Modern Monsters was a very pleasant surprise for me, a fairly short and exciting novel that can be read in one sitting. It’s very tightly written andModern Monsters was a very pleasant surprise for me, a fairly short and exciting novel that can be read in one sitting. It’s very tightly written and compulsively readable and it gives us a convincing male voice, something we don’t get nearly often enough in YA fiction. Vic is not your average hero, YA or otherwise. He is a loner, a shy, antisocial boy with a stutter. He only has one friend, the very popular Brett, whose future is vastly different from Vic’s. Vic is used to being dragged around by his best friend and then abandoned in a corner when there are more shiny toys to play with. So when he follows Brett to yet another party and ends up sitting outside alone, he accepts it as just another fact of life.
Vic’s inherent kindness won’t allow him to turn his head from someone in pain, so when he sees a drunk girl throwing up in the bushes, he helps her to a room where she can sleep it off. He even worries about her over the weekend, and with good reason. Monday brings the news that the girl was raped, and the only person she actually remembers approaching her is Vic.
Vic is a character who jumps right off the page, with all his pain and insecurities. We watch him as he tries to defend himself, abandoned by everyone but Brett. Our heart breaks with him as his mother turns her back on him, easily convinced that he’s a rapist and not the boy she raised to respect everyone, especially women.
Even while we follow Vic, we see Callie in the background and we witness the strength of her spirit in face of such a mindless, brutal attack. I loved how she refused to be a rape victim, choosing instead to face her schoolmates and retake control of her life.
Although it seems strange, romance was the highlight of this book, but it never became more important than Vic’s journey to find his own strength. Callie’s accusations, his mother’s distrust, police investigation, Autumn’s romantic interest and his best friends support all served to make him realize his own worth and stand on his own two feet. Modern Monsters may be heartbreaking at times, but the feeling it leaves you with is overwhelmingly positive.
The message this novel unobtrusively tries to convey is a worthy one, and a decent reward for the few hours you’ll spend reading the book. Modern Monsters is clearly the work of an experienced author whose work I’ll keep an eye out for in the future.
2.5 stars Having read several negative reviews back when The Here and Now was first released, I nevertheless decided to give it a fair chance hoping I2.5 stars Having read several negative reviews back when The Here and Now was first released, I nevertheless decided to give it a fair chance hoping I would feel differently, as I sometimes do. The opening part seemed very promising, which allowed me to think my stubbornness would be rewarded, but it quickly became clear that my opinion would align with those of several trusted friends. The Here and Now is not a bad book as such, but I found it lacking in characterization, scientific background and sometimes, unfortunately, even common sense.
My main problem with Brashares’ novel is that it completely neglects any scientific theories involving time travel. It addresses possible consequences superficially, choosing not to base them on one of many existing scientific debates. This lack of research, especially when there’s so much material to draw from, is truly the only thing I can’t overlook or forget.
Prenna starts out as an excellent character. She lives in a community of time travelers from the future under very strict rules. Her world was ruined by the plague and while those that traveled seem to be immune, they can nevertheless be extremely dangerous for the so called time natives. Unlike her peers, Prenna is no stranger to critical thinking and she’s ready to defy her elders when their many rules make little sense. Although I liked her at the start, I soon noticed that Prenna was a pretty generic character, with nothing that would make her stand out and be remembered. She was rebellious, but not convincingly so, and it didn’t take long for her to lose my affection.
After four years of living by the rules, Prenna breaks them because of a boy. Ethan was present when she first arrived to her new life, but she doesn’t actually remember him. Still, there’s an undeniable closeness and a strong friendship that develops despite all the lies. Despite genuinely liking him, I was a bit perplexed by Ethan’s character because he seemed to transform into anything the story (or Prenna) required. He had access to tiny tracker devices, he understood very advanced physics, was able to run away with Prenna and rescue her from a well-guarded facility. His many talents were so unlikely that they constantly challenged my suspension of disbelief.
