After two very entertaining InCryptid books with Verity Price and her Covenant boyfriend Dominic, we now join her older brother Alex in Ohio. I had myAfter two very entertaining InCryptid books with Verity Price and her Covenant boyfriend Dominic, we now join her older brother Alex in Ohio. I had my doubts about McGuire’s decision to leave Verity and change narrators in the third book, but Alex proved to be a very entertaining, albeit completely different protagonist.
Alex joined his grandparents in Ohio to help his cousin Sarah and oversee the breeding of two basilisks (that sounds much dirtier than it actually is), but he certainly got more than he bargained for. For one, his chaotic life and his many, many secrets prevent him from being a good boyfriend to the Australian beauty he’s currently dating. Then dead, partially petrified bodies start showing up around Alex and his basilisks, as well as his relationship with Shelby simply have to take a back seat.
As usual, someone is targeting the Healy-Price family and this time, Alex is right in the middle of things. With the help of his grandparents, his cuckoo cousin and his girlfriend, he uses his calm, scientific approach to solve a very odd, frightening case. The fact that said scientific approach sometimes includes autopsies on his grandmother’s kitchen table is just a minor detail that barely even registers with the Price-Healy family.
The lines between Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant are starting to blur, and it’s a very good things. There are some common denominators that are easily recognizable regardless of the name she writes under. She likes short, effective quotes at the beginning of each chapter, she always does an insane amount of research, she tends to rely on science as much as she can, and her worldbuilding is nothing short of extraordinary. A pen name doesn’t mean a personality transplant, which is great for the brilliant and funny McGuire/Grant.
Ray Porter was an excellent choice for narrator and I felt that his voice reflected Alex’s calm, geeky personality perfectly. He had minor issues with female voices, but Seanan’s dry, quirky sense of humor wasn’t lost in his narration, which I appreciated more than I can say. If anything, it was made even stronger.
We’ll be joining Alex once more in the next installment titled Pocket Apocalypse. I am determined to go with the audio format once again, especially if they decide to keep Ray Porter on as narrator.
Having read this author before, I knew to expect a whole lot of angst from this novel, and I wasn't wrong. Heavy drama oozes from the pages and some vHaving read this author before, I knew to expect a whole lot of angst from this novel, and I wasn't wrong. Heavy drama oozes from the pages and some very difficult subjects are addressed with different levels of success.
Harper was just released from prison after serving ten years for something he didn't do. He was accused of commiting a hideous, unforgivable crime and the consequences are severe even after his release. Harper's life will never be what it once was, and the only thing he has is a very old house in desperate need of repairs.
Malachi's life hasn't been quite as hard, but it hasn't been easy either. At the beginning of this story, we find him more or less at his personal low. Things can hardly be any more humiliating, but Malachi is a fighter and he's constantly finding ways ti build up his life.
The romance between these two happens rather quickly, but I felt it was justified consiering both their circumstances. Their feelings for each other came through loud and clear, and their relationship was entirely believable.
The plot, however, needed much more work and planning. Harper's story was far-fetched and a serious suspension of disbelief was required in order for me to enjoy this story. Aside from poor planning, predictability was also a huge issue seeing as I guessed the villain almost at the very beginning.
What saved this book, however, and made it memorable, was Malachi's wonderful sense of humor. I must confess that I didn't expect so much great humor from Elsborg, but that boy had me laughing out loud on every other page. I found him and his view of the world quite endearing and I hope we'll get to see him again in this series.
All in all, Falling wasn't without its problems, but it's still a worthy begining to what promises to be an exciting series. Angst isn't really my thing, but Elsborg does it well. I'll certainly be reading her future releases. ...more
I expected more from these two authors, but the characters were underdeveloped, the romance just didn't work, and I didn't understand the attraction bI expected more from these two authors, but the characters were underdeveloped, the romance just didn't work, and I didn't understand the attraction between Christian and CJ at all. CJ had no empathy whatsoever and he kept behaving like a selfish brat. I couldn't understand why a 40-year-old man would be attracted to him, especially a deeply religious, (view spoiler)[virgin (hide spoiler)], who is also his professor and advisor.
I thought about DNF-ing halfway through and only finished reading because I'm so stubborn. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
Love Lessons, the first book in this milder-than-usual series (at least for this author), proved that Heidi excels at characterization. This fact wasLove Lessons, the first book in this milder-than-usual series (at least for this author), proved that Heidi excels at characterization. This fact was pretty clear from her previous work as well, especially Dance With Me, which is one of my all-time favorites. But for some unidentifiable reason, Love Lessons didn’t quite reach me emotionally, not as much as I felt it should have.
When Fever Pitch came along, I waited a bit to read it, expecting more of the same, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book, you guys, I have no words to describe how it made me feel.
