This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be...moreThis book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy.
WOW! A bang-up start to a new contemporary series, this book is filled with romance, suspense, mystery, and nostalgia.
"I want you," he whispered. "I always want you."
The book starts with Finn MacBain and his brothers drooling over their new neighbors' pool. But they were already caught and punished for a previous unauthorized use... So as Finn contemplates another go, he sees cute little 6-year old Peyton get too close and tumble into the pool - with no one else around. Finn rushes to her rescue, pushing his neighbor's party guests out of the way and yelling at them to call 9-1-1. He pulls Peyton from the pool and administers CPR until the little girl comes back to them. And thus begins Peyton's long relationship with her "hotshot" hero, Finn.
Fast forward several years to Peyton starting her new job at a culinary magazine in Dalton, Minnesota - an hour or so north of the Twin Cities. Peyton's got a degree in Journalism and spent time in France at a culinary institute, so the job offer at a renowned magazine that reviews restaurants is right up her alley. Peyton will be the new assistant to Drew Albertson, son-in-law to the mogul who started the magazine.
But immediately, we discover that all's not right. Peyton finds herself being sexually harassed by Drew, and no one seems to care. Not HR and not his wife. As Drew escalates his demands and even attempts to break down her hotel room door to get to her, Peyton decides she needs to take action. So she tricks Drew into confessing all in a recording. But Drew's not fooled, and he sends one of his goons to take care of her. As Peyton's leaving Minnesota to return home to Texas, she's nearly run off the road by Drew's goon.
When she returns to Texas, Peyton learns that her Uncle Len wants to give her and her 2 sisters one of his hotel properties in Florida, Bishop's Cove. His deal is that the 3 sisters make at least a 20% profit on the place within a year. He's got some renovations going on that he's paying for. And his only stipulation is that the sisters use his manager, Christopher. Peyton loves Bishop Cove and sees it as her chance to really kick her culinary career into gear. Her sister, Lucy, sees it as an opportunity to put her interior design skills to use. Their youngest sister, Ivy, is finishing up her teaching degree, so she agrees but is mostly out of the picture.
Finn comes back into the picture when he spots Peyton at his brother's wedding, before Uncle Len makes his deal and Peyton goes off to Florida. Finn is HOT! He's now an FBI agent who's somewhat jaded by what he's seen and done and by an on-again-off-again girlfriend, Danielle, who cheated on him after they were engaged. Finn's decided that there's no place for a wife or kids in his life. Until he sees Peyton again....
Then Finn discovers bullet holes in Peyton's car - bullet holes that Peyton didn't know were there. Finn gets the whole story of Drew Albertson out of Peyton in no time. And he determines to help her, especially after Peyton discovers another bullet hole in the roof of her car not long after she's in Florida.
The chemistry between Finn and Peyton is off the charts! Which leads Finn to continue his involvement in protecting Peyton and nailing Drew Albertson.
It takes awhile for Finn to realize that he can't live without Peyton. But when he does... wow!
"I've seen some pretty awful things," he continued. "There's real evil in the world, and when you come face-to-face with it, it sticks in your head. You can't get away from it. Even when you're asleep." "As hard as some of those situations have been, I've only been scared...really scared...twice in my life," he said....The first time was when I was fourteen and looked out my window and saw you go under water. I almost forze, I was so scared. To this day I haven't forgotten that feeling." "The second time was when Braxton sent me that text that your car blew up and you were on =the way to the hospital. I didn't know how bad it was, didn't know if you were going to live or die. That same god-awful feeling of real terror was there inside me. I love you, and I don't want to live without you. I'm better with you. It's as simple as that...and as liberating."
=========== I really loved the HOT HOT HOT chemistry between Finn & Peyton. It was sweet and sexy. I loved the banter and interaction between the two of them. I loved how Finn was always modestly in the background, but constantly doing heroic things. And I loved their sense of humor.
At times, the book seemed to lag. I didn't know why I cared about all the details with Drew Albertson until AFTER I realized what she was going to do about it and how that related to Finn and his FBI connections. And when their cousin Debi was involved and obviously sabotaging the sisters at Bishop's Cove, I was frustrated. A little too much of those "extra" details could be trimmed without losing anything.
But overall, I really loved Finn, Peyton, and this first book in what I hope will be an exciting new contemporary romance series!(less)
This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This short - almost too short - is hot and steamy! It's t...moreThis book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This short - almost too short - is hot and steamy! It's the 2nd book in The Market Garden series about a London club that caters to the high-end customers with M-M tastes. And it's co-authored by Aleksandr Voinov, one of my favorite authors in the GBLT genre and co-author of my very favorite series in the genre, Special Forces.
This 2nd book picks up not long after the 1st book Quid Pro Quo ends. Jared and Tristan have now become a pair, their success with Mr. Rolex paving the way to offering something different to the high-end clientele. When Mr. Rolex returns and picks up the pair of "rent boys" again, though, we see a change in Jared.
In Quid Pro Quo, Jared was a bit shy and insecure. He was in awe of and had a major crush on Tristan, who was the "hottie" with loads of confidence. Tristan negotiated big money for their last pairing for Mr. Rolex. But in Take It Off, we see Jared taking the lead - he's the assured one, negotiating the scene.
Tristan is the insecure one of the pair, unsure whether Jared really feels anything for him (Tristan) or if it's just part of the job. Tristan is realizing that his feelings for Jared extend beyond their business partnership.
