I don't usually put my "trashy" reading books on my book count, so when I picked up this one earlier this week I didn't bother putting it up on this s...moreI don't usually put my "trashy" reading books on my book count, so when I picked up this one earlier this week I didn't bother putting it up on this site. I read this for the first time when I was a teenager, as it was one of the random books around in my house at the time, but I only had a vague memory of how it played out. The book is MUCH better than I remembered, with a good story that spans decades providing the framework for the private club that provides the book with its name. Butterfly is a secret club that caters to women's desires at a steep cost, providing not only discreet and handsome Companions to serve their whims, but amazingly appointed rooms and situations to carry out their fantasies. The "current day" portion of the book covers four women who visit Butterfly for their own reasons, following not only the encounters they have there but also how they learn from them for their own lives. The story of the owner of Butterfly comes out slowly, via chapters set throughout her life interspersed with the "current day" stories, and the weaving of the timelines is very well done. There is a lot to go through in this book, from forced prostitution and abortion to standing up for oneself against a dismissive spouse or overcoming preconceived notions of what someone might be. The end of the story is amazing and very well done, and while I've now learned there is a sequel of some sort, I have no idea how it would be done. The characters span the range from sympathetic to hated, and the descriptions are detailed but not overly done. While the titular Butterfly club does lead to sexual scenes, they are not deeply graphic and while I would rate the book as an "R" rating, that is more for some of the themes covered than for the sexual scenes themselves. I'm glad I reread the book, and pleased that the depth and layering of the story turned out to be so much better than what I remembered.(less)
There are four short novellas in this novel, and I found them all to be excellent and well in keeping with the other tal...moreSpoilers exist in this review.
There are four short novellas in this novel, and I found them all to be excellent and well in keeping with the other tales from the Black Jewels world. The first story, "Winsol Gifts," is an absolutely delightful story of Jaenelle and Daemon's first winter holiday together, and I was actually laughing out loud at some of the parts. Next up is "Shades of Honor" which follows Lucivar as he deals with a situation in his realm that has been too long in the making. Third is "Family," which is just as dark as the earliest parts of Jaenelle's life, but ends with a few bright spots. Finally, the last story entitled "The High Lord's Daughter" is the story of what happens with Daemon, Surreal, and Saetan after Jaenelle's death. This last story seems to be causing lots of people to be upset, but I found it very good and definitely keeping with the known character of the people written with in it. We all knew Jaenelle was from a more human lifespan race, not one of the milennia-lifespan races, and we all knew that Daemon would outlive her. This is the story of part of what he does after she is gone, and it is both heartwrenching and heartwarming as he moves on with his life. If you're a fan of the Black Jewels universe, this is definitely worth the read. The stories will be entertaining if you're not familiar with the backstory, but a lot of the detail and subtleties will escape you.(less)
This book continues the story of Gemma, the teenager with the power of a fallen star within her, and her sometimes companions Alex, Aislin, and Laylen...moreThis book continues the story of Gemma, the teenager with the power of a fallen star within her, and her sometimes companions Alex, Aislin, and Laylen as they work to save the world from evil. Unfortunately, many of the problems which plagued the first book continue in this one, specifically the need for a good editor (it was "your problem" not "you're problem"). There were fewer new concepts in this novel than in the first, and those were mostly extensions of what was revealed then, which left the story moving forward slowly and without any new momentum. Situations happen over and over again, especially "Gemma going off alone and being kidnapped" without the characters ever learning from them, and something called the "Cruciatus Diamond" shows up which is far too blatant a steal from Harry Potter for my liking. The scenes set in the Underworld had promise, but were left superficial without the depth that they could have had. Overall, I have many of the same conclusions from the first book - a good overall story idea, characters that have promise, a few brilliant ideas, but all ultimately fail due to the amateur writing and poor editing of the books. I think that these three books (third not published as of now) would make an incredibly brilliant novel if combined and edited strongly with an eye to improving the depth of the story.(less)
This was a fascinating book that is engagingly written and completely sucked me in. Unfortunately, the topic is the author's childhood under completel...moreThis was a fascinating book that is engagingly written and completely sucked me in. Unfortunately, the topic is the author's childhood under completely irresponsible parents, including her mother who "follows her art" rather than care for her children and her father who'd rather drink and whore than keep a job. I spent much of the book wanting to track down both of the author's parents and give them a good whupping, and that desire was only intensified by the last fact revealed near the end of the book. I'm impressed that the author and her siblings have turned out as well as they have, but saddened that they had to go through such a rough childhood.
Two stars for the content, but four stars for the writing.(less)
The first book started off slowly and then picked up pace around halfway through. This one started off even more slowly, and then picked up pace aroun...moreThe first book started off slowly and then picked up pace around halfway through. This one started off even more slowly, and then picked up pace around two-thirds of the way through - but when it did, it hit 100mph and kept going. There were several points when I actually commented out loud on the book while I was reading it, which I rarely do, and the ending was an unbelievable cliffhanger. I was very disappointed to not be able to start the third book immediately, it seems that books 2 & 3 are much more connected to each other.
