(view spoiler)[The book had a good start. From the first few pages I had a sense of foreboding and dre...moreI liked this. Just not as much as I anticipated.
(view spoiler)[The book had a good start. From the first few pages I had a sense of foreboding and dread. I already sympathised with Lee and wanted him to escape the hell Vornis had created. The best way to describe various tortures is to let the reader imagine what they will. And I could think of so many ways that Lee could have been hurt, physically and emotionally. But then little issues started popping up. Some of the horrors I imagined part of Vornis' imprisonment were too harsh to what the book later on revealed. In some ways it was tamer than I had thought it would be, and in other ways it proved hurtful enough to deeply mark Lee and Shaw. Another issue I had with the story was Shaw's character. Before I knew he was an undercover agent, I found it disconcerting to have him act the dominant part and then bow before Vornis and the others, letting it be implied that he would accept becoming Guterman's bitch if it came with contacts and connections in the criminal world. It was obvious that if Guterman would have ever been allowed to use Shaw's body, Shaw would have ceased to exist as a person and become an object. It made it easier to accept this behaviour once it was revealed it was part of a fake identity. (hide spoiler)]
What I liked about the book were the insightful comments and views into what makes a person, how someone is affected by events in their life, how one is forced to meet everyone else's expectations. I found those had a ring to me and they made me think how they apply to my own life, irrelevant of any traumatic experiences.
So overall, not a book I enjoyed because of its characters or action but because it made me think of certain aspects of my life and how I react to them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Hard to rate this story. It made my stomach churn and left me depressed. However, it did have a noticeable impact on me, albeit not an optimistic one....moreHard to rate this story. It made my stomach churn and left me depressed. However, it did have a noticeable impact on me, albeit not an optimistic one. So for that it gets 4 stars.
(view spoiler)[It started pretty innocuous with Andy as this young man, too lazy and unsure what to do with his life, who turns to tricks to cover his expenses. I always loved the stories of paid girls/rentboys because underneath the financial transactions and sexual exploits, there is deep analysis of human nature, what makes a person work, what incites them, what gets a reaction out of them. And this must be done in matter of minutes. You must be a good judge of character to mould yourself after some stranger's wishes and be able to put your own desires aside.
But the story does not have an optimistic note like Belle de Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl. Andy is hurt by unrequited love, falls back in the arms of an abusive ex, Nick. But Nick is not the salvation Andy was hoping for. Andy goes through endless drinking and drugs trying to blanket the despair he's feeling. Once bereft of all hope and anyone he could cling to for a bit of attention and care, he finds the inspiration to put all his pain to paper. (hide spoiler)]
A haunting story, actually. At least it was for me. I was hoping for a fairy tale and got a cold dish of reality. Poignant but not one I could re-read any time soon.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This left me with a smile on my face and brightened my day. Short but complete with all the ingredients to make it a pleasurable read.
(view spoiler)[I...moreThis left me with a smile on my face and brightened my day. Short but complete with all the ingredients to make it a pleasurable read.
(view spoiler)[I rooted for both characters and I was immensely relieved that they found happiness in each other's arms. Omar led a quiet life, lonely in his routine and having only 2 dogs for company for more year than he cared to remember. And Colin was going through one bad experience after another. He had to struggle with learning his mother had cancer, being dumped by his boyfriend and losing his job, all this on top of dealing with his by-polar disorder. It was a bad medication for this latter that landed him on a morgue table. Lucky for him, he came to before he underwent the whole autopsy procedure.
I was smiling through and through as I read. I loved Colin's sense of humor despite crappy odds, the slow build of friendship and more between Colin and Omar. I loved Tony and Trouble (what cute names). And I loved how well the pair fitted together, accommodating each other. (hide spoiler)]
A must read if you want to spend a couple of hours smiling and be left happy afterwards.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for...moreThis proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for 3 stars though it does not reflect the overall book. And this is partly my fault.
(view spoiler)[ I started the book on the premises that I would read about a dashing young man, brave and fearless forced to sacrifice himself for the good of his country. He would be dragged off into slavery kicking and screaming and would not give up fighting no matter what they did to him. He would, of course, fall in love with his captor and come to enjoy the 'tortures' he was subjected to and decide to stay with him once his freedom was restored. This story had none of that. It took me half the book to shake off this impression.
Kynon was too young to be chosed as tribute. Oh, he was of age and had spent 3 years battling the enemy but that, in no way, prepared him for life. I kept waiting for him to continue his struggle against Brasius and the Segasa people. And he didn't. Which frustrated me to no end (until I realised he was not the kind of character I had envisioned before starting the book).
Another thing that threw me off was the swift transition to pain lover. I didn't understand, or couldn't visualise/empathise with Kynon and how he transitioned from pain to pleasure, how exactly the Segasa chose to 'torture' the tributes. I was still in the mind set of courageous warrior forced into slavery. So, having the tributes forced to sexual peak time and time again was definitely original but took me a while to understand.
