Meet Trevor, he's a jerk. He's looking for a dream woman he can flaunt around town and rub in other men's faces. Aside from being drop dead gorgeous,Meet Trevor, he's a jerk. He's looking for a dream woman he can flaunt around town and rub in other men's faces. Aside from being drop dead gorgeous, dream woman must also be a gourmet cook, come from a large family, and basically be willing to be Trevor's love puppet. Meet Zoe, Trevor's slightly over-weight and plain looking neighbor. Zoe is not having a good day. She just lost her job after exposing that one of the owner's wives was stealing money, her car's window broke, her obnoxious neighbor took up both her and his parking spots forcing her to park on the street. He then proceeded to use the last of her laundry detergent after tossing her clothes off of the communal washing machine and, to top it all off, confiscated her pizza. Having enough of being walked over that day, Zoe tries to reclaim her food only to have Trevor tell her "Its not like you need it." Feeling mildly guilty for saying that out loud, Trevor decides to make amends by getting Zoe a job at his uncle's construction business. He also decides to pay her to do his laundry, grocery shopping, and clean his apartment. Slowly over the weeks, Trevor and Zoe find themselves becoming friends. However, Trevor is mortified when he finds himself attracted to Zoe. After all, she's the complete opposite of his dream woman. She's plain, can't cook, and worst of all (to him) she's fat. Thinking it's just a phase that he'll eventually get over, Trevor proposes a friends with benefits relationship.
I loathed Trevor in this book, to me, he had no redeeming qualities. The only reason why I didn't stop reading is because I enjoyed the first book in the series, Playing for Keeps, so I kept hoping that Mathewson would somehow save the book... but it never happened.
Trevor's demeanor is supposed to come off as humorous and endearing, as in "Oh ha-ha, he has no regard for other people's feelings except his own. Oh tee-hee, he thinks everyone around him should be grateful for anything he does while he completely ignores all the things others do for him." This did not work for me. Trevor thinks he's god's gift to women and that Zoe should be grateful he's even deigning to talk to her because she's not up to his normal exacting standards. For her part, Zoe does everything for him except assist him in the bathroom and instead of acknowledging all that she does, Trevor completely writes it off as his due. Yes, he's paying her to clean his apartment and get his groceries, but what she does for him extends well beyond that. Somehow this attitude is supposed to come off as endearing and cute, but it just worked to frustrate me. Especially at the end, when Trevor begins to show some character growth by thinking that maybe he's been taking Zoe for granted. Of course that immediately goes down the drain when two seconds later he basically thinks, "Screw that! How dare she not believe I really want to be with her?!" Trevor is just an awful human being.
And oh my god, the body hate in this book! There are so many malicious throw-away comments about Zoe and her weight that I lost count. Even Trevor hops on this band wagon by constantly thinking Zoe is too fat to be with him. In fact, he goes out of the way to avoid associating with her in public, even in a friendly sense, all she gets is an aloof head nod when they see each other. Trevor also constantly hears people saying disparaging things about her and just shrugs it off. Like, "yup, she's fat. Its not my problem that she keeps over-hearing co-workers malicious comments about her weight and that its hurting her so much that she's starving herself in the attempt to get to a super-model size, just so they'll stop." Seriously? He can't say one thing in her defense, even as a friend because the guys might get the impression that he actually has feelings for a woman that doesn't look like a Victoria's Secret model? God, I hated this. By the end of the book I wanted to give Zoe a cookie and tell her to jump ship on this relationship....more
Night Shift is one of the best anthologies I've read in a while with contributions from three powerhouse writers in their respective genres.
It says sNight Shift is one of the best anthologies I've read in a while with contributions from three powerhouse writers in their respective genres.
It says something when the "worst" story in a collection is from Nalini Singh. Secrets at Midnight is her contribution and it's pretty boring. Leopard shifter, Bastien Smith, has scented his mate but quickly finds out that not all is well with her. Singh can write some compelling short stories, so I was surprised at how she seemed to have sleepwalked through this one. The conflict is non-existent and it's painfully obvious what is going on with his mate from the minute Bastien starts talking about her. If I had to rate this one on an individual basis it would be a 3/5.
Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews was the reason I had been so anxious to get my hands on the anthology. The story takes place in the Kate Daniels world and follows the characters Jim and Dali who were featured in Magic Dreams, which I had adored. This story completely lived up to my high expectations. Dali is approached to look into the case of a missing person and Jim tags along for the ride. It was great to see Dali take the lead and I loved getting a little more of these two working together. I'm still holding out hope that we'll eventually get a full-length novel featuring Jim and Dali, as they're just fantastic. 5/5
Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin was the only author in the collection who was new to me. Makenna Frazier is a seer who gets pulled into a high profile case involving leprechauns on her very first day of work. I'm guessing this is a prequel to Shearin's Urban Fantasy series starring Makenna because the story works to set-up a much more involved plot. All in all, this was a good contribution and I was intrigued enough by the characters to potentially read the first book in the series. 4/5
The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) was my second favorite contribution in the anthology. Mala is on a quest for her goddess to tame the beast of Blackmoor in a corrupt kingdom dominated by a tyrant. I really loved how different interpretations of words and personal perceptions influenced this short story. I'm not a huge fan of medieval settings but this one worked for me. I'll be looking forward to the first full length book set in the world. 4.5/5
All in all a great anthology that is well worth the money....more
Dylan MacLeod is the leader of a clan of dragon shifters. Due to a mysterious disease, members of his clan have been dropping like flies. Desperate toDylan MacLeod is the leader of a clan of dragon shifters. Due to a mysterious disease, members of his clan have been dropping like flies. Desperate to save his people, Dylan decides to seek out human aid. His quest leads him to Dr. Phoebe Quillum, who is a researcher looking for a cure to Lupus.
After receiving news that her grant money has been pulled, Phoebe is on a tight time constraint to finish up her research. While in the middle of searching for funding, Phoebe is approached by Dylan. He's willing to pay her 3 million dollars to search for a cure to the disease killing his people. At first, Phoebe is hesitant but the combination of the thrill of researching a new disease and having enough money afterwards to continue her own research is too tempting to resist. So with reluctance, she agrees to Dylan's terms.
This was a really difficult book for me to get into. While the main story was interesting, the relationship between Dylan and Phoebe was boring. Those two just didn't have much personality and their background stories were hinted at but never fleshed out. This made Dylan's reluctance at wanting to keep Phoebe around frustrating. Especially when there was nothing given to show why he was so hesitant. For her part, Phoebe was a fairly interesting character. She was smart with her actions and didn’t let people push her around. However, I didn't appreciate her getting punished for having a cool head in dangerous situations. In fact, the climax of the story just pissed me off. Phoebe rationally handles a difficult situation and the characters (Dylan in particular) take it as huge betrayal for no real reason. Phoebe acted smartly and Dylan punishes her for it by throwing a huge man-child tantrum.
