Note: Since this book is a sequel, there will be spoilers regarding the first book. With some sequels, you don’t really need to read the first book, but this is not one of those cases. Unless you want to be completely lost and miss a lot of references and inside jokes, you should read A Scottish Ferry Tale first. And I really do mean that - you should read it!
I adored A Scottish Ferry Tale. It’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far in 2012. I enjoyed Scotland by Starlight very much, and thought it was a great sequel, but I enjoyed the first book more. Sometimes you read a sequel and you end up wishing the author had left well enough alone, but I loved getting to follow Cassie and Ralph as they continued their journey in life and love. I thought they were such a great couple - they were flawed, they made mistakes, they got angry, they fought, they had very real emotions, but at the base of it all they were deeply in love.
There was less tension in this book, and less emotional complications and obstacles for Cassie and Ralph. I have to admit, I enjoyed the tension in the first book - that will they/won’t they excitement. Scotland by Starlight was like a glimpse into their every day lives, and I enjoyed that a lot. It was still funny, sexy, at times heartbreaking, and always very believable.
I enjoyed the secondary characters just as much in the second book as the first. It felt like being reunited with old friends. I also liked that there were subtle subplots worked in there, too. It all worked very well. It made me wish I had a bigger family or lots of friends to have gatherings with the way Cassie and Ralph did with their friends and family. I could picture it all so clearly - the chaos, the noise, the laughter, the camaraderie, the music, the food, and I loved it.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and this series, very much. I know that Cassie and Ralph will stay with me for a long time.
(view spoiler)[The epilogue almost ruined the entire book for me. I realize something like that must be a hard decision for an author to make, because they know it won’t make some people happy, and I respect the author’s decision, but I can’t say I agree with it. Cassie and Ralph’s love story stretched across two books and was epic, and then she dies?! WTF?! I was shocked and heartbroken. It left me with this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was beautifully written, but I just really wish she hadn’t done that. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I’m not used to reading books from a male perspective, but I really enjoyed The Padre Puzzle. Jimmy was a very real, well-developed character. He’s a cop through-and-through - sharp senses, good instincts, and a natural curiosity.
I thought the setting for the book was great. I’d actually never even heard of South Padre Island; without overdoing the details, the author gave a description that allowed me to picture it all clearly.
The concept for the book was very original and interesting, and had enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I loved that the author also threw in lots of action and some amusing anecdotes to lighten the mood, and that Jimmy had a good sense of humour.
The cliffhanger ending was very exciting, and I when I finished reading, I was glad the author was kind enough to send me the second book so I don’t have to wait long to find out what happens! The next book definitely has a lot of potential as far as the mystery goes, and as a romance junkie, I’m curious to see what will happen between Jimmy and Angella.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Padre Puzzle. I’d recommend it to mystery and police drama fans, both male and female. I’ve recommended it to my mum, and I’m also going to keep this book in mind if I ever need a present for a guy who enjoys reading!(less)
Exciting, action-packed, and fast-paced, The Padre Predator is a terrific, thrilling mystery that is full of surprises.
Carrying on from The Padre Puzzle, Jimmy and Angella are attempting find the breach of security within the government, while tracking down terrorists and atomic bombs.
I loved that you never knew who to trust. Every time someone seemed to be in the clear, something would happen to make them look guilty again, and every time someone looked guilty, something would happen to seemingly clear their name. It made for an exciting mixture of tension and suspense.
As in The Padre Puzzle, Jimmy is a likable, believable character. He's tough as nails, clever, and quick-witted...and quick tempered. His faults made him human, and lent credibility to his character.
The whole terrorist mystery was so tightly woven, I had no clue how to unravel the mystery, and I just went along for the ride. It was so scary, because it was believable. You know something like that could actually happen, and it's terrifying.
