What could be better on a slow Sunday afternoon than a book that can make you smile and cry at the same time? With the protagonist dead on the very fiWhat could be better on a slow Sunday afternoon than a book that can make you smile and cry at the same time? With the protagonist dead on the very first page, one would assume this book to be gloomy and heartrending, but The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter is really the farthest thing from it. This heartfelt, hilarious story celebrates life as it’s meant to be lived, with no regrets and not a moment wasted.
We meet Rosie on the first day of her afterlife, but alas, she is stuck on Earth, and in the middle of Barrycalagh, Ireland, where her death happens to be the most exciting thing in years. Rosie isn’t at all concerned about herself. Her main worry is her family, including her best friend and her boyfriend. But Rosie’s in for a huge surprise; her beloved Jack isn’t the wonderful, kind boyfriend he appeared to be. Quite the contrary, in fact, and as his lies are slowly uncovered, Rosie’s love for him vanishes into thin air.
Rosie’s life looks a whole lot different from the other side and there are so many things she would love to change. But Kate Winter doesn’t focus on regrets in this charming story. Instead, she celebrates love as it truly is, flawed and filled with regrettable mistakes, but also perfect in its imperfection.
Rosie doesn’t wallow in self-pity, not for a second. It’s actually her most admirable quality, that and her very kind heart. Like her life, Rosie herself isn’t perfect at all, but her intentions are always good and in death, she is painfully honest with herself, even if her life was full of denials. Finding your one true love when you’re already dead would be devastating for most people. So much time lost, so many opportunities missed. But Rosie and her perfect man aren’t most people, and instead of regrets, they celebrate the fact that they acknowledged their love at all.
Although bittersweet, The Happy Ever Afterlife is ultimately an enchanting story filled with hope. It’ll make you rush to hug your loved ones and to celebrate the life you’re living, no matter how hard it may seem at times. After all, every day is a new oportunity, and who better than Rosie to remind us of it.
3.5 stars For some reason, I was quite sure The Glass Arrow would be a fantasy book. The cover certainly points that way, and although I should not hav3.5 stars For some reason, I was quite sure The Glass Arrow would be a fantasy book. The cover certainly points that way, and although I should not have assumed, I was still surprised to find a complex dystopia instead of the fantasy novel I was hoping for.
The world Simmons gives us is horrifying: hunger, disease and awful living conditions for everyone but the very few rich men. The women are considered to be merchandise and they are sold like objects on the meat market. They are groomed and fattened and polished to become more appealing to wealthy men. Most girls know that it’s the only future for them and some even welcome it, but Aya was raised in the wilderness, with her mother, her aunt and cousins. The mountains were Aiyana’s home since she was born and they’re all she knows, but once she is captured and taken to the city, she is able to show us the sickening societal structure and the absolutely horrendous treatment of women.
The Glass Arrow is a strange mix of old and new. People die from the simplest diseases, most barely surviving the hunger and filth. Food is rare, everyone but the rich survives on food supplements. However, they use plastic surgery to correct the flaws of girls ready to be sold, there’s permanent make-up and many other cosmetic procedures. Apparently, at one point the society decided to throw away cars and technology and return to a simpler life. But somehow, the rich still have the advanced video games and other technological developments.
The thing with dystopias, I think, is that they have to be believable, as close to reality as possible. We must be able to see things happen exactly that way, become utterly convinced that the world described is just around the corner. There are dystopias that work exactly like that, and they are always the best ones. But the future described in The Glass Arrow was illogical and full of discrepancies. It did not work at all.
Oddly enough, the romance saved the story. Aya’s feelings for Kiran changed very slowly and her weariness was understandable and even welcomed. Her internal struggle was done exceptionally well and the long journey from prejudice to trust seemed entirely believable and perfectly done.
I was surprised and glad to be reading a standalone. It’s nice to have a well-rounded ending that doesn’t attempt to do too much, but that covers all the things that are truly important to characters and readers both. Despite its flaws, The Glass Arrow is well-executed story that doesn’t have the strongest emotional impact, but it’s necessary and educational nevertheless.
3.5 stars Fans of Throne of Glass, Snow Like Ashes and other popular YA fantasies have much to look forward to. Victoria Aveyard took a much proven for3.5 stars Fans of Throne of Glass, Snow Like Ashes and other popular YA fantasies have much to look forward to. Victoria Aveyard took a much proven formula, twisted it and turned it until, at least on the surface, it became something new. At first glance, Red Queen seems to be exactly what a successful novel in this genre should be. It’s exciting, emotional, highly addictive and it leaves you begging for more.
You’d be hard pressed to find anything original about it, though.
We’ve read this story one too many times, it seems. A poor but resourceful girl suddenly becomes very important in her society. She gets accepted to court under false pretenses and has to secretly learn to be a lady in order to survive. The king and the people around him are cruel and unforgiving. Poor Mare has to watch her people suffer while she’s enjoying all the luxury – even if she is sacrificing herself for the greater good.
Ahh, but the story wouldn’t be complete without a handsome prince or two! Oddly enough, the love triangle (Rectangle? Pentagon? Whatever.) didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did in other similar stories. This is probably due to the fact that the romance itself never struck a chord with me. Other emotions were far more important, like the feeling of hopelessness, abandonment and overwhelming fear. Mare was all alone in a world where everyone was her enemy. Romance wasn’t at the forefront of her mind most of the time, and the same applied to me. Perhaps things will develop in the next installment, but I’m quite happy with the way they are now.
I’ve always had a soft spot for stories that involve individuals with superpowers. X-men is kind of my thing, and so is Hunting Lila and other stories that follow the same path. Red Queen follows along as well – in Mare’s world, people with silver blood rule over those who bleed red, and the Silvers all have some special ability, whether it’s pyrokinesis, mind reading or anything else of the sort. The different powers were by far the best part of this book. Even though they were used time and time again, Aveyard found a way to make them her own, especially when it came to Mare.
While this wasn’t the perfect book for me, neither was Throne of Glass, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt. The story is very promising and I have high hopes for the sequel. I’ll definitely be reading it when the time comes.
The heart-stopping conclusion to Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer trilogy is everything you want a finale to be – more tense, more violent, more exciting,The heart-stopping conclusion to Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer trilogy is everything you want a finale to be – more tense, more violent, more exciting, more romantic, and just more! Although it was safe to expect as much, it was still a relief to discover that this wonderful author found a way to give us more of everything. Leaving Mara was by no means easy, but me suffering from a book hangover is a sure sign that the author did everything right. And she did.
