I bought this solely on Thea Harrison's recommendation so I haven't read the first book and I really don't feel I was missing anything. I enjoyed it,I bought this solely on Thea Harrison's recommendation so I haven't read the first book and I really don't feel I was missing anything. I enjoyed it, it was an unique spin on the military romance subgenre and it was in Andrews's usual style. I paid $2.99 at Amazon because I was feeling lazy and I don't regret spending that much, but there are a handful of typos that were distracting, i.e. except instead of expect, missing periods, etc. Fan-people for Ilona Andrews should check it out if you have the extra cash; otherwise, save your money for the next Edge or Kate Daniels book. ...more
This started out as delightful urban fantasy and then took a hard right into horror. I am now majorly creeped out and, of course, home alone. Excuse mThis started out as delightful urban fantasy and then took a hard right into horror. I am now majorly creeped out and, of course, home alone. Excuse me while I go find a weapon and turn on every light in the house....more
Down & dirty review because I gotta be somewhere in about ten minutes.
Sea Lion Publishing contacted me as they seemed to have done with a lot ofDown & dirty review because I gotta be somewhere in about ten minutes.
Sea Lion Publishing contacted me as they seemed to have done with a lot of people and sent me the first three issues of Storm Born. The collected version will have issues 1-4 so I haven't seen the complete book as of yet.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not a Richelle Mead fan per say. I think she's a good writer, but her books tend to go to dark, angsty, places and I don't like angst in my romance.
However, I have read Storm Born, back when it first came out, and let me tell you, the graphic novelization is way better. I actually couldn't remember if I'd read it or not, but as I started to read the first issue, it all came flooding back. The art is phenomenal, Grant Alter has stripped away a lot of the extraneous detail that bogged the story down, and Eugenie is free to shine as an awesome heroine.
I have to say, I really love the way the sex scenes were handled. You never see masculine or feminine bits, but the hiding of them never seemed contrived. The body language is completely natural and sometimes you could almost see movement on the page.
If the art by Dave Hamann wasn't so fabulous, the writing couldn't carry the book alone, so this is really a perfect pairing. Comparisons should be drawn to Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson books as Mercy and Eugenie are the same type of heroine.
Gotta run, but I rec this and I hope it does well enough for the later books in the series to be covered so I don't have to read them! ...more
So this isn't coming out until Halloween, which is a little over a month away, but Carina Press doesn't have any 'wait until' guidelines over at NetGaSo this isn't coming out until Halloween, which is a little over a month away, but Carina Press doesn't have any 'wait until' guidelines over at NetGalley and I'm feeling too lazy to log into Blogger.
I realized when I was almost finished with this book that I tend to think of these books as Carina Press books rather than a Natalie Damschroder book. I figure it's because I've never heard of most of these authors, but then I catch myself trying to compare Behind the Scenes to Falke's Captive. It's apples and oranges, Self, apples and oranges.
Anyways. The book. The heroine is Kennedy, a security specialist who dedicates herself protecting others. She normally sticks to taking jobs from humanitarian organizations because her older brother was killed while working for a Doctors Without Borders-type group. Due to machinations by her father and old family friends, she gets drafted into protecting a movie set. Kennedy doesn't take the threat seriously at first, but soon learns the bad guys are taking it very seriously indeed. She gets entangled with the leading man, Roman, who then becomes a target for the bad guys.
So. Good stuff. Kennedy is the kick-ass, take charge, type of heroine. She may not be in the military, but she is a soldier nonetheless. Her strategy was smart and she was a good leader. The reader gets a very in-depth look at what being in personal security means. The book also moved along at a very fast clip.
Bad stuff. Next to Kennedy's strong presence, Roman paled. Here's this Brad Pitt-esque movie star and he barely registered. In addition, the relationship development got greatly overshadowed by the action. Damschroder makes it a point of saying that Kennedy & Roman are having nightly chats over a long period of time, getting to know each other, but the reader doesn't get to see any of it. I twigged onto the bad guy's identity about halfway through, but Damschroder threw in enough red herrings that I wasn't positively sure until the last quarter of the book.
