I don't know how to adequately express my love of this book series. It is my personal Harry Potter, the books I would grab if my house caught fire and I could only save my most precious possessions. It is the series that transports me into an urban fantasy world, where Karen Moning pulls and yanks at the threads of her story, sends me on wild goose chases and makes me fall in love again and again with a fictional character that pisses me off as much as he makes me lust for him. It's the kind of series where the main character is someone you want to root for, someone you want to see find her happiness, or fecking die trying.
It's bloody fecking brilliant. And so is Karen Moning for dreaming it up.
Please stop here if you have not read the six previous books. It is impossible to not spoil them while discussing this one, but rest assured, this review will not contain spoilers for this book.
BURNED picks up exactly where Karen left us in ICED: with a spear at Dani's back and Mac's struggle with her hurt and betrayal of her sister's killer front and center. Fever #7 is less about action and more about relationships. Moning spends time with more of her characters and allows us to be the passengers in a front-seat view of their actions and thoughts. I loved getting to know some of the Nine more intimately, seeing what makes them tick. Perhaps their agendas are less malevolent than we think.
Speaking of that, there are multiple POVs in this story, unlike Dreamfever where Dani is the only one who narrates while Mac is incapacitated. Now we get Kat, Lor, Dani, Christian, Barrons, Mac...and a couple others who make appearances throughout the pages. I normally hate this method of storytelling, but it just works for Moning in BURNED. Readers get more insight into characters we think are enigmas, it answers a bunch of questions about them, and it drives the plot forward. I'm not sure she could have written this story any other way without losing something of it.
Filet mignon or rib eye, we're all imperfect cuts, marbled by fears and insecurities, even the best of men.
Moning humanizes Barrons for us. Oh, he's still the pragmatic, unrelenting Beast, but she makes you picture sitting down civilly with him and taking tea. I started to think, man, Barrons really loves this world and genuinely wants to save it. You can see it in the hidden whimsies, like the store name "Barrons Books and Baubles", and his off the cuff remarks about pop culture, or the many baubles we can suspect he's collected throughout the millennia. Barrons became relatable, but no less scary or savage. Believe it or not, the Nine do make mistakes, and you can surprise them. They will always surprise you, though.
I know a simple truth: mercy killing doesn't hold one fucking ounce of mercy for those that live.
Mac suffers a bit in this book. After learning she is the Sinsar Dubh in walking form, she's scared to act. She's scared to defend herself. She's basically become a useless human, with no self-confidence, and that isn't something she likes. She loved being a badass - more than she realized, I think - but much of her internal struggle is pretty "woe is me." People who are not fans of Mac already will hate this about BURNED. Be warned. It didn't bother me that much because I feel her character is always growing beyond what the reader can imagine.
When you live as long as we do, you find yourself in bed with women you watched get born.
It's well-known that Dani is aged in Fever #7. Whether KMM did that to appease her readers who cried that Ryodan was a pedophile or not remains unknown. Right in the beginning of the story, I realized exactly how Dani would be aged. And you know what? It made sense. It worked for the story, and Moning does not compromise the integrity of the world's "rules". But even if she hadn't aged her, I don't think I would have cared. In post-apocalyptic scenarios, are we really going to worry about how old someone is, especially when she's lived more lifetimes in her 14 years than others do in 100? If you are immortal, when does the age of your lovers cease to matter?
The currency of life is passion, and as with any coin, it has two sides: pleasure, pain, joy, sorry. Impossible to slip a single side of that coin into your pocket. You take all or nothing.
What no one tells you is that when someone you love dies, you lose them twice. Once to death, the second time to acceptance, and you don't walk that long, dark passage between the two alone. Grief takes every shuffling, unwilling step with you, offering a seductive bouquet of memories that can only blossom south of sanity. You can stay there, nose buried in the petals of the past. But you're never really alive again. Spend enough time with ghosts, you become one.
Mac continues to struggle with Alina's death in BURNED. A part of this bothered me, because I thought she had come to terms with Alina's killer in Shadowfever, but again, we are rehashing it, and I will admit, it did feel like conflict for the sake of conflict. But I suppose grief is a private thing and there is no right way to do it, so I can believe that she may have regressed the longer she thought about it. Certainly though, Mac has learned to take the bad with the good. That might have been the first thing she learned in this world.
The lighter the blonde, the more perfect the roots, the less tempting they are to keep around. No woman over twenty-five is still platinum to the roots. Just ain't happening if the babe ain't Fae. The kind of woman that dyes her hair platinum is on the prowl for exactly what - and all - I'm willing to give: a fuck.
There is way less sex in BURNED than previous books, but way more talking about it. How does that even work? One thing I loved about the first five books in the Fever series was the sexual tension. In ICED, I also felt sexual tension, even if it was with secondary characters. BURNED didn't do as much for me there, which was mildly disappointing considering how many viewpoints we were given.
One thing I have come to realize only now reading BURNED is that indifference is much worse than evil. I can't really blame the Unseelie for the havoc they have wreaked on the planet. They had been locked away for so long, it would make anyone crazy. Are they evil, or are they the product of an indifferent King whose only goal is to get his concubine back?
I also realized that basically all the catastrophes throughout the series can be blamed on exactly two people: the Unseelie King, and Adam Black. UK for creating the Dark Book on his quest to give his concubine immortality; and Adam Black for sentencing Darroc to mortality on the human world. Thanks, assholes!
Death is the final chapter in a book you can't unread.
HOLY FUCK, IS THIS FORESHADOWING? PLEASE GOD NO.
Overall? Yes, please, give me more, KMM! I never want to leave the Fever world!...more
99 Days is a bit different than How To Love though. Where How To Love explores the themes of young, semi-religous lovers and the fallout from teenage sex, 99 Days is more about redemption and learning to live with - and perhaps embrace - one's mistakes. The message of forgiveness is a powerful one.
A year ago, Molly fled the small town where she grew up, to finish her high school education at a boarding school in Arizona. It was about as far away as she could get, and she rues the idea of coming home for summer break, before heading off to college. She left her life in a mess; it was tangled in lies, fear and guilt.
Here's the thing: if cheating is your trigger, don't read this. Cheating in books doesn't typically bother me, especially if there is a message to go with the story. In 99 Days, Molly cheats - twice. Plenty of people will grip the book in frustration, calling her TSTL, but really...I thought it was incredibly honest. In fact, that's probably what I liked most about this book: it wasreally fucking honest.
You can't cheat and expect to walk away unscathed. People are going to judge you, people are going to talk about you and it's pretty much all your fault and you're going to have to figure out how to deal with it.
So Molly semi-cheated on her long-time boyfriend, Patrick. I say "semi" because:
(For the record, it's still the greatest sitcom that ever graced TV.) When Molly returns, she has to deal with the fallout from her actions. Her BFF bounced on her, her ex-boyfriend's mom and sister now hate her and the only one who will talk to her is the guy she cheated on him with, Gabe. Who, by the way, is Patrick's brother, and no one actually blames him, which does a great job of illustrating:
The Double Standard.