The book doesn't disappoint! I'd love to learn more about Mr. Rolex... such an intriguing guy! And I want more of this series!
I'd just like to see all The Market Garden shorts rolled up into one book - maybe even an ebook where the new installments come out as their published. So the integrity of the short stories remains, but the readers pay one price and are assured that they'll get each new installment.(less)
This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy a...more3.75 stars
This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy.
LOVE the Sinners and their books!!!! While I have to say that the first book, Backstage Pass Sinners On Tour, is still my favorite of the series, THIS BOOK is probably my 2nd favorite. Why? Eric Sticks!!!
"Show me that you want me, Eric," she whispered. "Show me."
Eric Sticks, the Sinners' drummer, has taken a back-seat in this series so far. But this is HIS book, and he really won my heart! Jace might be shy, but Eric's been the good-natured one. The one with the corny jokes, easy smiles, and too-honest quips. The guy who doesn't think he's hot enough to get the girls on his own, so he watches and takes the "leftovers" from his band mates.
We know from previous books that Eric is the real genius behind the Sinners music arrangements. And that the guy can play virtually any instrument. We also know that Eric's got an ongoing, almost co-dependent relationship with Jon Mallory, the former Sinners base player. Jon was forced out of the band because of his addiction problems, but Eric has been Jon's constant supporter. Why? Jon doesn't seem to have changed.
I'm happy to say that fans will be happy to learn the WHYs behind Eric. It's refreshing to see how uncomplicated this complicated man is. Yes, that sounds like a contradiction, and it is. But we see how Eric CHOOSES to be the person that he is.
As per the usual for this series, the attraction, lust, and love are instant. Eric falls immediately for Rebekah, Dave's younger sister. Dave is the Front-Of-House (FOH) live audio engineer (sound guy). The one who not only drove the Sinners bus, but who was responsible for their sound and lighting in their concerts. At the end of Hot Ticket, the Sinners bus was involved in a serious accident - an accident that almost killed Dave. Reb shows up hoping to temporarily replace Dave on the Sinners' make-up tour dates. She's got Dave's blessing and his notes, and she's got the training and drive.
I like that relationship starts with discovering mutual interests:
By some strange coincidence it was dyed the same blue she'd chosen to dye hers-for the sole purpose of ticking off her mother-not a week ago.
and progresses to interests in restoring old cars... and then into a deal of sorts. Rebekah offers to help Eric with a "problem" that he has if he helps her to relax get comfortable with her body again. Reb thinks that she's making the deal so that she can seduce Trey Mills. But is she?
As hot and sexy as Trey was, she was feeling something more substantial for Eric. She wasn't sure what it was yet. His excitement and enthusiasm made her feel beautiful. Wanted. Irresistible. And he was fun. And generous. And almost as spontaneous as she was. She liked him.
Rebekah needs to be wanted and needed - to feel sexy. She's dealing with her own issues, which include her emotional recovery from a hysterectomy needed to remove cancer and save her life. Reb's dealing with the loss of her ability to have kids at the cost of her own life. She's worried that no man will want her long-term, because she can't have kids.
Rebekah is searching for her own life... her place. She's been drifting from job to job, not quite sure what she wants to do. She's part mechanic, part sound engineer, part not-sure-yet. She's been dealing with a religious mom who thinks that Rebekah's life is supposed to be married to the too-perfect doctor Isaac. Her mother is a narrow-minded harpy who doesn't approve of Reb's choices and takes every opportunity to tell her so. Reb was with Isaac for years - he was a good friend to her, helping her recover from her cancer and surgery. But Reb never quite felt that "spark" with Isaac. And Isaac's the one who made her feel less than a woman, because he didn't like having sex with her - especially after her surgery.
Because Reb is anxious to see if she's any good at sex, she jumps into her arrangement with Eric with both feet. There's a LOT of STEAMY, HOT SEX in this book - almost too much. But it's inventive, fun, and fits both Eric and Rebekah. I love that Reb catches herself thinking about Eric's qualities even when she's obsessing over Trey Mills...
When she really looked at him, he was actually very attractive. Why hadn't she ever noticed him before? Obscenely tall (from her low vantage point) and lean. Rugged features. Strong jaw. Straight nose. Thin lips with a ready smile and a sexy cleft in the middle of his chin that begged to be stroked with her fingertip. He was no Trey Mills, but...
I like that Reb notices that when she's around Trey (or others), her body's not instantly turned on like it is when she's around Eric.
Ironic enough, the drama in this book comes more from Rebekah's family, mostly her mother. Yes, Eric feels insecure and not good enough to meet her parents,
"That's a bad idea, Reb. Parents don't like me. Not even my own."
. Yes, Reb has to deal with issues. But mostly, Eric & Rebekah have to deal her mom's intolerance and determination to rule Reb's life.
Which is one of my NITS about this book, and why I have to take away from its rating. I was disappointed in the way that Ms. Cunning portrayed Christians in this book. YES, there are a lot of judgmental folks out there who use "religion" as a way of manipulating others. But Reb's mother is portrayed as a wacko, who's allowed to spout whatever she wishes at those she disapproves of. And for all his tolerance and gentleness, Reb's father does nothing to stop it.
