The idea behind Plotting to Win by Tara Chevrestt is pure genius--a reality show based on authors competing for a publishing contract, money, and critiques from some of the hottest names in the book industry.
Our heroine, Felicity James, is a romance writer looking for her big break rather than love when she meets crime-writer Victor Guzman. Still, she can't help but notice him, in spite of his bad attitude right from the beginning.
With his short dark hair, olive skin, and perfectly arched dark eyebrows, the man was fine with a capital F, but his bad attitude was oozing through his tight t-shirt.
The pair are competing with the other contestants in two rounds per week, beginning with writing query letters and including all kinds of interesting tasks. Victor and Felicity can't seem to stay away from each other. It's more than the publishing contract at stake, though. Victor needs to win the competition to take care of his mother with the money he would earn.
He told himself it was for the best. He couldn't afford the distraction, but he felt guilty as hell for how things were playing out. She was a good woman and deserved so much better...
Like most reality TV shows, we find ourselves hanging on the edge of our seats to learn what the next challenge will be and who will win each round.
That was what I loved the most about this book--the authenticity of the show. Chevrestt obviously put in a ton of thought to this competition, from the set design to the individual challenges. It was brilliant. Felicity was alright, and I liked Victor. I liked that after he hurt Felicity, he still tried to make it right. The end was perfect.
So what didn't I like? For as authentic as the show was, I didn't think the people were totally realistic. I wanted more from all of them--more emotion, more understanding for what their motivations were, just more. I think if a little more attention was paid to character building, this book would be amazing. With that being said, I totally think it should be made into a movie!
If you're looking for a light-hearted, quick read with a sweet ending and love reality television, Plotting to Win is the book for you.(less)
I love New Adult, and watching characters make decisions that guide them from childhood to adults is one of my favorite parts about the genre. Hopeless for You had the potential to display that transition for both of the main characters. Unfortunately, it fell flat and left us with a watered down storyline and characters whose actions made little sense.
A week after proposing, college sophomore Ash Jensen's high-school sweetheart was killed in an accident, leaving her devastated and unable to even think of being with anyone else. Despite her parents' insistence that she be pre-med, she really wants to be a veterinarian and drags her friend to British Columbia, Canada to intern and study falcons. While there, she meets bad-boy loner conservationist Kade Gyllenhahl, who seems to be the total opposite of who Ash would ever go for.
Sparks immediately fly and there's definitely flirting going on, but a strict no-fraternization policy, along with both of them being afraid to take a chance, keep things at bay--until Ash and Kade end up alone for days after trekking through the forest to tend to some falcon habitats. Things happen.
...I wanted to reach out and hold her in my arms.
I could lose myself in those eyes.
I could lose myself in her.
It felt like I'd known her all my life. That I'd been waiting all these years to be united with the girl I was meant to be with since I was born.
When they get back to civilization, there's more hot and cold and then...the story ends. Pretty abruptly and with no clear idea of what's really going to happen or any of the loose ends tied up.
I liked parts of this book. The scenery was beautiful and Hill's descriptions made me feel like I was right there with them. The parts that I didn't like, however, far outweighed what I did like. Both Ash and Kade flip-flopped on the way they were feeling so fast and frequently, I thought I'd get whiplash. One moment they love each other, the next moment they have to stay away, one moment they're no good for each other, the next moment they want to get married. It was so much, even they noticed it.
"I don't get it. One second you're giving me a look like you'll eat me up and the next you're cold as ice. What is it with you?"
There are some words that I could have done without reading, like areola, vajayjay, moist slit, and labia. I hated her friend, Gina, and thought that her reactions were unrealistic, too. There were just so many things that didn't add up. This is without a doubt that would have benefited from having a professional editor. This book mentions having one, Bev Rosenbaum, and I hope for the sake of any writers that hire her that her advice was not followed, rather than non-existent. Authors, please get an editor who will actually edit your work!
The part that I hated the worst was by far the lemon. I don't want to spoil all the things, but Kade's knee was dislocated. Now, I've dislocated my knee twice and all I have to say is Kade is a better man than I am. LOL Add to that the fact that even though condoms were mentioned, they were only addressed as protection from pregnancy. Ash was concerned about Kade being a man-whore the entire book, and suddenly, they're not worried about that. There were some medical things that didn't make sense to me, like the fact that Ash knew how to make and effectively use a splint but didn't know that you're not supposed to let someone with a concussion go to sleep.
