Let me take you back. Back to a time when I truly believed that all romance novels were too full of fluff and rainbows to be worth a read. A time when...moreLet me take you back. Back to a time when I truly believed that all romance novels were too full of fluff and rainbows to be worth a read. A time when just staring at the cover of one of those novels would make me cringe. I don't miss that period of time. At all. Now that I've fallen in love with reading about love? I could never go back. Which is why Meeting His Match by Katee Robert promptly ended up in my reading list. A story featuring a stubborn CEO, complete with Southern drawl? Yes, please. I'll take ten.
I'll start with Addison. While she wasn't my favorite character ever, she eventually grew on me. I loved her obvious passion for her job and her sweet demeanor that could turn to steel in an instant if the occasion called for it. Mostly, I loved the fact that Addison wasn't perfect. She was flawed, and that made her feel real to me. The one thing that irked me, and I'll be honest about it, was Addison's view on "soul mates". More than once I wanted to shake her silly. I may or may not have yelled "Would you just quit being so mopey and GET YOUR MAN ALREADY?" at the pages. Hey, it just proves I was invested.
As for Caine? Oh, mother of all things bookish, he was an addictive character. There was nothing I didn't love about him! A bit grumpy, a bit set in his ways, but with that smoldering smile that makes you feel like you might honestly burst into flames. I adored his witty sarcasm, his unfailingly honesty, and the fact that all he really wanted in life was to be happy. Caine wasn't a character who took what he wanted by force. He wasn't that guy who plays an asshole, just to impress women. He was just himself, and that was just fine by me. He has my heart and, well, anything else he wants really.
This is an extremely character driven story. There were a lot of sweet moments between these two, but also a fair amount of drama. It was very much a story about letting go of the past, and allowing yourself to be happy. Meeting His Match is the first book I've read in Entangled's new "Lovestruck" line, but I know it won't be my last! The characters were so richly detailed, there was the perfect mix of both Addison and Caine's POV, and these two had to fight for their happy ending. In my mind, these things equal out to a very entertaining story. So, yes. I'll be back for more.(less)
I picked this up from the library yesterday afternoon and, in an hour of total bookish bliss, completely finished it last night.
This One Summer is a...moreI picked this up from the library yesterday afternoon and, in an hour of total bookish bliss, completely finished it last night.
This One Summer is a gorgeous story about growing up. It's about the special places that hold our best memories, and how they change as we get older. About learning to deal with emotions that feel foreign and scary. It's even about facing the stereotypes that young girls are bombarded with the minute that they're old enough to understand them. This graphic novel is full of heart, and I happily lost myself in it from beginning to end.
First off, let me gush about the illustrations. I thought they were just perfect for the story they represented. Rose and her friend Windy start out depicted as beautifully carefree. The reader follows them as they race across the sand, spend hours floating in the ocean, and visit the corner store for ice cream on a hot day. The epitome of a childhood dream vacation. Slowly, as Rose's story takes us into her new reality as a budding teenager, things in the panels start to look a little bit more gritty. A little messier. It's a slight change, but it makes all the difference when you're immersed in the story.
I think that's what I was most impressed about reading this graphic novel. It isn't afraid to touch on the things that are a little darker in life. Rose's childhood memories of her favorite summer home are still there, lurking in the periphery. It's just that they aren't quite the same as they were before. She sees the things hiding underneath now. That her mom is just a little too quiet. That her dad had to mysteriously go into town for a few days. That her summer best friend isn't quite the same as she used to be.
There is so much hiding in This One Summer. I wish I could better express to you the layers that this story holds, but it'd be too easy to accidentally spoil the journey for you. Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this graphic novel, and I'd happily have read more. I'm a fan of stories about the journey of growing up and finding yourself. This one was a marvelous ride. (less)
Can I please get a slow clap started? I seriously believe that Blackout deserves one, because I loved this story. So very, very much. I adore when per...moreCan I please get a slow clap started? I seriously believe that Blackout deserves one, because I loved this story. So very, very much. I adore when perfectly normal citizens are suddenly thrown into tense survival situations. No special training. No understanding of what's going. These people are running off pure instinct which, more often than not, leads to one emotional story. I felt for these characters. I understood their terror and their hopelessness. Tim Curran places a simple question in front of the reader. When there is nothing but desolation and destruction on the horizon, do you give in or do you fight back?