This brings me to my biggest problem with the book. The last sex scene is basically a rape scene. Read the spoiler for an explanation of the scene. (view spoiler)[Dylan is furious at Phoebe for not telling him of her speculations that another clan was the one killing off his dragons. Her reason for not saying anything is because she first wanted proof before claiming something that might begin a war and lives at risk. Smart, right? Instead of seeing this as a mature and level-headed thing to do, Dylan flips out. He forcibly drags her to another room hurting her in the process. Then, upon returning later that night, he finds Phoebe asleep and decides to have sex with her despite still being livid about her rationality. At first Phoebe is with him, but then she changes her mind because his mood is too violent for her. That’s when this happens,
“For the first time, pain pierced the haze of pleasure that surrounded her, and again Phoebe struggled to get away. But he held her to him, careful not to hurt her despite his violent emotions and the heavy thrusts that brought him fully inside her…. The need to orgasm rose again, sharp, and insistent, and she tried to fight it. She didn’t want it—not like this. Not when Dylan was so angry with her…. But he didn’t give her a choice, and eventually her body betrayed her…. When it was over, he pulled out almost instantly and rolled away from her with a groan. He was asleep within moments, but she spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling, tears leaking slowly down her face for all that they had found and lost” (271)
Then, to really drive it home,
“When she finally climbed out of bed the next morning, Phoebe was stiff, uncoordinated. Her body felt used, and not in a good way. She turned on the shower and then stared at herself in the mirror—at the marks Dylan had made on her last night, with his passion and his rage. There was a large bruise on her right shoulder from where he’d bitten her, a scratch on her right hip… Bruises ringed her wrists from where he’d kept her hands pinned against the bed…. She closed her eyes, barely able to look at the destruction- of her body and their relationship.” (272)
And one more disturbing quote about Phoebe’s emotions afterwards,
“…last night hadn’t been about desire or need or love or even hate. It had been about rage, about a fury so deep the only way he could express it was physically.” (272) (hide spoiler)]
This scene completely killed the book for me. The number one thing that I cannot stand in books is sexual abuse written under the guise of angry sex. What really infuriates me is that after this, the scene is never brought back up. It happens, the story moves on. What was the point? Dylan's character was just decimated as a likeable person. I don’t give a flying fig if he later saves Phoebe. I don’t care if he saves the entire world now. It doesn't make up for his abhorrent actions or magically redeem his character. Honestly, if I hadn’t almost been done with this book, I would’ve put it down after that scene. But since there were about 50 pages left, I chugged on and just ended the book pissed off.
A lot of people have enjoyed this book. I can see why, Adams has a smooth writing style and her plot is fairly well fleshed out. But that last 25 percent of the book just killed it for me.
Radiance by Grace Draven is the first book in her new Wraith Kings series. The book had first been published in short installments on her blog beforeRadiance by Grace Draven is the first book in her new Wraith Kings series. The book had first been published in short installments on her blog before getting released as an ebook.
Ildiko and Brishen, are the royal spares in their respective families. Each only important enough for a marriage of convenience to strengthen the relationship between the Kai and humans. Issue is that humans tend to flee in terror at the sight of Kai, who are armed with sharp teeth and claws. The Kai are equally off-put by human features, believing the way their eyes roll around in their sockets creepy. Despite their misgivings, Ildiko and Brishen are determined to be allies against a brewing battle over trade routes and the poisonous atmosphere of court.
It’s hard not to gush about this book because there was just so much that I adored about it. The slow build-up of a relationship between Ildiko and Brishen was wonderful. I loved how honesty between them was often painted in a courageous light and was the foundation they built their relationship on. Watching them overcome their knee-jerk reactions to each other’s appearance was also a delight. It’s hard to find a romance where both parties think the sight of each other is disturbing and rather hideous. The funny thing is that Draven did a great job of making the things the Kai found creepy about humans believable. Quite a few times in the story I sat there going “huh, I guess that would be a little odd.”
Aside from the relationship, there was also an intriguing political plot occurring in the background. From the epilogue (which acts as more of a teaser for the second book) it seems this will be more of the focus for the next book. It’s the political machinations at work that often had me thinking that things will never be smooth sailing for Brishen or Ildiko. Too much is at play and working against them in ways neither expected. So, I’m on the edge of my seat to discover how they’ll manage to continue forward and remain happy.
I can tell that this is going to be a book that I continually try to force people to read. If you like high fantasy with a strong romance, then I suggest you check this out. I’m already stalking Draven’s website to see when the next novel will be released....more
First Drop of Crimson is the first spin-off novel set in Jeanine Frost’s popular Night Huntress universe. It's a standalone that focuses on Denise andFirst Drop of Crimson is the first spin-off novel set in Jeanine Frost’s popular Night Huntress universe. It's a standalone that focuses on Denise and Spade, who are two reoccurring side characters from the main series.
A demon has slowly been killing off members of Denise’s family. After she witnesses the demon murder her cousin, he makes her a deal. Find the relative who skipped out on a bargain with him and she won’t meet the same fate. With Cat and Bones out of country, Denise enlists the assistance of the only other vampires she knows, Spade. With Spade’s help, Denise has to track down her errant relative, who is hidden in the vampire community, before the demon runs out of patience.
It’s been a couple of years since I read a book set in the Night Huntress world. While I adored the early books in the main series and loved Eternal Kiss of Darkness, I can’t say that I felt as strongly about First Drop of Crimson. It fell firmly in the “it was ok” category for me.
The main reason for this is that Spade and Denise were pretty plain characters. They had very little to make them standout when surrounded by memorable characters, like Ian and Mencheres. It didn’t help that the snarky vampire, Ian, was given the best lines or that Bones' appearance breathed some life into a plot that had started to feel meandering. It got to the point where I was reading more to catch glimpses of the other characters than to find out what would happen to Denise or Spade.
All in all, First Drop of Crimson wasn't bad, just nothing really stood out about it. This works as a nice side story for fans of the series. However, I wouldn't recommend it to people who are looking to get into the Night Huntress books. If you're contemplating starting the series, I would suggest to just take the plunge and begin with the first book, Halfway to the Grave. ...more
I can see why Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal has generated a lot of buzz and is being called one of the most important comics of the year. It's a prettI can see why Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal has generated a lot of buzz and is being called one of the most important comics of the year. It's a pretty progressive series for the genre and an amazingly well done piece of work.
Kamala Khan is a geeky Muslim teenager who idolizes the Avengers (Captain Marvel in-particular) and, after sneaking out to a party one night, accidentally acquires some superpowers. This volume follows Kamala as she navigates through her family's wishes, cultural expectations, and general teenage life while also trying to get a handle on her new superpowers.
I'm not a fan of teenage superheroes or the "getting used to superpowers" story line. So, parts of this collection didn't work for me as those two things are at the core of the story here. However, what kept me reading was Kamala. She's an incredibly dorky (writes bad Avenger fan-fiction) and spectacularly practical (includes a fanny-pack as part of her superhero costume) young woman who messes-up in typical teenage fashion but has a solid moral core that drives her. I also loved that her culture and family were not side-notes in the story. Instead, they're both integral parts of Kamala's life that she both loves and causes some conflicts throughout the plot.
