**spoiler alert** I'd really like to give this a 3.5.
I was hoping for more, to be honest, although I liked most of the stories and a few I REALLY like...more**spoiler alert** I'd really like to give this a 3.5.
I was hoping for more, to be honest, although I liked most of the stories and a few I REALLY liked.
I am starting to find Jules and Robin to be a bit... deus ex machina, in terms of what they add to the story, if that makes any sense. They seem to exist only to solve problems, to be there to make everything better without adding any of their own complications.
Even in the story where Jules comes to help Sam and they get jumped in the street because Jules is gay, that seemed more tacked on to that story than a real danger, esp. since Jules pulled out his bad ass fighting skills anyway.
Don't get me wrong, I love Jules just as much as any other fangirl, but this combination of stories just made it more clear that after a certain point, Jules and Robin just... fix stuff. Robin gets things because he's famous, Jules gets things because he's... Jules. I don't know if I can explain it better than that.
There were two longer stories here that I just didn't connect with as much as I wanted to, for two different reasons.
The first was "Home Is Where The Heart Is Parts I and II". I was really turned off by the first part of the story and Jack's initial suggestion, that he knock up Arlene to help her stay stateside and get out of the Army. It just really turned my stomach, no matter what good place it was coming from.
Unlike Sam and Alyssa, and Jules and Robin, I don't really remember these characters so I didn't have any emotional connection to Arlene and Jack to give them any leeway for being kind of assholes. I was actually going to put the book down at that point.
It was only my love for Suzanne Brockmann's previous writing that kept me reading, I have to confess. I got over my initial sour stomach, and kept reading but I was never really completely invested in their romance or relationship.
Because of that, the story seemed to drag on and on and on. This was where the whole Jules and Robin thing kind of got to me. Oh, yeah, we'll fly them to Vegas, I'll call in a favor. Oh, yeah, I'll just get him off the plane first, I know a guy, who knows a guy. We'll take care of it. We'll do a thing, call a guy, whatever, pay for the laser tag place, etc.
The last 15% of the book was filled up with a short story from her new series (which I have already read and enjoyed but was hoping for something I hadn't read) and an excerpt from the new book, which I have also read. Since that book came out over a year ago, I would have hoped that the excerpt would have been for something that would be coming out in the future, not something that was already in the discount bin at the CVS (sorry, Suz).
Anyway, I did enjoy most of the stories and it was nice to revisit characters that I haven't spent time with in a long time. It made me want to go back and re-read a few books in the series, which could be super fun. I think this book is really for the super fan, as opposed for a new reader to the series or to Suzanne as an author. (less)
I liked this one much better than the first, and I think that's because Katniss is much more tolerable as a character in this book. I couldn't stand h...moreI liked this one much better than the first, and I think that's because Katniss is much more tolerable as a character in this book. I couldn't stand her in the first book. I wish that the POV wasn't hers, to be honest. People argue that it needs to be, but after watching the movie, I think it would have been a much more effective book had it offered more POVs than just Katniss.
Loving Peeta, find Gale to be totally cardboard (he reminds me SO MUCH of Riley from Buffy!), can't wait to see who they cast as Finnick in the movie.
I hate that once again, she ended on a cliffhanger, without any real resolution. Yes, this is the Empire Strikes Back of the Hunger Games universe but I don't like it. Maybe after I've finished Mockingjay I can look back and feel better about the whole thing.
I read this book in four hours. I guess I liked it. ;)
**spoiler alert** I really like Joanna Bourne’s writing, but I am super uncomfortable with the consent issues present in this book. While I understand...more**spoiler alert** I really like Joanna Bourne’s writing, but I am super uncomfortable with the consent issues present in this book. While I understand that power struggles are a large part of the draw of historical romances, I find that it isn’t the draw for me. And this book seems to have more issues with consent and power than many I’ve read.
I understand the draw between Grey and Annique, but the power imbalance between them is entirely too large. She is his captive for most of the book, skewing the power dynamic by a considerable amount, on top of the difference in age (that may not be as great as I am interpreting it, but man, does she seem super young and he much, much older than she).
It comes down to choice, really. Annique doesn’t really have any. The first sex scene, in the bathtub, is almost (but not quite) non-con. He decides that’s what’s going to happen and she doesn’t tell him no. What would have happened had she actually told him no? He says that she has the ability to say it, but that doesn’t really mean anything if she doesn’t believe him.
And in the end, what she believes about the encounter matters more to me than what he actually intends, if only because her choices are based on her internal interpretation of the facts and if she thinks she can’t say no, then it isn’t a completely consensual scenario. She doesn’t tell him yes, either, however, and the scene ended up not being sexy for me.
