If you've been reading Molly Harper's series so far, you know what to expect here. This is her usual fare, sweet and ultimately light hearted. There aIf you've been reading Molly Harper's series so far, you know what to expect here. This is her usual fare, sweet and ultimately light hearted. There are some decent characters here and it's fun to see some of the old gang again, but I will say that at times this book seemed to just lack a little bite - pun intended.
I think that part of this is due to the fact that while the characters here are largely new, the plot is still fairly similar to earlier works and readers can easily predict what will happen for the most part. There's really no true surprises here and you can also guess fairly quickly who Libby will end up with in the long run. Still, I didn't get into Harper's work for new and interesting twists and her work is solidly comfort fare for me, so I don't really see this as a deal breaker. Especially since she's fully willing to introduce new characters and take the spotlight off her older ones, something that some other authors in the field aren't really willing to do. (coughcough*LaurellKHamilton*coughcough) I do think that the series would likely benefit from a transplant into a new area outside of Half-Moon Hollow, though - a book set in a new town, with an all new cast, perhaps? I know that there are the werewolf books, but it'd be fun to get something a little different, at least as a one shot to test the waters.
Other than that, I still greatly enjoyed the work as a whole. The characters were still interesting and I enjoyed the banter between Wade and Libby. The child custody case wasn't too bad and I liked that it didn't get as muddy and nasty as it can get IRL, since that wouldn't really fit in entirely well in a Harper book....more
Earlier this year a friend of mine turned me on to RPG lit and others that fall loosely into the genre via the Play to Live series, so when I saw theEarlier this year a friend of mine turned me on to RPG lit and others that fall loosely into the genre via the Play to Live series, so when I saw the premise of this book I knew that this would be something I'd get into. I'm relatively easy to please when it comes to fiction that depicts gaming like this.
The book's premise is a good one and our characters are pretty interesting, although I'll say that only Kali and her love interest are really all that developed. Everyone else takes a back seat and is only trotted out when plot requires them for some reason. If you're looking for a very well rounded and developed cast of characters, you're not going to find that here. They're all developed enough to keep your interest and they're not wafer thin personality-wise, so this didn't bother me that much although I do think that this will bother all readers. I did enjoy the gaming aspect and while it didn't live up to its full potential (the main tournament game is pretty much people fighting around a tower), it's still fun to read what was done. There was a lot more that could be done in this world and this might be something that will irritate some, but I somewhat get the impression that this is going to be the first in a series, although it isn't stated anywhere.
In the end the main issue I had with the book was that it didn't really know which audience it was trying to serve. If not for some light sex scenes and references to sex, I'd say that this would very easily fit into the YA genre since the main heroine kind of gave off the impression that she could've been anywhere from sixteen to nineteen years old. I suppose that I could say that it would fit into New Adult, however it didn't really fit into that genre either since the issues of the book weren't the typical "coming of age after the coming of age" situations that tends to be the hallmark of this genre. It'd certainly fit into RPG lit somewhat, although that tends to focus more on the gaming side and is oriented towards adults. I think that not really clearly defining an audience weakened this book at times since it casts its net a bit too wide and as such, many readers might find that they don't really identify as much with the work. I think that trying too hard to appeal to a broad audience also kept it from really getting into specifics that could have brought some much needed depth to some aspects, like the general world and the characters. We're not given a huge amount of information about the non-virtual world, so much of it is left up to the readers' imaginations.
Still, this is Jennings's first book and for a first book it's extremely well done, as the first book is usually where an author really starts to experiment with writing styles and genres. When push came to shove I have to say that I overall enjoyed the work and would read her future work as it's published, since she can really only improve from here. It's not a perfect work, but I was entertained. I waffled between giving this three and four stars, but I decided on four since I did read through this quickly and overall I liked the book.
f you've ever followed my reviews, you'll know that I'm a fan of Dodwell's work. I've become friends with her via my coverage of her books (full disclf you've ever followed my reviews, you'll know that I'm a fan of Dodwell's work. I've become friends with her via my coverage of her books (full disclosure) and I have to say, she's only getting better.
