Cute book, and an inviting start to the series; it doesn't take itself too seriously, it's steamy enough to raise one's temperature, but not enough toCute book, and an inviting start to the series; it doesn't take itself too seriously, it's steamy enough to raise one's temperature, but not enough to cross the boundary into pornography, and the swearing is kept to a non-distracting minimum. (I don't mind the F-bomb, but it makes me wonder, when authors use it almost as often as the word 'the', if those authors are trying to compensate for something--either a deficient story or a deficient vocabulary.) Sure, there are some moments of idiocy where the main characters are concerned (the vamps know who's hunting them and his modus operandi, but when the hunter walks into Glory's shop and whips out his hunting tools, not one of the vamps recognizes him--yeah, that makes sense), but the stupidity never reaches throw-it-across-the-room level. The author has taken the well-trodden path of vampirism and added a new twist by allowing some of her vampires to have curves, creating an image at odd with the convential portrayal of a female vampire as slender, willowy, or even downright emaciated. It makes for an entertaining, zippy, sometimes annoying and occasionally funny novel....more
I'm not exactly sure what star rating to give to this book; three stars seems at once too generous and not generous enough. Perhaps it would help to sI'm not exactly sure what star rating to give to this book; three stars seems at once too generous and not generous enough. Perhaps it would help to simplify and break my review down into what I like and what I don't like about the book. What I Like: The gothic spin on a traditional Victorian London setting. The dark, gloomy and terrifying atmosphere of classic gothic storytelling fits perfectly with this book, whose story takes place in the year 1888, the year of Jack the Ripper. I also liked the interpretation of the ancient tale of Persephone and her abduction by Hades, which forms the backbone of the book's storyline. What I Don't Like: The author's repeated use of 'regal' and 'noble' to describe the appearance of Professor Alexi Rychman. 'Regal brow', 'noble face', 'regal this', 'noble that', ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Enough already, we get it, he's a handsome dude! I know Ms. Hieber is emulating the traditional gothic guidelines in describing her hero, but one or two 'nobles' or 'regals', combined with the futher descriptions of the character swooping, stalking, pacing and prowling, is quite enough for us to understand he is the hero, in all his brooding, mysterious, tormented, waiting-to-be-saved-by-his-one-true-love glory. Ease up on the descriptors and move on! I also quite dislike the book's subject, Miss Percy Parker herself. She has been raised in a convent, where modesty and self-effacement is all that, but her mewling, whining, whimpering, cowering, cringing, apologetic, servile attitude is so far beyond modesty, it creeps into the sado-masochistic realm ("please, hurt me, for I deserve no better"). Yeesh! Annoyance is not a strong enough word to describe the feeling her behavior engenders in me. We, as readers, are given to understand that the lack of self-confidence in Percy comes from her unique appearance when instead she is merely falling prey to the tired cliche of a Beautiful Heroine Unaware of Her Beauty. Her continual assumption that her snow-white hair, milk-pale skin, and near-colorless eyes brings nothing but revulsion to people grates on the nerves and, frankly, made me want to smack her. I know the Victorian era was several decades before the "Let Your Freak Flag Fly" movement was popular, but, still... Woman up and grow a backbone already! When she finally does grow a backbone, it comes so late in the tale and it's such a half-hearted attempt at confidence that it doesn't seem worth the effort. Lastly, the density of the other characters as regards to Percy and her role in the story was so frustrating, I came close to throwing the book at the wall. Despite many clues, one of which the equivalent of a ginormous neon sign, as to Percy's importance, the characters' heads remained firmly up their arses. Ostensibly, this was to create a dramatic denouement at the finale of the book, but their behavior was so unbelievable that instead of a gasp of surprise and empathy at the reveal, I blurted out "Well, duh! That's what happens when you have your heads up your butts." It was a ham-handed approach to creating dramatic tension. However, despite all these failings, I felt a strange (strangely beautiful?) compulsion to keep turning the page. It was the kind one feels when watching a train wreck, the horrified fascination which comes when one knows something will end badly but has to watch anyway....more
This will probably sound self-serving, but I think the main reason I enjoyed Tempest Rising so much is because Nicole Peeler's writing "voice" is veryThis will probably sound self-serving, but I think the main reason I enjoyed Tempest Rising so much is because Nicole Peeler's writing "voice" is very similar to my own: the snarky asides, the goofball attitude, the first-person narrative complete with inner monologues and conversations (and arguments)... it's all there. Reading her book is most likely the closest I, or anyone else, will come to seeing my words in print.
However, I'm supposed to be speaking of this book (after all, that is the purpose of a review) and I must say it's a refreshingly quirky entree into the jam-packed Paranormal genre. Jane True is a slightly odd outcast in the small town of Rockabill, Maine. She's laden with guilt over a childhood tragedy and thus falls easily into the role of town pariah. Her family history doesn't help either, nor does the fact she likes to swim in the ocean... in the dead of winter... right next to the famous Old Sow whirlpool. This is Jane's life, until one nightly swim changes everything for her. The discovery of a body leapfrogs her into the world of the supernatural and into the arms of Ryu, a handsome and dead-sexy vampire. Perhaps Jane doesn't handle all her adventures in this new and dangerous world with grace and dignity, but humor and a smart-ass attitude works out just fine for her. Not to mention a healthy dose of reawakened libido. I'm not saying there aren't moments where Jane's guilt and self-pity don't get annoying, but I will say that I wanted to shake and/or smack her less often than I have with other female leads. The peripheral characters of the story are fairly well fleshed out (especially Grizelda, one of Jane's close friends; she's quite flashy with her flesh) and the potential for a deeper relationship between Jane and Anyan is quite tantalizing.
