3.5 stars Gina Damico, author of the Croak trilogy, is known first and foremost for her fabulous sense of humor. Her books are always hilarious, which3.5 stars Gina Damico, author of the Croak trilogy, is known first and foremost for her fabulous sense of humor. Her books are always hilarious, which more than makes up for the occasionally weak plots. On the surface, Hellhole is a pretty weak story about a boy who accidentally ends up taking care of the devil (one of 666 of them, apparently) and makes all sorts of ill-advised bargains with him along the way. But there are many other things underneath, and it’s precisely those things that make this book worth your time.
The beginning and the ending were actually Hellhole’s weakest points. The beginning seemed slightly ridiculous as there was no good reason for Max to end up with Berg. The whole digging-up-the-devil business made very little sense and I felt that Max’s whole predicament lost some weight because of how it came about. The ending on the other hand felt rushed and non-sensical and it made my head spin with how quickly everything was wrapped up. I had maybe twenty minutes left of my audiobook and nothing was resolved, which made me panic slightly, and then before I knew it, everything was set to rights.
The middle part, however, was an absolute delight, what with all the humor and the explorations of Max’s character. A boy in his situation could so easily be swayed by the forces of evil, and it was touch-and-go for a while there since he kept making so many poor choices that almost led him to the point of no redemption. That psychological aspect of the story that can be pondered and discussed if one is willing to dig just a little deeper is something I truly didn’t expect from Damico, but it made Hellhole a much better and far more worthy experience.
The romance developed slowly, gradually, from poorly hidden disdain to reluctant friendship and finally to love. I really enjoyed the fact that Max had a best friend who was never anything more, and that he managed to endear himself to Lore despite his inability to talk to girls. Word vomit is a term that certainly applies to Max and his predicament was always equal parts endearing and exasperating.
MacLeod Andrews is quickly turning out to be one of the few narrators that can be relied upon completely. He is the male version of Lorelei King – fabulously funny, extremely capable, with a voice laced with humor and a talent for voice characterization. I still maintain that his female voices need more work, but overall, his performance is always superb.
All in all, Hellhole is a standalone, it’s adorable and it will make you laugh. When you add to that MacLeod Andrews’ fabulous voice, you know you’re in for a treat.
Jayne Ann Krentz wrote over fifty New York Times bestsellers in a variety of genres under three different names. That kind of experience can’t be bougJayne Ann Krentz wrote over fifty New York Times bestsellers in a variety of genres under three different names. That kind of experience can’t be bought or faked, and we as readers are lucky to reap the benefits.
Trust No one is another in a long string of successes for this author. I love her paranormal stuff, but this type of romantic suspense is what I go for when I want to relax and stop thinking about everything else. Murder and romance are what Krentz does best, and she did it even better than usual in this latest novel.
Our heroine is Grace, a young, intelligent woman famous for saving a child from a vicious killer in her teens. Grace is strong, but she is still traumatized and somewhat reluctant to allow people to get too close. Paradoxically, she is a bit too trusting in her professional life and she tends to focus only on the good in people. When she finds her boss’s dead body in his mansion, her life gets turned upside down. Her past and present suddenly collide and it seems that someone, probably the killer, is completely focused on her.
With so many walls around her personal life and her heart, Grace has never had a man she could trust. That all changes when her best friend sets her up on a blind date with Julius Arkwright, a successful yet utterly bored businessman. Sparks fly between the two, and despite being extremely careful, they manage to find common ground.
Once again, Krentz took us on an insanely exciting ride. The danger felt completely real, and Grace’s stalker seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at once. Add to that one dead rat, two thugs and a knife and you’ll get 320 pages of well-built suspense.
This is an author whose work I’ll never get tired of reading. Her books don’t necessarily stand out, but they are reliably good with clever plots and delightful romances. Highly recommended.
I usually tend to avoid novellas written by unfamiliar authors, but this time I made an exception simply because I liked the cover. My proble3.5 stars
I usually tend to avoid novellas written by unfamiliar authors, but this time I made an exception simply because I liked the cover. My problem with novellas is that they don't give me time to form any sort of emotional connection with the characters, but that was not the case with Served Hot. Annabeth Albert painted these characters very well and their emotions came through loud and clear - the grief, the insecurities and all the fear.
