This is one of those books that isn't anything remarkable, but hey--it's a good way to pass the time and, in my case, serve as respite from more serioThis is one of those books that isn't anything remarkable, but hey--it's a good way to pass the time and, in my case, serve as respite from more serious reading.
In "Poison Study", Yelena is set to be executed when she's summoned by spymaster Valek with an offer. She can either go to the noose, or become the Commander's food taster, constantly risking death. Being, you know, not an idiot, Yelena agrees to take up the job. The Commander is at the head of a new regime, with enemies constantly at the ready; and Yelena is treated as a suspicious murderer, under the watchful eye of the even more suspect Valek. (Who is, it should be said, a Total and Complete Hottie.) Shenanigans ensue.
Okay: like I said, don't expect "Poison Study" to reinvent the wheel. But it was a surprisingly breezy, overall likable read, despite Yelena's rather heavy past. And maybe that's why I liked it. Though Yelena had every right to moan and groan about how shitty her life was, she just got on with it. Some readers might view this as unrealistic, and I get that. But to me, it's not tha Yelena didn't have PTSD. It's just that she dealt with her traumas on a largely internal level. It allowed her to be a physically active, dynamic character, constantly moving along with the plot.
Speaking of, I found the entire poison studies thing super interesting, and in fact wish I could have seen more of it. The world of "Poison Study" struck me as this sort of mixture between traditional medieval-based fantasy-type realm and like... Soviet Russia. With spies in leotards. Somehow, most of that worked with me. Perhaps that's because most of the book gives off a vibe that it's not taking itself too seriously. Yes, that could sometimes be to its deteriment. The writing was sometimes stilted. The dialogue alternated between a style recalling historical "style" and modern slang (though the weird setting sometimes let me forgive that, it was still distracting). But the book knew it wasn't Shakespeare, and so I didn't treat it as such.
There are a lot of things to be enjoyed here. Valek is targeted as Yelena's love interest as soon as he appears--it's that kind of book. And yes, I did love their relationship. He was such blatant eye candy with all of his amazing super spy skills and blue eyes and sculpted bod, and frankly, I couldn't get enough of him. Plus, rather than being the typical evil dictator, the Commander is actually a multi-dimensional character, neither wholly benevolent or malignant. (And there's a really cool twist in his past.) Also, there's this thing that is chocolate but isn't chocolate and Yelena's always eating it. Woot.
I really liked this one and totally intend to finish the series. It's light and fluffy and a little goofy. A great palate-cleanser....more
Fairy tale retellings are always difficult. Or rather, they're difficult for me to genuinely *enjoy*, as much as I-This book, you guys. This book!!!11
Fairy tale retellings are always difficult. Or rather, they're difficult for me to genuinely *enjoy*, as much as I--desperately--want to. Often they fall flat for me, and the problem is usually too much of one thing or the other. Either the book is so faithful to the original tale that it has little to no creativity (and the main characters, if it's a romance, fall in love just because they're Cinderella and Prince Charming, right??? They have to!) or they're so "out there" that all charm is lost. This doesn't mean you can't change the setting, of course. One of my all-time favorite series, The Lunar Chronicles, vastly changes the fairy tale it's based on. But the spirit of those tales remains.
"The Wrath and the Dawn" is, in many ways, very true to the tale it's based upon. ("One Thousand and One Nights", of course.) In fact, it even deals with real historical territorties like Parthia and Khorasan. (Which, disclaimer, I know NOTHING about. So I can't exactly critique the historical accuracy of the book; but that's not exactly the point.) That's one great strength of the novel: the palace setting is described so beautifully. You feel like you know exactly where Shazi, our main character, is living, what's she's wearing, what's she's eating--but it never feels like an infodump. It gives the book this great cultural richness. And for that matter, it's not Euro-centric like most fairy tale retellings are! This is a story that has deep South Asian and Middle Eastern roots and frankly, it's hard to find plain old historical fiction that's interesting in those areas, let alone YA fiction. So, you know. Snaps for Renee Ahdieh.