And last but not least, I might have spaced out a bit because I was just as confused as Kynon in regards to what attitude, position, behavior he should take before the Senate, before his master, before the procurators. I didn't understand (I'm hoping that I, at least, figured out the big picture by the end of the book) what the whole tribute process involved and what exactly the tributes would be doing after their training. Were they released back home? Did they stay and represent Segasa in other countries they took over? And for that matter, what kind of army did they have if former tributes were part of the army? What would Kynon do once he was set free? Actually, what exactly did he choose to do, after surviving Hera's punishment? (On that note, I believed at one point in the book that she might be Brasius's wife - to explain for her hate and harsh punishment - and thought it was a clever name for her, hinting to Hera of Olympus...) I'm rambling. (hide spoiler)]
Bottom line is that I read the book but not sure I completely understood the book. There were interesting concepts in the plot line and interesting characters (though I wish Brasius had had a voice in the book - it made it hard to read him when his wishes were in opposition of what the Senate and Hera wanted and he hardly communicated at peer level with Kynon). Everything was nicely grouped together to keep me reading until the end. The only problem is figuring out exactly where to place the book in my personal rating folder.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** Really? Have Black and Calyx pretend to be lovers in the pornography industry so they can apprehend some criminals? Well, that was o...more**spoiler alert** Really? Have Black and Calyx pretend to be lovers in the pornography industry so they can apprehend some criminals? Well, that was original. Not.
I disliked the fact that Black not only was unsure, but now suddenly needed emotional support from Dickerson's wife. While there was not one mention of this woman in the first installment. And I hated Black's deceit in asking Calyx to be friends when he had no intention of actually doing that, and lying on top of it. How am I supposed to grow fond of this character, when he hides all that he is and was from everyone, when he lies and sacrifices all sort of things trying to protect inconsequential things?
And then, almost everyone in the book turns out to be gay: captain of JC1, Genesis, Dickerson (despite being married) and the list goes on. Are there no more straight men (except Sola, who seems included in the book just so there is that one character absolutely hating gay men)?
I eventually figured out part of Black's history and what the secret meetings with Dickerson were all about. None of which endeared him to me. I expected that as one trying to rise from such despicable origins, Black would be sympathetic towards Calyx, not be so resentful.
I can't put my finger on what it is exactly that disturbs me about the story. Perhaps it feels disjointed. This installment gets only 2 stars and I'll see if I can manage to read the third one as well.(less)
Well, this was a bit fucked-up. Very creepy and nicely done!
(view spoiler)[ The writing was incredible. I quite immersed in the skin of the character,...moreWell, this was a bit fucked-up. Very creepy and nicely done!
(view spoiler)[ The writing was incredible. I quite immersed in the skin of the character, high on drugs and unsure how to perceive reality, what to take for granted and what to examine more closely. I couldn't be sure if Angel was just your average independent escort or what he was exactly, with his premonitions, mind reading ability and a strange sense of protective air he had for Sean, later on popping in as a drug dealer and then working at the ticket counter. He left me with an ambivalent feeling of caring and danger.
I felt bad for Sean, how slowly becoming an addict, not realising it. And Angel's intervention was hard to determine, leaving the last few pages to enlighten me that he had good intentions after all. It was brilliant to observe him around Sean and not know whether he was a protector of travelers or a guide of souls towards the other realm. (hide spoiler)]
The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is because of the depressive feel of the story. It's a bite of real life, granted. But it doesn't go down easily.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What an amazing journey! I quite enjoyed the story! I wondered at first what could make the story so long and was pleasantly surprised by the complexi...moreWhat an amazing journey! I quite enjoyed the story! I wondered at first what could make the story so long and was pleasantly surprised by the complexity and diversity of the plot.
(view spoiler)[This story had it all. Great and believable characters, intricate plot, amazing scenery, fantastic interaction, adorable romance development and awesome action scenes.
I just loved how Sean was different than what Cormac expected, just as Cormac was different than what Sean imagined. And how each displayed so many more qualities, not just being opposite of what the other thought. And the slow emotional build up between them... was a pleasure to read that. I'm also glad I read the short stories in the series before starting this as it helped me mentally visualise the MC better as well as understand their past and their hang-ups. It was also a plus that the female cast wasn't bitchy and spiteful but actually supportive.
And then the action and plot. Never a dull moment. The story started off easy with beautiful images of Ireland. And then everything went awry. Michael's death was exceptionally cruel making me admire Sean's resistance to such mental torture. And the magnificent way in which the magical elements of Irish history were woven into the fabric of the story, making even the most ordinary scene have a deeper meaning in the overall sense of the story. Very original, refreshing and enchanting! (hide spoiler)]
I'm glad I read this story. It had depth, great characters and a most (un)believable journey for the MC!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at lea...more**spoiler alert** "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at least!
Manna is perfect at choosing titles. While the main story focused on Warrick's family crisis, there was also Toreth and Warrick moving in together (and all that implied) but also a surprise inclusion of Toreth's family and another glimpse into the man's past.
I have to say I was pretty furious with Warrick in the first half of the book as he took so many unnecessary risks in trying to protect his family and do the right thing for this brother. While Toreth's wasn't 100% correct in his arguments, it had a certain logic to it, considering who they were up against. Without Stable's help (and I have my doubts whether the help was actually that - the man did kill Kate after all) Warrick and Toreth might not have gotten away with it. But every step of the investigation was thrilling to read. The fear that at any moment, things would spiral out of control and land both of them in prison kept me hooked to the story.