There is some serious slut-shaming in this book, but it's with a purpose. There is a double-standard in our world where women who sleep with multiple guys are whores, and the guys are Men and they suffer no repercussions, besides the occasional attaboy. What the hell is that, anyway? Cotugno does a great job illustrating that double standard throughout 99 Days, with mean teenage pranks, vicious name-calling and lots of eggs.
The book isn't perfect. It isn't meant to be. It tells the story of a girl who made mistakes and tries to figure out how to get her life back. Yes, she spends a long time feeling sorry for herself when she was one half of the pair that screwed up, but she's a teenager. I don't expect her to make adult decisions at 17 or 18 years old.
And that's why I loved it. It's a roll-around-in-the-dirt muddy story and it's apologetic. It was honest, it was true to the scenario and it didn't have a prettily-packaged ending. But it does show the struggles of bad decisons, and how hard it can be to learn from them, or admit you might be wrong. Its imperfections make it - perfect.
~~~~~ What I Liked The setting was beautiful. Picturesque snowscapes and castles, and women riding side seat with gorgeous gowns. Jordan is especially good at building her worlds so her reader can be lost in it. The male lead character, Will, is pragmatic and kind Unlike an Earl you would picture who comes from fancy lineage. He was not fond of the idea of an arranged marriage to some heiress he didn't even know, because he (wrongly) assumes all heiresses are the same: spoiled, arrogant, vapid. When he comes upon Violet, it is clear the connection is strong, but Violet isn't yet willing to give, and Will won't give up. Violet is a strong woman with flaws Albeit a bit too strong-willed, because she is unwilling to bend a little or give people the benefit of the doubt. But I liked that about her because it meant she wasn't perfect and reacted to situations with very human emotions. It's easy to see how her desperation to have love leads her to believe that her father's man of affairs is a man worthy of her affections. Her mom was a title-digger LOL, that sounds weird to say it's something I liked, but she felt true to the era. The subsequent loss also felt realistic, since dowries and arranged marriages for money and political advancement are something that really happened back then. Also the relationship between her title-digging mother and herself set the tone for the kind of character Violet was: not easily manipulated but a people-pleaser nonetheless. Even though this is a novella, the romance isn't instantaneous. It's a slow build. Will realizes Violet is unlike other heiresses he's met, and finally, there is one he wants to get to know better. His efforts were cute, and their verbal back and forth was adorable. The moment they get stranded together in a blizzard is the turning point for the story, and I really enjoyed reading how they came together that night. What I Didn't Like TSTL-syndrome Sometimes, though, Violet suffered from TSTL syndrom (Too Stupid To Live). She made one especially ridiculous decision and it can only be attributed to having impractical and emotional reactions to the situation she found herself in. Verdict I didn't think I would enjoy a historical romance, but I love Sophie Jordan's YA novels, and I thought I'd give this one a try for the HoHoHoRAT. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it, so now I might try other historicals, too. Obviously fans of this genre will love it. An Heiress for All Seasons is downright adorable....more
~~~~~ What I liked Damn near everything! The characters, the beautiful setting Stone built within her pages, the chemistry, the plot. The Plot Jake Edwards is a dashing, yet troubled leading man. "Heart-broken" is his middle name, and he comes with a bit of it. This is his first Thanksgiving and Christmas home in a while, and being back in Crystal Lake is breaking his heart - in many ways. He's a survivor of the war and a battle that stole his own twin brother, and his suffering is the guilt of that loss, as well as the guilt of the attraction he's felt for his sister-in-law since way before his brother married her. He has nightmares about the war, and his presence in Crystal Lake is begrudging at best. He doesn't want to be there.
Raine is heartbroken, too. Mine broke for her a little bit, as her plight of loneliness and abandonment is described. Not only does she feel abandoned by her husband who died (perhaps voluntarily) in battle, but she also feels abandoned by his twin brother, Jake, who was always there for her before. Those feelings seem to have settled into contempt for life (and hygiene), as well anger and bitter resentment at her situation, which manifests itself with quick, snide words and days where all she does is sleep. Depression, thy name is.
Lily St. Clare. Snarky, full of relationship wisdom, and a completely unforgiving personality, she's a strong woman. The way she was brought into the novel makes me suspicious that she's the next main character, which I would love to read, because I just really liked her. The Chemistry Sizzling. It's clear from te beginning that there has always been something there between Raine and Jake. Can they move past the stigma of Jake marrying his brother's wife? Will Raine forgive him? Can they just have the sex already?! Both of them seemed to pull at each other, whether they liked it or not. I enjoyed reading how they find their way to each other, and the difficult circumstances that cloud their relationship, be it platonic or sexual. I was rooting for them the whole way. The Setting is beautiful. Green pines, a puppy playing in the blanket of snow, the frost of your breath in the air, the small town feeling of knowing characters you were just introduced to. I bet it's cold as hell, though. What I didn't like Really, not much. It didn't hold me the way some novels do, but I tend to just rate romances a little less than other genres, because you pretty much know it's heading to a HEA, so there isn't much in the way of surprises (although I suppose with romance, it's just in how they get there that is the point of it all). Verdict
A great holiday romance for fans of romance and/or Christmas.
~~~~~ I'm not going to get all long-winded on this one. I didn't enjoy it and the fault is partly my own.
Under the Mistletoe with Me is a sweet audio novella, don't get me wrong. But at just over two hours, it took me longer to get through this than the other audios I was listening to around the same time, because it was too sweet with very little conflict. I don't know if Proby felt that conflict was not needed in a story this short, but I like some at least. It felt like the dramatic parts of the story are contrived. Example: she thinks he's cheating because he took some phone calls she didn't know about. Perhaps this is where backstory would have helped me. Is there a reason she felt like that? It just felt like an overreaction to me, perhaps because I don't know these characters. And also, that issue gets resolved basically in the beginning so there is nothing left to drive the story. Blah.
The rest of the novella just takes you through the holiday season, to a nice ending, but nothing spectacular.
I say the fault is partly mine, because I didn't do my research so I had no background on the series it is a part of. I find that most holiday books and novellas can be read as standalones. Not Under the Mistletoe with Me. I really feel like you need the backstories on characters to really get into it.
This is something I might recommend if you know the series; otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
Narrator 4-1-1 Ehhhhh. Jennifer Mack was alright, but she didn't do male voices convincingly and all her female characters sounded the same. Eric Michael Summerer's voice is...amazing. Too bad he only narrated the epilogue....more
~~~~~ Jennifer's Take What I Liked A Thousand Pieces of You has a thrilling and exciting plot. In the beginning of the story, we learn that Marguerite's (Meg's) father has been murdered and his interdimensional device, aka the Firebird, has been stolen away. Meg is understandably equal parts devastated and vengeful. Her mother's assistant Theo insists it was Paul, who is adamant he is innocent, while he jumps from one dimension to the next. So who did it? Finding out leads you through multiple dimensions, as the plot twists from one person to the other, people die and Meg's heart gets shattered.