Ultimately, however, "The Wrath and the Dawn" is a tale concerned with two great motivators: love and revenge. It's a love story, ultimately; the romance takes up a huge part of the book, and hold on, THAT'S A GOOD THING, but it's framed by revenge. Shazi's desire to avenge her best friend Shiva's death, of course, and that same desire stemming from all the people around her. I love a good revenge story, and it makes the tension between Khalid, our seemingly-murderous caliph, and Shazi, his new bride, even greater. And there is a looooot of sexual tension in this novel. Of the love/hate variety. How I love a YA novel that isn't afraid to deal with adult things. I mean, these people are kids; but they're married kids with a ton of responsibilities on their shoulders.
There's court intrigue and black magic and all of these outward threats bearing down on our heroine and the-guy-who-isn't-exactly-a-hero-but-it's-not-what-it-looks-like-okay. And none of them would end up as well as they do if Shazi and Khalid weren't compelling characters, and if their relationship wasn't equally compelling. They are. Shazi is probably one of my favorite YA heroines in a long time. She's strong without being a Buffy. She's snarky without being over the top. She has desires and weaknesses without being unlikable. I just adored her. And while it took me a while to warm up to Khalid, what with the murdered brides thing and all... I did. He's super flawed, but the book shows his good sides without dismissing the bad ones. It makes sense that Shazi would be both attracted to and repelled by this guy, because damn it, so was I. Their relationship is a slow burn, creeping up on both of them along with the reader. Of course you know it's going to happen. But it feels wholly earned.
There's also a really good cast of supporting characters and a million different plot threads--in a good way--setting up the rest of the series. (I assume it'll be a trilogy?) The "nice guy" trope is handled in an unexpected way that I really appreciate, and I hope it continues on that way.
At any rate, "The Wrath and the Dawn" is a great start to what I hope will be an excellent series. I haven't felt this excited about a fairy tale retelling in a while....more
My mom has this rule wherein if a book fails to grab her within fifty pages, she gives up. I should follow that rule, but sadly, I am thus far too detMy mom has this rule wherein if a book fails to grab her within fifty pages, she gives up. I should follow that rule, but sadly, I am thus far too determined to do such as that. (Most of the time.)
This is a horrible, horrible book. "Princess runs away from forced wedding with her handmaiden" could be cool except for the fact that:
A) Our princess runs away largely on the basis that her hubs will be smelly and decrepit WITH NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS THEORY and guess what? He's super duper hot!!!11 And she doesn't even know it!!!!
B) Our princess apparently doesn't give a shit about international affairs or, you know, the citizens of her nation. (I'm not saying she needs to want to give her life up for her country because no but a little conflict would have been nice.) She just wants to become a waitress. So. Much. Waitressing.
C) That handmaiden? She has no personality. Her world revolves around her princess.
D) The love triangle. Oh, the atrocious love triangle.
"Beauty and the Beast" is one of my favorite fairy tales. I love the original story; I love its international incarnations; I love the movie. I also l"Beauty and the Beast" is one of my favorite fairy tales. I love the original story; I love its international incarnations; I love the movie. I also love Greek mythology. Very early in the book it becomes clear that Cruel Beauty is less of a straight-up BatB retelling and more of a blend of the fairy tale and the myth of Cupid and Psyche. (Which, of course, is an early predecessor of BatB, in that rather confusing fashion of myths and fairy tales.) The world is well-built and creative, and it didn't take me long to get swept up by the story.
What kept me there, however, was our heroine, Nyx. Though her name kind of bugged me, not even gonna lie--call her "Dark-Natured Girl" and get it over with--who she was really charmed me? Mainly because the point of Nyx is that she kind of hated almost everyone in her family. (Even when she loved them.) And though she was justified in her hatred--sometimes--the author didn't let her off the hook and be a victim about it. She was a bit of a bitch, all things said and done. I love a good bitch.
Our hero can't really be called a hero either, and isn't it nice when a YA lead is attracted to a bad dude while still admitted that he's a bad dude? How refreshing to read about a girl who really wants to jump a demon lord's bones--while also realizing that it's problematic of her to want to jump a demon lord's bones. He's charismatic, he's handsome, he regularly makes sorta-Satanic deals with people. Ignifex is kind of a dick. Even when he's being all tragic and sad, he's still a dick. You can be tragic and sad and still be assshole! What a concept.