As usual, we find our Mara in a world of trouble. Her circumstances have changed significantly, her support system has changed, her family has changed and, most of all, Mara has changed. The girl we find in The Retribution is not the same girl we remember. Having lost everything she had to lose, Mara awakened a deep part of herself, her true nature, and it’s wilder and more dangerous than anything we could have imagined.
I must say that I rather enjoyed seeing Mara embrace her dark side. It’s not something I could possibly have issues with – the characters are meant to be pushed to their limits, they are supposed to transform, and for Mara, the path she chose was only natural, after being manipulated and pushed around for so long. Away from her family and from Noah, scared, burdened with guilt and hungry for revenge, she became someone else entirely, someone I pitied and feared all at the same time.
“Look,” I said to Daniel and Jamie, “what’s the most terrifying thing you can think of in these tunnels? Rats? Mole people?” “Evil mastermind hell bent on killing you?” Jamie suggested. “Wrong. The most terrifying thing in these tunnels is me.”
The pacing around the middle was a bit of a problem, but that is often the case with final books in trilogies. We expect so much and it’s easy to start feeling resentful and restless when things slow down even a little bit. The explosive beginning and more-than-satisfactory ending made up for the weaker middle part, though, and the book as a whole was even more than I hoped for. I also felt that things weren’t neatly resolved in the end, which can be a good thing if done right, but in this case, it didn’t sit well with me. Some of the people behind the conspiracy against Mara and others like her escaped free and clear, which bothered me immensely. I suppose Hodkin wanted to show that money really does run the world, and she was right to do it, but this particular character made me so angry and I really wanted to see at least some consequences for their actions.
As usual, Christy Romano made this experience so much better. She is a fabulous narrator and it didn’t take much for her to become Mara’s voice in my head. Like the previous two, the audiobook was done excellently, without a single flaw I could point out. This is the only series Romano has ever narrated, having been talked into it by the author herself, but I truly hope she won’t stop there. I’m looking forward to more books from her.
All in all, my time with Mara and Noah was well spent and I’ll surely be going back to them at some point. They are a part of my fictional army now, along with Juliette and Warner, Deuce and Fade, and many, many more.
This being the seventh installment in the Charley Davidson series, there really isn’t much left to say that hasn’t been said already. Fans of the seriThis being the seventh installment in the Charley Davidson series, there really isn’t much left to say that hasn’t been said already. Fans of the series already know what they’re signing up for, and those of you who have yet to meet Charley and Reyes… who are you and what are you even doing here, folks?
When First Grave on the Left (or Right, I can never remember that) first came out, I didn’t think Darynda’s wonderful sense of humor would last. Sometimes things that are funny in the beginning end getting old and exhausting pretty darn fast. And yet here we are, seven books later, and the Charley Davidson books are still just as fresh, just as entertaining as they were when her story started. What’s more, the more we know these characters, the longer they are a constant in our lives, the more we crave their company and the laughs they inevitably bring.
While Seventh Grave isn’t my favorite of the series, Darynda gave us exactly what we’ve learned to expect: hilarious Charley at her best and at her worst, a marvelous set of secondary characters, multiple plotlines to follow and Reyes to swoon over. Honestly, what more can a reader possibly need?
In Seventh Grave, Charley, Reyes and their many ridiculous sidekicks prepare to fight the Twelve, twelve hellhounds sent after Charley by some yet undiscovered foe. Scared for Charley and the treasure she carries around with her, Reyes decides to follow her every step and ensure her safety himself. Now really, does that sound like something Charley would endure quietly? No. No, it doesn’t.
So Charley is busy dodging Reyes’s constant attention, solving a multiple murder case for the FBI, trying to find her missing father, dealing with a dead former BFF, messing with other people’s love lives and keeping a goldfish alive. In other words, it’s just another day at Davidson Investigations.
Seventh Grave leaves quite a few things open, which is understandable now that we’re finally getting the big picture. Darynda is uncovering the overall story arc slowly and skillfully, with a fabulous sense of timing. Eighth Grave After Dark will inevitably bring more changes for the gang, but we’ll have to wait until May 19th to learn what they are.
Yes, it’s finally that time of the year – Charley Davidson is back with us, in all her glory, to amuse and entertain, to make us laugh and even breakYes, it’s finally that time of the year – Charley Davidson is back with us, in all her glory, to amuse and entertain, to make us laugh and even break our hearts.
Charley’s world is becoming more complicated by the second. Eighth Grave finally offers some answers, but with them come even more questions and uncertainties. Darynda Jones knows how to give us just enough, intrigue us even more, and leave us begging for the next installment.
Eighth Grave is more static than the previous book due to Charley and Reyes being geographically limited. Instead of running all over the place and jumping from one case to the next, Charley is closed up in a convent, unable to leave the premises. This limits her ability to investigate, but she wouldn’t be Charley if she didn’t find ways around her. Mystery follows our girl everywhere, why should an abandoned convent be any different?
Eighth Grave may be a slower book, but it’s a game changer nevertheless. It’s one of the most emotionally charged Charley Davidson books to date and as usual, you can expect laughs and tears both. Most of us who read Seventh Grave already suspected that things would never be the same, but none of us could have predicted where Jones would choose to take it all in the end. The changes are scary for Charley and they’re very scary for us fans. For the first time since the beginning, even after all the hardship, the injuries and the losses, we don’t know how our beloved character might change.
The ending is not a cliffhanger as such, but it’s wide open and it gives us a clear idea of what to expect in the next book, which will undoubtedly be very emotional for all of us. However, the set up, the brand new situation our heroes find themselves in, will likely be a source of hilarity too. Things usually are where Charley’s involved. The release of Ninth Grave has been pushed to 2016, which I’m none too thrilled about, but I’d wait forever for Charley and Reyes. What’s nine months between friends?
I’ve been successfully cured of my addiction to mysteries and thrillers year ago, but when Audible dangled this lovely carrot right in front of my nosI’ve been successfully cured of my addiction to mysteries and thrillers year ago, but when Audible dangled this lovely carrot right in front of my nose in the form of their Audible daily deal, I simply couldn’t resist. John Verdon has been receiving a lot of praise from those far more familiar with the genre so of course I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Think of a Number starts off very strongly, with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle in front of our retired detective. Dave Gurney has been retired not too long ago, but he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new country life, feeling disconnected from his day to day obligations and his lovely, brilliant wife.
