I'm conflicted. On one hand, Thierry's voice is wry, funny, and spunky. Shaw is one hot dude with eyes that turn eerily white and3.5 stars, actually.
I'm conflicted. On one hand, Thierry's voice is wry, funny, and spunky. Shaw is one hot dude with eyes that turn eerily white and claws that elongate and sharpen, and he is pleasingly lusting after Thierry in a flirty way.
There's an actually interesting murder/disappearance of Fae/thriller story going on here with a crazy, viscerally disturbing fight-the-bad guys scene at the end.
So lots of things going for it, right? But....the problem is that the slangy, fun, way Thierry talks about things going on in the book often leads me a little confused. I'm not sure what's going on because we're talking about fae and magic here, and some of the metaphors used need to be read twice to decide if they should be taken literally or not. And sometimes the wry voice interferes with the action.
Also, this world's concept of fae is just too amorphous for me. Shaw seems awfully shifter-like for an incubus, and Thierry's power/hunger seems a bit ill-defined for me. I'm never quite sure what's happening when she uses it to it's gory conclusion. (problem with the metaphors again, here, never sure if she's truly sucking everything out of a dude or just their energy?)
But Shaw and Thierry together are very fun, and so I probably will give the second book of the series a chance, despite the confusion. I got this first one on a promo, so I don't mind buying the second one :)...more
My most favoritest way to to learn about mythology is for someone to come along and actually make a novel where the memorable and human characters inhMy most favoritest way to to learn about mythology is for someone to come along and actually make a novel where the memorable and human characters inhabit those myths and make them come alive.
Most of us know the names Odin, Loki and Thor (especially if one has seen like any of the Avengers movies) but only those with a deeper knowledge of Norse mythology know who Sleipnir or Vadir?
Now I can.
This book takes a victim of a Viking raid, Euthalia, and slings her up into Asgard in the midst of all the squabbling and fighting of the Norse Pantheon. As the wife of a mysterious god, who only visits at night, she is worthy enough to attend the Valhalla feasts, and catches the eyes of Odin, Freyja and Loki with her story telling based on Greek myths from her mother.
However, she isn't long content with that life and breaks her husband's one rule: never to look upon him in the light.
What follows is a tour of Norse mythology and several worlds as Euthalia tries to recover her husband, find justice for Loki and his sons, and possibly stop Ragnarok.
Very informative and fun. I wished for a tad bit more development between Euthalia and her husband, and I think I missed something at the end when Euthalia visits the Norns and figures out how to "save" her husband, but all in all a fun tale....more
Either me or this series might be suffering from 5th book ennui. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Simon, Vlad, Meg and the exploding fluffballs (and appreciEither me or this series might be suffering from 5th book ennui. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Simon, Vlad, Meg and the exploding fluffballs (and appreciated the addition of an elder human, Twyla, to give good advice to everyone).
But...as much as I do enjoy reading the minutiae of daily life at the Lakeside Compound where the terra indigene Others try to understand and live in harmony with humans, I felt like the first half of the book (maybe even 2/3's ) was different groups of Crows, Wolves, and Sanguinati either watching over a human/Meg or decideing who was going to watch over a human while the other person went off to watch over a different human. Lots of watching.
I missed the overall thread about Meg being a trailblazer, finding ways for the cassandra sangue to live in the real world. I also missed more of her perspective. There's a lot of human perspective in this one because the problems are mainly revolving around Policeman Montgomery's ne'er-do-well brother coming to stay at the Compound and the trouble he makes.
But wow, once the bad brother makes his move, things are extremely interesting! The last third of the book, both in action, consequences for Meg because of her cassandra sangue status, and her relationship with Simon moved along quite satisfyingly. And the parts where various characters came to talk to Simon about how he should just get over himself already and admit he wants Meg as his mate were priceless.
