Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The paranormal side (vampire society) was promising,...moreOriginally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on May 30th 2014:
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The paranormal side (vampire society) was promising, and there were interesting lines drawn, but since this is part of a serial there couldn’t have been an overwhelming lot of worldbuilding done. What was done was interesting and promising. Characters: Angelica and Reyes were interesting, and at the cost of repeating myself, had potential. Sadly I didn’t respond at all to either of them, I didn’t feel the chemistry between them, and without any investment in either of the characters, there was little to fall for, sadly. Plot: The story is interesting, and I think I would have been very into it if my reaction to the characters would have been better. Of course as a part of a serial, it ends right when it gets interesting, but that’s part of appeal of the concept, I think – the tension buildup between installments, right? Writing: Third person narrative, past tense, his/her POV. Curb Appeal: Hot cover, hooking blurb, and I really like the upfront, transparent trope.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad read as much as a strange non-event between me and both main characters. I can’t say what it was that didn’t click, there wasn’t anything I got a clear sense of disliking, which only made the overall effect all the more confusing. I wouldn’t want to read this particular serial because clearly I’m not responding to the characters, but I’d wanna try any of the other titles in the series because everything else – worldbuilding, plot, and writing showed great potential.(less)
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Spectacular fantasy world building, complete with different kingdoms, magic elements, shifters – muuuch awesome. Characters: I will admit I clicked with Andi from the beginning. It’s easy to identify with her, she’s not the beautiful sister or the strong, athlete star – she’s the invisible one, something of an outcast. All those things separating her from her family end up helping her feel like she belongs somewhere else, but I’m not spoiling it for you. Sufficient to say Andi is strong, she faces danger quite well on her own, she manages to work well in a team – she’s a real survivor and I loved and respected her for not losing her vulnerability and ability to love. Rayfe, king of the Tala, was of course a total heart-throb. Jeffe Kennedy hits it just right for me with her heroes every single freakin’ time, and she had me squirming with Rayfe as well. Everything about him, from the way he makes his entrance into the story, to the way he behaves until the very end, had me loving him to bits. There’s this sort of darkish vibe about him, I’d say subtle, and it works purrfectly to keep you guessing and tense and itching to find out how it all ends. The Andi / Rayfe couple was awesome, lots of tension, awesome chemistry, hot, hot, hot chemistry to be more precise, hot one on one, and their relationship evolved awesomely. Plot: I loved the story outside of the romance, the whole Tala world was entirely fascinating and totally bewitching. I loved the pace of the action and honestly can’t see how this might have been a better reading experience. Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Andi’s POV. Spectacular storytelling, worldbuilding and relationship-building, as I’ve come to expect from Jeffe Kennedy. Curb Appeal: Awesome cover, hooking blurb, instant must have author name = instant buy.
All in all, this was the purrfect fantasy romance and I’m dying to read the next two novels in the series.(less)
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I can’t tell you how much I loved the Washington vibe...moreOriginally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on May 21st 2014:
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I can’t tell you how much I loved the Washington vibe and the whole Jarrett’s club, Holton Woods. Characters: Becca was great, spunky, smart, loyal even when conflicted, and very easy to like. I mean, considering the whole operation thing from some months before this story starts, it might be harder to like her maybe if you’re not into the full-force-under-cover thing. But I am, and I liked how she evolved due to it, so it was cool. I felt during this story she was maybe somewhat too easily swayed by Jarrett, but as I read I understood that the way she responds to him has a really good reason, which is she’s in love. Kind of spoilery maybe, but hey, not like you didn’t expect the heroine and hero of the story to fall for one another, right? :p Jarrett was awesome, alpha-like, trying for the merciless gig but utterly failing due to wove. He does put up a good fight though, for a while there. I liked how he didn’t just wave off the past with Becca, but struggled to make sense of what had happened and what was really going on between them. There’s also another couple’s story happening in this novel, which is Wade / Eli – and I loved that!! I’m all for diversity, as you guys know, but getting all kinds of romance under the same cover, lol, that’s kind of a new experience and one I really loved!! Okay, so Eli was kind of an ass, okay a big one I’ll admit, but I still cared about him because Wade did. I want their story to evolve into a happy ending, I so, so want that!! Maybe it does during the second novel in the series, I’m crossing my fingers real hard for that to happen. Plot: Outside of the romance, there was some suspense going on with CIA agents & some traitors, but I felt the romances were more focused on, and since we got two of them in one go, it makes sense too. Not complaining here, not at all, in fact this was just about the perfect romance / action balance for me! Hot one on one in both pairs, awesome chemistry (even if Eli is kind of asshollish all the way through). Writing: Third person narrative, past tense, POVs of our main and secondary couples characters. Loved all the different voices! Curb Appeal: Hawt cover, hooking blurb – and that’s only the beginning, there’s so much more goodness waiting inside that the blurb doesn’t even hint at!! Instant buy material for sure.