Like I said, the idea for this story was good, and there was definitely emotion with these characters. The errors and lack of clear direction just messed it up for me. To be fair, I think have an advance copy, so some of them may have been fixed, but it would have to be a lot of editing for me to recommend this book to you.(less)
It's shocking to me because I love this storyline. Innocent, almost-spinster girl and the bad-boy no one ever thought would...more1 star.
I hated this book.
It's shocking to me because I love this storyline. Innocent, almost-spinster girl and the bad-boy no one ever thought would settle down? Sign me up! Right? Not this time.
Right from the first sentence, I didn't like the main character, Ella.
"I need to have sex--or look like I've had it--and you have to help me do it."
Ella has had a thing for former military man Declan Stone and thinks that he doesn't want her because she's a sweet, innocent virgin. Her idea to fix that? Find someone to have sex with so he can see her as a woman with experience.
That thought process might be okay if this girl were a teenager. But she's twenty-eight years old. Ella's friends decide that she should sign up for a dating service to make Declan notice her. When he finds out what she's up to, he decides to check up on her. He's determined that he can't have her because he's no good for her, but he doesn't want her to get hurt.
"You're a sweet, innocent girl. those types of men will just try to take advantage of that. You need to cancel or whatever the hell you do to stop it."
Startled, Ella put her hand on his chest and looked up into his handsome face. "No, Declan, I can't. I'll be careful, but I have to keep dating."
"I said stop," Declan snapped. "If you're that desperate for a date, just let nature take its course.
You don't need a dating agency. I mean it, Ella, cancel--or whatever you need to do--now."
Ella shook her head, looking down at her hand on his chest. "I can't stop."
Visibly frustrated, Declan shook her lightly and asked, "Why? I don't get this."
Still unable to avoid answering a direct question, Ella admitted, "I can't stop because if I do, I will never have you."
He decides to "do her a favor" and have sex with her, but he wants to take it slow. Of course, even though he's up front with not wanting to be in a relationship, Ella wonders if it will be enough.
If by some miracle she was able to start a relationship with Declan, would it be enough? Would she be satisfied by the type of flame that had burned through them for those brief moments or would she eventually want more from him and their future?
Pretty much immediately after they start spending time together, she wonders where their future is going.
He was actually making jokes. He seemed almost happy. Could he need her as much as she needed him? What he was offering her went against everything she had been raised to believe. He was as good as promising her that there would be no future for them. Had she waited for Mr. Right for this long only to settle for Mr. Right-now? If the only feelings between them were physical, why was she so drawn to him? Was she strong enough to battle his demons and save the man underneath it all?
Ella isn't happy with the rate their relationship is progressing and questions if something is wrong with her. She basically manipulates him until he gives in and has sex with her. I mean, how dare he want to take things slow and spend time with her and take her out on dates before he fucks her. What a jerk!
With that being said, I would have thought I'd like Declan, but he was barely okay. He's a sexy military guy covered in tattoos. He also says stuff like this:
"Baby, I know you think you do, but it's just a big case of lust. If any man kissed you the way I just did, you would want him too. It's basic hormones and you don't have much experience controlling them yet."
He's overbearing and condescending. He covers her up twice when he thinks she's showing too much skin. Not to be too spoilery, he buys them a house without consulting her. And he seemed to be lusting after Gray's wife, Suzy, mentioning on at least two occasions how hot she was.
I liked Ella even less than I liked him. She was a whiny, immature brat. Instead of signing up for the dating service to "get out there" and meet someone else since she doesn't think Declan has any interest in her, she only does it to manipulate him into wanting her.
"I just wish that Declan would ask me out already. I don't really want to date anyone else. I want to be with him."
I felt like Landon insulted my intelligence with this character. She's clumsy to the point of ridiculousness, and she blurts out things like, "I'm a huge meat eater!" I'm sorry, but no one twenty-eight years old ever inadvertently says that. Ever. And her reaction after they finally have sex?
"It was uncomfortable at first, but then it was awesome! Since I'm a real woman now and all that, I think we should order a pizza to celebrate..."
