Erotica/Erotic romance is not normally a genre I gravitate towards. However, Kit Rocha/Moira Rogers' characters and world building seems to really wor...moreErotica/Erotic romance is not normally a genre I gravitate towards. However, Kit Rocha/Moira Rogers' characters and world building seems to really work for me. Wilder's Mate is the first of the books in their Bloodhounds series, and said world building also happens to be the best/worst thing about this book.
The world itself is quite interesting and has this dystopian Old, Wild West, danger-lurking-in-the-shadows vibe. Immediately, I wanted to know more about this setting. That was the plus.
However, it was very vague. I spent more than half the book trying to figure out exactly what it was that a Bloodhound was, which, IMO, is a fail, considering that our hero is supposed to be one. Additionally, I would have liked to know a bit more about the world. Vampires exist. How/Why/Where? What exactly is the Guild? Why/How did they start? Just how powerful are they? None of this was made clear. That was the minus.
Satira and Wilder were interesting and vivid, but I didn't spend too much time invested in them because I was trying to figure out what exactly the stakes were and the lay of the land.
Oh, and the use of the c-word startled me, even more so when Satira would use it (to denote anatomy, that is - not as an insult).
Conclusion: it was interesting. I just needed a lot more information. But the story I read was good enough to make me want to read the next book. (less)
Beautiful. The simple beauty of this book has struck me more forcefully now, 12 or so hours after reading the book, than it did immediately I had fini...moreBeautiful. The simple beauty of this book has struck me more forcefully now, 12 or so hours after reading the book, than it did immediately I had finished. Simply beautiful. But then again, I wouldn't expect much less from Ms. Shinn.
So.....The Thirteenth House is book 2 in the loosely-connected Twelve Houses series. This time around, it's mostly centered around Kirra. In the doing of errands for the king, Kirra meets and falls in love with Lord Romar, Princess Amalie's uncle and regent elect. Their love is forbidden, considering that Lord Romar is married. The rest of the plot is a chronicle of how our how Kirra navigates her forbidden love while working for her King.
I thought Ms. Shinn did fabulously in the exposition of Kirra's doomed romance, tying it seamlessly into the larger plot, not allowing it to overwhelm other elements. It was nuanced, beautiful, and heartbreaking, as all doomed romances are. I enjoyed myself. I especially liked that Ms. Shinn was able to put Kirra's love life into proper context, showing it's far reaching effects on the people she loved and had come to call family, on Lord Romar's life, as well as on herself. The climax and resolution of this relationship broke my heart, but I thought it came to a very satisfying conclusion. I was especially happy for Donnal :D.
I am rambling. I don't know what to say. All told, Kirra's story is beautiful, poignant, unique, and well-narrated, as is almost every story Ms Shinn writes. Not a waste of time. At all.(less)
I have loved all 5(?) of Patricia C. Wrede's books that I have read, so when this deal was posted on Dear Author, and when the commenters had such eff...moreI have loved all 5(?) of Patricia C. Wrede's books that I have read, so when this deal was posted on Dear Author, and when the commenters had such effusive praise for the book, I absolutely had to get it. It was well worth the getting.
Set in regency London, in a world where magic exists alongside the church and all the trappings of English society that we know of, the story unfolds in letters two cousins, Cecelia and Kate send to each other about their lives, since they are separated for the summer. In their correspondence, magic is discovered, nefarious plots are thwarted, and love is found.
It took a few chapters to warm up to the epistolary format and the characters, but once I did, I had a lovely time. The language is perfect for that time, and I could not help loving Cecy and Kate. Their characters, especially Cecy's remind me of Ms. Wrede's trademark no-nonsense, very practical, quite awesome heroines. And by heroines, I mean Cimorene, who is made of complete awesome :D.
In the afterword, Ms. Wrede and Ms. Stevermer say that they didn't discuss the plot with each other, which makes the seamlessness of the events in the letters even more remarkable.