The upside of this book is that it’s fairly short and very easy to read. Even though it’s severely flawed, it’s pretty entertaining while you’re actually reading it. The story may not be able to withstand close scrutiny, but parts of it are enjoyable nevertheless.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Nora Roberts is the Nora Roberts for a reason. She knows just what her readers enjoy, and it’s clear frI’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Nora Roberts is the Nora Roberts for a reason. She knows just what her readers enjoy, and it’s clear from every page that she still enjoys it too, even after so many years and over 200 books behind her. It’s pretty clear when authors love what they do, and you can tell right from the start that this woman writes precisely what she herself would want to read.
The Collector is another one in a long line of successes, and while it’s far from being her best, it’s a book worth remembering. From passionate romances, to sociopath and long lost treasures, Roberts packed it all in this compulsively readable book.
We meet Lila Emerson, a YA paranormal author, as she is house-sitting for a wealthy couple. It’s something she does in her nomadic life, and while she does it, she likes observing people around her and making up their life stories. When she witnesses a murder right across the street, she doesn’t hesitate to notify the authorities and do something about it, but what seemed like a lovers’ quarrel gone terribly wrong is actually far more sinister and dangerous. Ash is the brother of one of the victims, determined to discover the truth about his baby brother’s death. In his grief, he doesn’t see Lila coming until she’s very deep under his skin, but they are both stubborn people set in their ways so their path is not the easiest or the quickest. Ash was sometimes difficult to like, although he was always easy to understand. He isn’t Nora’s usual hero – perfect in every way. While he’s handsome and rich, he is a hard man to live with, and I loved that Roberts never quite changed his nature, not completely. Anything else would have been a fairy tale.
There are two romances in this book – the main one, and the secondary romance between Ash and Lila’s best friends. Ash and Lila met under highly stressful circumstances and it reflected on their relationship. I wasn’t always convinced that they were meant for each other and it wasn’t all smooth sailing for them, but they grew together, they both compromised and changed and by the end, I was right there with them. It was a bit different with Julie and Luke. They got less time on page, but their second chance romance made my little heart beat faster right from the start.
I’m not the sort of person who shies away when a book is over 300 pages long, but I did wish for better editing in this case. There were times when I was extremely tired of this book because it seemed to go around in circles, and I suspect it would have been much more exciting with about a hundred pages less.
2.5 stars It is now abundantly clear that McGarry and I will never find common ground. I’ve read several of her books by now, and while I tried very ha2.5 stars It is now abundantly clear that McGarry and I will never find common ground. I’ve read several of her books by now, and while I tried very hard not to nitpick, I inevitably struggled to finish them. It needs to be said that I went into this book with the best of intensions. I was hoping that a new series would mean a clean slate, a new opportunity and a chance to build a very different opinion. Alas, it was not meant to be.
I have to say that I fully understand the appeal of Katie McGarry’s books. They’re passionate and clever and they rely on well proven formulas. McGarry always seems to know what she’s doing, why she’s doing it and how she should go about doing it, and the end result is always a YA contemporary romance built to please her readers.
The effect on me, however, is precisely opposite.
It is awfully nice to see McGarry move to a different settings, with different characters and different circumstances. Nowhere But Here takes us to the world of motorcycle clubs, be it legit or otherwise, and people who live within these brotherhoods and consider them to be more important than anything else in the world. I applaud McGarry for her attempt to show that bikers aren’t all criminals and brutes, but in order to actually achieve that, her characters needed much more nuance. I felt that Emily’s newly discovered family members were all clichéd and some scenes and descriptions made me slightly uncomfortable.
Emily herself was somewhat of a cliché, which bothered me to no end. In order to create a strong contrast between her and Oz, McGarry made her too innocent and pure, far too naïve and forgiving. It’s a common problem I have with her characters – they never quite seem real to me. Oz was even more of a cliché. A womanizer and a bad boy all around changed his ways the second he met a beautiful, innocent girl. But what really made me pause was how he seemed brainwashed at certain times, a club drone with no thoughts of his own. I understand now it was a journey he needed to take, but at times it was pushed too far.
There’s no denying the quality of Katie McGarry’s writing, though. She may re-write the same formulas, but she does it exceptionally well. Her style is clean, precise and capable of evoking just the right emotions at exactly the right time. It is, I dare say, her saving grace in my eyes and it’s why I kept trying with her books even after several disappointments.
