Ok, before I even get into the meat and potatoes of this review let me just say that the author, yes, you Leigh Parker, are cruel, cruel, CRUEL! The t...moreOk, before I even get into the meat and potatoes of this review let me just say that the author, yes, you Leigh Parker, are cruel, cruel, CRUEL! The third book (10 Ways to Freak Out an Angel) better be done soon or I might go a little Natalie McIntyre crazy myself. This book ends on a serious, nail-biting cliffhanger. There was much teeth gnashing and hair pulling on my part when the kindle wouldn’t go any further and I realised I was at the end of the book. Meany!
Like the previous book, 10 Ways To Kill A Cupid, this book is side splittingly funny. I started the book while sitting in a parking lot waiting on someone and got more than one strange look. For all intents and purposes I probably appeared to be sitting in a car alone, laughing to myself. It has a very ‘English humour’ sort of feel to it that I just love, and not just because of the references to hob-nobs and kievs.
Leigh is just about the most lovable looser you could imagine. I don’t really think Leigh is a looser, but Leigh likes to tell the reader that, so I’ll allow Leigh the title. The self-deprecation is kind of cute. Leigh also must be just a smudge masochistic, ’cause the love for Natalie-the-beast seems real. Natalie is just about as unpleasant as can be, but somehow I really, really want her for my best friend. Granted, she might strangle me or die of disgust at the thought, but still. Once you have her number, like Leigh does, I bet she’d be a lot of fun.
Parker has pulled off another stunner with 10 Ways to P*** Off a Reaper and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series. Highly recommended!(less)
We're All Different but We're All Kitty Cats: First Day of School is said to be written for children 3 and up. Bang on target, I'd say. I read this bo...moreWe're All Different but We're All Kitty Cats: First Day of School is said to be written for children 3 and up. Bang on target, I'd say. I read this book with my two children, 2 and 5. My five year old loved it (thus the 5 stars). My 2 year old quickly lost interest.
The plot centres around a hairless cat named Carlos and his attempt to fit in at school on the first day, despite being different in a more extreme fashion than everyone else. There are fat cats, thin cats, blue eyes cats, yellow eyed cats, cats that like tea and scooters (my child's favourite ones), jock cats and jokesters, but no other hairless cats. Honestly, I thought some of the characterisations a little cliche. The large football player cat is the bully and the only ones to stand up for Carlos and to examine their own response to his condition are the girls, for example. If bullying is bad, surely stereotyping is too.
Carlos quickly gets over being laughed at and bullied by proving himself intelligent (he likes to read books...is this another stereotype...he does wear glasses and suspenders). This felt like a very convenient conclusion to me and while Carlos is accepted by the others and learns to accept himself, the bully's behaviour is never really addressed.
All in all, I have some reservations about the story but I appreciate the lesson the it teaches and my age appropriate child liked it. Coupled with the lovely bright artwork I have no qualms about recommending the book (less)
Awesome, just Awesome. I stayed up way too late on multiple night to read it and still would have been happy for more. I just loved the characters' pe...moreAwesome, just Awesome. I stayed up way too late on multiple night to read it and still would have been happy for more. I just loved the characters' personalities and their interactions. They all had their own little bit of wit that was distinctly different from one another. I did wonder how it was that the bad guys continued to get away with their depravities, since everyone seemed to know about them. But not enough to get huffy about it.
What I loved the most about the story is that Baldwin was willing to let people be unhappy. Don't get me wrong I love a happy ending, but it always feels disingenuous when plots spin like pinwheels to bring one about for everyone involved. Let's face it. Life is hard. People don't always get what they want. They die or are left dissatisfied for a million other reasons. I really appreciate that Baldwin was willing to allow her characters this slice of reality in their fictional world. I'm not saying no-one leaves the last page of Conditioned Response happy, just that I liked the balance.