I don't read a lot of romantic suspense so that could factor into my general meh-ness about Behind the Scenes. I admit, I wanted more of the rich and famous lifestyle & less of the screaming and dodging. If you like romantic suspense, I'd rec you give this a try and you'll probably rate it four stars. Everyone else, go read something by Shannon Stacey or Cindy Spencer Pape. ...more
I don't know if this really deserves four stars, but it's getting them for two reasons. First of all, Falke's Captive makes sense and I'm still shakinI don't know if this really deserves four stars, but it's getting them for two reasons. First of all, Falke's Captive makes sense and I'm still shaking my head over Chaos Tryst. Secondly, you rarely see this kind of plot in shifter romances. There was that brief scene at the end of Shelly Laurenston's Here Kitty, Kitty! and, the beginning of, oh, crap, what was it? Um, The Jaguar Prince, I think. I mean, there are many books where shifters are hunted by scientists and the like, but very few where they are shipped off to the zoo or 'tagged' (I'm excluding Jennifer Ashley's Pride Mates series as the purpose behind those collars don't fit this scenario). I like seeing what realistic situations modern-day shifters could find themselves in and being tranq'd & tagged by a wildlife researcher certainly fits the bill.
I admit to skimming through the sex scenes, not because they were bad, but because there were a lot of them and I was on lunch at work. Reading about anal sex is a little surreal when the co-worker sitting next to you is on the phone, arguing about a bill. It did feel like the sex scenes kinda outnumbered the plot scenes, but that's not exactly unexpected with this type of book. This is also the second book in the series and, despite not having read the first one, I was able to follow along quite nicely. I respect an author who can continue a series without info dumping or ignoring the first book entirely.
I'm starting to get the after-lunch sleepies so it's definitely time for my vitamins. To wrap up, I'd rec this for fans of Crystal Jordan. I'd have priced this at $3.99 instead of $4.99 (don't ask me why, it just doesn't feel like a $5 book and it's only 174 pages. Harlequin Presents are usually another 20+ pages for the same price), but if you can get a coupon somewhere, check it out. ...more
Edited to add that I am so surprised that this won RT's Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Contemporary Romance. I felt many of the other nominees wereEdited to add that I am so surprised that this won RT's Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Contemporary Romance. I felt many of the other nominees were MUCH stronger.
Whenever I get my new issue of the Romantic Times magazine, it tends to jolt me into action regarding my ARC backlog. These days, that's mainly NetGalley.
So, what to say about this one? Hmmm.
It didn't suck?
Faint praise, I know, but I don't know what to say. I blew through it and it was a comforting read because nothing really happens. Hell, Grace and Noah spend half the book apart. I loved Noah's family and I was disappointed when they disappeared from the narrative. I also thought Grace's career was fascinating and I was looking forward to learning more about that, only to have that disappear as well.
Oh, I know, okay, A Home by the Sea is like a TV episode on a serial drama. Nothing gets really gets resolved, but enough happens to keep you interested. (view spoiler)[Caro doesn't have her baby, we never find out what's up with Jill, Grace and Noah don't figure out where they're going to live, Grace's grandfather doesn't leave the hospital, etc. (hide spoiler)], but things keep moving forward and readers will tune in for the next episode.
That's all I got. I kinda want to go back and re-read the early Draycott Abbey books. I loved those. And there wasn't a knitting needle in sight. ...more
This seems to be my week for the almost-greats. Y'know what I mean. I'm referring to those books that inch along the tightrope between 'Eh. It was gooThis seems to be my week for the almost-greats. Y'know what I mean. I'm referring to those books that inch along the tightrope between 'Eh. It was good,' and 'This was awesome,' and they invariably fall off the wire somewhere in between. Chaos Tryst took the plunge closer to the 'Eh' side, which was disappointing.
Ariana (aka Ari) is a returner, a person who retrieves stolen artifacts and returns them to their rightful owners. She's also the daughter of two trickster gods, Anasai and Inari, and she's inherited a large chunk of their chaos magic. Maks's origin is somewhat fuzzier. He's a Bear shifter, the middle of three brothers, and he's the only one who got chaos magic from their mother. Maks makes a big deal out of being half Russian and half Gypsy, but since I'm not really up on Russian or Gypsy mythology, I couldn't really tell you where his parents fall on the the power scale or what Maks really is. Maks's characterization is where the book started to lose its balance. Ari is very clearly defined. She is a tricksy girl who tries to use her powers for good. When she's being tricksy, her kitsune spirit overlays itself on her physical body, but she doesn't actually turn into a fox. Maks literally turns in a bear and the bear seems to have its own consciousness because the bear knows it wants Ari while the man is still reluctant. Maks the man is also sulky as several of characters call him and he is largely inscrutable. You don't really see him fall in love with Ari. He goes from being murderously pissed off to I guess I'll help her out to We shall be wed!. I raised my eyebrows at that.