It’s clear, however, that it’s time to give up. My aversion to contemporary YA is certainly to blame, but several authors like Melina Marchetta, Jandy Nelson, Kirsty Eagar, Cath Crowley or Laura Buzo have been able to temporarily cure me of it and yet Katie McGarry never did. I suppose that alone says all there’s left to say.
Beautiful exteriors often hide the nastiest things, in life and literature alike. We learn that lesson very early in life, and we readers quickly learBeautiful exteriors often hide the nastiest things, in life and literature alike. We learn that lesson very early in life, and we readers quickly learn to be wary of gorgeous covers. But the wariness can make us miss out, and Tangled Webs has a lot more to offer than just the pretty swirls and colors on its dust jacket.
Not many YA books take place in the 18th century, so when I first read ‘London 1725’ in the summary, I was immediately drawn to it. It must be said that Tangled Webs doesn’t offer many historical details, but it also avoids any accuracies. Because of the fast pacing, going into descriptions of historical settings and society could have been disastrous for this book. Bross gave us just enough to ground his story, but not enough to burden it.
We meet Arista as Lady A, a lady with a feathered mask who trades secrets and blackmails the rich, but not for her own gain. Underneath the ladylike behavior and glamour is a street urchin, a hungry orphan with nothing left to lose. Arista was bought from the orphanage when she was five or six, and taken to be a crime lord’s many child beggars and pickpockets. But as she grew, she learned to talk and act like a lady, all to prove herself useful and save her own life.
Arista has only two friends, the slightly older Nic, her protector, and the former maid, Becky, who is responsible for her clothes and manners. They may be the only people she trusts, but they are constantly used to threaten her into obedience. Through it all, through pain and impossible circumstances, Arista has a backbone of steel. She is sometimes a bit naïve, having missed out on any and all normal experiences, but she is fierce, dependable and kind-hearted.
The romance may just be the weakest part of this book, not only because it’s instalove, but because I never saw any actual trust develop between Arista and Grae. Pretty words and infatuation are what it all came down to. Arista kept working around Grae instead of with him which, while understandable, was also incredibly frustrating.
If I were a nitpicky sort of person in a nitpicky sort of mood, I could find at least twenty seven things wrong with this book. But I’m not, and I won’t. At the end of the day, Tangled Webs is a flawed but entertaining story that kept me awake for most of the night and even made me cry at times.
It has been pointed out far too many times that The Girl at Midnight shares many similarities with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Some miIt has been pointed out far too many times that The Girl at Midnight shares many similarities with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Some might consider this to be a compliment and an instant recommendation, but for me, it was a sign that I should consider very carefully before reading it. But while it was clear right from the start that the stories do indeed share many elements, it was also clear to me that The Girl at Midnight lacks that pretentiousness I strongly disliked in Taylor’s books.
The world of Avicen and Drakharin is a magical, but dangerous place. I loved discovering these two cultures hidden beneath our own, learning about their customs and bonds, their friendships and sacrifices. With so many things borrowed from authors like Laini Taylor and Cassandra Clare, The Girl at Midnight has very little originality to offer, but these two cultures, one with feathers and the other with scales, certainly work in its favor.
I liked Echo right from the start, her feisty personality made me root for her in every situation. She made some bad decisions and some impressively brave ones, she had regrets and she made sacrifices, but she approached everything with the best of intensions and she followed her heart at all times, even when it lead her somewhere completely unexpected.
Although important, romance isn’t at the forefront of this story, which is good because it came very close to ruining it completely. There are far too many love triangles to count, too many infatuations to keep track of, and the whole thing is a huge incestuous mess that made me very uneasy. It was hard to get invested in something that was problematic on two different sides, and even secondary romances had far too many problems to count.
Grey’s writing is elegant and pretty, capable of evoking the right emotion at the right time. Her sentences aren’t overly decorative, but their fluency is excellent and it is very easy to separate all the narrative voices. If she can separate her story from others that came before it and find her own original path, she might just be an author destined for greatness.
The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, but it also doesn’t feel like an ending at all. If feels more like a beginning, a promise of thing to come, adventures even more dangerous and exciting for Echo, Caius and their small group of dreamers. A dangerous road lies ahead and I’m excited to be taking it with Melissa Grey and her wonderful characters.
