I have so many good things to say about this book... It's eye-opening, insightful, romantic, and contains so much passion in the middle of war. Passio...moreI have so many good things to say about this book... It's eye-opening, insightful, romantic, and contains so much passion in the middle of war. Passion for helping others, passion for survival, passion for each other.
From the get-go, kudos to the author for tackling the Korean war. There are so few novels about this war. It seems to get lost in the middle of the fascination for the world wars. And even better, this author tells us about the Korean war from a Chinese's viewpoint. What was incredibly fascinating to me and new was how the Chinese people were being taught, or brainwashed so to speak, how many of them just followed blindly and if you didn't, you had a "thinking problem".
And it's not just any Chinese person. It's a woman...surgeon. In the army.
And let me tell you she's amazing. I love her character so much, how strong she is, how considerate. (She uses her own hair for stitching wounds!) I loved her "thinking problem", the way she tried her best to take care of her POWs, get them malaria medicine in the face of her superiors' stubborn and ridiculous ignorance, how she keeps saving as many as she can whether it's her side or the other side, whether she's a POW or a soldier. And she refuses to be brainwashed.
And at points in the story, when I would have just rolled into a ball and gave up, she keeps going. Somewhere inside herself, she has the strength to face endless horror after endless horror, from frozen graveyards to POW camps in which the Chinese fight amongst themselves: those who wish to stay with China and those who wish to leave. She goes from one war to another the entire story, it seems, from war at home: mother versus mistress, Communists versus the Imperialists, from North Korea vs South, to Chinese vs Chinese.
Before she even joins the war, we are educated about the Communist takeover and the staunch ways of the Chinese people.
And I'm leaving out the hero. He's not dominate, really, but he is an American soldier and his path crosses with hers when he saves her and she falls in love with him and he with her, though I felt this could have been expanded on more--will get to that. The hero fights, gets captured, and fights some more--mentally. I love the way he argues with his "comrades" and shows them how silly they are.
But their relationship brings me to my sole complaint. Things are alluded to that we don't have actual scenes of and I feel we could have used the actual scenes in order to help us readers FEEL this love affair. When did she teach him Chinese, for example? When did they have more than that one night in the ambulance and where are the scenes? They were not together enough for me to feel this passion along with them.
I didn't realize this was New Adult when I requested it on NG. I thought when I first spotted it on Amazon that it was adult, then the first time it w...moreI didn't realize this was New Adult when I requested it on NG. I thought when I first spotted it on Amazon that it was adult, then the first time it was posted on NG, it said YA. NA is heroines fresh out of the high school, maybe college age, who sit around and pine for boys and want nothing more than love. I'm afraid I like my heroines a bit deeper than that, though I realize this is all the rage. I think this tale has great potential, but 20% in, I was rolling my eyes and just tired of hearing about Calix and how much she loves him and how she's doing this for him and only him... It just isn't for me. Do it for YOURSELF, woman. Do it to prove women can.
Those of you who like this NA stuff will LOVE this.
I'm torn between what rating to give this book. On one hand, I was able to read the entire thing--albeit not without some heavy sighing and eye -rolli...moreI'm torn between what rating to give this book. On one hand, I was able to read the entire thing--albeit not without some heavy sighing and eye -rolling. I was interested enough that I wanted to know what was going to happen next, or I should say, when something was going to happen. (Things happened, but the real interesting stuff was told as a quick mention, a mere tossing in of history, so it felt to me.)
The problem is, I fail to see the point of having read this. I was mildly entertained, but did not walk away with any new knowledge. If anything, I question some of the story. Yes, it's historical FICTION, but are we seriously to believe that Columbus's venture was funded on the whim of a spoiled prince, with the mere handing over of a necklace?
True or not, I'd think the lead up to "discovering" the Americas could have used some more "air" time. Instead the story goes on and on about Juana's love for Lord Sales. I understood she adored him the first time it was mentioned. I don't need to be beaten over the head with it throughout the story. She also seems to be in love with her brother and filled with extreme jealousy at the thought of another woman having him. Perhaps this is the trait that made her mad. I thought it a tad sick.
