Worldbuilding: Awesome BDB paranormal world, Caldwell mixed up with vampires, sympaths, angels, afterlife elements…yum! Characters: Tohr and No’One (laWorldbuilding: Awesome BDB paranormal world, Caldwell mixed up with vampires, sympaths, angels, afterlife elements…yum! Characters: Tohr and No’One (later in the book, she’s called Autumn) were brilliant. I always liked Tohr and was heartbroken about his shellan’s death. I kept liking him and understanding where he came from in this novel too. He had to let go, and everyone who ever loved somebody knows that letting go is the hardest thing. It’s torture, no matter if your love has died or simply left you – letting go is brutal. I empathized with his struggles and loved him all the more. Autumn was a magnificent character. With a tormented past and a difficult present, she intrigued since her first appearance. I was glad to get to know her better, and I liked how she and Xhex interacted. And that ending…man, Autumn just broke my heart. Good thing Lassiter was there to save the day :D Fav of the novel: Lassiter. He rules :D Plot: This novel felt a little different because of the stories it told. I felt like there was a lot more emphasis on the emotional goings on between Tohr and Autumn, or between Xhex and John. Even between Quinn and Blay. Yes, there was action, but it felt to me like there was also more emotion, and I’m always going to pick that over fighting – of which there’s enough, never fear. Writing: As usual, third person narrative from more than one POV. I felt more emotion than usual and the writing evoked more emotion than usual, so it seemed to me the writing in Lover Reborn was even better than in previous novels in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Curb Appeal: Pffft. Kickass cover, hooking blurb, epic author – instant buy material.
All in all, I highly enjoyed this novel and felt a more personal connection with the characters than in previous ones. I also am an official Lassiter fan xD If you like PNR, definitely read it....more
In a Flutter: Overcoming personal issues and trusting love
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I’m new to Katie MacAlister’s dragon world, this being my first read by her, but I’ve fallen irremediably in love with it already. I think it was my favorite part of Dragon Fall, in fact. The fantasy elements – dragons, witches, Guardians – and social order were entirely engrossing and had my full, rapt attention. Characters: There was a lot about Aoife that I loved. She was something of an eccentric character, very strong and accustomed to dealing with bigotry and the world unjust, yet vulnerable and in need of support when it came to family or love. I would have liked her better, I think, had her manner been somewhat different when it came to plot-relevant happenings. She just had this way of blundering into situations and unleashing things by not knowing things, despite constantly asking those around. I felt in a way she was boycotted in a sense, forever not getting the info to help her make sense of what was going on. I found it easy to empathize with her. Kostya was every bit the alpha male (Dragon to boot! Yey!) you’d expect or wish for. He was stubborn, at times obtuse, protective, loyal passionate, dedicated to his love interest and always coming to the rescue when the situation required it. Though he was very reluctant to actually communicate or share relevant info. So again, very alpha male, lol. I liked them together, they had good chemistry, and their one on one, while not explicit or terribly exciting for me, was well integrated in their romance arc. I loved how tortured they both were, mwahahaha. Evil reader pleasures satisfied, lol I loved other characters as well, especially Jim who got the better part of the comic relief role. Always love that Plot: The romance arc was nicely paced and quite sweet, and while sweet isn’t my thing generally, I enjoyed it. The mating trope had a slow romance feel, and I felt it rounded the story very well. Outside of the romance arc, there was quite a lot of action and it kept very much so engaged and entertained. I can’t wait to see how things go from here on with the series-plot. In no way does that mean there’s any kind of cliffy here, let me be clear. But there’s a larger story that I guess will encompass the novels in the series. Writing: First person, past tense narrative from Aoife’s POV. I enjoyed her perspective and humor. If there’s one thing I found mildly irritating, it was the avoid-potty-mouth quality the whole novel. There are times when that’s cute, like when swearing for instance, and times when it seems childish and ruins the mood – for me! – like during sex scenes. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my dragon-craving PNR moods.
All in all, I recommend Dragon Fall to lovers of dragon lore PNR and to lovers of adult sweet-like romance that isn’t actually graphic in nature. I’m looking forward to reading more in the series....more
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The world of Under Contract was fun, a bit of the super-rich lifestyle vibe mixed in with worries and struggles of the regular working person. I liked how the differences between the two worlds augmented tension :D You can never have enough tension, mwahahaha. Characters: Tina was a tough character to fully get, for me, on a personal level. I admired her loyalty toward her family, her loving nature, but at the same time she often seemed erratic, unpredictable, and insecure. That last part there makes her a very believable character, of course, we’re not talking about that. She was very believable. Perhaps too believable, lol. Anyway, while she was fun to read about, I didn’t fall for her. Didn’t dislike her either, don’t get me wrong. Ryan was every bit the alpha male, self-made tycoon, business hotshot you’d hope for. I liked how his insecurities were a bit subtler in manifestation but so clearly there, how determined he was, how clumsy he was when it came to feelings. Actually Tine and Ryan were the pair matched in hell, because they both dealt with feels in weird ways. Made for a lot of frustration, lol, but also tension and some fun slow burn kind of romance. They also had great chemistry and had very hot one on one time, BDSM-style. Not too hardcore, I mean nothing shocking, but still not for the faint of heart, lol. I also loved the twins :D Plot: The romance was the “hook up to get out of debt” trope, with a healthy portion of tension of all possible kinds. It was intense, frustrating, a quick read and a fun ride. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his and her POV. It was very interesting to read from two so different and yet so alike perspectives (because insecurities, failure to communicate properly, on both sides). Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb, instant buy author name.
