I had swapped this on a sudden whim and now, now I am completely baffled by how much I loved reading it. I have to clean the appartment and bake a tarI had swapped this on a sudden whim and now, now I am completely baffled by how much I loved reading it. I have to clean the appartment and bake a tart, but I am still sitting around in my pajamas because I was shortening and shortening the minimum amount of time I need to get things done - only because I did not want to put Marcelo aside. His story has - much to my surprise - turned out to be powerfully addicting. Don't you love these little wonders you come across as an unsuspecting reader? Although I crave them, they shock me again and again....more
"Salvage" presenting itself on my nightstand has been the result of an on-the-fly book-swap I did with a friend here on Goodreads.
Though curious, I ha"Salvage" presenting itself on my nightstand has been the result of an on-the-fly book-swap I did with a friend here on Goodreads.
Though curious, I had already braced myself for draggy, beautiful, but rather boring parts, because of some reviews by Goodreaders, whose opinions usually do no stray that far from mine. I waited and waited, holding my breath from time to time, but that bored feeling just would not come! There were some things that made me go "Huh?" (view spoiler)[like the earlier actions of Ava, who did not even dare to look men and boys straight into their eyes because of her upbringing, consenting to have spontaneous sex with her supposed future husband in an onboard citrus grove after sharing a few forbidden kisses and sloshing a bit around in a water tank (hide spoiler)], but all in all my reading experience can be labeled as a success. I stayed up much too late and started reading right with my coffee mug in hand in the morning. The sceneries both in Mumbai and on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch colony were an unexpected bonus and effortlessly easy to picture in my mind.["br"]>["br"]>...more
"'Something really important came up,' he said. 'Something so important you didn't have the decency to give me a freaking ride home? What came up?' 'I"'Something really important came up,' he said. 'Something so important you didn't have the decency to give me a freaking ride home? What came up?' 'I can't talk about it.'"
So. Let's talk about 'Shifting', a paranormal Young Adult Romance debut about an orphaned girl, who has been handed from one abusive foster home to the next, and who has had some collisions with the police lately because of nightly nudity and kitty fights for pieces of clothing with local prostitutes in her home town Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the title already suggests, Magdalene Mae Mortensen is a Shifter, someone who has to shift at full moons and can shift into whatever she wants whenever she wants (kind of like Sookie's bartender boss Sam). A few months before the State's responsibility ends Maggie's social worker, Mr. Petersen, made the strange last-straw-decision to hand his toughest ward cookie over to his own mother in small-townish Silver City. The change of abode comes with a change of hair color(view spoiler)[ also Mr. Petersen's idea - to make her blend in. Shouldn't he rather try to make her feel comfortable in her own skin? (hide spoiler)], a change of social workers and a change of schools. Now Maggie Mae is in the hands of incapable, insensitive blabbermouth Ollie Williams, surrounded by mega-bullies and supposedly hot jerks, cared for by an old, naive and superstitious lady, who is not accustomed to keeping a girl safe and fed, and hunted by someone ruthless, dangerous and unknown. Sounds great?