All in all, I super loved this novel and I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series, Only, coming out October 2014 – staring Sebastion, the awesome lawyer/mediator buddy who helps Jarrett out in MErcy, and Kyra who’s Wade’s sister (which is why I’m hoping more Wade and a resolution for his poor lil heart). And I do so terribly hope that the Wade / Eli situation is resolved somewhere, somehow, cause that asshole Eli broke my freakin’ heart in this novel. Anyway, totally recommended if you like intense romance with a side-dish of suspense and diversity!(less)
Review It’s been a while since I felt an Award of Excellence need for a read, but Sugatuck Summer was just too good not to get it. Obviously I felt the need to go full-on review on it because…FEELS! Gawd almighty, so many FEELS!! *takes deep breath* Okay, let’s do this properly.
The contemporary setting was great, we got some Sugatuck (obivously, lol), some Grand Rapids and Chicago scenery, and not just scenery but community-viewing, if you know what I mean. I loved the diversity, from vacation area to small-burg to big city kind of different feels. I also liked the way communities of those environments were portrayed, without it being a point or anything of the read, but their reactions, the way they reacted to their peers (or non-peers). Great contemporary worldbuilding, all the way.
But la piece de resistance here were obviously the characters, for me. Our main character, Christopher Carlisle, was the kind of fuckedup fabulous darling I simply can’t help but love to death. He’s a ‘milk & chocolate’, Justin Timberlake haired, green eyed self-declared drama queen who’s had a very, very hard time growing up as a talented kid in a small-burg setting. Of course his family has been trying to de-glam him all through his life, to reduce him to a neat little standard cookie-cutter thing they could easily control, though not quite accept. The odds are stacked against Topher from the get-go, with an attention-seeking addict mom, conservative uncle and aunt, and two sisters who are either too involved in their own kind of screwed-up coping mechanisms or raining down the guilt drops all over. Some of the issue Topher has had to deal with growing up are what I’d describe as authentic and very, very well portrayed in the read. The points he makes about having to explain a naturally depressive brain, if you’d like, aided by the awkward to abusive handling of an out-of-the-norm kid, the way people judge and react to it, a lot of the time going with “you’re too self-involved and that’s why it all seems so dramatic” or “it’s all in your head, you’re making it out to be a lot more dramatic than it is” – one of my personal favorites, by the way, everything about this young man struck a chord deep within me. If you’re not happy go lucky kind, if you’ve had to deal with shmit that most people haven’t and therefore don’t get even when they’re trying to be accepting and understanding, if your inner monologue very often or always works against you – if any of those apply to you, you’ll identify with Topher’s first person narrative to the point of heartbreak. I did.
Everything about him, about what he goes through, including the event regarding his mom closer to the end there, is a fabulous lesson in suffering, how it affects some of us, how we manage to cope with it and how different kinds of help either bury us deeper of help us take that crucial first step to move on. A big role in Topher’s evolution was of course Jace, the love interest the blurb talks about. But I felt Brendan, Topher’s BFF’s dad, was also a very important point in Topher’s growth. It’s a great instance of how sometimes you’re conditioned or conditioning yourself to react in a certain way to someone’s kindness and focused interest in you. I can’t spell out too much without spoiling the read for you, but what happens between Topher and Brendan was a crucial point in Topher’s growth, I think.