I second the praise from the Dear Author coomenters. This book was great!(less)
....Aaaand we're back!!! When I reviewed book 1, The Lost Hero, I stated my dissatisfaction with the...moreJust some rambly thoughts:
4.5 stars, rounded down
....Aaaand we're back!!! When I reviewed book 1, The Lost Hero, I stated my dissatisfaction with the plot, which I found dull and boring, and the characters, whom I found lackluster, wooden and just didn't identify with.
Well, Mr. Riordan didn't let me down in this installment.
The narration is back up to his usual inspired levels, and I attribute that in no small part to Percy Jackson. Mr. Riordan created a winner when he made up this boy's character. Everything about him embodies leadership, but it also embodies humility, self-depreciation, and just general.... awesomeness. He's come into his own. Having Percy lead this cast was infinitely more pleasurable than Jason's "leadership" in the previous book. Add Percy to the list of characters that I admire very much. Dude personifies everything that is good leadership and loyalty and friendship. I am deeply appreciative of this fictional character.
Also buoying the book up are the two other demigods who form 2/7ths of the "Seven," (way to state the obvious, LJ!) - Frank and Hazel. Loved them! I complained about the lack of growth of the characters from the previous book, but I can't say the same here. By the end Percy, Hazel, and Frank were different and better characters than they were at the beginning. Hazel went from slightly Mary Sue-ish to a girl who was able to stand down a giant. Frank transformed from a boy who was the joke of his regiment to someone who knew he had an indispensable role to fulfill.
I am not explaining it very well, but what I am trying to say is that by the end of the book, they were more comfortable in their skins, and they wore their roles and their fate much better, and I loved that transformation very much.
I prayed The Son of Neptune would not disappoint me, and it didn't. I am very very excited for The Mark of Athena, which is a far cry from my reaction after meeting Jason and his bunch.
Frankly, this was sub-par and not at all worthy of Rick Riordan and the characters he's created (By that I mean Percy and Annabeth, not...moreAfter Reading:
Frankly, this was sub-par and not at all worthy of Rick Riordan and the characters he's created (By that I mean Percy and Annabeth, not the new people. The others' creation was sub-par to begin with).
What we have here is some very shoddy work. Too many cooks spoil the broth and the many narrators made for a choppy and boring story. The characters were very flat. Mr. Riordan has managed to create a singularly annoying character in Coach Hedge. Piper and Leo are not far behind. Jason the cardboard cutout is just hanging there. Even Percy and Annabeth have become unidimensional characters filled with lots of angst and unnecessary emo.
Flat, uninspired, slipshod, bad. I could go on and on with more synonyms but you catch my drift. So unworthy of Mr. Riordan's legacy. It's hardly believable that he wrote this.
I am very sad to say this book is not worth the time, money, or effort it takes to acquire and read it. Here's a fervent hope that book 4 would be better, because the bar for this series has just been set at a new low.
-------------------------------- Our dudes are supposed to be a team, but from the absolutely stunning cover, it seems Percy and Jason are fighting. Bites fingernails. But oh well, in that case.... Crush him to bits, Percy!!! (less)
Too much of a good thing.... This book felt like a potentially delicious meal that was spoiled by having to many spices in it. It could have b...more2.5 stars
Too much of a good thing.... This book felt like a potentially delicious meal that was spoiled by having to many spices in it. It could have been very good, but there was simply too much going on for me to enjoy it very much.
Sarah Engelmann, daughter to a Jewish rabbi, is having an afternoon picnic with her Christian friends along with Greek newcomer Alex, when she sees a corpse who was tortured before he was murdered. The next day, when she sees selfsame corpse walking through the village fair, she knows something is up, because it is weird, to say the least, to have a dead body walking about in broad daylight. The book details the adventure Sarah, Alex, Sam, and Anne have in getting to the bottom of this dead-man-walking issue.