And holy moly, how many times do I need to be told that Isabella is to marry the Portuguese king and that Catalina is now Princess of Wales. Trust me; it doesn't need to be every single time said princesses' names are mentioned.
In the end, it feels like the mundane rambling/daily journal of a spoiled child who happened to live in Granada during this tumultuous times. It focuses more on the above stuff and descriptions of Granada than things that interest me: Columbus's voyage, the Inquisition. Oh the Inquisition was mentioned, but it felt like it was taking a back seat to Lord Sales, the beauty of Granada, and whether or not her brother is going to marry the supposed awful Margaret. It also felt and read like a young adult novel.
Oh and let's not forget the evil Father Adrian. Horrid man, but told a bit OTT. And I find it strange that Juana is the only who sees it. Hm.
I love Lexi. She's one of the most likable and fun heroines I've discovered in a mystery series. She's a geek--smart, loves math, and is a bit awkward...moreI love Lexi. She's one of the most likable and fun heroines I've discovered in a mystery series. She's a geek--smart, loves math, and is a bit awkward in social situations.
In this latest installment of her life, she goes to Rome with the uber-hot and super-secretive Slash to help clear his uncle's name. Computers, hacking, pharmaceuticals, art, and secret agents all come together to form one interesting mystery with in-between munching on Italian food.
As always, the book follows Lexi and is punctuated with her witty and sarcastic thoughts and humor.
I'm reminded of the Stephanie Plum series again, only in this case, Slash is Ranger, Fin is Joe, and Lexi is stuffing her face with croissants instead of donuts, and Basia is far stretch from Lulu. LOL I enjoyed this story though, whereas I became quite tired of the Plum series a long time ago. Moffett knows how to keep us interested and doesn't tell the same story over and over.
At first, I was disappointed that Lexi brought the Zimmerman twins into the case. I was hoping she would save the day on her own, but she surprised me in the end, proving to be the case-cracker and heroine. I loved this!! I also like that unlike most heroines in books today, Lexi isn't throwing herself into a man's bed on page five. (She's also very realistic; any of us women can relate to her.) We're still skirting around Fin, Slash, and Elvis and I suspect things are getting there with Elvis. I'm dying to know for sure, so I'm looking forward to the next book already.
My only disappointment: I didn't find this as rip-roaring, bust-a-gut funny as I have found the previous two titles.
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed book one of this series, I was eager to read this latest installment of the Julius Romeros Extravanganza and mostly...moreHaving read and thoroughly enjoyed book one of this series, I was eager to read this latest installment of the Julius Romeros Extravanganza and mostly, Abigail, the bearded girl's, life. But having been a huge fan of Abigail in book one, I had some trouble with her this time. She's way too much of a victim for my tastes. I have a problem with people who ALLOW themselves to be victims. Thankfully, she does attempt to remedy this, but it was just a little too late for my tastes.
I mean, seriously, when faced with a choice of entering the real world or working for a very nasty man for the rest of your life...why don't you just shave your face and deal with the real world? Do I applaud Abigail for proudly sporting her beard? Yes, I do. She's been true to herself. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and this horrid man... I just...what happened to the fighting female? She bows down too easily.
Another reviewer, whom I greatly admire, posted a review and in it she talks about learned helplessness. She makes a very good point. Do go read it. But while I agree it's possible this happened with some of the performers, I am not convinced it could have happened to ALL, especially Abigail. Many other parts of this book, namely characters, were just too OTT and unbelievable also--the mayor for example. Seriously?? The ending also was a little far-fetched.
I also had some trouble with the historical setting. In book one I noticed this too--it's vague. I thought due to the references of war, that it was occurring during the great war or around then. My friend says it's the Victorian era, so book one must have occurred during the Boer war, I guess. Well, they didn't have plastic containers yet in the Victorian era, and that was mentioned in this book (the milking of the snakes), so it could use some more historical setting and whatever period chosen needs to be portrayed accurately.
That being said, I do appreciate how this book shows us the gritty side of the circus, how a certain attitude draws a certain crowd, and how the "freaks" are very much people who love, hurt, cry, laugh, and best of all--jest. The saving grace for me in this novel was the banter between the characters. The puns!! LOL Even when I grew angry with how incredibly dumb and weak they all were, I kept reading just to see what Limber Jack or Mervin would say next.