And then the whole fiasco of Toreth moving in with Warrick. I cringed every time anyone made the slightest, most innocent comment in reference to it, half fearing they would drive Toreth away (and for a little while, Toreth did decide to abandon the whole idea of living with Warrick). Not go away permanently, since Toreth himself has admitted he can't leave Warrick. But their staying together was something for Warrick, after all the compromises he has made in their relationship. It felt something concrete; something equal to the promise Keir had made to never leave Toreth. I breathed a sigh of relief when Toreth made the surprising request of wanting to move back with Warrick. As I mentioned before, that last parting phrase completely melted my heart.
Then there was the vague references to Toreth's past, leaving me unsure whether he had indeed killed his brother or not. There are always two sides to a story and my heart would side with Toreth but my mind is conflicted by the opposing testimonies. I can only hope more will be revealed in upcoming stories.
I'm glad to see some development and change in Toreth. Actively resisting the ingrained suspicion that Warrick would cheat on him with Carnac (Carnac, of all people!!!). Refusing to storm out of the house whenever they had an argument. Slowly accommodating to the idea of living together with Warrick. A slight decrease in the number of fucks (though that could have been a lapse from the author, not a trait of Toreth's per say). Gradually coming to terms with his feelings and the fact that others are aware of his feelings for Warrick.
It was an impressive read! It's all due to the author: not just for this latest story but for the slow build-up of the characters that made me love them despite their many flaws. I can't accept that it's over. I have to read more of them! Imagining on my own is not as fun as actually reading it! I'm not ready to let them go! I have to have more!(less)
There was danger, there was careful planning, there was revenge, there were catastrophic truths revealed,...moreI have no words to comment this installment.
There was danger, there was careful planning, there was revenge, there were catastrophic truths revealed, there was pain, so much pain and hurt... and inability to change.
There was Carnac! There was the dreaded moment I feared the first time he appeared. There was the sick pleasure he took in hurting and destroying Toreth! There was pure evil shaped in a different form.
And then there were Warrick and Toreth! Despite high complexity of the story line, they hold central stage. There was so much emotion in this book!
I was actually surprised at the behaviour he showed. I don't mean the way he treated Greg, though that...more**spoiler alert** This was a new side to Toreth.
I was actually surprised at the behaviour he showed. I don't mean the way he treated Greg, though that was unexpected too (I mean, he could have been rougher or added some innuendo). But to play along with some big time corporate into scaring their son to behave. Somehow, I didn't see it possible. I totally recognised Toreth at the end when he thought it wouldn't hurt to have a favour or two with a big name like Ballester.
But it was interesting to see I&I presented like that. Neither from the point of view of someone working for it, nor as someone parallel to it, but in fact someone facing possible charges, interrogation and worse. Quite a cold shower.(less)
(view spoiler)[I tried to overlook it in the past or find explanations and excuses for it but somehow, this la...moreWarrick, what the hell are you thinking?
(view spoiler)[I tried to overlook it in the past or find explanations and excuses for it but somehow, this latest story just pushed me too far. Why on earth is Warrick putting up with a shit like Toreth? I know... I usually like Toreth and can excuse some of his behavior. But in Gratuitous Kink, Warrick is so fucking maleable and accepting. He looks the other way when Toreth intentionally ignores their agreement (hypocritical bastard, always giving himself slack to fuck everything that moves but still expecting Warrick to remain faithful) and then... says nothing when he's left in chains because Toreth simply forgot about hima nd went to sleep? *outrage mode*
How much crap is Warrick willing to take? Or would the question better be asked as "How in love is Warrick with Toreth to allow things like this to happen over and over again?"
In terms of story... it all flowed beautifully. Warrick was his usual captivating corporate, passionate about his work, while Toreth whored around. The little chat with Fran was a nice addition into what Warrick is thinking and how he and others perceive his relationship with Toreth. However, on a more personal level, I simply hated Toreth. There is just so much good looks and sexual domination can get you. And his latest stunt just left a sour taste in my mouth. Very disappointed in you Toreth. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[I had almost forgotten the mystery solving and detective feel at the start of the series...moreWay to keep me strung all throughout the story!
(view spoiler)[I had almost forgotten the mystery solving and detective feel at the start of the series, in Mind Fuck. But this installment brough it all back into focus.
The plot felt like a domino effect: Jonny abused Sara. Toreth roughed up Jonny. Kemp kidnapped and beat Toreth. Toreth brought down Kemp and his illegal operation. The summary doesn't do the story justice.
There was an extensive analysis on control... seen from Sara's point of view, then Jonny, Toreth and finally Kemp on all kind of matters. Sara felt robbed of free will when she was abused by Jonny and left in a pool of her own blood. Jonny too couldn't control the things happening around him. Toreth couldn't fight back against the abuse being done to him. Kemp couldn't stop the avalanche that brought his operation down and pointed him as head in charge.