Dave and Madeleine don’t have an easy marriage and we can’t help feeling that it’s entirely his fault. He is a puzzle solver, a famous detective whose job defines him, but in his personal life he is prone to hiding from his problems and not facing things that are painful for him to deal with. Dave feels responsible for the loss of their 4-year-old son 15 years ago, and as hard as Madeleine tries, she can’t force him to deal with his pain and say goodbye.
The mystery is very well thought through, especially in the first half. The tiny inexplicable details make us doubt even the possibility of solving it. But as the story progresses and things start coming to light, Gurney is sometimes painfully slow on the uptake, which is a big source of frustration for the reader.
George Newbern is a fantastic narrator, his voice well suited for the calm and collected detective. His voice characterization is excellent and his sense of pacing practically flawless. I’m sorry to say that he doesn’t narrate other books in this series, which stopped me from buying Shut Your Eyes Tight in audio format.
Overall, though, this is a series worth continuing, despite the risk of falling back into my mystery addiction. The quiet emotionality of it, the complex and flawed characters and very impressive murder cases are all too alluring to pass up.
The Half-Life of Molly Pierce is quite an interesting read, different in some ways, painfully predictable in others. It would be a much better book wiThe Half-Life of Molly Pierce is quite an interesting read, different in some ways, painfully predictable in others. It would be a much better book with its cover stripped and its title changed into something generic. As it is, both these things are quite spoiler-ish, and we pretty much understand what’s going on from the start.
Nevertheless, the first half of the book is pretty exciting. Knowing what’s happening and knowing how it will all end are two different things, and Leno pulls us in easily with her somewhat peculiar narrative style. Molly’s voice is as strong as Molly is weak, her fatalistic attitude glaringly obvious from every single sentence. She is more than just depressed, she has more or less given up on life entirely, and only the mystery of hours and memories lost keep her going forward.
However, after a rather promising beginning, the story loses a significant portion of its charm in the second half. That’s when all the predictability really takes its toll – instead of fear and trepidation, we merely feel exasperated while waiting for Molly to catch up. At this point, even the romance becomes a bit unconventional, and it might make some readers uncomfortable, as it did me.
Leno’s writing style is unusual and quite memorable. Her sentences are short with an almost rhythmic quality, and her language is beautiful for its simplicity. There’s so much potential there, and so much to look forward to in the future. I think we can expect great things from this young author.
In the end, Leno’s writing and Molly’s fabulous voice make this a worthy read. Molly’s depression really struck a chord with me, and I felt that her thought process and the darkness that consumes her when she’s fully aware of herself were done rather brilliantly. As for the rest, it will largely depend on the reader’s preferences. Some might find the story far more enjoyable than I did, but either way, definitely give it a try.
4.5 stars Beware the Wild is a remarkable debut and Natalie C. Parker’s defining work. It speaks volumes about this young author and about all the thin4.5 stars Beware the Wild is a remarkable debut and Natalie C. Parker’s defining work. It speaks volumes about this young author and about all the things we can expect from her in the future. It is precisely the type of book I’m always hoping to read: gorgeously written, slightly weird, completely original and even daring. There aren’t that many YA authors whose writing easily takes my breath away. I’m always hoping to add another one to the list, and today I finally have.
Parker’s debut novel is hauntingly atmospheric and absolutely gorgeous. The mood of this book is similar to that in Brenna Yovanoff’s or Tessa Gratton’s works, but Parker's writing style is different enough to make the whole thing stand out. It is so easy to get lost in Sterling’s story despite the many dangers lurking right behind the fence. All it takes is a single page for us to get lost in Parker’s beautiful and compelling prose.
Sterling only ever loved and needed her older brother Phin. He was her rock, this boy who saved her from their abusive father, protected her for years from every fear and insecurity. He is her protector and best friend, so when he disappears, Sterling’s world collapses. To make matters worse, when Phin gets lost in the swamp, no one but Sterling can remember him. In his place is Lenora May, a lovely girl and Sterling’s older sister, at least according to everyone else. But Sterling can’t forget the brother she once had, even if she also has memories of this new girl, of growing up with her, hiding from their father, whispering secrets while growing up. But what is real and what is the result of some strange magic? Is Sterling the one who is delusional or is it everyone else?
Then comes Heath, a boy Sterling likes.. He’s also lost someone to the swamp, and no one but him remembers. While they search for their loved ones desperately, a romance slowly develops, but it never gets in the way of their search and what is truly important. The romance worked very well for me; it kept things interesting without overtaking the plot, and I liked seeing Heath and Sterling together, their relationship was simple, beautiful and natural.
As I mentioned before, this is only Parker’s debut, and she already shows so much maturity and promise. She joined Yovanoff, Stiefvater and Gratton on my auto-buy list, and I fully expect her to stay there for years (and many more novels) to come.
Well, it’s official: when it comes to urban fantasy, Amanda Carlson can do no wrong. Her fourth book in the Jessica McClain series is her fourth succeWell, it’s official: when it comes to urban fantasy, Amanda Carlson can do no wrong. Her fourth book in the Jessica McClain series is her fourth success in a row, which is no small feat. Admittedly, it might be my least favorite of the four, but that’s only because the competition is so strong. All things considered, this is one of the strongest, most consistent urban fantasy series still being published.
Red Blooded takes Jessica McClain to the demon realm in search of her twin Tyler, who was taken from her at the very end of the previous book. Instead of going with a group of paranormals and friends, Jessica ends up there alone through a series of unfortunate events, and she wanders around quite a bit before reuniting with the others. Instead of bringing a new freshness to the series as I’m sure it was supposed to, the complete change of setting succeeded in alienating us from the secondary characters we’ve grown to love. In addition, the entire demon realm adventure seemed directionless and it was difficult to understand why Carlson chose to make such a move.
On the other hand, the demon realm itself was a very vivid and imaginative setting. I loved She’ol, the demon capital, and all the different kinds of demons there. Their social structure was described fairly well and untangling the rules of their society provided a lot of entertainment. That’s the sort of thing urban fantasy readers usually enjoy, and here it was done very well.
As always, I found Jessica’s relationship with her wolf and their rather odd dynamic quite fascinating. She’s not a regular shapeshifter like the ones we’re used to. Jessica and her wolf are two completely separate entities that share a body, and they communicate directly, especially when in danger. On the down side, Jessica is slowly turning into one of those all-powerful urban fantasy heroines, the ones that have no limits whatsoever, and it’s slowly becoming too much. The line isn’t far, though, and Carlson’s going to have to be very careful not to cross it.
