In another review, I stated that I was a character-driven reader, and that few authors can keep e when I don't like their characters. Jim Butcher is o...moreIn another review, I stated that I was a character-driven reader, and that few authors can keep e when I don't like their characters. Jim Butcher is one of the two exceptions I can think of to that rule. I really like his narration.
Harry Dresden has gotten himself into trouble one too many times. This time around he's managed to trigger a war between the Red Court and the Wizards, and now the White Council is out for blood - his blood, more specifically. To make matters worse, it seems the Faerie courts are readying for war with one another, and he's been suckered into a job by the Winter Queen.
The story was interesting at first, and then became so-so. In the beginning was a bit disappointed with Jim Butcher's characterization of the Fae. He himself had noted that they were not easy to separate into 'good' and 'bad' fae, and yet there was a distinct lack of nuance in the characters. That was until the twist came. It was brilliant, IMO! It was brilliant and it highlighted all the nuances I could ever want. I especially loved the conversation he had with his faerie godmother.
My main problem with the novels is that I don't think I like Harry Dresden very much. His snark doesn't do it for me, and I don't understand how someone can be a bumbling idiot half the time, and then have epiphanies to solve the mystery- ALL THE TIME! I mean, the hero doesn't have to be the smartest cookie, but at least let's see evidence of some brains. The way Dresden fumbles about it's implausible he keeps defeating bad guy after bad guy. Either that or they're even stupider than he is, which doesn't make them very scary at all.
I do plan on continuing with the series because I like Mr. Butcher's storytelling, but I think I'll take a break before reading some more. (less)
It would seem that Maya Banks' writing does not work for me.
I hadn't read the other books in the 'Pregnancy and Passion' series, so I might b missing...moreIt would seem that Maya Banks' writing does not work for me.
I hadn't read the other books in the 'Pregnancy and Passion' series, so I might b missing some backstory here, but anyway, the main gist of the story is that Devon wants to merge Ashley's father's company with his own. The only way Ashley's dad will agree to that is if, without her knowledge, of course, Devon weds Ashley. He agrees. As luck would have it, she finds out (after they're married), and drama ensues The story is about them working their way back to a HEA.
The entire story was lackluster for me - wooden dialogue, bland story. the heroine was meant to be a naive, flighty person, but instead, read like a tween girl. This was a person who was immensely silly, not-very-smart, not mature - in fact, most teens should be more mature than this girl. I felt like she shouldn't be marrying anybody. If I were the hero, I'd have found myself someone else to marry. And anyway, he wasn't that much of a catch either. Not a good book.
*I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Oh sure, I had some issues with the story and with some of the characters, but it still didn't take away fro...moreI really enjoyed this one despite myself.
Oh sure, I had some issues with the story and with some of the characters, but it still didn't take away from my essential enjoyment. The dialogue was really cheesy in places, but I found it beautiful and haunting instead of annoying. Additionally, I thought the plot could have been much more developed than it was, but again, I read this book at the right time, because it didn't bother me as it usually would.
I really wish, though, that the hero's past had been exploredmore fully. I'd have liked to know more salacious, ultimately heartwrenching details. If I shed a few tears in the process of reading this book, I am refusing to acknowledge it.
I don't remember if I've read any Carol Marinelli before, but I won't be forgetting her in a hurry.
I wasn't going to rate it 5 stars, but I really, really enjoyed myself. And that is what 5-star books are supposed to do for you, so I figured, what the heck? :D(less)
This third installment of the Dresden Files is a huge improvement over the second book, and Harry has risen a bit in my estimation. Oh he still has mo...moreThis third installment of the Dresden Files is a huge improvement over the second book, and Harry has risen a bit in my estimation. Oh he still has most of his faults - a God-complex, and a bumbler - but he is no longer unforgivably obtuse, and that counts for a lot.