I must admit, the characters have really grown on me, and I think that's why this story was so hard for me to read. I like them, I want them to make it and be happy, and seeing them just cow-tow to this horrid new ringmaster ruined it for me. I wanted them to buck up.
I rarely read fantasy. The problem for me is, I must find it believable, must be able to picture things as I go, and normally, trolls, elves, dragons,...moreI rarely read fantasy. The problem for me is, I must find it believable, must be able to picture things as I go, and normally, trolls, elves, dragons, talking animals...are not things I can believe. Rather than suck me into a story, it usually makes me laugh.
Ms. Diener did not make me laugh. With her writing I was able to picture all four different winds, their faint cloudy outlines, the sand they raised, feel the cold they brought.
She saw West half disappear in shock, then he drew himself up to double his size, his dry air sucking up East's humidity.
The descriptions are superb, told in a way that is unique, fantastical, and yet, as crazy as this will sound, believable.
In a nutshell, Diener once again delivers a strong heroine to her readers, a heroine who can love and yet not totally lose herself. Though this is a fairytale retold, we don't have a damsel in distress. Instead, the heroine has to save HIM. FABULOUS!
There's a curse. He's been made into a bear and she cannot know the details. For one year she must be cooped up in his palace and not view his human form. There are trolls, creatures that look like trees, wind that aids her, and at the heart of it all a woman determined to battle earth, wind, fire, and water, to save the love of her life.
She was not chattel. And she was not powerless. And she would most certainly not sit in the wood while he went off to battle, especially with the power of the wind at her disposal.
Too many characters and their backstories thrown at me at once. Also too much telling rather than showing. Simply cannot get engrossed in this one. I...moreToo many characters and their backstories thrown at me at once. Also too much telling rather than showing. Simply cannot get engrossed in this one. I was expecting to laugh. (less)
This story reminds me of the TV show Cold Case. It's not just a time slip chronicling two separate stories in two different eras. It's a mystery and a...moreThis story reminds me of the TV show Cold Case. It's not just a time slip chronicling two separate stories in two different eras. It's a mystery and as the modern-day heroine digs for answers, the past subtly unfolds, the overlap growing blurry. At times I could visualize the fifties' people standing there looking on, watching from the sidelines as their past was put together and the mystery solved.
As always, Ms. Jio impresses me with her writing skills. She's one of the best. Even when I don't care for the actions of some of her characters, I find myself utterly immersed, dying to know what happens next.
In the fifities, a woman went missing from her houseboat one night, leaving behind an artist husband, a little neighbor boy who adored her, a boat-maker who wanted her, and a community of people intent on hiding the truth. Did she just sail away? Did someone kill her?
The modern-day heroine becomes obsessed with finding out as she resides on the missing woman's former houseboat, recovering from a great loss. The past story is about how you can't play games without others, and possibly yourself. The past heroine messes with people's hearts, can't make up her mind who she wants to be with. The modern-day heroine's story has a theme of moving on, of learning to live with grief.
I didn't like Penny, the past heroine. I saw a woman playing games, weak. I like strength in a woman and by strength, I totally realize it doesn't mean wielding a sword or whatever, but strength comes in many forms and this woman had next to none. Her actions were not strong, but selfish. She wanted to bounce man to man, to whomever it was convenient to be with at that moment. She lived in a shadow of another man, was a submissive wallflower. The conclusion in the end, even that was selfish. What she allows people to believe...someone will pay for that, just not her.
As I read this, I was reminded of Dowtown Abbey, most probably because I recently caught season one. But this heroine, Lily, so reminds me of Sybil. N...moreAs I read this, I was reminded of Dowtown Abbey, most probably because I recently caught season one. But this heroine, Lily, so reminds me of Sybil. Now, remember, I've only watched season one, but I see in this book and in that season of DA, the tiniest little crack between aristocracy and "the working class".