Right now, however, this is a very strong, very reliable series and I hope it stays that way. With all the cross-genre novels that are currently being published, true urban fantasy books are increasingly difficult to find, and Jessica McClain series is UF in its purest form. That fact alone makes it special and worth your time.
2.5 stars Having just recently finished Altered, I more or less knew what to expect from the sequel. Both books are excellent for when I’m otherwise pr2.5 stars Having just recently finished Altered, I more or less knew what to expect from the sequel. Both books are excellent for when I’m otherwise preoccupied: fast-paced, romantic and extremely easy to follow.
Despite its high entertainment value, Erased is chock full of issues. Unfortunately, it’s even more predictable than the previous novel, its every single twist and turn visible from a mile away. The predictability doesn’t matter too much when combined with such rapid pacing, but a few surprises along the way would have been nice anyway.
Even in Altered, I found Anna’s relationship with Sam, her older sister’s ex-boyfriend, extremely creepy, especially because neither of them could really remember Anna’s sister. In Erased, the creepy factor has increased tenfold, to the point that really made me uncomfortable. Both Anna and Sam’s memories have been wiped far too many times and their history is too complicated to allow for a healthy relationship. Instead of making me swoon, I was a bit weirded out by it.
I did enjoy Nick’s much bigger role in this book, even when he was being his usual obnoxious self. Despite guessing his part in Anna’s childhood traumas extremely early, I still liked seeing him realize the depth of their relationship. Funny, lighthearted Cas remains the only source of comic relief, his significance in the main story arc minor, but his importance for the fans and the overall picture monumental.
All things considered, this is not a series I’d recommend for a more demanding reader. It’s fun and the writing is pretty decent (though nothing to write home about), but don’t expect a life-changing reading experience.
One should really be able to trust a blurb by someone as brilliant as Elizabeth Wein, but apparently, that’s really not the case. Sekret is a book thaOne should really be able to trust a blurb by someone as brilliant as Elizabeth Wein, but apparently, that’s really not the case. Sekret is a book that held so much promise, with a story about young psychic spies in Soviet Russia blackmailed into working for the KGB. And yet somehow, it ended up being my biggest disappointment of the year so far, made even worse by my extremely high expectations.
I can’t really fault Lindsay Smith or the publisher for false advertizing. We were promised a story about psychic spies in a very interesting historical setting, and that’s exactly what this book is. What’s more, it is clearly extremely well-researched and even thrilling, at least at first.
The problem, for me, was the emotional aspect of this book. Sekret reminded me of a delicious treat tightly wrapped in cellophane: I could see, but not touch or smell or taste or feel in any other significant way. When I try to pinpoint a reason for it, it all comes down to Yulia. Sekret desperately needed a stronger, clearer heroine, someone with far more character and strength. She should have been the light leading us through this horrible and dark story, but instead, we ended up blundering in the dark right alongside her.
So unlike Elizabeth Wein, who says that this beautiful novel left her aching, I was left severely disappointed, hoping that this young author with so much potential might do better next time.
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?
These days, eight out of ten middle books in trilogies are complete letdowns, but as long as there are shining stars like Deception, I won’t stop hopiThese days, eight out of ten middle books in trilogies are complete letdowns, but as long as there are shining stars like Deception, I won’t stop hoping that more authors will find a way to make those second installments less clichéd and more interesting. Fortunately for me and her other readers, this is a lesson C. J. Redwine doesn’t need.
Deception picks up mere days after the end of Defiance. Logan was chosen as leader of their group, which consists of around a hundred Balbodeen survivors and two newcomers, Willow and her brother Quinn. With the device that controls the Cursed One in Logan’s possession, they are safe from the creature, but the real monster, their former leader, is right on their heels. Logan and Rachel work relentlessly to take their people to safety.
Aside from the ongoing war and the constant danger, Rachel’s spirit is constantly weighed down by PTSD and depression. She is full of quiet anger, hell bent on revenge against the Commander and always struggling to keep it together. Her traumas cause a reckless, almost suicidal behavior, which hurts and terrifies Logan. By finding the right balance between anger and sadness for Rachel in her situation, Redwine proved to be an excellent psychologist and a very insightful person.
For the most part, Redwine avoids the usual middle book issues, but only just. Unlike most middle books, Deception has admirable character growth and a strong, full plot. The issues between Rachel and Logan aren’t pointless, created only to build unnecessary and often excessive tension. They feel genuine, caused by their mutual grief, Rachel’s overwhelming sense of guilt and Logan’s new responsibilities. But even when they don’t communicate like they should, even when Rachel is self-destructive and Logan completely wrapped up in his own genius, we might question their future together, but never their love for each other.
My fingers curl over the flesh and bone that shelters his heart. A heart strong enough to keep moving forward even when he’s lost so much. Strong enough to lead even when he doesn’t want to. Strong enough to commit to me when I know I’m not an easy person to love.
Rachel’s and Logan’s voices are nothing alike. I imagine Logan was extremely difficult to write, what with his mathematical mind constantly working to come up with new inventions. Redwine was able to portray this distractedness combined with worry for Rachel and his people beautifully. Despite his many concerns, being inside his mind after dealing with Rachel’s constant anger was a soft and pleasurable experience.
Oh, but the secondary characters! Not many authors achieve such complexity in such a large cast of characters, and yet Redwine gave us Quinn, Willow, Ian, Adam and so many more intricately built individuals. Getting to know each of them was no easy task, but figuring out their motivations was a delight.
I am very much looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy. I am not happy with the cliffhanger, but it’s just one flaw in an otherwise excellent book. One flaw can easily be forgiven, right?
As the second daughter of an Executive and therefore not an heiress, Nadia Lake has one purpose in her life – to marry well and procure more wealth anAs the second daughter of an Executive and therefore not an heiress, Nadia Lake has one purpose in her life – to marry well and procure more wealth and an even higher standing for her family. Fortunately (or so it seems), she has been chosen to marry the Chairman’s Heir, her friend Nate. But her position means that she’s always under the limelight, ruled by the strict rules of high society, and that even the smallest mistake can cost her more than she can pay. Whatever she does reflects on her family, her sister the heiress and her aloof parents. I rather liked Nadia, to be honest. Despite being a prisoner of her circumstances, she showed spirit and impressive intelligence at every turn. Faced with extremely hard choices, she always did what she thought she had to, but she did it bravely and determinedly. I tried to imagine myself in her position – destined to marry a man who would never love her or be faithful to her, but is her friend and confidante anyway – and quite honestly, I don’t think I could do it, and yet Nadia never complained.