No. I don't think so either. So do not ask me what made me put the title on my wishlist in the first place. Certainly part of the blame goes to the cover, which is a bit fitting, actually, although Maggie's black-dyed hair is always wet or filthy and the attempt to shift into a snake went freakishly wrong. Then there was the promise of a New Mexican setting and Native American mythology. What puzzles me in hindsight is, that I somehow managed to graciously overlook the accumulation of brightly glowing jerk-inside bumper-stickers on positive and negative reviews alike. Inexplicably the praise of one single reviewer, who was even more or less unknown to me, stuck and overrode all warning signals: She gushed about the fantastically normal guy filling the love interest spot. I should have taken the time to run a check on her favorites shelf before mustering the galls to even suggest to my friend Teccc a read-along! But guess what: He chuckled evasively and didn't say yes or no, but expressed himself to be partly curious. Luckily I did not pester him again and saved myself from having to perform some apologetic groveling. For "normal" is the very last word I would select to describe rich, snobby, aloof, smarmy, horny, self-centered, impolite, irresponsible, rude, one-eighth-Navajo-blooded Daddy's boy Bridger, beloved little shit, track star and French-fiancé-owning, mysterious Crown Prince of Silver City. Even a good month later leafing through the offensive quotes I've marked makes my blood boil with disgust, and I hate the heroine for relenting and forgiving and being turned on again and again: "Who was verbally beating me to pulp this time? I was straining my ears but couldn't separate one voice out of them all. Bridger frowned and stopped dancing. He took a step away from me and said, 'I'll be back in a couple of minutes. Want some punch or cookie or anything?'" Naturally Bridger does not return all evening. He lets Maggie stand among a group of harpies who identified her - beautiful - dress as being from the Wal-Mart clearance rack and wondered loudly if he wasn't embarrassed being seen with someone "so shoddy", but he does not see a reason to apologize the next day (see quote on at beginning). Prom Night is not the only occasion Maggie Mae has to run in animal form home to Mrs. Carpenter's house in the middle of nowhere because of Bridger's sudden change of mind. Once he chivalrously picks her up and says she shouldn't consider walking alone at night after her shift in the Mexican restaurant, but spontaneously shoves her out of his car because of a mysterious phone call. The incident on graduation day tops everything - although part of the disaster is Mrs. Carpenter's fault, who should have known better about Silver City hierarchy, since she had lived all her life among her rich and poor neighbors. She gleefully flaunts the information that her foster daughter plans to celebrate the end of school with their quasi-royal son into his posh parents' sour faces and then leaves the school grounds - and Maggie Mae, who is car-less and also phone-less - without a second thought. Cue for Bridger to make the following little speech: "I'm so sorry - I know we were going to hang out tonight, but my mom's made other plans. I've got to cancel. So ... I guess I'll see you around. I'll call you sometime. Or drop by and help you with the garden." and making a quick no-looking-back-exit that ignores her feeble "But ... I don't have a ride" protest. Shortly before Maggie is almost mobbed to death he quietly tells her to be careful, because "something might be up", but doesn't do anything to prevent her getting hurt. When he takes her "as a friend" out to a five-star-restaurant, where she stands out like pus on a model's face in her tattered second-hand clothes and bewilderedly discusses the unavailability of tap water with the condescending waitress, who fawns over Bridger (Hello, Twighlight's restaurant scene), but suggests to his date to "go eat somewhere that is better suited to trailer trash", Bridger nervously watches Maggie form a frown, yanks her out of the booth before she can decide to retort (new destination: KFC) and testily asks "Are your previous brushes with the law for fighting?" without even contemplating to put the waitress in her place for being rude to a paying customer. In addition, he invites poor Maggie to stay over, although he must have known how his parents would react after detecting an undesirable girl without money or connections under their roof, and succeeds, although Maggie's only friend Yana had warned her in time about his rich fiancé and his girl-eating habits: "Well, there's a problem. France is on another continent. So when Bridger's hormones rage, he finds someone local to use as a temporary replacement. And then he tosses her aside." By the way, I am positive Bridger is something paranormal, too. Something that needs invitations into houses, something at war with the dangerous species Maggie Mae seems to belong to at the first superficial glance: Skinwalkers. I did not venture in far enough to find out, but I am almost betting my battered Kindle on it.
The second obstacle, which quickly rubbed me sore, has been the unprofessional behavior of Maggie Mae's replacement social worker Ollie, who is officially in charge of Silver City's foster children. He talks to Mr. Petersen, Mrs. Carpenter and Bridger about Maggie Mae as if she wasn't present or as if she was deaf or stupid or had no feelings at all and accepts rumors circling "in the office" about her as the unquestionable truth. "'I've come to visit with Ms. Mortensen, too,' Ollie explained, holding my file up. '[She]'s been in the fostering program since she was five,' Ollie said. I wanted to punch Ollie. Wasn't my life, contained in the file under his arm, supposed to be private? 'Oh,' Bridger said again, studying me as if we had just met." Later on Ollie shows only minimal remorse when his niece Danni, Maggie Mae's number one bully, reads aloud from said confidential file and systematically riles up the mob to shame and punish "the prostitute" in the locker room. The teachers and the principal act and react almost as bizarrely and wipe the last bit of reality out of a story that did not have much life-like to offer in the first place.
