Much like the first book, this one was fairly enjoyable, and a little more action-packed and intense than the first one. Also, the mystery was a littl...moreMuch like the first book, this one was fairly enjoyable, and a little more action-packed and intense than the first one. Also, the mystery was a little bit more twisty-turny (I know that's not a word) than the one from the first book.
I may not like every logic and detail that Abby seems to live by, but for the sheer sake of entertainment, I'm just going to overlook those few frustrating moments I had with her. Especially since the pacing was so fast that I didn't have time to really think about what I didn't like. That's a good thing, because when I nit-pick, it gets personal. And I don't make it my life's work to ALWAYS nit-pick a book to death -- It's not like I go into a book thinking "What can I find wrong with this?" I've only done that once and it wasn't pretty at all and made ME miserable and upset.
But anyway, back to Better Read Than Dead:
Fun and entertaining. I still really love Abby's tone and voice, and I especially love her no-nonsense attitude. And the mystery was intriguing. I still have a bone to pick with Dutch Rivers though and am still far from accepting him as good main love interest material. There are certain things I don't agree with concerning his behavior towards with Abby, but I'm not certain I can actually pinpoint what it is.
Cat got slightly annoying in this one; something I hadn't expected. And other characters are still pretty consistent. I like the silent, companionship between Abby and Milo as friends; awesome interaction there.
Otherwise, this was a fast-paced and fun read, so kudos on that!(less)
I finished this book pretty quickly since it was fairly short. But it didn't really do much for me other than re-hash a lot of typical melodramatic ro...moreI finished this book pretty quickly since it was fairly short. But it didn't really do much for me other than re-hash a lot of typical melodramatic romance stories in a different setting with different characters.
Good girl meets bad boy, they fall in love and change each other's lives after going through a shit-ton of personal demons and obstacles since everyone has a broken life.
It was sweet at some points and moving at others, and the story was written well. But nothing really stands out. At least there's a happily ever after which usually works for me. I know that life isn't all peaches and sunshine and bunnies, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a good happily ever after and liking them.(less)
Hmm... So this book was based on Twilight fanfic... Suffice to say, now I'm conflicted (in fair honesty, I probably wouldn't have read...moreEdit: 7/24/2013
Hmm... So this book was based on Twilight fanfic... Suffice to say, now I'm conflicted (in fair honesty, I probably wouldn't have read it if I'd know its origins since I'm not a Twilight fan) and kind of wishing that the author had published this work as a stand-alone rather than as a piece of fanfiction first since I never connected the two at all. I still found it witty and fun, even for a standard, stereotypical romantic comedy.
Then again, I DNFed Twilight and never got into the fandom, so maybe I don't have enough cred to do much of a comparison.
I guess you like what you like. *sigh*
Original Review: 7/21/2013
This book gives good banter.
There's nothing I love more than character interaction and good banter by witty people. And I have to admit that the style of narration given in the POV of Caroline Reynolds was pretty humorous and random and all around strange. And I liked it. A LOT.
A love a good group of characters and this book happened to have a GREAT group of characters. Sure, it falls into that inevitable stereotype of beautiful women falling in love with beautiful men, and their only downfalls are their own dramatic woes and insecurities. You can find this kind of fluff and easy read anywhere in romances and movies, so it's not like its a stand-out hit. But it's enjoyable to me, and that's all that matters, really.
I might add that I love a good rom-com and Wallbanger was right up that alley. And this book was every bit the erotica that its cover, title and summary suggests. But this book also encompasses more than just a PWP premise. I'm not saying its inspirational and that we should take it more seriously than its description allows us. I'm just saying that it has its moments of insightful thought in some of the exchanges and some of the narration that Caroline gives us.
While it's a story of a woman's love life and her agenda in retrieving her "lost O", and while it's every part and parcel a typical romantic comedy, it's still highly enjoyable.
On top of that, it's cute and it's funny. Did I mention witty banter? It actually made me giggle a few times. And I laughed out lot lots of other times.
This book doesn't try to be something other than what we expect it to be. It's a straight up romance. It reminds me of those romantic comedies I love to watch (and yes, this one happens to contain some explicit sex scenes -- well, as explicit as you can get on paper). It's got a fairly blunt and standard happily every after.
It's cute and sweet and very light and lots of fun.