Nate was understandably self-centered, but I suspected he had a golden heart in addition to the silver spoon he was fed with, and I was right. His only mistake was loving someone he wasn’t supposed to, and he paid for it dearly. Although I didn’t like his taking Nadia for granted and not taking the time to think about what he was putting her through, I could sympathize with his troubles very easily.
The society in Replica is one I can easily see happening in our future as well. The state of New York has been bought off by Paxcon, a company owned by Nate’s father, the Chairman. The entire society is a direct product of capitalism, the class differences so pronounced that intermingling is simply out of the question. The poorest aren’t even considered to be human, they’re called creatures, and Nate had the misfortune of falling in love with one of them.
The mystery is Replica’s weak spot. There was one possible murderer, just one person with the motive and the resources to do it, and the solution was painfully obvious from the start. But even with the villain so predictable, Replica was a fascinating read, because it reflected one version of the future I could easily believe in. It is a strong criticism of capitalistic society and sudden technological development and as such, it has a very strong impact.
While I’ve read several of her adult books, this was my first YA by Jenna Black, and I was glad to notice that her neat and precise writing style hasn’t somehow magically disappeared. She handled this with the level of confidence that can only come from a lot of experience and I was quite happy with the result. I’ll be following Nadia and Nate’s future adventures. I can’t wait to see how they’ll dig themselves out of the hole they’re currently in.
The number of urban fantasy series I still get excited about becomes smaller every year. I’ve been disappointed by authors and characters more times t The number of urban fantasy series I still get excited about becomes smaller every year. I’ve been disappointed by authors and characters more times than I can count, and I even flat-out refuse to speak of a series that went in an unwanted direction.( I’d totally tell you which series it is, but you know, I’m refusing to speak about it.;) I am very emotional where urban fantasy is involved and I can hold a grudge like nobody’s business. But sometimes (rarely) an author surprises me in a very different way, and that’s exactly what Cassie Alexander has done.
The Edie Spence series is right back on track and I’m happier than a bird with a french fry. My relationship with Edie Spence wasn’t always smooth and painless. She is a very lonely character, a night shift nurse with a brother addicted to heroin and very few friends. In the first book, Nightshifted, she was so easy to identify with, and while I’m sure she would never want my pity, there were times when I just couldn’t help it. The second book, Moonshifted, brought with it a different Edie, one who took loneliness to a whole new level. She was in a very bad place back then, but I didn’t appreciate how she handled it. Instead of fighting for herself, she allowed every supernatural creature in town to walk right over her and it didn’t take long for it to become very tedious.
In Shapeshifted, Edie is different yet again. Depressed, yes. Possibly lonelier than ever. But she is also determined to do something about it, to find a way to help herself and those she loves, and that’s something I can work with. I adored this new Edie, and I loved seeing her out of her element. Her job in Y4 was fun, but working with human patients while at the same time struggling with supernatural issues was even better.
Shapeshifted shows significant improvement in the romance department as well. This is the second romantic involvement for Edie since the beginning of the series, and while the romances Cassie writes are never straightforward or simple (or even sweet, for that matter), I loved that this one had time to develop, that it was born out of mutual trust and friendly affection. I’m trying to avoid mentioning the name of this love interest, but it is someone I was rooting for from the start. I think he’s the only one who really sees Edie, and he’ll probably be great for her self-esteem.
So yes, I am a huge fan of this series once again, and I hope the next book will be as exciting as this one. Can I please have it now?
How is it that every good idea gets ruined all to hell these days? The idea behind Undercurrent wasn’t perhaps the most original but it was2.5 stars.
How is it that every good idea gets ruined all to hell these days? The idea behind Undercurrent wasn’t perhaps the most original but it was brilliant and it had so much potential. And yet the final result, the first-page-to-last-page experience, is as underwhelming and confusing as they come.
It all started promisingly, with Callum waking up in a hospital after an accident at the waterfall, confused, disoriented and desperate for answers. Instead of giving him some, his best friend tries to smother him with a pillow, and that’s only the first in a long series of events that simply refuse to make sense. Nothing is as it should be, including Callum himself. People consider him a bully and fear him, but he remembers being hardworking and quiet and kind.
There is clearly something wrong in this Callum-against-the-world scenario, but Callum just can’t figure out whether the world has gone completely insane, or his head trauma was even worse than they thought. Either way, I knew the answer pretty quickly, but Callum was far, far behind. I can’t imagine a single thing worse than guessing the mystery on page 20 and then spending the remaining 300 pages waiting for the main character to catch up. It’s a mind-numbingly boring experience and one I don’t care to repeat anytime soon.
In addition, my enjoyment of any particular book is largely dependent on the romance, and unfortunately, romance was not a point in favor of Undercurrent. It was barely there, for one thing, and what’s even worse, it was left almost entirely unresolved.
If there is one good thing I can point out about Undercurrent, it’s Blackwell’s writing itself. He has a way of gluing readers to their seats and making them wait, wide-eyed and anxious, while he builds the story slowly and thoroughly. If only he’d offered some answers in the end, he and I would have been the best of friends instead of just casual acquaintances. Talk of the sequel would have made me feel slightly better at the time if Undercurrent gave me any desire to read it. As it is, I’m left with no answers, no ending, and no interest in getting them whatsoever.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to put my snark back in the drawer where it belongs.
3.5 stars As someone who’s grown tired of the dystopian genre altogether, I’ve become exceedingly difficult to please. So rarely do these stories work3.5 stars As someone who’s grown tired of the dystopian genre altogether, I’ve become exceedingly difficult to please. So rarely do these stories work for me anymore, it takes a lot to keep me interested, but Josin McQuein succeeded with seeming ease.
By far the best thing about Arclight is its pacing. The plot moves forward unrelentingly, mercilessly, giving the reader no time to breathe. The story is full of excitement, with strong elements of horror to ensure the reader’s interest throughout. The sweet and unusual romance serves to soften the rough edges, but it never becomes dominant and overwhelming, which I appreciated greatly.
