What a crummy sequel. I wish I'd never read it in order to keep the favorable memory of Hunting Lila alive. Losing (my will to live) Lila is the compl...moreWhat a crummy sequel. I wish I'd never read it in order to keep the favorable memory of Hunting Lila alive. Losing (my will to live) Lila is the complete opposite of the debut: slow, angst-ridden, typical YA drivel revolving around misunderstandings between love interests. Unfortunately the book was so focused on this that it didn't have enough page-time devoted to its plot so we never get to meet Lila's mother, the person they were so intent on rescuing, along with Jack, Lila's brother. We also don't get to witness Jack finding out an important truth, or the villain of the piece get his comeuppence as he escapes to live, breathe and plot another day. Talk about loose ends. Totally unsatisfying.
Speaking of unsatisfying, sex shouldn't have been an issue and yet Alex spouts, "I'm just trying to protect your honour." Lame excuse, buddy. They'd known each other for years, she's almost 18, there's a time when they're in one of the most beautiful places on earth and either of them could die at any minute. It was legal in Mexico, the perfect moment was there for the taking and Alex blew it. Why mention sex at all if you're going to give Alex a lame excuse to abstain? Lila's obsession with Alex's resolve got old real fast. It's not often I think sex between YA characters is a good idea (mostly because they're usually incompatible strangers) but it was very appropriate and expected here. Alex wasn't a psycho stalker and Lila wasn't a girl about to be taken advantage of. It was all remarkably healthy.
I wish there'd been more attention on other characters like Amber, Demos and Thomas, even Lila's dad. More character history or perhaps their POVs would've been most welcome. Thankfully Lila is a duology so I don't need to agonise about whether to read the next one.(less)
Okay, perhaps I'm overly sensitive but this should've been novel-sized instead of a novella. Maybe then I would've enjoyed this more because 1) the in...moreOkay, perhaps I'm overly sensitive but this should've been novel-sized instead of a novella. Maybe then I would've enjoyed this more because 1) the insta-love I couldn't accept especially since 2) the female protagonist had in the past been raped on a daily basis for over a year, ten years before she tangos with the man, the first she'd come close to since then, she would fall for. Although it was approached in a considerate way I was still uncomfortable and not quite believing she would so easily trust any man after her experience chained to a bed in a brothel despite being drugged most of the time. (less)
Dragons. So that's what the Mayans were talking about. 2012 is the year of the fire-breathing, human-killing dragon. It's true. The Chinese came to th...moreDragons. So that's what the Mayans were talking about. 2012 is the year of the fire-breathing, human-killing dragon. It's true. The Chinese came to the same conclusion.
Previously thought to be mythological beings will rise up and decimate the human population. The best of the best of the military, the Marines -the epitome of "Protect and Serve" decide it's survival of the fittest and seem to believe the marauding Vikings had it right: rape, pillage and plunder, and occasionally slay a dragon.
25 years on and their actions have wiped out many a surviving community. There are rumours about: a) the Marines stealing not only resources and women but dead bodies too, and b) the existence of Dragon Warriors, men who wield heavy swords made of diamonds -the only weapon that can pierce their tough hides, supposedly used by the Marines. This puzzles and upsets Rain, our protagonist, of the survival camp, Sanctuary, when it appears disturbing and sinister things are being done she stumbles onto startling information as she attempts to follow through on a promise to a loved one.
The cover + dragons + post-apocalypic dystopia = must read for me. I loved the concept, the history and the world-building, but the Dragon Warrior's personal revelation and his response to it was too fast as was his love-at-first-sight which as a result was a little cliched and over-the-top. However, considering the shortish length of the book it's understandable. I liked Rain, she's tough and hard to fool. Give her a challenge and she will succeed. She's no wallflower, she won't wilt in the face of overwhelming odds or a troop of Marines planning on gang raping her. Eek.
The end...I can only assume who...and how...and hope there's a sequel.