I'm not going to even pretend to understand quantum physics or string theory, or even the possibility of interdimensional travel. I was just along for the ride, y'all! I did find the science as it was explained, easy to understand. I "got" the rules.
The plot for A Thousand Pieces of You had me gripping my book, because I felt compelled to keep reading since the excitement literally never stopped! I loved the world-building!
The different dimensions are fascinating! Who you are in one dimension may not be who you are in the other, but it seems that your soul is the same, which was a romantic and hopeful notion. I also loved the dimensions, but my favorites were probably Russia and the oceanographic station. Gray wrote each world with such detail, from vivid holographic phone screens, to the palace in Russia, and the fish and storms of the ocean lab.
That Cover! I seriously feel like I need to call this out, even though it has nothing to do with the book rating. When I got this in the mail, I think I spent about 5 minutes studying the cover, and how a futuristic London skyline is juxtaposed above the Moscow skyline. The cover team for A Thousand Pieces of You did a splendid job. What I Was Meh About The romance was not something that grabbed me. And that's not totally true. There is a small love-triangle in A Thousand Pieces of You, and I was only able to buy into one part of the love-triangle, which was in itself a mini-love-triangle. The other part of it just felt a little contrived. It was entirely too easy for everyone to find each other in each dimension.
*brief pause for a Sliders gif*
When characters are playing tag between dimensions, it should be harder to find each other at first. Maybe Gray thinks we will just assume it's all in the technology, but the characters - all of them - adapted far too easily.
I figured out the bad guy fairly quickly. Perhaps I've become a more critical and discerning reader since I began blogging a few years ago. But I kind of had the whodunit figured out early into the book. I didn't know the hows, but the ending confirmed all my suspicions. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it was how I would have ended the story. And it was actually a good ending, supporting it as a standalone, or leading into the second book of the series (which, P.S. I can't wait for!). What I Disliked Nothing!
The first thing that struck me about this book was the cover - it is absolutely beautiful! I was immediately drawn to the book without having any idea what it was about, and once I found out, I was even more interested. The premise of multiple dimensions with different versions of the world is so intriguing, and offers limitless opportunities for storytelling.
All of the dimensions were really cool – futuristic London with all of the crazy technology, the underwater community where sea life swims by during dinner – and all of the world building was done so well that I could vividly imagine each location. But my favorite was when Marguerite was a Russian duchess. Not only because of Lieutenant Markov, but also because she got to experience having several siblings, have a unique relationship with her father, and there were some really, really great scenes.
I liked that the author didn’t skip over things like questions of ethics – Marguerite wonders if she is becoming the villain for taking over the bodies in other dimensions, sometimes stealing experiences that should’ve belonged to them. It was the small details that she included that really made the characters more real and relatable.
I also liked the flashbacks where we got to learn more about Marguerite’s past and her parents (who were pretty awesome, by the way). The only issue I had with anything in the story was when Colonel Azarenko took the Firebird from Paul. It was previously mentioned that people didn’t notice the Firebirds, so I wondered why he would’ve even seen it. I finally concluded that he obviously didn’t realize how unusual and out of place it must’ve seemed in this Russian dimension, so he noticed it as something that didn’t go with Paul’s uniform. I also had one of the big twists figured out pretty quickly, but I was enjoying the book so much that I really didn’t mind.
I am already so excited to read the next book and see what new dimensions are in store for Marguerite. Actually, I’m excited just to see the cover of the next book! In the meantime, I may not be able to put this one on my bookshelf, I may have to keep it laying around just so I can admire that artwork.
We want you to love this book, too! So we're giving away two copies!
Thank you to HarperTeen for sponsoring this giveaway.
~~~~~ Things I Liked About Burying Water Um, just about everything?
Burying Water is told in two halves: Then and Now. Jesse has the Thens and tells his story with Alex and how they came to be, while Water has the Nows, and how she struggles to rebuild. Normally, I don't like dual perspective or alternating timelines, but K.A. Tucker handles it so well in Burying Water that it just flows.
The magnetism between Jesse and Water is strong. It's clear to the reader they belong together, and that Water is actually Alex. I loved listening to Water get to a place where she remembers, and little clues are dropped in the Thens and then talked about in the Nows. It's clear they love each other, no matter what their names might be.
Jesse's family is amazing and lovable, but with a stern "tough love" dynamic. His father is the town sheriff, and Jesse struggles with this and pre-conceived assumptions about his own personality.
Ginny. OMG, that hard woman was everything to me. The listener learns that she has her own struggles and piece by piece, we find out what that was. She's also tough and unforgiving, and that, I think, helps Water regain pieces of herself and grow stronger emotionally.
I liked that I hated Victor. He was such an asshole, and there was literally nothing likable about him. Not one thing. And I loved hating him, because it gave me an out for the rage I felt when listening to Jesse's part of the story.
Overall, I just loved that Burying Water illustrates domestic abuse patterns and why women might stay with their abusers. It particularly resonated with me, and I identified only too well as Water tries to start over with a new life. Things I Disliked I think the Victor storyline tied up way too tidily for me. We struggle along with Jesse and Water for 99% of the story, and then Victor's outcome is explained away in maybe 5 paragraphs. It was a little too unbelievable to me. I was also upset with the way things ended with Ginny. Too convenient. Almost like Tucker took the fast and lazy way out. It was a sweet ending, but just too easy and the timeline of the final events too clean. Narration I didn't love nor hate the narrators. I've listened to Elizabeth Louise narrate Clipped Wings and she's fine. Her voice is so high that she doesn't do male voices all that well, and it's a little hard to distinguish between her female voices. Josh Goodman's voice is pretty sexy, but he didn't differentiate his characters too well, either. They both carried the pace of the novel really well. If I had to grade them, I'd give them a C+. Verdict
What I Liked About Rebel Heart The emotion. Moira Young is so adept at writing and pulling heart strings. Just when Saba should be safe, she's plunged back into conflict and turmoil, and decides she needs to save Jack. Along the way, she struggles with the deaths she caused in Blood Red Road, thinking she is seeing ghosts and the like. Her hallucinations felt vivid and real, and it leaves the reader wondering if she really is seeing things, or getting help from the beyond.
Young kept me guessing throughout the novel. I really didn't know what was going to happen, or why Jack was where he was.
Emmy is a far smarter, and wilier character than she is given credit for. She is wise beyond her young years and questions the decisions of her older siblings, and I just loved that she refuses to play the victim, unlike Saba and Lugh. She is easily the strongest and smartest character in this book.
I also really liked the addition of Slim in this book. I had my thoughts about who he really was, and they were correct, but he was also a symbol of hope in the story. Nothing is as it seems, looks can be deceptive and perhaps the TonTon and the Pathfinder will be defeated once and for all.