Like, OMG totally and stuff. *rolls eyes*
There are other things that I thought were absurd. Both of Ella's parents and her sister show up in her room and find Ella and Declan in bed together (asleep). Her mother had a key for emergencies, and when Ella didn't answer the door, she used it to enter the apartment, which is understandable. But would all three of them rush into the bedroom to find out where Ella was? There were no "weird noises" or anything like that. It was just another forced scene in a book filled with other ludicrous situations.
I hated her friends; I hated the way his friends stood around gossiping like a bunch of girls; I hated that they equated Beth being pregnant to being too "big" to want to take wedding pictures. Don't even get me started on the crazy turn the story takes and the reactions of the people involved. I don't want to tell you what happens, but it comes out of left field and seems forced. And the end? Who are these characters? Declan and Ella seem to be completely different people.
I should probably let you know that I haven't read any of the other books in the Danvers Series. I felt like Fighting for You stood on its own, and I never felt "out of the loop" with anything going on. Luckily, fans of Jason and Claire will get some swoon, in the one thing I liked in this book:
"If I hadn't been your assistant, we might have never met."
Jason stroked the curve of his wife's beautiful face and said, "I'd have found you, never doubt that.
It would just have taken longer."
There will be more to this series, I'm sure, in the form of bitchy, incompetent Emma and her boss, Brandt. I won't be reading it, that's for sure.
I love Jill Shalvis and the way she writes. This is my first book from the Animal Magnetism series, but I know I need to read them all.
Elementary Science teacher Kate Evans takes care of everyone around her. She's always had a crush on her brother's best friend, Griffin, who is a Special Ops soldier and has been away for most of the past few years. He returns for his little sister's (and Kate's BFF) wedding, and they can't deny their attraction.
"What are you doing?"
Possibly drooling on you..."If you don't know," she said, "then I'm way more out of practice than I thought."
I love this storyline and really enjoyed these characters and their history. Kate was super-smart and quirky, and Griffin Reid has got to be one of my favorite guys ever. Super hot military guy? Sign me up. You'll love him.
"You win," she said.
"Yes." He pointed to the bed. "There," he said. "You'll be my prize."
I loved a lot of things about this story. I loved the memories that we got from Griffin and Kate--both with each other growing up and their families. I love when he calls her "Katie" and his cocky attitude. I also love that she calls him out on things, and he does the same to her. The other characters in this story were fun, especially Kate's ex, Ryan, and I can't wait to read the other books in the series. There's humor and swoon with a bit of angst thrown in. Animal Magnetism readers will be happy to see little glimpses of Brady thrown in.
What didn't I like? Even though I loved Griffin, his I know what's best for everyone attitude wasn't for me. Kate thinking that she had to do every little thing for her family got old--they weren't totally incapable. There were some things that I didn't love regarding Kate's job: while on a field-trip, she lets the kids roam around (with an adult, but not a school-appointed chaperone) without being with them the whole time and her friend comes by with an "emergency" that takes Kate away from her class for several minutes. There are a couple of twists in the story toward the end that I don't think were necessary, and I definitely think Trevan Anders' reaction to his kid was totally unrealistic. Also, the ending was a little abrupt for me.
A lot of readers say that Jill Shalvis is a formulaic writer, but I say if it ain't broke don't fix it! I enjoy her stories and don't mind that we know what's going to happen in the end. It's definitely hot :)
If you want a fun story with a super-hot guy and a quirky girl, grab Rumor Has It when it hits shelves on November 5.(less)
I love reading anthologies and story collections because I get to taste a variety of authors that I might not otherwise have read. I love this particular anthology because it's from one of my favorite publishers and it's filled with stories from some of my favorite authors. So of course I wanted us to be a part of this tour as soon as I heard about it.
I'm going to tell you a little bit about each story, but really, you don't need me to go on and on about this--you just need to read it.
Seducing Mr. Right (Come Undone #3.5) by Katee Robert I love the idea of a powerful CEO mistaken for the mail guy. Danielle Kastien has plans to finally seduce the guy she's been crushing on at the office Halloween party. What she doesn't know is that sexy Grayson Harper is the CEO--not the mail guy. And that she's about to be the one who is being seduced.
He moved closer and ran a finger down her arm. “I think I like you in leather.”
She tried to cover up her shiver and went for bold. “Look at me. How could you not like me in leather?” ...
“I’d like you much better out of it.”