Furthermore, Hodge ups the ante by adding in a Bluebeard aspect to Ignifex's past. Not to spoil overmuch, but suffice to say that this gave me a good case of the creepy-crawlies. And again, Nyx is allowed to be intrigued with this man--to even have a sexual attraction to him--without being let off the hook. If you come away from this without realizing that Nyx has some pretty deep issues throughout the whole of the novel, you're missing something. Hodge weaves that thread through without, for the most part, being overly obvious. There are a few inner statements about how terrible Nyx is for wanting Ignifex, how bad she is for hating her sister--but they aren't too distraction, and on a whole I can forgive a few slip-ups in such a high-concept novel. (Yes, the backstory is fairly complicated. But nothing too bad. It feels earned.)
There is a love triangle. I don't know why everyone seems to hate YA love triangles these days because it's not as if they're some recently played-out thing? Love triangles have always been a plot device, the YA audience has always loved them, and I'm not opposed to them personally. Here, I think that... the triangle served its purpose. I wasn't too enamored with it, but it didn't kill my enjoyment of the story in any way.
However, that second love interest, Shade, is another story. I found him to be a fairly blank slate--but it's hard to critique this character? Again, I felt he served his purpose. But he's not as compelling as Ignifex. You understand why Nyx likes him, a fairly benign figure, less than you understand her pull to the outright vicious Ignifex. He's just not that interesting--yet she goes on and claims to love him fairly quickly. In Hodge's defense, a good bit of time passes between Shade and Nyx's first meeting and these feelings... But you as a reader don't really feel that. (Pacing is a consistent issue in the book, but it's only distracting when it comes to this plotline.) This isn't a major complaint, but it does take away from Nyx and Ignifex's otherwise intriguing relationship and takes the seriousness of the novel down a notch.
I can imagine that the ending might ruffle a few feathers, but I was well-satisfied, and didn't even mind that I predicted the twist fairly early on. There are always things you can nit-pick about, and I am nit-picking. but I really, really liked this book and I want to see more of Rosamund Hodge.
Cruel Beauty wraps up as its own fairy tale of a debut, and I can't wait to see what comes next from this writer. There's an edge to even the idea behind this novel, and I admire her desire to go to a darker place than some would. I hope she takes it even further next time.
I love historical fiction. I love fantasy (to an extent). I love badass girls, I love assassins, and I love morally ambiguous nuns. Also kissing and bI love historical fiction. I love fantasy (to an extent). I love badass girls, I love assassins, and I love morally ambiguous nuns. Also kissing and blood. Thus, I kind of adored "Grave Mercy", the beginning of the "His Fair Assassin" series. Though Ismae was really fun, it was kind of impossible to not be intrigued by her "sister" Sybella. So, like everyone else who enjoyed "Grave Mercy" I was really excited about "Dark Triumph".
It... was good. But it didn't live up to my expectations, for all that it hit my fictional tics (the aforementioned ambiguous nuns, badass girls with a dark past, murder, villainous incest).
What I Liked
Look, if you loved "Grave Mercy", there's no way you'll hate this book. It's kind of like the more historical, more feminine version of a movie with lots of cool guys walking away from explosions. There's knives! There's poison! There's daddy issues! Also, kissing and sex (skirted around, as is tradition with YA novels).
There is a lot going on in "Dark Triumph", and the action doesn't let up. Sybella is compelling, as is her deuteragonist, Beast. Furthermore, we get to know more about the d'Albret family (a point that has its cons, which I'll get into later). I love twisted families, and this twisted family just happens to carry some future in-laws of my absolute FAVORITE twisted family. Yes, Charlotte d'Albret, the girl Sybella refers to several, will eventually be married to Cesare Borgia. Little is known about the real Count d'Albret, but I'd like to hope that the real guy was nothing like the one LaFevers depicts here. Because... otherwise, poor Charlotte went out of the frying pan and into the fire, didn't she? (At least Cesare left her alone after knocking her up. I guess.)