Young made me like the bad guy. *shakes fist* I was invested in Jack, but is DeMalo really a "bad" guy? At times, I felt like his ambitions were not so malevolent as we originally thought and I think he really cares about what happens to his...kingdom? I don't feel like that's a correct term, but he's running the place, so... Seeing a more intimate side of him was refreshing, and it gave me hope for all of them. Besides, he helped kill Things I Disliked Hardly any Jack! He has very few pages in this book and that made me so sad. I hope it was on purpose so we get more in book three.
Saba is SUCH A GIRL in Rebel Heart. She's a complete wreck without Jack. Where's the strong girl who fought in cage fights and killed people in defense of her family? Where's the girl who knew what she wanted and how to get it back? In Rebel Heart, Saba is an emotional basketcase when not around Jack (so basically, the whole novel), and makes the worst decisions ever!
Lugh is kind of an ass. He treats Saba like crap and assumes Jack is bad news. Hey, dude, perhaps you should remember who saved your ass. I also felt like Lugh complained just to complain and create conflict.
Love square? Find it here. I don't mind love triangles, because they are usually interesting and bring out the deeper parts of a character. But a love square in this book felt like conflict for the sake of it. I didn't understand why the Tommo storyline even needed to be said. The reader knows nothing is ever going to happen between them, so what's the point even?
I didn't really like the ending with Jack. How can he do that after everything they've been through together? It doesn't connect with who he was in the first book. HOW, JACK, HOW? Narrator Heather Lind is still hands down one of the best narrators I've ever come across. I haven't been listening to audiobooks for very long, but I've been exposed to a variety of narrators, and Lind gets an A+.
Rebel Heart doesn't hold up to its predecessor, and suffers from middle-book syndrome. But it was still compulsory and a good story.
~~~~~ OMG What didn't I like about Outlander?! Nothing, absolutely nothing! I was very wary to begin reading Outlander because it's just so damn long. But I wanted to be part of the cool kids club (literally, that was the reason), so I debated on either buying the audio or the ebook. I opted for the ebook because I'm cheap frugal. Diana Gabaldon is like the Stephen King of Highlander Romance. Which is pretty bold of me to say, since I haven't really read any other Highlander romance. She's very wordy and descriptive, so if you don't like that, Outlander may not be for you. I didn't think I would like that, but her descriptions just lost me in her world. I envisioned it so clearly, from the sporrans the men wear, to the ornate dresses on the women. She spent a lot of time describing places, like Inverness and Castle Leoch, as well as the smaller Lallybroch. She spends time building the secondary characters like Mrs. Fitzgibbons and Geilles (and all the others), without sacrificing any of the storyline, action, main characters or world-building. The world-building is spectacular We begin in Inverness in the 40's, and truth be told, I don't think I've ever read a book that's taken place in that era. It's post-war, and Claire feels melancholy, but doesn't seem to be able to figure out why. The small town she and Frank Randall visit on a quick, late-honeymoon jaunt feels quaint and old-fashioned, with old architecture and superstitions painted in blood on front doorways. The surrounding landscape feels lush and decadent, with an omnipresence that rivals the most religious city in the world. The Highlands are truly God's world in this book, but only because the Pagans let it be.
When Claire is taken back in time 200 years via the ritual stones, she lands in pre-war Scotland. I can only guess that at some point in the series, she is stuck in the middle of a war yet again, and oh the irony it's a war that pre-dates WWII. Claire finds herself with the Scots, when they save her from Frank's nasty-blooded ancestor, Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, who looks strikinly like her husband. And as the reader, we get to live 260+ years in the past through Claire, who is the sole narrator to this story. We feel her confusion as she tries to figure out where and when she has landed.
I could drool over and over about Outlander's world-building, so I'll just leave it at - AMAZING. The Characters All Stood Out James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser (JAMMF). Oh my goodness but I want to nibble on all your delectable bits. Jamie is clearly the winning character here, as he is meant to be, even though Claire is the MC. Not only is he noble and a warrior, but he's a critical thinker and doesn't dismiss ideas that would generally fall to the excuse of witchcraft. He's a man's man, and a lady's man, and humble. He comes from good stock, but he thinks nothing of it, because he didn't earn it himself. He could easily be laird of the MacKenzie clan, and I now I need to read them all to find out what Diana Gabaldon has in store for us there.
Plus, all the Jamie-isms....
I also really liked Claire. She is a bit sad throughout Outlander, but she's also a fighter. She would do anything to get back to Frank and her 1940's life, if but there was a way to do so, but she is also smart enough to know she could be cast off as a witch for knowing too much for this time period. Claire is also a critical thinker and while a little more emotional than Jamie, knows when she is being ridiculous. I loved loved loved that she refused to lose her spunk among the Scots men, even though women have a lesser place in that world.
Although, sometimes Claire was Too Stupid To Live. She did a lot of TSTL things, like run off on her own several times, only to be caught by men with nefarious intentions. Come on, girl, don't be a dingbat. That's just dangerous.
My favorite secondary character is perhaps the "witch" Geilles, and I certainly didn't see that plot twist coming that involves her. She is conniving and calculated, almost as though she needed to be to survive there. I REALLY need to know more about Geilles! Please tell me that's not the end of that storyline!
This book may not be for you if:
Rape and near-rape are a trigger
You don't like domestic abuse
You don't like heavy romance in your novels
You don't like graphic and explicit detail (like descriptions of farting and hunting)
You don't like explicit sex
You don't like violence
You don't like "cheating" or the idea of two different husbands
Outlander has all these things in spades, because it is true to its time period, and would be less authentic without them. Outlander leaves you with questions I took so many notes, or highlighted so many parts of Outlander so I could remember to come back to my thoughts and questions later. I mean, it was a looooong book.
Does Claire every go back to tell Frank where she is?
Are Jamie and Black Jack Randall related? Randall mentions a brother who serves god, and his name is Alexander. But Jamie's nephew is Abbot Alexander as well. TELL ME MOAR!
DOES THIS MEAN FRANK AND JAMIE ARE RELATED?!
Does Geilles survive?
For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.
This review can also be found at BookShelfery.Surrender to Temptation made me want to surrender...my eardrums. And all memories associated with this audio. Things I Liked Nothing. There was nothing about this book that I enjoyed. Not one goddamned thing.
Things I Didn't Like Everything: the characters, the plot. But mostly the characters. And the plot. At the beginning of Surrender to Temptation, I actually did enjoy it. It reminded me of Bared to You by Sylvia Day, except on the the west coast. A lot of the plot lines were similarly drawn: Wealthy CEO of a self-built corporation meets a girl who eventually is in his employ; both have emotional issues and baggage and (surprise!) they are sexually attracted to each other.
But where Bared To You is a story about two characters struggling with themselves and each other, Surrender To Temptation is just a lot of fuckin'. Fuckin' here, fuckin' there, fuckin' everywhere! Which I wouldn't mind if I actually liked the characters.
