This was my first Kate Noble book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this! I really liked both Bridget and Oliver (although it took a couple o...moreThis was my first Kate Noble book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this! I really liked both Bridget and Oliver (although it took a couple of chapters for me to warm up to Bridget, I absolutely loved her by the end of the book); watching Oliver slowly and gently draw Bridget out of her shell and seeing Bridget really come into her own was just delightful. The lyrical, gentle tone of the book was lovely, as was the focus on music and artistic achievement for its own sake. I have a feeling this is going to be a book I reread constantly!(less)
Well, that was just fun. This was a delightfully weird book, full of antics and shenanigans, but with some pretty sophisticated commentary on colonial...moreWell, that was just fun. This was a delightfully weird book, full of antics and shenanigans, but with some pretty sophisticated commentary on colonialism and the history of the USA's treatment of Native Americans slipped in there, too. It's told in the first person from the point of view of Gratuity Tucci (her friends call her Tip) through the medium of a school essay on the theme of (as the title says) "the true meaning of Smekday" (which used to be called Christmas before the Boov renamed it in honor of the anniversary of their invasion of Earth).
Tip is an amazing character; she may be only eleven years old, but she is smart, determined, and resourceful, and I really enjoyed getting to know her. She takes charge of the narrative right from the beginning and doesn't let go, bringing the reader along on her road trip across the country to find her mother. We travel from Pennsylvania to Florida to New Mexico to Arizona with Tip and her cat Pig, meeting all kinds of interesting people and aliens along the way. Early on in the story, Tip meets and starts traveling with a Boov who goes by the name of J.Lo. J.Lo is funny and sweet, a completely irrepressible character. In fact, he occasionally takes over the story -- literally! -- in short segments of illustrated pages, graphic novel style.
In short, this book was a delight and you should go read it!(less)
Delightful Regency fun! The hero and heroine were trademark Quick characters -- she was strong-willed, intelligent, and unconventional; he was strong,...moreDelightful Regency fun! The hero and heroine were trademark Quick characters -- she was strong-willed, intelligent, and unconventional; he was strong, wealthy, brooding, and notorious. He helped her with her madcap quest, which helped him feel alive again. They were both older characters (she was 30, he was almost 40) who had both already experienced life, which I appreciated.
Additionally, the heroine was secretly an author of "horrid" novels, which led to some really fun meta commentary on the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel's blend of noir-ish detective story and fairy tales. It was a fun read! From all the reviews talking about how the ser...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this novel's blend of noir-ish detective story and fairy tales. It was a fun read! From all the reviews talking about how the serial format hurt the story, I was kind of expecting it to be disjointed, episodic, and confusing. I didn't find it so at all. There was a bit of repetition, as the author introduced the characters and some of the details of the worldbuilding over again in the various episodes, but the narrative hung together really well as a whole -- as a story about narrative should. I liked the way Harry and Sloan took down the bad guy at the end; it reminded me a little bit of (view spoiler)[Terry Pratchett's Hogfather -- blood on the snow (hide spoiler)]. There were some loose ends -- whatever happened with the plot about Harry's brother's story activating? -- but on the whole I really enjoyed this book and thought it had a satisfying conclusion.(less)
This book was just delightful! It funny, moving, and genuinely touching by turns. I adored the main characters, especially Abby and Aunt Bea. Anne Gra...moreThis book was just delightful! It funny, moving, and genuinely touching by turns. I adored the main characters, especially Abby and Aunt Bea. Anne Gracie has the ability to create really compelling female friendships in her books; I really enjoy seeing such an abundance of female characters in a romance novel with such a real emotional connection to each other! I can't wait for each sister's book in this series (especially Daisy's -- I don't think I've ever read a historical romance set in this era featuring a working class heroine, so I'm really looking forward to her story). And Aunt Bea was such a hoot! Lovely, extremely enjoyable book.(less)
This book started out so well, only to take a sharp downward turn in the last third or so. The first half to two-thirds was a fun, contemporary romanc...moreThis book started out so well, only to take a sharp downward turn in the last third or so. The first half to two-thirds was a fun, contemporary romance with dragons! I loved the urban fantasy blend of the real world, with its bureaucracy and crappy bosses, and the mythological world of dragons! The book was funny and light, which was just what I wanted.