Anyway, back to the book. Which was, while not as scandalous as I was expecting and certainly not as scandalous as it could have been with the Borgias as the d'Albrets contemporaries, grittier than "Grave Mercy". And that was a good thing. That was an expected thing. Overall, LaFevers came through.
What I Didn't Like
Okay, but really--it wasn't enough.
The Sybella I found in this book came off as remarkably toned down from the Sybella I was expecting after "Grave Mercy". I mean, sure, she's a bit of an enigma... But this girl has so many emo kid moments. She's supposed to be hardcore! Damaged, sure, but--can't that damage manifest in less "I feel so ambiguous about killing this person and manipulating that person and I'll tell the reader all about it" and more "I have feelings but I won't talk about them YET so STABSTABSTAB"? She's just so much squishier than I expected. Badass, but not icy enough. I thought I'd like her more than Ismae, but at times I... missed Ismae.
Speaking of missing people, I also found Duval to be a far superior love interest to Beast. While the guy was cool, there wasn't much meat to him (see, it's a joke, because the Beast is always described as big and meaty and stuff). He just seemed like a stock character who'd hold you when you cried. Also, he did a lot of "clouting" Sybella to knock her out, once on purpose. Which kind of grossed me out, I'm not gonna lie. I get it: different era, different strokes, but... Like, dude. Can you not bash your lady love all over the place? It's making me uncomfortable. Anyway, maybe Beast just isn't my kind of hero. Maybe I prefer snark knights like Duval. Maybe the whole "inner beauty" thing was a bit heavy-handed for my taste.
You know who was more interesting than Beast? Julian. Damaged, complex, sorta-kinda incestuous Julian. His relationship with Sybella could have been fascinating, as could have been d'Albret's relationship with her, her general relationships with her family... But no. We don't see that much of those things. The d'Albrets are offscreen for most of the book. Which was vastly disappointing. It also bothered me that d'Albret was such a mustache-twirling villain in the first book--and that was amped up to 11 in this one.
Yeah, I know it's a book about assassin nuns who worship a god of death, but... "Dark Triumph" really stretched what "Grave Mercy" had already taken to its limits. There were all of these overly dramatic backstories and multiple wives that at times were cool in a campy kind of way, and at times were just eye-rollingly TOO MUCH. (Speaking of eye rolling and too much, I really didn't buy Sybella and Beast's romance. Ismae and Duval's came off a lot better, if memory serves.)
Is "Dark Triumph" as good as "Grave Mercy"? No. Does it live up to expectations? Not really. But it's still fun and worth the read. And I'm definitely excited for what I'm assuming will be the final book in the series. And I still love the book's atmosphere and the general setup of nuns who kill people. Bring on the next one.
So I really prefer the "Grave Mercy" cover. It comes off as more "real" and "Wuthering Heights"-y, all windswept and dramatic. "Dark Triumph"'s cover looks good in the thumbnail and then you notice that it's all cartoony and Sybella's brandishing this knife like she's in a bad BBC show and her face is kinda gloppy so... Nope. Also, where's the background? 2/5 ...more
A) This is pretty much everything I want in a book. Mermaids, tainted love(?), girls who eat people, and lots of murder.
B) I really hesitated over catA) This is pretty much everything I want in a book. Mermaids, tainted love(?), girls who eat people, and lots of murder.
B) I really hesitated over categorizing this as YA. While I certainly believe that mature teenagers can handle Monstrous Beauty's content, I can't say that I find it particularly YA-oriented? Although one of our POV characters, Hester, is indeed a teenager, the others are adults (admittedly in the case of Ezra, a young adult) dealing with adult issues like marriage, childbirth, rape, brutal murder... all in an age when people grew up quite quickly.
That aside, Monstrous Beauty is truly gorgeous both in terms of prose (which weaves together a twisted fairy tale world and gruesome images) and story. Certain passages sent chills down my spine; this one's certainly not for the faint of heart. Speaking of hearts, there's heart-eating, lung-eating, the aforementioned rape and some pretty disturbing death scenes. (Also: infanticide!) But none of it feels gratuitous or unnecessary. You know, from the prologue onwards, that you are reading a tragedy. Well, perhaps not entirely a tragedy. There are, of course, two different but intertwined stories being told.