I was confused in the beginning, because the whole mystery aspect was based of an occurrence that happened off-screen I think. I don't remember seeing Kravos in any of the previous books. i thought he might have been the sorcerer in the first book, but according to the time line, the first book took place two years before, and the Kravos incident took place a year after that. He was also definitely not in the second book. Anyway, it made for a mystery that seemed really complicated but was rather simple in hindsight.
One thing I have noticed is that I don't think I like the female characters Jim butcher writes. They are horrible, and I wouldn't bat an eyelid if any of them were killed. Susan almost certainly deserved what she got, and s for Karrin Murphy, the less said about her, the better. The book was so much more enjoyable because she was out of it for the most part.
I liked the addition of the character Michael. He was not a bumbling fool. Plus, you very rarely find Christians in UF, even rarer, portrayed in a favorable light. I am interested in him and hope we'll get to see more of his backstory. I liked his wife :D.
I am definitely going to come along for the next ride. (less)
ETA: I am downgrading this review to 3 stars. I realized the issues i had with the book bothered me some more upon second skim-through. I also compare...moreETA: I am downgrading this review to 3 stars. I realized the issues i had with the book bothered me some more upon second skim-through. I also compared it to other medievals that I liked a lot more....and four stars didn't seem right. still a good read though. The original review is below.
Reading a bodice ripper - a medieval bodice ripper, no less - requires some mental preparation on my part. I have to be willing to suspend copious amounts of disbelief, and keep in mind that people (especially men) could be callous, women were not treated like human beings, and that violence and rape was practically a way of life (at least no one cared to defend the rapee from the rapist). Oh, and the language was a lot bawdier then - at least all the medieval bodice rippers I've read have bawdy language. Once I get there, then I can leave my outrage at the door and just enjoy the story for what it is.
Even so, this one was a bit hard to take at times. Rolfe de Warenne is one of William the Bastard's (that's conqueror to you :D) most trusted knights. After a successful campaign to control Saxon England, William rewards Rolfe's services with some Saxon Lord's holdings. He is to marry the dude's daughter to cement his claim. So he and his knights ride in triumphantly and wreak havoc. Rolfe sees a girl he fancies and attempts to forcibly take her, only to be informed that was his wife-to-be. [It was a case of mistaken identity. Caedre was the half-sister of the wife-to-be].
The almost-rape in the very beginning left me reeling. I mean, it was very much in character for that time but still! Well anyway, we continue on to meet Alice, the wife-to-be who's a bitter vindictive woman, probably because she learned it from her mom. See, her dad didn't love Alice's mother. He'd married her as an afterthought to prevent himself from going after the baseborn woman whom he loved - Caedre's mom. but everyone talked of it as if Alice's mom had been bitter for no good reason. Would you not be bitter too, in her shoes? Things like that bothered me. Again, I understand that is how things were- women were not given any consideration - but still.
There were also many moments where I felt the heroine was exceedingly TSTL, because she did no thing anyone with a modicum of sense would do, like telling your sister, who so obviously hates you, that yo are committing treason. The hero spent a good amount of time thinking with not-his-head, and then would be surprised when things went wrong because of that. He also acted with casual callousness a lot of the time, but see my very first paragraph for the disclaimer.Smh.
I still did give this four stars though, because I very much enjoyed the drama and the angst - this was one very angsty tale impossible love. Rolfe desperately wants Caedre, to the point that he is open about it and everyone knows it. She rebuffs his advances 1. because he is to be married to her sister, and 2. she's been an outcast since she was born, what with being a bastard child, being cross-eyed and being able to heal with herbs. No one has ever wanted her. He wants her, he can't have her. I don't think I've ever read a medieval romance where the heroine was actively rebuffing the hero's advances or the hero was so open about his desire; I enjoyed that aspect very much.
And the various obstacles (mostly man-made) that kept popping up in their path just made me want to groan - it seemed like they were never going to get together! When Rolfe decided to marry Caedre off, I was speechless, but then that's when things took an interesting turn (IMO it was rather ingenuous execution on Ms. Joyce's part), i.e. that's when all the smexing began, and boy was there boatloads of it! Ms. Joyce had gone 60-70% of the novel without any smex, and she seemed bound and determined to make up for that. It kick-started off with a rape, which again, I had to grit my teeth and remind myself that it was in keeping with the time period and our characters, but it still grated. What didn't didn't gel well with me was Caedre's arousal right after she'd been raped. But oh well. I'd suspended disbelief for so long, I was willing and able to go with the flow.