Baldwin is, quite frankly, the kind of writer that leaves other feeling inadequate. She is definitely playing with the big boys. I would happily compare her to Asimov, Huxley or Heinlein. Not only was it clear and easy to understand, it never felt forced and always managed to find the right tone for the scene. I am in awe...and I'm not really one to fawn over people. I just can't wait to read the rest. (less)
My husband bought this for our children. They have done a number of the projects by now and each have been successful. They particularly liked the mar...moreMy husband bought this for our children. They have done a number of the projects by now and each have been successful. They particularly liked the marshmallow guns, which they declared dart guns for administering medications to wild animals instead of deadly projectiles. (I was so proud.) At 5 & 3 they aren't able to do any of the projects without adult assistance. Come on they can't even read the directions yet. But they follow the pictures and have been fully invested and interested in the outcome. All in all, I'd deem this a raving success. They look forward to picking out their next challenge and I enjoy seeing them so excited about something that isn't on a TV/computer screen.(less)
Oh, a full five stars for this one! Murder Takes Time is ostensibly a pretty straightforward cops versus the Mafia murder mystery, but it doesn't take...moreOh, a full five stars for this one! Murder Takes Time is ostensibly a pretty straightforward cops versus the Mafia murder mystery, but it doesn't take long to realise that there is a lot more to it than that. Tony 'the brain,' Nicky 'the rat,' Paulie 'the suit' and Fankie 'Bugs' Donovan are fabulously conflicted charters, with full histories and a genuine desire to do right by their friends (even when failing miserably). You really feel for them (one in particular, but I don't want to ruin anything).
"Rule number 2: Murder has consequences", and so does everything else. This is a book that highlights impeccably the damage that can be done in the spur of the moment. It moves along at a good pace, never seems to drag more than necessary, throws a few red herrings at you to keep things interesting and ends on a high note. There is quite a lot of violence. The title should probably forewarn you of that. But despite being gruesome I never thought it became gratuitous or overly graphic. It certainly could have been and I don't think the book would have been improved by it. Giammatteo walks a dangerously thin line on this one, but never steps off it in my opinion.
Definitely if you are a fan of The Godfather (especially the second one), Goodfellas, or Donnie Brasco you should race out and pick this book up. You'll feel right at home.(less)
I won this through the Firstreads program and I should start by apologising to the author for taking a full year to get around to reading it. I have e...moreI won this through the Firstreads program and I should start by apologising to the author for taking a full year to get around to reading it. I have excuses, but I figure they're probably pretty irrelevant to anyone but me.
I'll give this a 4.5 stars. Honestly, I vacillated back and forwards between 4 and 5, but in the end dropped the half a star for the typos. There aren't a huge number of them and they seem more frequent in the second half, but there are enough to be worth mentioning. The story, however, is a really good one. It's almost a humanised James Bond.
Thomas was the best of the best. But even the best get tired of the game at some point. His attempt to make a go of it as a civilian goes spectacularly wrong and luckily those old skills hadn't gotten too rusty. I really liked Thomas as a man, a soldier, and a main character. Despite being exceedingly dangerous he also understood the value of human life, the splendid variety in human cultures, and the importance of love and family. All of his comrades were likeable too, though it did feel a little like England must be an exceptionally small island. Despite the small size of the SBS unit he managed to run into a whole heck of a lot of Ex'S's in the course of regular business.
The book starts out with a rather long prologue that chronicles the highlights of Thomas' life until the point he decides to leave Her Majesty's Service. While making for a slow start it does give the reader a strong impression of what sort of man Thomas is and why. 90% of the rest of the book is dedicated to Thomas' attempt to extricate himself and those with him from a whole web of lies, betrayals, double crosses, etc. That remaining 10% or so is all we are given of Thomas as a civilian businessman, husband, father, friend, etc. It's an important 10%, but the reader is expected to extrapolate for a lot of it. I could have done with a little more details about this life he was trying so hard to get back to.
I haven't decided how I feel about the moral implications of The Planter's scheme. The book had a definite message to impart on the subject of the drug trade. And Thomas seemed to take it all in stride there at the end. I wasn't sure how exactly he rationalised the whole thing in order not to feel incredibly betrayed. I think I would have.