Unfortunately, the rapid pacing leaves very little time for the reader to bond with the characters. While I liked Marina and appreciated the fact that she was no delicate flower, a lack of emotional connection was notable. It was, in part, due to her personality: she was meant to be a bit detached and strange. Her connection with Tobin, odd as it was, made me understand her better and appreciate her more.
But emotion-wise, the real protagonist of this book is Tobin himself. Out of all the characters, he is the one with enough emotional complexity to keep me glued to the pages. He often did things without really knowing why he was doing them, which was understandable given his age the circumstances, and it was always interesting to try to figure out his motives.
Among several weaknesses of Arclight, the writing is its Achilles’ heel. Not badly written per se, but poorly structured, the story tended to get extremely confusing, especially in more eventful chapters. Given the rapid pacing, those chapters made the majority of the book. Marina’s communication with the Fade was also messy, partly because it was meant to be, and partly because of the way it was written.
Another thing that deems mentioning is predictability. The twists and turns that were meant to surprise or even shock were painfully evident from the first few chapters, minus the few finer details of the story. It is a shame in what is otherwise a great story, but it’s also something I can live with, if the good outweighs the bad, which it certainly does.
The gorgeous cover, in this case, actually hides a very good story, which is a rarity indeed. If you haven’t yet decided to read Arclight, I hope this review will push you in the right direction. Arclight wraps up nicely, but the world McQuein created is filled with possibilities, which gives me so much hope for Meridian, the sequel scheduled to be released in April 2014.
Call it a character flaw if you will, but I have a desperate need for things to make sense, or at the very least, I want to be tricked into thinking tCall it a character flaw if you will, but I have a desperate need for things to make sense, or at the very least, I want to be tricked into thinking they do. This is especially true with sci-fi – obviously not everything is possible, or even probable, but there are ways of making even the most unlikely things seem real. (Authors, if you don’t know how, just ask Mira Grant.) This is where Jessica Brody failed: her ambition was bigger than her skill, and when the time came to offer explanations, she took the easy way out. In this case, easy also meant unconvincing.
While I adore the subject of memory loss, it is a slippery slope for authors and very few of them do a good enough job. Human brain is still a big mystery, which I suppose allows writers to take certain liberties, but not everything can be random. An example of memory loss handled convincingly in YA would be Thyla by Kate Gordon, in my opinion, but like with her sci-fi elements, Jessica Brody bit off more than she could chew.
The doctors say I should remember things like that. Although my personal memories seem to be ‘temporarily’ lost, I should be familiar with everyday objects and brands and the names of celebrities. But I’m not.
It took me a while to really get interested in Unremembered, but I have to admit that there were a few chapters around the middle that were pretty exciting. Then, as the truth started coming to light, I found myself more and more disappointed by the revelations.
It is a sad, sad day when I have to rely on romance to balance my review, especially in a genre like sci-fi. The entire situation screams wasted potential. But the fact that Zen was the saving grace of Unremembered is one I can’t change. I loved his loyalty and determination, his courage and smarts. On Sera’s end, the romance wasn’t as convincing. He was basically the only boy she’s ever seen, which somehow made her feelings less valuable in my eyes.
That said, the blurb for the second book, Unforgotten, (to be released in 2014), makes it clear that there’s a love triangle coming, so even the romance, the only part I actually liked, will be thoroughly ruined in the future.
This is where Jessica Brody and I part ways, at least until she comes up with another, hopefully better thought out series.
1. She has an awesome name (I should know, right?) 2. She can write much better than this.
I have a feeling Maya joHere are two facts about Maya Banks:
1. She has an awesome name (I should know, right?) 2. She can write much better than this.
I have a feeling Maya joined the Fifty Shades club with this one, and she didn't need to do that. I appreciate her books because she usually has no boundaries, but compared to her previous work, this one was relatively tame. Add to that the obscenely rich, dominant man, and the sweet, young, submissive female, and it's pretty clear what you'll end up with.
There were a few things I liked about Rush, but all in all, I am not impressed. ...more
Somehow, I feel that I’ve outgrown chick-lit ages ago (it’s funny how I’ll never really outgrow YA, though), but when an opportunity arose to review WSomehow, I feel that I’ve outgrown chick-lit ages ago (it’s funny how I’ll never really outgrow YA, though), but when an opportunity arose to review Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin, I felt an immediate connection and jumped at the chance to do so. There was something about the retro-looking cover that pulled me in right away, and the idea of stepping into someone else’s shoes so completely both thrilled and intrigued me.
Who of us wouldn’t want to be someone else, at least for a day? There were days when I just wanted to leave everything behind and become someone new, someone daring and social, someone who took chances on every turn or at least someone who felt comfortable in their skin. Our own skin can get too tight, and wanting to escape it makes sense in some situations. That’s what Jenny did. When the opportunity presented itself, she jumped at it and never looked back. After all, her boyfriend-soon-to-be-fiancé just left her for a girl equally average and plain – not even an upgrade, which was more insulting than anything else.
I’m not sure classifying Why Can’t I Be You as chick-lit is exactly fair. I’d sooner call it women’s fiction (there is a slight difference in quality between the two in my opinion). It’s certainly less formulaic and flaky than your average Sophie Kinsella novel, and there were some genuine emotions there felt heavier and more honest than I’d expected.
Despite its pretty simplistic plot, Why Can’t I Be You surprised me with its emotional complexity. It was thought-provoking and entirely satisfying. I loved the very subtle romance between Jenny and Fish, but even more, I admired her friendship with Jessie’s former best friend. All things considered, Why Can’t I Be You is a good way for us YA and UF readers to step out of our comfort zone and stir things up a bit.
I’d like to be able to say that Just Remember to Breathe was a complete waste of my time, but it wasn’t. Yes, most of it was downright horrible, the wI’d like to be able to say that Just Remember to Breathe was a complete waste of my time, but it wasn’t. Yes, most of it was downright horrible, the writing isn’t even worth thinking about, it needs hours and hours with a decent editor and the author should never, under any circumstances, write from a female perspective again. But underneath the cheesy love story was a whole different story that was touching, genuine and honest. That story, the story of a young soldier, badly wounded in Afghanistan, who just wants to find a way to get rid of the pain and the guilt and live his life as normally as possible, is a story that should have been the main focus of this book. That’s the story I wanted to read.