At the heart of it, I truly did enjoy Rolfe and Caedre's story. Good bodice ripper. Recommended - if you like that sort of book, and if you are willing to suspend disbelief. (less)
I'm finding that I am enjoying reading the unabridged versions of classics I read as a child, and this book is no different. I will say, though, that...moreI'm finding that I am enjoying reading the unabridged versions of classics I read as a child, and this book is no different. I will say, though, that this is the first time it has struck me that this book benefitted immeasurably from being a children's picture book. The pictures I remember from certain scenes were playing vivdly in my min my mind as I read them, even after all these years. So this one, while I liked it very much, I think is best read as a picture book.(less)
I was NOT expecting the book to be this good. 3rd book in series. Book 1 was enjoyable by means of what I can only describe as a miracle, and boo...moreWOW.
I was NOT expecting the book to be this good. 3rd book in series. Book 1 was enjoyable by means of what I can only describe as a miracle, and book 2 established book 1 as a fluke. I only picked up book 3 because of a few good reviews and because nothing I had to read seemed good.
Well, third time works like a charm. In this installment, were-creatures (well, were-wolves, and African were-cats) out themselves to the rest of the world and come to New Orleans to start a treatise with the Vamps, their mortal enemies. It is more complicated than that, what with intrigue and an acrimonious history between different supernatural species. The humans are trying to figure out the legal sides of all of this, and the Vamps have their own power games that they're playing. In the midst of all these, Jane has her plate full. Her boo, Ricky, is on an undercover assignment, out of touch and might possibly be cheating; she is living with Evangelina, Molly's sister who seems to be a vindictive witch that wants to know what Jane is at all costs; Beast has feelings for Bruiser and is not afraid to let Jane know it; Bruiser has feelings for Jane and is not above quite forcefully pressing his point home; working for Leo is almost proving more than Jane can handle; there's a new supernatural out there who claims he's a "Mercy Blade", who Jane can't figure out; and all the while, Jane is trying to keep the fact that she is a skinwalker from everyone....like I said, her plate is full to overflowing.
What a plot! The Machiavellian politics going on absolutely slayed me. From Leo's machinations, to the twists and turns of betrayals, faux-betrayals, crosses and double crosses both future and past, from vampire politics, to were politics, to Jane being caught adrift and carried away by it all was killer! The plot had an intrinsic scope and depth that made it interesting in and of itself, apart from the characters. I was very impressed with Ms. Hunter's storytelling here.
The characters were also another strong point. Especially Beast. Ms Hunter took Beast's chapters away and made her language less stark, and by so doing, was able to give readers more perspective into the way Beast saw the world. Very well done. It served well as comic relief (I think Bad Nose on Ugly Dog was an awesome chapter), and as a way to...I don't know...show Jane's skinwalker-ness, if that makes any sense. As opposed to the were-creatures I'm used to, Jane/Beast was completely different. I could believe she was a skinwalker, separate from weres. Seeing Beast's character within Jane's perspective also helped to highlight and define the symbiosis of the skinwalker relationship between the two.
Love, love, love the fact that the were-cats were African. Shapeshifter mythology in UF is so often European/North American and it was nice to see that Ms. Hunter remembered that Africa is part of the world's geography too.
I was wondering where Ricky was for most of the book, and boy - let me tell you, the climax, finding Ricky and that ending - what an ending it was!! I did not see it coming from anywhere.
Anyways, to finish this ramble - it is not often you come across a book that is driven by excellent plotting as well as characterization. This book had both in spades and was a great pleasure to read.