Not to be missed installment for anyone who likes/loves this series, especially for the last third. But a little slow getting to the good parts....more
It's difficult to get a reader to care about the main victim of a horror tale when it's a short story: there's not much time to get to know the characIt's difficult to get a reader to care about the main victim of a horror tale when it's a short story: there's not much time to get to know the character. But Hafdahl does a good job of making you root for Cass and her first-time date as they board a supper cruise on Lake Superior.
And then the gore happens. Lots of gore. Strips of bloody skin, rage, and humanity at its worst. A fun tale for a cold, Northcoast evening :)...more
Let me preface my review with the caveat that I am not a medical professional or researcher. I am however, a breast cancer survivor (lumpectomy, radiaLet me preface my review with the caveat that I am not a medical professional or researcher. I am however, a breast cancer survivor (lumpectomy, radiation, chemotherapy-- ER+, HER-) deeply invested in the tools at my disposal to prevent a reoccurence: nutrition, exercise, lessening of exposure to specific pollutants/chemicals.
This book is more of a reference than one you should read straight through. (in fact page 119-160 are research citations and glossary). What is presented here mostly jives with what I've read other places. It's got handy notations about a wide variety of foods, and some great guidelines for the use of nutrition in preventing breast cancer occurence. (and even a recommendation for Rosemary, which I hadn't encountered elsewhere, although the berries, brassica, fiber wasn't new to me).
With a couple caveats.
From the perspective of a patient-- who has wrestled with serious financial concerns about paying for treatment, and weighing the efficacy of genetic tests (I did the Oncotype DX ultimately) with insurance possibly not paying for them, the persistent advice in this book about getting tests for a variety of things without any reference to how to approach the financial aspect of it struck me as a bit odd.
In an ideal world, I would have no problem with the battery of tests suggested here: blood tests for percentages of chemical pollutants such as heavy metals or BPA's as well as possibly much more expensive and less-clinically supported tests such as the recommendation for tests for polymorphism (through Genova Diagnostics-- figured prominently here, which is not necessarily odd in the small world of genetic testing)
But it isn't an ideal world. I had to go through a lot of wrangling with my provider (Mayo Clinic) as well as Genomic Health about the test. While ultimately participation in a research study paid for it, there was an emotional cost...and the results were ambiguous. Framing the book from the start with the recommendations for all these tests, while I understand how it informs nutritional choices, creates a burden on patients to navigate this messy world that insurance companies have made over payment for the tests.
Also, I might be behind on some of the literature, but I thought there was some contention in research over the actual clinical evidence linking parabens to breast cancer, as well as contention over soy products and organic, whole milk for different kinds of breast cancer. The recommendations presented here don't seem to acknowledge those particular controversies.
The most useful part of the book for me started in Chapter Four where the book leaves off genetic testing and pollutants and goes into Nutritional recommendations.
Here's the chapter I think all breast cancer patients should read. Specific recommendation about kinds of vegetables, herbs, spices, and fruits to put into your diet and the specific reasons why they help. Very enlightening.
Overall, despite my issues with health providers recommending genetic tests, the nutritional aspect of this book is very valuable. An excellent addition to a breast cancer survivor's arsenal....more
I've never read a beta hero like Trevor before. His emotional inner dialogue, his constant fascination with heroine Chelsea, it wa3.5 stars, actually.
I've never read a beta hero like Trevor before. His emotional inner dialogue, his constant fascination with heroine Chelsea, it was fun to read. I like how he was geeky-cool, willing to be hurt in defense of others, but largely physically inept.
Chelsea, the heroine, on the other hand is bad-ass. Punk band rocker, archeology students, taker-over of kisses in secret submarine broom closets and pushing Trevor against the wall so she can have her way with him.
I dug them both.
But i was confused a lot. There's two secret worlds at war that Trevor only knows about, and things get fuzzy here because they're all stories and secrets and not real to him-- and thus to me, either. And there's confusing political loyalties and agents and alot of characters jumping to conclusions on a variety of micro and macro levels with very little evidence, and with such confidence that it bugged me sometimes.