It's also convenient that Reb's mother is off her meds and has had psychological problems. Why is Rebekah the only to see it? Why doesn't her father, the pastor and man who lives with this woman, realize it and do something about it? Is he just uncaring? Does Ms. Cunning see Christians as mean, spiteful, and in need of meds to so that they can be more tolerant? Wacko because they might disagree with the lifestyles of others? To me, this was uncalled for. Especially because Reb's and Dave's father is a pastor. Since he can't control his wife, why should we think that he doesn't believe that what she's saying is true? For the record, not everyone who goes to church or claims to be a Christian is like either of Reb's and Dave's parents.
Another NIT, also about faith issues: When Trey is "helping" Isaac figure himself out, Isaac asks for forgiveness before (view spoiler)[going down on Trey. (hide spoiler)] Does that mean Isaac will do this every time (view spoiler)[he has sex with a man? (hide spoiler)] I understand Isaac's quandry with his faith, and I appreciate that it's not going to go away for him over night. But this seemed... judgmental again.
Overall, these issues of religion and faith left a bad taste in my mouth. I can appreciate that reconciling the two "worlds" and lifestyles of those with a fundamental faith and a band of metal rockers wouldn't be easy, but Ms. Cunning took the easy way out to add drama and spice to this story. It wasn't necessary or needed. Eric and Reb could have stood on their own; they could have faced down disapproval from her mother (or both parents) without it being so vicious and violent.
Another NIT is the way that Trey comes off and the unfortunate way that the books in this series were published, with Trey's book, which should be last in the series, being published before Jace's story and Eric's story (this one), we already know about the HEAs before we read them and how they came about. Plus, some of the details of Hot Ticket and Wicked Beat don't show up in Trey's story, which just seems odd. Trey also comes off as super manipulative and a bad guy in this book.
Yeah, we know that Trey's a slut, but he tries to play Eric & Rebekah and then gets pissy when she doesn't cooperate. Later, Trey decides to "help" Eric get Reb, but his manipulations, especially of Isaac seemed harsh, forced, and too fast. Especially since Trey doesn't stick around; saying that he's got the perfect someone for Isaac doesn't do much for us or Isaac, since will we ever learn how that resolved? (view spoiler)[IMO, Trey "forced" Isaac to come out of the closet. Does it matter that Isaac enjoyed the experience and repeated it? Or that he finally realized and owned up to being gay? I'm not sure that it does. Just because there was something positive that came of it all... And then Isaac's attempt to talk to his family and the whole debacle with the "engagement" and the way that Isaac comes out to his father... (hide spoiler)] So much in terms of Isaac that we probably won't ever know.
==================== It's sad, to me, that this is the last book in the Sinners series. I really enjoy each member of the Sinners and their books. This book, in particular, had a lot of joy, light, and fun in it, showing how you can CHOOSE to leave your baggage behind and get on with your life.
Seeing how Eric, Rebekah, and Dave chose to overcome their circumstances is inspiring. Having each of the band members happy and in love is always good. And there was even some resolution with Jon and hope for his future. I can only hope that, somehow, Ms. Cunning lets us get at least glimpses into the Sinners' future, perhaps through Exodus End, Dare's and Reagan's band. The Sinners are supposed to be touring with Exodus End... let's hope!["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)
This book felt odd and "off" for this series. A lot of pages of nothing but anger and angst, and it was all just very s...more3 stars.... More review to come
This book felt odd and "off" for this series. A lot of pages of nothing but anger and angst, and it was all just very strange. A lot of the book felt manufactured to achieve a particular end, that of (view spoiler)[Cat turning full vampire and her mother becoming a vampire, too. (hide spoiler)] I really dislike it when authors invent things to come between couples that just don't feel organic to the couple or their relationship. Although there were definitely moments of truth and revelation for both Cat and Bones, they came at too high a cost, IMO.
Neither Cat nor Bones seemed to act like themselves several times in this book, especially Cat (Catherine) when she was 16. I kept expecting that the whole thing would be a lie or hyped up. The 'ritual' that Catherine went through with Gregor was nothing like the one she went through with Bones, which made me think that it wasn't binding.
Lots of new characters... lots of muddying the waters... more Tate behaving like an *ss instead of a real friend... and just a lot of rules that everyone expected Cat to know, yet no one explained until after the fact or just before the fact.
Also, while Cat is a kick-butt, tough heroine, why is it that all these gals seem to rush head-long int the fray without really knowing what they're doing or stopping to think? Why is it that Cat feels as if she's the only one who can save the day? That got a little irritating in this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Getting to know this new "world" by Ms. Frost through Bones' eyes. Except until I read Night Huntress book 1 Halfway To The Grave, I didn't...more3.5+ stars
Getting to know this new "world" by Ms. Frost through Bones' eyes. Except until I read Night Huntress book 1 Halfway To The Grave, I didn't really understand or quite appreciate this short/prequel the way I did after reading book 1. But Bones? Yeah, he seems hot.(less)
**spoiler alert** 3.5-4 stars - IF this story is standalone without a resolution in a future chronicle, this is a 2-star story for toying with fans!!!...more**spoiler alert** 3.5-4 stars - IF this story is standalone without a resolution in a future chronicle, this is a 2-star story for toying with fans!!!
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE ENTIRE SERIES, INCLUDING CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, BE FOREWARNED THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILER INFORMATION!!!