3.5 stars End of Days is the conclusion we’ve all been anxiously waiting to read since early 2011, when Susan Ee first released what was to become a se3.5 stars End of Days is the conclusion we’ve all been anxiously waiting to read since early 2011, when Susan Ee first released what was to become a self-published sensation. Angelfall was quite a surprise for readers and publishers alike and luckily, the quality was recognized on all sides. But if Angelfall was a huge success, the book that followed, World After, was an even bigger hit. Not only did Ee manage to reach the same level of excellence, she somehow doubled the excitement and our own emotional investment.
It’s pretty clear that End of Days had some big shoes to fill, but unfortunately, the conclusion to Susan Ee’s trilogy was born with relatively small feet. All on its own, this book would have been something to talk about, but compared to the previous two, it doesn’t quite reach the same heights. From the beginning, it was extremely difficult to scrounge up the excitement we were left with in World After. While funny and filled with witty banter, this third book seemed rather aimless and poorly structured. Admittedly, I may be a bit harsh, but it’s only because my expectations were sky high.
The good news is that Penryn and Raffe spend most of this book together. We’ve seen them change from enemies to reluctant companions to trusted friends and eventually something more. And while the ‘something more’ part still can’t be if Raffe is to rejoin his own kind, the bond between these two, the true friendship and companionship, is undeniable. Although his honor demands that he maintain his distance, it is only a physical distance he keeps, and even that with limited success.
The tension between them is delicious, perhaps not quite as exciting as before, but palpable nevertheless. That could be the source of my biggest disappointment – after all the build-up, the ending seemed rather anti-climactic on all fronts. It was fine, I suppose, but if ‘fine’ is the best we can do right after ‘spectacular’, something obviously went wrong somewhere.
Be that as it may, it needs to be said that Caitlyn Davis did a spectacular job with her narration once again. I honestly didn’t like her in any of the other audiobooks she narrated, but hers is the perfect voice for Penryn and in this case, it adds a lot to the story itself. If you do decide to read this trilogy, and I definitely recommend it, then audio might be the better choice.
3.5 stars This is Your Afterlife first came to my attention because of its beautiful cover and the person behind it – our very own Jenny from Seedlings3.5 stars This is Your Afterlife first came to my attention because of its beautiful cover and the person behind it – our very own Jenny from Seedlings and Supernatural Snark. The cover reflects the book perfectly: it is upbeat, sweet and light. Just what the doctor ordered. If you’re looking for a comfort read, look no further. This book will make you laugh, swoon, and despite its title, it will leave you smiling ear to ear.
Keira’s former crush and her school’s football star shows up one day in her bedroom, but alas, he is no longer alive. Jimmy is Keira’s first ghost, but she isn’t surprised. Her recently deceased Grandma had the same gift. Keira and Jimmy have very little history between them, except in Keira’s imagination, but an easy friendship develops fairly quickly and Keira is determined to find Jimmy’s killer, regardless of the cost.
Unlike with Jimmy, she has far more history with his brother Dan. Jimmy may have been a safe infatuation, but Dan was the real deal – her best friend and confidant, until she hurt him terribly in eighth grade. Finding a way back from all the hurt isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely necessary if they’re to help Jimmy and send him safely to his real afterlife.
I liked Keira a lot, and I simply adored Jimmy and Dan. The mystery part of this book is very predictable, which leaves the three main characters in charge of keeping us happily reading nevertheless, and these three do their job beautifully. Spending time in their company was so heartwarming and pleasant, I truly didn’t want to leave them at all.
Stephanie Bentley narrated the story beautifully. Her voice sounds young, which is a definite advantage when you’re borrowing your voice to a 16-year-old. I’ve been known to abandon YA audiobooks because the narrators sounded too old, but with Bentley, that’s really not an issue. To make things even better, her voice characterization is fantastic. I’ve already checked out other books narrated by her on Audible and there are several I won’t hesitate to buy.
This is Your Afterlife is a perfect book for those days when you find yourself tired of angst and unnecessary drama and you just want to relax with a sweet, undemanding read. It is a book about second chances and forgiveness, and while it may be slightly predictable at times, even that can be oddly relaxing.