While the chase was interesting and Toreth proved yet again his para-investigator skills, I was more focused on the personal aspect. How Toreth relied on Warrick and opened up in so many ways: trusting to ask Warrick for help, confessing his fears (or at least part of his fears) that he had experienced while held captive, knowing to go to Warrick as a way to stop the nightmares. (hide spoiler)]
Everything happening in the story seems to be for a reason, though not apparent at first. Foundation blocks that strengthen the story later on. And despite the cruelty sometimes displayed, sooner or later you end up attached to the characters. Very good read! Off to the next one!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It proved a difficult start, as I didn't read much about the series before commencing it (for fear of spoilers) so it took a while fo...moreMind Fuck indeed!
It proved a difficult start, as I didn't read much about the series before commencing it (for fear of spoilers) so it took a while for me to understand the background and familiarise myself with the setting and cast. And I admit I was expecting a bit more sci-fi in terms of mind alteration or perception changes, conniving tricks meant to set me in the wrong direction.
But once it became apparent that was not the case and I got to know Toreth and Warrick better, I was hooked. Plenty of suspence, thrilling action scenes, clever writing and a complex plot with numerous surprises, passionate sex encounters and characters carefully balanced on the boderline between good and bad.
I'd give it 5 stars just for keeping my attention so thoroughly despite the day's interruptions. But having such overwhelming characters and devious plot to keep me guessing was icing on the cake. Looking forward to the next installment.(less)
It was a good story. I can't say that I was smitten by it but I did enjoy reading it. So, a 3.5 star rating.
(view spoiler)[It was pretty obvious that...moreIt was a good story. I can't say that I was smitten by it but I did enjoy reading it. So, a 3.5 star rating.
(view spoiler)[It was pretty obvious that Adam would get better with Denver's help and vice versa.It was very interesting to read about Adam's condition and how it affected him. How he perceived it and acted as a result of it. I can't say that I found Adam's attachment to Denver and his wish to be punished a safe decision but it seemed to work in their case. And it was evident that there were some lilmits imposed and Adam didn't turn into a mindless slave, leaving all decisions to Denver. I'm glad it wasn't the type of story where everyone gets better and they live happily ever after. Neither character finds a miraculous cure. But they do learn to adapt and work around their condition in order to make a life for themselves.
On a side note, I wouldn't have minded Brad getting shaken up a bit. (hide spoiler)]
I wasn't in awe of the story. Nor was it very surprising in plot. But I enjoyed reading it nonetheless and liked the characters.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It is a difficult book to rate. I was captivated by the multitude of emotions displayed within and yet at the same time oddly distanced from the chara...moreIt is a difficult book to rate. I was captivated by the multitude of emotions displayed within and yet at the same time oddly distanced from the characters and how they hurt each other and still be together.
I wasn't all that drawn to the book when I started reading this, but then I gave it my attention and the telling pulled me in. No matter the degree of realism and accuracy to what truly happened between the characters, it's an intense journey. It was told in such a way that it really felt like at times, Cristina had lived through Frida's experiences but there were also distinct moments when they were separate women, connected by an array of feelings and emotions.
I can't say I loved the book because ultimately, I didn't enjoy Frida's life and behavior. But it was an interesting reading so I'll give it 3.5 stars.(less)
**spoiler alert** The story started out pretty good.
Plenty of action and brooding heroes that collide in personalities. But then, halfway through the...more**spoiler alert** The story started out pretty good.
Plenty of action and brooding heroes that collide in personalities. But then, halfway through the story, it kind of veered from what I was expecting. Black went from being calculated and in control to second guessing himself, unsure and needy. I expected him to be strong. Yes, give in when things became too hard and have his weak moments, but know to pick himself up and build his walls again and stride forward with confidence.
The only one that stayed faithful to the image I was expecting was Calyx Starr. He was indeed the addict, whoring himself to get out of a hellish life. But he became more complex throughout the story, showing us that he made a deal with Dickerson in the hopes of reaching Silent City, becoming attached to Black, even coming to understand Jake.
What I disliked about the story were some inconsistencies (or what I perceived them to be as such). For all that Black demanded respect from his team, he had no problem belittling Calyx and calling him all kind of names. And I hated how some activities were kept in secret, like Black and Dickerson's secret meetings and Genesis, etc.
I was really excited when I started the series but it petered out towards the end. I couldn't grow attached to Black so there was no drive to keep me hooked. I'll read the next installment but doubt the rating will increase.(less)
Oh, I want to throw a tantrum of my own!!! This can't be over. I must know more!
(view spoiler)[I have to know what happens to Aki, after Sky's psychic...moreOh, I want to throw a tantrum of my own!!! This can't be over. I must know more!
(view spoiler)[I have to know what happens to Aki, after Sky's psychic attack. I have to know more about the relationship between Jin and Jackson. I need to know how things will develop between Jin and Ken and if there is any chance of something real and solid existing between them. I have to know how Sky is doing and whether he was captured by KGA (please don't let that be the case, no matter how much he is hated by everyone and no matter how whiny he is). I want to know if Mark will manage to keep Dylan by his side and get rid of his emotions for Jen. I want to know if Luke is going to come back to life? I want to know more about Lip and Kel. This story spawns more questions by the paragraph than anything I've ever read.