This episode of the Bane Chronicles is... melancholy. It's reminiscent of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations with shades of Miss Haversham and her ward... and the ward's affect on the young man. In this case, that young man is James Herondale, Will's and Tessa's boy. The sort-of Miss Haversham is none other than Tatiana Blackthorn, and her ward's name is Grace. It seems that Tatiana has not been able to "get on" with her life after her father's transformation by a demon-version of a sexually transmitted disease and his subsequent eating of her husband. Tatiana and her husband had just returned from their honeymoon... what a way to do, huh?
But Tatiana was not trained to be anything other than a wife. She wasn't trained to be a Shadowhunter, only the wife and mother of a Shadowhunter warrior. With her father's infamous demise and ruin, Tatiana never quite recovered. And she's out for vengeance, which is where Magnus Bane comes in.
The year is 1903. The place is London. Magnus hasn't been back to London in some time, and the changes and his emotions threaten to overtake him at times. He runs into James at a gambling den. At first, he thinks the boy is Will, but his eyes are shining gold, not blazing blue. But Magnus recognizes the same self-hate bent on destruction in James. Will and Tessa welcome Magnus as he brings James home. But they don't know what ails James either. Only a murmured "Grace".
It isn't until Magnus embarks to the address he was given - the Blackthorn manor - that he discovers who Grace is. But there's much to this mystery that is left unsaid and unsolved. All we know for certain is that Tatiana wants to pay Magnus to kill 5 Shadowhunters, which he declines to do.
I can't help but wonder if the next book will pick up where this one left off? If not, this melancholy short is sadly incomplete and very lacking, despite bringing us back to after The Infernal Devices, where we greet some old friends. So far, the other shorts in the Magnus Bane Chronicles have been standalone. If this one is, I'll scream!
However, no issues with formatting or nonsense words. And this book is well-written. The co-authorship between Ms. Clare and Ms. Rees Brennan seems to be working well.(less)
3.5 stars - more if it weren't so darned long and drawn out!
I was thoroughly on board with this book early on. Honoria and Sylvester are obviously wel...more3.5 stars - more if it weren't so darned long and drawn out!
I was thoroughly on board with this book early on. Honoria and Sylvester are obviously well-suited for one another. So despite Honoria's protestations, their marriage and love was fated. So WHY does it take SO DARNED LONG to come about?
The "mystery" is also obvious, although the why Tolly question is only supposition until the facts finally come out at the end.
It isn't that I didn't enjoy Honoria and Sylvester's scenes, it's simply that too much time goes by - 6 months - before the resolution of the murder takes place. Far too long a time frame for a single book. If anything, push the mystery into the 2nd and even 3rd books, but give us the romantic resolution far earlier?!
This prequel to the Cynster family series is about Sebastian Cynster and Helena - Sylvester "Devil" Cynster's parents. It's quite the story - lots of...moreThis prequel to the Cynster family series is about Sebastian Cynster and Helena - Sylvester "Devil" Cynster's parents. It's quite the story - lots of intrigue, suspense, and sexual awakening.
While at times the story seems to drag a bit, overall, it's a satisfying read. I understand this prequel was written after the Cynster series, where Dowager Duchess Helena plays a large role. So I was surprised to learn of Richard "Scandal"... have yet to read his story, but I was disappointed to learn of his parentage. Didn't seem feasible, given this story. But I'll reserve judgement until reading Richard's tale.(less)
Moody Noir... Another FSOG Rip-Off (Unfortunately, not even as good as FSOG, and that's saying something, since I'm not that fond of FSOG!)
An ARC (adv...moreMoody Noir... Another FSOG Rip-Off (Unfortunately, not even as good as FSOG, and that's saying something, since I'm not that fond of FSOG!)
An ARC (advanced reader's copy) of this book was provided by the publishers and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. These opinions and this review are strictly my own.
Sorry, but this book just doesn't do it for me. It's supposed to be book 1 of a trilogy. But it's just too... weird. And by weird, I'm not talking about the kind-of BDSM or kinkiness that's going on. I mean weird in terms of characters, plot, and phrasing. Here's an example:
His eyes are lowered over his cocktail as if he's a soothsayer examining the entrails of a goat.
That's how the main character, Serena (Rena) describes the hunky, hot man she's just met in the Halloween fog. This is what she's thinking as she saunters back from the ladies' room towards him, as he sits at the bar waiting. Really?
There are a lot of unrelated scenes in this book, like her cousin Polly's boyfriends' Halloween party, which is as much about Serena's feeling out of place and her turning down sex with a random hunky American rich guy wearing a toga. The point of this entire scene seems to be that Serena is hot watching Polly and Pierre do their thing in public, but Serena can't get off with anyone other than her new found mystery man, Gustav. Who initially thought she was a boy, spying on little girls dressed as witches as they made their way to a Halloween party.
The constant imagery of chains lingers...
There's a chain spanning the space between us, a rope between ship and shore; no more like a jailor's thick chain jangling with keyas and handcuffs. Except this is woven thin like a spider's web, so delicate, so invisible it only occasionally catches the light. I don't know which one of us holds it. Which one is caught.
This description comes as Serena is leaving the bar after 1 drink with the mysterious, dark Gustav. But it's important, because the author is obviously foreshadowing the silver bracelet (like handcuffs or a BDSM collar) that Gustav places around Serena's wrist, and the long silver chain that he uses to connect that bracelet to him - whenever he chooses: in public or private.
