Bad-Boys? Yes please! Showing-Up-At-Odd-Times-Stalker-Boys? No thank you. There's nothing sexy about a guy that you think might stuff you in his trunk. And even if you're not right when your gut is telling you some dude is a possible creeper, you're not going to get a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy if you find him lurking in the shadows. Ever. P.S.-Even if he's not planning to ask you to 'put the lotion in the basket', there's a reason your instincts are giving off a warning vibe. Trust your gut, ladies.
There were manymanymany other parts of the story that didn't add up...even at the end, but I would have to give spoilers to point them out. And there's no point in reading a mystery/thriller if you already know all the secrets, right? If you can make it through the first 70% of the story, the rest of the book is very readable. At that point I got sucked into it, and flew through till the end. Would I recommend it? No. But if you're a fan of YA mysteries then you might enjoy this more than I did.
Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book....more