The characters Zach and Devon are two very damaged people. The reader/listener spends most of the novel trying to figure out why Zach is so messed up, while eye-rolling Devon who spends the majority of her time whining about her misfortunes. Her baggage is merely explained as "boyfriend troubles" and "lost parents in car wreck" without exploring the issues any deeper. As my husband would say, all they were doing, was tying each other up and fuckin'. There was simply too much sex. I actually don't mind sex in novels, as long as it's done well. The majority of Surrender To Temptation takes place in the bedroom (or the car, elevator, office, beach, side of the road, bathroom...), and little of it is spent on growing as characters. There was zero character growth in this novel. I personally enjoy character growth throughout a book, but in Surrender To Temptation, we kind of leave exactly where we start off: with a passive female MC who just wants to be screwed hard and good by her boyfriend. The end.
Devon, Zach & BDSM Devon discovered her boyfriend in bed with another woman, and didn't even have the ovaries to say anything. She left a note and then ran off to Cambria, where she then met Zach. There is no fight in her, no repercussions for the cheating boyfriend when she finds him. If that had been me, my fist would have met his nuts. Maybe a few times. But nope, she runs. In fact, she spends a lot of time in the novel running, either from or to, depending on who's doing the beckoning.
Zach is a total douchecanoe. He is domineering, brooding and neither of these things in any way makes him sexy like I normally find domineering and broody male MCs. A lot of time is spent wondering by the reader/listener just what could possibly have messed him up so bad that he needs to be a Dom. It does get explained, but honestly, when I heard the reason, I rolled my eyes so far back in my head, I'm pretty sure I saw my brain. It was literally the biggest cop-out ever. I won't spoil it for those who actually want to read this drivel, but I, in no way, found his reason for wanting to be a Dom believable. Anyway, Zach's hot and cold attitude would normally turn me on to him as a male MC, but his personality was so awful in general, that I just wanted to stab my eardrums.
There is literally no reason for the BDSM in this novel. None.* Not only is it unbelievable that Devon would go from a completely normal relationship to full-on anal beads, Ben Wa balls, whips and chains, and be completely submissive in the bedroom (alright that part isn't so hard to believe), it's also never explored why. While she does come across as a very passive character in general (another reason I just didn't like her), there is no reason for her to just start being submissive and liking it, out of the blue. She is also inconsistent: on occasion she tires of being submissive and stands up for herself, only to cower back down because Zach delivers a glower in her direction. Grow a pair, lady! Either you want to be spanked and bossed around, or you don't. You can't have it both ways!
To his credit, Zach consistently was Dom. *applause* /sarcasm
*I just thought of one reason for the BDSM: content filler.
The Plot What plot?
Too much dumb shit happens that doesn't make any sense. Lots of stupid things happen in Surrender To Temptation. Examples:
Devon learns to surf without any lessons - of any kind. She stands on the first try. Yeah, I totally believe that an unathletic girl can successfully surf her very first time with zero lessons. Magic!
In bed, Zach flips her over on to her stomach, and then proceeds to suckle on her boob. Either she has old lady breasts or there are lots of bedroom gymnastics at play here. Or it was just poor editing. I'm banking on the last.
After banging in the car, Devon is unable to face Zach's driver - whom she has met before (after sexathons) and already knows - because she and Zach just had sex and her makeup is smeared. Give me a break, lady. Face it, you are acting like a glorified call girl and we may as well just call you Vivian. At least Vivian wasn't ashamed of herself. JFC.
Zach nicks himself on his leg and a small bead of blood pops to the surface, which she smells, describing its coppery scent. Look, I have the nose of a bloodhound and even *I* wouldn't be able to smell my husband's blood if he pricked himself shaving or whatever.
There are a lot of cheesy lines in this book.
Lemme quote them for you:
"I'm going to drink your sweet pussy for hours."
"Look at that ass. So pretty. So pink. You did SO well."
"You have a choice: we can talk, or if you're not in the mood for conversation, you can suck my cock."
And my personal favorite:
"...opening her labia like a flower to the sun."
Labias open like flowers? Excuse me, I'll be right back. I need to check some things.
The audiobook The narrator was hit or miss. Her voice kind of annoyed me and she couldn't do "gruff" very well. I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid her, except now I associate her voice with this hot mess.
Oh yeah, and there was porno music at the end of the audio version. FML. FML so hard. *weeps*
I did not enjoy it even a little. Between the characters, the lack of plot and just in general how much I loathed myself while listening to it, I would only recommend this to my worst enemies. So if I don't like you, I think you should totally read it....more
~~~~~ Wonderful story where the characters embrace imperfections, although the story isn't without its own. I'm not going to spend time describing the setting (it's contemporary) or the plot (you can get that from the synopsis). Instead I'm going to dive right in to my likes and dislikes (but not in that order). Things I Didn't Like I didn't like Joey's character. She was whiney, co-dependent and just a little too smartass for my tastes (which shouldn't bother me, because I'm a huge smartass). Beyond that, I felt that she was the kind of transient character who only made appearances to move the plot from point A to point B before disappearing again. She didn't often make appearances, and I simply didn't connect with her character.
The tragedy involving Jesse's mother didn't jive in terms of timeline. I got the feeling that Jesse became this Sway character in part because of his mother's death, which was only a year earlier. Having lost a parent at a young age myself, I don't find a year long enough to go through the grieving processes and completely manufacture yourself as a new you. I know everyone grieves differently, but the believability of this and the power he has been able to garner over others in such a short time is low. Things I Liked The relationships within the story are incredibly well done. It's established early on that Jesse is a Humpty Dumpty being held together by his disdain of connections with others (which saves him from being hurt again). But the magic in this story is not with Jesse, per se; it's in the supporting characters who give you an idea of who Jesse really is, based on their interactions with and perceptions of him. It shows that someone can learn to love despite the saddest circumstances, and that people are capable of cracking through your walls no matter how hard you try to keep them out.
Jesse's and Bridget's relationship, with all its hits and misses, is imperfect. Which makes it perfect. Jesse never expected to fall in love with anyone and she was simply another job. It's not the best beginning, and the after is messy and complicated, because hearts are messy and complicated. I really loved how Bridget inadvertently makes Jesse a better person simply by being inspiring. Some people want to change you; others don't even have to try.
I loved the friendships derived from Sway, but specifically with Bridget's little brother, Pete, who has cerebral palsy and is sardonic, angry at the world and looking for someone to see him as Pete, and not "perfect Bridget's imperfect brother with CP". Jesse sees him as a person, not a disability, and he doesn't cut Pete the slack he's used to receiving because of his circumstances. Their friendship felt genuine and that's what I really liked about Sway. Overall Sway is a diverse book, without even trying to be. I initially rated it two-stars but the more I think about it, the deeper it gets for me. Narrator 4-1-1 I did not like Nick Podehl as a narrator. He did the main character voice very well, and he flowed nicely with the pace of the story. But his female voices were like nails on chalkboard for me. I didn't think they sounded feminine at all; they sounded like drag queens. Which is a very Sway thing to say. All of his older male characters sounded like Old World italian mafia types out of NYC or Jersey, like that's the default for older people. He's not a narrator I would personally seek out again.