One star off for the ridiculously slow pacing in the first 50%-65% of the book, I feel that could have been edited significantly. There were also some personality issues that were key to the plot that were not addressed, although those may be fixed in the third book.(less)
This book started off -really- slow, but then eventually built up to a very good pace involving a decades-old investigation as well as current events....moreThis book started off -really- slow, but then eventually built up to a very good pace involving a decades-old investigation as well as current events. The story did not end up quite where I wanted it to, but it was not predictable and was rather refreshing for that. Overall the writing was very good and enjoyable. I might pick up the next book, I haven't decided yet.(less)
I picked up this book because it had a short story by Anne Bishop in it, which turned out to be completely different (yet excellent) than I expected....moreI picked up this book because it had a short story by Anne Bishop in it, which turned out to be completely different (yet excellent) than I expected. Each story is about an imaginary friend/creature of some sort, of the power of imagination vs reality, and about relationships. If you like short stories - and don't mind creepy/sad ones - this is a really good anthology.(less)
This book was reviewed on Big Al's Books and Pals blog last month, and it sounded intriguing as it told the story of the search and recovery operation...moreThis book was reviewed on Big Al's Books and Pals blog last month, and it sounded intriguing as it told the story of the search and recovery operations in Texas after the Columbia shuttle disaster. The writer is a funeral director who lives in the area, and as such he was directly involved with crew recovery efforts and was observant of many of the additional search and rescue efforts. The book largely covers the operation from a incident command point of view, making it quite interesting and useful for those who might be trained or interested in this sort of large-scale incident management structure. The interactions between local, state, and federal entities were interesting to see, especially with regards to the press and some of the stuck-up city attitudes that were brought right into this small town. The book was not quite as interesting as I had hoped, as while the descriptions of the events were well done (and quite respectfully with regards to the crew recovery operations), it feels as if more information was cut from the book leaving it somewhat dry despite its brevity. The organization of the chapters skips around a lot too, as the author was trying to keep a rough timeline throughout the book but yet covers events and interactions that occurred simultaneously, and I feel that this could've been handled a little bit better. Overall a solid read, again very worthwhile for those interested in emergency management, and a respectful look at the impact the Columbia disaster had on the Texas countryside where it occurred.(less)
This is a book that was more directly taken from a blog than I was expecting - there are no long chapters here, most are just a page or two that sketc...moreThis is a book that was more directly taken from a blog than I was expecting - there are no long chapters here, most are just a page or two that sketch out a situation. I found the book to be interesting despite that, as each entry is more of a vignette of what happens in London that contributes to an overall picture of the whole situation. I would have liked a few more longer parts, perhaps introductions to sections organized by theme, but if nothing else this made the book very easy to pick up and put down as needed. I got this book for free on my Kindle and it was definitely worth the read for that price.(less)
This book was well reviewed on one of the book blogs I follow, and since I've enjoyed other books by the author I picked it up and gave it a shot. It...moreThis book was well reviewed on one of the book blogs I follow, and since I've enjoyed other books by the author I picked it up and gave it a shot. It turned out to be a very interesting fantasy novel, complete with bits of steampunk and Victorian/Regency style classism, following a female protagonist and with just a hint of romance.
Catherine was rescued from a disastrous river crossing as a young child which killed her parents and left her to the care of her money-pinching uncle and his family. She grows up and is quite close with her two-months-younger cousin, Bee, and the two of them are studying at a nearby school as well as preparing for their impending adulthood on their twentieth birthdays. Just days before her birthday, a strange man appears and demands her hand in marriage immediately - and is granted it by her uncle, much to Cat's confusion. The mysterious mage marries Cat immediately, then bundles her off on a journey with no explanation. This journey, as might be expected, will change her life completely.
The story was very interesting, although at times there were unclear details that could have used a sentence or two of explanation or backstory. For example, I was really fuzzy on what/who the trolls were and where they had come from, and a bit more information when they were introduced would have been helpful. Cat is a young and world-innocent lady, but she has to grow up and learn about herself very quickly in order to survive the strange journey that she is taken upon. The characters are all interesting, and the main ones show growth throughout the novel (including Cat and her husband), and the story flows and makes sense throughout. Some of the bits that are introduced almost seem to be there just to be fantastical, but they do also seem to be rooted more strongly than mere scenery, so I think those bits will become more important in the later books of the series.
I enjoyed the book and will be picking up the next one in the series pretty soon. At least with this recent of a series, I don't have to worry about the books being out of print, like what happened with another one of the author's series that I read several years ago. Those who like pure fantasy might be disappointed, but those who are open to a bit of steampunk and modern styling will enjoy the book quite a bit.(less)