The Highlander's Touch resonated with me. No wait, let's be more specific. Lisa resonated with me. Her experience as a carer is so accurately portraye...moreThe Highlander's Touch resonated with me. No wait, let's be more specific. Lisa resonated with me. Her experience as a carer is so accurately portrayed I have to wonder if Moning has ever been one. Many times I read something and said, "Yes. This is what it's like. Exactly." So thank you for that. What an unexpected to surprise. This is the reason for the 'favourites' shelf.
I appreciated Cicernn's knight-in-shining-armour routine, his understanding Lisa's refusal to enjoy herself while her mother lay dying and alone, and feeling she didn't deserve to be happy having had no reason to feel much positive emotion in years. Everything else...was okay, worthy of a 3-3.5★ rating, but a solid 4★ for what this meant to me personally. Moning's author note is a stark warning for all women to ensure they attend regular cervical smear tests.(less)
Far, far better than A Kiss at Midnight however, it is hampered by it's shorter length which is a shame because the charming Wick deserved more as the...moreFar, far better than A Kiss at Midnight however, it is hampered by it's shorter length which is a shame because the charming Wick deserved more as the ending was uncomfortably fast and abrupt. I was appalled at Rodney's treatment of Phillipa, the chemistry between her and Wick was palpable, and I laughed and reveled in the adorable cuteness of the characters and situations. This novella has given me hope that When Beauty Tamed the Beast will be even better than the disappointing first book.
'There was something about Miss Damson that made even a man with wet breeches hungry. Lustful.'
"Princesses swan about in satin-lined carriages. What's more, everyone knows that when a princess has a child, it has a rosebud mouth and sunny blue eyes. Whereas I have birthed the ugliest baby in all Christendom." ~ Princess Kate
"I never heard of a lady nursing her own baby before. I'm sure that's the problem." She leveled a thin finger at Kate. "What that child needs is the milk of a hardy peasant. Yours is probably thin and blue. Though now that I think on it, you're practically a peasant yourself." ~ Princess Sophonisba
"In fact, one castle is the same as any other. The lot of them sit around buggering each other, if not the sheep." ~ Princess Sophonisba
‘There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.’
Okay, so here’s my feedback.
The tips are useful, I can't deny that. Prepare beforehand, focus on a...more‘There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.’
Okay, so here’s my feedback.
The tips are useful, I can't deny that. Prepare beforehand, focus on a small number of people, ask open-ended questions, leave when you become tired, treat people the way they want to treated, tip staff, remember names, take notes on all interactions afterwards, and follow-up within a couple of days with a thoughtful email. That’s the basics.
The title doesn’t reflect the entire book. A more accurate title would be ‘Introverts vs. Extroverts: How to deal with all types of people’. The author is a ‘confident introvert’ and so the focus is on identifying and understanding introverts. The book starts off by drawing up the pros and cons of being in either camp and those that fall in the middle of the scale, centroverts. A self-assessment is included to identify which camp the reader is in however, I don’t believe it’s a very accurate. It seems to be skewed towards identifying introverts as centroverts.
If you're an introvert but haven't really thought about it much before, then you'll probably be really happy when your introverted attributes have been validated here, and might find yourself saying, "That's me!" The author really tries to wipe away the negativity associated with being an introvert and I have to applaud her for her efforts. Zack argues introverts are often misunderstood and should be valued for their positive characteristics because we as society wouldn't be able to function without them, especially as it's supposedly split 50/50 extroverts and introverts.
Much later we finally get to the tips on business networking functions (with a small section on job searching), which in itself is a very narrow subject area considering the author states ‘Life is one giant networking opportunity’ although you can extrapolate some of the tips for other social situations.
‘The case of the rambling introvert’ –that’s the entire book, most notably the second half. Lots of rambling. This could be condensed into either a shorter book (by a third, at least) or a long but concise article/essay. All of the real-world examples given weren’t necessary. Some I skipped completely because I all ready had the gist of what was being said. On the other hand, sometimes it was unclear and I wished the author was more direct and forthcoming.