Syrenka is an incredibly compelling protagonist, if you can call her that. The carnage she leaves is almost unintentional, and that's what I loved about it. At the end of the day, no matter what her intentions, Syrenka is not human and she can't comprehend the magnitude of some decisions. She takes murder fairly lightly all the things considered. And even if she longs to be mortal, she doesn't seem to long to be normal. She's the best kind of morally ambiguous protagonist, and I loved her for it.
Ezra was less compelling, but I don't think he was supposed to be on Syrenka's level. (At the end, however, I found him much more interesting.) He's supposed to be an object of longing for several different women/creatures, and in that respect he worked. Hester, on the other hand, was similarly more of a tool than a person but it took me longer to warm to her. At first I was afraid that I wouldn't find her story interesting at all, but though it took longer to amp up than Syrenka's, it eventually hit its stride and I was hooked. You spend much of the time in Hester's chapters, however, screaming at her to put two and two together. It's not that she's stupid; that's just a disadvantage of learning so much from Syrenka's story that Hester can't possibly know.
It does take a while for the stories to unfold, and though this is a quick read, the sense that everything is getting worse and worse is deliciously dreadful. When the pieces of the puzzle finally came together, I was almost sickened by how awful everything was... in the best possible way. This is the kind of mermaid story I've been looking for. Could it get more tragic? I don't think so.
The best part, however, is that nothing feels boring or depressing. I was devouring the book the entire time, and I wish there was more. (Write more, Fama!) That's the best compliment I can give a book....more
Esmerine is only recently initiated as a siren when her sister Dosinia--Dosia for short--disappears. Fearing that Dosia has been taken by humans, EsmeEsmerine is only recently initiated as a siren when her sister Dosinia--Dosia for short--disappears. Fearing that Dosia has been taken by humans, Esmerine takes to shore in a search for her sister. In the process she is confronted by a childhood friend, the winged boy Alander. As they work together to find Dosia, old feelings are stirred. But Alander is one of the sky, and Esmerine is one of the sea. They are fated to be apart...
On the good side, Dolamore has created quite the diverse world. I don't know if she had a basis for her winged beings, but their culture is fascinating. Similarly interesting is the way she spun a universe in which humans and fantastical creatures like mermaids interact on a fairly regular basis.
I also enjoyed the premise of a mermaid who doesn't long for the land, but is out on a mission. The premise based on sisterly love is good to see in YA fiction.
As usual, Dolamore's writing is very pretty overall, so nothing to complain about there. She writes some lovely lyrical sentences that you rarely see in a first-person perspective.
The problem with Dolamore's detailed world is that some of it conflicted. It's confusing to see a world in which the mermaids can go upon land and even have humans who help them do so--yet they fear humans and actively attempt to get them in some situations. That just doesn't make sense.
Another problem was that Esmerine didn't offer much as a character. She and her family were very flat. Her sister goes missing? She's the only one who really does anything. And we don't know why, because she doesn't have much more reason than anyone else in her family. She's just doing it because she's a decent if flat character, not because she and her sister have any real bond that we see played out on the pages.
Esmerine's love interest, Alander, really grated. He looked down upon people who read "trashy" books and seemed like an intellectual snob much of the time. The way he looked down on Esmerine in particular rubbed me the wrong way. How is this guy her one and only?
Their interactions were bloodless and he seemed just as flat as she. He was an intellectual without much more to offer, and that was greatly disappointing on a character level.
This book is the definition of "okay". It neither excited nor angered me. It was just there.
I have nothing but the best to say about this anthology. The stories range from delightful to heartbreaking, supernatural to realistic. They're all quI have nothing but the best to say about this anthology. The stories range from delightful to heartbreaking, supernatural to realistic. They're all quite well-written, and none are too long or too short. I also enjoyed the footnotes and drawings; they really added to the experience. This book is honestly one-of-a-kind, and any fantasy fan should try it out.