All in all, I recommend Under Contract to lovers of BDSM contemporary romance of the very hot kind, alpha males in tycoon positions, and to fans of bumpy road romances involving stubborn but fun creatures :D...more
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The urban (though historical) fantasy world of Maradaine was beyond delicious. We’ve got it all, social stratification, unrest, magic, poverty…you name it, it’s there. It made for an incredibly vivid setting, and a fascinating journey I am looking forward to take again as soon as possible. Characters: Rainey and Welling were, simply put, amazing. Rainey, devoted wife caring for her incapacitated husband, devoted mother, uber-awesome ex-Intelligence, smart and witty. Welling, brilliant deductive mind, terribly proper and polite, and I won’t lie, reminiscent of Sherlock in some brilliant/detached yet marvelously charismatic way. Where Rainey gets under skin with her care, devotion and resourcefulness, as well as kickass skills, Welling wins you over via his super-analytical mind and determination. Plus, Uncircled – so a rebel, a non-joiner by nature which I always but always love. Long story short, the characters were very well built, authentic, they had depth, they were fun and witty, and a pleasure to follow. Big like! Plot: The mystery was very intriguing and I didn’t see the solution coming, always a big plus. There’s a serial killer, which is always interesting to read about, and while the means of committing the crimes involve magic aspects, the actual motive was disturbingly regular-human with a nutjob twist, of course. I loved the pace of the novel, alert but not overlooking the investigative process procedure. Love. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, from Rainey’s and Welling’s POV. Really enjoyed the writing, Welling’s voice has a somewhat proper-English charm to it and it’s a plus for me. ...more
In a Flutter: Clever concept, but not too exciting for me Fluttering Thoughts: WorldbuildingOriginally posted on May 27 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Clever concept, but not too exciting for me Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I liked the contemporary setting, the whole lawyers world tangent was interesting. Characters: Laura was interesting, I liked the concept of her very much. She was accomplished, smart, ambitious, independent yet not evil (divorce lawyer… yeah, evil vibes can easily make it in there, lol!). Awesome concept, but I didn’t feel anything for or about her. Not even toward the end there, when she’s attacked. Other characters were less developed though almost as present, like Anna – I would have loved more from her, a strong antagonist makes these reads shine for me -, or Joe, or Henry. Plot: The story was interesting, and it kept me guessing for a good while there. I never would have suspected who the nutjob was. Kudos for that! Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, multiple POVs – and here is where things didn’t work out for me. I don’t much like third person, and the more POVs, the worse it gets for me. The somewhat rigid, factual writing style killed my feels entirely, I’m sad to say. Personal preference, of course. One of my pet peeves also made an appearance – flashbacks. Not many, but even a few kill my enthusiasm. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – good presentation.
This was more of a 2.5 butterflies read, I think. It had a lot of potential to be a way more exciting read, but the writing style simply couldn’t have done it for me. I had no emotional response whatsoever to any of it, despite liking the concept and finding it clever. If you lean more toward a more classic, more traditional tone of writing, more facts, few thrills, it will probably do more for you. So I do recommend it if you’re into multi-POV thrillers and like a more factual writing style. Give the first chapter a read to get a proper feel for it(it’s on the CATHERINE HUNT’s website, for instance). The story was entertaining and I didn’t see the plot twist coming until it hit, something I really love in crime fiction....more
In a Flutter: McGarry charm & good girl/biker combo Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding:Originally posted on May 19 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: McGarry charm & good girl/biker combo Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Snowflake, Kentucky was a pleasant setting and an interesting choice for Reign of Terror’s home base. I liked the whole gang versus club(family) thing going on, too, even though I’m not a rabid fan of biker stories, especially when they involve groups (call them whatever you’d like/feel appropriate). I’m not a joiner by nature, lol, so while I appreciate the value of groups/communities and loyalty, affection and all, I will admit I’m not a fan of what one might call “boys club”. That’s a subjective thing, of course. Katie McGarry presents the Terrors beautifully and makes good distinctions between a community based on integrity and loyalty and a gang, and I liked that aspect of the novel very much. Characters: Emily was lovely, though I didn’t really “feel” her all the way. I never do “feel” the utter good girl type, probably because I was a rebel by nature since infancy from I’m told, haha. I appreciated Emily’s love for her father, her gratitude, even her reverence, her manners, values and so on – she was a sweetheart. I liked her, but I wouldn’t say I loved her. Again, subjective. Oz was the bikers kid equivalent of Emily, in a way. A good kid, a biker, a bit of a dog here and there, a hottie; very devoted to his loved ones, good values, all good. Again, liked, not actually loved. I think my fav character was Olivia. I cried my eyes out, because… you’ll see when you read the novel. But I loved Olivia to bits, probably because she reminded me of my grandma quite a bit. Minus the MILF outfits vibe, lol :)) Plot: The YA romance was angsty, no triangles. Well built, good tension and pace of events. The story outside of that was interesting as well, all kinds of nuances on the good vs bad theme, and it gives you quite a bit to think about, like do you condone Meg’ actions? Do you support Olivia’s view? Do you wish you’d get a sneak view of Oz ten years from this story, lounging half-naked on his bike? Okay, maybe that last one might not be on your mind, lol, but other than that… good topics to ponder on. Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Emily’s and Oz’s POV. I liked their voices, but I can’t say I was in love with either. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb, awesomesauce author name – impulsive buy material.
