By the middle of this book, I felt sick. I couldn't properly finish it for both impatience and irritation**spoiler alert** Well, I didn't expect this.
By the middle of this book, I felt sick. I couldn't properly finish it for both impatience and irritation, so I skimmed the remainder. Karen Kingsbury draws a 'realistic' picture with the outcome of these four novels, and ultimately, the story of Cody and Bailey. That's a problem in fiction. Here's what she does: Spends countless (dozens?) of novels building up the relationship between Cody and Bailey, intriguing readers, giving them something to root for and hope for.
Then yanks the rug out from under them. In, what, a righteous fictional telling of reality? Partially. The realistic portion was the fact that fairytale romance like the spark that Cody and Bailey had hardly exists. People change, grow apart, there's a season for everything, like Kingsbury reiterates in her novels. It's 'realistic' that Bailey would meet someone else and she and Cody would fall to pieces.
But as a fiction lover and writer myself, I have impossible difficulty figuring how an author can build so deeply on a relationship, work so intimately with it, pour so much time into it, so many years... only to trash it in the end. I really felt like that's what she did with Cody and Bailey. The shift of both their feelings felt artificial, inane. Suddenly, the depth of Cody's love for Bailey amounts to a chilly brotherhood? Randomly, a favourite character of mine from the Above the Line series, Andi, is reintroduced in a way I could hardly imagine more tasteless - to ignite some absolutely random flare of love and purpose in Cody's heart.
Yippee. Forgive me if I'm sardonic, but this book was an incredible disappointment. I had high expectations, and honestly... Cody's devotion to Bailey was the main reason I bothered with these books (I'm not good with sappy stuff, generally speaking). That devotion, upon finishing, was cheap and fairly worthless, as far as I was concerned. Cody basically convinced himself his love for Bailey was childish, and he's grown up.
Wow. If this is Kingsbury's idea of fiction - something you curl up with after a long day, something you intend to enjoy... well, she's pretty far off the mark. Unless you enjoy heaps of senseless mush that barely caters to intellect in any form. And is riddled with mistakes. The reader in me wishes she could overlook these, but the editor can't very easily. I remember reading repeat paragraphs in one of the books. Finding easy mistakes, for example - Cody's mother's name changed from one series to another. That's a mistake an accomplished author should not afford, let alone her editors... if there are any. And these copies were published for retail.
...I'm not much of a ranter, but look at this review. I don't mean to offend with it, but I'm very honest - this series had a lot of potential, but cheapened characterization, poor plot pacing and an over-abundance of sappy, cavity-inducing romance led to its downfall in my opinion.
And again, both the romantic and the writer in me needed to see Kingsbury's lengthy work through to a proper conclusion. Proper I didn't receive. How can someone put so much into two characters only to let them drop in the end? Give up on them? Paint them a plastic 'happy ending'? It's a mystery to me. ...more
I'm not overly familiar with ebook titles, so I assume the frequent errors I picked out in this novel were some fault of digital transfer, because itI'm not overly familiar with ebook titles, so I assume the frequent errors I picked out in this novel were some fault of digital transfer, because it seems to need a more thorough editing. I found spelling mistakes and grammar errors, but the set-up also seemed rather choppy. It wasn't properly divided by chapters and really was an overall mess to look at. In comparison to my experience with other ebooks, anyway, that were so clean and trimmed.
For all this, though, I had no trouble being swallowed by this book. It was so charming! It was easy for me to gain respect for Maggie, and her temperament - honestly, with a mother like hers, I'd go crazy. Maggie's patience is saint-like. I loved Seth as well, sweetheart that he was. It's a fairytale that someone with such a dreadful life like Maggie would meet a constant hero, but alas, it's a welcome fairytale. The romance was flawlessly executed. A rare treat, yay!
I certainly hope this book gets published in 'tangible' form, because I want to get myself a copy! ...more
I don't know why. This story, these characters burrowed inside me. They reintroduced themselves long after I'd finished the series. They will stay witI don't know why. This story, these characters burrowed inside me. They reintroduced themselves long after I'd finished the series. They will stay with me, I think, which is such a rarity I must draw attention to it. And somehow applaud it. ...more
Nothing new here, despite my hopes. I dislike being able to predict nearly everything, especially the characters' misunderstandings and overreactions.Nothing new here, despite my hopes. I dislike being able to predict nearly everything, especially the characters' misunderstandings and overreactions. I liked Denise Hunter in the past, but she's not bringing anything new to the table, just repetitive characters and story threads. ...more
On the cover it declares "magic, romance and pirates", and while I'll certainly give it the first and last, Steel is, for the most part, a refreshingOn the cover it declares "magic, romance and pirates", and while I'll certainly give it the first and last, Steel is, for the most part, a refreshing departure from romance for the YA genre. Where was the romance? If you blinked, you could've missed it! Between Jill and Henry there was zero tension, zero romantic build-up, zero sparks, really. I felt no romantic connection between the two. Instead, their relationship was more of a bland camaraderie that might've flourished in a longer novel. But having said that, I don't think it took anything from the story itself. You come to expect certain cliched romantic 'requirements' in YA novels (and in some cases prepare yourself to ignore them if it's even possible), but Steel brushed over these, which is why I thought it was a refreshing read. Not everything needs romance; indeed, some stories can't handle it, and it's wedged in there sharp and awkward just to say there's a love story so the book will sell.
In Steel, the romance (or I should say the 'random kiss with no lead up, that led nowhere') wasn't awkward, but I don't think it was by any means necessary. It's nicer to think of Jill and Henry as friends, from my personal perspective.
Anyway, all that aside, I enjoyed this book. More than I was expecting to! I haven't read many pirate books, so it was really interesting to read about Cooper's crew and all the... cleaning they had to do! Even that was entertaining. The ship itself, the descriptions, Cooper's strength and her good heart (revealed when she freed the slaves) and Jill's background with fencing was all really interesting to read about. It was quite well written, and well researched, too. ...more
What a happy read this was! I loved the premise, the characterization was well done, and the dash of mystery surrounding a house full of interesting cWhat a happy read this was! I loved the premise, the characterization was well done, and the dash of mystery surrounding a house full of interesting characters won me over. I certainly was in the mood for such a read. The Tutor's Daughter wasn't a sappy, unrealistic and silly romance, either. I enjoyed Henry's character, and heavily appreciated how he and Emma never fawned over each other.
In fact, Emma's trepidation regarding him was refreshing. I liked how it took time to switch to Henry's point of view, and when it did, his feelings towards Emma were vague and a secrecy still surrounded him. This is definitely the type of book I want to read when I'm in the mood for historical fiction - it's a pity how difficult it is to find a decently written book in this genre; one that isn't roll-your-eyes sappy, not to mention shadowed by "instant love". And if not instant, it still happens far too quickly. I much appreciate a book that allows characters to develop a friendship before an attraction.
Excellent read! I'm glad I didn't pass it up on the assumption it would be the same as most historical romances (more silliness than story). I think I'll be looking into more of Julie Klassen's books now....more