This was a really great thriller, along the lines of Silence of the Lambs. I enjoyed the unique dynamic of a female serial killer, and the older maleThis was a really great thriller, along the lines of Silence of the Lambs. I enjoyed the unique dynamic of a female serial killer, and the older male cop who is dependent on her. The second POV character, a young reporter, is a refreshing voice, as well. The book had a pretty decent plot twist, as well. My only warning is that there are some fairly graphic torture scenes....more
This was a great mix of authors, each of whom had their own take on the vampire mythos. Of course, my favorites were the stories featuring familiar chThis was a great mix of authors, each of whom had their own take on the vampire mythos. Of course, my favorites were the stories featuring familiar chararacters, like Charlaine Harris' Sookie story, "Dracula Night," and Jim Butcher's "It's My Birthday, Too." I also found a few new authors, as well. I definitely plan to check out Tanya Huff's Smoke series, since I really enjoyed the the interaction of the characters in her offering in the anthology, as well as Tate Halloway and Jeanne C. Stein, and I truly hope Tori L. P. Kelner writes a vampire book featuring Mark and Stella- I loved their story! I also was intrigued by Christopher Golden's take on the genre in "A Mournful Cry of Owls," and was pleased to see old favorite P. N. Elrod. The only stories I didn't care for as much were Bill Crider's "I Was a Teenage Vampire" (I love Catcher In The Rye, but the Holden-isms were too much) and Rachel Caine's Morganville story, although I suspect if I read about Eve in the context for the series, I might enjoy her more. Overall, a fun read that I think most vampire fans will enjoy!...more
The jacket-flap author bio says that Jinks came up with the idea for this YA novel when she wondered where all the villainous "Doctors" and "ProfessorThe jacket-flap author bio says that Jinks came up with the idea for this YA novel when she wondered where all the villainous "Doctors" and "Professors" of the super-hero genre got their degrees. Fun premise, right? It is, but I don't feel it was truly realized in the plot of Evil Genius. Even the inside of the cover makes this book feel like it should have been more of a romp than it was. I love the modified class schedule (Accounting Embezzlement, and so on). The book, however, is written fairly seriously, and while it's decently plotted, it's not a whole lot of fun.
I did enjoy the child-prodigy main character, Cadel, who seems to wreak havoc even when he doesn't mean to. He's a pretty well developed character, and you do sympathize with him throughout the story. Other aspects I liked were the math, which flew way over my number-addled head, and Cadel's relationship with Kay-Lee, and the twist in the development of that relationship. I also thought there was a lot of potential in the secondary characters, and wish they would have been fleshed out more before becoming cannon fodder. The Axis Institute, in fact, which is the villain academy Cadel attends, had quite a lot of potential as well, but I felt the reader wasn't shown enough of the various classes (Cadel simply spends a whole lot of time in the computer lab), and because the class size was so small, and the Institute was not, in fact, terribly successful at churning out super-villains with doctorates, that potential was never realized, in my opinion.
Elements I did not enjoy were the portrayals of the adult characters, and the convoluted final third of the book. The adults all felt like caricatures- unlikeable adoptive parents, suspicious substitute father figure, and one-note professors. I also didn't appreciate the who's-the-daddy antics (paging Maury Povich!), especially as both times the matter came up, it was in an info-dump instead of being a discovery. The last bit of the plot, while action packed, was almost difficult to follow as Cadel is repeatedly abducted and escapes.