THE VAMPIRE BOX by Tessa Gratton
A coming of age story including a vampire in the basement. Creepy and full of longing--though not of the romantic variety.
GIRLS RAISED BY WOLVES by Brenna Yovanoff
Two teenage girls have an interesting conversation in a bathroom. Probably polarizing amongst reviwers, but wow. It'll strike a chord with people who've felt hopeless without knowing why.
DATE WITH A DRAGON SLAYER by Tessa Gratton
A young woman wins a date--and a scholarship, which is more of her concern--with a dragon slayer on the eve of his next battle. Sarcastic, sexy, and melancholy. Also: hot boy alert.
SCHEHERAZADE by Brenna Yovanoff
A girl spins a story to save her life. Cerebral, chilling; and, oh, yeah, psychopath included. Yes.
THE MADNESS OF LANCELOT by Brenna Yovanoff
The story of a heartbroken boy told through the eyes of a girl who spends more time in a lake, it seems, than on land. Again, I tend towards the melancholy--and this one was just beautiful.
THE WIND TAKES OUR CRIES by Maggie Stiefvater
A woman tells the story of the day King Arthur took her son. Dark, different, and told from a perspective quite different from any other in this book.
AUBURN by Brenna Yovanoff
As Brenna tells it, the story of a jaded girl who faces down a bad, bad man. And oh my gosh, bad person on bad person action.
PUDDLES by Tessa Gratton
A girl is obsessed with puddles. A boy may be obsessed with her, in a pulling-your-pigtails kind of way. Charming, yet somehow sad? I don't know, I liked it.
THE LAST DAY OF SPRING by Maggie Stiefvater
A boy tells the story of the Papillons, who live for only three days. Just... cut my heart out. How does she create these things?
ASH-TREE SPELL TO BREAK YOUR HEART by Tessa Gratton
A woman is created to destroy her master's rival. Very much the bittersweet love story I love to devour.
THE SUMMER ENDS IN SLAUGHTER by Tessa Gratton
A town carries out its annual Samhain tradition. A love story, of sorts, soaked in blood. So, yeah. I liked it.
HEART-SHAPED BOX by Maggie Stiefvater
The story of a musician with a secret. Oh hey, Cole St. Clair prototype in all your glory. This one is actually really heartbreaking in a non-romantic kind of way.
Those were the highlights, but they're all good. I loved this book. So much....more
Tiger Lily is such an enigmatic character, and when I think about it, I've always liked her a bit more than Wendy. (It's not that I don't like Wendy,Tiger Lily is such an enigmatic character, and when I think about it, I've always liked her a bit more than Wendy. (It's not that I don't like Wendy, mind you.) Though dismissed as a Native American stereotype, the Tiger Lily of the Disney "Peter Pan" adaptation is very pretty, a little haughty, and clearly a very different animal from the typical Disney girl. (Remember Tiger Lily going to her would-be doom, tied up with her nose in the air?) As someone who looked more like Tiger Lily as a little girl than Wendy, I think that I did prefer her a tad. I just didn't know that I wanted an entire book about her--not then. Now? I'm very, very glad that such a story exists at the hands of Jodi Lynn Anderson. If this doesn't put her firmly on the fantasy map--I know that her "Peaches" trilogy was bestselling, but that's a different genre entirely--I don't know what will.
Here's the thing: "Tiger Lily" is not an overly complicated story. Told through Tinker Bell's perspective--a bold move, as this is most definitely not her tale--it is part Tiger Lily's everyday life and challenges, the enigma surrounding her stony personality, and part the rise and fall of a love story. Anderson reimagines Neverland in a way that doesn't stray too far from Barrie's world, while filling in the gaps of Tiger Lily's culture. The writing is lush without bordering on purple, and, as many others have pointed out, a bit melancholic. It utterly suits the story, for there's always a bit of foreboding and sadness around the corner--yet not in a manner that's overkill. Anderson also captures the sense of teenagerdom, of young love in an impossible setting.