The heroine, Myrna, was smart and extremely competent at her job, which was fun to read. I wasn't crazy about the hero, the brooding, silent, mysterious Trian, and I didn't really get what Myrna saw in him, but I was willing to believe the book would eventually show me.
Unfortunately, the last third of the book was a train wreck. Myrna, who had been so smart and insightful about people up until now, suddenly became too stupid to live. (view spoiler)[The villain was dropping huge, anvil-like hints about his villainy, and Myrna just ignored it! I simply could not believe that she didn't realize he was the bad guy! It did not mesh with her character as portrayed up until then, and I simply didn't buy it. Also, the MacGuffin detector was literally flashing in her hands to notify her that one of the dragon-killing bombs was nearby, and she just shrugged and said, "That's weird," and IGNORED IT. WTF? (hide spoiler)]
Her worst sin as a too-stupid-to-live heroine, though, came at the end, during her climactic confrontation with (view spoiler)[her old boss. He has the deadly, dragon-killing bomb in a backpack in his office, she sees it, and then -- does she yell for Trian, who is right outside? No! She grabs the delicate, deadly bomb and runs for it! Of course, the bad guy tries to grab it back and it breaks in the kerfuffle! It was pretty clearly established that she isn't a fighter, and Trian is, so why wouldn't she ask him to subdue her evil boss first?. Of course the bomb's going to go off if you play tug of war with it! (hide spoiler)]
Also, Trian was a jerk from beginning to end imo, and the book never redeemed him. Myrna and Trian were together a few years ago, when Trian stole a highly confidential work file from Myrna and skedaddled without even saying goodbye. Quite a way to dump someone, huh? Myrna was demoted (which is why she was working for her incompetent boss) as a result. He somehow does not realize that his theft would have negative consequences for her at work until she spells it out for him! And his big excuse, the reason why he took the file? (view spoiler)[His boss asked him to! That's it! THAT IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO RUIN THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE'S CAREER AND BREAK HER HEART IN ONE FELL SWOOP! WTF, Trian? The file had an incriminating photo of him switching between his human form and his dragon form, and his boss wants to keep the lid on his shapeshifting abilities a little while longer. Trian's not even afraid that he might be kidnapped and experimented upon or killed! (Both of which would have been acceptable reasons to steal the file, even though I still would have thought he was a dumbass for not simply asking Myrna for the photo.) But no. His boss wanted him to. I can't even. (hide spoiler)]
CONS 1. Style looses its humor in the last third of the book, becoming SUPER SERIOUS all the time (and, I'm sorry, I just can't really take a dragon romance too seriously) 2. An extremely obvious villain 3. The heroine suddenly becomes too stupid to live in the last third of the book 4. The hero is a jerk who never redeemed himself
It was frustrating because this book had so much promise and potential, but in the end, I just can't recommend it. TWO THUMBS DOWN.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I wish we could give half stars; I'd say this one is a 3.5.
Very enjoyable read! Most of the Elemental Masters series is about upper-class folk, so it...moreI wish we could give half stars; I'd say this one is a 3.5.
Very enjoyable read! Most of the Elemental Masters series is about upper-class folk, so it was fun to read a story about people lower on the social ladder -- stage magicians and music-hall performers. It's not great literature, and it suffered from the typical Lackey problem of too much explanation/set-up (with a deus-ex-machina ending that suddenly tossed all the set-up out the window), but I enjoyed the setting and the characters! I've always enjoyed reading books about performers -- actors, dancers, musicians, and the like -- so I appreciated the music hall setting. Fun read.
One word of warning: Katie, the heroine, runs away from an abusive husband at the beginning of the book...a husband who catches up with her at the end. That section of the book, from when he finds her but before he gets his comeuppance, is pretty bleak. If reading about abusive exes upsets or triggers you, you might want to skip this one.(less)
I really enjoyed this story of a broken, wounded hero and a lonely heroine reaching out for an emotional connection, family, love, and hope for the fu...moreI really enjoyed this story of a broken, wounded hero and a lonely heroine reaching out for an emotional connection, family, love, and hope for the future.(less)
This book was a sequel to Scout's Progress, one of my all-time favorites in this series. Mouse and Dragon, while excellent, wasn't quite as good. The...moreThis book was a sequel to Scout's Progress, one of my all-time favorites in this series. Mouse and Dragon, while excellent, wasn't quite as good. The book was fantastic up until Daav and Aelliana became officially lifemated. It was a lovely look at their relationship as they grew closer and Aelliana healed emotionally from her family's abuse and blossomed into a fully self-confident woman. However, I really wish the book had ended there.
