Disappointing. With the title "Before I got here", I was expecting stories about previous lives, or remembered experiences from before this current liDisappointing. With the title "Before I got here", I was expecting stories about previous lives, or remembered experiences from before this current life. However, most of the stories were just lame...like the story about the child who drew a picture of Jesus on the cross (riveting!) or the many stories about children spouting random Christian BS that they most certainly heard in Sunday school. Who on earth put this tired-ass collection together? And then took this sorry collection and then completely misrepresented the collection by titling it "Before I got here"? The whole book had a heavy Christian bias. Not my thing and not what I was expecting. If you like boring, pointless stories that feature kids and Jesus, then this is right up your alley. On the positive, there many colorful pages and pictures of unrelated children....oh wait, is that a positive?...more
Wow, ummmm, I guess I'm glad it's over. I'll start by saying I'm a big King fan but this is definitely not his standard fare. I wish I could say thatWow, ummmm, I guess I'm glad it's over. I'll start by saying I'm a big King fan but this is definitely not his standard fare. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book but it just wasn't enjoyable. It was dark and dismal and hopeless. I realize he writes horror but this is beyond that. King has a great gift for drawing characters and making them rich and relatable and they triumph in some way, even in the most horrific conditions. Not here, no-siree, nope nope nope. The book is well written and it kept my attention but damn, I would only recommend reading it if you feel like being really depressed for several days afterward. Just brace yourself for it....more
Unquestionably one of the most engaging books I've read in years. I've read very little science fiction before this but the story concept and seeminglUnquestionably one of the most engaging books I've read in years. I've read very little science fiction before this but the story concept and seemingly endless parade of positive reader reviews convinced me to give it a shot. I COULD NOT put it down. My only small criticism would be that the ending seemed a bit rushed and it seemed odd to introduce new characters near the end. Leads me to believe (and hope) that these stories will pick up again in a later book. Still, a five star book for me-and I don't give five stars often. Looking forward to the next installment!...more
I was approached by the author and offered a chance to read the book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, this was a mix of good and bad. FirstI was approached by the author and offered a chance to read the book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, this was a mix of good and bad. First off, I'm a bit of a fussy reader and I can be a bit critical. But I'm also a writer and know how difficult it is to just sit down and write a story of any length or genre.
My experience with reading paranormal romance is limited and I usually read fiction that is far more developed and polished than A Shade of Vampire. Firstly, this isn't a novel. I'm not even sure it would qualify as a novella. I would call it the first installment of a serialized novel. And this is different from, let's say, any one of the books in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Whereas any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels were complete stories in their own right but part of a series, A Shade of Vampire is not. It is not a complete story. It is only the beginning of a story.
One thing that irritated me right off was the first person point of view. Ughhh. I find it so tiresome in longer pieces ESPECIALLY when the point of view toggles between two main characters as it did here. It didn't help that when the characters switched from Derek to Sofia, the voice sounded exactly the same.
The characters were not well developed and this is a bit inexcusable given the fact that there were only TWO! Now, not only were they underdeveloped, but what little construction went into the characters was just weird and counterintuitive to most human behavior (or vampire behavior). For instance, I think it was not even two days into Sofia's captivity and she asks if she can decorate a room. WTF! You've been kidnapped, forced to live on an island of vampires who want to eat you and you're thinking about redecorating?? Who would behave like that?? Or in the beginning during an intense moment when Derek nearly kills her, instead of pissing herself like most people would, she instead gives him advice on how to not see himself as a victim!! Now in fairness, there is something revealed about Sofia later on that may explain SOME of her odd behavior but this explanation never really gelled for me. Also, Derek, who had just awoke from a 400 year long nap didn't know anything about television and cell phones. Ok, well that makes sense...BUT he was very adept at speaking modern English and his dialogue seemed very up to date on recent slang and clichés.
I'm not sure who the target reader here is...tweens and teens? If you're an adult looking for a paranormal romance that's a bit steamier, this is not the book for you. This is disappointingly tame. This is why I'm assuming it's intended for a young audience.