It just felt like Annique was participating in sexual activity because she didn’t have a whole lot of other choices. While we are told many times that she is attracted to Grey, she clearly has reservations about being with him, and getting involved with him sexually. We’re given moments were she is clearly aroused and having a good time and yet she’s unsure about what she’s doing, which isn’t a whole lot of fun to read about.
She has to break out of the house to leave- she is not given the option to choose to stay or go, which also grossed me out. She is a prisoner, and the appropriateness of her in Grey’s bed just feels wrong if she can’t decide to go somewhere else. Grey tells her she could have a different bedroom but honestly, it wasn’t believable.
The book gives me a creepy, icky vibe when it digs into the sexy elements of the story. The fact that he seems so much older than she is, that he has so much power over her, that she has so little choice in what happens to her- it’s not fun for me.
I’ve also been struggling with the POV issues. There are a number of occasions where I can’t tell whose POV we’re actually in. It’s confusing and threw me out of the story more than once. I didn’t notice this issue when I read The Black Hawk, which takes place a few books after this one, leading me to believe that the POV thing is something that Bourne works through eventually. It stands out, however, in this novel.
However, I do love the characters. I think Grey is interesting, I love Doyle and Adrian (having The Black Hawk first), and I think that Annique is a fascinating character whose life is more tragic than I would wish on anyone. They are all well written, coming off the page like real and true human beings.
The world that Bourne is writing about is so incredibly well fleshed out, you can practically smell the gunpowder in certain scenes, and you can imagine what’s out there beyond the stage that this story is set on. I could imagine their pasts, what it looked like and felt like, which was a powerful way to participate in the story.
I just keep coming back to the issue of sex, and the massive power imbalances that exist in the relationship between the hero and heroine. I never truly believed that she really understood what she was doing, or that she had any real choice in the matter should she decide that she did not want to have sex with Grey. The way that the others in the Service allowed Grey to have his way with her, seemingly no questions asked, was troubling as well.
I’m not sure what the appeal is with this kind of story, where the consent of the heroine doesn’t seem to matter. There was lip service paid to it, but I never quite believed it and that was something that made it very difficult for me to root for the main couple.
I’m not sure I’d recommend this book to other readers, unless I knew for sure that they weren’t sensitive to serious power imbalances, or that they really enjoyed serious power imbalances. Sadly, it’s just not my thing. (less)
I liked Joe, very much. Veronica, I was a bit less sure about.
This book suffered from the "misunderstandings, all the time" plot that many romances se...moreI liked Joe, very much. Veronica, I was a bit less sure about.
This book suffered from the "misunderstandings, all the time" plot that many romances seem to fall victim to. If only they had been able to clearly express their feelings, much of the drama here would never have happened. You might argue that there wouldn't have been a book without that plot point but I disagree- Joe being a SEAL is certainly a huge issue for the couple to get over and I think the mystery aspect could have been expanded.
Granted, this IS a romance and that has to be the central focus of the book. But nothing dictates what KIND of romance this book needs to be. I am not a fan of the romances where the hero says something and the heroine misinterprets it and gets all mopey and then she says something, and he takes it the wrong way. Eventually things come to a head and they work it out and they feel a combination of relieved that their perceptions were wrong but kind of bad that they wasted so much time believing the wrong things.
Annoying, is what it is.
The fact that I really, really liked Joe made up for a lot, as did Alpha Team. Spending time with those guys was a blast and I actually want to read more in this series based on that alone.
Ultimately, I think the terrorist plot was a bit tacked on. It was clearly just an excuse for this book to take place and the big action sequence at the end felt rushed and tacked on. Brockmann certainly gets better with building the suspense and paying it off with her later books and I can forgive this earlier effort, if only because I know where she's heading.
I recommend this book for Brockmann completists.(less)
On the one hand, I liked looking back at Spencer's life when he was a kid. His father and uncles were really gr...moreI'm pretty disappointed with this book.
On the one hand, I liked looking back at Spencer's life when he was a kid. His father and uncles were really great and made complete sense, in terms of who they were based on who Spencer came to be.
However, I felt that the story itself was somewhat lacking. I didn’t like the bumpers with Spencer and Susan. I didn’t like the picking apart of Spencer's motives and the psychobabble nature of Susan's comments felt trite to me.
What I really wished the book would have been was a complete dive into Spencer's life with a bit more of an adult take on the story. We know that Parker can write a tense story of a man in the woods being hunted- what would that have been like with Spencer as a boy? We know that Parker (and Spencer) deals with kids pretty well- look at Paul and his relationship with Spencer.
