So much of this story relies on the tone, the mood and the setting. Parts of it brought to mind Jane Eyre, and the opening scene in particular could hSo much of this story relies on the tone, the mood and the setting. Parts of it brought to mind Jane Eyre, and the opening scene in particular could have been lifted straight from the writings of Charlotte Brontë. As Louisa is driven up to Wildthorn Sanitarium, the buildup and surprise was similar to small Jane being brought to Lowood School. As one might expect from the subject matter, the whole book is dark and lovely and gothic. The writing alone is enough to convince a reader to immerse themselves in this world, before they even get to things like character or plot.
The first third of the book has two storylines, which builds up the tension and the mystery before merging together for the rest of the story. The present is interspersed with significant scenes from the past, revealing Louisa's life and family before coming to Wildthorn, giving the reader both a strong sense of who she is and where she's come from as well as a list of suspects as to who could have wanted her locked away. This could have been confusing, but is handled deftly by Eagland and actually serves to answer questions rather than raising the "er... what?" response.
The love story was an unexpected pleasure. Louisa is gay and horribly guilty over her attraction to another woman. Given the historical setting, this is a natural reaction on her part and something she manages to overcome with the encouragement of her romantic interest. Without giving spoilers, I'll also say the resolution of the love story is a nice balance between wanting the happy ever after and wanting something realistic I can believe in, given the societal restrictions of the time the book is set in.
Louisa is portrayed as an unconventional woman of her time, sexual orientation aside. She's smart, she's driven, she's determined to pursue a career rather than content herself with the marriage and children everyone else is telling her she ought to have. She studies medicine and is good at it, better than some of the men around her, and while some find her behaviour odd or shocking, she does have her allies. Given her intelligence and competence, I found myself frustrated she spent so long thinking her placement in Wildthorn was a mistake when all evidence pointed to the contrary. The man who should have been the top of her suspect list, considering the details of their history together, never crossed her mind until it was raised for her, and even then she had difficulties believing it. With everything that had happened to her to that point, the level of naiveté required is beyond my suspension of disbelief.
The ending felt a little forced at times. The book tries too hard to tie everything up and to punish all the antagonists, even when it doesn't really fit. The sudden case of smallpox was unnecessary and unexpected enough to draw me right out of the story.
Those issues aside, I really enjoyed Wildthorn. Maybe I'm just a sucker for a good gothic setting, but the fact remains this is a good one....more
With all the clones running around, and given that this is the fourth Widowmaker book but the only one I've read, it could have been really confusing.With all the clones running around, and given that this is the fourth Widowmaker book but the only one I've read, it could have been really confusing. I was able to follow it pretty easily, though, so kudos to Resnick for that. The bounties hunted down by the various Widowmakers in the story were really interesting and I really liked the way their special abilities and weaknesses were explored. The futuristic technology was well handled. It all seemed plausible, and enhanced the story without bogging things down in a lot of convoluted technobabble. I know some people like a lot of technobabble in their stories, but for me, a little goes a long way.
The story in general is very dialogue heavy. Nighthawk in particular spends a lot of time explaining things, usually to Kinoshita who, despite his many years as a bounty hunter and Widowmaker "sidekick," asks an awful lot of questions. In spite of this, I always felt like something was happening throughout the book, perhaps because much of the story revolves around Nighthawk's plans and way of thinking.
One thing I would have liked to see more of was the alien races. There are a number of them alluded to, but rarely do we hear more than the species name. Granted, this is the fourth book, so it's possible more detail about the various types of aliens can be found in the other stories, and for the most part they had no significant bearing on the story, but I would have liked to see them fleshed out better anyway, if only to provide a richer backdrop.
Some of the themes and ideas Resnick explores in his book are really interesting, the kind to make you stop and think. What kind of morals can a man uphold when he kills other people for a living? When a clone is created with all the memories of the original man intact, how does he manage to accept that he's not, in fact, who he thinks he is?
I really found myself enjoying the story, and it's easy to see why Mike Resnick has won more major science fiction awards than nearly any other writer. I finished the story feeling completely satisfied and closed the book with a smile. It's hard to ask for more than that....more
We all know the story of Rapunzel, a young woman locked in a tower by a witch, spending her days alone until the man of her dreams comes along and useWe all know the story of Rapunzel, a young woman locked in a tower by a witch, spending her days alone until the man of her dreams comes along and uses her impossibly long hair as a rope ladder.
This Rapunzel, however, has no intention of waiting to be rescued. She's gotten herself down before the "prince" can get there, and when she finally does meet him, has no trouble seeing right through his arrogant and manipulative self to send him on his way.