During this time period, the Great War, that crack came to be. Aristocrats such as Lily wanted to make a difference, realized how trivial and silly and spoiled their lives were. Some wanted to work. Lily is expected to marry well and as the Dowager on DA would say, "You cannot have opinions until you are married. Once you are married, your husband will tell you what your opinions are!" Or something like that. That's the kind of family Lily comes from and she rebels and she joins the WAACs and becomes an ambulance driver in France.
Not many young ladies would leave a life of kept luxury and wealth to drive a lorry or ambulance in a muddy war zone. I really liked and admired Lily as I read. I enjoyed reading every bit of her experience as she steps over that crack, ditches her title, lives on pennies, works for a bus line, interviews with the WAACs, helps train her comrades, goes to France. I enjoyed every moment. I enjoyed watching her realize all she'd taken for granted, the way she'd appreciate a hot bath, a cup of tea.
And yes, she has a romance with her brother's best friend, a doctor. This was...okay. I liked him at times; didn't like him at others. I became a tad uncomfortable when they hooked up in the room her missing brother paid for. It felt to me a highly inappropriate time for that. It did not feel as though they were coming together in grief. I certainly think a telegram would have sufficed.
I even liked their letters to and from each other. I thought it quite cute when even though they were stationed at the same place, he wanted a letter from her, as they weren't allowed to speak. This was a sweet romance.
I have to say, however, there was an odd disconnect of sorts with the war itself. I kept thinking of what all an ambulance driver during that time would see, the soldiers she may accidentally bond with, the pain she may feel upon their passing, and yet, there were no side stories involving these men. We didn't meet or get to know any wounded, which is odd as this is a hospital.
I'd have appreciated some stories involving the patients and soldiers. Her brother was a character, but we learned so little of what he was facing. Just brief snippets.
I really enjoyed this novel. It contains two remarkable women--I preferred one in particular--and a hero who just wowed me with his sarcastic wit. Mar...moreI really enjoyed this novel. It contains two remarkable women--I preferred one in particular--and a hero who just wowed me with his sarcastic wit. Mark Crawford...a man after my very own heart. LOL
First of all, we meet Emily. She's in a situation many women have found themselves in. Remember the motto, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free"? She's been living with Trent for five years, waiting eagerly for the diamond ring...only it doesn't come. He wishes to sow his oats instead. Is she going to stand for that?
No. She starts a new life on a construction site, where she trades dates for toilets and discovers she rather likes her best friend Will...as more than a friend, but does he return the feelings?
I liked Emily, especially when she takes work site issues into her own hands, but Charlotte and Mark's story stole the show for me. It was not so predictable and was laced with so much humor, mainly in the form of Mark's comments.
"A word, a second," he mused. "People always under estimate how much time of mine they intend to waste."
Charlotte is an amazing heroine. She's sacrificed so much for others. But it's time she learned to take for herself. Mark is dealing with a lot of grief and tends to have a very gruff manner.
I was really entertained by this book. I laughed out loud a number of times. I would have preferred more details about their engineering project, or perhaps what was said could have been made easier to understand. I had a hard time picturing things at moments. But I did learn a few things, such as spark testing. And to me, that stuff is interesting. I'd also like to add it's well written; no complaints from me there. Good amount of description to story, more showing than telling, etc. Also enjoyed the side stories about grieving the death of a spouse, moving on, having a child from rape. All important issues that make this so much more than a romance.
When men looked at her, they saw a woman in uniform. Dedicated. Smart. Or she hoped they did. At the least, they respected her and that satisfied her...moreWhen men looked at her, they saw a woman in uniform. Dedicated. Smart. Or she hoped they did. At the least, they respected her and that satisfied her mightily.
I love a good WWI or WWII story, most especially those involving nurses. What brave, incredible women they were, going overseas to face the unknown and help in any way they can, watching so much suffering and pain. This was no disappointment in that aspect. The story of the nurses is here, from training to washing their hair in helmets, to shell-shocked patients, to the sound of bombs, the collapsing of tents, the lack of supplies...
And added into the mix is some romance, conflicting emotions about the people left behind in America, friends, and a doctor killing himself with drink. I kinda liked the story there, kinda. I mean, I couldn't help but feel bad that the doctor is portrayed so badly when really, he's just a man with PTSD. You don't have to be on the battlefield to deal with that. I could understand why he was drinking...but I digress.