The whole idea here is that 20 year old Serena is a photographer who now has the money to travel the world and take pictures. The people who adopted her are dead, and without a proper will, she inherited everything. They aren't her parents, and they never acted like parents. They emotionally and physically abused her all her life. Serena is damaged in many ways. But she's a fighter, and she's used her camera and her spunk to find her own light and her own way.
On Halloween night, Serena is in the London fog, snapping pictures of a bunch of little witches headed to a child's Halloween party. She's tucked her luxurious, long red hair up under a cap, and she's dressed in her usual shapeless clothes. Serena is interrupted by a tall, dark, handsome stranger, who mistakes her for a boy or a young man - thinking that she's some sort of Peeping Tom or child predator. Then he realizes he's a she, and she's taking photos... and I kept wondering if I should pick up on the suggestion that Gustav was originally attracted based on thinking Serena was a boy/man? But no. That supposition doesn't come into play in the rest of the story.
Because the 'rest of the story' is really about Gustav being a late 30-something billionaire who's prime interest is in galleries... and he offers Serena a contract: he'll mount and promote her photos in his gallery, and until the collection is 100% sold, Serena belongs to him - in any way that he likes, including sexually. The silver chain bracelet is her "bond" to him.
But there's so much mystery surrounding Gustav's past, mostly his dominatrix wife, Margot, and his younger brother. Gustav is, without a doubt, damaged; he's the first to admit it. And yet, he's not a very good Dom, because he doesn't know how to communicate with Serena and he's not very good at punishments when she doesn't comply. And Serena usually asserts her own will more often than not. And yes, Serena's sexual experience is limited to her hometown, high-school boyfriend, who usually went straight to the missionary position and wham-bam!
What should be a tantalizing, dark tale of a sexual awakening for Serena and some sort of healing or at least building of what's plaguing Gustav is muddled, dark, sordid, and just plain confusing. I didn't connect to either Serena or Gustav. They were constantly hurting one another. Serena was constantly throwing a hissy fit, over-reacting when Gustav didn't behave as she thought he should; but she doesn't KNOW him, and he doesn't know her, as she's quick to point out. So I can only guess at her immaturity.
Then, there's the BDSM angle, which should be seductive, but it isn't. This author seems to be in the camp that people who've been abused need to work out their anger through sex - specifically through bondage and spanking or whipping. It's offensive. She could have made it work, but she didn't. She simply asserted that Gustav thinks Serena needs to be spanked/whipped to work out how her adopted mommy and daddy ill-treated her. What about Gustav? He's obviously damaged by his wife's actions; yet he never offers to have Serena whip him.
What's worse, Serena gets off on the spanking and whipping. There's a highly charged set of scenes at the beginning that have to do with some photos Serena captured while hiding in a Venetian nunnery - nuns flagellating themselves, as penitence for their sins. That's kind of hot. But when we get to the Gustav-Serena stuff, it falls flat. Especially when Serena blunders into dressing up as Gustav's ex-wife in her dominatrix outfit, somehow thinking that she can determine if he's still in love with his ex if she (Serena) is dressed like her. What?
Serena is longing for love, true. But there's no real love in this story, which is why I can't even categorize it as a Romance. Serena falls for Gustav without knowing a thing about him. She expects him to treat her like a lover, when she's entered into a sexual contract with him - selling herself to get establish herself in the art world. She reacts too often like a horny teenager, rather than show any signs of maturity or understanding.
And at the end of the book, we're supposed to be able to picture the next stage in this relationship. Yet, for me, the trilogy is over. I can't take another round, much less 2.(less)
3-3.5+ stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of the written word who like the "high-brow", Bookstore maniacs, Contemporary Romance fans
This book was provided by...more3-3.5+ stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of the written word who like the "high-brow", Bookstore maniacs, Contemporary Romance fans
This book was provided by the publishers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I read an ARC, so any differences in the quotes or plot points are likely changes to from the ARC to the final published version.
There's no such thing as a used book. Or there's no such thing as a book if it's not being used.
This debut novel is heart-wrenching and heart-breaking. It's full of kooky, robust characters and a story that makes you think about who you are and what your preconceived notions of life are all about. But I just didn't love it.... sometimes, I didn't even like it.
Book Summary Esme is a transplanted 23-year old English native working towards her PhD in art history at Columbia University in New York City. She's in love with her boyfriend Mitchell van Leuven, a 30-something old-money rich, handsome, charming, economics professor at the New School. When Esme discovers that she's pregnant with Mitchell's child, she initially decides to terminate the pregnancy. But she can't go through it, and so she decides to tell Mitchell about the baby. But before she can, Mitchell breaks up with her, telling her that he never loved her, they were never exclusive, and he was never sexually turned on by her.
Esme turns to The Owl, a somewhat shabby, eclectic second-hand, privately-owned, local bookstore looking for work. By the terms of her visa, Esme can't take employment anywhere but Columbia. But without any other financial support (and not wanting to tell her parents), Esme needs a job. Which George, The Owl's owner, provides in his bookstore. Through Esme's experience behind the counter, we meet a wide range of colorful and kooky characters, including Luke who's handsome, reserved, and plays the guitar; George, The Owl's owner who's into idealism and organic healthfood; and DeeMo, a homeless man who barters odd jobs for money.
