So good, so good, so good! Thank you, Misha Collins, for the book rec. I don't read a lot of literary fiction these days, so I might not have found thSo good, so good, so good! Thank you, Misha Collins, for the book rec. I don't read a lot of literary fiction these days, so I might not have found this one on my own. I am so glad I didn't miss it! ...more
Not a bad beginning to a new series (well, it was new when this one was written). The main character is a little angrier, less well-rounded and more kNot a bad beginning to a new series (well, it was new when this one was written). The main character is a little angrier, less well-rounded and more kneejerk in her reactions than I would have expected, but that may just be a first-book thing. ...more
I love this new-to-me series! It's urban fantasy that's fun and exciting, with fast-paced action and witty dialogue. This particular novel starts withI love this new-to-me series! It's urban fantasy that's fun and exciting, with fast-paced action and witty dialogue. This particular novel starts within days of the end of book 1 (Blood Song) and reads more like part two of a single novel, at least so far as the emotional entanglements are concerned. Story-wise, it's strong enough to stand alone, but I'm glad I had both books on hand at nearly the same time, so I had no real delay between the two. Readers who read them as they came out (several months or a year apart) might have had difficulty slipping back into the mind of our protagonist, Celia Graves, but I was lucky enough to read them almost back to back.
If you're planning to read book 1 (which I highly recommend), you might want to have book 2 waiting in the wings, because you won't want to leave this special paranormal world that Cat Adams created. And there are now six books in the series, so you (and I) won't have to!...more
The first of a trilogy, Blood Song takes urban fantasy to California, where the coauthors can play with dark magic and paranormal creatures under sunnThe first of a trilogy, Blood Song takes urban fantasy to California, where the coauthors can play with dark magic and paranormal creatures under sunny skies. The main character, Celia Graves, is a bodyguard - and a damned good one - until she is nearly killed - and worse - on a job. And that's not the worst thing that happens to her that night, she just doesn't remember it all. (No spoilers here, though, so that's all I'll say about the plot.)
The writing is terrific. There's dark humor laced through the tautly described action sequences and descriptions. The dialogue flows naturally, and the good-guy characters are engaging. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series....more
A terrific conclusion to the action begun in Warrior, this novel takes the action up several notches, while still maintaining believability and connecA terrific conclusion to the action begun in Warrior, this novel takes the action up several notches, while still maintaining believability and connection to the reader. Book one left the immediate conflict resolved satisfactorily, but the ripple effects of that conclusion were more like tidal waves, swamping the rest of this world. To show us the parts of the world that our main protagonist, Mirei, does not witness directly, the author made one of the important characters in Warrior into a point-of-view character here. Satomi's political position in the witch hierarchy was a perfect vantage point from which to see the larger action of the novel; her personal POV let us see her as a woman who was always trying to do the right thing, despite the terrible choices she made that helped set into motion the conflicts in both novels.
I really enjoyed the chance to extend my time inside this rich world that Brennan created for her complex and intriguing characters. ...more
I truly enjoyed this book. It has wonderful worldbuilding, sympathetic POV characters, excellent imagery, realistic dialogue, a creative plot with a uI truly enjoyed this book. It has wonderful worldbuilding, sympathetic POV characters, excellent imagery, realistic dialogue, a creative plot with a unique problem, and an unexpected-but-logical resolution. It was easy to immerse myself in... and long enough to make it a satisfying soak.
And as Warrior is the first of two already available books in this world, I can dive right into book two without delay. Even if that weren't the case, I wouldn't feel cheated. The author was able to resolve the personal conflicts of our two main POV characters well, as well as set into motion the problems of book two, without leaving me feeling frustrated and "cliffhangered," so to speak. (What?! If it isn't a word, it ought to be!)
So good! This YA novel, about love and real loss, introduces characters with depth and heart. It also introduces some readers to the visceral punch ofSo good! This YA novel, about love and real loss, introduces characters with depth and heart. It also introduces some readers to the visceral punch of good slam poetry. (And thank you, Ms. Hoover, for not giving examples of bad slam poetry!) The story moved me... to tears, in fact, at the end.
Self-published in January 2012 and (no longer, alas) available free in Kindle format on amazon.com, Slammed is also out in paperback. This heart-wrenching novel brought the author to the attention of a branch of the Simon & Schuster; she now has six NYT bestsellers and, I hope, a long career ahead of her. ...more
This was a far better book than I expected, which may sound like a weird critique, until you know that it's been sitting unread on my Kindle for a couThis was a far better book than I expected, which may sound like a weird critique, until you know that it's been sitting unread on my Kindle for a couple of years and that I think I got it as a free book somewhere. Anyway, I'd expected it to be a zombie story, but it isn't. Instead, the story is about Stephen, a teenaged boy in the near future (20-ish years from now) who is trying to survive and find his place in a world that's been torn apart by global and biological warfare. The U.S. government has long since fallen, brutality is expected, and civility is suspect.