This is what makes the comic so progressive. It's not just because Kamala is Marvel's first Muslim character, but because of how well balanced she is as a protagonist. Her religion and gender are not passing footnotes in her identity nor are they all encompassing aspects of it. Instead, they are pieces (albeit important ones) of her life and identity that are part of what informs her decisions and interactions with the world. Her family, friends, and school life are shown to be just as relevant to what drives her actions throughout the collection. Having a character this well fleshed-out is refreshing as the genre has a habit of skimming over character development in favor of jumping straight to the action.
All in all, this is a wonderfully thoughtful comic. Kamala is a great addition to the Marvel universe and an awesome choice to pick-up the Ms. Marvel mantle. I can't wait to see where this series goes and highly recommend reading this if you enjoy character driven narratives in comics....more
Cinder is the first book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. From what I gather, each book in the series primarily features a different female characCinder is the first book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. From what I gather, each book in the series primarily features a different female character. So, you can imagine my frustration when I discovered this ends on a cliff-hanger. I was just really getting into the action of what Cinder was gearing up to do when the books ends suddenly. Usually, I hate cliff-hangers but this was awesome. I only hope that we still get some story from Cinder's point of view in the next books.
Cinder is a sci-fi/steampunk fairytale retelling of Cinderella, but only a few elements of the story match-up with the traditional set-up. In this, Cinder is a young cyborg who labors as a mechanic for her adoptive family. After agreeing to do a repair job for Prince Kai, Cinder finds herself forcibly thrown into the political mess of her country. Suddenly, she has to face being a test subject for a plague outbreak, prejudices against her kind, a visiting dignitary with mind control abilities, and an emerging secret from her past.
In Cinder, we are introduced to the impressive world Meyer has created for her characters, which is filled with social tension and unrest. I loved the imbalances of power we see and how all the characters are struggling, no matter what their social standing is. The leaders of the country are shown to be having just as difficult a time as Cinder. They're just dealing with different set of hard issues and decisions. I also really loved the weight these decisions and actions were given in the book. It added a lot of gravity to the story, which I wasn’t expecting to find when I decided to start the series. All in all, this was a great read and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out....more
Kate Daniels and crew venture overseas in a bid to get medicine to stop shifters from going loup. I loved this book to pieces. The setting outside ofKate Daniels and crew venture overseas in a bid to get medicine to stop shifters from going loup. I loved this book to pieces. The setting outside of Atlanta was a breath of fresh air for this addition to the series. I loved how vulnerable Kate is with everything that is going on with Curren and the pack. It was also great to see a ramp-up in tension centered around Roland. It feels like the stakes are finally raising in the series and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out....more
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry features a widower who slowly turns his life around after finding an abandoned child on his doorstep. The novel followsThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry features a widower who slowly turns his life around after finding an abandoned child on his doorstep. The novel follows him as he raises his new adopted daughter among the novels in his small Ellis Island bookstore.
While the writing style is lyrical, the story content is extremely predictable. AJ Fikry is shown to be a bit of a book snob and not very good with people. The appearance of Maya, the baby left on his doorstep, slowly turns that around as he starts forming connections with people in the local community and finds love. The obvious course of this novel made it fairly boring to read and often frustrating as a lot of the tropes used are my least favorite.
Unfortunately, one of my most hated tropes is a feature here: the idealistic child. The idealistic child is a young character in stories who is a romanticized portrayal of a child. Their main purpose is often to change the adult protagonist’s life for the better through perceptive insights, charming innocent behavior, and constant displays of unconditional love. Unfortunately, Maya fell into this category. She was absolutely perfect until she hit her teen years and got a little surly, but even then her main downfall was her dislike of living in a cramped apartment over a bookstore. Maya’s lack of flaws made her a dull character, which was unfortunate since it made her relationship with AJ boring to read and that was a main focus of the novel.
I was also disappointed with the attitude that came across toward genre novels and the people who read them. AJ Fikry is a book snob so some of the comments made sense due to his character. However, there was an overall tone to this book that implied it extended further than that. As a fan of genre fiction, I cringed anytime a statement was made about it and I despised the way the women’s book club reading preferences were described. Overall, there seemed to be a harsh judgment placed on people who prefer genre books over novels deemed to have “literary merit” that I couldn’t get behind.
All in all, the writing style was wonderful but the content of the story was not my cup of tea....more
Listened to this while driving from Minnesota to Chicago. This is a compilation of multiple people from Chelsea Handler's life writing about the practListened to this while driving from Minnesota to Chicago. This is a compilation of multiple people from Chelsea Handler's life writing about the practical jokes she plays on them. The bad part is that it is also read by the people who wrote each chapter. Some of the people reading their chapter were really great, others were awful or just plain annoying.
Aside from the actual readings, I didn't really enjoy the book. It was like listening to Punk'd but without Ashton Kutcher. Just couldn't get into listening to other people's stories of moments of panic or humiliation. If you like shows like Punk'd or Jackass maybe you'd get into this book. But if you're not a huge fan of practical jokes then stay away from this read. ...more
A brand new series from the Andrews’ writing team. Nevada Baylor is hired to bring a dangerous fire-starter in to his family before he causes more damA brand new series from the Andrews’ writing team. Nevada Baylor is hired to bring a dangerous fire-starter in to his family before he causes more damage to the city. This is a wonderful start to the Hidden Legacy series. I loved that Nevada’s powers were more defensive, which is different from Andrews’ other heroines who typically have more offensive powers. I look forward to the next book in the series which is slotted to come out sometime next year....more
**spoiler alert** This story as a whole wasn’t bad, it was just… boring. Nothing really stood out about it, the heroine, Sarah, wasn’t annoying or bit**spoiler alert** This story as a whole wasn’t bad, it was just… boring. Nothing really stood out about it, the heroine, Sarah, wasn’t annoying or bitchy or a doormat; she was just average. Same goes for the hero, James, who was just average (except for the whole virgin thing). Then there’s the villain, who is James’ cousin and is just an average mustache twirling villain who’s out to kill James so he can become the Duke of Alvord.
The most disturbing thing about this book was all the rape. If it wasn’t actually happening then it was either being attempted or talked about. The villain, Richard, rapes the prostitute that was supposed to be put in James’ bed instead of Sarah and then kills her. That whole scene made me wince and debate if I truly wanted to continue on. For whatever reason, I was determined to get through the whole story so I continued. But I should've just stopped there because Sarah has at least two different scenes where someone tries to rape her. I managed to make it through the first one, but the one at the very ending of story was just intensely disquieting to me. Most of this book is pretty light-hearted, so to throw heavy subjects like that in and not really deal with them was intrusive and disturbing.
Throughout this whole book it felt like there were two different stories going on. One was a light-hearted comedy of mistaken identity and crazy family members. Then there’s the darker and serious story of Richard’s obsession with overcoming James. I had the feeling Richard could’ve been a really complex and interesting character, but every time I thought Mackenzie was going to go more into his motives and background, his scene would abruptly cut off and things would switch back to James and Sarah’s antics.