The third installment was better than the first 2. Probably because the characters were already set in place and now, the author was given a chance to explore hidden feelings and give depth to some of the actions and emotions running wild between the characters. I understood Aki a little bit better. One significant scene to which I felt very much connected was when Aki was talking to Mark and remembering his time with Luke. There was so much raw emotion in those lines...
And then there was Sky. Slowly being consumed by his urges yet unable to stop them. Hating himself even as he surrenders. You understand the difficult position he is in, wanting to please Ken but ultimately being selfish in his doings and then loathing himself. It must be hard for him to find balance with such confusing emotions and desires.
And let's not forget Ken. The shy and awkward kid, barely saved from a butcher whorehouse and yet standing up and defending the people around him and displaying amazing qualities and Talents. I do wonder what his Hidden/Key Talent is and what part it will play further along in the story. I just hope he never falls in the hands of Strauss, as he seems the embodiment of all the horrors Ken went through as a child. (hide spoiler)]
There are so many facets to each character and such development between them and the story itself, you could hardly believe it possible in such a short story. And yet, each and everyone is individually represented, a clear presence in the story but with a myriad of connections to everyone else. Their reasons and justifications still partly unknown, leaving the reader to decipher the code and understand them. Amazing writing and fantastic story! Looking forward to the next installment.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[The ending left so many questions. I came to feel just what the other characters felt for Sky. He did stupid and annoying things then his self hatred made you want to pity him. However, it didn't occur to me he might have had help in going back on heroin, had the author not said something to that effect. Looking forward to the sequel.
I was glad to find out more about Jin. As predicted, his personality is a lot deeper than meets the eye. He finds it easy to kill people and his self destructive nature might end up hurting those around him, not only Jin. He likes to play with fire but not sure if he's aware of the risks of such a dangerous game. (hide spoiler)]
Each character seems independent and solitary in their actions, but somehow, everything is threaded together. And even though there is no immediate danger, you read every page with a sense of foreboding. 4.5 stars and off to read the third installment.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'd give this 5 stars if it weren't for the length. The story left me with more questions than the answers it provided. And it was frustrating to stop...moreI'd give this 5 stars if it weren't for the length. The story left me with more questions than the answers it provided. And it was frustrating to stop just when things were getting more interesting.
(view spoiler)[Jin was the first to be introduced and I liked his humor and bold personality. He faced threat and challenges with a funny line and humor in his eyes. However, the story led to believe there is more than meets the eye with him and I would have liked to find out more about him.
At first glance, I didn't much pay attention to Sky. But then the story focused its attention on him and you couldn't help but feel sorry and want to comfort him, once his past was revealed.
And Ken. His horrible past and horrendous experiences made me like him instantly. It was amazing to observe his will to go on and evolve beyond the traumatic events that marked his early years in life. I was equally interested in his curious attempts at adjusting to society and I so longed to read more about it. And hopefully, about growing feelings between him and Jin.
Mark. There was so much despair in him. Such torn devotion between his love for Dylan and attraction to Jen. Despite Jen's destructive nature, he was unable to completely pull away. (hide spoiler)]
I could not fully understand their abilities. Each character had a brief moment in the spotlight. Definitely not enough to completely portray them but enough to pique my interest. Enough to make me care for each. So just for leaving me hanging... 4.5 stars. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow! This was such a surprising good story. I could hardly put it down and was compelled to read on until I had finished it. And then felt sad that it...moreWow! This was such a surprising good story. I could hardly put it down and was compelled to read on until I had finished it. And then felt sad that it was over. It was that good.
(view spoiler)[ I fell in love with Sebastian from the very first pages of the story. He had a funny way of looking at things that made me laugh out loud frequently in the initial chapters. The way he reacted to meeting Eli and the justifications he would give himself to avoid the truth were just so hilarious. I couldn't stop myself from liking him. And then came Eli, with his troubled past and aggressive attitude to ward off any more hurt from people getting too close. They seemed like an improbable couple. And for half the story, that held true. Sebastian kept pushing, for reasons unknown even to him, while Eli did his best to drive him away, all the while a bond being created between them.
It was adoring to watch both of them begin to change and mold after the other, despite everything that had marked them before. There were tough times, Sebastian got stabbed (twice), Eli had a confrontation with his mother, fought to give up drugs for Sebastian. Both characters never came clean with their feelings until the end of the story but it was lear they cared of each other through their actions.
It didn't end with the Happily Ever After of fairy tales. Nor would it have suited such a dark story and complex personalities. However, it did end on a positive note and with the feeling that all would work for the both of them. And the love that held them together was more than enough to withstand whatever was thrown at them. (hide spoiler)]
The story is not perfect. But the characters felt so genuine and the story very believable that it rightly deserves 5 stars. If not for the amusing comments, then for the interesting plot line or for the hot intimate scenes. Take your pick. I'm sure you won't be disappointed by the book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This turned out to be less exciting than I imagined. And because I had expected something extraordinary from this, the actual story kind of disappoint...moreThis turned out to be less exciting than I imagined. And because I had expected something extraordinary from this, the actual story kind of disappointed, hence the 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[It was a very original idea to bring substance to an imaginary friend. However, I felt the story had too many central points, instead of focusing on a particular one. Chris is recovering from a drug addiction. On top of that, he is more isolated because of his sexual orientation. The the story digresses. Denny makes 2 brief appearances then disappears... only not in his spectral plane (or wherever he came from) but just around the block, moving on with his life. I would have enjoyed reading more about how he came into the world and how he familiarised himself with actual living, instead of seeing him suddenly turn up with a birth certificate and 500 dollars in his pocket. That was even stranger than him turning from imaginary friend to a real person.
