I loved this book just as much as the first one. The Devil is in the details in this book because unlike the first book compared to the first season,...moreI loved this book just as much as the first one. The Devil is in the details in this book because unlike the first book compared to the first season, there are many differences when comparing it to the tv series.
In A Clash of Kings we find Robert Baratheon dead and his son is now the King. But there are rumors going around that Joffrey is not the true heir of Robert and now his two brothers Stannis and Renly are also vying for the Iron Throne. Robb Stark has been declared the King of the North by his bannermen. He has no desire to sit the Iron Throne, but is vigilant in getting his sisters back from the clutches if the Lannisters, and avenging his father’s death. The seven kingdoms are embroiled in a bitter war that seems to turn tides quite frequently. Just when you think on party has the advantage, Martin throws in a tailspin to keep you guessing. But the real battles reside within the individual players, and the decisions and choices they make to survive in the midst of the treacherous Game of Thrones.
The writing, the world, the characters, everything in this book is done so well that I easily fell into it and didn’t want to come out once I finished. There is so much going on in this book that it will be hard to do a traditional review so I’m going back to my lists!
I love the many POV’s. It allows the reader to know whats going on in each part of the world without being overwhelmed or confused. The atmosphere is intense and wrought with uncertainty. Each character claiming the throne staunchly believe they are the rightful heirs. The level of maneuvering, scheming, and cunning has greatly increased! Even the reader is unaware sometimes of which characters can and cannot be trusted. But this makes for great reading because anything can happen. The twists and turns in this book are CRAZY! The characters!!! The good, the bad, and the ugly, I love them ALL! They are so distinct, so well-crafted, and so interesting to get to know. Martin makes the reader anxious, hoping for the survival and the best for your favorites, while wishing for an ending befitting those you can’t stand. He also has a great way of taking a character and making you change your mind about them.
World building is phenomenal. Everything is explained and fleshed out. There isn’t much more I can say about this.
As far as dislikes I really didn’t have any, but there is one thing that I wanted very much to see and didn’t. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Robb Stark, and I wanted very much to know what was going on with him from his perspective. While the author presents many different POV’s, Robb’s isn’t one of them. The only significant information we get of Robb is through his Mom’s, Catelyn Stark’s, POV. I would have loved to get his own POV to know exactly his feelings and thinking through this harrowing time. I mean a boy of 16 in his position, has got to be going through some major inner turmoil! Although he seems to be doing well in battle, I wanted way more details about it.
Overall, loved it, couldn’t get enough, ready to dive into the next book! Storm of Swords here I come!(less)
This was a different sort of book for me, but I did find myself enjoying it once I got well into it. I have to say the first 150 pages were filled wit...moreThis was a different sort of book for me, but I did find myself enjoying it once I got well into it. I have to say the first 150 pages were filled with background information on the two characters that I feel was only necessary to know to understand events more towards the end of the novel, and after completion of the main mystery.
After Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist, is convicted of libel he abandons his post as editor of the magazine Millennium, and is contracted to investigate a disappearance that happened over forty years ago. Unable to rest until the mystery is solved, Henrik Vanger convinces Blomkvist to work on a history of his family while investigating the disappearance of his most beloved niece. But when Mikael stumbles upon a list of Harriet’s with women’s names and numbers with no explanation, he employs Lisbeth Salander to help him, and in turn they find a harrowing reality too crazy to believe.
This was an interesting mystery that was so odd that it was compelling and after getting through all the background information, I found myself completely engrossed. I like Blomkvist because he was pretty much a straight shooter. And although he was driven to investigate to further his own agenda, I could appreciate that once he started to gain new ground in the mystery surrounding Harriet Vanger, he was determined to see it through despite the increasing danger to his own life.