So basically, I was either disturbed or bored during this book. I definitely won't be continuing this series....more
I was pretty disappointed with this book. Izzy and Éibhear's story was probably one of the most anticipated books in the series, but it just did not lI was pretty disappointed with this book. Izzy and Éibhear's story was probably one of the most anticipated books in the series, but it just did not live up to expectations. Part of the problem is that this series has changed quite a bit since the first book. The first few novels were primarily focused only on two main characters but as the books progressed they started focusing on past and future characters as well. Pretty sure this is because Aiken is trying to turn the series more towards the fantasy genre and away from romance. However, despite enjoying fantasy books, this change is just not working for me. I'm pretty sure I've complained about this before in Last Dragon Standing but the constant shifts in character POVs and all the scenes with the kids (or I guess they're teenagers now) kind of bored/frustrated me. Additionally, I was just disappointed with how Izzy and Éibhear's relationship evolved here. After all the drama between them in previous books I guess I was just expecting something more than "Wanna have sex?" "Yup" "Okay cool".
I don't think I'll be continuing with this series....more
After reading book six in G.A. Aiken's "Dragon Kin" series (How to Drive a Dragon Crazy) I had told myself that I wouldn't be picking up the next bookAfter reading book six in G.A. Aiken's "Dragon Kin" series (How to Drive a Dragon Crazy) I had told myself that I wouldn't be picking up the next book. However, when Light My Fire popped-up as a title on NetGalley I couldn't resist giving one more story in this series a shot.
After capturing Elina Shestakova (an Outerplains woman) for attempted regicide, Celyn promptly drops her off at the local jail and proceeds to completely forget about her for about a year. His memory is jogged, however, when there is talk of negotiating a truce between the Southlanders and Outerplains tribe. Elina is swiftly removed from jail and sent as a mediator with Celyn as her back-up.
For fans of the series, they'll recognize Celyn as the dragon who had a brief affair with the heroine from the previous book, Izzy, and nearly got himself killed over it. Celyn was the highlight of this book for me as I enjoyed how flustered Elina's mannerisms and expressions made him throughout the story. Elina herself was an interesting character, however the constant caveman structure of her sentences drove me insane.
My main issue with Light My Fire was that I had a lot of trouble remaining engaged with the story. A large part of this is because the characters are so flippant about everything. It's extremely rare when any of them take anything seriously, which is what a lot of the humor relies on. However, it becomes hard to care about what is going on in the plot when the characters don't care about what is happening. At times a character will take something very seriously but it will often be balanced with the others trivializing their reaction/concern. So there's not a whole lot of emotional stakes in the story, which doesn't really work for me when the book is a romance.
Bottom line, if you're a fan of the series, I would suggest picking this one up. However, if you're looking to get into the series, I would suggest starting with one of the earlier books first since there's a lot of previous main characters and mentions of past plot points floating around.
Ebook provided by Netgalley and the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review....more
Innocent in Death is number 24 of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series and my introduction to the books.
It’s the year 2060 and lieutenant Eve Dallas has takeInnocent in Death is number 24 of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series and my introduction to the books.
It’s the year 2060 and lieutenant Eve Dallas has taken a case involving a young teacher’s murder. The case seems like a standard poisoning, but Eve is having trouble building a good list of possible suspects. The young teacher seemed honestly well liked in the community with no real enemies. On the home front, Eve is battling her own insecurities as an old flame from her husband’s, path has suddenly returned.
I devoured this book in less than 24 hours, it was pretty spectacular. I loved the futuristic and gritty world. It gave everything a great almost film noir tone to the story. The hard edge really complimented the eclectic cast of characters.
Eve was the highlight of this for me. She’s a spectacular heroine who has a slightly skewed perspective of the world compared to everyone around her. I liked that in this installment we saw a vulnerability in Eve that offered a balance to the tough and highly competent homicide detective.
While I loved this as an introduction to Eve Dallas and her world, I’m not sure if I would’ve enjoyed this story as much if I had already been familiar with everything. I really enjoyed how all the drama between Eve and Roarke played out. However, the main mystery lost my interest toward the end. Call me cynical, but when the villain was unveiled I couldn’t drum-up the expected horror over it. So, the drawn out ending centered around the murderer bored me.
Despite this, I really enjoyed Innocent in Death and can’t wait to pick-up another book in the series....more
This series and I have a love/hate relationship. The world Cole has built for these books is pretty impressive and I love her mythology. However, theThis series and I have a love/hate relationship. The world Cole has built for these books is pretty impressive and I love her mythology. However, the relationships in these stories are either a hit or miss for me. Because of that, I was going to put off buying Lothaire until it came out in paperback, but after reading so many rave reviews I decided to take a chance and spring for the hardcover version. Unfortunately, I ended up not enjoying this as much as everyone else.
Lothaire has found his Bride, the woman who brings his body back to life and is his destined mate. The problem is that two souls currently inhabit his Bride’s body. One is an evil goddess who lives for blood, violence, and all around nefarious deeds. The other is Ellie, a mortal hillbilly who is content to live-out life on her family’s land. Naturally, Lothaire assumes that his Bride is the evil goddess and begins planning a way to exterminate Ellie’s soul.
After waking up covered in other people’s blood, Ellie decides that the only way to stop the goddess from murdering is to kill the body they share. The problem with this plan is that every time Ellie devises a way to kill herself, Lothaire seems to know and pops-up out of nowhere to stop her. After one close call, Lothaire decides that the safest place to keep an eye on Ellie is close by. With this in mind, Lothaire hauls Ellie off to his penthouse in New York where she'll be prisoner until he discovers a way to kill her soul.
So, this story basically ranks up there with the first book in the series for me. Meaning, I just could not stand how the relationship between Ellie and Lothaire played out. One of my biggest problems stems from the fact that I don’t usually enjoy stories where the heroine is taken captive by the hero and they fall in love. It typically ends up smacking too much of Stockholm syndrome for me. Despite that, I’ve read a couple captive heroine stories that I’ve enjoyed. This… was not one of those.
After taking Ellie prisoner, Lothaire immediately begins emotionally torturing her. He mocks, he sneers, he threatens her family, he laughs, they boink, he mocks, he has a violent episode, he sneers, and so on. While this is happening, Lothaire is still hunting for a ring to kill Ellie’s soul. Eventually, he begins to realize that Ellie might actually be his Bride, which leads to a few tiny scenes where Lothaire regrets how he’s treated her. However, these moments are over in the blink of an eye and Lothaire immediately goes back to being a douche. So, by the end of the book, I hated his ass. I was actually hoping that Ellie would run off with Thad. Yeah, Lothaire had some really awful moments in his life and at first I did feel sympathy for what he went through, but as the story progressed (and he just kept getting worse) that sympathy died. He was horrendous to Ellie and he never atoned for his actions. Yes, in the final ten pages he finally comes around, but after 300 pages of him being a total dickhead I needed a hell of a lot more from him than what we got.
