**spoiler alert** Predictable & slow rehashing of Meyer's archetypes
I picked up The Host as a summer read. Unfortunately, the book felt like a reh**spoiler alert** Predictable & slow rehashing of Meyer's archetypes
I picked up The Host as a summer read. Unfortunately, the book felt like a rehashing of Meyer's Twilight series with a different setting and slightly older main characters. As her first published attempt at an adult novel, I had hoped for more mature writing, deeper character development, and more conflict, instead of problems being simply fixed in the end. Unfortunately, I didn't get that with this book.
Much like the books in the Twilight series, The Host uses dialogue and internal conflict to move its plot. However, this quickly became repetitive and therefore boring. The book was slow in the first 30 or so pages, but I'm a patient reader, so I kept on. Things picked up, only to slow miserably around page 200. While the writing style is a little more complex and varied than the Twilight series, there were many déjà vu moments. Meyer continues to overuse the words and descriptions of chagrin, hiss, snarl, demanding, reacting in horror, crowing, etc.
The characters are also too similar to her previous works. Most of the characters in this book, outside of Melanie and Jed, are provided little to no backstory and little to no development. The males in the book could easily be compared as Jared = Edward (the dangerous, controlling, but somehow alluring male), Ian = Jacob (the sweet, considerate male who's willing to give his love anything she wants, but who still does creepy things like kiss her when she doesn't want it), Doc = Carlisle (the compassionate, good doctor who couldn't hurt anyone and who's despondent when he does), and so on. The female character of Melanie/Wanda also plays on the same characteristics that Meyer created for Bella in that she's utterly consumed with the man in her life/lives, even when he physically or emotionally hurts her; she's willing to sacrifice herself and die for others and even jabs a knife into her arm willingly to help save someone else (fight scene in Eclipse when Bella slashes herself with the rock shard, anyone?). The main female character is also helplessly carried around by the men repeatedly in this book, much like the Twilight series. It seems as though Meyer's personal ideas about what she considers as a desirable male repeat themselves. There were times I actually put down the book and talked to it, saying, "C'mon, Meyer, are you capable of writing a different story?"
I think that this book could be a decent, mindless read if you have not read the Twilight series previously. It was just too difficult for me to ignore the similarities. I did like that The Host addressed larger themes of love, different types of love, sacrifice, survival, and the balance of the need for peace versus the need for resistant violence. I only wish these concepts could have been explored more deeply. And, just like my experience with the Twilight series (though I am loathe to admit it), I did want to keep reading to know what happened next. In sum, if you liked Meyer's story line and writing style before, you'll probably like this. Just don't expect anything earth-shatteringly different. As is no surprise, everything works out in the end and everyone's happy. Not that you couldn't figure out *exactly* how they would do that about 200 pages before it happens.... ...more
In Melissa Marr's first adult novel, GRAVEMINDER, the quiet, small town of Claysville is not what it seems. When herCreative world but tedious romance
In Melissa Marr's first adult novel, GRAVEMINDER, the quiet, small town of Claysville is not what it seems. When her beloved but quirky grandmother is found dead, Rebekkah returns to the place and the man, Byron, she's been keeping at arm's length for nearly a decade. Very soon, Bek and Byron learn that secrets have been kept from them and that a shadowy world of the dead exists under their feet. Pulled into centuries-old roles as the Graveminder and the Undertaker - those responsible for keeping the dead from walking - the two must combat growing threats to their community while coming to terms with their rocky past.
Having read Marr's WICKED LOVELY series for young adults, I was eager to see how she would do with her adult debut. Similar to her past work, the author's greatest strength lies in her ability to create an imaginative world and mythos in which to immerse her characters. The responsibilities and roles of the Graveminder and Undertaker were original, and her world of the dead was highly creative. The prologue drew me in with the palpable sense of dread and mystery it created. Those of the dead, like Mr. D., Alicia, and Daisha, were fascinating characters about whom I wanted to read more. The novel also finished in a conclusive place, though it could be expanded into a series.
With this strong opening and unique mythos, I was hoping for a great read. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The most interesting part of the book's created world lies in the land of the dead and its characters, but little time is spent there. Instead, much of the story focuses on the relationship struggles and haunted past between Rebekkah and Bryon. While I love a good romance with some challenges, their story felt tedious and slow due to the constant repetition of plot points about why Bek couldn't let herself be with Byron and about all of the information that has been withheld from the two of them. Both characters acted much less mature than expected for well-travelled adults in their mid to late 20s. Due to this, pacing dragged until the later portions of the book. Some of the characterizations used to develop her characters also felt too similar to Marr's other books, and many small plot threads and side characters were introduced but never explored.