I was hoping for something along those lines but did not get it.
I felt that the incident with the Mexican boy in Spencer's class felt tacked on and not structured in such a way to be really believable.
I recently read Parker's "The Boxer and the Spy" and found that his take in that book on high school politics and teenage behavior to be much more believable and entertaining.
I have loved the Spencer character for a very long time and have always felt that if Parker was going to touch on Spencer's past and really dig into it, that I wanted a thick novel, a mystery of some kind and Spencer being Spencer. That idea is not this novel.
This was a short and very quick read but I liked it a lot.
It's a re-telling of the Frog Prince story, set in Belgium during WWI. Emma has travelled wi...moreThis was a short and very quick read but I liked it a lot.
It's a re-telling of the Frog Prince story, set in Belgium during WWI. Emma has travelled with her mother to check on the family estate from England but the two are trapped due to the Germans. Emma's mother is killed during an attack and Emma, trapped and alone, spends her time at the estate, just waiting.
Enter Jack- an American who has joined up with the British and Canadians, as the US has not yet joined the war. Fighting in the trenches just below Emma's estate, Jack is caught in the middle of a gas attack and stumbles his way towards water, ending up in Emma's well.
The story is a romance and an adventure tale, with the idea being that Emma and Jack will fall in love and end up together, which I am completely fine with.
However, I do wish that the author had chosen to work with their relationship a bit more. There is the clichéd "love at first sight" business on Jack's end that felt forced. Emma is set up as a girl from a wealthy family who isn't like all the other wealthy girls... and yet, when it counts, that's how she behaves. There seems to be a bit of disconnect between what the author wants Emma to be and what she NEEDS Emma to be for the story to work the way she wants it to.
I did like Emma. Don't get me wrong- she was strong when she had to be but had her moments of "realness" that kept me with her for the whole story. And I really, really loved Jack.
The end happened a bit too quick and I wished there had been more of them after the war- this is a story that I could have read hundreds more pages of. I guess the point of the story was the falling in love part, not the staying in love part, so I understand why it ended where it did but... I wanted more!
The action was really well written. Some of the language was a bit anachronistic and there were some references that didn't make a whole lot of sense given the context. The Germans felt almost Nazi-esque and there was no real talk about the politics about the war.
The author made a point to explain certain things for the YA audience that she's writing for and all of those moments, while recognizable as exposition still flow in the story and move things along. I expected a bit more about the why's and how's of WWI beyond just the offhanded comment Emma makes about the Archduke being assassinated.
But I did like this book. It was a sweet story with fun and interesting characters. The use of the fairy tale element was sweet and well done- not at all off-putting or lame. (less)
**spoiler alert** A little slow to start. I wasn't sure about the POV character at first- he kind of got on my nerves until he started interacting wit...more**spoiler alert** A little slow to start. I wasn't sure about the POV character at first- he kind of got on my nerves until he started interacting with the rest of the Security crew. The action scenes on the planet were very interesting and I was actually more engaged with those stories than I was with that of Kirk and Co. on the Enterprise.
I'm a bit annoyed that this story was split into three books instead of being contained in one larger volume- it really feels like a ploy to get more money out of readers as opposed to a good story-telling technique, although this does have the feel of serialized fiction.
Not enough Kirk here.
I think the Klingon's issue with Kirk was resolved a bit too early. He has this stong belief that Kirk is terrible, that Earthers are horrible and while I understand why he changes his opinion about his fellow Security officers, the Kirk thing felt a bit rushed. It makes me wonder where this is going, as there are two more books in the series.(less)
**spoiler alert** My feelings on this one are very tainted by the show, "Legend of the Seeker". Characters in my mind looked like those on the show an...more**spoiler alert** My feelings on this one are very tainted by the show, "Legend of the Seeker". Characters in my mind looked like those on the show and not always what Goodkind described.
Which I feel is a good thing, or at least can be a good thing.
There were a number of elements in this book that I felt were dragged out for too long. It felt very jerky- things would move along quickly, then slow down and drag. The ending was very rushed, in my mind.
I'm not sure what I feel about the "big reveal" about Richard at the end of the novel. It seems very tacked on- a last minute addition to the story.
I am also a bit miffed that Rahl was "defeated" so easily. It's so obvious that he will be returning in future books that this 820 page monster almost felt like a waste of time.
All that said, I was drawn in to Richard and Kahlan's star-crossed love, Rochard's journey to find who he is, his terrible adventure with the Mord Sith. There were moments when I just couldn't read fast enough.
I will be picking up book 2 in this series but it will be a library book, not a purchase.(less)