The saving grace for this book was Cole’s writing style and the heroine, Ellie. As I said before, I love Cole’s use of mythology in this series. I also give her huge kudos for writing these books as if all each book is happening at the same time, or almost right on top of each other. I imagine that takes some serious effort. However, the reason why I kept reading the book was for Ellie. Yes, she annoyed me at times with the constant back and forth about her emotions, but she had serious backbone. Ellie knows how to take care of herself. While Ellie is captive she's constantly scheming ways to get out and goes toe-to-toe with Lothaire quite a bit; I loved that she never backed down. By the end of the novel, I knew why Lothaire would develop feelings for Ellie, but I wish we could’ve seen more reasons why Ellie would have feelings for Lothaire.
I would recommend this to fans of the series who have read quite a few of the other Immortals After Dark books. However, if you haven't read any of the other novels in this series, I would not start with this one. I think Lothaire requires more background knowledge from the other books to really appreciate and understand all the events happening in this book....more
Dead Heat is the long awaited fourth book in Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega series. While this series can be read without reading the Mercy ThompsonDead Heat is the long awaited fourth book in Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega series. While this series can be read without reading the Mercy Thompson books (to which it has strong ties), I would highly recommend reading the Alpha and Omega stories in order, due to the world's politics.
Taking a trip down to Arizona to buy a horse and see an old friend should’ve been a simple journey for mated werewolves, Anna and Charles Cornick. Unfortunately, things rarely go as planned for the pair, as they quickly find themselves in the middle of an investigation. Something has been hunting children in town and has made the mistake of attacking a family considered Pack. All signs are pointing to the Fae, even though they’ve all quarantined themselves away. Anna and Charles will have to step lightly as they look into the attack to avoid tipping the scales on the cold war between the Fae and humans.
At this point in the series, most of the dust between Anna and Charles has settled. They seem to have reached a point in their relationship where they’re both feeling secure and that shows here. There’s some mild tension between them about the possibility of a baby, but that takes an extreme backseat compared to the other things happening. I’m a huge fan of internal conflict between protagonists, so I definitely missed the tension in Charles and Anna’s relationship throughout Dead Heat.
I will say that the main plot featuring a hunt for the Fae abducting children was great and made-up for the lack of conflict between Charles and Anna. However, this side of the story was extremely slow to get going, for which I blame the horses. There were a lot of horses in this book. If the actual animal wasn’t in the scene, there was a good chance that someone was probably talking about one. It was clear that Briggs did a lot of research into the subject, but all the horse talk really bogged the book down in places. I also would’ve liked to have spent more time with Joseph, the old friend that Anna and Charles went to see in Arizona. His character played a major plot in the story, but had very little actual page time. This was disappointing since Joseph had the potential to carry a lot more emotional weight by giving him more face to face interaction with the other characters rather than just talking about him.
All in all, Dead Heat was a fairly good installment to the Alpha and Omega series. I’ll be curious to see if Briggs has any plans to write another book featuring Charles and Anna though. Throughout the book it felt like their story had basically wound down.
ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Why do I keep picking up Lora Leigh books? I've never given one of her stories a rating over a 2 and yet, at least once a year, I'll breakdown and buyWhy do I keep picking up Lora Leigh books? I've never given one of her stories a rating over a 2 and yet, at least once a year, I'll breakdown and buy one of her novels. This is mostly because her futuristic world featuring genetically altered humans (aka Breeds) is fascinating. I always go into her books hoping that this will be the one that I absolutely love, but that never happens. Mostly because the relationships featured in the series are pretty disturbing. I hate how little control the heroine has over her life and body the minute she comes into contact with the hero. But my biggest problem is how the line between consensual and forced sex are extremely blurred due to the "enzyme" the Breeds release that sends both parties into a sexual frenzy. Typically, neither the heroine nor hero want to have sex, but are compelled to due to the "enzyme", which leads to some pretty disturbing sex scenes. My other problem is that every single one of these books, that I've read, relies on the captive heroine trope. So, the stories come off as extremely formulaic.
In this one, Anya has been working with Del-Ray for years planning to bring down a company that's been experimenting on coyote breeds. When Anya first approached Del-Ray she only requested one thing from him, that her family (who works at the lab) not be harmed during the take-down. Del-Ray not only breaks this promise to her, but also kidnaps her and unintentionally claims her as his mate. What proceeds is a really disturbing first sex scene, followed by Del-Ray being a rather spectacular ass for the rest of the story.
I have to give Anya credit for showing some backbone. Once she's within the Breeds compound she takes Del-Ray to court for his actions and verbally wipes the floor with him. The court eventually rules in her favor, which wins Anya a reprieve from Del-Rey for half a year. However, the points Anya earned for that stunt quickly deteriorated once Del-Ray reappears in the story after his half-year mission/exile.
Del-Ray returns from his exile to find Anya has been running his compound extremely well and has gained the respect of almost everyone who works for her. After seeing everything Anya's done, Del-Ray is committed to undermining all her work. He demeans Anya, keeps her in the dark, and essentially just shits all over her. But its supposed to be okay because he's doing it for "her protection" which was such a flimsy and ridiculous excuse for him being a bastard that I got tired of reading about their shenanigans pretty quick. It didn't help that Anya constantly forgave Del-Ray at the drop of a dime and turned into a big ole martyr half-way through the story. All this led to Del-Ray never having to atone for his actions and my wishing that Anya would just take her friends' advice to hightail it on out of that toxic relationship.
Hopefully, I will not find myself being lured into picking up another book in this series....more
Wow, talk about a huge change in rating from the first book to the second. This one left a rather foul taste in my mouth.
Shade is an incubus demon whoWow, talk about a huge change in rating from the first book to the second. This one left a rather foul taste in my mouth.
Shade is an incubus demon who was cursed by an angry warlock when he caught Shade diddling his wife. The curse is set to activate when Shade falls in love. When this happens he is doomed to fade into nothing, becoming a kind of tormented ghost. So, Shade has spent his life avoiding any kind of romantic attachments in fear of activating the curse. Which has apparently given him license to be a complete ass.
The story starts with Shade waking up in dungeon that he shares with an extremely pissed off female werewolf named Runa. Runa, our heroine, reveals that she had dated Shade for a couple of months and it ended badly. This is where my problem started with the book. It's no spoiler to tell you that Shade cheated on Runa since its talked about in the first couple of chapters. Runa came to Shade's apartment one day to find him in the middle of screwing two women. This definitely set the tone of the story for me. I absolutely cannot stand cheating heroes. Its one of my biggest pet peeves. I muscled through the rest of this book mostly because of how much I had enjoyed the first one. The only reason why this book is getting two stars from me is because I enjoyed the subplots going on. Otherwise, Shade and Runa's relationship just pissed me off. I didn't really like Shade. He cheated on Runa and (view spoiler)[ was plotting to kill her through most of the book to save his own hide. (hide spoiler)] And he did nothing to redeem himself. There was barely even an "I'm sorry" involved. Runa spent a very short time hating him and then she suddenly switched to professing her undying love and devotion. Girl needs to grow a stronger backbone and Shade needs a swift kick to the balls.