That Thing At the Zoo is a good size dark urban fantasy prequel novella introducing a character whose physical appearance I can picture perfectly. Rar...moreThat Thing At the Zoo is a good size dark urban fantasy prequel novella introducing a character whose physical appearance I can picture perfectly. Rarely can I say that, I'm mostly left with a vague overall impression but Mr. Deacon Chalke is a man that cannot and will not be ignored. He's an intimidating 6'4 and 300 pounds. Think WWE star with no hair and lots of tattoos. This guy looks like he could cause trouble and with a classic muscle car complete with a 4-corpse trunk full of weapons, he's equipped to deal with it. Reminds me of a certain beloved Impala belonging to a pair of monster-hunting brothers on TV. Loved that show.
Bottom line: Deacon Chalk, occult bounty hunter, is a total badass. He could kick Harry Dresden's butt easy-peasy. And that brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.
You may actively avoid meeting Deacon on the street or a dark alley but he's not the thug his appearance advertises him to be. He's a man still reeling from, and is haunted by, personal trauma. Monsters murdered his family and now he hunts those dangerous to humans. He's not the "tough guy" cliché often expressed in movies where the hero ultimately gets over his tragic loss by kicking some lame villain's butt then settles down with a waitress he just happened to encounter along the way, completely trivialising the effect his past had on him. No, Deacon has full-on flashback panic attacks he tries desperately to stifle and hopes no one notices his distant, pained silences as he experiences a post-traumatic stress episode. These lapses in concentration aren't professional and are downright inconvenient when hunting deadly nasties but he has no control over when they occur. You feel for his anguish, knowing that if he wasn't a Catholic he would rejoin his family in death.
The side character I'm most eager to get to know is the priest:
I don't know what his life was before becoming a Catholic priest, but he can shoot like a sniper and knife fight like a convict. He has my back anytime I need it, whether that means tending bar at Polecats [strip club] or two steps behind me, shotgun in hand.
The writing style is reminiscent of pre-controversy Anita Blake. Gory and gritty. Visceral. No one is safe from being ripped apart and carelessly tossed aside without dignity.
Although it's obvious this has been written by a debut author, I've found something I've been missing from UF of late: a real sense of darkness without the distracting focus on angst-ridden romance (is it really necessary every...single...book?). There's nothing but the characters, plot and the danger around the next corner to occupy the reader -what a relief. My only real negative is the lack of contractions i.e. can't, won't, etc. which in my opinion, slow the pace and jar the reader out of the story. I'm also surprised Deacon so readily disfigured his tattoos to get some blood to "chum the waters" so to speak. I thought tattoos were treasured permanent works of art but it was emergency so I'll let it go.
When it comes to non-full-length prequels authors aren't usually interested in making a concerted effort to give readers an accurate taste of what's to come, with a few exceptions like this. Next up, Blood and Bullets.
Favourite Quotes 'Rednecks are part of the South, and even when they don't look like much, they usually turn out to be tough as leather and full of skills that save your ass.'
"What the fuck are you doing?" "Putting this thing in the back of my pants like they do on the TV."
'I found Dr. Critter trying to hold off the [spoiler removed] with a bullwhip and an office chair.'
***My thanks to the author for the ebook in return for an honest review.***(less)
Dark illustrations enhancing highly emotive topics expertly written and presented in a wonderfully tactile and beautiful...moreOh, I need a hug.
Dark illustrations enhancing highly emotive topics expertly written and presented in a wonderfully tactile and beautiful book.
A Monster Calls is an important and powerful piece of artwork, an absolute must read for every child. It deals with death, divorce, alienation, bullying, guilt, blame, the weight of responsibilty and basically the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Everyone has or will experience these things and Conor's anxious journey through this complicated maze of thoughts and emotions perfectly demonstrates the reality of dealing with the obstacles in life in the most touching manner possible. This sense of depth and painful truths is not something you usually see in children's books which makes this even more special.(less)
From the ghost's perspective Charley was far more likeable than in First Grave on the Right. Reyes seems to have more dialogue in this story than in t...moreFrom the ghost's perspective Charley was far more likeable than in First Grave on the Right. Reyes seems to have more dialogue in this story than in the novel though his appearance was intrusive and unnecessary until the very end.(less)