Massive points go to Curran for making me feel so connected to these characters, even though this was only a novella length story. I cringed. I cheered. I felt the pit of my stomach drop to my knees as the full understanding of what was going on came crashing down around me. Each time I read a story like this, I'm reminded that it doesn't matter how long a story is. It only matters how hard the writer works to get you involved. I felt like I was a part of Blackout, and it was one harrowing experience.
Five, black as night stars to this story. I want more.(less)
There are two reasons I picked up this book, and I'll lay them out for you. First off, Tracy Hickman is one of the authors. After feeding my imaginati...moreThere are two reasons I picked up this book, and I'll lay them out for you. First off, Tracy Hickman is one of the authors. After feeding my imagination with Dragonlance books, and stealing me away into countless Fantasy adventures, I'm a fan of his. I'd give anything he writes a chance. So, when a new series comes out with his name on it? I'm sold. Second reason? The cover. It has a mysterious and gorgeous way about it that just called to me. I had a bad case of cover love, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
Sadly, this wasn't the adventure that I was looking for. I'm honestly not sure what it was. Falling into Ellis' story was like waking up from a long coma. She has no idea where she is, who she is, or what's happened to her. I was initially okay with this. Characters who have to be built from the ground up can be interesting. I love discovering who they are, right along with them. The problem was, that just never happened. I finished the story. I made it to the ending. Yet I still have not one inkling of an idea who Ellis is.
Herein lies the problem with Unwept. It's so completely confusing, that there's nothing to grasp onto as a reader. I couldn't connect with Ellis, because I didn't know who she was. I wasn't able to wonder about her story, because nothing happened. Then the ending, that wasn't really an ending, left so many things unexplained. In the opinion of this reader, if I had purchased this book I would have felt upset at the end. It feels like this entire story is nothing but a big lead up to prompt you to buy the next one. I'm okay with open endings, but if the ending leaves everything as a big pile of knotted up yarn? I'm annoyed.
I wish I could give you more insight into this book, but I really can't. Most of this read just felt so empty that, by the time I reached the ending of Unwept, I had no strong feelings about it at all. Despite the two star rating, I'm still debating on whether I'd pick up the second book to see where things go. We shall see.(less)
his is the first novella I've read from John Connolly, but not my first read from him. Because of this, I know that his stories are always dark, and a...morehis is the first novella I've read from John Connolly, but not my first read from him. Because of this, I know that his stories are always dark, and a bit odd. I love everything about the way that he writes. It's so atmospheric, that it reminds me a lot of reading Poe. Dark, foreboding, and bleak, yet you can't look away.
I thought Soter was an interesting enough character, what with his background in the military. The fact that he was a veteran made his reactions to otherwise extremely creepy occurrences a little more palatable. I suppose if you've seen men die in horrific battle, it's probably not too much of a jump to take a man made of shadows head on, eh? Although, trust and believe that if creepy backward walking children were anywhere near me? I'd be running full tilt as far away as possible. I never felt fully attached to Soter, but I did like him as a protagonist.
The one thing that disappointed me, was the ending. I felt like it was apt, considering the fact that this is a novella, but I really wanted more! Especially once things picked up. I wish I knew what happened to Maudling. I desperately want to know what's going to happen to the world, and I feel like it was just a little to easy to end it where it did. Still, I've come to find that novellas tend to do that sometimes. I guess it's leave them wanting more?
Still, a solid four star read. This prompted me to want more Connolly back in my life. (less)
Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets takes the reader back into the Tinker's world. A world filled with mystery and magic. A world where nothing is q...moreChase Tinker and the House of Secrets takes the reader back into the Tinker's world. A world filled with mystery and magic. A world where nothing is quite what it seems. I was so excited to head back to the Tinker home! With its rooms full of amazing powers, how could I resist making a return visit? I was looking forward to seeing what kind of mischief Chase and his cohorts would get up to this time.
Lucky for me, things took off at a brisk pace right from the beginning. Still recovering from the lies his father told him, and the attack they successfully thwarted, poor Chase is an understandable mess. He's trying to build his life back up around him, and patch up the holes in the trust he has for others. I felt for him. Imagine being lied to by the one person who you thought you knew the best and, moreover, loved as well. It would be tough. Little did I know that Chase would be soon be facing much bigger problems.
Yes, things take a dark turn in Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets. Where the first book had a bit of tension, but was mostly lighthearted, this story delves much deeper into the secrets and lies. There are betrayals among family members, deeply seated animosity that bubbles to the surface, and a fair share of twists that kept me reading on. What I liked about this particular installment, was that it showed the power of family. Despite it all, it was his newfond family that kept Chase moving on.