Rapunzel is a great character, determined and capable, and while she's off to get her vengeance against the witch who stole her and locked her up, she's not coming from a dark and angry place. Facing her witch will free just about everyone in the land, including Rapunzel's birth mother and the many new friends she makes along her journey.
There's some pretty solid storytelling here, including a bit of a surprise twist near the end which made me go back and read the thing over again to pick up all the little hints spread out before the reveal is made. On top of that, the writing is honestly funny, although occasionally suffers from over-explaining the joke.
The art is expressive and distinctive, although not terribly consistent. Character faces can look wildly different from panel to panel, recognizable largely though colouring and hairstyles. That being said, though, I do appreciate the wide variety of races being depicted, giving the pages a much richer flavour than the (unfortunately) more standard display of white-on-white-on-white....more
Finders Keepers is a sci-fi romance. There's plenty of spaceships and aliens and futuristic trappings, but the heart of the story relies on Trilby andFinders Keepers is a sci-fi romance. There's plenty of spaceships and aliens and futuristic trappings, but the heart of the story relies on Trilby and Rhis falling in love. The focus skews heavily to their romance, and while it doesn't ignore the exterior plot per se, the book would probably be about half as long without the constant "will they or won't they" factor. The love story had plenty enough conflict to keep it afloat without feeling like it was being drawn out unnecessarily, but I have to admit, I was much more interested in the sci-fi aspects.
See, the worldbuilding was really interesting. Politics! Spaceships! Fighting factions and futuristic technology and languages and aliens and yes. There were some really interesting side characters I wanted to hear more about, but towards the end of the book they all sort of fade into the background so Trilby and Rhis could wrap up their romance story arc and ignore any fall-out from the sci-fi aspects of the plot. There was no question as to where the love story would end up, but I wanted to hear more about the political and personal ramifications of the various adventures (and deaths) that occurred in the book.
Really, though, if my biggest complaint is that I wanted more, it's pretty safe to say I'll be picking up more of Sinclair's novels in the future. I have some catching up to do....more
Since from the very beginning of the story, we know who the killer is, The Blue Nowhere is less of a mystery and more of a thriller. While most of theSince from the very beginning of the story, we know who the killer is, The Blue Nowhere is less of a mystery and more of a thriller. While most of the criminal hunting is done through computer work, you don't have to be a computer expert to follow the plot. On the contrary, I think Deaver dumbed things down more than he needed to. Aside from having the terms explained in the context of the story (usually Gillette explaining what he's doing to Bishop), there's a full glossary of computer terms. This book has been out for a few years, but I'm pretty sure even back in the stone age that was 2001, people didn't really need to have it explained to them that a "machine" is a word substitute for "computer." (No, seriously, I'm not exaggerating. That's really in there.)
The characterizations were well done, especially Gillette and Bishop. Their backstories and motivations are revealed slowly, the reader gaining perspective as the two get to know each other over the course of the story. Their decisions made sense, as did their reasoning, and that's rare enough for me to appreciate when it's done well, as it is here. The plot takes a number of twists, one of which actually surprised me; Phate's partner and informant wasn't who I expected it to be. In general, the plot is tightly woven and paced well, and the shifting perspectives were handled smoothly.
I enjoyed myself while reading, and kept picking up the book to see what was going to happen next (in spite of my giggling at the binary chapter headings). I'm keeping my copy to read again sometime, and I'd recommend it to anyone keen on plot twists or just in the mood for a good thriller....more
Elantris is full of political intrigue, particularly in the chapters following Sarene's perspective. The politics are well written, and while they couElantris is full of political intrigue, particularly in the chapters following Sarene's perspective. The politics are well written, and while they could be confusing with all the names and positions, it's handled smoothly and pretty easy to follow. There are a lot of minor characters, and some of them I had a hard time keeping straight, but they're minor enough that it didn't really matter if I mixed them up in my head, since they didn't bear any significance on the plot.
The story is told in three viewpoints, switching from Raoden to Sarene to Hrathen and back again. For most of the book, the chapters follow in that order, which I really liked. I knew ahead of time whose viewpoint I was going to be reading next, and I found it really helped lessen the potential confusion of a complex plot. I don't think I've ever come across a book that alternated so consistently, but I really liked the effect.
