I love the idea of following the story of the servants of Longbourn. So very rarely do authors take a thoughtful look at the servants of the great andI love the idea of following the story of the servants of Longbourn. So very rarely do authors take a thoughtful look at the servants of the great and greater houses of England. This tale takes seriously the joys and plights of the lower class and brings them to life.
I have a few criticisms that kept me from giving 4 stars. The biggest one had to do with the writing style itself. While generally very well put together, there were a few times that I actually lost the thread of the story in the poetry and detail Baker tried to convey. The freshest example is at the end, the part between (view spoiler)[where Sarah is reunited with James and their return to Longbourn (hide spoiler)]. For a few paragraphs or a page, I couldn't be sure what Baker was saying. She was trying to convey the passage of time, but I didn't really understand that until Polly shows up.
Secondly, the (view spoiler)[reunion between Polly and James (hide spoiler)] just wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. It had all the drama of a movie, without the depth a book usually conveys. I don't need everything spelled out for me to know they lived happily ever after, but I feel some explanations were necessary. How did James (view spoiler)[justify his coming back when Wickham - the reason he left - was actually a family member? Eventually he would come back to visit Longbourn and what would happen to James then (hide spoiler)]? That's just one of several questions I had.
Thirdly, and this is probably the one that stands out most after the writing issues, are the liberties Baker takes with established Pride and Prejudice characters. Mr. Bennett is a favorite character of mine and I always saw his attitude as slightly amused by his wife and daughters' antics. He had some contempt - after all, they were very silly - but he was indulgent, too. The Mr. Bennett of Longbourn is cold, hard, and unfeeling - he lacks any hint of playfulness the Mr. Bennett of P & P has.
And Mrs. Bennett, according to Baker would be a tragic character instead of just a very ridiculous one. It's a change I don't like, especially as it comes at the expense of Mr. Bennett. I understand why Baker made these changes: she had to sell James as a person everyone at Longbourn should care about, otherwise he's just a drifting footman, but I think she might have made it work some other way.
The changes weren't all bad, though. I liked how Baker more than hinted at Wickham's pedophilia. It wasn't something I'd noticed reading P & P - though now I wonder how I missed it. I guess Austen's attitude toward Wickham was benevolent enough that I stopped myself from adding a sinister twist to his character. But I shouldn't have stopped. Nearly ruining Darcy's sister could be a mistake, but taking up with Lydia isn't an accident, and the (view spoiler)[near-addition of Polly to his sins (hide spoiler)] isn't a stretch in light of the other two. Of all the nuances Baker added to the established characters of P & P, this was definitely the most justified.
My final issue - a small one, and one that disappeared by the end of the novel - is how self-centered Sarah is at the beginning. I can't count the number of times she ranted in her head about how James just wouldn't notice her, as if she were someone that needed noticing. This flaw in her character is smoothed out over time, though, and Baker saves Sarah from being an annoying heroine by allowing her to grow up.
A warning to those looking for a clean read like P & P: there is some language, pre- and extra-marital sex is a fact of life (though not explicit by any means), and the beginning of the third volume is graphic. James' time in the army is very clearly described and, like war, it isn't pretty.
Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoyed P & P. Despite a few flaws, it reads well and is an enjoyable addition to the P & P world.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** While neither Of Poseidon nor Of Triton were spectacular books, this final installment of the Syrena series is just a flat-out bomb.**spoiler alert** While neither Of Poseidon nor Of Triton were spectacular books, this final installment of the Syrena series is just a flat-out bomb. It's the longest of the three and it feels like it. The plot stalls sometime after Emma and Galen arrive in Neptune and never picks up again.
Banks spends a lot of time keeping Emma and Galen apart for no good reason. Reed is no threat to their relationship because we already know that 1)"the pull" (a.k.a. Syrena insta-true-love) exists and 2) that Galen and Emma have it. Therefore there is no sexual tension between Emma and Reed, and their time spent alone together seems like such a waste. Banks shouldn't have tried to create tension in Emma and Galen's relationship by introducing Reed - plenty of tension exists in the mere existence of Half Breeds, there was no need for more.
More disturbing are the bad guys. They're just...bad. As in, they suck at being villains. I could almost buy why Tierdan might want to capture and torture Galen...but in the end Tierdan was just a crazy disillusioned ex-leader, far too easily defeated, and ultimately no threat to anyone. I couldn't understand why Banks spent so much time building him up. Kennedy is also a flop. He didn't have me worried for a minute...just had me shaking my head at such a weird plot device for getting Reed into Grom and Nalia's custody.