I really liked this story, even though I thought the ending was kind of abrupt and I question the authenticity of Danielle not knowing Grayson was the owner of the building she works in. The chemistry between these characters was combustible, and this was a hot, fun read. If you haven't checked out Robert's other books, you'll want to after reading Seducing Mr. Right.
Tempted by His Best Friend by Cari Quinn I think this is the first time I read anything by Cari Quinn, but it won't be the last. I absolutely adore the best friends to more storyline, and once I got over the initial shock of the way things go down *ahem* with them, I liked this one. Teacher Stephanie Price is determined to make her best friend Landon Grant realize they're perfect for each other.
“I could blow your mind,” she whispered, stunning him all over again. Between her fruity scent, full red lips, and bewitching blue eyes, she effortlessly drew him into the dark magic of her spell. She turned away, tossing the last words over her shoulder. “I could even make you beg.”
This story was hot, but I always seem to have a problem with stories where the characters hook up anonymously just because one or both of them is wearing a mask. A mask (and even a darkened room) wouldn't disguise the years of knowing the shape and voice of the other. I don't know--I'm pretty sure I could pick out my BFF in the dark, and we live thousands of miles away from each other. Getting beyond that, I did like the story and am really looking forward to more from Quinn, especially if she writes anything focused on Steff and Lan's other best friend, Craig.
Wicked Games (McCade Brothers #1.5) by Samanthe Beck Guise, buying this book is worth it just for this story alone, even though the others are great, too. It's no secret that I love Samanthe Beck and the fucking hot guys she writes. Tyler from Private Practice is one of my top ten favorite steamy guys ever. And Trevor McCade from Lover Undercover? Damn. So, it's really no surprise that I loved Wicked Games, too. If you've already read Lover Undercover (and if you haven't, you must), you'll remember Stacy is Kylie's sister and Ian is Trevor's partner. They had a "thing" but broke up. They get back together and sparks fly.
“Bite me.” She struggled to stand up.
“Don’t you worry. We’ll get to that, but, in the meantime…”
He leaned over her to keep her in position and sent his fingers on a slow, unerring journey down her thong and into the juncture between her thighs, where she was warm, and soft, and very wet.
“Oh yeah, I win the bet.”
She called him another rude name, but stopped struggling. A few more gentle passes over the slick silk had her widening her stance and arching her back to give him better access.
The urge to tear her panties off and bury himself inside her rushed through him. Somehow he resisted. “If I let go of you, will you stay put?”
A muffled, affirmative sound served as her reply. She’d turned her head back to the chair and he couldn’t see her face. He decided it wouldn’t do. “Say, ‘Yes, sir. I’ll stay put.’”
Her head popped up at that, and he caught the flash of hot blue eyes in the mirror. “You arrogant son of a—”
“Now, now. You’ll hurt my feelings.” He stopped stroking between her legs, and then removed his hand completely when she tried to grind against the base of his unmoving thumb.
Her frustrated groan had him choking back a laugh. “Yes, sir. I’ll stay put,” he prompted.
Stubborn Stacy held out another moment, but then finally surrendered. “Yes, sir. I’ll stay put,” she gritted between clenched teeth.
“Good girl.” He let go of her wrists and waited to see if she’d keep her word. She lowered her arms and held on to the seat of the chair. “Good girl,” he repeated. “Since tonight is Halloween, good girls get a treat.”
The lifting of the mask and the bending over the chair and the calling her "angel" and just...gah! I love Ian's personality, and I loved getting to see Trevor and Kylie still in love and happy. I would have liked more of him, though :) I loved how much substance and mystery Beck was able to tell in such a short story. I was surprised by the ending, but I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series, Falling for the Marine.
Protecting What’s Theirs (Line of Duty #1.5) by Tessa Bailey This is the only one that I really think you need to read the other stories in the series to really understand what's going on. I read (and really liked) Protecting What's His; Bailey definitely has the powerful male character down, and damn if you won't fall in love with Derek all over again.
“Would you like to hear what happens next?”
She inhaled in a rush. “Yes, please. The devil is in the details.”
“I guess that makes me the devil.” One big, callused hand dropped to the outside of her thigh, coasting up her flesh just close enough to raise goose bumps on every inch of her body. Slipping underneath her skirt without hesitation. When he reached her backside, Ginger wanted to beg shamelessly for him to palm her roughly, knead her there. Instead, he merely brushed his fingers down the center of her bottom, along the cherry-red material of her thong. The simple touch had a devastating effect, every nerve ending singing with terrible, glorious need.