Furthermore, the world Dubbin has created bears the potential to be fascinating. It's like a cross between the comic book series Fables by Bill Willingham and Wen Spencer's Tinker (I need Spencer to write faster. Like seriously). However, the reader is never given any framework for understanding it. It's like there's a refugee camp crammed full of every mythological being ever created, regardless of ethnic origin, and inhabitants refer to themselves as Faebles. To make things more confusing, the implication is, Ari aside, that the characters' first language is of the country their myth originated from. For example, Inari's dialogue reads like a native Japanese speaker translating her thoughts into English. Maks's dialogue has a Russian flair. So it begs the question: why are they here and not there, and why is English the common-use language?
It sounds nitpicky when I re-read it, but I firmly believe that if an author is going to create an elaborate fantasy world, they need to establish a logical framework within it. When Maks and Ari touch, their chaos magics spiral together and create havoc. Okay, I can buy that, but why? Is it because they are meant to be together? Did their magic ever spring out of control when they were children? Can they manipulate events to kill someone? Is chaos magic only passed down trickster bloodlines? Why did Maks inherit the magic, but not his brothers?
Also, after some chaos incidents, Dubbin throws in a section, '2 minutes prior' or whatever, where the reader is told how the chaos incident happened. I don't understand why this wasn't just part of the story. Why do I need a flashback for this? Why can't it be in the linear narrative?
I can keep asking question after question about various aspects of the story, which is basically my point. A story can have a good foundation and be crappy (see the vast majority of fanfiction), but if the foundation is riddled with cracks, the story is going to collapse within itself.
I'm keeping this at three stars because I would read a sequel. The flaws within Chaos Tryst are definitely fixable so another story set in this world has the potential to be very good, if it can just keep its balance long enough!...more
I am seriously wrestling back and forth over giving this five stars or four. I think I'm going to stay at four because if you have not read books 1 anI am seriously wrestling back and forth over giving this five stars or four. I think I'm going to stay at four because if you have not read books 1 and 5 in the Feral series, you will not love Ecstasy Untamed as much as I do in this moment.
I don't think I can articulate properly why I love this book. The phrase that keeps springing to mind is "it was a culmination," which really doesn't make any sense. Let me ponder on a suitable analogy for a moment.
Okay, this is the best I've got. It's like Girl Scout cookies. Like, the majority of the year, you're like Girl Scout cookies, whatever, Keebler's tastes just as good, and then you order a box because your co-worker is nagging you, and then you kinda forget about it because there's that delay in between, and then the box arrives when you're cranky & PMS-ing, so you open the box, take a bite, and when the flavor hits your tongue, you're like, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW and then you're all sad because you only ordered one box and you have to wait until next year to order more.
Now I want Tagalongs.
Pamela Palmer is not one of those authors I think about very often and I've found her books to be a bit hit or miss. I still read 'em because shifter romances are my crack and so when this e-ARC became available, I snapped it up. I think that was, like, over a month ago. The heroine, Faith? Awesome. The hero, Hawke? Awesome. Cameos of pretty much every supporting character we've ever met? Awesome. Massive overall series plot arc advancement while tying up loose ends? Awesome. If you like the Feral series, you will love this book. I'm not quite at the point where I think the average paranormal reader should make their way through the first five books to get to this point, but if book seven is as wonderful as book six, I will be. ...more
Finally trying to make a dent in my e-ARC backlog and I decided to start with Crave because the premises looked interesting. However, this was one ofFinally trying to make a dent in my e-ARC backlog and I decided to start with Crave because the premises looked interesting. However, this was one of those books that was clearly a debut and could have benefited from some decisive editing. It was about 100 pages too long, largely because there was way too much lead-in. Cutting the extraneous back-story would have made the story flow a lot quicker and added to the excitement factor. There's the commonplace cliffhanger ending that is so frequently found in today's young adult paranormal romances. It's not a bad cliffhanger, like *gasp* Will they live?, but there's definitely going to be a sequel.