All in all, this was more of a 3.5 kind of read for me. But that’s because I’m not that into YA as a general rule, bikers is not necessarily a turn-on for me (at least in organized groups and in this age group). I enjoyed the Pushing The Limits series concept more, I think. More badass-ism by large, loners rather than joiners… more my kind of thing. But if bikers, YA contemporary romance and good girl meets presumably bad boy that’s actually a knight in shining armor is your thing, then most definitely jump in on this train, because Katie McGarry delivers an entertaining ride, no matter what’s your thing!...more
In a Flutter: Fun read! Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The London setting was nice, diveOriginally posted on Jun 5 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Fun read! Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The London setting was nice, diverse (as one would expect), and the paranormal elements (ghosts, spirit guides) were fun but not overpowering. I’d say the main element was the contemporary one, not the paranormal. Characters: The cast of characters was fun and interesting. I liked Tony, Maya and Jade. I can’t say I fell in love with either of them, but that might be due to the more-than-one POV thing – it usually has the unfortunate effect of making me feel detached from each of the characters rather than making me feel more emotionally invested in more than the one or two. Each one of them was interesting in her own way, different types of people, had their issues in their past and each one dealt with them in their own way. I enjoyed that part very much, the personal issues & solving them part, but I felt each of them might have generated a stronger character were it the sole focus. Subjective opinion, of course. I also enjoyed the Tony/Maya relationship, it felt very authentic, again with realistic issues and ways of trying to get over them, and surprisingly enough I enjoyed this tangent even though I generally only enjoy the “honeymoon” part of a romance (yes, I know, very telling of my own issues, haha, shut up! :P ). There was very little one on one time, so if you’re looking for the smex-licious kind of read, this isn’t it. I’m not saying it should have been, mind you, just pointing out the romance tangent is secondary and it doesn’t focus on sex (though it does happen, it’s mostly not on the page) but on issue-solving. Something I personally enjoyed a lot was how some characters were snarky, irreverent and sometimes down right rude – say Deirdre, for instance -, without them being “reformed” at any point. I like that in my reads. All-polite, all-proper, all-PC isn’t realistic, so it bugs me if/when I encounter it in reads. I love nuanced characters, and he occasional asshole/SOB has to make an appearance, as they do in real life, lol. Plot: The mystery part was interesting, I liked the cases Tony & co investigated, the way the stories came together – that includes the romantic tangents for Tony & Maya, and also Jade’s. There was enough action to keep me excited and enough twists and turns to keep me wondering, though the final thrill (the Suni related part near the ending, I won’t give details so I won’t spoil your read) didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat for some reason, though it should have. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, mostly from two POVs (Tony and Maya) but also including a few other POV inserts (like Jade, for instance). I liked the voices of the main characters. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my mystery/suspense/thriller cravings.
I’d love to read the first Supernatural Detective novel that gave the series its name. (For some weird reason, one novel appears on a nicely filled out Crin Claxton profile, while the second doesn’t, and they don’t show as part of a series either. It’s confusing if you like to get your book info from Goodreads, like I do, and like lots of others do as well. But meh, it happens. I do hope it will be resolved to show the series properly and assigned to the informative author profile up there.) That’s where Tony is introduced and her private investigator career involving ghosts begins, but I read Death’s Doorway without reading the first and had no trouble, so I say you can safely read it as a standalone too. But I do recommend trying to read them in order, it generally helps with series involving the same main characters :D
All in all, this was a fun read, with interesting characters and an intriguing story. It was more of a 3.5 butterflies read, for subjective reasons. I recommend it to lovers of diversity, paranormal mysteries that involve ghosts and private investigators, and romantic stories with realistic issues....more
In a Flutter: Interesting start of a new series Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The worlOriginally posted on June 2 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Interesting start of a new series Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The world of the Last True Vampire series is interesting, with a blend of cool paranormal elements – vampires, dhampires, berserkers, original being (Vessel) – that come together in an interesting way (for instance the vampires – dhampires link). I really love new takes on paranormal worlds, and this series shows a lot of promise in that regard. Characters: I didn’t respond to Mikhail at all, I’m afraid. He’s the old world kind of vampire, a bit pedantic in tone and with little to no sense of humor coming through. Alpha as he may be, that makes him kind of boring to me, if I have to be entirely honest. He was king material, but not the fun, interesting kind of material as far as I’m concerned. But he was alpha to the core, uber-protective, entirely taken with his love interest and devoted. Claire was the kind of heroine I love to read about in paranormal romances, independent, nimble on her own feet, daring, with a healthy sense of humor. However, I felt it slowly dwindled to a halt being beside Mikhail. Because I didn’t feel Mikhail, I didn’t feel their chemistry or their romance. But maybe that’s just me. And I am quite picky when it comes to these things, and evil. There is something kind of sweet and a bit rushed as far as the romance went, and when you don’t feel the physical attraction tangent between the characters, it kind of leaves you wanting. As you know, I’m all for insta-lust and passion, and I do feel that attracts rushed romance, but I just didn’t feel it here. I loved other characters though, like Ronan (funny, strong, charming – and par of the main couple of story #2 in the series xDDD). It must be said I really found the antagonists interesting, the Sortiari which are Berserkers (or some of them are, at least). Strong antagonists will make for a really cool series, imho. Plot: The romance arc wasn’t too exciting for me, and seemed somewhat downplayed and a bit insta-flavored in the romance department – I didn’t respond to it much. The action tangent felt downplayed for the first part of the novel, but I really enjoyed it in the second part though. It wasn’t a terribly exciting read for me, not too alert and not exhilarating, but still interesting. I think if you’ll respond to the hero and heroine of the romance, everything else will be exciting. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his and her POV (mostly). I didn’t respond to his voice at all, but I did respond to hers. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb, plus vampire trope – oldies but goldies, if you know what I mean.