After the lifemating, though, the book became fragmented. It was no longer a coherent narrative and a story that could stand on its own merits. Instead, the plot almost disappeared. It become more of a string of connected scenes from Daav and Aelliana's life together, (view spoiler)[Aelliana's death, and Daav's balance. (hide spoiler)]. It makes sense as part of a series, as a way to connect this book to the other books in the Liadan universe. But, as a story, it was disappointing. It would have made much more sense to take the story of (view spoiler)[Aelliana's death and Daav's decision to leave Liad to seek balance for her murder (hide spoiler)] and make it into its own novel, a third book in this series. Maybe then the ending would have felt more resolved and not so rushed.
...It's sounding like I disliked it. I didn't dislike it; I loved it! I just wish it had either been much longer, so the ending could have been less fragmentary and rushed, or shorter, so it could have ended at the conclusion of the romance arc.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I enjoyed this book quite a lot! It was the first one in this series that I've read, and I am definitely going to hunt down the rest of the series.
The...moreI enjoyed this book quite a lot! It was the first one in this series that I've read, and I am definitely going to hunt down the rest of the series.
The main thing I loved about this book is that these characters are grown-ups. They have had bad things happen to them in their lives, which has left them with some emotional baggage to deal with, but they never shut down or freeze the other out. There are no silly, unrealistic fights that could be resolved if only the main characters would talk to each other. These characters do talk to each other, which was wonderful to see.(less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was amusing, fast-paced fun, with a sassy heroine I really liked. Also, unlike many urban fantasy books I've read,...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was amusing, fast-paced fun, with a sassy heroine I really liked. Also, unlike many urban fantasy books I've read, this one is not filled with clunky dialogue and boring, pedestrian prose -- it's an enjoyably-written, compulsive read.
The author also some great locations for a book about a heroine who sees dead people -- lots of really great old museums. The climax of the story takes place in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, and there's a delightful sequence where (view spoiler)[Daisy animates Sue the dinosaur and Sue takes out some bad guys (hide spoiler)].
I hope Daisy's adventures turn into a series, because I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for any of her future crime-fighting antics and supernatural shenanigans.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was my first Carla Kelly book, but it won't be my last! This was really lovely, a very sweet, very grounded novel, a story about ordinary people...moreThis was my first Carla Kelly book, but it won't be my last! This was really lovely, a very sweet, very grounded novel, a story about ordinary people living their lives the best they can under trying circumstances. It's set at Fort Laramie, Wyoming during the Black Hills War. The heroine, Susanna Hopkins, is a teacher from Pennsylvania who recently divorced her abusive ex-husband and is looking for a fresh start, free from the scandal; she has been hired to teach the officer's children. The hero, Major Joseph Randolph, is a doctor, the post surgeon. His first wife died during the Civil War when a spark from a cooking fire set her dress on fire. These two are both adults -- they're mature, they're intelligent, they're caring, decent people, and they both have some serious tragedy in their pasts to overcome. Watching the two of them get to know each other and gradually open up and let the other in was just delightful.
Kelly's research and historical knowledge was amazing; she really brought this time and place to life for me. The world and all of the characters, both the main and the secondary characters, felt really real to me. I enjoyed the setting just as much as the plot -- and I'm not normally a fan of westerns, so this was a first for me.
So why only four stars instead of five? Mainly because there were enough loose threads left dangling at the end that I really hope she writes a sequel to finish the story. It ends just before the Battle of Little Big Horn -- I really want to know how this affects all the characters we got to know over the course of the novel. Did they fight with Custer? Were they all killed? What happens? Also, (view spoiler)[did Joe get accepted to study with Pasteur? Did they go to Paris? It's also implied buy not confirmed that Susanna was pregnant at the end -- was she? And what about Nick? Who was he? What happened to him? (hide spoiler)].
Even with all the loose ends, though, there was just enough closure for the main characters for me to feel satisfied. This was a really good book, and I'm definitely going to read more by her!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)