And then Chris. He is mesmerised by Denny's apparition but quickly puts him out of his mind, preferring instead to imagine a life with Troy and make his life enjoyable (though often lamenting his solitude). When Troy hides deeper in the closet and there is nothing else interesting in his life, Chris remembers Denny and goes back to ask for a relationship. The plot line did not run smooth for me. (hide spoiler)]
There were some original concepts and ideas placed in this book but they were not given enough attention, opting instead to clutter them together. I wanted Chris to devote more time and interest in Denny (best friend when Chris was young). There is a happy ending but the road to it could have been better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[I loved Austin with his intelligent humor to mask his emotions and insecurities. I loved Peter for his courage an...moreThat was a great book!
(view spoiler)[I loved Austin with his intelligent humor to mask his emotions and insecurities. I loved Peter for his courage and sacrifice and endurance to put up with Austin.
They made for a curious couple and I was drawn to their interactions from the beginning. Despite the flirty feel of their acquaintance, Austin's easy banter and Peter's flippant attitude, there was depth to their personality which was slowly revealed.
Peter came from a rough family and was forced to horrible choices in order to survive and take care of those he loved. He was a hardened and experienced man in a 20 year-old young man's body. And it was only towards the middle of the book that I was able to grasp the real reasons for the things he did. From then on, I admired the courage he had to do what was necessary, no matter the costs.
Austin seemed like a joker at first. He always had a joke ready, hiding behind them whatever strong emotion he felt. But then, upon meeting Bunny Slippers, his world is changed and the jokes no longer act as a shield between him and the hard truths that wound him. He is swept off his feet by Peter and has a long journey to take in order to accept his true self and understand how to make things work between him and Peter.
The side characters were equally very well done and did a great job in enriching the story. From best friend Dave, to first crush Jesse, to Angelica, ex-fiancee that accepted his new found freedom with grace, to Luis, police partner and martyr to all of Austin's good or bad jokes.
The plot itself was riveting and kept me hooked till the end. Not only about drugs and trafficking but also adding mobsters and children killers, along with drug problems and various physical disorders. It was no picnic for the characters, that's for sure. (hide spoiler)]
But everything worked well together. The angst, the developed plot, the complex characters made everything real. You were sucked in the story and left with a smile on your face when it was all over. Great read indeed!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I wasn't very impressed at first but I gradually came to like Fitz and immersed in the story. He may have appeared a simpleto...moreI quite enjoyed the book.
I wasn't very impressed at first but I gradually came to like Fitz and immersed in the story. He may have appeared a simpleton at times and there were moments where I wished he had been smarter/wittier than his adversaries but then I remembered he was a mere 14 year-old boy struggling in a world that was never clearly explained, trying to make the best of it, the only way he knew how.
I enjoyed how the author slipped some clues here and there to keep me interested or how she hinted at information that was later provided (or not). The plot was not extremely complicated... or I expected less friendship and more plotting from everyone, even from friendly characters (like Burrich or Chade). But the story line was interesting enough to make me care for the characters and want to know what happens with Fitz.
I'm curious what will happen with Fitz after the botched up assassination attempt and what other adventures he'll embark on. And also how he'll develop his Wit and Skill so I'll be reading the following volume.(less)
I started off this story not being very impressed. But by the end of it, I liked Gunnar and cheered him on.
(view spoiler)[When I read the blurb about...moreI started off this story not being very impressed. But by the end of it, I liked Gunnar and cheered him on.
(view spoiler)[When I read the blurb about this story I expected some college student having experimented with a guy, freaking out about it to slowly come around and discover he liked it. Gunnar was none of that. Sure, he tries to put it out of his mind at first but once his interest is piqued, he goes out of his way to repeat the experience. And despite his best efforts and comforting lies he finds himself in a most unprediactable situation: falling in love.
I felt bad for him in the early stages of the story. It was obvious he was on the receiving end of all the stunts he had pulled on girls before. Despite Gunnar's posturing, Vance wasn't really that interested in him. And although one part of me thought he got what he deserved, another part of me felt bad and wanted him to realise his true feelings and get his happily ever after with Vance.
I usually like the characters to be confident and Gunnar's floundering in the dark was a fresh view, one I thought I might not like. I finished the book liking him a lot, especially after seeing how hard he took his brother's death. And yet, somehow, it helped strengthen Gunnar's relationship with Vance. (hide spoiler)]
It was a great story with witty dialogues and smart writing style and characters that grow on you. Definitely something to keep you entertained.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[The sequence of events and the play of the characters kept me at the edge of my seat and ther...moreWell, I found this to be a riveting story.