Character-wise, I found Hrathen the most complicated of the three. He's set up as an antagonist to all the other characters, trying to forcibly convert them all, but it's hard to hate him when we're given his motivations. He's trying to save them, in the literal as well as spiritual sense of the word. He's scheming and calculating, but no more than any of the other characters, and he honestly believes what he's doing is for the best. And considering Wyrn, the head of the Fjordell religion, plans to kill all "heathens," it's hard to fault Hrathen's logic. He enjoys a challenge, and appreciates Sarene's efforts to foil his plans. He holds a certain respect for her intelligence and abilies as a political opponent, which makes him that much more likeable.
Sarene is a little more typical of a female protagonist in genre fiction. She's outspoken and way ahead of her time, intimidating most men she comes across with her forward and free-thinking ways. She's a schemer and meant to be among the most intelligent and spirited of the lot. Most of the plans presented in the group of influential Arelons devoted to dethroning the king are Sarene's, an outsider and the only woman. She's a little too flawless, but she didn't annoy me the way that sort of character usually does.
Raoden is eternally optimistic. He spends his time in Elantris building up the hopes of the others there, even the devoted pessimists. He almost single-handedly creates a society within Elantris, where before there was only chaos and despair of people who believed there was nothing left for them but eternal torment, as Elantrians don't die by normal means. When he's not busy founding a useful society and giving desperate people a reason to go on every day, he's busy trying to discover the secret to why Elantris changed the way it did. He's a pretty busy guy, but his motivations weren't nearly as complex as Hrathen's. Raoden was a likeable enough guy, he just wasn't as deep as he maybe could have been.
Ok, in spite of all my griping here, I really did enjoy this book. It took me longer to read than most other books I enjoy, because it's not as fast paced, but it was definitely worth the read. I found myself having to find large chunks of time instead of hacking away a chapter or two at a time, because I couldn't put it down after just a few minutes. Everything comes together at the end, and even the questions I didn't know I was wondering about were answered. It leaves off with the potential for a sequel, and I find myself hoping that Sanderson returns to the world he's created here sooner rather than later....more
I really really loved the world building. The races were all very different and original, which... you really don't see much in fantasy these days. NoI really really loved the world building. The races were all very different and original, which... you really don't see much in fantasy these days. No elves or dwarves in sight. I'm particularly fond of the Leontines (catpeople). I want one for my very own.
The book is full of fantastic details, not just with the races, but with all the characters and the whole world. Sagara has a knack for throwing in these little details that bring her concepts to life and instead of being merely interesting, they were absorbing. I couldn't put the book down. The cover of my copy has permanent thumbprints.
Kaylin was a really realistic character, despite her superpowers. I loved that she was always late for everything and getting in trouble for it. It was such a little thing, but it immediately helped bring her from a 2D superchick type to a real, flawed person. I loved that, especially that she was actually punished for it, that it wasn't just glossed over. I also really liked that, even though it was forbidden for her to use her powers, when she did use it to help others it was overlooked, even though everyone knew what she had done. I also adored her love of the children at the foundling home.
My one grumble is that things between Kaylin and Severn weren't fully resolved by the end of the book. I was waiting for that one more scene where they came to some sort of understanding, and it never happened. I'm aware it's the first in a series, but it still made me grumble.
All in all, Cast in Shadows is good enough to force on your friends. Or your enemies. Or random strangers. Whoever....more
On the front of the book is a quote from Locus, which says The Heart of Valor is "A great mix of military action and mystery with lots of twists and fOn the front of the book is a quote from Locus, which says The Heart of Valor is "A great mix of military action and mystery with lots of twists and fun characters." I don't think I could sum it up any better, but hey, I'll try anyway.
The book is pretty classic Huff, which is a synonym for awesome. (No really, it is. Look it up.) It's tightly plotted, full of action, with strong characters in a creative setting. There's a lot going on, but Huff manages to keep things moving without overloading the reader or losing things in the shuffle. Torin is a strong female protagonist and more than competent at her job, surrounded by a colourful cast of aliens and humans, all with memorable quirks of their own.
The military action is put together with the deft hand of someone who understands how these things work, and the character's decisions always make sense, something more than a few books wind up lacking. Huff's sense of humour is threaded through the book, shining through just often enough to keep the book from getting too heavy.
Do I sound like a slobbering fangirl? Because this book is a perfect example of why I obsessively stalk Tanya Huff. Highly recommended to scifi readers or just anyone who likes a heroine who can kick butt and crack wise at the same time....more
When I reviewed Grimspace, I mentioned that Jax is made of forty-two different kinds of awesome. Well, ok, I didn't put it in those words, but it wasWhen I reviewed Grimspace, I mentioned that Jax is made of forty-two different kinds of awesome. Well, ok, I didn't put it in those words, but it was true then, and it's true now. The voice is really what makes this series so addictive; I don't sink blissfully into the pages, I'm yanked in forcefully.