Now, I could nitpick all day. That's just how I am but that might give the impression that the book was awful. It wasn't. There was an enjoyment factor in this read even though the romance developed too quickly and was a bit corny. I know that there is a market for this style of fiction and that there are many readers who will enjoy this a great deal. A twilight fan would probably like A Shade of Vampire too. It has a similar feel and read to it as Twilight(and shares similar problems). I only rated this 2 stars. It was just ok. I probably would have given it three stars if any part of the storyline had tied up at the end. There's nothing wrong with a good cliffhanger but this was an incomplete story and that bugged me more than anything else....more
This was just alright for me. The first half of the book was pretty engaging but the second half just plodded along at a rate akin to torture. I thinkThis was just alright for me. The first half of the book was pretty engaging but the second half just plodded along at a rate akin to torture. I think what was lacking was a well defined central conflict. We see Abe at the beginning battling various vampires but these short sequences aren't really part of an overall plot. The book has no momentum, no driving force. The central conflict, such as it is, is the Civil War and the end of slavery so as to cut off the "food supply" for the powerful southern vampires. Ennhhh. This conflict had no focal point. Did it need a focal point? I'm not sure. But it needed something. (although I might point out that in the movie version, this flaw was fixed with addition of "adam" as the villain and focal point of the southern vampire rebellion)
At the halfway point, it was pretty well dead in the water. Does the fact that I already knew the outcome of the war and Abraham Lincoln's life affect how much I enjoyed the book? Maybe. But even the little 'twist' at the end was easily predicted. Not a horrible read but it lacked a lot. Also, I would have rather enjoyed meeting back up with the original narrator at the end...and I'm still curious as to who the seven people were that he was supposed to contact. I'm wondering if I missed something?...more
Wretched. I'm not a Nicholas Sparks fan. The supernatural premise in this story got my attention and on a night that I'd left my own book at home, I fWretched. I'm not a Nicholas Sparks fan. The supernatural premise in this story got my attention and on a night that I'd left my own book at home, I found this book abandoned at work and picked it up to read instead. I've never really liked romance novels much but Sparks makes me hate them. The weak supernatural storyline quickly got suffocated by all the pining and whining of the completely dull and one dimensional characters whose names I've already forgotten. By the end I was skimming. A very weak attempt, Mr. Sparks....more
This was not very good. I'll say, disappointing. The first book was great, the second was alright but this one just didn't cut it. I will say one thinThis was not very good. I'll say, disappointing. The first book was great, the second was alright but this one just didn't cut it. I will say one thing, Collins somehow cleverly managed to write the exact same story three different times and sell them by the millions-so kudos to her. Yes some of the incidentals changed from book to book and even a couple background characters came and went but it was the same story each time. Same disinterested and blindly stupid protagonist. Same unconvincing love triangle. Same conflict, Katniss vs The Capitol, same fight scenes taking place in arenas (although in this installment, the 'arena' was the entire capital...uh huh) There were so many instances of absurd, roll-your-eyes unrealism (like the entire city street that's on a BIG HINGE that can indiscrimately lower citizens (or rebels) into a pit of dark creatures...Did you hear that? THE ENTIRE STREET WAS ON A BIG HINGE!!) And the book was filled with this kind of ridiculous crap.
**vague spoilers ahead**
The quality of writing was piss-poor and long stretches of this were utterly dull. If you're going to make Katniss a rebel, then make her a real rebel, make her give an actual shit about what's going on. Let her get dirty...and WTF did a prep team have to do in this book?? Hell, Collins just kept falling back into the same storygroove. A prep team had a place in the first book and maybe even in the second book...but what the hell kind of rebellion has prep teams and propoganda? OMG, this was just fucking asanine!! If Collins had taken the time to make Katniss care about her role in the rebellion, then the deceit she uncovers at the end would have been more dramatic and how she reacted to that deceit much more believable.
The fact that she ended up with the guy I was rooting for didn't even compensate for this fizzle of a finale. And even though she ended with this particular guy, Collins didn't even write it well. I mean, she just told us in a summary-style ending what happened. She wouldn't even give her readers the satisfaction of sharing that moment with the characters when they're finally together and Katniss finally realizes who she loves. And that was the biggest disappointment of all because that was the only reason I kept reading this last book.
Probably would have given this 3.5 stars instead of 3. I enjoyed the story but it was not as engaging as the first installment. The first half of theProbably would have given this 3.5 stars instead of 3. I enjoyed the story but it was not as engaging as the first installment. The first half of the book moved rather slow and by the time the pace picked up, I realized that the author was taking me down a very similar plot-path as book 1. There was no character growth and there was only marginal movement in the entire plot of the story. Katniss was as clueless as ever. Perhaps Collins believes that the way to build suspense is to make the main character 'out of the intellectual loop' so that the reader may be as surprised as Katniss by the turns of events? That approach didn't work for me.
The action in the arena was not as exciting as in book one...I didn't find myself rooting for her (or Peeta) It was just kinda flat.
Still, all-in-all, not a bad read, just not as strong as "the Hunger Games". It just didn't grip me....more