Lisbeth was altogether different and I’m still not quite sure what to think of her. She’s actually really brilliant, but very odd. She’s had a hard childhood and thus balks at anyone trying to structure her life in any way, and she has no regard for authority. She works as a freelance researcher for Milton Securities, and manages to obtain details about her subjects that wouldn’t be readily available to anyone. She’s very anti-social and closed off to people emotionally, so I was surprised when she began developing feelings for this journalist twice her age. I’m still not sure what to think about the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist as neither are the romantic type. They did seem to cultivate a comfortableness and contentment with each other, but I wasn’t drawn in because there really was no chemistry.
The mystery and the events surrounding what happened to Harriet Vanger were completely mesmerizing. I was totally drawn into the story and was bumfuzzled when they stumbled upon a connection with Harriet Vanger and a stream of women who had all died brutally and under mysterious circumstances. The deeper they dug into Vanger’s case, the more I found myself connecting to the story and fearing for the characters.
Overall, while there is a good chunk of filler information, once the main story gets under way, it’s hard to tear yourself away from it. I was satisfied with the way it all wrapped up, but am curious on how they will continue the story of this peculiar girl and savvy journalist. This would be a good pick for someone who loves a good mystery/thriller. I’m not anxious to get the follow-up, but I will definitely read it sometime in the future.(less)
Simply put I LOVED it. I will admit this book started off a little slow for me, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. Beatrice has grown up i...moreSimply put I LOVED it. I will admit this book started off a little slow for me, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. Beatrice has grown up in the Abnegation faction. A people who value selflessness above anything else. So while she’s led a pretty peaceful and safe life, she can’t help but be bored and drawn to the excitement of the other factions. Finding that she cannot be classified as any faction, she settles on dauntless but has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. Through the initiation process, Tris discovers her weaknesses and strengths, makes new friends, and falls for a dauntless leader known only as Four.
As a female lead I really loved Tris. Being that this is a dystopian novel I anticipated an unfeeling and cold female lead and was prepared for that. But I was pleasantly surprised with Tris. Not that she was the most forthcoming or emotional girl in the world, but the girl had some real feelings and some warmth and affection towards those she cares about. I loved that she has to grow to be more open about her feelings towards her friends and family, but that she does indeed grow. I also love her vulnerability, and the fact that she cannot be defined by any one faction.
But the best thing this novel gave me was Four. Le deep sigh. I swooned whenever he was around and fell in love with him right along with Tris. I love his quiet strength and intelligence. His protectiveness towards Tris is cute and charming, but what I love most about him was that he was willing to share his fears with her. His vulnerability and openness with her made him even more lovable and endearing. He is definitely my kind of guy because even though he can reveal his weaknesses to her, he is ruthless when he has to be. That is quite sexy to me.
Secondary characters in this book are also great. Whether I liked the character or not I felt they were all well developed and fleshed out. There was no question about who they were or their intentions. My favorite had to be Tris’ mom. From the first time we meet her I just felt there was more to her than what was presented at first. And she turned out to be bad-ass! I just wish she had been able to provide Tris with more answers.
The story itself was wonderfully written and progressed naturally. It wasn’t perfect, but it certainly kept my attention. I was caught up from start to finish and loved watching Tris discover herself as well as her growing feelings for Four. Overall this was an excellent story with mysterious elements that I cannot wait to explore in the next installment. If you’re into dystopian novels, then you should definitely pick this one up.
Have I said how much I love Jude Deveraux? Scarlet Nights is another fantastic read by Jude that continues the lives of the tight knit folks of Edilea...moreHave I said how much I love Jude Deveraux? Scarlet Nights is another fantastic read by Jude that continues the lives of the tight knit folks of Edilean Virgina. Edilean is a tiny little town tucked away on the outskirts of Williamsburg that was founded by a native Scotsman and named for the woman he loved. The inhabitants of Edilean are descendants of the founding families of the town, and while they are welcoming and tolerant of outsiders, they take pride in taking care of and protecting their own.