Wanderlust is a little slower-paced than its predecessor, more introspective and less with the non-stop action. It's a little episodic, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a lot going on, plot-wise, and the slower pace keeps it from growing overwhelming. Even when she's thinking or worrying, Jax is intense and urgent, and the characters she's surrounded with make any situation interesting.
Speaking of characters, there was a really nice mix of familiar faces and new personalities. Dina, the unapologetically homosexual mechanic who refuses to pull her punches is back and as much fun as ever. I really dig Vel, the enigmatic and uber-skilled alien, and am hoping to get a little more into his character in the next book. Jael is an interesting new character, and for fear of going all spoiler-ific on you, I won't say what makes him stand out, but I have to wonder what Aguirre has planned for him, all things considered.
Readers who pick up Wanderlust without having read the first book will have no problems following the story, although they might wonder about March and his relationship with Jax. The two have some issues here, and anyone who hasn't witnessed them getting together in the first place might have issues with the romantic portions of this book.
Wanderlust is clearly the beginning of a much larger story arc, and since Aguirre is contracted for two more books in the Jax series, I'm eager to see where the story goes from here. I think it's pretty clear I've been thoroughly enjoying these books, and right now my only gripe is that now I'll have to wait a full year to see what happens next....more
Marshall Conrad is not a superhero. Oh sure, he can fly, has unnatural strength, can move things kinetically, and spends a lot of his time protectingMarshall Conrad is not a superhero. Oh sure, he can fly, has unnatural strength, can move things kinetically, and spends a lot of his time protecting the citizens of Greenfield from would-be criminals, but he's still just a stubborn and anti-social middle-aged crank. After all, it's not like he wears a costume or has a special crime-fighting name.
Reading the first chapter, I wasn't sure how well I'd take to the main character. Marshall is sarcastic, grumpy, and doesn't care much about what other people think or feel. What could have made for an incredibly annoying protagonist, though, actually made him more endearing and relatable. Nearly everyone hates their job; so does Marshall, and he'll tell you all the reasons flying and crimefighting aren't what they're cracked up to be. The book is first person narrative, liberally peppered with Marshall's sarcastic thoughts and observations, and the strong voice is a big part of what makes the book so readable.
And readable it is. Fast-paced with colourful characters, Unseen World is sometimes gritty and sometimes witty but always a lot of fun. Cummings has packed a lot into only 257 pages, and every single one of them flew past at the speed of a reluctant superhero.
Since I haven't gone into the secondary characters yet, let me take a moment to mention how much I loved them. Marshall has to deal with an inquisitive upstairs neighbour/love interest, an old woman with a penchant for alcohol who just might be more sarcastic than even he is, a friendly shopkeeping witch full of interesting secrets and contacts, and an overweight cat who may or may not be a double agent. Not one of them wound up being quite what you expected upon first encountering them, and they made for some loveable complications to Marshall's life.
If I have a complaint, it's that there was a whole lot going on. Yeah, I know, usually it's a good thing, but there were so many new characters and ideas being introduced, it was at times a little overwhelming. New kinds of critters or magic from the unseen world would show up, have a little bit of explanation, and then disappear again, and I think the book might have benefited if some of these introductions were saved for future volumes. There were just enough minor loose ends to indicate this is the beginning of a series, so there's plenty of time for future worldbuilding.
Basically, though, I enjoyed reading and have to say this is a great book to pick up if you're into urban fantasy but are over the vampires and werethings prowling around most of them. Or, y'know, if you like urban fantasy at all, really. (The tone is reminiscent of Harry Dresden, but without the overt sexism or aggressive-to-the-point-of-stupidity moments.) The superhero aspect gives just enough of a twist to keep the story from turning into the same thing we've all read a few too many times, and Cummings's writing keeps you in the world, reading "just one more chapter" until you discover you've finished the entire book....more
The story took me awhile to get into. Butcher doesn't stop to explain anything in the world, and so I spent the first 150 pages or so thinking "wait,The story took me awhile to get into. Butcher doesn't stop to explain anything in the world, and so I spent the first 150 pages or so thinking "wait, what?" a lot. I don't like a lot of descriptive passages, and I will be the first to mock conversations of the "as you know, Bob" variety, but in a new fantasy world, there needs to be some sort of explanation as to what's going on. When Tavi and Bernard first come across the Marat scout, they talk about it in dramatic tones like it's some big deal, but as I had no frame of reference for what a Marat was, it had no impact on me. I found the furies (elemental spirits controlled by humans) really confusing in the beginning, since I was left to figure out what they were and how they worked on my own. It felt like I had picked up the third or fourth book in a series, where everything has already been established, and it was a pretty awkward way to start out.