Daring rescue missions, epic (and slightly violent) battles, and cunning plans all make a debut in this installment of Chase Tinker's story. He also comes into his own much more, and I was wholly impressed by how much he's grown up in the span of this particular book. I was both thrilled, and saddened, at the ending. Will I be back for more? Most definitely. I can't wait to see where this story takes me next.(less)
Well now, this was a tasty little piece of fiction! I don't deny that I might have a slight bit of bias when it comes to Edward Lorn's writing, but th...moreWell now, this was a tasty little piece of fiction! I don't deny that I might have a slight bit of bias when it comes to Edward Lorn's writing, but then again this is just the type of story that I love! A little creepy, a lot gory, and a whole bunch of fun to read.
I think my favorite part of Full Moon Over Cedar Hill was that Peter Hoskins was our main character. Seeing an event like this, something torn from our nightmares, through the eyes of a broken man? Intriguing. I felt for poor Peter, which is saying something considering there was a limited amount of time for me to get to know him. He felt so real to me. Imagine being faced with something utterly terrifying, and being unable to do a damn thing about it. Holy mother of all things bookish, that's scary.
I'll admit that I saw the ending coming but, and I'm happy to note this, that didn't take a single minute of enjoyment away! I loved the ending more than my little bookworm heart can say. So, here's the point I'm trying to make: read this. Do you love bite sized pieces of horror-filled goodness? This is for you. Hurry up and put Full Moon Over Cedar Hill on your reading list. I'll wait.(less)
It's been quite a while since I carved out a block of time to read a Science Fiction Epic. Once upon a time, these were a regular part of my reading r...moreIt's been quite a while since I carved out a block of time to read a Science Fiction Epic. Once upon a time, these were a regular part of my reading regime. It's the huge worlds that are built, the ample amount of characters that come to life on the page, and the stories that feel bigger than anything I could imagine, that keep drawing me back into books like this. What caught my eye specifically about Fires of Man, was that it dealt with psionic powers. Imagine the ability to harness the energy around you, and channeling it to perform amazing feats. Summoning balls of fire in your hands, creating personal shields, and even throwing a person across the room without ever touching them. It's hard not be caught up in the idea of that. Which is why, quite honestly, I wanted to get my hands on this book.
It bears mentioning that it took me a while to become invested in this story. Fires of Man is told from multiple points of view, and it felt a little jarring to be shuttled back and forth between so many minds. What I liked about this, was that I had the ability to see the war from both sides. Levinson includes characters from the two camps of this war. All of which have their own flaws and vices. It was nice to see these characters through the eyes of others. The problem was, at least for me, that there were a lot of them. If I counted correctly, there are 7 different people to follow in this book. That's tough for anyone to keep track of.
The other issue with this layout, was that not every story overlaps. While the good majority of these characters at some point have converging stories, Faith's felt completely out in left field. She was the only character who had any resolution, not counting any who may have met gruesome ends, and so I when I reached the conclusion of the book I was confused. Did her story have a point here? It's possible that she'll make a comeback in the second book, thus making it necessary for her to be introduced here, but I don't know. For now, she felt out of place. Add in the fact that I felt the ending to be rather abrupt, and I was left feeling a little lost.
What this book does well though, is the storytelling. Fires of Man is rich with descriptive writing, drawing the reader into the world that Levinson has built for this psionic war. While most of the settings are similar to our world, they take on a life of their own. I found myself intrigued by the idea of two separate groups of psionic warriors, two sets of people who have unlimited power, as the only thing stopping the other side from harming the rest of the world. It's a large concept, and one that I'll happily follow.
So although I had a little bit of trouble with the way this story was presented, it definitely captured my imagination. I'm happy to have been introduced to Dan Levinson's writing, and I can't wait for more!(less)
For the first portion of this book, I loathed both characters. Nick, with his constant complaining about his love life and the way he'd just run away...moreFor the first portion of this book, I loathed both characters. Nick, with his constant complaining about his love life and the way he'd just run away from every problem. Amy, with her inability to understand that other people have feelings too and that the world doesn't revolve around her. I don't know if Gillian Flynn's aim was to make me hate her characters at this point, but if it was it worked. If it wasn't for the fact that I was doing this as a buddy read, I would have probably given up here. Since I had back up, I read on.
Once Amy went missing, and her journal entries started, I was swayed to keep reading. I thought I might actually make it through because now I had a reason to forgive Amy. Could it be possible that Amy was just misunderstood? Maybe she really was a great wife, and Nick was just an ass. Maybe her whole persona was just a product of a bitter husband and parents who set the bar too high. Amy could be good, right? This was loving, pancake making Amy, who was afraid of her husband. I kind of warmed to her, but my feelings for Nick were still nothing but fierce anger.