Well. I conclude with saying that I am rather surprised that I made it until 56%. In my opinion the book did not deserve the time I spent reading it. So should you have a jerk allergy as severe as mine, do yourself a favor and avoid repeating my mistake. It's not good for your health.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
*** 3.5 stars ***. The forceful lovey-dovey-parts of this YA-mudtreck-in-space-romanscifi came kind of out of the blue after a lot of tiptoeing and/or*** 3.5 stars ***. The forceful lovey-dovey-parts of this YA-mudtreck-in-space-romanscifi came kind of out of the blue after a lot of tiptoeing and/or snapping around each other while crossing deserts, forests and plains on foot, but were tearjerkingly enjoyable. Altogether the book was surprisingly readable in my opinion, even though not especially original or eventful: Around the end of each of the scenes I automatically went back into my mind's reading history to pick out comparable scenes in books I had consumed earlier and concluded most of the time - not all of the times - that those were better done, more exciting, sexier, grittier, more plausible, more realistic or more memorable. Still, I kept returning to the story without any effort. The outcome of this story was of interest to me and the imprint of the characters on my heart will certainly not last forever, but surely for a week or even two or three.
The sequel seems to have different narrators as is fitting for this kind of juvenile heartthrob scifi series. After Anna comes Lola, right? I look forward....more
I had just unwrapped the Spring Catalogue of the German publisher Loewe, when I fell fast and hard in love with the cover of “Im Herzen die Rache“. ItI had just unwrapped the Spring Catalogue of the German publisher Loewe, when I fell fast and hard in love with the cover of “Im Herzen die Rache“. It might easily become my favorite cover of 2013.
I couldn't recollect the author's name at all. So I made the trip to the Goodreads database to unearth the original title - wondering how on earth I could have missed something so beautiful and alluring.
Well. Maybe you can imagine that deflating moment of utter disappointment: The low average rating, the undecided description (Is it horror, thriller, pseudo-realistic, mean bitches being bored, Greek-myth-hype-paranormal-off-the-rack-ware that is offered to us or just a story about someone who mistrusts her hairdresser ...?) paired with calm, level-headed, believable reviews that uncover the written mess in all its glory ...
I am devastated. How can Loewe dangle such a pretty package so seductively in front of my eyes, when all that is to be had is a 'Mogelpackung'?
[...] 'it's the truth.' I glared at him. 'You wanted to kiss me just as much as I wanted to kiss you.' His eyes dropped back to my mouth and I felt th[...] 'it's the truth.' I glared at him. 'You wanted to kiss me just as much as I wanted to kiss you.' His eyes dropped back to my mouth and I felt the fire in my stomach rekindle. 'That's not the point.' My words were breathless and I frowned, realizing that I had agreed to what he said. Half a conversation later he hopped onto the bottom rung of the ladder so he was pressed against my back. [...] His long, hard body pressed against mine was giving me ideas I didn't need.
**** If you read this review, you will encounter spoilers ****
Apart from a few things that could have been improved by thorough proof-reading or an impartial editor (view spoiler)[- see, for example the repetition in the quote at the beginning (hide spoiler)] - the two stars above mainly reflect a picture-book case of It isn't the book. It's me. I say this with conviction because I can actually think of a proper handful of friends I would recommend the self-published new adult (view spoiler)[ - I would rather say young adult, but it will be discussed later on - (hide spoiler)] mermaid romance to without hesitation. (Tina, Jess, Jessica, Crystal, Alexa, Arlene, Amber and Nic: I am looking at you.)
'Flukes' is a modern teenage mermaid fairytale that is mainly focused on sexual encounters. After outlining shortly what I did like about it, I will try to elaborate on the things that unfortunately clashed with my peculiar expectations of a paranormal romance, a new adult/young adult love story or a story which is worth to spend time reading in general. Hopefully you can decide afterwards if your taste leans towards being hard to please by the current outcrop of easy-to-consume-romantic-fiction in the same degree as mine or if you should reconsider your probably earlier idea to give 'Flukes' a miss.