Lately she's been on a short story spree, as "Juniper's Shadow" was preceded by the very excellent "The Redwood Lodge Investigation". She's been doing well with this format, as short stories lend themselves very well to horror, and I'm excited to see what she will come up with next.
Juniper's Shadow takes a little while to get started since much of its horror derives from Leighton's imperfect relationship with his pregnant wife Jessica, as the two constantly quibble about his dream to own a record store. She's supportive, but he feels like he's a failure since she's almost the main breadwinner. Leighton wants so desperately to succeed that it'd make sense that he'd jump on something that'd make a huge profit - a record by Victor Marlowe, a musician whose music has left a dark legacy. A legacy so dark that there have been efforts to eradicate all remaining recordings of his work.
This is where the horror comes in, because as the story progresses there's this increasing sense of dread. From the start Leighton is warned against purchasing the album (although the seller isn't that reluctant to let it leave his grasp), however he's lured in by its background and the idea of raising a large sum. He quickly grows obsessed with researching the record and if you're familiar with Dodwell's writing style then you know that what Leighton is going to find will be dark indeed.
Overall I was rather pleased with this story. It's not perfect, but that's mostly because this is something that I think would have worked far better as a longer piece, maybe as a novella or full novel. We're left with far too many questions at the end of this and while some don't need to be answered, I was just intensely curious as to the album's background. This next part is a mild spoiler, so I'll try to post it far enough down that those who want a spoiler free review can avoid it. It does somewhat pertain to the piece as a whole and it's not a major spoiler, if you're afraid of it giving away any large reveals.
If you're wondering if you should try this out, I say go for it. It's available for free for Kindle Unlimited readers and while $2.99 is a little pricey for a short story, I greatly enjoyed it.
(Reader copy provided by the author)
Thar be spoilers
(view spoiler)[This isn't going to be a major spoiler, but I couldn't help but wonder what the motivations were for the old man selling the record. He was somewhat reluctant to sell Leighton the record, but not so reluctant that he wouldn't have sold it. There's this nasty sort of cat-and-mouse interaction where you can tell that he's baiting Leighton, who likely wouldn't have otherwise shown any interest. There are more revelations at the end of the story that I won't divulge here, but this was the main reason why I felt that this would work exceedingly well as a longer piece. There's a dark, nasty and entirely human force at work here along with the supernatural ones, which is what makes Dodwell's work so horrifying, because a large portion of the misery and darkness in her work comes from how people treat one another. If you look back at her other work, you'll see that while the supernatural does come into play, it's only there because the involved humans invited it, even if inadvertently. I think that this is why I continue to really enjoy her work, since I maintain that how humans treat one another is almost always the most terrifying aspect of horror. It's why books and films like Richard Matheson's Hell House (later adapted into the wonderful The Legend of Hell House) work so well - it has supernatural horror but most of it is a direct result of human interactions. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book is odd since it's both overly complicated and fairly straight forward at the same time. It's one of several books that has taken advantage oThis book is odd since it's both overly complicated and fairly straight forward at the same time. It's one of several books that has taken advantage of a slightly unused trend to base their novel in various different formats, from diary entries to video and audio transcripts. It's something that I haven't seen done very often because in most cases it's difficult to pull off because of the shifts in perspectives and tone, as you'd write a transcript far more differently than you would a narrative.
What's interesting about this is how much is left up to the reader's imagination. There are some things that are stated outright, which I won't divulge here because of spoilers, but there are just as much that you will have to draw your own conclusions. It's not as difficult as say, interpreting The Supernatural Enhancements, but this is to be expected with a young adult novel. (And TSE is just plain weird in places.)