The biggest ones tended to be Chelsea jumping from 0 to 60 to major conclusions a punk rocker archeology undergrad should have NO way of knowing. Like, when they're being attacked and she's all like "well I know everyone is still alive because this secret society attacking us that I had no idea about just an hour ago definitely will not kill us because they need us" and "I just made the find of the century (and this also bugged me because technically SHE didn't find it, the ensign on the bridge found it) and now I know immediately that I must tell the Captain of this secret submarine to not tell anyone about it because, you know, global upheaval".
I felt like I existed in a fog about the plot at times, and other times I really didn't care because Chelsea and Trevor were so cool to hang out with.
Your mileage may vary. If you have a high ambiguity tolerance about plot and unexplained character actions/motiviations, then you'll enjoy hanging out with them as much as me. If you need a cohesive plot and some consistency to make it easier to suspend disbelief....this one may not be for you.
Ends on a major cliffhanger. While there's some getting jiggy in the broom closet, the actual culmination of their physical attraction is all metaphor and sparkly lights, so fairly safe for your teenagers to catch you reading....more
This is mean girls with voodoo, and a slightly ill-defined approach to magic wherein there are witch-like spells as well as ghosts3.5 stars, actually.
This is mean girls with voodoo, and a slightly ill-defined approach to magic wherein there are witch-like spells as well as ghosts and automatic drawing that predicts the future.
Emily moves to a new town with her father and immediately gets the eye of popular boy Noah, but he seems more intent on asking for her help then asking her for a date.
Sadly, Queen Bee doesn't know that, and it turns out she has more than just popularity to wield as a weapon against Emily.
This one was fun, and Noah was great, but there were a couple things I couldn't get past. These might be things that wouldn't bother someone else.
1. Emily was a terrible, terrible friend. She had like one friend because of the mean girls and she totally ditched her in the middle of a city shopping trip. Nope, the buck stops there for me. No matter what your excuse about keeping your good friend out of trouble, that just didn't jive with me.
2. Ill-defined powers and sources of power. I got a bit confused about how the voodoo was working (if Queen Bee couldn't use her voodoo on someone until they 'wronged' her....but then she couldn't have her voodoo turned back on her because she was wronging people?) and then there were witches, and then there was Emily's automatic drawing which was a big, big deal in the beginning, but then seemed to be less important later on.
3. i like my evil more nuanced, and constrained by 'getting in trouble if others found out'. Queen Bee and the It girls had so many teachers, etc. wrapped around their fingers there seemed to be no consequences for their actions.
If those little things don't seem like they'd bother you, then you probably should pick up the book just for the voodoo mean girl action, which was super fun, and the 'we can't be together or Queen Bee will torture Noah' romance, which was also super fun.
I feel utterly crazy giving a 4 star rating to a book that is ostensibly the conversations and teachings of two spiritual giants: Archbishop Desmond TI feel utterly crazy giving a 4 star rating to a book that is ostensibly the conversations and teachings of two spiritual giants: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. I have the greatest respect for the difficulties they have passed through with wisdom, grace, and humor.
And in terms of a book someone would read looking for spiritual growth (of any faith or agnostic background) this is the real deal: not only a series of revealing philosophical discussions in response to how humans are supposed to live with Joy, but also a practical set of meditations (non-deity based in many cases) at the end that will help with the lessons here.
There is in particular a very good discussion of forgiveness, which according to these men (both of whom suffer/have suffered from oppression) is not passive allowance of harm, but something more like a principled, compassionate attitude towards the harmer that includes a sense of stopping them from doing harm partially because when one does harm it harms oneself kharmically or in the soul.
When I read a book, I put sticky notes on pages where quotes speak to me about the intention of the book or where I just was struck with the honesty or trueness of something. If i had done that here, the whole book would have been slathered in stick notes-- and therein lies part of the problem.
For a non-philosophy major or non-seminary student like me...it was too much. Too vague and lofty a conversation. The parts that spoke to me the most were when the co-author, Douglas Abrams, gave us back story or little stories from the two men's history as a basis for understanding their philosophy. I find that I need the human, singular story to truly understand the universal truths here.