All in all, this wasn’t as exciting as it might have been for me, but I totally recommend it to lovers of the Anne Rice style of writing (over more current, snarky, irreverent styles, for instance), to lovers of the old vampires coming back to life trope and more classic vampire fiction fans in general. It’s definitely an interesting start to a new series, the world of the series shows great, great potential and I am looking forward to reading Ronan’s story because him I really liked in this novel :D...more
In a Flutter: Fabulous work, with one highly irritating MC (for me!)
Review Mary Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl, was one of my absolute fav reads of 2014. I was sure after reading her debut that she’d always have this rare gift of delving into the depths of human psychology bringing out dark, terrifying places in a way that feels organic and entirely captivating. When I saw Pretty Baby, I so wanted to read it, and I’m thrilled I did. But I can’t say I loved it as much as I did The Good Girl, not because the author did any less brilliant of a job, but because I had a personal issue (reaching total disgust, I will openly admit) with one of the MCs. Namely Heidi. Makes my skin crawl just to mention her or talk about her, that’s the kind of disgust we’re talking about. But let’s take things one a time, shall we? :)
Pretty Baby tells the story of three MCs: Heidi, her husband Chris, and Willow – a girl she sees on a train platform carrying a baby. The simple facts, if you will, are that Heidi decides to help Willow and that baby. The outcome is that, I feel, she ends up truly helping “Willow” but entirely without intending to. That’s about the only redeeming thing I can mention about Heidi. That and the fact that she seems to care about people around her in the beginning, but only in so much as that care brings her personal rewards of the emotional kind, if you ask me. Bleh. Just disgusting. You know the kind of woman that wants to have babies because that’s how she’ll be sure someone will need and love her unconditionally (especially while the babies are small, when they grow up and begin to think, they cease to cater to that creature’s clingy needs)? That is Heidi. Sure, she went through some traumatic events in her life – boohoo, we all do, I’m sad to say, yet we don’t use that as motivation to become selfish, greedy monsters…at least not all of us, lol, though plenty enough I’m sure we all agree…-. I think it’s pretty obvious that the level of disgust I have for Heidi is an achievement all on itself. I’d dare say she’s everything I hate in a person, in fact, all packed in one wrapping. Don’t get me wrong, Mary Kubica did an amazing job at constructing and presenting this revolting creature, which is why I so hate her with such passion. You can’t hate poorly constructed characters, just as you’re not likely to love them either. Strong feelings, of any nature, mean that was some fabulous writing. It just so happens the fabulous writing brought forward a terrible emotional experience (but a very good reading one, mind you!) for me when it was Heidi time.
I got Chris, I liked him, I sympathized with him. The often met ostrich strategy when traumatic events happen to someone near and dear, the “let’s pretend it didn’t happen so we’ll move on” strategy. Pretty authentic, and resulting in pretty predictable catastrophic endings. I mean, a lot of people deal with traumatic events in their own way, and despite being scarred and affected, they move freaking on. That’s part of the basics of being a human being, if you ask me. You have to recover from terrible pain and loss, and how graciously you do it makes you or breaks those around you.
Speaking of, “Willow”. Now, had this novel been primarily about “Willow”, her life, the whole thing, living with Joseph’s family, the Matthew thing…it would have been another Bomy Award of Excellence, without a doubt. This girl has been through so much, and she was so easy to sympathize with, and love, and want to help…well, she was all that for anyone except Heidi, because selfish nutjob fail of a creature, but! “Willow”, you’ll understand why the “” there when you read the novel – which I say you totally must, was brilliant. I looked forward to every chapter from her POV, and I particularly loved the ending.
Of course, if I take a step back from the intense emotions reading this novel has generated, and look at things in a more level-headed way, I’d say this is a study of traumatic events and recovering from them (or not actually recovering from them, at times). A study in pain and loss and love, be it twisted, between twisted, broken people, or twisting and breaking people. It’s a great novel that will make you feel, think, love, hate (passionately, in my case, sorry… lol!), maybe forgive (though not much, in my case), and certainly embrace human diversity in all its filthy, disgusting nature. Lol. Like that positive note I ended it in, huh? But it’s true.
There’s so much of human nature that I hate and is part of this novel, that I was shocked. Joseph got what he deserved, if you ask me, and I don’t condone Matthew’s brand of resolving things but I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for Joseph, Isaac… Heidi ended up where she was supposed to be, though it broke Chris and probably Zoe’s hearts, “Willow” worked through her issues and things worked out somewhat for he, in a way. I can imagine her having a somewhat happier life, richer, easier on her heart, maybe. I can imagine that because in her genius, Mary Kubica allowed me to via the open ending where she’s concerned. I can imagine Matthew keeping track of her in the future, watching over her like a murderous guardian angel…There’s a romantic tone to the “Willow”/Matthew story, twisted as it may be, and Heidi and Chris do love each other, I think, even if it’s muddled by things they’ve gone through during their marriage. But these stories are as much about pain and loss as about love, though the love is subtler, less in your face. It’s not a romance in any story, but I feel the romantic elements are there by way of the love connections. And it’s twisted, so very twisted, and so inescapably human, all of it.