This book wasn't flawless - it had some points where the plot got slightly tedious, mostly the love interest angles, but this is made up for by the tension as a whole. When the book does reach its conclusion, it's something that I found pretty intriguing and I have to admit, I would like to see this made into a movie or TV series.
Now if you're a parent, you may want to read this first if your reader is very young or very sensitive. There are some touchy subjects here such as mental illnesses, violence, sexuality, murder, and death. I'd caution you about the magic and supernatural elements, but the book synopsis does sort of imply that this will be in the book. None of this is particularly bad and I'd say that the average reader in their mid to late teens should be OK to read this....more
I'm kind of on the fence about this one. It didn't really thrill me, but then I liked some of what Benson did with this work. I liked it well enough tI'm kind of on the fence about this one. It didn't really thrill me, but then I liked some of what Benson did with this work. I liked it well enough that I finished it, but then I know that I also ended up finishing it because I'd purchased it and felt sort of obligated to do so.
There will be some mild spoilers here and there, but no huge ones.
First, the parts I liked: As you'd expect, there is a love interest for our main character Elyse and yes, there is a form of insta-attraction between the two of them. However at the same time Benson does try to give a reason for this and she also tries to have Elyse be a little bewildered before starting to give in to everything. I liked that this was there, although I'd have preferred to have a little more development between the two of them. Benson also tries to keep from making Elyse the star of everything, the end and be all of the book, a common trope in most UF type series. This last trope is one that a lot of us are used to forgiving, but it is nice to see someone try to buck the trend a little.
However at the same time I just couldn't really sink into this book as much as I wanted to. It all felt a little too rushed at times. While you can obviously tell that this book was a set up for a series, I kind of disliked that we had too many things and people introduced in this first book. There's so much going on here that you never get a good feel for any one specific person or topic before we're rushed on to the next plot point. It makes me a little worried that the further novels might get a little too complicated for their own good, that all of this needed to be hurriedly introduced so early on.
Still, this is a nice entry book and one that would make for a good beach read or a nice afternoon read. ...more
It's kind of difficult to rate an Adam Nevill novel sometimes. You can tell that this was one of his earlier works and as such, is a little rough arouIt's kind of difficult to rate an Adam Nevill novel sometimes. You can tell that this was one of his earlier works and as such, is a little rough around the edges. There are some wonderful moments here and there where the promise gleams through, but there are also parts where I couldn't help but wish that the book had been somewhat more refined.
Overall I have to say that I did greatly enjoy this book, although it took some time for me to wade through. It was an interesting choice to jump between various different people POV-wise, but I do think that this worked well in the long run since Dante wasn't really that sympathetic of a main character. He was a bit of a tosser at times, something that was deliberate on Nevill's part, but still made him a difficult character to connect with.
In any case, if you're looking for something fun and a nice chilling read, this is one to check out....more
NOTE: I'd originally posted this to Amazon as part of the Vine program, where I was obligated to leave a star rating. Since this wasn't really my thinNOTE: I'd originally posted this to Amazon as part of the Vine program, where I was obligated to leave a star rating. Since this wasn't really my thing (but was well written) I felt really bad at leaving any sort of star rating, hence the first paragraph of the review. Since GR does allow us to do this, I'm leaving no star ratings so this doesn't mess up the book's overall ratings on here.
But if you want a short answer as to whether or not to get the book, I say go for it. If you're on the fence, check it out at the library first, but if you're a fan of the author I imagine that you'd probably adore this.
---- I feel somewhat obligated to start this review out with a disclaimer: this just wasn't my type of book. As a result I really didn't enjoy this book personally, which makes me feel a little guilty about leaving any sort of star rating. I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this work but I can clearly see where others will.
Roy is clearly a talented writer and at times I can see what all of the fuss is about: her character are beautifully flawed, which made this one of the strongest, most appealing parts of the work for me. I do prefer books where the characters are neither perfect nor completely awful. There are some great interactions and character descriptions, along with some very well done world building.