If you're looking for a mystery that will keep you guessing, while at the same time keeping you on the edge of your seat, and mixing in enough humour to lighten the heavy overall tone, I definitely recommend The Padre Predator. Don't forget to start with The Padre Puzzle, the first book in the series! (less)
Initial thoughts: That ending!! *shakes fist* Must...have...The Calling...NOW!
Review: The Gathering is the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy. In it, we’re introduced to Maya, along with her friend Daniel, and the new boy in town, Rafe, who all live in a small medical research town on Vancouver Island. Maya’s best friend Serena died the year before in what was considered an accident, but Maya believes there’s something more to Serena’s death, especially when odd things start to happen - things that seem to be connected to her in one way or another.
I felt like The Gathering was the perfect start to a series - right away, we’re introduced to a mystery. The tension and mystery build throughout the book as secrets are slowly revealed, usually causing even more mysteries to unfold. The foundation is laid for the characters to grow and develop, and we slowly get to know them better, but it's obvious there's more to come later in the trilogy.
I liked Maya very much, and found it easy to connect with her. She was strong, independent, and smart. Her natural instinct with animals went beyond simply being in tune with them, and again, that laid the foundation for interesting revelations to come.
Daniel and Rafe were great male leads. They were both mysterious, and although we learn a lot of Rafe’s secrets, he’s still a conundrum. Is he genuine or is he really a player who’s putting on an act? I found it hard to get a good grasp on his character, but that intrigued me. He and Maya obviously had a strong connection, and I look forward to seeing how things progress. I especially liked Daniel, though. There’s something more there - his strong intuition and ability to ‘persuade’ people made me curious. He’s an amazing friend to Maya, very protective and intuitive of her feelings, and I loved him for that.
Overall, The Gathering puts an exciting, unique spin on shape shifters. The story is full of thrilling, heart-pounding action that had me almost breathless at times. The secrets and mysteries keep coming throughout the book, and then the ending leaves you practically begging for more. Fans of Kelley Armstrong will love this book, and if you’ve never read anything my Armstrong, I definitely recommend The Gathering. (less)
I’ve loved Robin Hood since I was a little girl, so when I heard about Scarlet, I knew I had to read it - Will Scarlet as a girl? Brilliant. Despite my excitement, part of me was worried for several reasons - what if I didn’t like this version and it affected how I felt about Robin Hood in general? The synopsis hinted at a romance between Robin and Scarlet, but I’ve been in love with the idea of Robin Hood and Maid Marian since I first saw the Disney version at age four or five, so I couldn't imagine accepting a relationship between Robin and anyone else.
I needn’t have worried. Not only was Scarlet well written, it was an incredibly original, fascinating, compelling take on the Robin Hood lore. It captured me from the first page and held on tight, making me laugh, cry, fall in love, and yell at the pages. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces then pieced it back together and healed it.
Scarlet has a bit of something for everyone - humour, action, suspense, romance. It’s full of unexpected twists, tension, and enough funny moments to balance out the serious ones.
As for the characters, Scarlet is quite possibly one of my favourite characters ever. She was so real, she practically leapt off the pages. Strong and tough, independent and clever, she was a fascinating contrast of hard and soft, fierce and vulnerable. More than once I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her everything would be all right. Underneath her rough exterior was a scared, damaged girl who didn’t think she deserved anything good in life. Just when I thought we knew everything there was to know about her, another layer was exposed, and it made me love her even more.
Robin made me fall in love with Robin Hood lore all over again. Younger than in most of the stories out there, he was just as complex and layered as Scarlet, and the interactions between them made me swoon, made me angry, made me laugh, and even made me tear up more than once. The rest of the characters, particularly John and Much added so much dimension to the story. John was fun and flirty (I have to admit, I kind of fell in love with him too) while Much was steady and loyal. The four of them were like a band of misfits brought together by Robin, and I rooted for each of them for different reasons.