(view spoiler)[The sequence of events and the play of the characters kept me at the edge of my seat and there were moments where I was holding my breath reading through the pages. I loved the way Vic and Jacob showed character development throughout the story and how each scene blended into the next, keeping me hooked.
I was a bit put off by the fact that Vic being a level 7 medium turned out to be a secret everyone knows. But as the events unfolded in the story, he proved to be so much more than that. I was fascinated when he managed to exorcise a repeater with nothing more than imagined salt and his own energy. And when he started showing ectoplasm and going into the astral plane, I was blown away. I really like it when the main character keeps discovering new traits or abilities. And the final scene with Karen was awesome, the way he projected and faced her off with nothing but imagination and own power. Laughed out loud at his attempts at flirting with Lyle and how he felt ridiculous and out of his element. Oh, and I loved the part where he stumbled upon Crash being threatened and was all butch and aggressive with the thief and so protective of Crash. Made me want to hug them both.
Jacob also developed and changed along the way. He already proved he had some ability (loved the fact that his energy showed red and that it intertwined with Vic's) and the fact that he could also go astral was cool to read about. I was touched by his show of vulnerability (albeit in a trance-like state) and really liked how the conversation flowed between them. While seeming imperturbable, in fact he felt jealousy and insecurity and even fear. And I totally did not expect him to quit the police and join the FPMP, unless he plans on being an inside mole (and somehow I doubt it). (hide spoiler)]
In a nutshell, I loved the book. It had plenty of surprises in terms of plot line as well as characters. It left me longing and craving for the 7th volume to be published sooner.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book brought with it several surprises. I'm still trying to sort whether they were good or bad.
(view spoiler)[The first half of the story kept me...moreThis book brought with it several surprises. I'm still trying to sort whether they were good or bad.
(view spoiler)[The first half of the story kept me worried and distrustful of almost everyone in Vic's circle of friends. Even Jacob seemed dubious at one point and I dreaded the thought that he might be the spy. The stories and memories of Heliotrope Station were depressing. The author managed to convey in them a sense of sadness, weariness and hopelessness that tugged at me while I was reading. Though, I have to say Vic's memory lapse with anything related to Camp Hell seemed strange since in the second half of the book, he dredged up his practice from that time in order to exorcise the ghosts.
There were hints throughout the series that Vic was stronger than a level five medium. And it was refreshing to see it confirmed in this book as well as witness the development of his abilities and the way he put them to practice. More so when he stopped running away from ghosts and actually faced them.
The things I disliked about the book? An all-knowing, all-seeing group capable of anything when it came to keeping tabs on psychics. They were portrayed so powerful that it seemed futile to even try to hide from them. Everything just had a feel of conspiracy theory that didn't quite ring well in the confine of the story. And come on... an assassin secretary? I suspected she was the hired killer when she was hovering around the prison, there was no need for Burke to spell it out. The second thing that irked me was Jacob turning into a heavy psychic himself, stealing white light and jumping in leaps and bounds in what he could do with his ability. That came out of nowhere. I'm guessing it's supposed to strengthen their relationship or provide a stronger ally on Vic's side for the upcoming novel? Whatever the reason, I think Jacob was enough of a presence when he was a fan of all things paranormal and eye candy without the added bonus of psychic powers. But that's just me.
Another thing that surprised me. In previous books I've enjoyed Vic and Jacob's trysts. I found them erotic and alluring. But for some reason, there were some moments in this book where I felt like a peeping Tom, intruding on their relationship. It was a strange feeling, as if left out and unconnected with the characters. Perhaps it was the fact that I didn't imagine Vic to be a closet masochist or for their sexual relationship to take a slightly rougher turn. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I think the fifth volume was much more serious than the others, with a darker atmosphere to it. The paranormal occurrences were more developed than before and it definitely showed a change in character and behavior for both Vic and Jacob. I'm just unsure where it's all supposed to lead.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I think this was better than the previous book. Or perhaps Vic was more funny and so I didn't mind some of the things so much.
(view spoiler)[I still h...moreI think this was better than the previous book. Or perhaps Vic was more funny and so I didn't mind some of the things so much.
(view spoiler)[I still have the habit of taking every bit of information thrown in the book and expecting to elucidate the mystery of the novel. But after reading about half the book I started figuring out Stefan and Camp Hell were mentioned only to hint at the plot of the next story.
It was fun and interesting to find more about Vic and Jacob's life, now that they moved in together. How they managed to make everything work, despite their shortcomings. Vic being scared of a housewarming party was just so hilarious... and at the same time, I wanted to hug him. His jealousy was a bit overdone, however. Vic himself had fantasies about Crash, and yet he reacted strongly to the idea that Jacob might be cheating on him. Which wasn't really a viable possibility, since Jacob's adoration was pretty plain. But in the grand scheme of things, I suppose it's plausible, since Vic has no idea of the allure he has, nor is he convinced that a man like Jacob might love him. And the sex scenes in between their fights... sizzling hooot. They're making their way in my top favorite!
The astral ghost was quite a new concept, though I started to suspect something of the kind since the evidence was contradicting itself. It was a great way to introduce the need for Victor to get some more training on how to use his abilities. And also hinting towards him being able to command ghosts. (hide spoiler)]
There were a few things that could have been done better, but overall, I was satisfied with the book, thus the 4.5 rating!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[I've started to really like Vic. He is so shy and unsure of himself and self deprecating.. you h...moreWow! Definitely loved reading this one!