Unfortunately what turned me off of this book somewhat was the jumping between time periods and the fact that this ultimately wasn't the type of book I'm really into, at least not at this point in time. No matter how hard I tried to get into this I just kept finding my attention wandering. I know that this may make some feel that the book isn't any good but that's really not the case here: this is something that you'll either like or dislike.
So... would I recommend this book? Ultimately, yes. This would appeal most to fans of slow, gothic "hidden family secrets" type of mysteries and to fans of books like Gone Girl. (Which I didn't like despite liking the author's other work.) It's definitely something that I can see becoming a popular summer read and one that will likely become the focus of several book groups. I'd just recommend that if you're somewhat on the fence about this, check it out at the library first. If you're a fan of Roy's work or you're pretty sure that you'd like this book, feel free to add 1-2 stars to my rating. However as much as part of me really feels like I should add an extra star on just by default, I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this- and it's absolutely not the fault of either Roy or this work.
I have to admit, I'm a homebody. I like going out and traveling, but for the most part I'm content to stay at home. I do, however, like reading aboutI have to admit, I'm a homebody. I like going out and traveling, but for the most part I'm content to stay at home. I do, however, like reading about places outside of my home state, especially in places with an extremely eclectic culture like New York. This book seemed like it'd pretty obviously be something I would like.
This book has multiple lavish photographs and lengthy descriptions of each location, along with basic information about where each is in Brooklyn and so on. It's pretty much designed for people to flip through at their leisure and pick and choose which ones they read and when. You could read it straight through if you really wanted to, but I think I had more fun flipping through this and picking entries at random than I did trying to read them one after the other. It's a pretty good example of the "bathroom reader" or coffee table type of book, since while this is definitely entertaining it's also something that you keep around just so you could flip through it.
The only downfall is that it doesn't really go into a huge portion of Brooklyn, as another reviewer has pointed out. While this isn't a dealbreaker for me, it is a little disappointing since I know that there is more to Brooklyn than the quirky portions. With how lovingly the author covers the areas she does, I'd have liked for her to have gone into some depth about the other areas. Maybe a future book could take care of this?
I ended up buying this on an impulse after a friend of mine repeatedly nagged me (albeit good naturedly) to pick up this book. As anyone who has everI ended up buying this on an impulse after a friend of mine repeatedly nagged me (albeit good naturedly) to pick up this book. As anyone who has ever read a book based on a friend's recommendation goes, this can sometimes be unpredictable simply because everyone's tastes differ. I have to admit, I liked this book a lot more than I expected I would and I ended up finishing this within a day. It's not a perfect read, but it is a fun one.
The book's appeal will largely depend on how you, the reader, respond to video games. As the novel is set within a MMORPG, there is technical jargon liberally sprinkled throughout the book. There is a glossary for very new readers, but part of the fun of the book (at least for me) played heavily on my own experience with video games. It was almost like reading a novelization of a Let's Play to a certain degree, a comparison that's not exactly accurate but somewhat close. It's definitely in the vein of similarly themed works like Sword Art Online, .hack, and Log Horizon, however the difference here is that by large the people "trapped" in the video game are there by *choice*. This brought up an interesting plot point because I'm sure that every gamer knows *someone* that would willingly live in a video game if that were possible.
As stated above, this isn't a perfect book. There's some obvious wish fulfillment going on here since Max/Laith tends to have a lot go his way, but it's not to the point where it'd be overly obtrusive or ruin the book. It's pretty much done in a good natured way, playing on every gamer's fantasy about what it'd be like if they stumbled into the same scenario.
In the end I really think that only gamers will truly appreciate this book, although that's not entirely a guarantee - reading about someone playing a game isn't to everyone's tastes after all, which is why I've compared it somewhat to watching a Let's Play. Some of us will devour hours of LPs while others just scratch their head and shrug, not understanding the appeal. I have a feeling that this will be the same, although I don't think that disliking LPs would necessarily mean that you'd dislike this book....more