I gave this 100 pages and I am not sure if it was my mood at the time or if it just wasn't for me? Despite some lovely turns of phrase, I couldn't fin...moreI gave this 100 pages and I am not sure if it was my mood at the time or if it just wasn't for me? Despite some lovely turns of phrase, I couldn't find any plot or get sucked into the character's lives. Feeling a bit bereft about this, I thought I would love this for sure :/ (less)
There were a few moments where I got a little spark with the promise of good things to come. I held on hard and tried to let the magic happen for me....moreThere were a few moments where I got a little spark with the promise of good things to come. I held on hard and tried to let the magic happen for me. Truth is, I just got bored :/(less)
The thing that most sucks me into C K Kelly Martin is how she gets right under he character's skin, and she has done it again in Come See About Me wit...moreThe thing that most sucks me into C K Kelly Martin is how she gets right under he character's skin, and she has done it again in Come See About Me with Leah. The prose is pitch perfect, this elegant blend of simple and straightforward with some poetic turns of phrase sprinkled throughout. Martin is a talented writer, for sure, and there's nothing like sinking into a book from the first page thinking 'this is going to be good'.
And it was good.
From the blurb, you know it's a grief book, coupled with sexy times.
My gosh, C K Kelly Martin brings the angst and depression and sorrow and longing and utter devastation with such expertise. I really felt that. On the flip side, if there was one thing I would change about the book, would be that, although it felt 100% realistic, the first 20% where Leah was drowning, I started to feel like I was drowning, too. But, if the pacing feels a little slow at the beginning, hang in there, because it is so worth it. Just a few more chapters along, and suddenly I couldn't put the kindle down.
You guys, it would be remiss of me to just get all SWOON and SEXY regarding Liam. Because he is so much more than that. I love all the shades of grey in his character and in his relationship with Leah. Liam is Irish and gorgeous and has some unique background/occupation not often seen in the YA scene making him completely intriguing. He is also complicated, messy, older. And Leah's relationship with him is complicated, messy and definitely older.
A word about the sex: It's sensual and steamy and completely hot (as in HOT). Without the bounds of being a YA book, Martin is able to explore more sexually, and the scenes are essential to the relationship and so gorgeously and evocatively done. The scenes weren't just some steamy filler, guys, they had depth and emotions and all kinds of excitement and confusion that comes with a sexual relationship in your early twenties. Caution: The sex scenes are not fade to black, and are for mature readers, not young teens (IMO).
Where was I before I was distracted by Liam? ;)
Oh, I was glued to the pages (after making it past the little 10 - 20% slow hump). Coming to the climax and resolution, I had this sudden panic attack. So bewitched by the story, it had slipped my mind that this is a Martin Book, and her stories often have these bittersweet (read: painful) endings. The suspense in those last chapters nearly broke me. Which is a true sign of my love for the characters, my gut clenching for them. No spoilers here, but absolutely everything I felt while loving in this world was worth it and I thought the ending was perfect.
This is what I want you to know: C K Kelly Martin is truly one of the talented writers for this YA generation. She brings what feels like the truth with a heartbreaking and hopeful clarity. Come See About Me is a New Adult novel, set outside of high school, with sex scenes more explicit than regular YA stuff. I was sucked in, swallowed up and mesmerised by this story. I read it over the course of one blissed-out ache-y day and one month on, I am still feeling the emotions of this read.
I find it hard to pick favourites, but I think Liam and Leah is my fave C K Kelly Martin couple so far x(less)
Friday Brown is such a gorgeous and heartbreaking reading experience. Vicki Wakefield writes in this sublime way ~ her stories have this almost fairyt...moreFriday Brown is such a gorgeous and heartbreaking reading experience. Vicki Wakefield writes in this sublime way ~ her stories have this almost fairytale, other-worldly quality while at the same time feeling so emotionally real and resonant that it aches like the truth. This story is vivid: sorrowful yet full of love, surreal yet devastatingly believable.
There's this gorgeous blend of adventure and tension. While friendships are being forged and the plot sails ahead into the unknown, there's an undercurrent of danger - just enough to create a pool of dread right in the pit of my stomach. Guys, it was only a solid month after finishing this read that I was able to come to terms with it all and conclude that, simply, this sophomore novel is amazing.
Wakefield possess the magic combo: prose to die for, sneaky, smiley humour, characters that come to life and work their way into your heart, and a power-packed climax that leaves you breathless a la Jellicoe Road. In some ways, this book reminds me a smidgen of Jellicoe Road - in the way that sometimes it seems like too much ~ the character's backgrounds, heartache and sorrow upon sorrow mingled with the perfect carving of relationships but like Jellicoe, Friday Brown pulls everything off and more. These characters and this story is brilliant and lingering and will hold fast.
I especially loved all of Fridays' stories passed down from her mum. Ethereal and beautiful and clever and special, all truth mingled with fantasy and hope mingled with regret. Just gorgeous.
I cannot not mention what I truly love about Vicki Wakefield's work: her characters are such brilliant teenagers. She never belittles them, instead gives so much life and energy, it rings with the truth. I think the ultimate YA authors are the ones who believe in just how awesome teenagers are, showcasing their resilience and life and ability to have fun and live in a world not dulled by adult sensibilities.
Vicki Wakefield is an extraordinary talent who would shine in whichever genre she would choose to write in. I am cheering for Aussie teens who can experience books such as this: utterly compelling and life-changing stuff.