Then, oh look, a twist! Suddenly I was right back where I started. With two characters who drove me absolutely mad. Except Amy was so much worse now. Then, oh look, another twist! At this point, my brain refused to be shocked anymore. I was a reading zombie. By the end of this story I was absolutely ready to be done with Gone Girl. I honestly kind of hoped Amy and Nick would both just disappear off the face of the earth. Sadly, they didn't. Even worse, the ending was just so utterly disappointing. Zero closure my friends, zero.
The thing that gets me is that this book is really well-written. I know that sounds completely contrary to what I've written above, but it really is done well. Everything Gillian Flynn puts onto the page lures you into wanting to read more, even when you're bitter about where things are going. The writing is solid, the plot twists (although a little bit predictable) are where they should be, and I can see why some people actually liked this book. I just can't count myself in that number.(less)
My quest to find a new graphic novel series to love continues! This time I decided to give The Bunker: Volume 1 a shot at catching my interest. See, t...moreMy quest to find a new graphic novel series to love continues! This time I decided to give The Bunker: Volume 1 a shot at catching my interest. See, the premise is what struck me. 5 friends who find letters from their future selves in a mysterious bunker. Letters that promise them they can change the fate of the world. They'd chosen wrong the first time, and the entire population of Earth had suffered. I wondered, would they do the "right" thing? I love stories where there's a thin line between right and wrong. I was so hoping for one of those.
I almost gave this up after reading the first page, simply because the dialogue bubbles in the first issue are horribly rendered for digital reading. I genuinely hope they fix this if they're going to sell digital copies but, as I had an ARC, I soldiered on. What was laid out before me was a story that slowly pieced itself together. The story line is a little choppy, which I guess is to be expected if you're looking at a series of events from 5 different points of view. Still, it doesn't make for the easiest read in the world. I constantly had to reorient myself to understand whose head I was in.
Which brings me to another issue I had, and that was the illustrations. I didn't dislike them entirely, but I was overly impressed either. The characters are inked onto the page in a way that makes them look gritty and unfinished. Almost as if they are in constant fluctuation. If this was the effect the illustrator was going for, they succeeded. The problem is that it makes the characters rather hard to distinguish between. My saving grace was that one man and one woman have glasses, and one of the other male characters is on the larger side. Again, I had to stop and reorient myself to who I was following in the panels each time they swapped.
There are, of course, underlying stories to each of these characters. Since this volume only compiles the first 4 issues, the reader only skims the surface of a few of them. I think this was my favorite part of The Bunker: Volume 1. I enjoyed getting to know each of these characters on a more visceral level, and I have a definite feeling that their backgrounds are going to be very important in the issues to come. This story is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a science fiction romp. Thus I can admit, I'm still intrigued.
So I'll happily give three stars to this first volume, and promise to be back for more. I'm hoping all the problems are resolved in the volumes to come, and that I can add this series to my "must haves" list.(less)
Eyes on You is billed as a "riveting psychological suspense" in the synopsis. I can't honestly say I was convinced of that during this read. There are...moreEyes on You is billed as a "riveting psychological suspense" in the synopsis. I can't honestly say I was convinced of that during this read. There are things about Kate White's newest story that are done well. The writing is solid and the blinding glamour of television celebrities is evident. It's just that I never really felt the suspense that I was promised. Let me explain.
First off, it's evident that White once wrote for the world of fashion. The opening page of Robin's story puts that front and center, as she describes a brand new pair of heels she's donned for a book launch party. Rather in-depth. See, Robin is caught up in the life of a celebrity. A television personality, and a successful author, her life revolves around being known. She's used to being in the spotlight, loves the validation that comes with the job, and she's not shy about it. It is this very fact that puts her in the cross-hairs of a mysterious enemy.
That being said, most of the book really is dedicated to Robin's life. Instead of the promised suspense, which is only mildly peppered in, the reader is treated to lavish parties, sumptuous dinners, and illicit affairs. I found myself skimming forward in an effort to finally get to the next piece of puzzle. I wanted less Robin, and more mystery. Even the actual events that took place to make her feel like she was being stalked drove me a bit mad. They weren't edgy, or exciting. Which made the ending of this book feel like it came out of left field, and not in a good way.