I'd also like to point out Butcher's complete lack of subtlety. The traitor's name is Fidelius? Seriously? There were no surprises in the plot, since all the "twists" were delivered with the same sort of heavy foreshadowing. Predictability isn't always a bad thing, although I have to admit I was entertained when halfway through Furies of Calderon, my husband mentioned a plot point from one of the later volumes in the series, and it was something I had already predicted.
One of the really neat things about this book is that Tavi is not the uber-gifted chosen one. He doesn't have raw talent that puts men who have been studying for years to shame. In fact, he's working at a disadvantage; he's the only human in the known world who does not have any furies he can call on. In the world of Alera, this is akin to being blind or deaf. I really liked this twist on the classic sword-and-sorcery coming-of-age tale, a refreshing change from boy wizards and the like.
Once I figured out what was going on with the furies, they were a really neat idea. Tied to the elements, each sort of fury has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and an element it can't maintain its power against. For example, water heals, but fire cancels it out. Air crafters can fly, unless they're covered in earth. The furies each have their own personality, too, and work very closely with the humans (called crafters) who control them. Some, like Bernard's earth fury, even start working without orders when they feel they know their crafter's interests better than the crafter does.
I don't know how many of you out there have read The Dresden Files, but one of my gripes about that series is the way every single female character is unfathomably hot. They're all described in great detail, as though their physical attributes are more important than whatever role they may have in the story. Before I know their name, I know their cup size. Furies of Calderon continued this habit, although in a slightly less grating manner. Amara had a personality before we discovered how breathtakingly gorgeous she is, and Tavi's aunt Isana (Bernard's sister) is widely considered too skinny to be truly beautiful, although she has a pretty face.
The flow of the story felt odd to me. As I mentioned before, it took me awhile to get into the book, overwhelmed and confused as I was by being thrown straight into the deep end. After awhile, though, I started to get a feel for the characters, started understanding the world a little bit, and the plot started moving along quickly. There are lots of characters to keep track of, and several significant side plots I didn't even touch on in my short summary. The book kept me turning pages pretty quickly until I got to the last 75 or 50 pages, when the ending just seemed to be drawing out forever. I kept thinking things were getting wrapped up, when they'd start up with more fighting. "And ok, now we're... noooo, apparently we've got some more conflict to wrap up. Alright, good now... we're still going. Oookay. Ah, this has go to be the end... no, this thing NEVER ENDS."
Still, there were a number of memorable characters, and I found myself driven to read for at least half the length of the book, so it's entirely possible I'll wind up reading through book 2....more
This is the type of urban fantasy with enough of a comedic touch to keep it light, in the vein of Tanya Huff or Janet Evanovich. Despite being the secThis is the type of urban fantasy with enough of a comedic touch to keep it light, in the vein of Tanya Huff or Janet Evanovich. Despite being the second in the series, it works well as a standalone, probably at least in part because it switched publishers after book 1, which was put out by Mira. Very few of the characters have returned, which gives me mixed feelings. I really liked some of the characters in Disappearing Nightly, but given that this is an entirely different case, it makes sense that the gang from the first book wouldn't be involved and it's nice that Resnick didn't try to force them in.
As is the norm in urban fantasy, the voice of the book is the voice of the protagonist, as the thing is written in first person. Esther's observations and smart remarks are fun to read, and it's very nice to read a heroine who's smart enough to know when it's ok to voice these comments out loud and when it's best to keep her thoughts to herself. She doesn't try to endanger herself or others by irritating the wrong people with her wit. She did, however, occasionally drive me nuts with her inability to "get" something. It's an author's tool, using the protagonist's ignorance as an excuse to explain things to her readers, but there were a few points I felt we could have skipped the explanation or, at the very least, Esther should have been quicker on the uptake, especially considering this isn't her first foray into the paranormal. I mean, does the term "doppelgänger" really need to be explained? I'm pretty sure it's term mainstream enough even a newcomer to the fantasy genre would have heard it before.