Mitchell decides to comes back around, trying to reconcile with Esme, only to discover the baby issue. After trying to convince her to go through with an abortion, he finally gives up and proposes to her. But Mitchell doesn't do anything without a dramatic flair in front of an audience in just the right setting. His snooty upper-crust family don't approve, and Esme quickly finds herself out-of-her-depth in Mitchell's world. Does he really love her or is he simply thumbing his nose at his family?
Esme's confronted with many complex life choices, among them motherhood, religion, relationships, love, and family.
(Esme) When people say "to father," they generally mean that one biological act--the act of begetting a child. It is different with the verb "to mother." "to mother" implies care. A man's act of fathering can easily be that one seed sown; a woman's act of mothering can take up the rest of her life.
Lori's Review I have mixed emotions about this book. Mostly, I like Esme; I don't always agree with her, but I appreciate her POV and her determination to make up her own mind and live her own life. She's faced with a lot of difficult choices and challenges in this book, and yet Esme manages to keep it all from dragging her down for too long.
The Owl certainly seems like just the sort of second-hand bookstore that exists somewhere in the burgeoning metropolis of New York City. And the characters at The Owl are fully realized and distinct. They might be a little crazy, but they're fun and add life to the story. They embrace Esme (mostly) without judgement and help her to find her new "normal".
Mitchell and his family... well, yes, these folks exist in the real world. But I found it interesting that most of Mitchell's "crowd" were painted with negative strokes. While I thought his father might be decent, I quickly changed my mind. Much of what Mitchell says seems reasonable; but colored through his Peter-Pan attitude and his complete self-centeredness, he's just plain unlikeable and unredeemable.
Stella, Esme's neighbor is a hoot. She always livens up the scene.
My issues: * I'm fairly well-read, and yet I found myself having to constantly look up references to authors and using the dictionary to understand the meaning of several words used in every-day conversations by these characters. At times, the book made me feel downright dumb. But that's MY issue. The characters in this book seem to use language appropriate to who they are.
* I was irritated with Esme to the point that I wanted to SHAKE HER! But the heart wants what it wants, and you can't tell your heart to stop loving someone just because he's a Class-A, Narcissistic Jerk. And yet, I couldn't understand what drew Esme to Mitchell in the first place or why she'd fall in love with him.
(Mitchell)"I want to have you in my life as a matter of choice, Esme. I don't like being constrained to it." (Esme)"You're not constrained to it." (Mitchell) "You're forcing a connection between us." (Esme)"That connection is made whether we like it or not, I say. He whirls away from me, as if we are in a movie. "You slept with me yesterday so that I would be easier to persuade," I say. (Mitchell)"You're wrong," he says, looking out of the window. (Esme)"Then why?" (Mitchell)He shrugs. "I wanted to? I thought I wanted to? Why did you do it?" (Esme)"I wanted to." (Mitchell)"Okay. So no harm done."
And, of course, I fully expected that by the end of the book (view spoiler)[that Esme and Luke would be in love and planning a happy life. (hide spoiler)] While part of me was disappointed, the signs are potentially there. And I applaud the author for not taking the easy way out.
I can't say that I like this book... not exactly. I don't hate it or dislike it; but I might not have finished it or skimmed it rather than read the entire thing. I found Mitchell so unlikeable and Esme's love for him so insane, I just didn't want to read about his playing with her - batting her around as if she's a cat's toy. And yet, I'm sure this book will find its audience and its voice. ["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)
This book is AMAZING! A definite sleeper, so watch for...more4+ stars Recommended for: Mystery lovers (especially word-smiths), Film noir detective/PI lovers
This book is AMAZING! A definite sleeper, so watch for it! It starts slowly, but the word-craft is so captivating, so descriptive, that you seamlessly become part of this book. Be aware that this book's vocabulary isn't dumbed-down to the 8th grade level. But how can you resist word-craft like this?
But the lies she told were woven into the fabric of her being, her life; so that to live with her and love her was to become slowly enmeshed by them, to wrestle her for the truth, to struggle to maintain a foothold on reality.
She had heard oblivion howling in the silence that preceded his awful screams of anguish, and then she had cried, inconsolobly, not for Bruno, but for the terrifying grief of her brother.
Sure, without the hype of knowing that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, I probably wouldn't have read this book. She tried to find out what happens when she doesn't play on her name, but rather her craft, and the answer is, without the buzz, no one knows how great this book really is. Could be a marketing problem by her publisher, because this book really DESERVES the hype - not of its author, but of its amazingly told story and one of my new favorite detectives, Cormoran Strike.
Strike isn't the devastatingly handsome, sexy detective who charms his way into the solution. No, Strike is the Everyman - the guy who's had to overcome a lot in life: being one of the illegitimate children of a famous 70s rock star (with a groupie, hippy-chick mother); being an MP in the military; having the lower-half of one leg blown off in Afghanistan; having a rich, spoiled, crazy girlfriend; and trying to start again and make a success of his PI business, without his former contacts and clout. Strike is big, tall, hairy, and more physically intimidating than most PIs; he could pass for a Bouncer or a Bruiser. But underneath it all, Cormoran Strike is a DECENT guy, a GREAT detective/PI, and a man longing for acceptance and love - just like most of us.