There was also some mystery involved, regarding what happened to Joseph’s family, and “Willow”‘s involvement. I really enjoyed that tangent too, and would have loved it to be more in the spotlight.
Pretty Baby is written in first person, present tense narrative, from 3 POVs (Heidi, Chris, and “Willow”). I loved “Willow”‘s voice, and her character too, but while I personally intensely disliked Heidi and her POV made me almost raving mad, I can’t say it was not interesting or intense. I’m not generally a fan of either present tense narrative or more than one POV, but here it worked because of the terrific writing and character study it provided – something I’m a huge fan of, always.
The cover is gorgeous, the presentation doesn’t actually do the drama of the novel justice though it is hooking, but the author name would have made this compulsive buy material anyway, to be honest.
All in all, I highly recommend Pretty Baby if you’re a brave reader, ready to dive into the filth of human nature and absorb part of it as you read. If you’re into dramatic stories of loss and recovery (or lack thereof), into stark, chilling, revoltingly honest looks into tragic stories and how we all handle them, then read Pretty Baby. I cried, I swore, I was outraged, I felt touched, I smiled… it’s not for the faint of heart. But it’s a spectacular journey....more
In a Flutter: Intentional hot mess Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The**spoiler alert** Originally posted on Butterfly-o-Meter Books on Jul 28 2015:
In a Flutter: Intentional hot mess Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The fantasy world of Ferrum and beyond is somewhat understated, despite containing quite a few interesting creatures (fairies, gnomes, tightropers). This is a war story though, and most of the world is pretty much destroyed, disaffected or dysfunctional. Characters: Beckan and Scrap are the most important characters. They’re teens, surviving a very tough time, doing very difficult and controversial things to do so – but then again, isn’t that the essence of surviving war? -. I liked things about them, like their loyalty to one another, their love for one another, their love for the rest of their “pack”. Yet I can’t say I was emotionally invested in any of their stories, I wasn’t particularly rooting for a HFN or HEA. Though there is one. I ended up liking Scrap in the end, more than the rest. Something about his broken train of thought and broken heart made me like him best, I think. I do love tormented characters, and Scrap is most definitely one. Plot: The war-related story, the survival-related story was quite active, but not agitated. Not as agitated as the storytelling was, in fact. It’s impossible to properly explain that, unless you read for yourself to understand what I mean. The romance tangent was tainted and kind of dark and sort of beautiful, in a broken kind of way. I liked that. Writing: Third person, past and present tense narrative, from a couple POVs (but mainly from Scrap’s rendering of those POVs, making it all from his POV in fact…yes, it’s that confusing, lol!) The spastic narrative is a complete mess, that starts to make sense as you advance in the read. It makes actual sense from a point on, because that’s when we’re actually told all of it is from Scrap’s POV, making most of the Beckan scenes unreliable narrator style since Scrap isn’t actually present to narrate/know what’s going on. While confusing and often time annoying, the narrative became sort of brilliant for me once everything made sense. It’s a war story told by one of the collateral damage victims, I guess, though Scrap becomes a main event himself. When I finished the novel, I took this to be a sort of war diary written by someone who suffers a lot during and after the actual conflict. And his commentary on war via his story was touching, the conclusions matching some of my own opinions and views. So this is an intentionally confusing narrative, which is perfectly logical, considering who the actual narrator is. But you only get that point when more than half way through the story, and you’ll embrace it I guess close to the ending, if you get that far. Quirky narrative might lose some readers that are lovers of neatness and order in their reads, lol. I tend to embrace chaos myself, haha, so it was a fun ride. Curb Appeal: Beautiful cover, also loved the “picture” of Beckan and her father from inside the pages of the read. The blurb is intriguing, but I’d add in a tiny quote or something to rely the highly unusual tone of the narrative, since I feel it’s an important point to make.
All in all, this was an unusual reading experience, somewhat annoying in places but still interesting and in the end, touching. It was an experiment of sorts, and I stuck with it and ended enjoying it by the end. Not loving it outright, though. It was a new and original reading experience, and the not knowing and part not totally understanding were part of the fun. Would I want to go on a second ride of the sort? I’m not sure. So I recommend A History of Glitter and Blood to lovers of quirky stories & narratives, unreliable narrator kind of lovers, and to admirers of war-time drama stories, because there’s plenty of understated drama here. This is an out of the ordinary read. Go into it expecting nothing (not even narrative sense!) or you probably won’t enjoy it, imho.