All-in-all I'm thrilled to have finally gotten around to reading it. Islip is a really talented writer (as well as painter, poet and more apparently). I'll definitely be looking out for more of his writing. (less)
Yep, this totally struck me as a robotic version of Mad Maxx. I quite enjoyed it though. Despite their lack of humanity I found the characters relatab...moreYep, this totally struck me as a robotic version of Mad Maxx. I quite enjoyed it though. Despite their lack of humanity I found the characters relatable and well rounded for such a short piece. The story was also well developed, with very little extra to clutter it up. The reader was given the information they needed, with enough description to make everything easily imaginable, but not so much detail as to be distracting. Well worth reading. (less)
I really enjoyed this book in a mellow sort of way. I like the story and the characters a lot. It moves fairly slowly and this encourages the reader (...moreI really enjoyed this book in a mellow sort of way. I like the story and the characters a lot. It moves fairly slowly and this encourages the reader (or at least me as a reader) to slow down too. Brewer spends a lot of time describing history and/or the use of one's psychic skills. This is interesting but slows the action down. It also makes the book feel like it is probably part of a much bigger story. Otherwise the story couldn't afford to dedicate so much time to non-events IMO. What the book lacks in heart-racing, page turning action it makes up in carefully considered spiritual awareness though. The Sorthians are a model of what humans should and could aspire to. Well maybe not the whole psychic linking part (though that would be pretty awesome), but certainly the environmentally, socially and spiritually cognizant part.
I have to admit that Alcar and Selarial's bonding did smack a little bit of the insta-love that is so frequent in YA books. It always irks me and here is no exception. I would have liked them to have gotten to know each other a little bit. I get that there is probably supposed to be a certain amount of providence or divine intercession going on, but that feels like a necessary assumption that I would rather not have to make. Either way I enjoyed the book enough to race right back to Amazon and buy the second (Dream Song). (less)
Honestly, I'm not normally what people might refer to as a gusher, but this book is LUSH! There are moments of such painful poignancy that I literally...moreHonestly, I'm not normally what people might refer to as a gusher, but this book is LUSH! There are moments of such painful poignancy that I literally found myself momentarily devoid of reason.
It's not perfect. It took me a long time to get comfortable with Piccadilly's dialect and at times I thought it was overplayed. I really wanted to see Byron Kae's happily ever after and there is a lot of empty space between the bits we know about the characters. But it's close enough for jazz.
What it is that I love so much about this book isn't necessarily the aetherpunk or krakens or action. It's not the romance (if that's the word for it), though that's wonderful. It isn't even directly the characters themselves, though they're worship-worthy. It's the brutal honesty of those same characters' fragility. Yes, I know, it's an oxymoron. But read the book; you'll understand.
The mixed up crew of the Shadowless inhabit a world in which they won't allow themselves the comforting self-deceptions we all so often clothe ourselves in. What would life without your mask feel like? As a result these same miscreants sometimes ring with peals of emotions so pure they put me in mind of crystal bells wrung by aery angels draped in the gossamer threads of God's tears...or some such bollox. You get the point. I felt for these characters. And you see fairly early on that whatever happily ever after they may get aren't the ones they want. But you root for them anyway.
Now, the whole thing isn't to be taken too seriously, 'cause the book is also damned funny in an occasionally dry, very British way. But it's self-aware enough to play with the expectation it builds in the reader, slipping punchlines in unexpectedly. Not often, or not often enough to be predictable, but there all the same.