This story picks up in modern day with sweet little Sara Shaw. Sara is the baby of three girls, engaged to a jerk, and overwhelmed with her fiance’s demands. While he leaves on business he refuses to disclose to her, Sara is left to plan a wedding and alter clothes for clients. Although Sara was a nice sweet girl there was nothing particularly extraordinary about her. She was pretty run of the mill. Likable, but I wasn’t attached to her. She could have been replaced with anyone else, and I still would have enjoyed the story.
But Mike was loveable. He’s smart, in crazy shape, brave, and fiercely protective of his baby sister Tess. With no other family to speak of, Mike goes undercover in Edilean, to protect his sister and make sure her best friend isn’t caught in the crossfire of career criminals. Mike’s history is interesting to say the least. Raised by his hateful Grandmother, Mike left as a teenager and joined the force. He managed to travel to distant lands and study various forms of martial arts, has been involved in all manner of undercover assignments, and has a unique way of revealing nothing about himself.
Mike’s and Sara’s relationship started off slow and timid. Sara was convinced he had been sent to sabotage her wedding, and Mike wasn’t sure how to get her to trust him. But slowly they settled into an easy and comfortable friendship which consisted of exploring old farms, and sharing dinner with each other and friends. The attraction grew steadily and Sara finally began to open her eyes. She realized that everything good in Mike glaringly highlighted all the shortcomings of her fiance Greg.
I loved the tight knit feel of the little town of Edilean, and I love how we got to know the people who are descended from the Harcourts whose story we got in Days of Gold. The mystery surrounding Sara and Edilean was intriguing and developed nicely. You were given just enough information or clues in intervals to keep you turning the pages. The ending was a bit fast and slightly unbelievable, but I still liked how the information tied together. This is not Jude’s best work, but she still managed to write a very enjoyable story. I really liked it and can’t wait for the next in the Edilean series, or a Jude novel period.
Wow and WOW! It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel that has incorporated so many new and different elements without overwhelming me, but Dark Terr...moreWow and WOW! It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel that has incorporated so many new and different elements without overwhelming me, but Dark Territory brings that and more. It has the paranormal, the supernatural, martial arts, time-travel, romance and plenty of action. I was hooked from beginning to end, and was thoroughly entertained by the story and the characters. Since this book had so much going on, I’m going to do this review a little differently and organize my thoughts with headings. What I LOVE!
The characters in this novel really took over and drove the story forward. I adored the two leaders of the gangs, Raphael (leader of the Flatliners) and Zhai (leader of the Toppers). While they are different in manner and style, both boys were strongly committed to their families, friends, and the art of Kung-Fu. I found Zhai very down to earth and he tolerates little non-sense. He had a very regal air about him, and I loved his great sense of honor and nobility. Raphael was very passionate in everything he did, and seems to be an all or nothing kind of guy. His concern for his mother, and the loyalty he shows towards his friends earned my respect and admiration. And although Raphael is a bit rough around the edges, to me he still managed to maintain a youthful innocence about himself.
Aimee Banfield, Raph’s love interest and the little sister of his biggest enemy Rick Banfield, didn’t really stand out to me. I liked that her attitude towards people who didn’t necessarily have all that she does changed after she had been sent away for a spell, but other than that there is nothing truly remarkable about her. Now the female characters that did leave an impression on me were Dalton and Kate. Dalton seemed to be the lone wise and reasonable voice among the throng of teenagers, and Kate was so sweet and mysterious that I can’t help but want to know more about her.
The action in Dark Territory was nothing short of exhilarating. I can’t recall reading a Young Adult novel that has incorporated Kung Fu before, but I thought it’s inclusion was brilliant. Both Raphael and Zhai have been trained in the art of Kung-Fu by Master Chin. So you can imagine when these former best-friends face off it’s mesmerizing as neither are willing to give in an inch. I felt like I was on a dangerous roller coaster ride, and while it could be down right terrifying at times, it was also exciting and had my heart racing with each fight, and each battle.