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.
Amy Plum, one of my most trusted YA authors, has apparently reached new heights. Her Until I Die trilogy has a very special place in my heart, but AftAmy Plum, one of my most trusted YA authors, has apparently reached new heights. Her Until I Die trilogy has a very special place in my heart, but After the End is in a completely different category. With its imaginative worldbuilding and heroes we can admire and adore every step of the way, this duology is really every reader’s dream come true.
In this second part, Juneau and Miles are outnumbered and outgunned. They have enemies on all sides and very few resources, but for Juneau, abandoning her clan simply isn’t an option. Plans need to be made and battles need to be fought, and Juneau’s sense of honor and responsibility through it all is stupendous.
Oddly enough, Until the Beginning is a bit slower than After the End. It is a different book, focused more on Juneau’s introspection and crisis of faith. With everything she thought she knew about her world gone, Juneau has much to consider and make some very difficult choices for herself. Miles also faces some enormous changes and although the struggles with them somewhat, he quickly takes them in stride, as is his way. Unlike Juneau, he is more ‘go with the flow’ kind of guy, which is certainly an advantage when your world shifts from one second to the next.
Their relationship develops beautifully in a very short time. There is a true friendship and companionship between these two, followed by deep and honest trust. When you have all that, love follows not far behind, and even though it happened in mere weeks, theirs was a connection I believed completely. There’s not much to do except wholeheartedly recommend this duology to all of you. Amy has shown us that her imagination knows no bounds and that she’s an author with so much to offer. I’m willing to bet that we’ll be getting many incredible stories from her, and all those updates about her life in Paris certainly don’t hurt either.
If you have yet to meet Juneau and Miles, make sure to do so as soon as you can. From Alaska to Nevada, their adventure will leave you breathless.
Being a child of the 80’s, I get really nostalgic whenever I’m reminded of anything from those years, be it the music, the fashion, or David Bowie’s wBeing a child of the 80’s, I get really nostalgic whenever I’m reminded of anything from those years, be it the music, the fashion, or David Bowie’s weird personas. But with or without nostalgia, with or without understanding of the period, The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters is a truly magical book. Heartbreaking, overwhelming, deeply metaphorical and symbolic, painful, strange and so very honest, this sucker punch of a novel will stay with you for a very long time.
I’ve seen this book labeled as paranormal. It is not. I’ve seen it described as confusing and unexciting. It is not. It is, however, filled with symbolism, allegory and metaphors. This novel isn’t your average, everyday read. It’s something truly special, and as such, it will easily find the hearts of its true audience.
Beaufrand allows Noah to tell us his own story, but Noah’s mind is full of mysteries and monsters, missing girls and frightening fogs. He is more than happy to turn the spotlight on his best friend Evan, a modest, kind boy, a sidekick by nature if ever there was one. Noah and Evan have depended upon each other since they were just boys, and together they survived disasters, abuse, suicidal parents and hospitals. They made it thanks to each other and their music.
With tragedy behind him and tragedy on the horizon, Noah’s past and present painfully collide, and it’s far more than he can handle. In a desperate attempt to put his world to rights, he decides to re-form the Gallivanters, his failed punk band. The goal is to create a demo and enter a contest to play at a famous brewery, which happens to be the place where more than twenty girls disappeared.
Noah wants to be a musician and a knight, but even more, he wants Evan to be both. For a kid who is supposedly a self-centered troublemaker, he does very little for himself. Beaufrand delved deep into Noah psyche by subtly showing us consequences of constant horrible abuse, by giving us glimpses of a masochistic personality, and miraculously shaping it all into a character we can’t help but love. I am in awe.*
Be patient with this book. Be kind to it when it seems confusing and strange. Give it time, be tolerant, and the book will give back to you tenfold. This is quite easily my favorite book this year, with a quiet sort of beauty that might, just might, go tragically unnoticed. Some of the best things are, though, and I’ll always feel extremely lucky to have stumbled upon this gem.