But I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Just Remember to Breathe is the first book in a series called Thompson sisters. From what I understand (and I did some research for the good of mankind), each sister will get her book (Julia already has hers), Nora Roberts/Danielle Steel style. I have no idea what made Charles Sheehan-Miles, an ex soldier who currently works with disabled veterans, think that he can write a New Adult love story, and in alternating points of view at that, but Danielle Steel he’s not. He has no understanding of his female characters, which was more than obvious from Alex’s point of view. It made me cringe at times, that’s how bad it was, and Alex herself was as plastic as they come.
About Alex and Dylan’s relationship, I’ll say this (and try not to grit my teeth in the process): they met as teens on a trip to Israel and stayed more or less together for years, even with four thousand miles between them. Then, while he was in Afghanistan, they broke up over a misunderstanding and he was wounded a few days later. Alex didn’t hear from him again until he showed up at Columbia and they were forced to do research together. The entire thing was blatantly unbelievable and cheesy, to the point of being laugh out loud funny on several occasions, and not at all touching like it was meant to be.
While in college, Alex was sexually assaulted twice by the same guy, a family friend her parents wholeheartedly approved of. This is the part that truly made me angry because it was handled superficially with absolutely no understanding for the women that go through such a thing. It was all a huge cliché and the author insisted on using those empty phrases you can read in cheap self-help articles, probably because he didn’t know any better. The rapist was just as bad, poorly written, made to be either incredibly stupid or just begging to be caught. The entire thing was thrown in just to create an extra obstacle for Alex and Dylan and I resented that.
There were two significant relationships in this book, and while Alex and Dylan’s oftentimes wandered into ridiculous(ly unbelievable) territory, the relationship between Dylan and his fellow soldier and friend Sherman was simply wonderful. Those few brief conversations between them, their loyalty and friendship, the genuine emotions I felt, the understanding, all of it made this book worth reading, despite so many unforgivable problems.
I think Charles Sheehan-Miles should have just written what I suspect he really wanted to write, even though it probably wouldn’t sell as well. If he ever decides to write a story about a young man struggling with PTSD, war injuries, brain damage and guilt, I’ll be glad to read it. But more if this? No, thank you.
Honestly, I hate doing this to a self-published author, I do, but honesty above all, right? You won’t have any trouble finding many four and five star reviews, so please read some of those too before making your decision. My opinion is just one of many.
The Bloodlines series and I got off to a rocky start. After the first book, I dare say I was bitterly disappointed and very, very sad. But the adjustmThe Bloodlines series and I got off to a rocky start. After the first book, I dare say I was bitterly disappointed and very, very sad. But the adjustment period didn’t last long as Golden Lily showed a radical improvement and, by the time The Indigo Spell came, I stopped thinking of Vampire Academy the entire time I was reading it and started thinking about Sydney and Adrian instead. Although it took some time for this series to free itself of the weight and glory of its predecessor, it is now a favorite in its own right.
One of the riskiest decisions Mead has ever made – the introduction of Adrian’s POV in The Fiery Heart, which must have been very hard to write – was also her smartest decision yet. Seeing Adrian struggle with the consequences of using spirit through someone else’s eyes, be it Rose or Sydney, is one thing, but to witness the depths of his depression in first person is a whole new, terrifying experience. These episodes of his were done tactfully and convincingly, showing us just enough to inspire dread for a beloved character, without either overdoing it or making it seem less serious than it actually is.
On the downside, the insight left me disappointed in Adrian to a certain extent. When the time came to show some faith and fight, even with very little hope left, he didn’t live up to my expectations. His depression is partly to blame, of course, but I still hoped for more from him, and was somewhat disillusioned when I didn’t get it.
It was also wonderful to witness Sydney’s newly found freedom and acceptance of all things vampire-related. She admittedly still has some hang-ups; after all, she didn’t get a personality transplant, but when she looks at Moroi and dhampirs, she sees people first, which is a radical change from her initial standpoint. Aside from being a nuisance, her sister Zoe served as a nice contrast, always there to emphasize the change in Sydney.
Although Mead boldly announced it, the emotional impact of Shadow Kiss wasn’t present in this book. I suspect it’s mostly because she announced it, and because of all the foreshadowing. While the events of Shadow Kissed came as a huge surprise, I’ve been expecting this for months, so when the time came to live through it, I barely even flinched.
I detest cliffhangers and enjoy my happy endings as much as the next girl, but I can live with this one, probably because there was more than enough foreshadowing and I’ve been expecting it for a very long time. Sydney and Adrian will surely find a way to beat the odds and make everything right again.
When the release of The Lost Prince was announced, I didn’t quite know what to think about it. In ninety percent of the cases, a spin-off isn’t the beWhen the release of The Lost Prince was announced, I didn’t quite know what to think about it. In ninety percent of the cases, a spin-off isn’t the best idea an author can have and it ends up disappointing the fans. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Iron Fey in the world, I still enjoyed the series and I didn’t want it ruined in some sad attempt to milk the cash cow. Now, after reading the first book, I’m very excited that Ethan’s (and I suppose Keirran’s) story is being told.
As usual, what bothered most reviewers is actually what I enjoyed the most. Ethan is very angry; at himself, at his life, his parents, but above all at Meghan for abandoning him and deciding to cut all ties to her human family. The way he sees it, she is the Iron Queen now and she doesn’t need Ethan or the problems he inevitably brings. Being inside his head was interesting to say the least, and I thought it was done really well. I suspect that’s exactly how I’d feel and behave in Ethan’s shoes.
I honestly didn’t thing Kagawa was capable of writing a book without a love triangle, but even though I expected it, there wasn’t one in The Lost Prince, which is probably part of the reason I liked the book as much as I did. I loved Kenzie and Ethan’s relationship, they are definitely a couple I can get behind. Even with all their problems, they are both better people around each other and there’s this wonderful chemistry between them that makes my heart flutter every time. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Keirran and Annwyl, I just didn’t feel any sparks there. Since I know Kagawa is excellent at writing swoony romances, I can only assume this was done on purpose.
Keirran is the primary source of suspense, at least once you try to look at the big picture, and through him, Kagawa manipulates her readers splendidly. As much as I wanted to like him, I was never quite sure where he stood, and as sincere as he seemed, there were always doubts at the back of my mind. I don’t want him to turn bad, mostly because of who he is, but I fear that it’s inevitable.
Once again, Julie Kagawa simply excels at worldbuilding. Nevernever is just as rich and imaginative as before, if not more. She always paid attention to detail and this time is no different. I’m not usually one for long descriptions, but Kagawa has a talent for creating vivid images with no more than a few carefully chosen words.