Actually, that brings me to my quibble. There were some great opportunities to expand this novel with the secondary characters and I feel the story was weak in that way. It kept introducing us to all these people with what could have been amazing side stories and plots and really barely touched upon them. Lex and the Lafayette Esadrille. The doctor and his decline. The one nurses who for some reason balks at marrying a French comte. What was going on there? Why mention it all if it doesn't really add to the story?
My second quibble is the romance. It appears out of thin air. Why do they love each other? What do they see in each other? She nurses his wounds, maintains a professional demeanor though she finds him handsome, shares a single dance with him in which she tries to ignore he's so handsome...but suddenly she's madly in love with him and he her?
That came from nowhere. The romance development is poor. Also, there is no complicated love triangle here. Not that I wanted one, but the story makes it sound like one is coming and the cover is a tad suggestive of one. Just throwing that out there.
This was a tough read for me. First, I gotta give it points for educating me. Before reading this, I thought Wall Street was just the investing of sto...moreThis was a tough read for me. First, I gotta give it points for educating me. Before reading this, I thought Wall Street was just the investing of stocks/trade. This showed me the world of banking, which was new. The story line, however, was not new. I've read it a few times before. Young woman is trying to make it a male-dominated field and in order to do so must give up all ideas of a having a personal life, let alone a love life. I confess I'm a tad tired of this theme that in order for a woman to be successful in these occupations she must give everything else up.
I also found the heroine a tad ditzy at times. Her office snooping was strange. What an odd fetish. Wish that had been explained or just taken out of the story altogether.
The merger stuff was a bit confusing for someone not familiar with the industry--like me.
And in the end, I was disappointed. What did Sophie learn? What did she take away from this experience. It was lost to me.
While it was well written, I found that the day after I closed the page, I'd already forgotten half of it. It didn't impact me and won't stay with me.
But oooh, this bit here was cool: Aluminum must burn at 1700 degrees to stay molten. I love learning new things.(less)
I've never read anything like this before. It's unique, and that's a hard thing to accomplish in the writing world nowadays. You have a book full of s...moreI've never read anything like this before. It's unique, and that's a hard thing to accomplish in the writing world nowadays. You have a book full of succubuses, women who need sex to survive, who drain men's energy. There are even genetic sluts, kid you not. There's sex trafficking, telekinesis, mind reading, mind manipulation, brainwashing, everything you can think of.
At the heart of it all is this tough, incredibly powerful woman who's a Telepath and private investigator. What starts as a favor to a long-time friend becomes an agenda of sorts to rescue as many "broken dolls" as she can. The heroine has a good heart and lets nothing stop her.
The broken dolls are succubuses, norms, or Telepath who have been abducted and sold and turned into unemotional, walking robots who exist for the sole purpose of pleasing the men who purchase them. Sex trafficking is a serious problem and I appreciate what the author did here, mixing a serious, very real issue with tons of paranormal excitement.
Just when I thought I'd finally learned about all the "powers" the heroine had, another ability popped up. I am truly amazed at the author's imagination.
I laughed out loud at the heroine's mother...
"Rhi! What a wonderful present!" Mum exclaimed, fixing them (two men/bodyguards accompanying the heroine at the time) with a smile. "Just go on into the bedroom and take off your clothes. I'll be with you as soon as I fix my daughter a cup of tea."
LOL!!!!!!!!!!! (Her mom's a succubus.)
It was a very enjoyable and interesting read, but I must admit to being overwhelmed at times. Too many characters made it hard to remember everyone and who they were/what they'd done. There was also just too many powers and abilities to keep track of and remember as well. The clan war thing became jumbled after a while also. I think, as odd as this will sound, the book needed more boring moments, tamer scenes, to balance out the constant action/revelations, so readers are not bombarded with so much to remember at one time. It would also have been nice to really get to know the heroine better. More emotion/internal thoughts from her would have gone a long way. Despite it being first person, I never felt we were really IN her head, that I was getting to know her.