And then there’s Jace… Jace, the well-balanced rebel-like artist, the tattooed & pierced grounded yet free-spirited guy who pretty much plays the role of the knight in shining armor, swooping in and saving Topher (mostly from himself and the mean inner monologue his growing up has built). Now, if Topher had been anyone but who he is, if his history had been any other than what it was, the way Jace just swoops in and loves and heals and supports might have seemed far-fetched. But the reality of delightfully screwed up people is that they do attract the supportive, healing type – or the severely screwed up type who enjoys the same kind of company. It’s just how chemistry tends to work, right? The fact that meeting Jace and the whole art gallery/tattoo shop setting happened made sense, because we all eventually run into a set of circumstances that seems like a ray of light to pierce the darkest of our glooms. It happens, sometimes we miss the moment and it’s lost, but sometimes we’re paying attention in the right direction and we become aware of this ray of hope, we take advantage of it and build ourselves a better life.
Of course the Topher / Jace chemistry was insanely hot, the one on one was highly intense both in terms of hotness and in terms of emotional connection, and I loved, loved, loved them together. I’m pretty sure you will too.
The story was dramatic, and if you’re looking for a light, summer time read, this ain’t it. It deals with lots of issues, brings different perspectives on it, shows how one might grow but how easy it is to not do that either, how different paths one might choose to walk down might end. In the end, it’s a heart wrenching, emotionally gripping, freaking hot romantic story that I’m almost certain you’ll love if you’re down with sassy main characters and you’re willing to invest yourself emotionally in Topher and his story. The delivery is fabulous, and I might dare say the somewhat understated cover and the blurb don’t really hint at the kind of delicious damage this read might inflict on you. I cried, and as you might have noticed already, I do always love reads that make that happen for me. I cried, I gritted my teeth, I cringed in places because it was hard to stomach what had happened to this awesome, talented guy as he grew up (there might be some triggers if you’ve been abused in childhood, it’s not a very focused on thing, just something that happened and that Topher talks about once, but just in case it’s a ‘hard limit’ for you, know that it is mentioned after him and Brandon are in a shower-related scene). In the end I was left smiling, somewhat bruised emotionally – hell, you can’t not be after a story like this! – but ultimately very happy I chose to give this baby a try. Fully recommended, it’s very, very, very worth you giving it a try in my opinion.(less)
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The Windwalker series promises a lot of awesome paranormal elements – magic, awesome magic factions (complete with their own kind of fortresses of magic galore), necromancers, the works!! I loved the magic elements and all the fab I’m sure there’s still to come. Characters: Halle was a blast. I loved her snarky, smarta$$ attitude and how loyal she was to those she loved (her sister, her mom, Kale). Considering she came from a troubled past (to say the least), she was a total survivor and, I thought, she had that street-smart kind of presence of mind in all kinds of situations (without laying it on too thick, if you know what I mean – she’s not the instant-issue-solver, I mean). The romance tangent was really awesome, I mean of course Kale is awesomesauce & kickass, yummy and strong and alpha-like, and did I mention yummy? Yeah. I loved the two of them together, how they brought out the best (and the worst, I think) in each other. Awesome chemistry, hot one on one. Favorite Character: Tufty, for obvious, duckling sidekick reasons xD Plot: I loved how alert the rhythm of action was, without getting too insane but certainly giving me a rush. I’m a bit broken-hearted about the end since this is part of a series, it has that “To Be Continued…” kind of ending, if you know what I mean. Writing: First person narrative, Halle’s POV, past tense narrative. Curb Appeal: Nice cover, hooking blurb, awesome author name – potential impulsive buy material for sure.
All in all, this was a fabulous start to a cool new New Adult Urban Fantasy with strong Paranormal Romance elements, and I’m so, so looking forward to reading more of The Windwalker!(less)
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I loved the blend of mythical elements (selkie) and pa...moreOriginally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on May 2nd 2014:
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I loved the blend of mythical elements (selkie) and paranormal elements (witchcraft, magic). Characters: Maille was interesting, I thought she dealt with the whole confusion really well and I loved how caring she was toward the environment/animals. Ronin was definitely the highlight for me, the past sins (so to speak), the curse, the whole thing had me riveted. Their chemistry was very, very, very hot and I loved their one on one for sure :D Plot: The story was really interesting, I loved the romantic arc, the hot action and the ending :D Rapid rhythm of action kind of read. Writing: Third person narrative, past tense, his/her POV. Curb Appeal: Hhhhhot cover, hooking blurb – definite impulsive buy material!