Robin is a secretary working temp jobs through a firm until she lands a permanent, respectable job. She's just engaged when the story starts, and she finds herself a bit dismayed and overwhelmed when her next temp job is with Coromoran Strike. Especially since, after nearly killing her by ramming into her on the stairs, it's obvious that Cormoran doesn't have the funds to hire or keep a secretary. Yet Robin's life-long aspiration has been to be a detective. So she tries to make a go of it, showing a professional side that doesn't intimidate or smother Strike. And she proves to be useful. Except... can Strike really afford to keep her? Or will he, because he senses his attraction to her and he knows that she's engaged... and that her fiancee isn't jumping for joy at the prospect of Robin working more permanently for Strike?
The gist of this story is the apparent suicide of a famous super-model, Lula. But Lula's brother doesn't buy the suicide; he insists that she was murdered. Because Strike was a childhood friend of his brother, Charlie, John Bristow asks Strike to find the truth and offers carte blanc to do it. Strike doesn't think he'll find anything new, but he can't afford to turn down the money. Not after moving out of his girlfriend's apartment into his office - the very office that might be shut down without funds.
But as Strike investigates Lula's death, it becomes apparent that no one is telling the whole truth. And so Strike, with Robin's help, starts to peel back the layers and layers of lies and secrets that surround Lula's death.
My ONLY complaint about this book is that it could be about 100 pages shorter, except that Ms. Rowling is so enamored of her lovely prose (and it is lovely), that she draws it out longer than necessary. She elegantly lays down some subtle red herrings, pointing to several possible suspects and motives. She doesn't just tell - she mostly SHOWS us, through Strike's eyes, the whos and the whats. And at times, Ms. Rowling cleverly holds back on just exactly what it is that Strike sees, knows, or discovers - she lets us know that something is afoot, but she doesn't spell it out until just the right time in the story.
It's definitely an adult, British mystery. But it's a more elegant version of the original film noir detectives and hard-boiled PIs of old. And it's a great set-up for a series.(less)
Tantalizing, Sensuous, Can't-Put-It-Down Tale - First in a New Series
Quick Look "Hot" Scale: 4 out of 5 Flames - Steamy HOT Recommended For: ADULT READE...moreTantalizing, Sensuous, Can't-Put-It-Down Tale - First in a New Series
Quick Look "Hot" Scale: 4 out of 5 Flames - Steamy HOT Recommended For: ADULT READERS - Fans of the Inside Out trilogy & Contemporary/Erotic Romance with a Mystery Twist
ARC provided by Netgalley and Julie Patra Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Book hits stores July 22, 2013.
Book Summary From the 1st sentence, we’re off and running with Amy Reynolds. Amy is working a charity event for her employer, Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum. We meet her as she enters the ladies restroom, where she spies an envelope taped to the mirror - with her name on it. Amy knows what that means... it means that she's on the run again. Some dark, mysterious event occurred when Amy was 18 years old - something happened to her home and her family that involves smoke & flames. And that something forced her to flee her home, take on a new identity, and live on-the-run ever since. Amy doesn’t know who’s after her or why; just that someone is, and they think that she knows something they don’t want her to know.
The letter in the envelope says, "I've found you and so can they..." and tells her to go directly to JFK Airport. The envelope also contains a key to a locker in the airport, which contains a suitcase and another envelope with her new identity, a bank account in Colorado, new cell phone, an apartment key and address, and a whole new personal history, job history, and resume that she must quickly memorize. Now Amy Benson, she is bound for Denver, Colorado.
But her flight is overbooked, and Amy starts to panic. Can she wait? Just when it looks as if Amy won't be able to board, she's told that her ticket has been upgraded to 1st Class, and she has a seat. Relieved, Amy boards, only to discover that her seat is next to the handsome gentleman that she was exchanging interested glances with while waiting for the plane.
The "gentleman" is Liam Stone - reclusive billionaire architect, who’s on his way to Denver, too, for business. Liam is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but sexy; he's obviously strong, confidant, successful, and knows what he wants. And Liam wants Amy. He seduces her on the plane, even protecting her when she has a nightmare about the smoke & flames that destroyed her family.
Amy decides to flirt, since it’s only a plane ride, right? Wrong. Liam manages to slowly, sensuously wrap himself around Amy and her new life – taking her to her apartment, providing the missing essentials and putting them on his hotel room, and giving her an erotic night to dream of. She figures it’s a one-night stand, and it’s an erotic experience she’d never dreamed of. But the next day, Liam makes it clear that he intends to stick around and be part of her life. Why? Can she trust him? Without real contact from her handler, Amy feels lost and alone… and susceptible to Liam.
Amy tries to get her new identity established, check her new bank account, and find her feet in this new city. But she has very little to go on… and nothing seems quite right. Not her hunky neighbor, Jared Ryan, nor Meg, the new secretary at the real estate agent’s office. Is she just being paranoid or is someone really watching her…. Following her? Who can she trust? Why are all these people suddenly determined to be part of her new life?
Just when she lets her guard down and decides to tell Liam everything and ask for his help, she overhears something that makes her fear it’s all over….
Lori's Review I could NOT put this book down! I was so engrossed in it, I couldn't believe it when I was finished. NO! I WANT MORE!
This series is so much different from Lisa Renee Jones' other works. It's similar, in that it involves a mystery, a damsel-in-distress, a potential love triangle, and is told in 1st person POV. But this story feels so much more balanced - even better written than the Inside Out trilogy. It teases and tantalizes, grabbing hold of you, making it almost impossible to wait for the next part of the tale.