The story starts with Aaron in his final days of high school. Aaron is one of the popular crowd, but not necessarily by conscious choice. He is a quiet boy, terrified of his father and reluctant to disappoint his weak mother. He needs to choose a college, but trying to make everyone happy is slowly driving him crazy, which is how he ends up drunk in a laundry room at a party. There he finds Giles, the school geek one of the few openly gay boys. Giles has a habit of sleeping with the closeted boys, the straight boys, and pretty much everyone he aims to prove a point to, which usually ends up with him being bullied and beaten after the fact, when said boys realize that going on the defensive is the only way to hide their adventures. For Giles, Aaron is just another closeted gay boy looking for some fun before putting him in the hospital, but by the end of the night, they both end up making some major changes.
Despite their explosive beginning, Fever Pitch is a veryslow burn romance. It takes a lot for these two to finally come together, a lot of growing on both their parts, plenty of self-discovery for Aaron, more than a little courage and quite a few disasters along the way. Although they’re at the same college and both interested in music, they both have a hard time overcoming their fear and prejudice, which they have to do in order to finally admit their feelings.
Walter and Kelly from the first book are very present in this story, as a safety net of sorts for poor Aaron. It was nice seeing them happy and engaged, fully embracing their love for each other and Kelly’s love for all things Disney-related. But Cullinan introduces a whole army of new characters as well, and gives them all plenty of attention. Those secondary characters, including Giles’ parents, Aaron’s awful family, their college friends and especially Baz and Elijah, turned this book from something ordinary and nice into something quite extraordinary and just gorgeous.
It needs to be said that music plays a huge part in this book. It gives our boys common ground, something they’re both extremely talented at, but it also gives Aaron some much-needed self-confidence and a reason to finally stand up to his father. The final scene had me laughing and crying at the same time, playing Titanium over and over again and singing for all I was worth. If you decide to read this book, you’ll likely end up doing the same and trust me, it’ll be one of the best experiences you’ve had in ages.
Allen Zadoff just proved to us once again that he’s excellent at what he does. (I Am) The Mission is, if possible, even more exciting than its predeceAllen Zadoff just proved to us once again that he’s excellent at what he does. (I Am) The Mission is, if possible, even more exciting than its predecessor. There is no end to secrets and betrayals in this book and our Boy Nobody, highly trained but still merely a 16-year-old, has to face them all and somehow manage to stay alive.
Militant cults are, in my opinion, one of the scariest things in the world, but Zach infiltrates one without question, following The Program’s orders to kill the cult’s leader. The leader recruits teenagers from all over the country and trains them to become domestic terrorists. It’s clear to us from the beginning that he needs to be stopped and our young trained assassin is the best man for the job.
However, even The Program, Boy Nobody’s organization, isn’t exactly trustworthy, and Zach suddenly finds himself all alone in the world. With no one but a 14-year-old hacker to rely on, he has to fight enemies on all sides, test his boundaries and prove his loyalty over and over again and still somehow come out on top. But Zach is more than up to the challenge. It’s not only his training that keeps him alive, it’s his heart and his desire to always do what’s right. I love this about him – he is loyal to a fault, but he still applies common sense and thinks about everything he does.
By now, we’ve figured out that pretty girls are Zach’s Kryptonite, and so has The Program. He has a soft spot that’s easy to understand and sympathize with, but it’s still a weakness that has cost him dearly twice already, and one that can and probably will be exploited by his enemies. Sam is long gone in this book, but there is Miranda now, another girl Zach wants to trust despite all evidence to the contrary.
This book ends with a rather painful cliffhanger, which makes me glad I waited until now to read it. The final installment will be her in a few months and we’ll finally learn the truth about Zach, his family, The Program and every other question that has yet to be answered. The countdown has begun – where’s a time machine when you need it?
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the most adorable book in the history of books ever. (Seriously, my heart is currently a puddle on the f4.5 stars
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the most adorable book in the history of books ever. (Seriously, my heart is currently a puddle on the floor.) But this book is much more than just quirky and cute, it is also necessary, very important even, because it (finally) brings much needed diversity into YA fiction. In the sub(sub)genre we usually refer to as coming-of-age contemporary fiction, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda shines like the brightest star.
Simon is just a regular, smart boy from a regular, loving family. He leads a regular life and has regular friends, he participates in regular activities and likes all the regular things. He also happens to be gay. Simon has yet to reveal that secret to anyone. He doesn’t fear that his family will reject him, he doesn’t think his friends will turn on him, but it’s still a pretty big secret to keep and he simply doesn’t feel ready to share. It’s the first thing I liked about this book, it approached the process of coming out as exactly that, a process which everyone should approach at their own pace, even when there’s no danger of being ostracized for it. Being emotionally mature enough to handle declaring yourself different from most people isn’t something we all reach at the same time, and seeing Simon’s process was both endearing and exhilarating.
Realistic male voices are still far too rare in Young Adult fiction. It’s not often that we get someone like Simon, such an authentic character, completely true to life. The geekiness, the awkwardness, the adoration of Harry Potter bring us closer to this boy who is perhaps a bit different, but paradoxically same as everybody else. Other characters were just as fleshed out, which made it easy for Albertalli to take us straight to Simon’s world and make us live that exciting time right alongside him.
"White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default."