(view spoiler)[I've started to really like Vic. He is so shy and unsure of himself and self deprecating.. you have to love him. Though I don't agree with him taking drugs, I can understand his need for normalcy. He seems like the type of guy forced to deal with ghosts and not liking it.
I loved that the relationship between him and Jacob is growing stronger every day. And that Marks was resilient enough to put up with all the weirdness and still want Vic and a life together. I liked Jacob even more when reading that he's the faithful type and the way he seemed so apologetic for not coming clean with his past. And the way he seems to impose a certain presence, by his build but also by his character and lack of abilities it just the thing Vic needs.
The only thing I found slightly annoying was Vic's naivety halfway through the book. With Lisa's warning and even dreaming about coffee cups given by Roger, he still didn't get it. Ok, Lisa's warning came conveniently when Vic was talking to Crash but still. The last thing I wanted was for him to go off with Burke without letting anyone know.
I pretty shaken myself when reading his encounters with ghosts and how they affected him. I suspected at first he might be developing his abilities to level 6 but that idea died soon, when Vic started being touched by ghosts and marking Jacob with Xs. (hide spoiler)]
The whole book was filled with suspense and action and worry and a sprinkle of romance that made it hard to put the book down. Very interested in seeing how this continues.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm so glad this turned out such a good book. I mean Heidi's books have so far been good but some take a stronger stomach to digest. That isn't to say...moreI'm so glad this turned out such a good book. I mean Heidi's books have so far been good but some take a stronger stomach to digest. That isn't to say this one was a walk in the park (allusion intended) but it proved to be more to my liking.
(view spoiler)[I really liked and sympathised with the main characters. Though I admit there were times when I felt even more frustrated than they wore for their shortcomings.
Wes. Ah... he was so vividly depicted that it was very easy to feel his frustration, rage and impotence at being unable to overcome his stammer/stutter. And I was so angry at everyone treating him so condescendingly and just plain mean: from his father to peers from the Botanical Society. And the terror that gripped him when in public. No wonder he resorted to drugs. Michael's presence felt like a blessing and a balm to his battered soul and opium abused body. He was finally able to find someone to appreciate him for his knowledge and kind nature, rather than judge him by his affliction.
Michael. I wanted to hug him almost at every turn of the page (virtual page anyway). His abuse at the hands of Daventry was so horrible, it made me want to kill the bastard myself. And when that rapist dared to do the same to his own nephew... though it gave Michael and Wes the leverage to confront George Daventry, I would have much preferred another option. I was enamored with Michael just as Wes was from the beggining (though it helped that I already pictured him as the young man shown on the cover, who is quite lovely indeed). He was so charming and seductive, even when he wasn't trying to be. His love of books and his patient way with Albert only highlighted his true nature hiding under the profession of whore. As a matter of fact, I hardly paid any attention to his job as I was more focused on his interaction with Wes and his trials to escape the nightmares and guilt and shame. It must have been hard ignoring the painful memories while falling in love with a man wearing the face of one's rapist.
As if these 2 weren't enough to keep the story interesting, Rodger, Penny and in small amounts, Richard and Edwin also enriched the story. There was a lot of angst watching the two main characters struggling to overcome their handicaps, find a way to be together and accept each other, all hidden away from the prying eyes of the ton. (hide spoiler)]
I didn't fell in love with the book (not sure why... and as such I can't give it 5 stars) but I did enjoy it very much and I'm glad the characters got their HEA after all.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I liked the book but not enough to give it more than 3.5 stars.
I spent more than half the book feeling sorry for Mike and wishing things would go his...moreI liked the book but not enough to give it more than 3.5 stars.
I spent more than half the book feeling sorry for Mike and wishing things would go his way. I can't decide if the turn of events was meant to prove that one should trust destiny's choices and make the most of it as it will eventually lead to something good or that one can succeed anything if they set their mind to it.
(view spoiler)[Mike seemed so naive, trusting and innocent at the start of the book. I sympathized with him once he was trapped in Jason's snare. As the two main characters discussed in the beginning, it was a matter of who wanted what and how badly. And Jason knew damn well how Mike felt about him and had to qualms to use that to his advantage. I wanted to hug Mike when he was separated from his family and had to endure years alone, neither with his parents, nor with his loved one. He was dealt a harsh fate, having to endure so much when he was still too young and unknowing. And yet continued to have a big heart, struggling to win back his father's approval, or keep part of his family close, or fight to keep Jason by his side.
Be it taking money or asking for favors or acting cruel, Jason always did what he felt like it. A characteristic that stuck with him even after Mike left, even when using drugs. I felt Jason was selfish and cruel basically throughout the book. There was no ethic change in him despite everything that Mike did for him. And while Mike poured his heart out and desperately promised anything just for them to be together, Jason continued in his self pity, waiting for someone else to make yet another sacrifice for him. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, it was a good book but too depressive. Especially if reading it during the winter holidays. That and Jason's abhorrent personality made it difficult to love the story and give it a higher rating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)