GRAVEMINDER will appeal to those looking for an American Gothic tale with a heavy dose of romantic angst and some action from the undead. If Marr continues writing in this universe, I hope she picks up the pacing and focuses more on the world of the dead she's created and the apparently complicated characters that inhabit it.
Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy. ...more
Though I had a rocky experience with Harkness' first novel, A Discovery of Witches, I began reading Shadow of Night with hopes that its setting in the past would add intrigue and excitement to the unfolding story. Unfortunately, it did not, and the story became more plodding and convoluted in this installment.
Shadow of Night suffered most from its almost obsession-like focus on detailing every aspect of the historical period in which it was set. From particulars about the floor coverings to the convenient inclusion of almost every notable figure of the time, I felt bogged down in the details and the name-dropping. Character development also progressed in fits and spurts and ultimately stalled. Though Matthew and Diana have some "breakthrough" moments in their relationship, Diana remains relatively incompetent and reckless and Matthew continues to be controlling and possessive. Slow pacing made the first 80% of the novel drag, and very little time or attention was given to the threats or worries of the present day. When action or plot movement did occur, it provided little tension or excitement. The couple's impetus to be in the past - to hone Diana's magic and to find Ashmole 782 - often got lost among historical notes and unrelated intrigue. The mythology regarding time travel and Diana's magical skills was also unclear and seemed to contradict itself at times.
Even though Shadow of Night didn't work for me, this book might be an enjoyable read for those who love history and detail. The time spent exploring Diana's magic and her special capabilities was interesting, as was the information revealed toward the end of the novel about Ashmole 782 and its related prophecy; I finished the book wanting to know more about each. The story also provided some insight into Matthew's character and how his past and his family had shaped him. Chapters set in the present day that were interspersed between sections also provided glimpses into what was happening in the present-day world and moved things along for the secondary characters. Of all of the different parts in the book, I enjoyed these infrequent additions the most.
While I can appreciate the ambitious nature of Harkness' series, I left this second book of the trilogy feeling unmoved again by the story or its characters. Even such, I will likely read the final installment when it comes out to see what happens to Diana, Matthew, and all those connected by Ashmole 782. As she wraps up her story, I hope that Harkness provides readers with faster pacing, clearer world building, and more character development.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. ...more
Quick review: If this is one of the best in the genre, then I think that historical romance and I shall never be friends. Moments of good banter and t Quick review: If this is one of the best in the genre, then I think that historical romance and I shall never be friends. Moments of good banter and tension were appreciated, but the overall use of obvious tropes (a wallflower who seeks adventure! a notorious rake who reforms for love! trysts in carriages, complete with a bucket of euphemisms!) and the unbelievable and too frequent sex scenes were turn-offs for me. I may finish this series out since I have now read the first and third books in the trilogy, but I don't expect to be enamored by it....more
3.5 stars. Best one in this three-book series with characters who are actually likable and fun to read about. Repetitive descriptions remained, esp. d3.5 stars. Best one in this three-book series with characters who are actually likable and fun to read about. Repetitive descriptions remained, esp. during the sex scenes, but I found myself actually enjoying this one overall and feeling for the characters. ...more
Though I adore the person who recommended this book to me, I didn't adore anything about this story, its writing, or its characters. Review to come... Though I adore the person who recommended this book to me, I didn't adore anything about this story, its writing, or its characters. Review to come.......more
Though I had heard many positive things about Hopkins’ gritty verse novels for teens, Collateral was my first experience with her work and it left me Though I had heard many positive things about Hopkins’ gritty verse novels for teens, Collateral was my first experience with her work and it left me extremely disappointed. The author’s use of verse never felt poetic; it simply seemed like prose broken awkwardly across a page.
Additionally, while it was clear what message the author was trying to impart about the effects of a military life on both the solider and those around him/her, it came off as heavy-handed and unbelievable; because the reader only meets the characters at the time of enlistment, it’s a big jump to believe that the personality changes described are attributable solely to the stresses of military life, as opposed to some inherent part of their dispositions.