Anyway, Wraith's story is next in the series. I'll be picking it up mostly because I had it ordered before I read this one. Hopefully, its closer to being like Pleasure Unbound than this one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm in one of those moods where all I want to do is sit around watching campy 1950's horror movies, like Them!, and reading ridiculous melodramatic seI'm in one of those moods where all I want to do is sit around watching campy 1950's horror movies, like Them!, and reading ridiculous melodramatic serial romances. It’s why I spent close to two hours trolling for Harlequin Presents titles that tickled my fancy. (Even though I'm convinced that nothing can beat Lightning That Lingers which featured a male stripper with a heart of gold who owned a pet owl and used his g-string dollars to fund a nature preserve.) However, The Bellini Bride managed to stray spectacularly into crazy soap-opera territory mid-way through the story.
Antonia once posed nude for a painting that became famous and brought billionaire Marco Bellini to her door. When the book opens it’s been a little over a year since they got together and things look to be going a little sour. Marco's father is dying and wants to see his son married before he kicks the bucket, so Marco is trying to work up the courage to either break things off with Antonia or grow a pair of balls and marry her.
Marco, of course, is a douche nugget. The way he handles the stress coming from family and society is to verbally lash out at Antonia. His favorite barb is to constantly remind her that everyone thinks she's a big ole' ho-bag because she's naked in some fine art painting drawn by her ex-lover. His other favorite thing to throw out is that pretty women are a dime a dozen and he can replace her with a snap of his fingers. Such a dreamboat, eh?
For the first half of the book I didn't find Marco's ass-y behavior all that infuriating because Antonia bit back just as hard and made him apologize for being a dick. And for a terrifying moment I thought that I had accidentally stumbled across a Presents title that lacked the wonderful flavor of absurdity that I had been looking for. After all, I had an awesome heroine who was experienced and unashamed of her past despite the fact that everyone around her seemed to want to shame her, including the hero. That was until I hit the halfway point and Reid pulled the rug out from under Antonia’s character.
The crazy hits the fan when Antonia and Marco attend her ex-lover's newest art exhibition. Suddenly it’s revealed that (view spoiler)[ Antonia is not actually the female model in the famous painting it’s really her mother who looks exactly like Antonia. And that ex-lover that Marco has been blowing a jealous gasket over for the whole book? Never Antonia’s lover. He was actually her dead mother's lover and is Antonia's father-ish figure, which adds a lovely creepy tone to an earlier scene where Antonia is practically feeling him up at a party to piss Marco off. Oh and by the way, all that sexual experience Antonia supposedly has is all in your imagination. Marco is the only lover she's ever had. And the ridiculous doesn't end there. Oh no. Antonia's real father magically pops-up at the art showing and its revealed that he's a billionaire (they must grow on trees in Italy) who had her mother as his mistress but cut things off with her when he found out she was pregnant. OH! And even better, Antonia is apparently the one who painted the famous painting and she's been working on one of a nude Marco without his knowledge. (hide spoiler)] Hahaha... awesome.
After the craziness that was this art exhibition, Antonia turns into a wishy-washy mess of a woman who can’t seem to dredge up any self-respect and leave Marco’s ass. Even though she does think about it frequently and (view spoiler)[manages to get to an airport before having a breakdown and fleeing back to him. (hide spoiler)] After this, the plot is basically all about Antonia groveling for Marco’s forgiveness for not trusting him and for making an aborted attempt at leaving him. Hahaha, seriously? Marco’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds. I love how we’re supposed to believe that Marco deserves Antonia’s trust and commitment despite him never having done anything to earn it. At one point Antonia is close to leaving Marco when she thinks this: “He wanted her. What more could she ask of him, for goodness’ sake?” Uhhh… maybe his respect or, you know, love? But nah, she’ll settle for him just wanting her around. Girl needs to find that self-esteem she lost somewhere around the halfway point.
Honestly, I really enjoyed this one. I was in the right mood for the ridiculousness that this book managed to dish out in spades. The only thing that could’ve made this book better is if Reid had decided to pursue the melodrama that Marco’s catty ex-lover could’ve dished out. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Fox shifter, Chloe, has been pining after Jim Woods for four years. AfterFigure of Speech is the 4th book in Dana Marie Bell’s Halle Shifter’s series.
Fox shifter, Chloe, has been pining after Jim Woods for four years. After nothing but constant rejection, Jim is finally ready to admit to the bond he shares with Chloe. There's nothing standing in their way now, except a barrage of hunters and mercenaries targeting Chloe.
Dana Marie Bell is great at getting you invested in the side characters who populate her stories. So, after seeing all of Jim and Chloe’s angst in the previous books, I was pretty excited about reading their story. Unfortunately, I was a little let down by the direction their book took.
Prior to this, Jim had been adamantly against a relationship with Chloe, due to their age difference. This created a lot of drama between the two given their “fated mate” connection. At the very start of Figure of Speech, this is resolved, via Jim now being a wolf shifter and recognizing the bond. I was a little uncomfortable with this solution. It seemed too easy and convenient of a way to solve a conflict that had been built-up over the course of several novels. I had a hard time believing that Jim would just dive into the relationship because he's now a shifter. On top of this, Jim's past actions were excused away as misunderstandings or given noble explanations. It all added up to me feeling a little cheated. I wish that Bell had given the same weight to Jim’s reluctance and past deeds that she had in previous novels, instead of pushing it aside to concentrate on action plot.
Other than that, I thought this was a fairly good installment to the series. I’ll be curious to read about several side characters in the future (especially Barney). If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll find something to enjoy here.
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review....more
I think this book managed to hit almost all of my pet peeves in romances. The writing style was good, but I just couldn’t get behind most of the charaI think this book managed to hit almost all of my pet peeves in romances. The writing style was good, but I just couldn’t get behind most of the characters and a lot of the plot.
Our heroine, Kara, had very little control over anything that happened to her throughout the story. She’s controlled the minute Lyon, the hero, appears. He abducts her from her life and forces her to live with a bunch of his furry friends. Despite him abducting her, Kara is constantly running to Lyon for help and protection. Which happens a lot in the story. Meanwhile, Lyon is debating whether or not he's going to have to kill her for various reasons that pop up. So creepy. Kara is also forced into a relationship she doesn’t want because the magical blue light of doom proclaims that some random guy is her mate. And Lyon is again debating whether or not to kill her because she can't reject her pre-chosen mate for various reasons. Basically, Kara is just one big expendable pawn to the other characters. It was almost painful trying to get through the book with the way she's portrayed and how the others interact with her. It just disturbed me on too many levels....more
Thirteen is the final book for Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld. While I’m very sad to see the end of one of my favorite series, I’m also glThirteen is the final book for Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld. While I’m very sad to see the end of one of my favorite series, I’m also glad that Armstrong chose not to drag it out until she was beating a dead horse.
The world is turning to chaos as the Supernatural Liberation Movement sets into motion their plans to expose the supernatural population. With powerful demons now choosing sides, all the factions of the Otherworld must work together if they hope to successfully stop the movement. Still caught in the middle of the brewing war is Savannah Levine, who has yet to completely regain her powers.