The pacing was admittedly a bit of an issue, especially around the middle where the story dragged and felt somewhat empty, but overall it’s a minor flaw that can easily be overlooked. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a story you need to read and recommend if you haven’t already. It will warm your heart in the best way possible.
I hope we’ll get more from Albertalli soon. Judging by her debut, we’re in for a treat.
Can you imagine a wonderful, light science-fiction novel set in Scotland, with delightful Scottish accents, spaceships (possibly) landing in the moor,Can you imagine a wonderful, light science-fiction novel set in Scotland, with delightful Scottish accents, spaceships (possibly) landing in the moor, and unruly Scottish boys with very wild imaginations? Well guess what, as lovely as it sounds, you don’t have to imagine it, Ken MacLeod already did it for us.
The charm of this lovely science fiction work is twofold. A part of it is certainly the setting, especially for those of us who are mostly used to reading American fiction. Scotland is very much alive in this book, brought to life by someone who knows (and apparently loves) its every rock. Ryan’s best friend Calum, as well as many other characters, speaks with this lovely Scottish accent that was transferred beautifully in writing. Another huge part of this book’s charm stems from MacLeod’s wry sense of humor, the laugh-out-loud variety, and a lot of it.
Set in a very near, very believable future, Descent is part super-light sci-fi, part coming of age story, part political thriller and part conspiracy theory. It follows Ryan through various stages of his life, all at least somewhat affected by the strange event in his youth. It doesn’t follow the usual narrative line and it never really becomes a cohesive whole. It’s quite an unusual read, but all the more charming for it.
Read this if you want something different, outside of any one genre, but speculative and wildly interesting nevertheless. It is the perfect break from conventional stories with overused plotlines and stock characters. Nothing about this story is conventional, and yet everything is perfect just the way it is.
I'm pretty sure Mary Calmes found a way to slip us some illegal and highly addictive substance between the lines of her books. I never give them moreI'm pretty sure Mary Calmes found a way to slip us some illegal and highly addictive substance between the lines of her books. I never give them more than 3.5 stars, but if I don't get my fix regularly, I frantically hide behind closed doors to reread her novellas and her full lenght novels. Of course, I would never admit to such a thing publicly. This must be my evil twin typing.
Anyway, back to the point. This book is ridiculous, even for Calmes. The characters dance around each other for three years, and in that time, no one really understands their connection, including themselves. But they somehow manage to avoid an honest conversation, and by the time they finally get around to being honest, they are ready to burst. And so is the reader. Besides being completely over the top, the book is also sugary sweet and pretty much conflict-free. And this last thing, my friend, is what pulls me in every single time.
I have no idea when her next book is coming out, but luckily, I have like a gazillion old ones to reread. For the gazillionth time. But don't tell anyone.
Write faster, Mary. I'll send the chocolate. ...more
4.5 stars What is one of the best things that can happen to urban fantasy enthusiasts? Tim Marquitz starting a new series and creating a new anti-hero,4.5 stars What is one of the best things that can happen to urban fantasy enthusiasts? Tim Marquitz starting a new series and creating a new anti-hero, that’s what! So now that that’s happened, please join me in this happy dance I’m doing all over my house.
Eyes Deep reads like a prequel novella to Tim’s new Clandestine Daze series. I usually hold off on reading prequels until the first book is released, but I strongly advise you to make an exception in this case. Eyes Deep is fairly long (although not a full lenght novel), and the story is strong enough all on its own. In addition, even though this series signifies a more conventional route for Marquitz, his trademark sense of humor still manages to shine through, which makes this a wildly entertaining read.
Theo isn’t one of those anti-heroes whose actions you can rationalize and justify to make them seem better. For one, Theo is not even his real name – Theodor Crane is actually someone he killed in order to assume his identity and spy on humans for his world, Aellisar. And he’s not the only one, there is a trail of bodies in our doppelganger’s wake, bodies that conveniently disappear thanks to his associates, while he only keeps the eyeballs he must consume in order to change shape. Gross, right? Sure, but also kind of awesome.
While the doppelganger doesn’t hesitate to kill when the need arises, he has some scruples when it comes to Theo’s original family, for which I was grateful. It is, as far as I can tell, his only redeeming quality so far. There is a heart under that treacherous body and I’m curious to see how things will develop from here.
The story isn’t just haphazardly thrown together, as is often the case with novellas. While the plot does take a back seat in favor of character development, it’s not underdeveloped in the least. I was fully invested in the events, and more than a bit curious to learn how things would end.
As usual, Marquitz knows exactly what he’s doing. Eyes Deep is yet another proof that this is an author with a sure hand and a strong voice. The advantage of this novella (and the upcoming novels, I’m sure) is that it will make him more accessible to a much wider audience due to a more traditional approach. Since he’s an author whose work I’ve been following for years, I can’t wait for the rest of you to jump on board. Hurry up, will you? There’s so much fun to be had.
You can read Tim's thoughts on his new series HERE, and there's still some time to enter to win a copy of Eyes Deep. ...more