That's not to say the book as a whole wasn't enjoyable- I found it okay. I can see where younger teen readers might get a kick out of it, but Evil Genius did not fall into that category of YA written at a sophisticated level. Some of the plot revelations felt too simple, and although the math was complex, the characters were not. I've read a lot of really wonderful YA lately, so my bar is pretty high. This book was middle of the pack, for me- not as incredible as The Book Thief, but not as bad as Gossip Girl. It was a nice, light read with a fun, if not fully realized, premise, and I will likely give the follow-up book, Genius Squad a chance....more
The book is well written, and I admire that a male author was able to write such a convincing young woman protagonist. However, I had a very hard timeThe book is well written, and I admire that a male author was able to write such a convincing young woman protagonist. However, I had a very hard time connecting to Dolores at first; it wasn't only that I didn't find her likeable, because I've connected to characters I didn't particularly like before, but I just couldn't muster any empathy for her. Even the traumatic event that she experiences as a young girl didn't really move me, which I found odd, because it's a situation I usually have a lot of empathy for. I didn't really connect to Dolores until close to the end, which is when she finally really starts getting her shit together. Hmm, maybe that's why I didn't care for her- I don't enjoy passive characters. Once she became dynamic, I enjoyed the book much more....more
I had taken a looong break from any sort of romance, but since I love urban fantasy, and this series came highly recommended, I gave it a shot. I realI had taken a looong break from any sort of romance, but since I love urban fantasy, and this series came highly recommended, I gave it a shot. I really liked it, and although I found the urban slang a little distracting (a vampire who says "off the chain"? Really?), at least it was a different take on vampires and paranormal romance. The only other quibble I had with the story was how quickly these people fall for each other; not only do main characters Wrath and Beth fall in love nearly instantaneously, but the same happens for secondary characters (who apparantly have their own book as well). I'm not a big fan of the love-at-first-sight/smell/touch plot device, but I chalked it up to them being vampires- I mean, they mate, rather than marry- and moved on. I found Ward pretty adept at world-building, and enjoyed that the book had an action plot as well as a HEA. I plan to read on in the series....more
It's interesting to do this review right on the heels of reading Duma Key, by Stephen King, because the overarching theme is much the same: do we creaIt's interesting to do this review right on the heels of reading Duma Key, by Stephen King, because the overarching theme is much the same: do we create or change reality through art, in this case, through fiction? Once we take a dream, nightmare, or inspiration from "the muse" and give it physicality, whether on page, screen, or canvas, have we made that real? How does it affect the people who are exposed to it? Without giving away the plot twist, I'll just say that from the very beginning, Briony Tallis influences everyone around her by voicing her perceived reality, and while that's immediately evident, that notion is deepened and turned on its head by the final pages. This is a thought provoking read, centered on creation, consequence, culpability, and of course, atonement. It leaves the reader with more questions than answers, and the seeds planted by the ideas in the novel will remain with the reader long after they turn the last page.
I will say I got a bit bogged down in the descriptions of the war and the nursing ward, but then again, other people in my book group loved those sections of the book. It is interesting how the time period plays into the plot, and how the class distinctions of the time play their role. ...more
In the third Harper Connelly mystery, Harper is called to the town of Doraville to put her unique skill set to work in locating the bodies of severalIn the third Harper Connelly mystery, Harper is called to the town of Doraville to put her unique skill set to work in locating the bodies of several teenage boys that have gone missing over the years. Despite being filled with small-town personalities, Doraville is not the innocent hamlet it seems to be, and peril comes swiftly once Harper reveals they've got a serial killer on their hands. While trying to solve the crimes that have rocked the mountain town, Harper is also dealing with her confusing feelings for her step-brother and companion, Tolliver, a process which is complicated by the arrival of nutty psychic Xylda Bernardo and her intriguing grandson, Manfred. All the loose ends come together in a satisfying conclusion that is action-packed and heats up the icy town.
I have mixed feelings on this one. I liked the mystery (I'm a sucker for a serial killer), but I'm not sure how I feel about the new twist in the Harper/Tolliver relationship. It will interesting to see how that affects future volumes in this series. It was a quick read, and a page-turner; although I figured out half of the answer fairly quickly, I still couldn't put the book down to see if I was right and to discover how the rest of it was resolved. I'm never as affectionate towards Harper as I am to Sookie Stackhouse, my favorite of Charlaine Harris' heroines, but I do like her. I want to know more about the secondary characters, such as Manfred, and I hope the hints dropped about Harper and Tolliver's missing sister, Cameron, mean that a book will be devoted to solving her disappearance soon....more
I picked this book up for a couple of reasons; first, I keep hearing buzz about Diablo Cody, who wrote the screenplay for Juno, and second, because II picked this book up for a couple of reasons; first, I keep hearing buzz about Diablo Cody, who wrote the screenplay for Juno, and second, because I spent several years waitressing/bartending/DJ-ing at a Deja Vu club in San Diego. I know that SD is unique in its approach to "gentlemen's" clubs- clean to the extreme, entertainer's licenses and all- so I'm always interested to hear stories about what the industry is like in other parts of the country (Cody dances in Minneapolis). I figured since this was a memoir, maybe for once there would be a realistic depiction of a strip club instead of the dreck you see in movies like Striptease and Showgirls.