“I’m going to take some much-needed time with your mouth right now. While I do, you’re going to continue stroking me until I’m so close to coming, I’ll be ready to die just to drill you against this wall. But I won’t. I’m going to stop you just before I bust. Then I’m going to lick the sweet pussy that’s been waiting so patiently for me.” He surged into her hand. “Come on, baby. Make me suffer.”
I don't want to spoil too much, but I'm pretty sure the title does enough of that on its own. Both Derek and Ginger have always insisted on total honesty since they officially became a couple in the first book, and that hasn't changed. But they're both hiding something from the other--he's heading into a huge raid at work that's very dangerous and she...well. No spoilers. They each feel the other is slipping away because they're covering something up, and it threatens their relationship. I loved the realistic way Ginger felt about what's going on in the story and was happy to get to see more about this couple. He was pretty swoony.
Four super hot stories from four amazing authors. Whether you're just getting to know these writers or they're already your favorites, you can't miss grabbing this collection.(less)
Right from the beginning, I was drawn into the story of Without You--and not just because the opening scene takes place in a locker room. College student Torrin Kingsley is dealing with so many things--he's captain of the rowing team and his coach is expecting 200% from him and he's just been granted the internship of a lifetime, following and studying under a world-renowned photographer. He's not sure what he wants to do with his life, but one thing he's sure of is how much he loves his girlfriend, Quinn.
Quinn stands, straightening her dress, and suddenly my body lets loose the tumor of tension it's been holding all day. Her presence does that, quiets the hurricane inside me with a wash of tranquility.
Even though the internship would open doors for him and is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he feels that he can't leave Quinn. When he tells her that, she's not having it.
"You're missing out on a great opportunity. And for what? me? I don't think so. I refuse to be the reason."
This was a really quick read, and I was surprised by the how much story Skye was able to tell here. I haven't read anything else she's written, including Stripped, the first book in this series. Even though I'm sure I missed out on a lot since I didn't read that (which I promise I'm going to read ASAP), I never felt lost or that I didn't understand what was going on.
I really liked this story, and I especially loved Torrin. I loved his thoughts and the methodical way he thought everything through. I loved the words he used to describe things. And I loved that he's so hot.
Maybe she's thinking about last night, too. Those nails scraping over my skin, her lips exploring every inch of my chest, the sound of my name as she begged me not to stop.
And he's sweet.
"You said yourself couples do this all the time. That we're stronger than them..."
"But do you believe that?"
Eyes fixed firmly to hers, I answer as truthfully as I can. "With every cell in my body."
There were a few things that I didn't like. One of those was Quinn's loyalty to her art teacher, which I'm guessing was explained in the first book. Torrin also does something totally stupid that doesn't seem to phase Quinn at all when he tells her about it. I won't spoil any more, but I had to mention them since my rating would have been higher if all of the loose ends were tied up.
I loved the way this story ended, and I hope that there is more planned for this couple. I'm also hoping for more about Torrin's friend, Andrew, as he was one of my favorite characters. Like I said, this was my first time reading Brooklyn Skye's work but it certainly won't be the last. Love.(less)
Risky picks up pretty much right where Raw ends, with Anna meeting Joaquin on the beach at the resort in Aruba that she fled to after being betrayed by Gray. Despite his dangerous exterior and her heart being broken so recently, Joaquin intrigues Anna and she agrees to go to dinner with him.
When she'd met Gray, the attraction had been more of a slow burn as he flirted with her in the restaurant each day. But this? Never before had desire slammed her so forcefully, so fast. And for a dangerous man, too, if Joaquin's faithful shadow [bodyguard] was any indication.
He immediately sweeps her off her feet and lays it all out for her--he wants to get to know her better and comes clean about his original intentions to get close to her to spite Gray. She falls for him and accompanies him back to his estate when his trip is cut short due to a business emergency. I'm not going to tell you what happens, but it certainly ends with some drama, and I definitely want to see what happens whenRewarded, the conclusion to the series, hits e-readers in February.
Suprisingly, I liked Risky a little more than I liked Raw. I didn't expect to find myself liking Joaquin at all. I do like him, and though I understand Anna's reluctance to trust Gray ever again, I don't understand how she can allow herself to fall for someone in the mafia. Sure, he says he's going straight, but so what? His original intention was to get to know her to get back at his nemesis, so he and Gray aren't that different in the telling lies department. Joaquin just laid it out earlier than Gray did.