Although 'Flukes' takes place at an aqua zoo in the Caribbean with a private beach attached to it, the beginning had a strongly fairytale-like flavor, which appealed to me: Ben and Marion, who run an aquatic refuge center, which is later to become 'Flukes', sort through the debris flung about by a huge coastal storm and discover a mermaid baby protected by a couple of hurt dolphins. Because they had - like the king and queen of ancient myths - tragically not given birth to a child of their own, they fall in love with the helpless creature and keep her. Marion and Ben are nice parents, which is pretty unusual in YA (view spoiler)[ - probably to balance this out the hero has an extra-cold piece of shit as a dad (hide spoiler)] and quite refreshing. Apart from the strange trust they have in Blake, one of the boys who are convicted to do community-service hours at their facility (view spoiler)[There was something honorable about Blake, even if he was a bad boy. [...] 'Why did you beat up that guy?' 'You don't need to know.' His eyes grew hard the way the last time I asked.(hide spoiler)], they are a pretty normal set indeed.
In contrast to all those YA mermaid novels in which the teenaged heroine, who has been forcefully kept ignorant / out of the water / away from the ocean all her life, is suddenly surprised by her own behavior or her scaly lower body, Meena knows what she is and is more or less comfortable with her tail. Certainly there is the fear to be caught as well as a general unease, because no other species members are around to talk her through the specifics of mermaid biology and culture. She has been raised like a human, but she thinks she cannot leave her home or indulge in a normal relationship, because she gets physically ill, if she doesn't immerse herself in oceanic water about once a day. (view spoiler)[The solution is so ridiculously easy, though, that one cannot fail to wonder why Meena and her parents did not at least consider trying it out before two mermaids passing the town during their traditional 'swim-about' (Established to facilitate finding the mate for life a mermaid is meant to bond to - should you wonder) suggest it. (hide spoiler)]
All in all I liked Meena, who is able to telepathically converse with sea mammals. She has strange taste in men, obviously, but she is not completely speechless or demure and she manages to have the upper hand now and then. Her being different as an excuse for her chaste youth sounded pretty set up to me, though. Her relationship to her best friend Violet- who is about to depart to the college she wants to attend on Hawaii - was rather sweet. The scenes involving the dolphins Mitch and Jallia held a certain cuteness, too.
Well, these were all the aspects responsible for the additional star in my enjoyment-based rating. Let us by and by focus on what the book had to offer on top of that but what I failed to appreciate in a proper way:
It is not the book's fault that I do not like reformed bad boys and slimy jerks who taunt inexperienced, shy girls and cross lines in the holy name of sexiness. Boys who won't take a No for a No, because they 'read' the female body language, which infallibly broadcasts to them that she secretly wants the advances / the fumbling / the excitement / the unknown in spite of her feeble or furious protests. Other readers love them.
It's not the book's fault that a minor who reached his praised state of sexual finesse and cocky self-confidence by being literally whored out by his financially successful dad to his clients' daughters or female associates creeps me rather out instead of turning me on. Other readers feel the hotness.
It's not the book's fault that a french mother and some randomly whispered sweet nothings about dreams and lips and beauty in French (view spoiler)[What is the reason for speaking in a foreign language to someone who does not understand it, huh?! (hide spoiler)] do not activate my wobbly-knees-mode as required. Other readers melt.
It's not the book's fault that I just cannot take another young hero who accidentally swims in his own money, can promise his present arm candy to show her the world and more, shove diamonds on her fingers and buy for her crumbling family business a better corporate design / building / website without noticing the dent in his purse and is able to interrupt his plans for his education in order to accommodate his newly found bliss with his geographically-challenged love. Other readers know 'Solvent is sexy'.