The story itself has so many things at play that you can only wonder how everything relates to each other, and how everything will reveal itself and how the story will unfold. The Legend of the Tracks is a living, breathing entity in the novel, and it eventually begins to awaken and consume the characters. Middleburg and how it’s divided between the haves and the have-nots is very clearly laid out for the reader, so it’s easy to picture. In that respect the world building is great, but the parallel worlds that exist in this book could have been more detailed and better explained. What I Question?
Raphael’s and Aimee’s romance is cute and sweet. In the vein of Rome Juliet, their love is also a little dangerous considering they are from opposite sides of the tracks and her older brother hates Rapheal with a passion unparalleled. But I question Raphael’s level of dedication to a girl who he’s spent all of two minutes with. I get that they have an undeniable spark of attraction, but during the course of the book they really don’t spend much quality time together. So how he could feel so strongly about someone he really hardly knows at all is a concern.
Also, there is a point in the book where Rick Banfield handcuffs Raphael to an old train car and sets it on fire, trying to burn him alive. The fact that NOBODY AT ALL seems outraged or appalled that this boy literally tried to MURDER Raphael is beyond my comprehension. Everyone who finds out pretty much shrugs it off and feels like, yeah that sounds like something Rick would do. The hell!? I don’t care that he is privileged and a Topper, there should have been some consequences or AT LEAST someone in the book who was just as shocked and furious about it as I was.
Lastly, after Raphael and Zhai go on their mutual and individual quests, I was hoping all they had to go through and endure would be explained. The other world, the manipulation of time, even the quests they had to complete is never explained. I want to know how and why the other world exists? What is the other world and what goes on there? What are the customs, the traditions, and the people like? And how does it all relate to the tunnel and tracks, what’s going on in Middleburg today, and how does it dictate all that is to come for the two gang leaders? Since nothing is really explained, the reader is left with more questions than when they started. I can only hope many of these will be answered in the follow up book Ghost Crown. Overall
As a whole I LOVED Dark Territory and I want MORE!!!! The action and the characters came together beautifully and the story was written so well that it seemed to leap off the pages. If you’re looking for a book that encompasses romance, the supernatural, and action, and is executed well, this is the book for you. I look forward to reading the sequel and joining these amazing characters for another adventure.(less)
**spoiler alert** This read was fascinating and I loved it from beginning to end. Well-meaning but naive Miranda has a bad run of it when it comes to...more**spoiler alert** This read was fascinating and I loved it from beginning to end. Well-meaning but naive Miranda has a bad run of it when it comes to relationships. And her latest beau just happens to be the husband of her new and pregnant flatmate. When Miranda discovers the shocking news she plans an elaborate revenge to humiliate him for deceiving her. But while moving from one catastrophic relationship to another, Miranda continues to overlook the strong and steady guy who befriends her and her flatmates.
I don’t know what it is about books whose authors and settings are across the pond, but I’m absolutely loving them. The atmosphere of this book is so sweet and charming that I was completely drawn into the story from the first word. But though the book is enchanting it had its fair share of sass, snark, and laugh out loud moments. I adored Miranda as a protagonist because she was probably the most unluckiest girl which made her feel more real for me. She had a fair amount of cynicism to go with her never-ending compassion, but I couldn’t help but feel she took things at face value too much. She approached many situations and people with a naivete that ended up hurting her in the end.
The other characters in this book were just as fun and interesting as Miranda. I have to say my favorite was her 70-ish landlord and flatmate. Florence is fresh and spunky and I think she would give Miranda and the other young ladies a run for their money if her arthritis didn’t keep her wheelchair bound. She tickles me thoroughly when she pretends to take a young Latin lover to vex her mooching son and his wife, and she’s forever trying to gently guide Miranda in the right direction. Bev, her friend and co-worker was a bit rigid at first. And although she seems well-meaning, sometimes her concern for Miranda was a tiddly bit tinged with envy. Chloe was sweet but low-key through most of the book. I was happy to see her grow stronger and become more confident by the end of the book.