Nicole Peeler's writing is crisp, funny, and idiosyncratic, with many laugh (or snort) out loud moments. While the plot is a bit, not necessarily thin, but perhaps meandering, it still leads up to quite an exciting finale and, frankly, the ride is so much fun, one doesn't mind taking the scenic route to get there. I really hate to compare books to one another, but if you enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series or Kim Harrison's novels featuring Rachel Morgan, you'll get a kick out of Tempest Rising. 4.5 stars.
Addendum: Many reveiwers have commented on Ryu's lack of depth as a character; 'cardboard cut-out' is a common phrase. It's true, we don't get a sense of who Ryu really is, what drives him, what his history is. Perhaps he is a bit bland. Frankly, I didn't see that. I did, however, see a man who is nice and courteous, character traits which are unusual in romantic leads. Maybe it's because Ryu wasn't a bad boy, a brooding, mysterious, cypher of a man, that the appellation of bland was applied to him. Yet his niceness doesn't negate the possibility of him having a past, even a tormented one. This is a purely personal observation, but I'd rather have a heroine fall for a nice guy who may still have a dark history rather than another overdone Gothic "hero."...more
I like Lucy Valentine, I actually like her. Sure, she's harebrained, but if she weren't, there wouldn't be a story. However, she's also more down-to-eI like Lucy Valentine, I actually like her. Sure, she's harebrained, but if she weren't, there wouldn't be a story. However, she's also more down-to-earth, more fully developed, more real than most female protagonists in the paranormal romance/cozy mystery genre.
The book had a bit of a rocky start; I think a more judicious hand in the editing department would have benefitted the book greatly as Webber has a tendency to repeat names or information unnecessarily, which created a somewhat distracting reading environment. However, the actual writing was well done, and the action and pacing kept me involved with the story and made me care about the characters. Speaking of which, they, like Lucy, were well-rounded and real; it wasn't a case of having cookie-cutter supporting roles sprinkled around the place, only there to make the main characters look good. Instead, they each had their own personality and drive, and the requisite "quirky" character, Lucy's grandmother, Dovie, was unique enough to make you laugh yet not so much that she became a caricature. I think the thing I liked most about the book was that it was an actual romance. Not "romance," as the word is used nowadays, where the woman leaps into the man's bed and half the book is devoted to bedroom gymnastics, heavy breathing and cries of passion. In Truly, Madly we get an actual romance: tentative touches, sidelong glances, exploratory kisses, desires that yearn to do more than kiss yet restrain themselves. Lucy and Sean learn about each other's character and personality through the course of the story; they feel lust and passion for each other, but manage to keep their pants zipped regardless. And even though Lucy tried to keep her feelings for Sean under control, it wasn't because she thought herself undesirable (as is the case in so many romance novels these days), but because she thought he was in a relationship and therefore unattainable. Quite refreshing.
As for the mystery at the heart of the story, while it wasn't as complex or convoluted as those in straight mystery novels, it still presented enough of a twist at the climax of the book to create an "Oh!" moment. All in all, I throughly enjoyed this book and eagerly look forward to further adventures with Lucy Valentine....more
When I started reading The Darkangel, I wasn't sure I would like it. After all, it was told in such a melodramatic way as to read like the fantasy ofWhen I started reading The Darkangel, I wasn't sure I would like it. After all, it was told in such a melodramatic way as to read like the fantasy of a teenage girl. When I found out, however, that the book was published when the writer, Meredith Ann Pierce, was only 23, I understood a little bit better why I was getting that impression.
Though the book has its flaws, the story soon swept me up into in heady mix of folkloric and fairytale elements, set within a sci-fi framework of a planet colonized by a people called the Ancients many moons ago. I won't go into the details of a synopsis—others before me have done that, and quite well—but I will say that this is one of the most unique books I've read, weaving together disparate and seemingly incompatible story ingredients into a compelling dark fantasy. I'm just a bit disappointed that I came late to the party and didn't discover this series until now....more
It seems to follow a rule: The second book in a trilogy is invariably the weakest link, usually there only to bridge the story between the first and tIt seems to follow a rule: The second book in a trilogy is invariably the weakest link, usually there only to bridge the story between the first and third books. I can't say this was 100% true for A Gathering of Gargoyles but I will say, if not the story, then the characters were weaker, especially Aeriel. I don't know what happened, but somehow she became dumber during the book. Despite numerous hints, whether about something as trivial as the cloak she wore or about something as important as her true identity, she had to be beaten upside the head with a sledgehammer before any of these concepts got through to her. And once they did, she had to act in the predictable dumb-heroine manner: “What are you saying? Are you saying what I think you're saying? You're crazy!” Despite that annoyance, the story continued its theme of intertwining various elements from folklore and fairytales, as well as a deeper exploration into the sci-fi background of Aeriel's world, into a lyrical story of transformation, rebirth, and empowerment....more