In addition, I felt the author was very present in the work. That may sound odd, but Tyler, the hero, came off as the fantasy prince, saying exactly what every girl would want to hear. Greg, Savannah's first boyfriend, read more like a 'boy' than Tyler did. It didn't crystalize for me until I read the Q&A with Darnell at the back of the book, but Savannah also, at times, exhibited Mary Sue qualities. I felt like Crave was a story that the author wrote for herself and not a broader audience.
The potential is definitely there. The overall plot is somewhat unique, despite the various elements that have been done before (Vampire High, the Nightworld books, and the House of Night series). I don't consider my time having been wasted reading this, but I would definitely recommend getting this from the library rather than purchasing it. ...more
Still on iPhone, now with headache. Such tiny little buttons these are. *sigh*
Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed this & I'd give it 4.5 stars. It flowStill on iPhone, now with headache. Such tiny little buttons these are. *sigh*
Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed this & I'd give it 4.5 stars. It flowed very nicely, the children were adorable, and the setting was somewhat unique. Maddy was very independent & fierce, which was lovely to read. To make it even better, this book is apparently part of a series, but it stands alone excellently. I didn't need to read the previous books to enjoy this one, but now that I'm finished, I want to go back and read them, especially Harry's and Nell's story. Would rec for fans of Grace Burroughs and Alyssa Johnson....more
I am writing this on my phone so apologies for any typos. I'd rec this for elementary school kids, both with and without autism. This book would be anI am writing this on my phone so apologies for any typos. I'd rec this for elementary school kids, both with and without autism. This book would be an excellent jumping off point to discuss autism and social mores. A kid who takes this book to heart is someone who's unlikely to be a future bully....more
I primarily read this series on the web, but when I saw this in NetGalley, I couldn't resist. It appears that Zahler must put things together in printI primarily read this series on the web, but when I saw this in NetGalley, I couldn't resist. It appears that Zahler must put things together in print before putting it on the 'Net. Therefore, it's not a true webcomic.
Love and Capes is the story about Abby, a bookstore owner, who starts dating Mark, mild-mannered accountant by day and superhero by night. The comic focuses primarily on Abby and she finds out fairly early that Mark has a secret identity. It's like Lois and Clark without the angsty drama. There are no traditional action comic plots, as it's mainly about the relationship between Mark and Abby, from dating to marriage.
The strips on the website have just reached the 'before the wedding' stage and this volume concentrates on the 'after the honeymoon' stage. So I would have thought there would have been some things I wouldn't get. On the contrary, there was very few changes or alterations. You could have added 'a few months later' at the beginning of the first strip and it would've easily transitioned from the last online strip. It would be a massive cop-out to skip over the wedding, but it could be pulled off.
In addition, the humor wasn't quite as crisp as it'd been during the earlier strips. I don't think the four panel strip set-up, with the punchline in the last strip, holds up as well with an eight panel book page. I also wonder how much research Zahler's done on owning and operating a bookstore. Having worked in a bookstore myself, I feel there are comedic opportunities that are being missed.
On the positive side, Zahler's art has matured greatly over the duration of the comic. Also, there are little hints of geekery spread through out. The first panel of this volume has a Richard Castle novel in the background.
In any case, I'd recommend starting with the first strip or volume before picking up this book. ...more
I will likely post a review at my blog closer to time of publication.
Quick note, though, this book works as a stand-alone, but characters from some oI will likely post a review at my blog closer to time of publication.
Quick note, though, this book works as a stand-alone, but characters from some of Dane's previous books are mentioned in passing, as they are all set in the same world. While not strictly necessary, I recommend you read What Happens In Vegas...After Dark, and the de La Vega Cat books if you have the time and/or money. Failure to do so won't detract from Heart of Darkness, but knowledge of these characters will add an extra layer of satisfaction. ...more
I probably would have given this book three stars up until page 307, where I promptly declared the heroine a bitch. I totally sided with the hero, NoaI probably would have given this book three stars up until page 307, where I promptly declared the heroine a bitch. I totally sided with the hero, Noah, and if I'd been him, I wouldn't have come back. The heroine, Charlie, should've had to go to him. And then she's all righteous, "Well, of course, I did that." I wanted to slap her.