The time, effort, and research that Mr. Gavin put into his book is very evident, and so I am sorry to say that it did not work for me, but there you have it.
The characters were sensible, but they behaved completely wrongly for their setting. I could not believe these were teens from 1913, and that threw me out of the flow of the story several times. They acted like 21st-century kids, and not ones I'd expect from 1913. At all.
The writing was good, but again, there was too much going on, too many characters in the midst. Sarah's POV, Alex's POV, Emily's POV, Pastor Parris' POV, al-Nasir's POV..... too many narrators.
Additionally, the mythology didn't work very well for me. I loved the vampiric mythology, but the mix of religions just did my head in. One moment Christian thought and philosophy, the other moment, Jewish, the next, Islamic, all along with I believe, Greek mythology and ancient Egyptian religion. I think there was a succubus in there as well (at least that is what I understood Betty to be). It was just too much, and I reiterate that it did not work for me. Just one or two of the elements mentioned would have led to a much tighter story, I believe, instead of the melange we got. Getting towards the end, I did find myself skimming some parts, because I couldn't be bothered anymore. The ending threw me for a loop. The twist was brilliant, but I was not impressed with Sarah's decision because it seemed very out-of-character.
An overabundance of good elements, brought this book down.
Too many spices messed this broth up for me big time. It could have been really awesome though. :( I would like to know more about what happened to Sarah, but if ever there is a sequel, and if it does read like this, I might opt not to read it. (less)
I feel terrible writing such a review about a Robin McKinley book, but truth be told, this book was abysmal. Goodness, was it awful! Ugh!
This book is...moreI feel terrible writing such a review about a Robin McKinley book, but truth be told, this book was abysmal. Goodness, was it awful! Ugh!
This book is supposed to be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The original authors, if they were alive, ought to sue for defamation of character, this book is so awful. It started of delightfully enough, with a quirky description a a land filled with magic. That is the first two pages, and the ONLY time this book feels like it will be worth reading. The remaining 427 pages are bogged down with meaningless description. I think I understand what Ms. McKinley was trying to do, but very few books are able to make superfluous description and unwanted narrative observations work for them - The Princess Bride is one of very few that does this excellently. Excellent, this book was not. It was a spectacular failure is what it was.
The plot of this book is the exact same as the Disney story, with the exception that if Briar Rose and her fairy godmother had been real, you could have shot them and no one would prosecute you, they were so awful. Briar rose especially.
I can't think of a single good thing to say about this book. I endured for about 60% of the 420-odd pages, skimmed some, and then skipped about 4 chapters when i couldn't take it anymore. Would that I had DNFed this after the first few page, it was so torturous.
RUN AWAY FROM THIS BOOK!! - in the other direction, as far and as fast as your legs will carry you (less)
This should be two stars, really, but I already feel blasphemous enough having such a low opinion of a Rick Riordan book, no need to get even hastier...moreThis should be two stars, really, but I already feel blasphemous enough having such a low opinion of a Rick Riordan book, no need to get even hastier than that. Lol, but it's also rated three stars because despite my reservations, which I will attempt to detail below, I still read all 565 pages of this book in one sitting (well, almost).
It is perhaps unfair to this book, but since it is a spinoff (or in some sense a loose continuation) of the Percy Jackson series, there's no help for it: this book will be seen in light of the previous series. And let me tell you, it falls far, far, far, short of that light. Very, very far.
When The Lost Hero starts, we are introduced to the people who make three of the seven heroes the newest 'doomsday prophecy' talked about. Eh. There's the amnesiac Jason, who later turns out to be the son of Zeus, Piper, who's a daughter of Aphrodite, and Leo, a child of Hephaestus. At the same time we find that Jason is an amnesiac and is been raised somewhere not Camp Half-Blood, we find that Percy Jackson is missing.