But mostly, I enjoyed the witty dialogue and Caroline's strange sense of humor.(less)
This book wasn't stand out fantastic or anything. In fact, on my own personal scale of likability (which is maybe a bit less nicer than Goodreads' sta...moreThis book wasn't stand out fantastic or anything. In fact, on my own personal scale of likability (which is maybe a bit less nicer than Goodreads' star scale), a four-star review corresponds simply to "I liked this book, but not like REALLY liked it, liked it". It also slightly detours into "This was a good and enjoyable book, but it's not like I'm going to rave compliments on it and lose sleep over getting the second book read, or neither am I going to go out on a limb to recommend that everyone read this book," because, honestly: Too many books, too little time.
So..., adjusting to the Goodreads' star ratings, I would actually have to place this one at a 3.5 Stars, leaning more towards 4 stars.
I'm all about paranormal mysteries; and for some reason, I'm not really big on the paranormal genre unless SOMETHING exciting happens: mysteries, action, adventure... And for someone like me who is also a huge hopeless romantic, it's strange that "paranormal" and "romance" doesn't seem to meld well together unless it accompanies something bigger. (Case in point Daughter of Smoke & Bone; however, things are still a little murky with that one...)
Anyway, done with my tangent so that my review actually looks longer than I had planned for... Yeah, I ramble, but whatever.
Abby Cooper was a fairly enjoyable read for many reasons. It had good writing, smooth transitions and great descriptions. I liked Abby's voice and character; she's feisty and no-nonsense, which is always a plus for female main characters. The characters were fleshed out pretty well and the mystery was interesting to follow along with. I really LOVED Eggy the little dog, but who doesn't like dogs? I liked the way Abby's psychic abilities are described -- blurting out a series of "clues" to determine what's going on in her client's life and what might happen and what they should do. It's pretty interesting.
Unfortunately, there was nothing extraordinarily outstanding about this book. The one word I can think of would be "flat" when it came to a few aspects. Mainly, it was Dutch Rivers as well as a lack of a "gasp, surprise, surprise!" factor. The way that the story was written, there's a LOT of foreshadowing, so you pretty much expect things to happen, and even before they happen (like an entire chapter before) you already see the event taking place. So there's no surprise factor or surprise twist that actually gave that "chilling willies" feeling -- it was only slightly disappointing since I live for the intensity of surprise twists in murder mysteries. So while the ultimate "whodunit" was kept secret pretty well, there was no build-up of suspension to the end point. I didn't know who the murderer was, but I predicted pretty much everything else.
If this had been the intention of the author to flow in tune with "psychic reading" style of foreshadowing, then I guess I don't have much of a complaint. I'll read the rest of the series with this adjusted mindset. It's really not a very big complaint since I enjoyed the book anyway.
What the book DOES do is leave me interested in seeing what will happen in the coming books. I'm at least hoping that Dutch Rivers gets fleshed out a little more, though because his character fell pretty flat for me in this first book. And since he's a main character in the entire series, we'll need to make sure I actually like him. Right now, to me, Dutch Rivers is really just "Love Interest #1" who may or may not be significant enough for me to care.
I will mention: I absolutely adore character interaction in books. The relationship between Abby and her sister, Cat was phenomenal. I actually look forward to seeing more of these sister together, even if it IS just to watch Cat continue to high-power her motherly instincts all over Abby with Abby muttering and pouting in a corner about it. (less)
I've got notes and more notes, mostly about some things I feel like nit-picking, though not so much about the story itself as much as about the charac...moreI've got notes and more notes, mostly about some things I feel like nit-picking, though not so much about the story itself as much as about the characters... and some of the story. There probably won't be a full review, but I've got a few opinions I can just do a quick blurb on this book. But for now, it's bedtime for me.
Take note, at least there was enough anticipation and suspense to keep me hooked until the conclusion, and it didn't feel tedious; this is always a good thing, though after I have the chance to get my thoughts together, my impression may not have changed much.
Review to come soon.
Okay, so here it is. I've got a lot of quibbles with this story altogether. I'm leaning more towards a 2.5 star rating, but the fact that I DID get caught up in the overall premise gave it a good one star. I liked Fiona enough, but a lot about her personality bugged me. She get's half a star. The pacing was also a good plus and with a few things here and there, it gets a whole of one more star. Tallied up: 2.5 stars total. And so that I'm fair, I took off about two stars just for Jack Bowman alone, because I just can't stand him. Normally I like a lot of the main male characters in romantic suspenses, but Jack... *sigh*
The good parts of the book I've already mentioned. The story started off rather slow, but as the case progressed, I got into it and couldn't put it down for good reasons. I didn't have any "I can't wait until this book is over" moments, which is always a good thing. The murder mystery had a lot of promise, basing off of an eleven year old crime and trying to connect it with some present day crimes and some unknown missing persons cases. And I also liked the Forensic Artist angle as well. We've seen all aspects of the investigations surrounding detectives and agents, but I like seeing other aspects of the forensic scene become involved as well (i.e. medical examiners, forensic scientists, crime scene investigators, criminal profilers... the like). And I KNOW that the investigative process usually doesn't include the other branches following leads, doing their own investigations, and interviewing witnesses. But I also realize that these are works of fiction, and the suspense is in the fact that our other branches like to overstep their bounds a little bit, thus effectively putting themselves into danger (a la suspense crime novels).