Finally, the ending is oh-so-trite. Aww, Galen and Emma finally get to have sex. La-di-freakin'-da. I mean, how ridiculous is it that Banks actually ended the book with their mating ceremony? Every writer worth their salt knows that spelling out weddings is rarely romantic at the end of a romance novel; the wedding is almost always assumed to take place in a happily-ever-after scenario. I guess Banks didn't get the memo. But what I find most disappointing is how the whole question of the Half Breeds was never actually addressed. The biggest question of the entire book - the reason for the book even existing - was left unanswered. It's an unacceptable omission since this is supposed to be the conclusion to the trilogy.
Before reading this last book, I would have recommended the series to anyone looking for a light read about mermaids, but now I'd tell anyone considering it to stay away....more
Banks did a pretty decent job on the sequel to Of Poseidon. The pace was quick and the plot, again, had just enough twists and turns to be unpredictabBanks did a pretty decent job on the sequel to Of Poseidon. The pace was quick and the plot, again, had just enough twists and turns to be unpredictable without being inconceivable. The second book has all the flaws of the first, but nothing more. A nice, quick read....more
It’s been a long time since a book has captured my attention and imagination like this one has. Frankly, since my daughter was born earlier this year,It’s been a long time since a book has captured my attention and imagination like this one has. Frankly, since my daughter was born earlier this year, I haven’t been able to find a single new book that I really wanted to finish, much less that I enjoyed. I don't know if it's the sleep deprivation or what.
The beginning of the book was more than a little jarring - (view spoiler)[someone I thought was going to be a major character dies rather violently almost right off (hide spoiler)] - and Banks’ choice of narration style is a little off-putting at first, but the plot soon grabbed me hard enough that I stopped noticing the awkwardness (at least, most of the time). Banks’ world-building is, so far, thorough and engaging. Also, there are enough plot possibilities dangling throughout the book that I couldn’t guess where they were all going, rendering the direction of the story mostly unpredictable in the best way.
The book isn't perfect by any means. I already mentioned the awkward narration choice: first person for Emma and third for Galen, alternating and sometimes clumsy. The male-dominated Syrena society is concerning, especially since impressionable young girls will read this and think it's ok. There are other things, but nothing that needs harping on. In the end, if you're looking for an easy, light-hearted read, this is a good option.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Truthfully, my library rental expired and I didn't care enough to renew it. The story is trite and I was bored. The time I have to read is short and tTruthfully, my library rental expired and I didn't care enough to renew it. The story is trite and I was bored. The time I have to read is short and therefore valuable; I'm not going to waste it on a book that can't hold my attention. ...more
A bit of fluff. Not Brockman's best but enjoyable for what it is.The conflict between Maggie and Matt is pretty shallow and I'm not a fan of shallow cA bit of fluff. Not Brockman's best but enjoyable for what it is.The conflict between Maggie and Matt is pretty shallow and I'm not a fan of shallow conflicts. I dislike it when people get in the way of their own happiness....more
I loved several of the stories: "Alpha & Omega," "Gray," "Silver," and "Redemption;"
liked a few: "In Red, with Pearls," "Roses in Winter," "OuttakI loved several of the stories: "Alpha & Omega," "Gray," "Silver," and "Redemption;"
liked a few: "In Red, with Pearls," "Roses in Winter," "Outtake One" "Outtake Two" and "Hollow;"
and disliked a few: "Fairy Gifts," "Seeing Eye," and "The Star of David."
Alpha & Omega - After reading about how Anna and Charles met in the series, I was eager to read the encounter first-hand. It lived up to all my expectations and perfectly sets the scene for the series to begin. 4 stars.
Gray - Of all the short stories that are part of, but not intertwined with, the Mercy stories, this was my favorite. I love how strong the love between the main character and her fiance is: that it could stand the test of a century - and violent death - and still be strong as ever. I also love how the vampire endears herself to the humans and protects them. 4.5 stars.
Silver - I think any fan of Bran and Samuel's will love this glimpse into their past that is always hinted of but never really spoken about. And the story of Ariana and Sam is poignant, but good. 4 stars.
Redemption - I've always had a love-hate thing for Ben. This story, though, shows that even though he is broken (and we get to see why he is broken here), he is capable of good. 4 stars.
In Red, with Pearls - While I loved this glimpse into Warren's private life, loved seeing that there is more to him than even Mercy guesses at, I wasn't so enamored of all it revealed. 3 stars.