Even though Thirteen is told primarily from Savannah’s point of view, this is definitely everyone’s story. Her character arc is mostly over near the beginning, so the focus shifts fully to the impending battle as everyone pulls together. With things completely out of control, Savannah is just along for the ride at different points, as other character’s take the wheel. I really loved that we got one chapter from the viewpoint of each of the previous narrators in the series. Armstrong executed this wonderfully as all of those chapters worked to move the plot forward. It also seemed critical that they be told from that particular person’s point of view, rather than Savannah’s. So, it was a nice nod to all the main characters without interrupting the story's flow.
My only confusion here is that, by the end, I felt like there should’ve been a novel for Cassandra. Cassandra has been a reoccurring character since Stolen and, while I don’t believe that we need a full length book for every character, she played an oddly large part here. She also seemed to have had a character arc happen off-page, which is the main reason I felt like there should’ve been a story for her. She does have a short story (found in Otherworld Nights) that touches briefly on it, but her change felt bigger than that.
All in all, this was a fantastic ending to the series that left a few open possibilities for Armstrong to explore in her novellas. So, while we may not get another full length Otherworld book, I'm glad that we are still getting small tidbits every now and then....more
Connor Brice, is hellbent on revenge against his half brother, Sir Robert. The first step in his revenge? Steal Sir Robert's fiancee, Adelaide Ward. TConnor Brice, is hellbent on revenge against his half brother, Sir Robert. The first step in his revenge? Steal Sir Robert's fiancee, Adelaide Ward. The fact that Miss Ward is the same woman Connor had been fascinated with, while sitting in prison, is just a bonus. For her part, Adelaide is trapped. She doesn't want to marry the condescending Sir Robert, but her brother's gambling habit has left her with little choice. Its either marry him for his 5,000 pounds a year or go to the poor house. Things begin to spin out of control though when Connor interferes with her plans and Adelaide gets sucked even further into the brothers' revenge schemes.
Johnson has an interesting revenge plot going on here. Connor's drive and focus on gaining vengeance is believable and I agreed that Sir Robert needed to be taken down a peg or two. The guy was horrible. Poor Adelaide just has the misfortune of getting swept up in the tide of their animosity. So then, what was my problem with the story? The elimination of Adelaide's choices and power. Was she given the choice between Sir Robert and Connor? Yes. Is this more than what the typical historical romances with compromised heroines get? Yes. But honestly, she still didn't get to decide. Sir Robert was painted so horribly that Adelaide would've been committing suicide if she chose him.
Adelaide herself was a pretty good HR heroine. She was practical, smart, and didn't take much crap from Connor. Yet she fell into the innocent "I know nothing what-so-ever about sex" trope that I so loathe. Yes, it's so integrated into the genre that it's practically a requirement, but her extreme naivete about sex still annoyed me. I actually ended up skipping the sex scene between Connor and her, because I just wasn't interested in reading another HR deflowering scene where the more experienced hero shows the heroine the ropes.
But I'll admit that most of the issues I had with this book was a "It's me, not you" situation. An Unexpected Gentleman has a wonderful hero and heroine, a fairly original plot, and some great supporting characters. Most of my problems stemmed from the tropes in the genre.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Elizabeth Hoyt and Lisa Kleypas. Johnson has a writing style that fans of those two authors will enjoy immensely....more
Dreaming Spies is the 13th Mary Russell book by Laurie R. King. It’s a frame narrative, where the beginning and end of the novel act as a bookends toDreaming Spies is the 13th Mary Russell book by Laurie R. King. It’s a frame narrative, where the beginning and end of the novel act as a bookends to a flashback story.
Mary Russell returns home one evening to find Sato, an old friend from Japan, bleeding in her kitchen. As Sato describes the circumstances that brought her to England, Mary discovers that the blackmail case she worked on with Holmes in Japan may not be entirely closed. Now, they must work to unravel what happened in Japan before a public figure is forced to comply with the extortioner's demands.
One of the things I really love about the Mary Russell series is how often the stories are set outside of England. It’s always a lot of fun to see both Mary and Holmes stumble their way across an unfamiliar country while trying not to stick out like sore thumbs. However, I sometimes miss the cozy atmosphere England tends to have in these novels. So, I was pretty thrilled to find that this book had a good mix of both worlds. The beginning and end take place in England with Mary firmly in her comfort zone as she investigates, while the middle of the story is set in Japan.
As always, Mary is a wonderful character and I love seeing the quiet relationship she has with Holmes. However, Mary's first person perspective didn't work well for this book. Dreaming Spies is primarily the character Sato's story. It’s that character who drives the majority of the action and influences the outcomes of the mystery. Mary and Holmes's actions, unfortunately, do very little to influence the plot. I think they both could've been removed from the story entirely and the whole affair would've ended the same way. This was incredibly frustrating as Mary was regulated to pressing her face against the glass as she watched the main action of the flashback and present day stories unfold.
Despite this, I still enjoyed following Mary and Holmes on another of their adventures and in a new setting. I only wish Mary had more influence on the plot as the story often dragged since she was regulated to the role of mere observer. If you're a fan of the series, I strongly recommend picking this one up. If you're wanting to try a Mary Russell book, then I suggest you start with A Monstrous Regiment of Women.
Advance Reading Copy provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review...more
This is going to be a short review. I think I'm in the minority when I say that Singh's Guild Hunter series works a lot better for me than her Psy/ChaThis is going to be a short review. I think I'm in the minority when I say that Singh's Guild Hunter series works a lot better for me than her Psy/Changling one. Primarily, its because the Guild Hunter world, characters, and plot threads feel a lot smoother. I get the sense that Singh knows exactly where she wants to go with this series and despite how much I love the Psy/Changling series I just don't get the same vibe with it.
With that said, Archangel's Storm was probably my least favorite in the series even though I still really enjoyed it. I think its primarily because I wasn't expecting such a quiet relationship between Jason and Mahiya when all the other books had rather explosive main characters. However, this wasn't bad. After adjusting, I ended up really enjoying how the relationship developed between them. It worked well for the quiet and contemplative Jason.
My only nit-pick with the book was that the small scenes centered on Dimitri and Honor really threw me off balance. I enjoyed seeing them both develop a bit more, but I think those scenes would've worked better if they had been inserted as a short story at the end of the book or sold separately. This is mostly because I thought the snippets concerning them disrupted the suspenseful atmosphere of the plot with Jason and Mahiya too much.
All in all, an enjoyable addition to the series. I can't wait to read the next book, which will apparently go back to following Raphael and Elena. ...more
I picked-up the audiobook of The Martian to listen to on an 8 hour drive to Minnesota. From an audiobook perspective, it was extremely engaging and maI picked-up the audiobook of The Martian to listen to on an 8 hour drive to Minnesota. From an audiobook perspective, it was extremely engaging and managed to make the time pass quickly. My only complaint is that the way the narrator voiced the female characters started to get on my nerves in some places. But I'm not sure if this was due to the tone he chose to read some of their lines in or if it was the characters' actual dialog that annoyed me. Despite this I still really enjoyed listening to this novel.
