Typical Karen Chance story: engaging, fun and all over the place. A must read for all Dory fans (but people who are not familiar with Chane's work migTypical Karen Chance story: engaging, fun and all over the place. A must read for all Dory fans (but people who are not familiar with Chane's work might get confused). And Louis-Cesare's line on the very last page totally makes you want to have the next Dory book in your hands. As in yesterday! A fun short: 4 stars. ...more
* The rating is based on the first 30% of the book. I couldn't finish it.*
This one was not for me. And not because I don't like slave stories, I do. B * The rating is based on the first 30% of the book. I couldn't finish it.*
This one was not for me. And not because I don't like slave stories, I do. But I don't like sappy slave stories. It's hard for me to understand the rules of the world if slaves are treated the way they were in the book. It gets even harder if the rules don't make sense. Slaves becoming masters? Really? How would that work, when they are programmed and conditioned to obey? How would that society function?
Also: I have trouble with mc's who are meant to be depicted as vulnerable, but come off as naive and childlike. And then fuck and get fucked non stop...
This story is basically the literary equivalent of a (excuse the pun) pilot episode to a new mini series. A good mix of intriguing character3,5 stars
This story is basically the literary equivalent of a (excuse the pun) pilot episode to a new mini series. A good mix of intriguing characters, mystery and humor, to grab your interest...and maybe keep you watching the rest of the season. ...more
Magic Mansion was initially published in the author's newsletter. The story about magicians entering a reality tv show appeared in each issue. In trueMagic Mansion was initially published in the author's newsletter. The story about magicians entering a reality tv show appeared in each issue. In true reality tv-style, readers could vote for the characters they wanted eliminated. All this led to one of JCP's more elaborate works. With Magic Mansion being as big a project as it is, I had very high expectations. To my surprise, the book wasn't as engrossing and captivating as JCP's usual stories.
Judging by the raving reviews, I'm the odd one out. I'm surprised myself because I have loved pretty much everything that JCP has published. Her stories, however short, always have great plots, a nice twist and superb characters. Unfortunately, this time around, I wasn't blown away.
The love story between the two characters was an almost generic insta-love story. I really liked how the concept of 'falling in love with your hero to realize he's just a regular guy' was handled. But other than that, the conflict was minimal and the "I love you"s came way too fast. Plus all that 'showering each other in kisses' definitely upped the saccharine factor.
Also: JCP's characters are usually multilayered and intriguing. Sadly, this time around I found both Ricardo and the Professor to be two dimensional, even though the latter showed some definite potential in the beginning of the book.
My main problem though, was that the story lacked bite. I don't want to say it's sappy, but Magic Mansion has a distinct mellowness to it that all the other JCP books (thankfully) lack. The only edge was in the reality tv setting, which I found to be both very original and entertaining. The reality contestants themselves sadly couldn't be used to their full potential. For instance: a character like Charity (the crazy ventriloquist with the scary dummy) could have provided some major snark, but was voted out by readers very early in the book. In stead, the ever crying, cheer leader girl, Sue, stayed on till the ending. What a waste.
All in all, an okay story with decent writing, but lacking the usual JCP superbness. 3 stars. ...more
Kudos for doing an m/m story line in a mainstream series.
A big fucking F for execution.
Short version: Qhuin and Blay got a corny story and played secKudos for doing an m/m story line in a mainstream series.
A big fucking F for execution.
Short version: Qhuin and Blay got a corny story and played secondthird fourth fiddle in their own book.
Longer version: (mild spoilers) Well, where do I begin? This book was a huge disappointment. Granted: I've been invested in Qhuinn and Blay for such a long time that only something close to perfection would have satisfied me fully. But come on! This? With all the build up, with that premise, with all the possibilities, Ward brings us this? Was she even trying? It seemed like she phoned it home—spelling mistakes and all—and took what could have been a beautifully rich story and delivered it in the most trite and unimaginative way possible. Petty lies, stupid misunderstandings, silly plot devices—I've seen bad fan fiction with more heart and inspiration.
The good: - the sex scenes: no fading out to gray. We got the full deal. Kudos for that. And I'm willing to forgo the lack of lubing and prepping because, hey: vampires! They can come for twenty minutes straight, they are beyond such trivialness. - some scenes with Qhuinn and Blay that were poignant and felt authentic, like the angsty scene in the tow truck, Blay comforting Qhuinn, the coming full circle in the club, Blay coming out to his parents, the family crest, Qhuinn's piercings, yay!