The premise sounded really interesting. I, for one, don't remember the last time I read a HP where the couple were already married and still together...moreThe premise sounded really interesting. I, for one, don't remember the last time I read a HP where the couple were already married and still together and still in love from the very beginning of the story. Unfortunately, the story is interesting only in name; the execution was horrible.
My first impression was that the relationship was very unhealthy. What else can you think when any mention of the guy going somewhere on his own for even 5 minutes triggered feeling of "Oh he doesn't love me anymore; oh our marriage is not strong because we are not spending every waking moment together" in the heroine?
Speaking of the hero and heroine, they were both a bit Mary Sue and Gary Stu and quite stupid. A few good slaps of good sense into them would not have been amiss at all. They kept claiming to be in love, but I didn't see it. All I saw was two people acting so formal with each other, and two unhealthy people in an unhealthier relationship.
The treatment of post-partum depression in this book angered me. It was stupid, and not fit to print. Saul was an idiot and Giselle was an even bigger idiot who should have been put in counseling when she was 6 years old.
I won this book from a GoodReads Giveaway - my first time ever to win any book! - and I really enjoyed it. Berry Malo...moreSomewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars
I won this book from a GoodReads Giveaway - my first time ever to win any book! - and I really enjoyed it. Berry Malone's coworker is stalking her and now he's escalated to violence.
Caroline King, Berry's mother, calls in Dodge Hanley, a private investigator to ask him to help. she's been estranged from dodge for thirty years. Beery is their daughter, but Dodge has never met her.
Although I didn't feel it was very suspenseful, I will say that this novel is more of a suspense novel than most of the suspense novels I've been reading lately. Those were more romances with suspensful elements; this one was more of a suspense with romantic elements. I liked the change. I think it was a solid mystery and a solid chase to find the killer before he got to Berry.
The reason why I didn't find it too suspenseful was because I was totally focused on the relationship dynamics between Caroline and Dodge. Even though it occupied only a minor space in the book, their history was so rich and fraught with - everything: joy, sadness, love, anger, pain, hurt, hope... it was wonderful to read about. I thought it was genius that Ms. Brown managed to weave the flashbacks of the days when Caroline and Dodge were young seamlessly intot the main storyline of the present-day issues: Berry and her stalker. I liked the scruffy irreverent Dodge, and was glad he and Caroline got an HEA after 30 years, can you imagine!!
What I didn't like was the twist. I didn't see that coming, but when it happened, my reaction was more "What the heck?" as opposed to "oh wow, what a cool twist!" But anyway, by then, I was more interested in Dodge and Caroline than I was in the whole stalker issue.
In her acknowledgements at the end, Ms. Brown stated that Dodge was a compelling character and she hoped she did him justice. In my eyes, at least, she did him justice and did it very well.
*My thanks to Sandra Brown and GoodReads for this book.*(less)
Off the bat I'd say this works best as a supplement to a devotional and not as a stand-alone collection.
I've listened to and liked some so...more3.5 stars.
Off the bat I'd say this works best as a supplement to a devotional and not as a stand-alone collection.
I've listened to and liked some songs by Matthew West, so I did a double take when I realized the author and the musician were one and the same (I did not realize it at first :D)
So the format of the book is that a short letter/tale that someone submitted is published, and then either Matthew or Angela offers a short passage of exhortations/encouragement after that. This is why it works best as a supplement to devotions instead of being read straight through like you would say, the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
The best thing about this book are the stories many ordinary people contributed. they are poignant and the bring across the point of God working in ordinary lives very well. In fact they did it so well that I felt sometimes that having Matthew or Angela speak after was extraneous - the stories were a testimony in and of themselves.
Which brings me to the exhortations. Some of them were excellent and buttressed the point made in the submissions very well. Others were extraneous. And then here and there there were a few things that were more differences of opinion than doctrinal issues, but nothing major. However noticing these things would take the focus of whatever story I was reading at the time.
Either way, I really enjoyed this supplemental devotional, and it was refreshing to hear the stories of God at work in ordinary people just like me - exactly as the title says.
*I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*