It became too much. But too much of very important, very worthwhile thoughts about human interaction and how to live a thoughtful, joyful life....more
As a vehicle for a reader to introduce themselves to a variety of fantasy/paranormal authors through retellings of romantic fairy tales...this was aweAs a vehicle for a reader to introduce themselves to a variety of fantasy/paranormal authors through retellings of romantic fairy tales...this was awesome. I wouldn't want to read a book like this too often, because short stories often lack the necessary time/space for the romance to blossom and build in the way I like, but once in a while, stretching out of your reading boundaries is great.
And I knew that with authors like Alethea Kontis and Devon Monk in the anthology that there would be at least a couple stories that I liked. And I also liked a few more stories enough to click on the author website and go check out some of their other work-- so win-win right?
That said, there were definitely stories in there that I mostly skimmed or didn't have enough emotional angst or development to keep my interest.
The stand-out stories I like the most were: Alethea Kontis's Glass Mountain: Not only was this one a lesser known fairy tale for me (Rinkrank), but also it was long enough that the romantic build was believable! Lovely and meaningful.
Hailey Edward's The Bakers Grimm: This one had enough fun, snarky dialogue between two competing bakers (plus baked goods yum!) that I went and got her first Black Dog book based on the quality of the writing. Hoping for more romantic banter :)
Anthea Sharp's The Sea King's Daughter: This one also had enough time to develop the relationship, but confession, I'm already an Anthea fan from the historical romances she writes. The quirky attention to details and slightly nerdy heroines I love from her romances are in this short story as well.
Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's Soot and Stone: After finishing this one, I went and looked at the author's other series online because of the developed quality of the world and the characters in the story, something that made it stand out from other fae stories set in the pseudo-medieval magical world.
C. Glockel's Rush: I didn't think I'd like this one. It's more of a paranormal story based in Glockel's world where SEALs had to go to Asgard to fight Loki and his bunch in a Ragnorak type situation. Not quite by cup of tea...but then what happened is that the main character, Rush, has to learn about love, not only romantic, so I did end up liking it. And I did end up clicking on Glockel's website to learn more about the world Rush lived in. Lots of potential, I would think, especially if you're a fan of Shelly Laurentson's Viking paranormals.
Devon Monk's A Small Magic: This one and the Glass Mountain vied for favorite in this anthology. I never thought I would be shipping the Pea and the Princess in the iconic story, but the heroine Monk created here...with the ability to hear inanimate objects, but not people, was just so cool!
Worthwhile overall, but be prepared to do some skimming over some stories and possibly being introduced to new authors on the strength of their stories here! ...more
It's not often I give an author I've rated 3 stars in the past another chance, but boy am I glad I did. So maybe I was a bit harsh4.5 stars, actually.
It's not often I give an author I've rated 3 stars in the past another chance, but boy am I glad I did. So maybe I was a bit harsh with her Eon series (Asian-aspired gender-bending YA) or maybe its that Paranormal historicals is far more suited to her style, or it might be I was bowled over by the amount of authentic-seeming historical details here.
Or maybe its just I am as fascinated by Lord Carlston as this book's genteel protagonist, Helen.
This plot is so chock full of mysteries (was Helen's mother a traitor? why does she see mysterious blue light around people sometimes? Why would the disgraced Carlston pay attention to her? What happened to her missing maid, Berta?) and exquisite details of the Regency era (naming the dances at a ball, believable descriptions of gowns and cravats, the name of historical shops) that you don't notice that most of the book is really just Helen going to different parties (until the last third when she breaks out of the mold and goes to clandestine meetings and a public hanging).
Helen herself has agency, in an era when her entire life is controlled by men and she is constantly being told what to do, she makes choices. Threatened on all sides by complete ruin if she doesn't accept a suitor's marriage proposal-- she ekes out her own space by requiring him to ask her again after a potentially momentous ball when her own future might be drastically changed. she doesn't hesitate to sneak out of the house when it is a matter of keeping her word, yet tries her best to please her Aunt with obedience.