Giveaway I think most mature YA audiences will enjoy this story! So I'm giving away my CD audio copy to the winner of this giveaway! Giveaway Rules
You need to be 13 or older to enter
You need to have a US or Canada mailing address
Winner has 48 hours from email send to respond with mailing address
~~~~~ BOOMERANG was a nice and quirky read, but it just didn't wow me. What I Liked The romance and the interplay between Mia and Ethan was cute and funny. Girl hooks up with Guy, they figure out they are each other's competition for a sweet post-grad office job. I enjoyed reading them figure out how to navigate the waters of their relationship, as well as the hiccups they encountered. It kind of reminded me of the first episode of Grey's Anatomy, except cuter.
It's definitely sexy, and Mia and Ethan's sexual attraction to each other was well-done, although the actual sex was just...meh. What I Disliked Technically, not much. It didn't feel like a compulsory story, especially considering the fact that it took me about 3 weeks to read a 300-ish page paperback. I didn't feel that invested in either character, later proven when I tried to write this review but couldn't remember their names. I'm not that bad with names, but neither Mia nor Ethan stood out to me after I put the book down. And it was relatively easy to forget their story (a good reason to write reviews as soon as you finish the book, because I'm struggling with details here).
I think the odds of Ethan going on a blind date with his ex while living in L.A. seemed far-fetched. Verdict New Adult fans will probably really like it, despite it's little flaws. Genre fans should love it....more
This unusual illness has taken over St. Joan's Academy, an elite school for girls in Massachusetts. Mostly the wealthy go there, but there are scholarship kids, too, and none of them is a slacker. Dreams of Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy Leagues plague their thoughts as they compete with one another for the most prestigious honors among their class, as well as placement within their chosen undergrads. When a mysterious illness begins felling all of her peers, Colleen starts to believe there are other forces at play, and struggles fruitlessly to get anyone to believe her.
Conversion could have been a stellar novel. It had all the ingredients for it, but I think it just tried to be too many things. One part mystery (what is the illness?), one part paranormal (unexplained activities and links to witchcraft) with a dash of romance and contemporary YA, too, it wasn't sure what it wanted to be. Conversion is told in two - no, three - parts: Modern day with Colleen as the narrator; 17th century "then" colonial life with Sarah as the narrator; and 17th century "now" colonial life as told by Sarah. Because this audiobook was narrated by Khristine Hvam, it was very easy to decipher Colleen from Sarah; but it was not easy to decipher Sarah "then" from Sarah "now". It only became evident much later in the story that she was re-capping what had happened to thrust Salem Village into the witch trials.
I did enjoy the mystery of the book, and I had my suspicions as to what was causing the illness. However a lot of the plot was a bit too drawn out for me and I wish it had been condensed. I can't say that I hated the colonial chapters, but I didn't love them either, because I sort of had a clue what the outcome would be and it meant there was little suspense. Of course that means there was no suspense in the book period, because St. Joan's was mimicking the past.
I did like that Conversion explored mass hysteria and some of the affects of that, and I also liked all the chapters with the actual witch trials in them.
Overall, some people will really love Conversion, and some people will hate it. I'm glad I listened to it, because it was entertaining, but I was not wowed.
~~~~~ Sweet story, and I enjoyed listening to it. Things I Liked The plot was romantic and fun. Finding Cinderella starts off with Daniel hiding out in a utility closet during 5th period because the school has messed up his schedule and he just can't be bothered to fix it. In stumbles a random girl he can't see and they spend an hour fumbling around in the dark as teenagers do, which eventually leads to sex. She leaves. And he has no idea who she was.
As we are taken through the novel, it is discovered that he tries to find her, but is unsuccessful, and ends up in a relationship with his crazy girlfriend, Val. The characters were sweet and funny. Daniel is a typical, American teenaged boy. He's got sex on his mind and he makes no qualms about his attraction to the fairer sex. He's also gallant and chivalrous without coming across as dorky. In fact, I'd say he runs with a pretty cool crowd, and is generally sure of himself.
Six has just moved back to town after a long year away and she's interested in Daniel, but she's also interested in reversing her previous ways. She no longer wants to be known for her reputation, which was a bit scandalous before she left. Romance was the key element of Finding Cinderella. The entire story centered around Daniel and Six. It is obvious early on to the reader who Six is, and we wait with baited breath for Daniel to figure it out. And for Six to figure it out! I loved the sweet kisses between them, and how Daniel struggles to control himself and be what she wants him to be, because he cares deeply for her. There is an unexplained connection between them they can't quite figure out, and if I could re-do high school, I'd want all my relationships to be like theirs.
I really loved how Daniel courts Six, and how Six makes him court her "through the front door, no more windows" because she wants everything to be done right. Evenings are spent on swingsets talking about the future, parents are met, and basically, it felt like a charmed high school experience. It felt warm and comfortable.
Listening to Daniel and Six discover who each really was, was delightful. It felt like a secret only the reader knows, waiting for the characters to figure it out. There's lots of humor Daniel is full of self-depracating humor, as are the rest of the characters. There is so much banter between Daniel and Six, Six and her best friend, her best friend and Daniel, etc, that I laughed out loud a lot through this novel. They were playful with each other, like teenagers are, and I felt like Hoover just gets teenagers and all their intricacies. Her characters remind me of myself when I was that age, and my stepson who is that age now. The sarcasm and wit just felt genuine. The narrator Jason Carpenter has one sexy mutha-effin' voice. Egads. I felt like a pedophile listening to him narrate teenagers. Things I Didn't Like Some themes were not explored to their fullest. When Six mentions several times that she doesn't want to return to her old ways and her old reputation, it's never really explored much how bad that reputation was, other than boys came through her window and she had sex with some of them. I had a hard time believing her reputation was that bad when Daniel didn't really remember her. It wasn't very long. I didn't realize this was a novella when I grabbed it. I wanted more about Daniel and Six, so I guess I need to read more of Hoover's books to get them. Was it YA or NA? I couldn't tell if this was YA or NA. Typically, YA novels are when the characters are in high school, but if there is sex, it happens off-page. The sex in this novel, if I recall, happens on page, which threw me a bit. It also reads like a NA novel. Mature YA, maybe? Anyone? Bueller?
Yes, please! I was a Colleen Hoover fan when I listened to Maybe Someday, and she just clinched it again....more
I love cowboy romances. It's like my odd non-YA thing. This one was really cute, but I wish it had more happening in it. Full review to come.
This reviI love cowboy romances. It's like my odd non-YA thing. This one was really cute, but I wish it had more happening in it. Full review to come.