It's not the book's fault that I abhor books that include magically evoked shackles that lead to eternal 'love' a.k.a. the need to stay next to each other forever, unbreakable co-dependence and an excuse for teenage couples to play house, talk of marriage and kids. I criticized a comparable concept in the also self-published mermaid novel 'Everblue' and I felt sick seeing it used in 'Flukes' - although I should mention that the heroine does fret and apologize for unknowingly having reduced the hero to permanently craving her and her only. Other readers wish those tattoos swirled around their own wrists.
It's not the book's fault that I still expect the heroines and heroes of a New Adult Romance to have started a phase that is different from their former lives at their parents' houses. That I want them to be at least at college - preferably not just entering it - or even better trying to survive their first real job, their first real flatmate or their first real attempt at shacking in with a boyfriend. Meena has just finished High School and plans to stay at home to work at her parents' zoo. Her experience and her frame of mind could also be those of a cute and naive freshman. I do not understand why 'Flukes' is not being marketed as what is is: A paranormal YA romance 'enhanced' with cotton-candy-flavored sex (view spoiler)[that has the heroine reaching her 'finish-line' right along her lover's during her very first time and that requires a condom only before the couple knows that they are mated for life (hide spoiler)]. If the cover had said 'Proud to Present Teenagers as Sexual Beings" I would have applauded and ordered a bumper sticker, honestly. Other readers want their Young Adult literature 'clean'.
It is not the book's fault that the piece of evil evil that eventually befalls the heroine in and out of the water did not convince me as fitting the storyline smoothly. Picky me just cannot accept a fine chunk of dangerous action as it it, but has to poke and prod and complain and roll her eyes before nibbling at the crust. Other readers need to see there are bad boys and really, really bad boys in this world.
I close this perusal with a quote that made me gag but others swoon: And that kiss ... it had made me think about skipping the beach and taking her straight back to my bed. But she wasn't the kind of girl you screw real quick. Meena was meant to be savored [...] Have you decided on which side of the fence you sit? Gag or swoon? Everything is possible. Take your time and consider. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Pennsylvania was a strange state. No one knew who Ruby was. Should you - like me - love beautiful, dream-like writing and glittering, complex characterPennsylvania was a strange state. No one knew who Ruby was. Should you - like me - love beautiful, dream-like writing and glittering, complex characters who constantly hover just outside your grasp in a gray area between evil, half-good and plain crazy, yet do not mind not getting solid answers at all, there is a serious chance for you to fall for 'Imaginary Girls' by Nova Ren Suma.
I read the eerie, eerie debut novel featuring a tight, strange bond between two sisters, a siren-like femme fatale clutching a whole small-town in her fickle fingers, an alcoholic, hippie mother, some sexual awakening, some painful growing up and growing a conscience, a caring father, deaths, ghosts and hot, lazy summers with a Goodreads group of 'German Girls Reading English Books' - thank you, girls, for voting for this gem as our January group read; without you it would be still gathering dust on my Kindle - and I was delighted by the rich multitude of explanation possibilies the plot offered as our order-seeking minds tried to press the book into a fitting genre corner and to make sense of heroine Chloe's subjective narration. Although only a dozen readers went into discussion, a colorful palette of constructions presented itself - and almost all ideas sounded quite sound: Drugs, dreams, traumata, split personality disorders, deal-offering monsters, paranormal gifts that are limited geographically, even painfully staged pretenses of paranormal gifts to mislead and mind-control the heroine.
... To me, personally, Ruby came across like a twisted and dangerous, yet somehow caring variation of Mary Poppins. I am not exactly sure why. Probably because of her spontaneity, her cheerfulness, her firm reign, her randomly offered secret bits and pieces from her personal Knigge, or simply her magnetic personality?
The book which 'Imaginary Girls' reminded me the strongest of is my beloved 'Chime' - which is not for everyone either. Since Franny Billingsley is so slow in producing another masterpiece I can blissfully roll around in, I am happy when something remotely comparable in style turns up to entertain me in between.
You see, I am rather reluctant to issue a general recommendation, but I also do not want to leave my positive rating uncommented and my praise unuttered. You might be disappointed or frustrated, but you might also miss something unusual and great....more