Also, what the hell was the deal with her mother? Charlie, at times, wants to protect her despite the fact the woman hit her as a child and STILL DOES. Charlie is also incredibly loyal to her father, who didn't lift a finger to keep his wife away from his daughter. This chick needs serious therapy. It's like watching Stockholm Syndrome in action. In any other book, Charlie would've moved outta town, leaving her past & abusers in the dust, only coming back when forced to.
In addition, there's a bit of a jarring moment on page 158 where a minor character launches into a diatribe about what's wrong with newspapers today. I had to check the copyright date because I seriously thought the book was published in the late nineties. On 9/11/01, you know how I got my news? A Roswell message board because the cable went out and I was forced to beg for news from fellow fans. You know how I get my news now? Twitter and my local paper's iPhone app. And you know what all those things have? Ads. You want to get your message out to people, you better learn how to adapt to technological changes. I would have thought a self-professed billionaire would grasp that little fact.
On the positive side, the action zips along quite quickly. The illusion is helped along by the shortness of the chapters. There are sixty-eight chapters, but just 321 pages. Also, I didn't figure out ahead of time who the big bad was. I wasn't entirely sure why the big bad snapped and went on a rampage, but I certainly didn't think it was that character.
This was one of those cases where I think the author has the ability to write something great, but this was a poorly plotted book. If I came across the sequel, True Colors, I'd read it, mainly because I liked the character who will be that hero. I'm on the fence about the heroine. She already feels a bit wishy-washy to me. ...more
I'd written a very long, very scathing, review of this book and then I hit one of my bookmark buttons by accident. Bye bye, review. I kinda want to crI'd written a very long, very scathing, review of this book and then I hit one of my bookmark buttons by accident. Bye bye, review. I kinda want to cry now. Bad enough I had to suffer through this book and then I lose my five+ paragraphs on top of it? Heartbreaking.
Here are the highlights:
1. The back blurb is completely misleading. This is not a paranormal. Rin and Drakos do not know each other. Drakos does dom other subs, but he doesn't have intercourse with anyone but Rin. Rin has no big secret. She marries him to rescue her sister, which she pretty much tells him right away.
2. Taylor misrepresents post-traumatic stress disorder. I have PTSD and the symptoms she eventually gives Lei, Rin's sister, are characteristic of depression. Also, Lei is astonishingly psychologically and physically healthy, considering she's been held in sexual captivity for over a year.
3. There are a bajillion plot holes and things that are never explained. I tried to see if there was an ebook prequel of this series, but Taylor's website is out of date and poorly organized. So anytime you ask 'why,' expect to be disappointed.
4. The plot doesn't flow smoothly. There are odd time jumps. The worst one happens towards the end of the book. On page 253, the end of Chapter 21, some characters are in mortal danger. They may not survive. Page 254 begins Chapter 22 and it opens with a sex scene. We don't find out the fate of the characters until page 258 and then we also find out it's 'months later.'
What kills me about all of this is that I think the bones of a good book were there. If Taylor had opened with a prologue, shortened Lei's captivity & read the DSM-IV, and the plot kinks were fixed, this would have been a decent book. I would say the sex scenes were fairly hot, but at that point, I couldn't stop WTF-ing.
So there you go. It all boils down to that: Darkest Fire is an epic WTF book. I won't read the other books in the series when they come out, but I'm not saying I wouldn't read other books by the author. I would just do so with extreme caution and maybe with a spotter. ...more
I'll try to write a proper review at my blog before the end of the week, but I've read all four of these stories and I love them. Point of interest, tI'll try to write a proper review at my blog before the end of the week, but I've read all four of these stories and I love them. Point of interest, the characters in 'Alphas: Origins' by Ilona Andrews are more 'winged beings' than 'angels,' as we think of them.
Also, there are, thankfully in my opinion, minimal religious overtones. The closest to "religious" would be 'Nocturne' by Sharon Shinn, but that perception would be limited to people who have not read Shinn's excellent Samaria series. Please note that if you are one of those unfortunate few, the results from the prayer scene may cause some raised eyebrows, but I assure you it makes complete sense within the framework of Samaria.
While I have read a great deal of each author's body of work, these stories do work very well as a stand-alone read (Andrews's story is completely separate from her Edge and Kate Daniels series). Only Meljean Brook's 'Ascension' requires some minimal prior knowledge, but a quick read-through of the comprehensive Guardian primer on Brook's website will give you the background you need. Be forewarned, though, this story will spoil you for her book Demon Forged. ...more