3.5 stars Gina Damico, author of the Croak trilogy, is known first and foremost for her fabulous sense of humor. Her books are always hilarious, which3.5 stars Gina Damico, author of the Croak trilogy, is known first and foremost for her fabulous sense of humor. Her books are always hilarious, which more than makes up for the occasionally weak plots. On the surface, Hellhole is a pretty weak story about a boy who accidentally ends up taking care of the devil (one of 666 of them, apparently) and makes all sorts of ill-advised bargains with him along the way. But there are many other things underneath, and it’s precisely those things that make this book worth your time.
The beginning and the ending were actually Hellhole’s weakest points. The beginning seemed slightly ridiculous as there was no good reason for Max to end up with Berg. The whole digging-up-the-devil business made very little sense and I felt that Max’s whole predicament lost some weight because of how it came about. The ending on the other hand felt rushed and non-sensical and it made my head spin with how quickly everything was wrapped up. I had maybe twenty minutes left of my audiobook and nothing was resolved, which made me panic slightly, and then before I knew it, everything was set to rights.
The middle part, however, was an absolute delight, what with all the humor and the explorations of Max’s character. A boy in his situation could so easily be swayed by the forces of evil, and it was touch-and-go for a while there since he kept making so many poor choices that almost led him to the point of no redemption. That psychological aspect of the story that can be pondered and discussed if one is willing to dig just a little deeper is something I truly didn’t expect from Damico, but it made Hellhole a much better and far more worthy experience.
The romance developed slowly, gradually, from poorly hidden disdain to reluctant friendship and finally to love. I really enjoyed the fact that Max had a best friend who was never anything more, and that he managed to endear himself to Lore despite his inability to talk to girls. Word vomit is a term that certainly applies to Max and his predicament was always equal parts endearing and exasperating.
MacLeod Andrews is quickly turning out to be one of the few narrators that can be relied upon completely. He is the male version of Lorelei King – fabulously funny, extremely capable, with a voice laced with humor and a talent for voice characterization. I still maintain that his female voices need more work, but overall, his performance is always superb.
All in all, Hellhole is a standalone, it’s adorable and it will make you laugh. When you add to that MacLeod Andrews’ fabulous voice, you know you’re in for a treat.
I usually tend to avoid novellas written by unfamiliar authors, but this time I made an exception simply because I liked the cover. My proble3.5 stars
I usually tend to avoid novellas written by unfamiliar authors, but this time I made an exception simply because I liked the cover. My problem with novellas is that they don't give me time to form any sort of emotional connection with the characters, but that was not the case with Served Hot. Annabeth Albert painted these characters very well and their emotions came through loud and clear - the grief, the insecurities and all the fear.
While not perfect, this e-novella is well-written and the characters are fairly memorable. It's a great choice for a slow afternoon read. ...more
I've seen and heard so much praise for this book, and I understand why. It's great for New Adult fans, with two severely damaged characters, some healI've seen and heard so much praise for this book, and I understand why. It's great for New Adult fans, with two severely damaged characters, some healthy voyeurism, plenty of one-on-one time and a pretty well-constructed story.
For me, however, it just didn't work. I've read some pretty great M/M New Adult lately (the best being Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan by far) and this simply pales in comparison. I thought it was too long and somewhat repetitive, the characters needed more work, the emotional moments didn't quite reach me, and in the end, it was all a bit too easy and a tiny bit unconvincing.
Also, I'm a one-person-one-person kinda gal, so the stories that start with one of the MCs sleeping with someone else (let alone a series of random people) rarely work for me. It's a personal issue. Those of you who aren't bothered by such things will probably like this one a lot more.
Definitely worth reading, but far from being what I'd hoped. ...more
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.