I'll buy it because it makes for some decent crime thrillers.
And now, my quibbles about the story... a lot of it seemed to have been left out in the cold. And there was a lot of interweaving of story lines that didn't seem to have anything to do with one another. I will admit, I enjoyed the Shelby kidnapping case, but it could have been a whole other book on it's own since it had little to do with the main crime that was being investigated. Then there's Courtney's side anecdote involving Nathan and stuff ensuing... I'm not sure where we were going with that, but if it was supposed to tie into some later parts of the series or other books... well, I'm still confused.
The side characters (even the main culprit) were all bland. Courtney had an explosive personality, which was fine as Fiona's little sister. But we also hint at some sort of mysterious, traumatic past that happened during their childhood... and then it just disappears. Will it show up in the next book? Or are we done with flashbacks?
Fiona was a slipper/doormat/swaying blade of grass combination. I wanted her to be stronger and pursue what SHE wanted for herself. It irked me that she allowed other people to influence what SHE wanted to do with her life. If you want to be a painter full time, go be a painter full time. If you can't let go of the Forensic Artist job, then don't look so pained to have to take a new case every time. I couldn't really tell if she finally ended up in the place where she's finally happiest. Or maybe that was the point of the story. I don't know. Because her constant giving in to taking new cases made me feel bad for her, thinking that maybe she was just someone who had a hard time letting others down so didn't know how to say "no" to them. In the end, I wasn't sure what to make of her, especially when it came to her personal life and it seemed like she really, really just made it a point to let people walk all over her.
Courtney pushed herself into Fiona's life and left messes left and right. I'm all for sisterly love and all, but it's not really healthy for the elder sister to let her younger sister just traipse around getting into trouble all the time without saying anything. This made Fiona meek and a bit of a pushover. And then she goes and let's Jack Bowman into her life so that he can manipulate and manhandle her whenever he feels like it. He lies to her, keeps her at a distance, comes on to her whenever he feels like it, lies to her, leaves her hanging, treats her like an outsider, lies to her, and he makes it perfectly clear that he's really just interested in sex. Oh, and did I mention that he lies to her? A lot?
Which brings me to Jack. Oh... Jack. I decided that he is a Grade A Jack-Ass.
He's pushy. I give him props for being a good investigator and being persistent. Sometimes you have to be persistent. And if he'd just had that trait going for him, then it would have been fine. But Jack goes beyond persistent and just become forcefully pushy... and manipulative. Okay, so I'm fine with him being a bit persistent and manipulative to get what he wants. Women do it all the time.
But then he starts to supply his double standards everywhere.
He needs Fiona to help him with his case so that he can get his big break. This is a cold case and he needs all the help he can get. He misleads Fiona into interviewing a woman who had been victimized eleven years ago; while angry at first, Fiona agrees, but lays down her disclaimer: eleven years ago is already too long ago and we may not find anything useful, these conditions aren't ideal. He wants her to try and sketch the possible suspect anyway. And then the results come out exactly like she'd predicted... so now Jack is disappointed with her. Really?
But that's okay, because he's sexually attracted to her, so let's keep her around for a little longer anyway so he can get his sexual frustration taken care of. And, you know, it's all about sex anyway, because he doesn't really mention anything about her personality or the like... he just keeps looking at her boobs and her butt. That's fine too. Sexual attraction is totally legit.
But now that he's gotten to know her, suddenly he knows what's best for her? He's not happy that she's trying to help him some more? Following leads? Interviewing another witness and sketching another possible suspect? No. He wants her to stay out of the case; this isn't a field for her and she should just go back to her paintings and her art galleries.
Excuse me? First, you drag her into your case when she's adamant about staying out of the law enforcement scene. Then you make her uncomfortable by trying to sleep with her. And then you decide that maybe you're "da man" after all and you need to keep your woman away from the dangers of law enforcement? Where the heck does he come off making those decisions for her in the first place anyway? You're just the guy who wants to sleep with her because she's got a luscious ass and big boobs. You have no say over her life, so even if she wants to put her life in peril by following up on a few leads that might help your cold case investigation because you couldn't think about those leads, you have no right to tell her to stay put.