In a Flutter: Overall a fun, easy read. Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The setting of COriginally posted on May 13 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Overall a fun, easy read. Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The setting of Crow’s Rest had a lot of charm, and the fantasy elements were interesting as well – fey, magic -. Characters: Avery was an interesting MC. I sort of liked the idea of her, the concept, but I wasn’t that taken with her manifestation, if that makes any sense. The concept of her was fun, but she sometimes read unconvincing, somewhat childish maybe at times. I liked her loyalty, her sense of right and wrong and the nuances in between. I loved that wild streak about her, the fact she was quite independent. That strikes me as authentic teenager, so kudos for that! I found Daniel highly irritating, and Lonan was pretty fun and could have been sort of kick-ass, but then again we have our heroine doing most of the saving so the fey studmuffin didn’t get a chance to go all alpha, macho goodness. He was sort of like the fey boy next door. If you like that in your reads, then I think you’ll like him. I’m not much into it myself, I admit. Maybe that’s why I found Daniel annoying, he literally was the boy next door. I kind of loved Nykur :D And also I liked the rather irreverent air the fey in this story had. Of course, they couldn’t go too mischievous because age-appropriate, but they had a lot of potential. Big kudos for that too! Plot: The paranormal (because fantasy creatures running around regular human world) action was sort of fun, but not overly exciting imo. It was entertaining enough, and I often found myself wishing the fantasy world had gotten more air-time, because it was really cool. The teen romance angle was pretty hormonal and of course, there was a triangle happening, with the two contenders somewhat renting the same body for a while… kind of disturbing, a bit twisted – which is why I found it interesting and fun, as opposed to irritating which is my general view of triangles and especially in YA. All in all, the read felt somewhat slow in the beginning, but overall it had a good pace. It’s not a roller-coaster kind of read, though. If you’re into agitated action, it might be a bit too slow for you. Writing: First person, past tense narrative. Avery’s voice had moments when it was hilarious and quite charming with her bits of snark, but sometimes things felt a little… I’m not sure how to describe it, light? But that’s a common occurrence for me with YA, so it might be just your thing. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – a good pitch.
All in all, this was a fun kind of twisted (but only kind of, keep in mind, it’s quite tame) fairy-tale like story, fact that I enjoyed. I liked the portrayal of fey, the magic to real ratio. The story was somewhat hard to get into at times, especially in the beginning, but things progressed further on. I definitely recommend it to lovers of teen romance, of paranormal elements that include some fey and magic, and if you’re into romantic triangles then this one should be a fun read as well. Also it’s a standalone novel so no cliffies or anything, which is also very cool :D...more
In a Flutter: Fun & exciting! Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I freaking loved the whOriginally posted on Jun 9 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Fun & exciting! Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I freaking loved the whole Gladium/provinces setting, with the fantasy element – Morgons, descendants of dragons, who have special abilities & some possess magic – beautifully woven into day to day life. While the point of the novel wasn’t the worldbuilding, because this is a spin-off series of the author’s Nightwind series – which I haven’t read, everything was set awesomely and I got the world and world order thing very well. Characters: I loved Moira to bits. She’s independent, stubborn, determined, pretty tough, resilient, gutsy, fun, witty – just the complete package, you know what I mean? I loved her rebel streak, how passionate she was about her career choice and making it on her own, about her beliefs, how kickass yet vulnerable she was. I loved her to bits. Kol was every bit the alpha male, super strong, smart, protective, smoldering hot, brooding…a leader among Morgons, a noble soul, super intense and a devoted lover. I mean, seriously, you could not wish for more (except maybe wishing to get one of your own, sigh.) They made the puuuurfect couple. I need to mention I really, really liked many characters, some of which I’ll read about in the Nightwing series and yes, I do really wanna read it now. Plot: The romance arc was very well built, very tense and in the end, highly satisfying. Their chemistry was explosive, their spring/autumn (he’s 30 something, she’s 20) romance a slow burn but with super hot quick lust & delayed gratification to set it off. The one on one was uuuuber hot and when the main even FINALLY happened I was thrilled with their bond and their HEA. Outside of the romance arc, there was also some interesting mystery to the story, the whole murders thing, the implications that rose out of investigating them exciting for an evil reader like me, and I loved the hints of things to come. I’m a total sucker for politics and intrigue, so sue me :P But the mystery investigation came with a good side of action and thrills, I loved the alert pace of events. All very exciting, and well entwined with the romantic development of the Moira/Kol pair. Writing: First person, past narrative from Moira’s POV. I loved he voice, she has humor and a really cool perspective on things, plus being and investigative journalist, she’s very observant. Loved her. It’s exactly the style of writing I respond to and love. Curb Appeal: Hot cover, hooking blurb – total impulsive buy material.