My main problem with the book is that the characters were lacklustre, and so making the story itself lacklustre. The Percy Jackson series started off with Percy and his friends as tweens, and we watched them grow through the series. Jason, Piper and Leo are well past their tweens - I believe they were in their mid-teens, gauging from a few discussion, but they behaved like were 9-going-on-10, especially Leo. That was a huge turnoff for me. I agreed with the review that stated that Piper was more a Mary Sue than anything else. Jason's story, unlike Percy's is the story of a hero who's already come into his own; he just needs to remember it. I am sorry to say I didn't believe it one bit.
Additionally, Percy and his friends didn't just grow through the series, the grew in each individual book. In Book 1, Percy went from underdog boy who has no idea what's going on, to a levelheaded boy who while not quite a leader, had the capability of becoming one someday, until his leadership is cemented somewhere around book 3. In book 1 Annabeth goes from sullen comrade to partner-in-adventure, and then friend. Leo, Piper and Hazel, exhibit no such growth. Leo is still immature, and Piper is even more Mary Sue-ish by the end. Jason is same old, same old also.
The quest, aka what is supposed to be the meat of the story, felt more like child's play than something that should be taken utterly seriously. The monsters and the gods alike (with the exception of Hephaestus) talked like....like they had no sense. None of the sense of urgency Percy's quests had.
To be sure, part of the joy of the Percy Jackson series was the novelty. But it wasn't just that. It was well-drawn characters, inspired writing, a fascinating journey, a sense of belonging with our intrepid demigods. You get none of that here. Flat characters, uninspired writing and a decidedly boring adventure, and no sense of affinity with said flat characters.
So you can see that even though I read this book in almost one sitting, there was no joy in it. I have already bought book 2, The Son of Neptune, because I love, love, love that title and the cover, and I peeked ahead to find out Percy returns.
Let us hope that with Percy, Mr. Riordan can recreate the old magic...heck, even make new magic. I will be so devastated if Mr. Riordan manages to makes Percy as flat and boring as he did Leo, Piper and Jason. Wish me luck!(less)
I don't know if my rating is fair or not, because I rated the last Rachel Caine I read 3 stars, and I enjoyed Glass Houses way more than that...more3.5 stars
I don't know if my rating is fair or not, because I rated the last Rachel Caine I read 3 stars, and I enjoyed Glass Houses way more than that one. The book had some seriously good moments. But it also had seriously iffy moments, hence the 3-star rating, I guess.
Claire Danvers is a 16-year old genius who had the chance to attend any college she wanted - but her parents made her go to some backwater college in Morganville, not too far away from home. That stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Any Ghanaian parent who's child was smart enough to be accepted to some of the best universities in the world would ship them off. First. Chance. They. Got - because a good education makes all the difference. (Again, this is a story about a sheltered American kid. Not Ghanaian. I get that. But still. I was like, are you kidding me, really?)
But never mind. Rachel goes off to college and finds herself in the sights of a clique of really, really mean girls. Because of their meanness, she flees college and finds accomodation and friends at the Glass House. This one bugged me a lot. If Claire was 12 years old and going to 9th grade at Morganville High School, it would have been perfect. Not College. I mean, 18 or 19-year old girls behaving like this? No. Oh they can still be mean, but it's more innocuous and sinister than this.
Claire also behaved more like she was 10 or 12 years old than like a sensible person who's 16 years old, much less someone who's a genius.
That notwithstanding, it was a good story. I liked the inhabitants of the Glass House - Michael, Eve, and Shane. And while I did think something was weird about Oliver, I did not see that twist coming. It made for a very awesome climax.
The resolution is the final issue I had with the book. I don't like cliffhangers, especially ones that come out of nowhere. Grr. But yeah, I'll be reading the next book in series when I can get my hands on it.(less)
Sharon Shinn's stories are not flashy at all, but they are very memorable, and this one is no different. The story kicks off one night when a baby is...moreSharon Shinn's stories are not flashy at all, but they are very memorable, and this one is no different. The story kicks off one night when a baby is brought to the house of the safe-keeper, who is herself in labor. The baby is the King's Bastard, and is brought to the safe-keeper because the safe-keeper can listen to and keep any secret. And so the two children, Reed (rumored King's Bastard, for the safe-keeper does not say) and Fiona.