And the lying! But I'll be frank. Maybe Fiona should have been a bit more forthcoming about how she feels about people lying to her. If she didn't like it, she should have said so since to her, lying comes too naturally with police officers. And when he lied to her the first three times, maybe she should have just walked away. Instead, she lets him continue to lie to her, continue to omit information, and just lets him get away with it.
At first, I figured, you know, it's not a big deal. You guys are working on a professional level and the lying is just standard "this is a confidential case" type of deal. And about his personal life, it's really none of her business anyway. But then he started getting personal and the lying continued into their personal interests and THAT was where I just... well, I planked.
SPOILER PARAGRAPH (view spoiler)[And then there's more lying, not more than mere moments after sleeping with each other. And while we know and even Jack knows that he's hurt her feelings by being a lying sack of shit, he still waltzes right back into her life like nothing happened and he's all macho alpha male who saves her life and takes care of her while she's recovering... What the heck? Where's the groveling and the redemption? When did Jack even confront his feelings for Fiona? Because as far as I read, his interest in her was two things: 1) Professionally as the best Forensic Artist known; and 2) sexually because she's hot and has big boobs. So I'm stumped with this relationship. (hide spoiler)] SPOILER PARAGRAPH OVER
Now that my rant is finished... well, I guess as far as the subject matter went, I DID enjoy the book to an extent. If I didn't get all headed up, I probably wouldn't have much to talk about. Needless to say, I admired Fiona and her talent and skill. I admired her on and off independence. But I don't really admire her personal life much. And I just didn't like Jack.
I have plans to read the rest of the series, which, to be honest, I'm only reading because I'm interested in the Tracers series and these two books are prequel-like books that lead into Tracers. But this particular book left a lot of things open-ended that I hope get addressed in the next book... though I'm sure won't happen since it would be a bit out of place.
Hate me and my review, for I like happy endings and relationships that I can actually understand. And is it really too much to ask for a couple where the partners respect each other enough NOT to be Jack-Asses about it?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I maybe enjoyed this second book of the Graveyard Queen series a bit differently than I enjoyed the first book. The Kingdom had all the intriguing ele...moreI maybe enjoyed this second book of the Graveyard Queen series a bit differently than I enjoyed the first book. The Kingdom had all the intriguing elements of a ghostly, paranormal mystery; but at the same time, it kind of played off more in character development than it actually did in the mystery aspect. So, in a way, to me, this book felt more like a "bridging" novella (a long one at that) which will probably end up connecting The Restorer with The Prophet. Although, since I've yet to read The Prophet, maybe that assumption is too early to make.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It wasn't the horror-fest that many would probably be expecting, and in a way, there was a rather monotonous telling that got me a little sidetracked. But upon reading further, I wanted to continue reading more.
Amelia is still intriguing as a character, while at the same time, she still doesn't stand out much. I doubt I'll recall much about her after I've finished with this series. The rest of the characters strike me as the same way -- interesting, but no one really stands out.
On a side note, one way to really kill the mystery excitement for me is to constantly have characters recite that all too familiar: "We don't like to talk about that." Yeah... so what do you talk about?
Anyway, nothing too overall exciting about this book, which was a bit of a disappointment since I'm enjoying it. We'll just have to see with the next book if there's going to be more excitement. For The Kingdom in general, I honestly already had the mystery figured out by the time I was a quarter of the way into it. Too many obvious clues were laid out that forced you to make those connections and so the the only thing you were anticipating was when Amelia would make those connections.(less)
As much as I'm a weeny when it comes to anything that has to do with horror or ghosts or the like, I really enjoyed The Restorer. A woman who can see...moreAs much as I'm a weeny when it comes to anything that has to do with horror or ghosts or the like, I really enjoyed The Restorer. A woman who can see ghosts choosing to live her life as a graveyard restorer is interesting. A murder mystery that she gets roped into when she's got so much to worry about concerning the ghostly visitors she's surrounded by and the danger that they impose on her life... Even more intriguing is the history and lore that goes into a story like this. How much of it is true and how much of it is only part of this fictional world doesn't really matter to me in the least; but it's always enticing to me when the elements are combined like this: a murder mystery, a ghost story, and tales of history and ghost lore to connect everything together.
On top of that, mysterious characters to propel the story line into progression.
What I liked mostly about this book would have to be that creepy vibe in connection with the ghostly appearances and the murder mystery.