The sad: - JM's POV: I missed it like crazy. Furthermore: seeing things from his side would have actually made a lot of sense. These are his friends. He has seen them struggle for years. He was also important regarding the ahstrux nohtrum part. He could have been the link to Wrath and Trez POVs. But no. For someone who played such a huge part in the lives of our boys, he got an awful little air time. - the inner voices: I've said it before and I'll say it again: everyone is starting to sound alike. I know Ward has a typical style of writing but until a few books ago there was distinction between different characters' POVs. Now all of them have the same generic Brother-on-crack voice. Even the women. I didn't mind before with Manny or Tohr, or with Trez in this book, because I had never heard their inner voices before. But Qhuinn and Blay, especially Blay, also seemed to have lost their original voice. Only at a few instances did I feel like we had the real Blay back. - Xcor: oh, how the mighty have fallen, indeed! So much potential; morally ambiguous, daddy issues, a possibly very interesting dynamic with Throe in last book (or was that wishful thinking on my part?)... and all of it ruined. Pretty much all Xcor's POVs centered about his musings on Layla. Must she taint everything?
The bad: - Qhuinn and Blay's story line: even without taking into account my hate over the baby plot, or the fact that I think Blay got the shaft, I think we can safely say the Qhuay story line was badly executed. At the end of Lover Reborn, Qhuinn proclaimed "Our time has come". Seeing that life was too short, Qhuinn was set on not wasting any more time. Maybe I'm naive but all of that made me expect for... something to happen. Anything. For Qhuin and Blay's story to be different from the little bits and pieces we saw of them in the previous books. But no: their story line was in set up mode for pretty much the first 80% in the book. Only the last 20% did their story move forward. And their plot took up not even one third of those almost 600 pages. Like my friend Tara said: "It's like reading the book before theirs." More importantly: we have waited for Qhuinn and Blay to get together for years. And then still, we didn't see them be together. Except for the epilogue. In where important conversations and ground breaking moments are causally alluded to. What? I would have wanted to see all that! This way it seemed like critical issues weren't resolved and we missed out on the most important parts.
The unnecessary: - the side stories: I can't count how many times I screamed "I don't care!" when I opened the next chapter to see the names of Assail, or Trez, or Xcor, or Layla, or Sola. In the old books side stories were relevant. They tied into the main story. Now, the side stories have absolutely no purpose, except for trying to sell us on new couples to ship for further books. And frustrating me to no end. And taking away from the main story!
The mind-numbingly annoying: - Layla: I tried to like her, I really did. But come on! First of all: this book's title should be changed to 'Layla, all Layla'. I think she featured in about 70% of the book. She had quite a few own POV sections. Next to that she was the subject of many of Qhuinn's and some of Blay's POVs, and 99% of Xcor's POVs. Second: I know this book we're supposed to a) feel sorry for her, and b) be amazed at her strength and resilience, and all I can say is: fuck that! First of all: her 'standing up for herself' usually happens with easy targets: Havers (whom everyone hates already), Phury (who was always the underdog, and frankly: did a shitty job as Primale regarding Layla) and Fritz (now, that was just bullying!). I think it's hilarious how she suddenly loses the old world speech when she becomes 'assertive'. It's so contrived! And in between she can only whine about sacrificing her virginity. Are you kidding me? She was all but begging to get laid by anyone with a dick in previous books! And by the looks of it, Layla will play a major part for many more books to come. Ugh.
The tragic: - the editing: granted, the editing has never been great. Ward's writing has become sloppier and sloppier. There is little attention to continuity of time, place, event and character (actions), and world rules are changed when convenient. But this book was the worst of the bunch. There is a typo on the very first page of the book. The first page! Also, for a book that is set a couple of years earlier, there are a lot of 2012 pop culture references. Other than that, Butch suddenly added 'wicked' to his vocabulary, V lost his 'true', Layla lost her Chosen speech completely at times, Assail got more Old Worldly by the chapter, rules around ahstrux nohtrum-ship changed, and Trez met Selena for the first time... while he had already met her back in Lover Enshrined.
All in all, Lover at Last was a huge disappointment, where Ward took what could have been phenomenal story and presented it in the most unimaginative way possible. It makes me really sad. At the end, it wasn't a great reading experience, but it's closure nonetheless. Farewell Qhuinn and Blay. Adios Ward. ...more