Six astronauts are on a scheduled Mars mission. It was supposed to be the 3rd in a series that NASA had planned out, but when a strong dust storm suddenly develops they are instructed to abort the mission. During evacuation one of fleeing astronauts, Mark Watney, is hit with debris and presumed dead. Without any other recourse, the remaining 5 astronauts flee the worsening storm and unknowingly strand Mark alive on the planet.
This was a great survival story in a setting you don't normally see. Usually survival stories are about the person learning to live off the land and "going back to nature". Stranding someone on an inhospitable planet is a fantastic idea because that isn't an option. Mars is out to kill Mark, or so he sometimes believes, and he has to make-do with the limited remaining mission supplies in order to survive. Every time we were with Mark, it was a wonderfully tense atmosphere as we experienced things through his daily mission logs. Mark had a sense of humor that acted as great comedy relief to a novel that could've taken several turns towards depressing. The humor made reading about Mark planning his course of action, to only have to re-plan when things went wrong, a lot of fun. However, the book started to drag for me when Weir began switching back and forth between Mark's log entries and what NASA was doing.
When Weir began to intersperse Mark's scenes with NASA, it killed the suspense for me and caused one of my biggest issues with the story. In the beginning, you really felt Mark's sense of isolation and the desperation to make rations last until the next Mar's mission was scheduled. To remain with him like that and continue to only know what he knew would've made for a much more tense read. However, this tension was erased when we began to switch to NASA's point of view. It caused Mark's plight to lose a lot of the atmosphere it had built-up in the beginning, because you knew what NASA was doing and that things weren't as desperate as Mark thought. You were able to see the extremes NASA was going to in order to help Mark and these extremes were what started to kill my suspension of disbelief.
I could understand the media attention and NASA's struggle to get Mark back safely. However, I was a little baffled by the obsession with it. Mark is stranded on Mars for a long time. Much longer than the media's typical attention span and yet throughout the entire book the outside world is completely engrossed in the story the entire time. Some major channels even dedicate entire programs towards just Mark's situation. This made sense in the beginning, but as time wore on and only baby steps were made, the world probably would've began to lose interest. The fact that their attention never once wavered and that the entire world was essentially holding its breath, really threw me off.
Additionally, there's a lot of emphasis on how much time, money, and resources are utilized to save Mark (view spoiler)[(and not just by the United States) (hide spoiler)] that it started to become too far fetched for me. I began to have a hard time believing that so many people and governing bodies would give up so much to save one person's life. I was glad to see Weir eventually address this issue but, when he did, it almost felt tacked on. I read that part of this book was re-imagined, so I can't help but wonder if that section of the book was what they were referring to.
All in all, an excellent read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys hard Sci-Fi or survival themed stories.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** Meg Rittenhouse has started having hallucinations after being hit by a car. Her doctor had told her to expect this and that they'll**spoiler alert** Meg Rittenhouse has started having hallucinations after being hit by a car. Her doctor had told her to expect this and that they'll eventually wear off. But after seeing an elephant strolling down a busy street in New York Meg has decided that she needs to get somewhere more relaxing. So she calls up her rich cousin, Sylvia for help. Sylvia agrees that Meg does indeed need help so loans Meg the use of her large Victorian house in the country for 6 months. But the house Sylvia has decided to let Meg stay at has a twisted history and suddenly Meg is having joint hallucinations with Andy, Sylvia's step son, about a family that lived on the grounds before the current house was even built.
Both Meg and Andy have had some psychological conditions in their recent pasts that keeps you guessing if what they're seeing is really paranormal or if they're just somehow feeding off of each other. Meg and Andy end up joining together to discover who the people are in their visions and why there are shadowy things that surround the house at night giving off the feeling of doom. As their research starts going deeper into what happened to the family who lived on the property before Andy's ancestors built the house, the hallucinations start becoming more real and more revealing.
I liked that the mystery of the visions isn't the only thing that keeps the story moving. There’s Meg’s cataloging of the ancients furniture in the attic, which was oddly interesting to read about. Also there’s Meg and Andy having to deal with their mutual frustration towards Sylvia who isn't exactly known for having a very warm personality and her constant checking up on them. Then there's the past tenant of the house, a cracked out painted, who is harassing Meg because he blames her for his being evicted.
Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or ghost story. ...more
Soulbound is Kristen Callihan’s 6th Darkest London book. It’s also, unfortunately, the second to last book in the series.
Adam, the GIM King, has spenSoulbound is Kristen Callihan’s 6th Darkest London book. It’s also, unfortunately, the second to last book in the series.
Adam, the GIM King, has spent centuries searching for his soul mate. When he’s called to make Eliza May into one of his GIM, he knows he’s finally found her. Eliza is the one person who could lift the curse Queen Mab placed on him all those years ago. Panicked at the thought of losing her, Adam makes the mistake of chaining Eliza to his side. After months locked in a silent battle Eliza manages to escape, only to run straight into Mab’s clutches. Now they must work together in order to defeat Mab once and for all.
After seeing the way Adam treated Eliza throughout Evernight, I was a bit skeptical about how Callihan would deal with their relationship dynamic. There was an immense power imbalance between the two established that had me worried. Luckily, Callihan did an excellent job of leveling the playing field and making it understandable that Eliza would slowly forgive Adam for what he had done.
One of the best things about Soulbound was seeing how the events going on with Adam and Eliza were causing a ripple effect throughout the supernatural community. It gave what they were doing a great sense of urgency by showing how it was negatively impacting main characters from previous books in the series.
I would only advise people going into this book that there are several scenes that made me fidget uncomfortably. Primarily, they dealt with torture and rape. However, I will say that if you read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books (especially Acheron) you probably won’t bat an eye at these scenes in Soulbound.
All in all, this was a great addition to the Darkest London series and has made me anxious to see what Callihan will do for the final installment.
ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Lord's Fall is book 5 in Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series. Originally, I had no intention of reading this, but after enjoying Pia Saves the Day, I dLord's Fall is book 5 in Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series. Originally, I had no intention of reading this, but after enjoying Pia Saves the Day, I decided to give it a shot.
Newly mated couple, Pia and Dragos must divide and conquer if they hope to make amends with the elves and find two replacement sentinels for the Wyr demesne. Since Dragos is the reason for the elves hostility, it's Pia who takes on the peace mission. Issues arise when someone gets their hands on a god machine and goes on an elf murdering/possessing spree.
Honestly, this was boring. Harrison is at her best when she concentrates primarily on relationship conflicts between people. When she focuses too much on political conflict, or tries to build-up to a war, it doesn’t work for me. Things always seem too easy for the protagonists when she goes for the political/war plot. This was the case here since the minute Dragos reconnects with Pia , I knew how the rest of the story was going to play out. There were no real surprises and the characters barely had any struggles.
What kept me reading were the brief flashes of conflict between the characters. I liked seeing Pia and Dragos struggle for balance in their relationship and Pia shakily begin to trust her guards. However, it wasn’t enough to make me interested in reading about the couple any further than this.
Unless you really adored Pia and Dragos in Dragon Bound, I wouldn’t recommend Lord’s Fall. ...more