This review can also be found at BookShelfery.Occasionally I venture outside of the YA world, and generally that means you'll find me with my nose - er, ears - buried in a cowboy romance! I know, I know, it's an odd genre for someone like me (sitting on the DC Metro, I told Andye @ Reading Teen about this and her expression was one of bewilderment!). But, I just love cowboy romances. There is something supremely sexy about a guy in jeans, boots and a cowboy hat. YUM. So when I needed to refresh my taste buds with some new adult romance, I turned to Finders Keepers on audio, which has been sitting in my Audible library for some time now. I probably picked it up during credit spending spree before cancelling my Audible account (can't justify it when I listen so slowly), but I am so glad I did. It was cute and sweet, and Garth Black is one sexy mutha- I mean cowboy. He can mount me ANY TIME. Finders Keepers starts off with a bit of conflict, which I think it perfect for this novel, because the reader/listener is tossed right into the mix and story. Garth himself is a conflicted soul, who thinks he is unworthy of many things. Josie is a strong woman who knows what she wants and when she sets out to get it, there isn't much stopping her. Which is where my problem lies with this story. I saw where it was going, and not much happens. I wanted more to happen in it, I wanted Garth and Josie to struggle, but all of their real struggle seemed to happen off page, which was a disappointment to me. But that aside, the interplay between them, as well as characters like Jesse and Rowen, Josie's parents, and even the Mason brothers, were wonderful. Although the story mostly takes place in the bubble of Josie's house, Williams did a good job bringing the town to life through her characters. Like I said before, I do wish that more had happened between Josie and Garth, because their relationship wasn't a struggle at all (or at least not really), and in romances, I want the characters to suffer before they get their slice of happiness. But overall, a solid listen. Narrator 4-1-1
Now I remember why I purchased this! Zachary Webber! His voice is an eargasm. I loved his narration in MAYBE SOMEDAY, and wanted to find more of his work. Listeners won't be disappointed.
Paige Townsen is your typical American girl: she goes to school in a suburb of Portland (at least I think it was Portland), she works at a little shop part-time for spending money and she gets good grades. She's also had the same best friends since she was in grade school. But Paige has acting ambitions, and when she gets cast in the biggest teen blockbuster of the year, her life starts spinning out of control.
Enter Rainer and Jordan, the sexy leading men of LOCKED (the movie they are filming). Rainer is warm and friendly and Paige has this connection to him that makes her feel secure and less like an island. However in all her scenes with him, she struggles as an actress. With Jordan, her connection is hot and sizzling, not even the cool rain on the beach in Hawaii can put it out. And she manages to nail every scene with him.
(Yep, we have ourselves a love triangle and I don't mind. I know who I'm rooting for. I'm putting it on record now that I am Team Jordan!)
Anyway, her interaction with both boys was done well. It was really easy to see why she fit with each of them and why she had a hard time making decisions about them, and let's face it, they didn't make things easy on her. Yes, there is a bit of insta-love. But it's explained and I totally get it. Paige is in a place she's never been before, and one of them reminds her of home. She is of course going to latch on to that and look at things through rose-colored glasses. Where she lacks chemistry with Rainer, she makes up for it in spades with Jordan. Everything between them is spicy and delicious.
Friendships also struggle in FAMOUS IN LOVE. Which makes sense, right? Paige is ripped from her middle-class America environment and all that entails, to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Not physically Hollywood but proverbially. All of a sudden, she is on the cusp of being famous; she is being recognized around town in Hawaii, several people have asked for her autograph, and magazines have named her the next big thing. It's everything she thought she wanted. But it is coming at the expense of some important things in her life. Like her friendships. I enjoyed seeing the reality of what the industry can do to someone like her.
I do wish Serle had explored more of Paige's struggles with her friends and family. They get some paige time (hahahaha - I crack myself up) but not enough to really get to the meat and bones of the issue.
That ending? Damn. Can't wait for book two....more
This review can also be found at BookShelfery.Blah blah blah I treat my husband like shit and he takes the kids to Omaha without me blah blah blah I can't understand why he's so disappointed in our relationship when I've been so selfish for the last fourteen years blah blah blah I whine a lot about things and also don't take enough showers blah blah blah I have what some might consider an inappropriate relationship with my best friend blah blah blah I have a magic phone to the past the author never really explains blah blah blah I'm kind of a boring character.
And that basically sums up all my feelings on Landline: BLAH. I think the twist was interesting, but honestly? I suffered through this audio because I received it at BEA and after hearing so many wonderful things about Rainbow Rowell's books, I thought it had to get better. The only character I really liked was her younger sister. Although, I did find the dynamic of her family interesting, I feel that Rowell never really scratches past the surface with them.
Verdict: Not for me.
At first listen, I thought, holy crap! She sounds a lot like me! And then I realized she sounds annoying and dry. And that made me realize I sound annoying and dry. And now I hate my own voice. So this narrator sucks. But beyond the dry and annoying, she is just a slow narrator and she made me want to tear my hair out. Others have liked her a lot though, so it's all personal preference.
But let’s rewind and start at the beginning. The Liars: Cadence Sinclair Eastman, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and Gat, who is the nephew of her aunt’s boyfriend. The Liars spend summers on their family’s private island near Martha’s Vineyard. Young, wealthy, and carefree, life is nothing but fun for the cousins. Until the summer they are 15, that is…then everything changes.
We meet Cady when she is 17, going back to the island for the first time since that summer. She doesn’t remember what has happened, she only knows that it’s something so terrible that it has changed who she is – once strong, blond, and beautiful, she is now weak, dark, and suffers terrible migraines. No one on the island will talk to her about the accident, or incident, or whatever it was. But slowly her memories return and she begins to piece back together the events of Summer Fifteen.
I was a little skeptical to trust Cadence as a narrator –after all, she is okay with the label of Liar. We never find out exactly why the aunts gave them that title, just that they probably deserved it. I really liked the fairy tales Cady wrote along the way that gave us tiny glimpses of insight. And even though the Sinclair family is ridiculously wealthy, the author has managed to make some of the characters real and flawed and likeable. I could relate to Cady and Gat in their all-consuming first-summer-love excitement, and I was cheering for them even though their relationship didn't seem likely to last outside of the island.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a book you won’t be able to put down. I read it in one sitting – thank goodness for long car trips! This is the perfect summer read. And that, friends, is all I can tell you. So go quickly, before someone spoils it, and discover this for yourself!...more
Tease is a unique bully novel in that the reader gets inside the bully’s head for a change. We get to see what the driving forces are for that behavior, what would lead a teenager to verbally and socially torture a person to the point of death. To the point where suicide seems like the only way out. And because of this perspective, you are forced to take a second look at the bullies, and perhaps the victims, too.
Sara is a horrible person. I hated her right off the bat. She was the kind of sickening popular girl who rode the coattails of others’ fame and popularity, who didn’t know how to stand up for herself, who rolled with the pack. She is exactly the kind of girl I loathed when I was in high school myself.