In general, the mobster characters are full of stereotypes, but they're colourful stereotypes, and aging hitman Lucky is a welcome addition to the cast. A friend of Esther's, he adds some wonderful shades of grey to the story, a morally ambiguous character who is (this time) on the side of good. This arguably gives him more depth than Esther or Max, and I'd love to see him around again, although if the series follows the pattern it's shown between the first two books, I doubt he'll become a series regular.
As usual, Resnick's dialogue is great. She has a knack for banter, and given the different lingos spoken by different characters, there are some wonderful moments of confusion and misunderstanding.
I picked the book up hoping for something fun and entertaining, and Doppelgangster delivered exactly what I was looking for. There are at least two more in the series, and I do believe I'll have to add them to my collection....more
In a lot of ways, the undead could just as easily have been vampires as zombies, and we all know YA vampire love stories are everywhere right now. TheIn a lot of ways, the undead could just as easily have been vampires as zombies, and we all know YA vampire love stories are everywhere right now. The zombies here don't hurt people or eat brains. They don't decompose, and they have no need for eat or sleep. They're pale-skinned, misunderstood, ageless, and the higher-functioning zombies are described as beautiful. So why zombies instead of vampires? I'm not actually sure. Really, nothing is done with them that couldn't have been done if these kids were vampires instead, and in some ways they might have been more original if they'd gone the vampire route. I'm guessing Waters wanted to go with something a little more off the beaten path, though, and YA zombies isn't nearly as oversaturated a market as YA vampires, even if they're zombies in name only.
That being said, there are some interesting areas explored here. The zombies have no rights at all in this world, not even basic ones. There are no laws protecting them. Property has more value than they do, as burning or destroying a zombie is completely within legal rights. There's a movement to fight for zombie rights, but an equal movement wanting them just eradicated. I like the question of zombie rights, and I think for the most part they're dealt with in a sadly realistic way. Rights for the undead would of course be an even steeper and more difficult climb than getting equal rights for gay folks, and we already know how that one's going.
There is, of course, a rather standard romance conflict going on here. While Phoebe's relationship with Tommy slowly grows, her best friend Adam decides he's in love with her, and there's plenty of angst and insecurity to go around. It's well handled, and her relationship with both boys is believable, but there's nothing original or different here. I suppose that's not necessarily a dealbreaker, but there's so little else in this book thats different or original.
I guess when it was first published a few years ago, there weren't many zombies on the market yet, but since these are zombies in name only, we can't even really claim that. It's very readable and keeps the pages turning up until the dramatic, game-changing plot twist right at the end that isn't quite a cliff-hanger but does ensure readers will be eager to get their hands on the next volume. I'm not a teen, and considering this blog is nearly four years old, it's safe to say I'm pretty well-read in the genre. If neither of those things were true, I'd have given this book a much higher rating. It's not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, it just doesn't have much to bring to the table that's new, and while I enjoyed reading the thing while it was in my hands, I don't expect any part of it will stick with me once it goes back to the library....more
One thing Dahl excels at is creating sympathetic characters, which Crazy For Love has in spades. It's easy not only to believe in these people, but toOne thing Dahl excels at is creating sympathetic characters, which Crazy For Love has in spades. It's easy not only to believe in these people, but to like them. If only I were lucky enough to be caught on a beach vacation with these folks (but knowing my luck, I'd wind up next to the curmudgeonly old couple instead).
While I could easily believe Max to be the type of person who could disguise his excessive worrying with charm, it stretched my imagination that Chloe was the first person ever to have figured this out. Sure, Max tries hard to convey the impression of a happy-go-lucky guy, but the man has Issues (note the capital I) and could use some serious therapy, so that his brother has never noticed seems more than a little odd. Max's Issues are extreme enough they got have gotten very annoying very quickly, and it's a testament to Dahl's capabilities as a writer that they didn't. Handled with a bit of humour and sympathy, he becomes a likeable character, even as he manipulates people to suit his Issues.
The secondary romance between Jenn and Elliott was sweet, the two of them making a more everyman/everywoman connection than anything Chloe or Max could offer. Jenn is the type of chick to get horrifically nervous around a man she's attracted to; Elliott is the type of man who believes he's too boring and geeky to get someone like Jenn. Jenn also has a connection to the main plot with her "big secret," a plotline I wasn't thrilled with. It mostly seemed there to fill space and to add an extra (unnecessary) dimension to her character. Certainly the main plot could have trundled along without it.
My picky issues aside, this is a fun read, perfect for those hot days when you're not sure what to do with yourself because you're too miserable to do much more than sit around and sweat. Crazy For Love will pick up your mood and make you smile even on those days (although it definitely won't cool you down)....more