The only thing I'm not too overjoyed about would be the characters. Amelia is interesting as are some of the supporting characters, but to be honest, no one really stands out in much of a unique way. In fact, Devlin is stock-trade main male character with his broody, mysterious, dark past and tragedy. It's a shame he's not more interesting, since I can sense that it would be nice if he weren't so standardized.
Nonetheless, this was a very good read and I'm off to ruin my reading list by jumping into the next book of the series. So many questions and so many curiosities...(less)
I don't quite have words. I'm not quite sure I'm sure I know what was going on in this book. There was a lot of attacking and there was a lot of stran...moreI don't quite have words. I'm not quite sure I'm sure I know what was going on in this book. There was a lot of attacking and there was a lot of strange analogies and a lot of strange things happen. But in the end, what exactly was going on? I'm not quite sure. Rather than being a fast-paced read (which it sort of was) that I enjoyed like I had the first book, this one, I constantly found myself loathe to continue. And when I DID continue, I found myself eager to get to the end.
Because in the end, we get back to square one, with no new developments really, with a lot of the same stuff happening that happened in the first book. Of course, there's a whole new mysterious occurrence that bugs me, because it makes me curious. But, honestly, I think I could live without knowing right away what happens next in this somewhat saga.
And the humor that I had found funny from the first book -- a lot of it just seemed rather cheesy this time around. And a lot of happenings just seemed nonsensical.
The best thing about this book: it was a fast-paced read and slightly entertaining.(less)
I'm starting to wonder if I'm even capable of liking any books that are popular with everyone else. Of course, I have to admit that Dead Until Dark di...moreI'm starting to wonder if I'm even capable of liking any books that are popular with everyone else. Of course, I have to admit that Dead Until Dark did start out with a good concept and a good set-up. The world of the Sookie Stackhouse series is a little hard to buy into, but I got through that initial suspension of disbelief because of the pacing of the story's development.
Sookie Stackhouse almost immediately introduces herself as a telepath, calling her talent a disability, and walks us quickly into the new alternate universe where vampires have announced their existence to the world. We get to see a lot of true-to-form prejudices and realistic reactions of the people to a type of being way different from humans. And so the world of this series is set up rather well... it's not the best concept, but I can live with it.
And then when the murder mysteries began, I was intrigued...
However, we quickly take a backseat with the murder mysteries in favor of Sookie and her romance with Bill Compton, the vampire. While I appreciate the realistics of human nature in dealing with Sookie's relationship with Bill, I really think I could have used a little less of their romance and a little more of Sookie helping to solve the murder mysteries. Because after the third or forth bedroom scene (which was not conservative, mind you) I started to get a little bored with the Sookie Stackhouse life. Was her entire being really based around the romance she had with Bill the vampire? It sure seemed like that was all she cared about. I mean, I'm glad that Sookie is a tough cookie and can stand up for herself when it matters; but she still managed to let herself be pushed around by the man she loved.
Of course, it also doesn't help her own personality that she's also quite wishy-washy with that hot-cold personality. It irked me a little that she seemed to get angry or jealous at Bill for a LOT of trivial things. And it also irked me a lot that she constantly referred to herself as stupid and uneducated, but then she turns around and condemns other people for indirectly implying that she's stupid and uneducated. Her mind frame had a lot of contradicting ideals which made me not quite care for Sookie as a person. Finally, her romance with Bill really doesn't have that feel of love to it more than it actually feels like lust; she becomes quite attracted to a lot of the other good-looking men in the story and even has thoughts about sleeping with them as well even after claiming how much she's in love with Bill.
Call me old-fashioned, but I hardly think it's appropriate for anyone to have thoughts about sleeping with someone else if you're with someone already whom you claim to be devotedly in love with. Then again, maybe I've misinterpreted some things in there, because a lot of the story seemed like filler that I read through and didn't quite commit to memory or anything.
Overall, I thought the book was fine, but not really as great as most have given it praise for. I mean, really, slap one of those Harlequin for romance novel covers on this one and it wouldn't really make much of a difference. It just so happens that this one is based in a paranormal alternate universe with an insignificant murder mystery to keep use curious.
Will I read the next book? Maybe. I might pick it up just to see if it handles the murder mystery a little bit better. For one, the other name that this series goes by is the Southern Vampire Mysteries, and thus, I expected more mystery and less... well, I don't mind a little bit of romance or a smut scene here or there in books; this particular book had a LOT of circling around those very elements (the latter being quite emphasized on). So it wasn't exactly my favorite book, or even one that I would care to come back and read. Then again, it wasn't like it was altogether terrible, so it has its positives.(less)