It was old, even from a distance, I could see that. Stone walls and mossy roofs, vines coiled around everything. Trees pushing up through rock, roots draped and curled around stone. Some of the buildings were huge – massively huge. Not sprawling so much as they looked as if they were built by a race of giants.
Here comes the real shocker: I ended up liking The Lost Prince even more than I liked the original series. Lack of a dreaded love triangle probably contributed to that fact. If Kagawa continues following her usual pattern, this series will only get better. Considering how much I already like Kenzie and Keirran, and how much I’ve warmed up to Ethan, it seems I really have something to look forward to. More, please!
I signed up for this tour not knowing a single thing about Oxford Whispers other than its intriguing title and the lovely cover. Usually when I do thiI signed up for this tour not knowing a single thing about Oxford Whispers other than its intriguing title and the lovely cover. Usually when I do this, I end up sorely disappointed, but fortunately, there are many things I enjoyed about Marion Croslydon’s debut.
Oxford Whispers focuses partly on Madison’s ability to see and communicate with ghosts as well as her family history and beliefs, and partly on her romance with the young future Earl Rupert Vance. The paranormal parts of this story were quite original, which isn’t something I get to write often, and I loved all the jumping between the past and the present.
Unsurprisingly, my favorite thing about Oxford Whispers was the setting. Like our Louisiana girl, Madison, the author spent some time studying in Oxford, and her familiarity with it was evident on every page. Oxford Whispers is not just Madison and Rupert’s love story, or even Sarah and Robert’s, it is the author’s love letter to Oxford, and it’s a lovely one at that. I learned a few things from it, and it thrilled me to find out some new details about such an astonishing place.
It was far easier for me to connect with Madison’s love interest, the young and gorgeous future Earl Rupert Vance, than Madison herself. Yes, he was just a bit too handsome, a bit too rich, a bit too eloquent. His father hated him far too much, his girlfriend Harriet was an evil Barbie doll, his car was extravagant and his friends were mostly rich jerks. For over four years, he carried around a huge guilt, and then he got rid of it in a single night, all because he found the perfect girl. In other words, he was no more than a cliché. But underneath it all, I managed to find some genuine feelings, a character that could potentially become everything I want in a love interest, or even a second main character, judging from the way things are going.
Clichés aside, with the events of the past foreshadowing current ones, there really wasn’t much room for surprise. About 90% of this book was painfully predictable. But then, in the very last part came a shocking revelation, a thing I never would have guessed, which made me both increase my rating and decide to read the next book.
And since I’ve mentioned the next book, it’s supposed to be about the Tudors – who wouldn’t want to read that?! I only hope that the author will flesh out her characters just a little bit better in the next one because, as I already pointed out, they definitely need more work.
Slide is one of those exciting books that you can (and probably will) read in one sitting, and then gladly re-read it a year or so later. It is a fastSlide is one of those exciting books that you can (and probably will) read in one sitting, and then gladly re-read it a year or so later. It is a fast-paced thriller with a single paranormal element. I was honestly surprised by how quickly I finished it and how much I enjoyed it.
The idea of slipping into the minds of others is certainly not new or unexplored, but I liked Hathaway’s version of it. Vee’s ability can be defined as a form of psychometry – touching emotionally charged objects causes her to see things through other people’s eyes. Vee has only tried to share her secret once, with her father, who promptly sent her to a psychiatrist and refused to talk about it again. That experience has thought her never to reveal what she sees, not to anyone – her sister, or even her best friend.
I expected Slide to focus more on the romance, but the first half was practically romance-free, and I must admit I’m glad that was the case. It allowed me to take the rest – the mystery, Vee’s ability, her loneliness and her fears, more seriously and it gave the story more weight. By the time the romance came at the center, I was already fully invested in this page-turner and eager to discover the identity of the killer.
In style, Hathaway reminds me a lot of Kim Harrington, which is a big compliment in my book, with one very important difference. Harrington’s Clarity (or Perception), although equally long, never seemed rushed but rather perfectly paced, while Hathaway’s desire to be concise worked against her.
In the second half, things started coming together at a head-spinning pace. On the one side, this was good because there were no fillers, nothing to dilute the main storyline and as I already mentioned, I was kept on my toes the entire time. On the other side, though, it stopped me from forming strong emotional connections with the characters as there was simply no time to get to know them, and I was never given a chance to become fully invested in their relationships, be it father-daughter, boyfriend-girlfriend, or those between best friends. By far the most impressive and memorable part, at least to me, was Vee’s relationship with her emotionally distant father. After Vee’s mother died, the brilliant pediatric surgeon started working himself almost to death, avoiding home at all costs and leaving Vee to care both for herself and her younger sister. Although Vee is full of resentment and feels utterly abandoned most of the time, she can’t find it within herself to stand up to him because he looks so utterly destroyed that her first desire is to protect him. Their reversed roles, their entire situation was done extremely well and it really struck a chord with me.
To make the short story even shorter, Slide is a thrilling read perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon when you need something to fully occupy you for a few hours and then let you go in time for work/school on Monday morning.
A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a surprisingly fun debut, a wonderful blend of steampunk, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. It’s perfect for fans ofA Conspiracy of Alchemists is a surprisingly fun debut, a wonderful blend of steampunk, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. It’s perfect for fans of Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series. The worldbuilding may be slightly inferior in comparison, but that’s only because Meljean Brook is the untouchable queen of the genre. Leisel Schwartz did not disappoint with her fabulously imaginative world full of alchemists, Nightwalkers, absint fairies and warlocks. The steampunk elements were great (gyrocopters!) and the plot was highly entertaining, if a tiny bit predictable.
The romance, however, fell a bit flat. You know when you watch So You Think You Can Dance and a couple dances with technical precision, but the judges say there’s not enough chemistry between them? That’s exactly how this was: Elle and Marsh made all the right moves, but there wasn’t any spark there. I never felt the rush of expectation when they were left alone, and even though theirs wasn’t an instalove, it still wasn’t believable enough for me.
Elle was a great heroine, one I could easily admire. She refused to be limited by her gender and preferred flying airships to husband-hunting. The secondary characters were fabulously developed and I can’t wait to see more of them in the second installment, The Clockwork Heart. A Conspiracy of Alchemists has a very clean ending and it could easily have been a standalone, but I was very excited when the second book was announced.
I can’t promise you’ll remember all the details a month after you finish this book, but I can promise you’ll have a great time reading it.