The men of this novel were just as fascinating. Between errant husband Greg, famous racecar driver Miles, and television producer Danny, Miranda has her hands full on the man front. Her interaction with Miles was dreamy and romantic, which was easy to fall into because Miles is a total dreamboat. But her friendship with Danny was something special. The dialogue beteen the two was witty and snarky and I lived for their verbal sparring. Each gave as good as they got and I believe Miranda didn’t quite know what to do with a man who could match wits with her.
Overall, I was thoroughly entertained by Miranda’s Big Mistake. The characters are wonderful, the dialogue witty, and the story was amazing. With brilliant writing and great pacing, Jill Mansell pens a novel very much worth reading. I already have another novel by Jill Mansell in my TBR pile, and after reading Miranda’s Big Mistake, I am anxious to read it. This one’s a go!
I was in the mood to read a great story about werewolves and Nightshade delivered that and so much more. I was totally caught up in this story and fou...moreI was in the mood to read a great story about werewolves and Nightshade delivered that and so much more. I was totally caught up in this story and found myself completely invested in the characters and their journey’s.
When Alpha of the young Nightshade wolf pack defies the Keeper’s rules and saves a human’s life by shifting in front of him and feeding him her blood, she never thought she would see him again. So when the human shows up at her school and she is ordered to protect him, Calla becomes increasingly torn between her developing feelings for Shay and her duty to her pack. As Alpha, Calla is destined to be joined to Renier Laroche, Alpha of the young Bane pack. Their marriage will ultimately join the two packs, making one new pack. But the more time Calla spends with Shay, the more secrets and lies they uncover about her history and world, effectively making her question which is more important to her. Will Calla follow her strong sense of duty and loyalty, or will Calla throw caution to the wind and follow her heart?
This book is so full and so complete in every aspect. From pack history, to the setting, the school dynamics, and the myriad of awesome characters, Cremer does an excellent job of weaving all these components together seamlessly to create a novel that was entertaining and a joy to read.
Calla is such a strong-willed and tough young lady. Her leadership skills are unquestionable and she inspires such loyalty and honor within her pack members, including her younger brother Ansel. I felt bad for the impossible position she found herself in. Promised to Alpha leader Renier since before she was even born, yet longing for a human whose not quite like all the others.
While I admired Renier for his leadership and his sporadic glimpses of vulnerability, I tired of his constant quest to grope and feel Calla before their union. As someone who grew up knowing firmly the pack rules, I expected him to be more respectful and considerate of Calla and the fact that she is expected to keep herself pure until they are joined. Never mind the fact he can do what he wants in that regard…double standards are still strong in this world too. I felt that Shay was way more respectful of her boundaries even though he was drawn to and desired her as well. I enjoyed her interactions with Shay because she seemed less inhibited and Shay seemed to be able to get her to loosen up and have some fun. I think she became her best self when she was with him.
Other characters I enjoyed were Calla’s little brother Ansel and her loyal right hand Bryn. And I was intrigued and enchanted with gay pack members Mason and Neville. All of their personalities were distinct, and they melded together with the other pack members to create an interesting and sometimes explosive dynamic.
While I loved the book, I did have one little issue. I have noticed a trend that is becoming increasingly more common when a novel features a strong female lead character. The unprovoked hostility Calla has toward Ren and Shay throughout this book puzzled me. IMHO, just because a female character is kick-ass and strong, does not mean they have to be a total bitch to people. ESPECIALLY when no one has done anything or given her any reason to be that way. Making the girl bitchy and difficult for no reason is NOT, I repeat NOT, necessary for the readers to understand that the female lead IS a strong character and a force to reckoned with. PLEASE STOP THIS!
Other than that, I fell so hard for this book, and it’s still not enough for me to think any less of it. If you’re looking for an excellent story involving those loveable furry shape shifters, and other manner of paranormal creatures, then Nightshade is the book you want. Can’t wait to get into the next book! (less)