I'll admit that this book is well-written. The characters are fleshed out enough to love or hate, the lifestyle is described in all its glory, and Robin is an interesting enough protagonist. The problem is that this never felt like psychological suspense. I never felt worried for Robin. I never felt nervous about what might happen next. This felt like a story about a woman who has made it to the top, and is afraid to let it slip. Bill it as that? I'll take it. Bill it as a suspense novel? You haven't quite hit the mark. So, three stars to Eyes on You.(less)
I adored absolutely everything about Will in Scarlet. That, my friends, is getting harder and harder for me to say. It's not often anymore that a book...moreI adored absolutely everything about Will in Scarlet. That, my friends, is getting harder and harder for me to say. It's not often anymore that a book completely sweeps me off my feet. That it enchants me so wholly, that I'm saddened when it ends. Matthew Cody's brilliant reimagining of Robin Hood did just that, and I'm thrilled! Let the gushing commence.
First off, this is a much different take on the Robin Hood tale. While all the essential elements are there, the reader is taken on a new journey into Nottinghamshire courtesy of our plucky young hero, Will. A noble heir, Will's life has thus far been filled with little more than boring lessons and quests to steal goodies from the larder. He never dreamed he'd be caught up in anything exciting, much less something that would threaten his very being. This is what I loved about Will. He's so honest about everything. Not afraid to admit when he is in over his head, not ashamed to tackle his fears, and he has a big heart under all that mischievous outer boyishness. Yes friends, at the center of this boy beats the heart of a leader.
Better yet, his unlikely companions turned out to be just as well-built and vibrant as Will himself. The "Merry Men" are a rag-tag group of peasants, displaced from their lands due to unfair taxes and leans. Faced with the choice between toiling for nothing and robbing the rich? Well, you can guess what they chose. I loved that Matthew Cody brought these characters to life. "Little" John, King Richard, and the Sheriff all make their debuts, with a rich cast of additional characters around them. My favorite though, is Rob. Can you guess who he will end up to be? See, in Cody's story Robin Hood is but a story yet to be told. This is all about the boy who brought him into existence.
I know this review is getting long, but I need to gush about Much, the Miller's "Son" before I finish. In the original tale we have our Maid Marian. The apple of Robin Hood's eye, and nearly the only woman of any importance in the story. In Will in Scarlet our Marian comes in a much different form. I don't want to spoil, so I won't say anything concrete. Just know that Much is a fabulous character. I was so ridiculously happy to see this character hold their own right next to Will. I'm a happy bookworm.
So if this rambling review has proven anything, it should be that I have much to say about Will in Scarlet. All good things in fact! I was looking forward to reading something that would prompt me to write a glowing review, and I'm so ecstatic to have found it. Thank you Matthew Cody. You've made me a fan of Will and his Merry Men. I only hope there is more around the corner!(less)
Pretty Deadly: Vol 1 is my first adventure into the "Weird Western" genre. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of this before I stumbled upon this book. I...morePretty Deadly: Vol 1 is my first adventure into the "Weird Western" genre. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of this before I stumbled upon this book. It's apparently the combination of Western elements with another genre. In this case, that genre would probably be described as Fantasy. Something new for this bookworm, and I was definitely looking forward to seeing how it panned out.
The story is told in a fable format, through two narrators who are not quite what you'd expect. A lone butterfly, and his dead bunny friend, lead us through the tale of "Deathface Ginny", the daughter of death. Apparently she's the bringer of redemption. If you've been wronged, sing her song, and justice will come swiftly. Beautiful, isn't it? Poetic, in a way. Just like the words that tell the story.
If that had been all this novel was about, if Ginny had been the focus, I would have happily lost myself inside the pages. The problem was, that this volume is overstuffed with much more than just Ginny's story. The story arcs are all over the place, and I found myself more than once pausing on a page with the only thought in my head being "What on EARTH is going on right now?". So many people are introduced so quickly, that there wasn't much for me to cling to. I was just lost.
In truth, the rating for this graphic novel mainly comes from the illustrations. Let me tell you, they are just too gorgeous for words. The illustrators definitely brought their A-game to this story. With sweeping plains, crimson red blood, and a beautifully rendered Underworld, the panels beg you to keep reading on. No matter how confused I was, I still wanted to see what happened next. To turn the page to find out what breathtaking panel would be presented to me next. Massive amounts of love to you, illustrators. You bring this story to life.
Sadly, the illustrations can't carry the whole book. So I can only grant Pretty Deadly: Vol 1 two stars. I don't see myself continuing on with this series. I am, however, glad I dove into the "Weird Western" genre. I'll have to seek my next fix elsewhere.(less)