All in all, this was a really cool fantasy romance with a good side of murder mystery. I will definitely follow the series, and while Waking the Dragon is my first Juliette Cross read, it most certainly will not be my last. I fully recommend the novel to lovers of dragon-kin romance, paranormal mystery and lovers of strong female MCs. I’m pretty sure all of Juliette Cross’s writing is awesome just from reading this first (for me) novel by her, so I’m gonna say give any of her writing a shot if you haven’t already. She’s bound to make a fan out of you, I say :) Big like!...more
Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: I very much enjoyed the Dunbarrow, England setting, though it came through mostly via the “fitting in rules”. The paranormal elements were super fun, necromancer, ghosts, deals with the Devil, and the man himself making a fun appearance or two Characters: Luke, the MC, was a really fun 16 yo young man. I liked how he took care of his mother when she needed him to. His struggles to fit in, do all the right things and hang with the right crowd struck me as authentic. Plus he had a great sense of humor and was easy to empathize with. Loved the guy, truth be told. Also loved Elza, adored Ham, and generally liked how Leo Hunt built his characters in Thirteen Days of Midnight. Plot: The action/adventure arc was an awesome twist on the “sins of thy father” angle, and it made for an exciting, quick-paced journey. I loved the pace of events, it made for an alert read, but without becoming rabidly rapid (that would’ve tamed my enthusiasm). I loved every step of the way. Of course there was a bit of crush-factor going on, since our MC is a 16 yo, lol. I found the Luke/Elza thing cute as it slowly developed, and I loved how it rounded their characters. Writing: First person, present tense narrative from Luke’s POV. He had a very fun voice, that I very much enjoyed following. Curb Appeal: Awesomesauce cover imo, hooking blurb – a really good pitch for a just as good read
All in all, I recommend Thirteen Days of Midnight to lovers of YA Urban Fantasy, especially those who have a thing for the deals with the Devil trope, plus ghosts & necromancers kinds of settings....more
In a Flutter: Brilliant! Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The fantasy world of The TwelveOriginally posted on May 26 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Brilliant! Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The fantasy world of The Twelve Kingdoms is rich, beautiful, uber well put together. I loved Annfwn beyond measure, its shape-shifting citizens and magic, but the other kingdoms were nothing to scoff at either. Beautiful landscapes, gorgeous castles, all kinds of interesting people – like the very Viking-like delicious Dasnarians xDDD -. Much, much awesome!! Characters: I will confess Ursula was my favorite of the three sisters, from the very beginning of the series. Her fierce loyalty and sense of right and wrong, of duty, of self-sacrifice in the name of caring for and protecting her loved ones…and now, through this read, getting a better grip on her self-imposed solitude and lack of trust in her (and other people’s) emotions/feelings endeared her all the more to me. I loved Ursula already as I started reading this novel, but by the end of it, I loved her fiercely. I was aching for her happy ending, for her to get what she deserved. And she did get it, by taking it herself, yet another thing I loved about her. She got things done, kicked ass and had an astute strategic mind. I’m so in love with her character I can’t even begin to describe it. Harlan was beyond awesome, loyal, dedicated, strong yet aware he was second seat in this show. The man knew how to support and have Ursula’s back, and I loved and admired him for it. He loved her tenderly, sweetly, passionately – and they had scorching hot chemistry :D Yum!! I also loved seeing the three sisters reunited, and I’m thrilled about the end of the story for them and the Thirteen Kingdoms :D Plot: The romantic arc of Ursula and Harlan’s HEA was awesome, a slow burn kind of romance with a lot of passion, and uber hot one on one – yet another one of Jeffe Kennedy’s strengths. The story had an alert pace, with cool action – battle scenes, chases -, but never in the detriment of character development. It’s not an agitated read, as we go through all of Ursula’s doubts and fears until we reach an ending I was personally rooting for ever since reading the first novel in this fabulous series. Writing: First person, past narrative, Ursula’s POV. Her voice was what I expected from her, somewhat bound to protocol and being all proper, with subtle humor and a lot of heart. Loved it. Jeffe Kennedy’s usual kickass writing skills showed again in any and all departments: worldbuilding, tension-building, romance-building, character-building. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb, instant buy author name – ever the impulsive buy material.
All in all, I highly recommend both the novel and the whole Twelve Kingdoms series to any fantasy romance lovers. It’s a sturdy read, it’s fun, exciting, imaginative, evokes loooots of feels, and it’s an awesome, frolicking fun ride! Take a chance on the series if you haven’t already. Super awesome writing, diverse characters, delicious and hot romance, power struggles, treason, murder, chases, fights, lots of ass-kicking, hearts breaking and mending… the best of all worlds. I will for sure keep reading the series, and can’t wait for Dafne’s story!! xDDDD
Uorsin definitely deserved what happened to him in this novel, but if you’re curious about reading about him and Salena, the mother of the three sisters we’re read about so far, the prequel Negotiation novella is free on Amazon / Smashwords / Kobo for the release of The Talon of the Hawk, so grab it :D It’s short, but I read it real quick and loved it!...more
In a Flutter: Not my thing. Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Contemporary bikers with perks world, if I were to describe it now that I’ve read all three parts. Not my thing, the perks part. Really not my thing. Characters: Liv and Shock’s evolution lost me along the way, I admit, but by the time I reached the end of this last part of their story I felt like they were strangers. Something about their evolution went from authentic to not feeling them. I’m sure the sexual turn of events also made me feel they’re impersonal somehow, the 3some/moresome sex sessions do that to me. Plot: The romance arc reached the HEA, but it was unconvincing for me, somehow rushed and too tied to the sex. Maybe if the sex thing would have been my cuppa, I would have enjoyed the whole story more, but I’m not too sure. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his and her POV. I must admit I felt the voices of the characters got a bit muddled as the story progressed. I really “felt” them in the beginning, and it slowly dwindled away sadly :( Curb Appeal: Hot cover, hooking blurb – but I must say I would have seen the cover of #2 more fitting since the actual 3some happens in this part of the story, and not in the second. But that’s just an opinion, the covers are hot and fit really well the genre/tone anyway.