*Just writing this review, thinking intensely about the beauty of this book, made me cry like a baby. ...more
3.5 stars Entangled Teen has a new imprint, Entangled Crush, and just in time for summer, too. The books published under this imprint are exactly what3.5 stars Entangled Teen has a new imprint, Entangled Crush, and just in time for summer, too. The books published under this imprint are exactly what the name suggests – short, deeply romantic reads perfect for upcoming summer days spent on the beach.
Center Ice fits that description perfectly. With little less than 200 pages, it falls somewhere between a novella and a full-length novel, which makes it a pretty easy read. Thematically, however, it pushes the boundaries and attempts to do more. Following behind Katie McGarry, Jennifer Armentrout (as J. Lynn) and other similar authors, Cate Cameron bravely tries to write something more serious and far more memorable than your average summer read.
Sixteen-year-old Karen’s mother recently died, which forced her to go live with the father she’s never even met, the wife he cheats on constantly and their three children. Practically overnight, Karen went from being the only child of a single mom to being the middle kid in a large, dysfunctional family. Needless to say, her life is in shambles.
In her new life, Tyler MacDonald seems to be the only thing that makes any sense. He is much more experienced and a hockey star, but Karen couldn’t care less about his fame or his status. He makes her feel like a normal person and that’s pretty much all that counts.
There are things Cameron did exceptionally well. Her teens were among the most realistic I've ever stumbled upon and their behavior seemed completely true to life. She didn't hesitate to portray them exactly as they are, without unrealistic hesitations and modesty. Karen in particular was a fabulously developed character, but Tyler wasn't far behind at all.The story of these two was very warm and honest.
Center Ice would have been a much better book if Cameron left it at that. But she attempted to do too much, to give too many character too much depth in a fairly short story, and what we got in the end is sometimes successful, but sometimes a complete failure.
Karen’s father and his marriage were by far the most disturbing part of this book. A serial cheater before and after Karen was made, he claimed to love his family and yet he kept disrespecting them in front of the whole town. For me, this person can’t possibly have any redeeming qualities and I’m not convinced that someone like him could ever change. But Cameron decides not only to give him a second chance, but to make him a different man overnight. Tyler’s father is another big issue of mine. Obsessed with Tyler’s carrier, too focused on his son to do anything else, even hold a job, he seemed more cartoonish than anything else and his interactions with Tyler struck me as exaggerated. Both fathers were antagonists of sorts, and neither character was very successful.
But Center Ice still deserves two or three hours of your time. Cameron has a lot to offer and I have a good feeling about this series. I just hope she’ll give more thought to her secondary characters’ motivations in the future.
Hello, my name is Maja and I’m a Mary Calmes addict.
It’s clear by now that Mary Calmes sprinkles crack cocaine between the lines of her books. I’ve reHello, my name is Maja and I’m a Mary Calmes addict.
It’s clear by now that Mary Calmes sprinkles crack cocaine between the lines of her books. I’ve read countless M/M books by now, but none were as addictive and utterly captivating as hers. There’s just something about her over-the-top romances, her insanely possessive couples with eyes only for each other, that makes you want to reread her books until your brain rots or you drop dead from exhaustion.
To make matters even more strange, I rarely give her books more than 3 stars, but I’ve been known to sit by my laptop, impatiently waiting the stroke of midnight just so I could download her latest release. I don’t think I’ve ever been more addicted to an author and more embarrassed by it at the same time.
Lately, Calmes has been very fond of the friends-to-lovers trope, and she’s been using it well. This story is no exception. Two best friends, Boone and Scott, have been dancing around each other for several years. It’s obvious that they can’t find love with anyone but each other, but neither one of them dares to take the plunge. Boone has a painful past, linked to the Japanese mafia, and Scott has the worst luck in love as he always falls for the wrong people.
Mary Calmes always tells her story from a single perspective, in first person. This time, we see the events through Boone’s eyes. The romance is pretty light-hearted, but Boone’s past is there to make the story just a bit harder to handle. The thing about Boone’s past was that it’s more than a little over the top, which isn’t at all unusual for Calmes. One particular event made me especially uncomfortable because it changed how I saw the main character. Other than that, the story was typical Calmes, albeit one of her least memorable.