Overall, I thought Scarlet was absolutely brilliant. These characters and their stories, while somewhat familiar, were also brand new in the best ways possible, and I know they’ll stick with me for a very long time. I would (and will) recommend this book to anyone, but particularly those interested in Robin Hood lore, historical fiction with an authentic feel, and stories with lots of heart.(less)
This was my first time reading anything by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and I am seriously impressed. I’d heard mixed things about Burn For Burn, so I went in a bit tentative, but I ended up enjoying it immensely.
Lillia, Mary, and Kat all have very distinctive personalities and voices. Lillia is rich, popular, and smart; Mary is shy and basically a nobody; and Kat is loud, crude, and pretty much an outcast. The fact that the girls are so different and seemingly have nothing in common makes them perfect allies because nobody would ever think of them being friends or having a reason to work together for a common goal. I thought it might get confusing having three different points of view, especially in first person present tense, but it was so well done. The way each girl’s story was revealed bit by bit had me not only curious but also invested in their stories. I was eager to know what brought each of them to that point in life - where they would come up with this idea of getting revenge on the people who hurt them.
One of the things that made this book so great is that it’s almost like a guilty pleasure. On the one hand, you know that what the girls are doing is wrong, but on the other hand, there are times it seems justified, and I found myself siding with them and even rooting them on at times. I knew I shouldn’t condone it but then the other part of me was like ‘those people deserve what they get!’ What I also liked was how it wasn’t all black and white; none of the people they were getting revenge on were all bad - they each had redeeming qualities or moments where you doubted what the girls were doing. It made for a really interesting back-and-forth and added the perfect amount of tension throughout the story.
I love books about friendship, so I was pleased to see genuine friendships develop between Lillia, Mary, and Kat. It could have gone so wrong with blackmail or disagreements or someone backing out, but they actually become friends and start to depend on each other for more than just their revenge schemes. By the end I was truly invested in these characters.
And that ending!! It was such a fantastic cliffhanger ending, the type you rarely see in contemporary YA, even if it is a trilogy. I’d recommend having Fire With Fire ready to read when you finish Burn For Burn so you can see what happens next.
Han and Vivian’s writing is seamless. Great characters and great setting, combined with lots of drama, emotion, and a story that will keep you guessing while flipping the pages at top speed, make Burn For Burn a winner in my opinion. (less)
The beloved gang from Iowa is back, and this time their adventures take place in bonnie Scotland. The Passport to Peril series has been a favourite of...moreThe beloved gang from Iowa is back, and this time their adventures take place in bonnie Scotland. The Passport to Peril series has been a favourite of mine for many years, and with Bonnie of Evidence, the eighth installment, I felt like the series had been infused with new life. Something about it felt different, while still staying true to the essence of the series and sticking with what makes the Passport to Peril books so amazing.
I was really excited to see Etienne along for the trip this time, and I thought the addition of Emily’s parents added not only more depth, but also new levels of hilarity to the story. All the old favourites who we know and love from the previous books are back, and at this point I feel like I know them so well they’re like real people. I know how they’re going to react to certain situations, but not in a ‘that’s so predictable’ way - more like they’re friends that you know really well and know their habits, but who still manage to surprise you. And while the humour is familiar, there are new elements too. This is one of those series that never fails to make me laugh out loud.
In eight books, I haven’t once been able to solve the mystery. It’s so tightly woven, and it’s always the last person you would suspect, which I love. I was glad Emily didn’t do too much of the actual sleuthing herself this time and didn’t become obsessed like she sometimes does.
Besides the humour and the mystery, my other favourite part about this series is that I get to live vicariously through other people’s travels. I’ve always been fascinated by Scotland, and I honestly felt like I was there myself. Maddy does a terrific job of dropping in details about a location - interesting facts, descriptions, history, etc. - and I find it all fascinating.
Bonnie of Evidence is definitely one of my new favourites in the Passport to Peril series. Full of humour, suspense, adventure, and wacky, loveable characters, with the lush backdrop of Scotland that will make you want to don a kilt and head for the Highlands, Bonnie of Evidence is a must read.(less)