Roses in Winter - I did always wonder what happened to that reporter's daughter all those stories ago. I'm glad she was able to adapt in Bran's pack. I didn't love the story because it talked about the harsher aspects of pack life and, frankly, sometimes I like to forget that werewolves are vicious. 3 stars.
Outtake One - Predictable. That's all that is really important to know about this. It's a gratuitous happy ending (and there's nothing wrong with that!). 3 stars.
Outtake Two - Adam loves Mercy. The end. 3 stars.
Hollow - I actually enjoyed this short more than the others in this category. The only reason I didn't love it is because it wasn't memorable. I had to wrack my brains a moment to remember what happened. Once I did, I remembered that I liked it. 3.5 stars.
Fairy Gifts - This story intrigued me. I wanted more. I was mad when it ended because I felt like it could have really taken off for something grand. If these characters ever make it into another Mercy story, maybe I'll revise my review in light of new information. Until then, I'm still mad. 2 stars.
Seeing Eye - This one had the same issue as "Hollow." It wasn't memorable - and once I did remember it, I remembered I didn't like it all that much. 2 stars.
The Star of David - This is another glimpse into the darker side of being a werewolf, but without a known and lovable character to bolster it, it fell flat for me. 2 stars....more
I listened to the audiobook and while the narrator isn't my favorite (his voice is just too whiney), I did like the story. Anna and Charles work so weI listened to the audiobook and while the narrator isn't my favorite (his voice is just too whiney), I did like the story. Anna and Charles work so well together; it's hard for one of their stories to fall completely flat. I did find the lack of action in this one made it seem slower than some of the others in the series. ...more
I've read this series too many times to count and I love it every time I pick it up. Lewis creates a world so alive and fun; his characters are relataI've read this series too many times to count and I love it every time I pick it up. Lewis creates a world so alive and fun; his characters are relatable (especially if you first read the books as a child). Every time I finish I wish I could step through the Wardrobe myself. As an adult I've come to appreciate Lewis's considerable spiritual wisdom. He uses words and ideas that are understandable to even the least uneducated to convey deep spiritual thoughts. I always leave thinking of something new each time....more
I was searching for an author similar to Suzanne Brockmann and Melton's books were suggested. I guess I should have been more specific in my search beI was searching for an author similar to Suzanne Brockmann and Melton's books were suggested. I guess I should have been more specific in my search because I wasn't so much looking for stories about SEALs as I was looking for an author of the same caliber as Brockmann. Melton doesn't even come close.
While Gabe's story is relatively entertaining, Melton's characters lack depth and personality. All the SEALs seemed the same; all the women seemed the same. The story is predictable (I knew who the bad guy was long before it was revealed); the love story just a bit trite. Overall, I just wasn't impressed.
Will I continue on with the series? Maybe. If nothing else new comes my way, probably. But it's not a sign that I'm enthralled...just a sign that I'm bored....more
I feel like this entire book could have been avoided completely if Jax had just opened his first conversation with Kelly with, "I'm sorry (view spoileI feel like this entire book could have been avoided completely if Jax had just opened his first conversation with Kelly with, "I'm sorry (view spoiler)[I missed your 18th birthday (hide spoiler)], but I was (view spoiler)[in a Colombian jail (hide spoiler)]. It's tough to talk about but if you'll have dinner with me, I'll explain everything." A little awkward maybe, but I think Kelly would have heard him out and forgiven him. And they'd have lived happily ever after without all the other nonsense.
It was creepy of Jax to have fallen in love with a child...I just can't see how she could be that mature at 16 (at least not to a 22-year-old college grad). And for all Kelly's "maturity," she sure didn't act all that mature when Jax came back into her life. A mature person would have at least gone to dinner once to catch up with an old friend. Then Jax could have avoided revealing his inner stalker. Jax also came off as a little weird for having conversations with his characters out loud. Come to think of it, Jax doesn't seem like much of a catch: a pedophile, schizo stalker who is probably suffering from PTSD. Yeah, what a heartthrob.