Let's go back to that bold move I mentioned--making Tinker Bell the narrator. This was really a great decision. Not only is Tink, traditionally mute, a great little personality (a female who likes another female in a non romantic/jealous/conditional way! What a concept!), she also remains the ultimate immortal insider on Neverland. When an infodump is necessary, as they inevitably are, they never come off as awkward. These are simply things that Tinker Bell would know.
Tink's narration also builds a safety net for Anderson. She doesn't slip up and write Tiger Lily, or the more familiar Peter Pan as out of character. She can't. They're enigmas. We know Tiger Lily more than we know Pan, but we never REALLY know her. Not completely. And that's great. I loved reading about this boy who is not a boy, a darker character than I previously imagined. Furthermore, I loved reading about a strong yet morally gray girl--yes, a gray girl who falls in love like any other girl. A fierce, dark girl who still wants acceptance and wants to be loved. I couldn't get enough of Tiger Lily and her claws, or Peter and his desperate, uncertain ways.
"Tiger Lily" is not without its problems. In particular, I felt that there was a bit of awkwardness about the culture clash between the Englanders and the Sky Eaters, and how it related to the issue with the pirates and the overall arc of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan's relationship. It led to some beautiful moments, but could have been smoother. Tiger Lily's awesome husband-to-be, Giant, also bothered me, as he seemed a bit stereotypical. Yet these are small issues, and none of them take away from the overall magic of the book.
"Tiger Lily" is, again, a book I didn't know I wanted or needed until I had it. But I'm glad I do.
--Advanced Reader's Copy provided by the Goodreads First Reads giveaway, and HarperCollins Publishers...more
"Overseas" is Williams's time-traveling romance debut about a Wall Street investment banker, a man who speaks in language far too flowery to be from t"Overseas" is Williams's time-traveling romance debut about a Wall Street investment banker, a man who speaks in language far too flowery to be from this century, and some rather twisty-turny World War I sequences. Also, poetry. And really, the last third or so could be a treatise on the importance of taking your birth control correctly.
For some reason, I've had the reader's equivalent of writer's block for the past month or so. I've been reading at a really slow pace and finding zero inspiration for written reviews. In respect to easing myself back into reading and reviewing, "Overseas" worked. It was extremely fluffy, extremely... pleasant, for the most part. It was like cotton candy, or a dumb hot guy. I mean, it's not like there's much going on upstairs, but it's nice to look at it for a little bit. The concept, though a bit overdone, wasn't bad either. (So that dumb hot guy had nice fashion sense.)
Unfortunately, "pleasant" doesn't equal interesting. "Overseas" wasn't so boring that I couldn't finish the somewhat lengthy novel. It didn't take much brainpower. But it did, towards the end, lose my interest to the point that I was skimming over a few pages here and there. Williams's prose is nothing to write home about, and her main character is rather bland. I can't remember many distinguishing traits about her besides the fact that she was "librarian hot" and disliked swearing.
The romance was rather bland, too. It happened with little build-up, which is explained away by the end of the book. Yet I really didn't care about whether or not these two stayed together. The sex scenes weren't even descriptive (and somehow the dude was SO GREAT in bed after being with only one woman previously and having a twelve-year dry spell--as if he could have lasted five seconds). Hey, if I'm going to read a fluffy romance novel, the least you could do is give me some good porn, Beatriz Williams.
Our male lead, Julian, has a bad case of Edward Cullen Syndrome. Only, unlike Edward Cullen, he isn't funny in that somewhat unintentional way. He doesn't sparkle either, which, let's be real, added to the whole "Twilight" experience. I miss the body-glittered vampires of my youth.
Julian says things like "beloved" and abstains from sex and when he isn't a dreadful bore he's a controlling douchebag. Like, come on Kate (our bland MC, in case you forgot). This dude doesn't even sound like he wants to do any freaky stuff. And he gets his panties in a twist whenever she goes anywhere! The one time he does get freaky, he apologizes. Talk about dull.
I don't expect much of romance novels. But I do expect a halfway decent male lead.
Yawn, yawn, yawn. Did I mention that there aren't any good sex scenes? FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY. ...more