And yet, somewhere along the way, besides a weird fascination with her, I developed sympathy for her. Emma Putnam, the girl she had bullied to the point of suicide, was not guiltless. And Tease reminded me that there are three sides to every story: his, hers and the truth. Or in this case, Sara’s, Emma’s and the truth.
I found that bullies can be redeeming. Shortly after finishing Tease, I was able to attend the signing for it and Amanda Maciel said (and I’m summarizing), “I don’t think bullies set out to bully, and I don’t think they think they are being monsters.” Kids are kids, they don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions and we as adults shouldn’t expect them to. Not really. I didn’t at that age.
Sorry if this is being preachy, I don’t mean it to be, but the book is just so awesome and makes you think.
Anyway, at some point in Tease, I started to feel bad for Sara, because not only did Emma kill herself, which Sara wasn’t intending, but Sara loses everything: her friends, her social life, possibly any chance she has at a future.
I think to show that the monstrous characters who put one individual through so much for simply being who she was, and then making the reader sympathize with them for it, shows such an amazing talent to make you feel.
I loved the ending. And I love Amanda Maciel for giving us a story like this one.
Giveaway Because I loved Tease so much, I want you to love it, too! Up for grabs is one signed copy to one winner in the U.S. You must be over 13 years old to enter and win.
This review can also be found at BookShelfery.Jamie Peterson is gay. He's known for several years now and frankly, girls ick him out. The problem is,This review can also be found at BookShelfery.Jamie Peterson is gay. He's known for several years now and frankly, girls ick him out. The problem is, he hasn't come out to his best friend - and crush - Mason Viveros, the boy he lusts after but is too afraid of damaging their long-time best-friendship. It seems that everyone at school knows or thinks Jamie might be gay, too.
FAN ART was an almost sugary-sweet and super-fluffy novel. I think it could have been better served with more issue in the book and less fluff, actually, since LGBTQ issues are front and center in our world right now. I did really like that this is a YA centered around teen male gay romance, but Sarah Tregay tried a little too hard to with stereotypes: Mason is the typical nerdy boy, Nick is the typical redneck, Eden is the typical art geek, but Jamie isn't your stereotypical gay teenaged boy? Because he's...manly? I'll be honest: I didn't see a lot of evidence that he was all that manly. And even though we live in 2014 and not, say, 15-20 years ago, I also found it a little hard to accept that Jamie's classmates (who all seemed to know) were all (or 99% anyway) okay with his being gay. I also have a hard time accepting that a gay boy would kiss a girl simply to "practice". Believability factor: low.
But it was still a nice novel to read. Jamie is trying to come out to Mason, and also advocate for the gay community by publishing fan art in the school magazine, Gumshoe, which is filled with artwork, poetry and prose submitted by other students. He takes one "for the team" when he sneaks in an graphic short that depicts a gay couple, and thus spirals a series of events that leads to...things. I really enjoyed reading all the poetry and prose, and seeing the graphics shorts, submitted by the students between each chapter. So unique!
While the plot had holes (as mentioned above), it was okay and still enjoyable. I had suspicions on how it would end (and the ending was too clean for me), because it was too fluffy to end otherwise, but if I'm being completely honest, I was never sure about Mason. I think most people will enjoy FAN ART, especially if you are looking for diverse books to add to your collection. Just don't expect something that will move your world.
~~~~~ Still super-fun! Sophronia is in her second year at Mlle. Geraldine’s Academy for Finishing and excelling at everything she does when she is truly put to the test: her friends turn their backs on her, the boys from their brother academy are aboard visiting, and the dirigible sets a course for London, reasons unknown. Oh and someone is after Dimity and her brother. You know, business as usual.
Curtsies and Conspiracies was just as much fun as the first novel, maybe even more so. We get more character time, Sophronia has even more self-confidence to spy on things at her own school, so we get to learn the inner workings much more intimately.
I sense a love-triangle forming! Remember the guy she ditched at her sister’s coming out ball in book 1? He’s one of the boys aboard the dirigible while they glide to London, and he wants Sophronia and isn’t afraid to go after her. Except, maybe she might like Soap the sootie after all? And I sense a sweet, yet taboo romance forming between Sophronia and Soap. Some people don’t like love triangles, but when they are genuine and natural, I do! Gimme gimme!
The plot thickens as unknown people try to go after Dimity, and for unknown reasons, and meanwhile, the school’s teachers are completely unaware of the shenanigans of their students.
Yeah, so about that: they are supposed to be teaching the future spies of Britain, but they have no idea what Sophronia and company get up to? Look, I like this story a lot, but I call BS. That would be like me believably teaching math. And I can’t math.
It ends well, although I am curious what happened to Prof. Braithwope after he took to the skies to “untether” in the outersphere. Is he okay? Will he recover? I guess I have to listen to the next one to find out! Sophronia’s concerns about him were touching.
Completely satisfying story, can’t wait to listen to the next one!
Narrator 4-1-1 Do I even need to say it? Moira Quirk rocks!...more
~~~~~ This was an odd book, and I'm not sure how much I entirely enjoyed it. I've been sitting on it for about three weeks, so I'm just going to lay it all out on the table and see where we land.
The main protag, Laureth, is blind, which I found unusual and interesting (especially given that the audio book I was listening to at the exact same time featured a deaf protagonist, but I digress). I liked that Marcus Sedgwick took the risk of having a character with a major disability because most a lot of authors in the YA genre give us characters who are Awesome, Unbelievably Awesome, and So Unbelievably Awesome It Should Be Criminal. And by "awesome" I mean, flawless.
So the change of pace was refreshing.
Laureth is on the hunt for her dad, who has mysteriously disappeared, and decides to fly from London to New York City with her little brother in tow, so he can be her guide of sorts. Someone found her author father's notebook and sent her pages from it, which in and of itself lends an eerie and sinister air to the story. What I had a hard time buying into was that she, as a sixteen-year-old girl, could easily fly internationally her brother and without parental supervision and only a simple note, without alarming any federal agents on either side of the pond. That just didn't add up to me and felt entirely too convenient as a way to get Laureth and her brother from London to New York with little hassle so Sedgwick could continue the story arc.
I also felt like the story lost a little bit of steam and meandered around while Laureth meandered trying to find her dad. I was fondly reminded of Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, just a little bit, when they checked into the hotel where her father was supposedly staying, because it reminded me of the adventures of Kevin MacCallister so many years ago, only much more serious and less fun.
I think overall I did enjoy this story, but so many things were just too convenient for me to really get into it. I did like the in-depth explanations on coincidence and how many times coincidence made an appearance in the story. I would have liked to have seen more from the stranger on the flight to NYC, because I felt that connection was interesting and instead it kind of petered out. I didn't like how Laureth was defensive of her disability. I guess I can understand it, but it bothered me because at the same time, she would say things like she didn't miss vision since she had never had it. Those two things didn't add up to me.
This was a good story though, and definitely unique to the YA genre, because there is nothing else like it that I know of. I enjoyed reading it, I loved the incorporation of philosophy and her father's letters and notes. I just think it could have been more....more