With that being said, I'm not saying that I'm #TeamGray. I thought that I would be, but now I don't know. What I do know is that I don't like Anna. I don't believe that she could be so heartbroken over Gray and literally sleeping with someone else two days later. I think Davis did a much better job of developing the story with this novella than she did with Risky, and I think that judging by the chemistry and insta-lust that developed between Anna and Joaquin, it's clear that she's#TeamJoaquin.
What do I think will happen? Well, it's all up to the voters but if you want to know what I think, you can highlight the spoiler: (view spoiler)[She had unprotected sex with both of them, and I wonder if there will be a pregnancy involved. I think she'll end up with Gray because Joaquin gets killed but that the baby will be Joaquin's. (hide spoiler)] That could be too soap-opery. LOL
Regardless of who Anna ultimately ends up with, the choose your own adventure-eqsue idea for this story is amazing, and I can't wait to see how it pans out. Grab your copies of Raw and Risky and then go vote on Facebook, now through December 10!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Torn Between Two Lovers trilogy is an interesting premise and takes on something that all readers ultimately want: the ability to choose the heartthrob for the heroine.
Restaurant owner Anna Claire leads a solitary life, fulfilled only by success in her business.
A group of four was having some sort of celebratory gathering, and they looked happy as they toasted with champagne. At ease and on top of the world. A promotion perhaps, or the landing of a big account. An engagement or a pregnancy. Whatever the occasion, Anna couldn't help but feel proud they'd chosen her restaurant for their celebration.
Things change for her when she takes notice of prep chef Grayson James.
Their eyes met, and a strange flutter of butterfly wings took off in her stomach. Gray was looking at her as though she were the answer to every question he had, and it was wonderful. Confusing. Arousing.
"You're so beautiful," he said with reverence, touching her face with the pads of his fingers.
"I don't remember the last time anyone told me that."
"You deserve to hear that every single day, because it's true."
"Thank you." Drawn to him, she reached up and traced his lips with one finger. "You're a very handsome man yourself."
"I wasn't fishing."
"I didn't think you were." She paused. "Why me?"
His face registered in surprise. "Why am I interested in you?"
"Besides your beauty, you're smart, successful. Kind. I think you need to unwind a lot, and I want to help you do that."
God, he smelled good. Woodsy and manly, and it made her body ache to be touched. Completed.
"Then help me, Gray."
Turns out, he wants more than to help her unwind. He's an FBI agent, working undercover to take down a drug ring that is apparently operating out of Anna's restaurant. He has to determine who's responsible, including if Anna's in on it, and take them down. Gray doesn't count on real feelings getting in the way, and you can imagine what happens when she finds out the truth.
"I've had feelings for you since we first met. Don't you remember that? I wanted you as a man, not an agent and my feelings are real."
Unable to deal with the intensity of their relationship or Gray's betrayal, Anna runs off to Aruba, where she runs into Gray's nemesis, Joaquin Delacruz. Sparks are already flying, and we'll find out more about Joaquin and his desire to turn his back on his mob life in the second book in the series, RISKY.
I was surprised by how much story Davis was able to tell in so few pages and over such a short period of time. We get a real sense of both Anna's character and the kind of man Gray is when he's "off the clock." The richness of the world-building and character development was amazing. Not only do we get to know Anna and Gray, but we're introduced to Anna's mother, Gray's partner, and even learn about head chef Ethan's diva-like personality.
"You imbecile! Did you get your certification from a box of cereal? Did it come with a plastic toy inside, too?"
Even though I liked this story overall and love the idea behind it, there were things that I didn't like. There's unrealistic insta-love between Anna and Gray. She's been on her own all this time and just seems to fall into a trusting no-holds-barred relationship pretty quickly. The use of some words, like channel, squick me out, and there's some sexytimes stuff that I thought was totally out of character, especially for Gray.