Goodreads says that this is the 205th book I've read this year and this is probably one of, if not my absolute, favourites. It wasn't at all what I expected and I'm so glad for that. Go read it right now!(less)
I really love this book. I love this book so much I've bought it 3 times. I don't mean a copy for myself and two friends, but bought it for myself 3 t...moreI really love this book. I love this book so much I've bought it 3 times. I don't mean a copy for myself and two friends, but bought it for myself 3 times. (The first was lost in a move, the third I bought just for a new squashed fairy decal to put in my car window). There isn't a lot of actual writing, but the fairies crack me up every-time I look at them. (less)
I can't believe I almost missed out on this one. The cover doesn't do much for me so I never even bothered to read the description. But when I saw the...moreI can't believe I almost missed out on this one. The cover doesn't do much for me so I never even bothered to read the description. But when I saw the sequel on Amazon's KDP free list my interest was piqued and I grabbed this short prequel at the same time. So glad I did. It, Deep Blues Goodbye, and Deadly Shades of Gold really are just one big story...or not even really that big. I read all three in a day. And Holy hell are they hot!
Keeping this review solely to this actual story, the reader is introduced to the two main characters, Sam and Travis. They are both fabulous. Sam makes for a wonderful narrator. He's a gay, black, New Orleans Police detective. I wish like crazy that wasn't worth mentioning, but well spoken gay black men in fiction are few and far between. He was a joy - smart, sarcastic, sexy, and honest in his lustiness. Travis was the consummate straight-man, practically Boy Scout material...or so you're initially led to believe.
There was an unexpected twist in the end. I'd read enough reviews to know what was coming, so it didn't hit me as such a WTF moment as it did others. It really was a genre changer though. I think when viewed as the first 35 or so pages of a larger story it makes perfect sense and has good timing. If I had stopped at the end of this short story, without continuing on I would have found it completely obnoxious and uncalled for. (less)
I read this aloud to my 5 year old this afternoon. I'm not certain what age it is written for, but she seemed able to follow it with ease and wasn't d...moreI read this aloud to my 5 year old this afternoon. I'm not certain what age it is written for, but she seemed able to follow it with ease and wasn't disturbed by some of the darker undertones. I thought it was well written. I especially liked how some of the long, convoluted sentences flowed when read. The running jokes were funny, the pictures cute, and the message inspiring. All-in-all a fun little short story.(less)
I'd call this another hit. I continue to enjoy Niki and Bobby's wit and the mysteries Murray sets up for us. I also really started to feel the influen...moreI'd call this another hit. I continue to enjoy Niki and Bobby's wit and the mysteries Murray sets up for us. I also really started to feel the influence of, or similarities to Kim Harrison's The Hollows series or Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter (before the plots devolved into cheap erotica). It has a similar gun toting, strong heroine with a tendency to gather followers, fans and abilities as the series progress.
Like the first, this book also felt short. It also introduced some interesting side characters, that seemed to have just been dropped unceremoniously and it ended on a doozy of a cliffhanger, which I hate, but the writing was just as crisp and well edited as in the first. I'm looking forward to book 3, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.(less)
What Kills Me was a pleasure to read. The very beginning left me wondering if 'Zee' was going to be one of those ultra goody-two shoes that are simply...moreWhat Kills Me was a pleasure to read. The very beginning left me wondering if 'Zee' was going to be one of those ultra goody-two shoes that are simply too pure to stomach, but she wasn't. I liked her immensely. She was strong, without being cold; sarcastic, without being irreverent; and vulnerable without being a snivelling weakling in constant need of protection. Don't get me wrong, she needed protecting, but she wasn't one of those useless female leads who just flails about waiting for the hero to do all of the work. The hero, by the way, is also fabulous. Lucas is just as strong as you would expect him to be, but shows a surprising depth of emotion, despite his gruff exterior. Yummy!
What I loved most, however, was the witty repartee between the two of them. It was done very well and I think warranted five stars all by itself. It was often used to lighten a tense moment, without making either character appear oblivious to danger or overly flippant. I did think Uther's timely arrival there at the end was a little too convenient, but by that point I was so afraid the whole thing wasn't going to wrap up and be a cliff-hanger that I has too happy to care.
After reading the book and Channing's bio I have to admit to feeling a little inadequate. Apparently she is an awesome writer with an awesome job. I would ask how any one person could be so lucky, but it would be naive to think that there is no connection. I am definitely up for reading another of her novels in the future. (less)