I will confess this was somewhere between 3.5 and 4 butterflies, I had a few moments where I wasn’t exactly confused about something (like Mellie’s past, for instance), but I felt elements that were important were mentioned somewhat in passing. That’s something I often feel though, I’m a fan of character building not action per se, so you’ll probably love the “less talk, more do” kind of feel. All in all, this was a fun read, hot where it should have been and fun. Do give it a try if you’re into mythological slash paranormal elements and hot men (who make us fangirls wet xDDD)(less)
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: A fun baseball world, filled with the tensions of the...moreOriginally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on May 9th 2014:
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: A fun baseball world, filled with the tensions of the game players. I loved the Lakeland Village, Virginia setting the most, and Alec & Brand loved it too :D Characters: Alec and Brand were adorable in that angsty, delicious way I for one love characters to appear. I loved how their voices were different, their issues different yet still revolving around the same main points. The way they reacted seemed very authentic to me, and considering they were dealing with coming out and accepting themselves and their love, I felt their journeys were emotional roller coasters, intense, beautiful and painful all rolled in one. Their one on one was hot when it happened, not super focused on but hot for sure :D Plot: The story was great, intense emotions and great development in the characters. There’s no hardcore action since this is a romance, which I loved :D Writing: First person narrative, past tense, Alec and Brand’s POV. Awesomesauce emotions galore. Curb Appeal: Hawt cover, hooking blurb, total impulsive buy material.
All in all, this was a great story and gripped me emotionally like whoa. I lost a tinsy bit of the enthusiasm along the way for some reason, a minor sort of disconnect with the story – maybe due to me reading this is 2 session instead of my usual one go. I fully recommend this read to anyone who’ into New Adult and m/m reading.(less)
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Nice contemporary setting, with some of the rich &...moreOriginally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on May 12th 2014:
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Nice contemporary setting, with some of the rich & famous vibe considering Skye’s dad and the circles her and Landon frequent. Characters: Skye was interesting. Considering the fact she came from what we might call privileged upbringing, I liked the “I wanna do shmit myself” vibe she emanated constantly throughout the read. She used her experience with shmoozing but tried to solve issues on her own every time. I can’t say I was terribly attached to her, but that might be due to the appearance of the abusive assy ex right at the beginning there. Many of the ‘humanizing’ tools (ie dramatic/traumatic experiences characters have gone through that make you root for them and get emotionally attached) tend to backfire with me, specifically any violence-related ones. Instead of getting attached I detach from the character most of the times. So I liked Skye and wanted her happy ending to happen, but I wasn’t biting my nails for it to happen, sadly. Of course, this is a highly personal thing, the normal emotional response tends to be the opposite of mine, so most likely you’ll love Skye from the get-go. Let’s be clear here, her reaction to it was authentic and believable, and well done if we can use the term under those circumstances, it was just my response to it that was out of whack. Landon had a lot of potential, but for me it didn’t lead to me falling for him either. True, I love asshole-ish characters, villain types, totally unrepentant bad boys (and I favor them not being redeemed either as the story evolves, but angsting hardcore, lol – I R evil reader, keep in mind). So Landon has the potential to be alphalicious for me, but he didn’t fructify it in the end. He was too much of a sweet guy underneath it all, I think, lol. The two of them made a great pair, they had great chemistry and they made perfect sense as a couple. Plot: I liked the abusive ex tangent and how it pushed Skye to evolve. The office romance / smexeh boss trope was filled with romantic tension and I enjoyed the story. Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Skye / Landon POV. Liked their different voices. Curb Appeal: Great cover, hooking blurb, definite impulsive buy material for my contemporary NA needs.
All in all, this was a good read for me even if I didn’t fall for either of the characters. Which is why chances are it’ll be even better for you guys, I mean the story on its own carried on perfectly for me to enjoy it without crushing on any character – that’s saying something. I fully recommend it if you’re into the characters with some violence in their past, sort of vanilla-like, sweet-ish (though I wouldn’t say fluffy!) office romance trope.(less)