Generally speaking, Calmes may use and reuse the same tropes over and over again, but she does it extraordinarily well. Being addicted to her work is the best and worst feeling in the world. If I don't get my fix regularly, I frantically hide behind closed doors to reread her novellas and her full length novels. Of course, I would never admit to such a thing publicly. This must be my evil twin typing.
Just Dessert is one of five stories in Dreamspinner’s Tales of the Curious Cookbook anthology. The other stories were written by Amy Lane, Marie Sexton, Amber Kell and RJ Scott. Having read them all, I can tell you that Amy Lane’s story is the only one (besides this, of course) that’s actually worth reading.
The best thing about Julie Kagawa is that she can get away with almost everything. She put us through hell so many times – just think of that cliffhanThe best thing about Julie Kagawa is that she can get away with almost everything. She put us through hell so many times – just think of that cliffhanger in The Eternity Cure – and still we keep coming back for more.
The very simple truth is that I liked Rogue more than Talon. The first read like light contemporary YA at times, what with all the surfing, parties and teens hanging out. It’s true that we needed to really see Ember as part human in order to understand her struggles, but it’s also true that for a dragon book, Talon had very little actual dragon action to speak of.
Rogue is certainly an improvement in that (and every other) regard. There is more tension, more danger, more drama, and there are more dragons flying around. Kagawa still doesn’t explore them to their full potential, but she’s getting there, and we’re happily following along.
Ember, being two-natured, is torn between two men, one for her human, and one for her dragon self. It’s clear, as it usually is, who she leans toward more strongly, which makes the whole thing tedious and unnecessary. Fortunately, the focus in this book is very far from romance. There is a war brewing which puts romantic entanglements very low on everyone’s priority lists.
The title of this book could just as easily be Ember in the Middle, and I don’t only mean romantically. With Talon’s search team on one side (led by her twin brother), and The Order of Saint George on the other, Ember has no shortage of enemies to run from. But even worse than guns are the secrets. It seems that everyone has something to hide.
The worst thing about Julie Kagawa is that she can get away with almost everything, and she knows it. Using the same tropes, putting us through hell and back, leaving us hanging from a cliff by our very fingertips… all is fair and all is forgivable. And we’ll always keep going back for more.
I’ve done with this series something I’ve never done before, jumped right in with the latest installment and skipped everything that came bef4.5 stars
I’ve done with this series something I’ve never done before, jumped right in with the latest installment and skipped everything that came before. I soon realized my mistake, though. While each book can easily function as a standalone, missing even a word of this enchanting series is a crime. So here I am, going back to the beginning, meeting Eve and Roarke in their early days and sharing their journey from the start.
Naked in Death was first released in 1995, but it’s still fresh and innovative today, which tells you everything you need to know about it. It’s set in a futuristic version of New York, 2058 to be precise, but the reality isn’t so different from today. Yes, people have expanded their activities and moved some of them to various other planets, and technological developments have moved forward just enough to make them interesting even 20 years later, but human nature has more or less remained the same.
Enter Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a competent homicide detective. She handles the most complicated cases with unwavering dedication and a strong sense of justice. Her own past is incredibly painful, which left her emotionally closed off, but when it comes to her victims, Eve has all the compassion in the world.
In Naked in Death, Eve investigates the murders of three prostitutes. Cold, vicious, calculated crimes, all videotaped and left for her to find. Her investigation takes straight to one of the richest men in the world – Roarke – but as hard as she tries, Eve just can’t see the honest, competent man as her killer.
Naked in Death has a strong romance, yes, but it’s so much more than that. The case Eve investigates isn’t just something to fill the pages between romantic encounters. If anything, it’s the other way around. These murders are painful, well planned and with a huge emotional impact for both Eve and the reader. In addition, Robb gives us splendid characterization on multiple fronts. It’s obvious even in this first installment that she’s building her characters to last.
This series is up to its 40th installment now, and each one is better than the last. There is no noticeable decline in quality or intensity, which is not only rare, but absolutely brilliant as well. The descriptions can be a bit wordy at times, but they only add to the impression that we’re dealing with much more than a simple murder mystery/romantic suspense. After all, this is Nora Roberts we’re talking about. She can do so much more than that.