While not perfect, this e-novella is well-written and the characters are fairly memorable. It's a great choice for a slow afternoon read. ...more
I've seen and heard so much praise for this book, and I understand why. It's great for New Adult fans, with two severely damaged characters, some healI've seen and heard so much praise for this book, and I understand why. It's great for New Adult fans, with two severely damaged characters, some healthy voyeurism, plenty of one-on-one time and a pretty well-constructed story.
For me, however, it just didn't work. I've read some pretty great M/M New Adult lately (the best being Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan by far) and this simply pales in comparison. I thought it was too long and somewhat repetitive, the characters needed more work, the emotional moments didn't quite reach me, and in the end, it was all a bit too easy and a tiny bit unconvincing.
Also, I'm a one-person-one-person kinda gal, so the stories that start with one of the MCs sleeping with someone else (let alone a series of random people) rarely work for me. It's a personal issue. Those of you who aren't bothered by such things will probably like this one a lot more.
Definitely worth reading, but far from being what I'd hoped. ...more
As an urban fantasy author, Kristen Painter keeps exceeding my already high expectations. City of Eternal Night is undoubtedly a fabulous addition toAs an urban fantasy author, Kristen Painter keeps exceeding my already high expectations. City of Eternal Night is undoubtedly a fabulous addition to her Crescent City series – full of danger, excitement, intrigue and romance.
Painter has an infallible sense of pacing, it seems. The tension here builds slowly, gradually, until it finally drives us to the edge of our seats. The story is mostly told from Augustine and Harlow’s perspectives, although there are things we see through Giselle’s eyes. As the story progresses, the villain’s POV becomes more and more important, and the picture we get in the end is far from hopeful for our two heroes.
Augustine remains the absolute star of this series. His character has grown considerably since the beginning and now, as Guardian, he has a steady moral compass we can’t help but admire. If you add to that his boyish charm, his absolute integrity and strong sense of responsibility, you get a hero as lovable as Adam in Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, and just as appealing as Kate Daniels’ Curran.
Harlow is still somewhat difficult to like, although she certainly tries. I feel that her character really shows Painter’s remarkable skill. She is extremely vulnerable, which appeals to our protective instincts, but she can also be judgmental and rash. She does make significant progress in this novel, but there’s still a long way to go.
I loved how (slowly) the romance was developed in this book. At the beginning, Harlow was too afraid of her own kind to even think about trusting Augustine, who is so obviously fae. But as she learns more about the different kinds of fae and their abilities, and as Augustine keeps proving again and again how very dependable he is, her attitude starts to change until she is just as attracted to him as he is to her. There two dance a very slow dance, a playful, entertaining negotiation of sorts. Something is always between them, but the obstacles are genuine and not something fabricated to keep them apart. Trust is incredibly important between them – once things finally align, I have a feeling their romance will be epic.
This is a series I cannot recommend highly enough. Painter has already successfully concluded one UF series, and her experience is clear from everything she writes. Even though I loved House of Comarré, this story is obviously more controlled, and I have no doubt there are plently more fabulous things to come.
In this day and age, very few topics are more important than intersex and/or transgender children. The world is changing right now and diverse books wIn this day and age, very few topics are more important than intersex and/or transgender children. The world is changing right now and diverse books will certainly help us reach a positive outcome. Aside from being a beautiful book, Alex as Well is also a step in the right direction. I can’t remember any other recent YA books about intersex teens, and we can’t deny the necessity.
Alex was born with intersex condition, anatomically both female and male. Her parents were advised to watch her carefully and make an informed decision about her gender later on, but in their wish to have a normal child, they decided to treat her as a boy from the start. This was, as it later turned out, a much premature decision that ultimately led to a bitter divorce and a lot of pain and insecurity for Alex.
Short blog entries written by Alex’s mom (and the accompanying comments) were inserted between the chapters and they were the only thing that truly bothered me about this book. As one of the most important characters, Alex’s mom needed more nuance, but instead I felt that she was almost cartoonishly selfish and mean. I really felt that some struggle on her part would have added significantly to the story.
On the other hand, I thought that Alex’s voice was poignant and occasionally funny. I really felt her pain, but I admired her bravery as well. She was portrayed as a truly extraordinary 15-year-old with a strong sense of self, even if said ‘self’ is actually two people in a single body.
Alex as well is a beautiful book; not free of flaws, but free of anything that couldn’t easily be forgiven. It’s a valuable book that raises awareness and increases sensitivity to those that are in any way different. I highly recommend it.