The writing is strong, the characters are nuanced and believable, and the action is nicely paced. I found myself caring about Stephen and for the little community that took him and his grievously wounded father in and tended to them. Maybe I was really rooting for the success of empathy and real humanity in the struggle to survive and even thrive, despite the hard realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world. After all, if mankind can do it then and there, perhaps it can do it here and now, too. ...more
A fun collection of humor essays and columns written by a London Times columnist with a quirky sense of humor, a warm heart, and fierce opinions aboutA fun collection of humor essays and columns written by a London Times columnist with a quirky sense of humor, a warm heart, and fierce opinions about the world. Published in 2012, it includes pieces about famous Brits she's interviewed, the hoopla of the royal wedding, and life in general. It's truly a British book, and I read it all with a posh-but-geographically-vague English accent, enjoying the whimsy of sampling a slightly foreign terrain, while not venturing too far outside my working-class-but-liberal American comfort zones. No doubt some of the in-jokes and subtle humor were lost on me, but still I found genuine laugh-out-loud moments and others that left me feeling sweetly wistful. Highly recommended. ...more
A pretty good book, plot-wise, but I had difficulty with the main female character, Tessa James. When we meet her, she is presented as an FBI agent wiA pretty good book, plot-wise, but I had difficulty with the main female character, Tessa James. When we meet her, she is presented as an FBI agent with 8 years of experience, a stellar record, and an obsession with a cold case. Presumably, this 30-year-old woman earned her status and promotions by being smart, professional and collected in the face of horrible crimes and confusing evidence. After all, FBI agents are known for their poker-face reactions when dealing with the public and with other law-enforcement agencies and sources. But Tessa's reactions to personal matters and even to the mere mention of the other main character, a private investigator named Matt Buchanan, reveal her to be emotionally volatile, with a hair trigger and thin skin.
Because of these two wildly different characteristics in the person of one 30-year-old woman, I found it very hard to suspend my disbelief and immerse myself in the story. I kept thinking that Tessa would never have succeeded in the FBI if she couldn't control herself better. Her thoughts and behavior are those of a teenage girl with both a crush on and a grudge against Matt, whose sole offenses seem to be that he's only 24 years old, he's gorgeous, and he helped her solve a case several years before. She's so afraid of being perceived as a cougar or cradle-robber that she behaves very unprofessionally and even cruelly, many times, toward him. And she can't hide her thoughts and emotions, as her fair skin flushes quickly and frequently, and her mouth falls open in surprise several times. She also whirls around in anger or surprise, pushes or jerks away from physical contact of a romantic or sensual nature, and vents her spleen at Matt whenever he tries to help her investigate their case without waiting for her explicit instructions.
I quite liked Matt, although I couldn't understand why he was so attracted to Tessa or why he put up with her verbal abuse and derision. And after finishing the book, I still don't get it.
That said, the story itself is interesting, with plot twists to keep you guessing, but not so many that the story didn't make sense once the pieces were in place....more
Beautifully told, heartbreakingly tragic, this YA novel is about a family that appears to be blessed and golden and about a teenage girl who can't undBeautifully told, heartbreakingly tragic, this YA novel is about a family that appears to be blessed and golden and about a teenage girl who can't understand where she fits into it. It's also about memory and pain, love and foolishness, family ties and failings. I can't recommend it highly enough. ...more
Wow, does Jennifer Weiner know how to write a novel about women's lives that packs a wallop or what?! This is a powerful story, with four very differeWow, does Jennifer Weiner know how to write a novel about women's lives that packs a wallop or what?! This is a powerful story, with four very different women leading very different lives, yet somehow Weiner makes them real and multifaceted... and the overlapping places in their worlds feel right. With a deft touch, Weiner has avoided the usual pitfalls of stereotype* and so-called "chick lit," while giving us glimpses inside the lives and psyches of her individual protagonists.
The point of view changes with every chapter, as all four women take up the story in the two-or-so years the novel covers. The shift between them is fluid and feels natural. I grew to care about the characters, to ache for them in the difficult places, and to want them to find happiness.
And the final chapter, set forward about six years to 2017, brought tears to my eyes.
A very satisfying read, which I recommend without hesitation.
* Okay, she does indulge in one bit of stereotype in the person of a secondary character who (before our story started) divorced her very wealthy husband and left her high-society life and three adult children to move to an ashram in New Mexico with her guru/boyfriend. Even so, the woman is given enough range to avoid caricature. ...more