Overall, not Brockmann's best work. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A really intriguing tale that picks up where Pax's loyalty predicament left off in Hawker's story. Though I knew Pax was never going to be kicked outA really intriguing tale that picks up where Pax's loyalty predicament left off in Hawker's story. Though I knew Pax was never going to be kicked out of the service, I was still itching to find out why they decided to keep him. I enjoyed Pax's HEA as much as Hawker's, though I sometimes wondered why everyone kept trying to talk Pax out of killing the Merchant. Even given their connection, I didn't see why Pax should have any more nightmares than he already does after killing the Merchant. Honestly, though, I wouldn't know what murders would be more likely to induce nightmares than others since I've (fortunately) never had to kill someone myself. ...more
Hawker is my favorite character in this series and I really loved how we got his whole story through flashbacks. Justine is one of the few female leadHawker is my favorite character in this series and I really loved how we got his whole story through flashbacks. Justine is one of the few female leads who hasn't annoyed me in this series. I'm looking forward to Pax's book next!...more
An interesting story and very different in tone from the two previous books, which is nice. I really enjoyed Hawker and am looking forward to his storAn interesting story and very different in tone from the two previous books, which is nice. I really enjoyed Hawker and am looking forward to his story next!...more
I stopped reading this book because I couldn't handle Tack's too-sharp personality, but I realize that people who've read the series from the beginninI stopped reading this book because I couldn't handle Tack's too-sharp personality, but I realize that people who've read the series from the beginning (I started with this book) seemed to love the book. Don't let my review keep you from reading if you've read the first three books.
I'll never understand a woman who likes to read (or write, for that matter) about a man like Tack. In my opinion, there's nothing attractive about a man who manhandles a woman, who constantly invades her space when she has said no more than once, and who insists she shouldn't fear him when he's done nothing but prove that he wants to be feared. It really doesn't matter that Tyra slept with him once and seemed to enjoy his company for an evening - if she's changed her mind and said she doesn't want to "play his game," then that should be the end of it. Just because he thinks she still wants to play - even if he is right - doesn't give him the right to push her up against a wall and make her fearful he might harm her.
At only a quarter of the way through the book, I can't take his attitude anymore. None of the good qualities he's said to possess - humor, an "easy-to-be-with" presence - have been shown, we've just been told they're there, and apparently we're expected to believe it. In fact, Tyra, the one who insists he is funny and easy-to-be-with, has said repeatedly that he's a jerk. And all I've seen so far is a man who thinks he can have his way whenever he wants it, and that he isn't above physically forcing a person to do what he wants.
If Ashley had set the book up so that it was clear Tack's attitude isn't appropriate, if the blurb on the back of the book had made it clear that Tack is going to get an attitude adjustment, I'd keep reading. But I think Ashley (and Tyra by extension) is ok with Tack the way he is and that's a problem.
I don't think it would bother me so much if I didn't know that men like this exist out there. That there are men who think that because a woman said "yes" once, it somehow gives him exclusive right to her person. That if she changes her mind, it doesn't matter, he still has a right to physically demand her compliance in his fantasy world. Ashley, by writing about a man like this and having a woman fall for him even though he treats her pretty awfully, has condoned this kind of mind-set. And ultimately that's why I won't keep reading.
I wasn't impressed. The plot was predictable and the characters were mostly annoying. I think Frost has some potential with the world she's building,I wasn't impressed. The plot was predictable and the characters were mostly annoying. I think Frost has some potential with the world she's building, but if she can't come up with some less-predictable baddies and resolutions, her series is going to be a flop (at least in my estimation)....more
What's funny is that I actually read this book years ago but forgot to add it to Goodreads, so when I saw it was available to read at my library, I thWhat's funny is that I actually read this book years ago but forgot to add it to Goodreads, so when I saw it was available to read at my library, I thought I hadn't read it. About a chapter in, I realized that I had, but couldn't remember much about it, so I decided to re-read it.
The book was just awful. My main problem was the timeline. (view spoiler)[I just couldn't understand how Howard could say that "hours" had gone by when the action seemed to indicate that mere minutes had passed. For example, when Gabriel and Lolly escape from the house, they run down the driveway to the woods, and manage to keep hidden for a few minutes before the druggies find them and start shooting. The action seemed to state that maybe, at tops, an hour passes from their initial escape and the crash that injures the girl druggie. Also the "romance" between Gabriel and Lolly just seemed forced - and not based on anything but animal attraction. I couldn't believe in a HEA for them at the end of the story.
Which brings me to my final complaint: there wasn't much of a story. In the course of a day or two, these people kill a couple of drug addicts and survive an ice storm - and suddenly they're thinking of moving in together. When the book was over, I was thankful, but could hardly believe that so little had actually happened. (hide spoiler)]
In my honest opinion, don't waste your time with this one!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more