Candy Girl is and isn't that depiction. Cody admits that she never quite fit in at the clubs where she danced. She isn't a good dancer, doesn't put much effort into her appearance, and she doesn't ever connect with the other dancers or staff at the clubs. She is almost an outsider looking clinically in, an undercover blogger who is in the clubs because she's looking for a "transgressive experience." Reading her descriptions of her co-workers, I felt like I was reading about an anthropologist describing exotic creatures, rather than someone who was truly one of the "peelers" talking about her experiences.
Cody does, however, describe the inner workings of a club fairly accurately. This is the first time I've ever seen the payout system really addressed- if anything, I'd like strip club patrons to read the book, so they understand why it's important to pay the girls and to tip them. I also appreciated that Cody didn't stick to just the high-end clubs; she ventures from the upscale Scheik's to the grimy arcades of an adult superstore, and she does embrace her time in these places fully. I just wish that the tone of the book had embraced the story she was telling in the same way.
Overall, though, I really liked Cody's narrative voice. She has a very clever way with words, and I read the book mostly in one go, largely due to the almost conversational style in which it was written. I would absolutely read another book by her, and I do want to see Juno. If I put aside my own concerns about the strip club industry and how the people who work in the clubs are depicted, the book was quite good. It just wasn't totally what I was hoping for....more
This book was a slow starter, but once the intrigue picked up, I was hooked. Carey takes a unique approach to ghosts, lycanthropes, zombies, and so onThis book was a slow starter, but once the intrigue picked up, I was hooked. Carey takes a unique approach to ghosts, lycanthropes, zombies, and so on; he then mixes that with a classic murder mystery, and for me, the set-up worked. I suppose it helps that I'm a fan of Hellblazer and Lucifer, which are Carey's graphic novels. There is definitely a sense of John Constantine in Felix "Fix" Castor, a down-on-his-luck exorcist who takes a seemingly simple job that quickly grows more complicated. Carey sets the book in an alternative universe, and gives background and backstory in dribs and drabs, and I found his world-building worked. I just discovered Carey continued the series, and I hope it makes the jump to this side of the pond; I'm curious to see how things work out with Juliet, Fix's newfound succubus apprentice, and if there will ever be a resolution for Fix and Rafi, a friend who's fallen quite literally to the dark side....more
It's not his best work- I am a huge fan of The Stand and It- but Duma Key's strength is in the aspect of King I like best- his incredibly rich charactIt's not his best work- I am a huge fan of The Stand and It- but Duma Key's strength is in the aspect of King I like best- his incredibly rich characterization. The main characters (Edgar, Wireman, and Elizabeth) feel like real people, and the characters alone drew me into the story.
Duma Key deals with a concern that seems to be on King's mind these last few books- where does art come from, what power does it hold once you give it a depiction in reality, and what are the consequences of making things from the ether real. He did it with writing in The Dark Half, Secret Window, Secret Garden, and Lisey's Story, and in Duma, he does it with painting. Of course, because it's King, the imagined world is a dark, bizarre place that leaves you wondering, "Where does he come up with this stuff?" I found the horror bits so-so, and not terribly frightening (Perse is no Pennywise), but I still read through the very thick book very quickly, because I cared about Edgar and what happened to him. At any rate, if you're a fan of King, then Duma Key should be a fun read for you. If nothing else, see what King can do with a location he's never explored before....more