And the mysterious, passionate, athletic, dark and angsy Lord Carlston? Delicious. There's only one scene which required a bit of hand fluttering at my throat, sadly. I wished for more of their sparring (verbal and non verbal).
This is described as "Buffy meets Jane Austen" but really its more like Jane Austen meets secret alchemical society fighting demons. (maybe another reviewer's comparison to the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare is more apt). Helen's no bubbly cheerleader and the wry wit of Buffy isn't here--everything is dreary and serious.
While a minor bad guy is taken down, and Helen's choice is made for her, this book is obviously setting up plot elements that lead to a darker, sinister Big Bad in upcoming books. Off I go to find out if the promise of cool plot and sparky romance is born out in the second book, ordering now....more
This is a bit of an odd duckling of a book-- but in a good way. Take pre-prohibition U.S. replete with racism mixed in with the jazz clubs and fear ofThis is a bit of an odd duckling of a book-- but in a good way. Take pre-prohibition U.S. replete with racism mixed in with the jazz clubs and fear of Marxists/Socialists and throw in a bit of paranormal.
Hemopaths-- people who can create illusions either through music, words, acting or painting. Hmm...basically through all the ways we create art in this world. In some ways the feeling of this book is more of a "repressed minority on the edges of society dealing with institutionalized racism and oppression". In other ways its an exploration of the way dregs of society create vital, artistic families around themselves.
It opens with a rescue of one of the main characters, Ada, from a notorious Hemopath prison called Haversham. We are rapidly introduced to the friendship of Corinne and Ada-- around which the entire emotional story of this book, regardless of the presence of a Hemopath french horn player for Ada and a bodyguard with a sketchy past for Corinne. They return to the Cast Iron, an underground hemopath club where city rich folks slum it in order to feel deep emotions from Ada's violin and experience visual fantasies via Corinne's spoken words.
But the two are involved in some shady dealings, and one of their past scams is going to catch up with them, and might mean the downfall of the Cast Iron and their little safe community of Hemopaths. Ada and Corinne both have deep family issues that I wished we could spend a little more time exploring.
At the end, not much is resolved, but the bad guys do take a fall. The book put me in mind of Alaya Johnson's Jazz Age Vampire book, Moonshine, with the kind of frantic, edgy political landscape, city-centric plot, and emotional melancholy....more
This was a pleasant surprise, a YA romance/paranormal masquerading as a thriller. The first half really drew me in, as heroine Elyse loses her father,This was a pleasant surprise, a YA romance/paranormal masquerading as a thriller. The first half really drew me in, as heroine Elyse loses her father, her home, her boyfriend, and her friends and moves across the country to Astoria, Oregon to live with a strict, high-society grandmother she doesn't know.
Elyse encounters Phantom, an outcast boy at the high school, as well as a group of richer folks who are part of the mysterious "Legacy Society" that her grandmother wants her to join. Only there has recently been a disappearance of another high school girl, and strange things moving around the forest at night, and Elyse can't seem to control her anger and desire to smash things, as well as the troubling reappearance of a childhood tumor on her lower back....
Lots of cool parts about Oregon history like shanghai tunnels, etc. are here in the description of Astoria, which was super fun for me to read. I also liked the encroaching danger/suspense of the first third of the book. The last third of the book, once we're introduced to the supernatural nature of everything, was a bit hoky at times (like where Phantom gets his poison from-- major suspension of disbelief) and I didn't enjoy POV switches away from Elyse and thought them unnecessary, but when I got to the end of the book I was relieved to see that the author seemed to be setting up more story.
Because the best thing of all besides the delicious suspense, light romance of outcast-meets-society-girl, and Astoria description? Elyse's father is Thai, and her last name, and several other believable cultural bit are thrown in for good effect. I love multi-cultural heroines and Elyse was great....more