The rest of the story is more about the coming of age of Reed and Fiona, as seen through Fiona's eyes. Like with all of Ms. Shinn's stories, it is told simply, tenderly, and quite vividly. She manages to capture people, emotions, and scenes very well in her narration. I could feel and see Reed as a restless 10-year-old boy, and Fiona as the precocious child. I could feel the sorrow of the dream-maker, and as time went by, the desires of Reed's heart, and perhaps get a glimpse of the future for Fiona. She captured the essence of childhood and the teenaged years for Reed and Fiona very, very well.
I liked it very much. But then again, it is Sharon Shinn; I didn't expect any other response to this book. (less)
This has been a disappointing end to what had the potential to be an awesome series. Perhaps Poison Study should have wrapped up neatly and been a sta...moreThis has been a disappointing end to what had the potential to be an awesome series. Perhaps Poison Study should have wrapped up neatly and been a stand-alone novel. After reading Magic Study and Fire Study, I feel as if they were superfluous, and actually don't add much to Yelena's character.
I was a bit tired of this long-distance 'love' between Yelena and Valek, since they almost never saw each other.
I was also not enamored of the plot, especially of this book. It felt fillerish and caused Yelena and other characters to do very stupid things you wouldn't see anyone with a modicum of intelligence doing, just so the story could be moved along.
I mean, for those who have read the books - how stupid does one have to be, to not kill Cahil after his constant foolishness which ends up putting people in mortal danger? How stupid does Cahil himself have to be, to go about every single time,hanging out with fools and murderers and doing horrible things (beating Yelena) and then realize the error of his ways and come asking for forgiveness? How stupid do you have to be not to know that the people you are hanging with are not good when they're capturing people and killing them for blood rituals, when even children are included among their captives? Just petty stupidities like that - from Yelena, Lord Marrok...just about everyone except Valek.
I felt this diluted the quality of the characters, after all, they can't be so great if they're so stupid, can they? And I do think somewhat less of Yelena now. Valek, and perhaps, Ari and Janco, are the only characters whom I felt maintained their integrity.
If Maria Snyder had stopped at book one, or come up with completely different plots for books two and three, she might have had a proper winner on her hand.
I read somewhere that someone read somewhere that Ms. Snyder had originally intended Poison study to be a stand-alone novel, and wrote it accordingly. But the publisher had wanted more than one book (prolly to make more money) and so she'd changed the ending to an open-ended one and come up with this trilogy. If that is the case (and I can certainly see how that could have been the case), then it's a major fail on Ms. Snyder's part and the part of her publishers. (less)
Magic Study continues where the previous book left off. Yelena is now in Sitia and has a whole new set of issues to face and adversities to overco...more★★★½
Magic Study continues where the previous book left off. Yelena is now in Sitia and has a whole new set of issues to face and adversities to overcome. It was a good installment in the study series, I guess. I liked it and it held my attention (which is what good books are supposed to do) but I do think it fell short of Poison Study.
I enjoyed seeing Yelena's parents and how much they had loved her, even in absentia. However, I missed the old crew. I wasn't interested in Dax, or Fisk, or any of the new people Yelena came to know. When she was interacting with those people, it felt wrong to me, and so I spent that time sorely missing Ari and Janco instead. I missed Valek :(.
One thing about the book I loved was that Sitia seemed slightly familiar. Then i realized I had seen Sitia before. There were references to Touch of Power and the events that will happen in that trilogy. It seems ToP took place about a century and a half before the Study series :)
The story picked up substantially when the old crew came back into the picture, but by then, the story was too far gone to bring it to a really good level of awesomeness.