With that being said, I have to admit that I'm totally intrigued by the idea for this trilogy. After the release of RISKY on November 19, readers will be able to vote on facebook for #TeamJoaquin or #TeamGrayson and decide who Anna will end up with in REWARDED, which is the conclusion to the series (available March 2014). You better believe I'll be all over that. In the meantime, get to know Grayson so you'll be ready to help Anna choose the right guy for her. Guess who I'm voting for.(less)
MJ and I read this book together and lots of these words are hers ♥
Twelve contemporary authors disassembled and reimagine aspects of twelve timeless stories, ranging from fantasy and science fiction to literary classics. Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt contributed to and edited this compilation of works by such respected and loved authors as Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Carrie Ryan. Even though we each had things we liked (and didn't like), there is truly something here for everyone.
We thought we'd tell you about each of the stories included in Rags & Bones:
That the Machine May Progress Eternally by Carrie Ryan This is a stiflingly claustrophobic other side of The Machine Stops with terrifyingly vivid imagery and a depressing second half. We’re actually a little claustrophobic and couldn’t breathe for the first half of this tale, then were basically nauseated by the utterly depressive state of the character ultimately submitting to The Machine. The line “the weight of the dirt resting between him and the surface” is sort of the moment of transition, when he succumbs to the supposed comfort of The Machine. We can’t say we liked it, but it certainly affected us.
Losing Her Divinity by Garth Nix This story was written as a dramatic monologue with the writer character telling the story of the wayward goddesses in the past as well as what is happening to him in the present. It’s humorous. We found ourselves giggling out loud more than once.
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman We don’t have a lot to say about this other than it’s what you’d expect from a storyteller such as Gaiman on an idea such as this. It’s unique and engaging and almost unrecognizable from the original source--Sleeping Beauty. You can tell he’s held this story inside his head with care until just the right time to tell it.
The Cold Corner by Tim Pratt
“This road trip was supposed to help me settle the question of who I was and what I wanted, but it wasn’t working so far.”
This tale is told in a familiar and contemporary style and timeframe. The tone is sardonic if not blase, but the landscape is lush and lulling, and semi-dreamlike. Also, we felt like we were sitting right next to the main character, Terry, throughout, experiencing it as he was. The conversational narrative made it feel like we were friends having coffee. This is one of our favorites of what we read, simply for what we’ve told you about it so far, but it’s also an interesting angle on the examination of “what might have been.”
Millcara by Holly Black Kind of pretentious and tedious. We love vampire tales, Carmilla included, so we were disappointed by the telling of this side of the tale. Maybe it’s just the tone, but it kind of made our skin crawl.
When First We Were Gods by Rick Yancey This is a future where the elite population of humankind is granted immortality based on a piece of technology called Transfers, which is super freaking creepy body jumping type of stuff. We liked the prose and the cultural references (laughed out loud the Gingrich Memorial Gardens on Moon Base Alpha), though. And it’s a love story!
Sirocco by Margaret Stohl This tale takes place on a modern-day film production set and follows the story of The Castle of Otranto, which is considered to be the first Gothic novel. We liked the life imitating art aspect and really liked Theo. The end was a little unexpected, but we liked this one--it made us laugh and swoon a little bit, too.
Awakened by Melissa Marr A truly refreshing tale, we loved Marr's retelling of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Even though she completely changed the characters and their motivations, the feelings were all there.
I want passion, true love with a man some day in the distant future who is so overcome with love that he'll accept me for who and what I am. I want a man who did not trap me, who will not keep me in a cage. There is no happiness inside a cage, no matter how gilded.
The subject matter is definitely not for everyone--the main character, Eden, is literally held captive, but we really loved the way this one turned out.
New Chicago by Kelley Armstrong Set in futuresque New Chicago, this retelling of The Monkey's Paw has a dystopian, post-apocalyptic spin on it. It stays pretty true to the story, but we found ourselves empathizing a little more with the main characters this time around.
The Soul Collector by Kami Garcia This was an interesting twist on Rumpelstiltskin told in a modern-day drug-and-prostitution-fueled setting. We liked the exchanges the Soul Collector made with the main character, Petra, but ultimately didn't like how far it deviated from the true story in the end.
Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy by Saladin Ahmed This retelling of The Faerie Queen was almost lyrical and quite poetic. The ending was perfect, but we didn't particularly like this one.
Uncaged by Gene Wolfe We weren't familiar with the story that inspired this retelling, The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban. This story was okay. We didn't empathize or feel a connection with any of the characters.
Twelve tales, ranging from fantasy to sci-fi to just plain out there, Rags & Bones has something that will appeal to every reader whether they love retellings, creepy tales, or just good story-telling in general.(less)