If you're into Aussie YA, Vicki Wakefield should be at the top of your list to check out. Two books out and she is right up there with the cool kids at the top.
I truly loved this book (even as it ripped me to shreds and patched me up again) and I am thrilled to recommend it to you all and cannot wait to see what you think :) (less)
I loved the beginning of Grave Mercy. It’s harrowing, emotional, intriguing and grabs you from the start: horrific, yet emotionally compelling back st...moreI loved the beginning of Grave Mercy. It’s harrowing, emotional, intriguing and grabs you from the start: horrific, yet emotionally compelling back story. Mysterious night trip to a nunnery on an island. Assassin nuns. Boarding school intrigue. Poisons. Masterly constructed weapons and gadgetry. Secrets and oaths.
Here I was all primed for a kick-ass medieval assassin, and as soon as Ismae is unleashed in the world... things sizzle right down. Instead of being a wild, brilliant sneaky little assassin, her potions and gadgets get less of a work-out as readers have to sit through pages of political intrigue. Did I say intrigue? It was not overly intriguing. Such a fantastic premise was coupled with such a bland political plot. Pages of council meetings and trying to keep up with which political dude wants what, what they really want and who is betraying whom, etc. It felt confusing, keeping track of everyone, yet the political plot itself was simple: the whole mid section of the book was about who the duchess should marry.
This major political plot line felt like a waste of an assassin premise. Like I had been promised one kind of (exciting, original, dashing) story and somehow fell into a medieval political snoozefest instead.
It is not all just politics. There is, of course, some romance. And I have mixed feelings about this as well. It, too, began with promise. Compelling antagonism and a hint of chemistry bubbling away, but then it fell into a predictable format and by the culmination at the end, I felt nothing. I am not sure why it did not work for me? Perhaps because Ismae seemed out of character in the romantic scenes? Hmm...
The Climax: the author went the whole way, raising the stakes to the highest point. Yet, it was done in such a way that I felt zero tension and no anticipation. I knew the author would not be willing to sacrifice that which her story was threatening to ~ and so sat waiting back for the author to create her magical loop hole promising a happy ending. Yawn.
Overall, regarding my personal enjoyment of Grave Mercy: I started off engaged and intrigued. If I was to make a graph, my interest would start out deliciously high and then drop to a steady decline from the middle of the book to a fizzed out ending. Okay, add a a few blips of increased interest at intermittent romantic intervals (I am always on the look out for some swoon, it was slow building enough to add tension, but ultimately just short of bringing enough spark, for me).
Side note: Pet peeve: making YA villains not just evil in their intent, but also ugly, fat and repulsive to look at (and horny in that filthy underage way. Argh.). Why? So unimaginative.
Also: did French women really paint their nipples with rouge? O.o
Oh: and I felt some confusion about what elements were fantasy from the author and which parts had historical basis? I am clearly not an expert on this genre.
Recommend for fans of historical, political intrigue in a lite manner ;)
Thanks Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the ecopy (less)
I am genuinely baffled as to why I couldn't find any magic in here like everyone else?
Fact is, the 75% I read was such a str...morePermanently stalled at 75%
I am genuinely baffled as to why I couldn't find any magic in here like everyone else?
Fact is, the 75% I read was such a struggle, but I persevered valiantly beyond my usual point as I was certain I could love this.
My reading experience looked like this: let's do this! concentrating on history lessons hard. bored. confused. mild intrigue. bored. confused again. c'mon, concentrate harder and get into this. finally admitting defeat. Now: confessing my shame.(less)
Angelfall is not my usual genre, but it was ever so inciting, all the pleasantly surprised and rave reviews.
Here's some (very quick) thoughts upon fin...moreAngelfall is not my usual genre, but it was ever so inciting, all the pleasantly surprised and rave reviews.
Here's some (very quick) thoughts upon finishing:
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book, but ultimately found myself unsatisfied and a tiny part of me wishes I had not read it all :/
Angelfall is compulsively readable: constant action, intriguing foreshadowing and smooth writing makes those pages fly by.
I found Raffe intriguing, but annoyingly ambiguous. The attraction between Raffe and Penryn started off promising with good conflict and tension, yet as the story progressed, I felt the author didn't build on that, there were a few random lines (implying a deeper, life-saving love/connection between the two) and I honestly could not see how/why Raffe would feel that way?
The book played out in my head like a movie. And like many movies, the plot was very convenient. Characters turning up in unexpected places just when needed, the right clues at the right time, sudden distractions perfectly timed for a getaway, etc. One moment Raffe can sneak around in public (to the benefit of the plot), the next, he is recognisable to everyone. Although the convenient plot didn't bother me, I'm just saying :)
Lastly, I don't mind a bit of gore, a bit of sci-fi shock factor, whatever, but I was a little sickened by some of the closing scenes (in the climax). It felt cheap and nasty to me, rather than emotionally compelling (view spoiler)[ Penryn's little sister and her razor sharp teeth and the feeding fiesta. Ugh. I would rather kill my sister than keep her alive like that. Sorry to my little sister! (hide spoiler)]
Oh! and Penryn's mother! Seemed over the top, laughable, really, haha.
Overall, I started out impressed, had some fun times, but in the end felt lacklustre about the whole thing. I'm recommending this to fans of (darker) angel/post-apocalyptic stuff.