All in all, I’d say if you’re a hardcore fan of bikers stories (this was my first, it must be said…not a stellar beginning, sadly), and love 3some with a hint of power-play (the Sir kind), then this is totally for you. None of these things are my cuppa and I had fun reading these 3 parts anyway, even if some spots were tougher to enjoy than others for me personally....more
In a Flutter: Interesting Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The bikers in Hard Ride are, oOriginally posted on Apr 9 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Interesting Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The bikers in Hard Ride are, of course, fascinating. Bikers tend to be :D Worlds that include them tend to be as well. I can’t say I felt we were immersed in that world, but the hints that are present are interesting. Characters: Liv was fun, easy to like though tougher to empathize with. There’s some stuff in her past, some stuff in her present… she’s got a plateful. The fact is not overly played on, which I appreciate it, and I hope things will be the same in the next 2 parts of the novel as well. Shock was yummy, of course. Alpha male, biker, tattoos, leather… are you kidding me? :)) So much hot. I liked their chemistry, and the feels that are involved. Plot: This a rekindled romance kind of trope, though they’ve know each other for a while but haven’t been an actual couple. The feels were there though. The story so far is fun, the contract-based kind of affair. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his and her POV. Curb Appeal: Hot cover, interesting blurb – and I wanted to try a bikers read :D So it spoke to my need, lol.
All in all, this was an interesting beginning and I’m reading #2 right now. Yes, I am a total tease like that *mwahahaha* Don’t worry though, I’m sharing my thoughts on it next week! So far, so good!...more
In a Flutter: Fun Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Still interesting, though not my cuppaOriginally posted on Apr 16 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Fun Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: Still interesting, though not my cuppa, to be honest. The ties between these particular bikers include things I don’t find interesting in the least (sharing). Characters: Liv and Shock got closer, their relationship developed a bit, but there are still issues there and people meddling. I liked the progress, but was iffy about the direction. Plot: The relationship evolves, and it was fun. Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his and her POV. Curb Appeal: Interesting cover, though it would most likely push me away (3some or moresomes are not a thing I enjoy) – I found it misleading since there’s no hopping around in this part of the story, though there is talk of it.
All in all, a good addition, though maybe not a full 3 butterflies. Read the third part of the full novel right after this one, so it kept me interested, but not fully engaged....more
In a Flutter: Enjoyable Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The Medieval Anglia setting wasOriginally posted on May 28 2015 at Butterfly-o-Meter Books:
In a Flutter: Enjoyable Fluttering Thoughts: Worldbuilding: The Medieval Anglia setting was good, I got the feel of the Inquisition, the noble/regular people divide, the fear, the unfairness of it all. That being said, the worldbuilding itself didn’t strike me as too focused upon when it came to magic – why it had been banned, what was the reasoning (you’ll find even in terribly misguided rules there’s always a logic, even if faulted upon reconsideration). There were Reformists, seeking to make the use of magic legal, and Persecutors who outlawed it and punished those that did practice it. The world was ripe with tension, that’s without a doubt. Characters: I found the MC, Elizabeth, quite lovely. With a tough past, a quite nasty present and an uncertain future, I think she did the best she could. True, she was somewhat dependent upon Caleb, but it was understandable. She’d posed questions and never really felt happy with what answers she’d been given, but somehow suspended belief on those issues while it was convenient to – that strikes me as authentic human behavior, even if not one I might like. She’s 16, so she has some of that trying to make her loved ones happy thing going, people pleaser thing to a point; I do feel the need to point out that in Medieval times, you were quite grown up at 16. They didn’t have our present day infatuation with the not-quite-adult but not-a-child-anymore nuance. So there are things Elizabeth does, has done, that would be part of an adult life (helloooo, Malcolm, if you catch my drift) and which would have been a natural part of life back then. Some might find that particular aspect bothers them, but it’s only referenced anyway, so not an actual part of the story – just saying. I didn’t personally respond to Elizabeth much, I tend to go for the rebels, the snarky, the unrepentant nutjobs, lol, and she was a bit too… I don’t know. Just not spicy enough for my personal liking, I guess. But she was a good MC, I think. It’s a matter of personal preference. Other characters were interesting and likable, but I didn’t fall for them either. There was a lot of potential with Fifer, I loved her spirit – in fact, she was my favorite character in the novel. Not saying the others weren’t up to snuff or anything, I just didn’t respond to them myself. I would have liked the antagonist, Blackwell, to have been a stronger presence. Plot: The good vs evil arc was fun, but not terribly exciting. Let me explain: plenty of talk of magic, for instance, but kind of few instances when it was actually happening. Enough plot twists, but a somewhat slow pace of events (with plenty of MC character development, that is true, and I applaud it!) It might be a bit too slow for some readers who like more thrills from their reads, though. The teen romance stories were kind of fun, and I would have loved to see more of Fifer & Schuyler (the two of them were totally my favs), and the Elizabeth & John thing was…sweet. I don’t personally respond to sweet much, unfortunately. But if you do, you’ll enjoy them a lot! Writing: First person, present tense narrative from Elizabeth’s POV. Personal preference thing, I found the tone of the narrative a bit too dry – too little humor for my liking. As I’ve said, I love snark, humor, comic relief to some of that tension happening. But it is in line with what one might expect out of a Historical ie Medieval-like Fantasy read. Not too dry, mind you. Just not fun enough for me to love it all the way. Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – awesome pitch, maybe not impulsive buy material for me, but definitely a good combo for the genre and age group.
All in all, this was a good YA read and a really promising debut. Sturdy, interesting MC character development, nice worldbuilding, entertaining story, likable characters (and some you might actually love xD). I recommend it if you’re into the Historical/Medieval Fantasy feel, YA of course, and particularly those witch hunts/Inquisition settings....more