Only recommended to those who enjoy Hopkins’ work and who are willing to read a very depressing tale about military life, abuse, and drug/alcohol use. ...more
I read this on a whim while home sick from work; Harlequin has been bombarding my GR and Facebook feeds for weeks with their advertisement of a free eI read this on a whim while home sick from work; Harlequin has been bombarding my GR and Facebook feeds for weeks with their advertisement of a free e-book so I decided to take them up on the offer. This title is mindless and unrealistic with very limited character development, but it wasn't the worst writing I've encountered in a romance novel and it was free.
Quite possibly the most well-crafted novel I have ever read. When I read this back in 11th grade, I was taken aback by the artistry and the complexity Quite possibly the most well-crafted novel I have ever read. When I read this back in 11th grade, I was taken aback by the artistry and the complexity and the symbolism that all appear wrapped together in this novel. Though I have never worked up to reading it again, it remains in my mind as one of the most influential pieces of literature I have ever read (or likely ever will)....more
If I rated this on my reading experience alone, it would get 1 star. If I rated this, however, based on how it fares and compares to other novels in t If I rated this on my reading experience alone, it would get 1 star. If I rated this, however, based on how it fares and compares to other novels in the romance genre, it would get 2 stars. Therefore, I'm going with 1.5 stars overall.
Nothing too original here - typical paranormal romance
As an adult reader of Andrea Cremer's young adult Nightshade series, I was curious to pick up this adult novel set in the same world and written under a pen name. Unfortunately, other than the background of her supernatural world, I didn't find anything more original or entertaining than a typical romance or light erotica novel: our characters fall into lust and love over the course of a mere few days, despite all of the reasons not to do so, and the the supposedly strong heroine starts falling to pieces once trials with her new lover arise. Compared to what I've read in the rest of the paranormal romance genre, it's not bad, but there's nothing here to make it stand out above the rest. Also, for those who have not read the author's other novels, much of the world building and setting may not make sense.
Note: This reviews refers to an advance review copy....more
A surprisingly good romance novella in which the characters are not new lovers navigating a nascent relationship, but rather a married couple who find A surprisingly good romance novella in which the characters are not new lovers navigating a nascent relationship, but rather a married couple who finds themselves lost in kids, work, and their roles and responsibilities. The book contains much more depth (and less sex) than the blurb would suggest, as the story is focused primarily on the couple's problems and how they struggle to decide if and how to handle them. I found this novella moving and honest in how it depicted marriage, albeit sometimes depressingly, and it wrapped up with a hopeful ending and a very nice author's note to explain why she wrote this story. Highly recommended to romance fans, especially those who can relate to married life with children.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy received from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review....more
While readable, this novel reminds me why I don't handle historical romance well: too many historical anachronisms and alpha-male love interests (all While readable, this novel reminds me why I don't handle historical romance well: too many historical anachronisms and alpha-male love interests (all framed in a quasi-feminist way in order to not offend the contemporary reader) don't sit well with me. ...more
Quite possibly one of the most disappointing reading experiences I've had in a long while. I picked up this book, long neglected on my shelves, as a w Quite possibly one of the most disappointing reading experiences I've had in a long while. I picked up this book, long neglected on my shelves, as a way to indulge a bit on a snowy Thanksgiving at home. Unfortunately, the book's premise (a long reclusive vampire takes in a woman stranded in a snowstorm) didn't come together due to poor characterization and poor writing.
The best way I can think to describe this book is as "vampire wish fulfillment" with little beyond that. In addition to being stunningly handsome, the standoffish vampire hero Michael is an accomplished pianist, a doctor, an internationally bestselling author (and conveniently the heroine's favorite), and a master horseman who can "meld" his mind with his steeds. If that weren't enough, he's also sworn off feeding from humans for the past 200 years and he makes handcrafted music boxes. When Nicole, the foolish woman who drives her rental car into a winter storm, gets saved by him, he finds the one thing he's been missing his entire life: an equally perfect woman that he describes as such.
I've read many a case of instalove before, but never one as blatant as this; the couple has no real connection, but they are swearing their love to one another in mere days and their lovemaking is described in rapturously overdone similes and metaphors. Because the writing employed so much telling and very little showing, I never felt a connection between the couple and the whole situation came off as completely implausible, even when negating the vampire angle. If I was supposed to fall in love with these characters and ache for them and their doomed love affair, it didn't happen....more