My main nit is that we know so little about what happened to force Amy to live this life on the run. We start to gather bits and pieces as the story progresses, but not enough to understand why it's been 6 years and she's still afraid for her life. Who's helping her and why? Who's the handler? Because it's obviously not Witness Protection.
And the copy I read was an unedited proof, so while there are a few minor areas that don't jive, I excused them. For example, Liam tells Amy not to text him, but a little later he's angry that she didn't send him a text. All things that likely will be fixed in the published version.
I can only HOPE that the next book stays as strong and as tantalizingly erotic as this book is... Ms. Jones is known to have a strong 1st book and then pieter off into "not so good".
Stats Pages (Kindle): 252 story pages Publisher: Julie Patra Publishing(less)
RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of GBLT, Fans of Aleksandr Voinov (Special Forces)
Once again, Mr. Voinov hits a home run! This is a short, and it's very short.....moreRECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of GBLT, Fans of Aleksandr Voinov (Special Forces)
Once again, Mr. Voinov hits a home run! This is a short, and it's very short... but the characters of Tristan and Jared and their world of The Market Garden are well-defined, realistic, and compelling.
Jared is new to The Market Garden, an upscale London club that specializes in M-M fantasies and "rent boys". Jared's struggling with his university fees, rent, living expenses, and the prospect of buying Christmas presents. He's also got a huge crush on Tristan, one of the "hot" rent boys - the one who gets the big bucks and the best customers.
When an American wearing a Rolex sees Tristan and Jared talking, he picks up on their palpable chemistry... and makes an offer. What Mr. Rolex wants is to see Jared & Tristan in action, together, while he watches. Jared's not sure if Mr. Rolex is in the closet or what, but he jumps at the chance.
Tristan proves himself to be a master of negotiation, making it clear that each new phase of the night costs Mr. Rolex more money. While Tristan heats things up to major steam with Jared, neither Mr. Rolex nor Jared can resist.
And the readers come away with a satisfying, sexy ending.(less)
(Janelle) Once upon a time I would have said that I could save myself. But I open my eyes and see Ben's long, dark eyelashes and the perfect curve of his mouth, and I say, "We save each other."
This hold-on-to-your-seat finale to the Unraveling series is a mind-blower! It's everything I could have wanted and so much more. It's unexpectedly expected. Ms. Norris doesn't hold back.
Book Summary Despite stopping the countdown to the Oppenheimer device in Unraveling, this Earth (Janelle's Earth) is still reeling from the close call. Most of the technology is just plain out - no cell phones, no Internet - not to mention very little basic supplies and homes left. The world has been devastated by earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, tornadoes, and looting. Most folks don't have all of their families in tact, and many are seeking shelter at community shelters, like the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Martial law is in effect. In the U.S., the Speaker of the House is in charge, because both the President and Vice-President were killed in the after-math of the natural disasters. Hundreds of thousands are missing, and the number seems to grow daily, as people seem to just vanish, including those in Cecily's care at Qualcomm.
Janelle is living with Struz and her brother Jared. When Taylor Barclay kicks in the door and demands that Janelle come with him to save Ben from being executed on Prima, it's just the beginning of non-stop action. Janelle has to help Elijah escape from a maximum security jail in Prima, so that she & Barclay can question him about Ben's whereabouts.
Since Barclay's been gone, he's discovered that Ben is part of a white slavery/kidnapping ring; Ben and who knows how many others have been snatching people - some to order - from the various multiverse Earths. But for whom? Where? Why? Ben and Elijah were discovered, arrested, questioned, tortured, and imprisoned. But Ben escaped. And the IA has decided that he's the #1 Most Wanted.
Barclay knows that corruption is afoot inside the IA (Interverse Agency). Someone high up is helping the slavers. But he doesn't know where to start or whom to trust to find the information. Barclay figures that Janelle can find Ben, thus getting the full story, help Barclay get the proof he needs to expose the corruption, stop Ben's and his loved ones' execution, stop the slavery operation, and save the day.
And oh yeah, Barclay and Janelle have 5 days to accomplish the task.
Lori's Review So much is new in this book, because we spend a lot of time in Prima and in other versions of Earth. Because we're experiencing everything through Janelle's eyes, it's strange and even scary, but we don't have a lot of time to think. We have to DO.
We get glimpses into the doppelganger theory, that each of the multiverse versions of Earth have the same people, but those people are all different from one another, based on their life experiences and choices. The differences in who they are becomes apparent, but just think of how you'd react to running into someone you think you know well, only to discover that person is not who you think at all.
I found this book sad in so many ways, but I applaud Ms. Norris' determination to not follow any of the expected routes. She keeps us hanging with the constant action, twists and turns, and a vision that means no one, not even main characters, are safe from harm.
My only nit is that there are discrepancies between this book and Undone, which features Ben's POV of Unraveled and the gap between book 1 and this book 2. They aren't massive, but having just read book 1, then Undone (book 1.5) before starting this book, the differences were obvious.
Thoroughly enjoyed the ride of this series and its characters! I'll be on the look-out for more of Ms. Norris' books in the future. She's definitely an author to watch!(less)
Very enjoyable... very believable historical fiction set in the William Wallace/Longshanks time frame.
Arbella is the daughter of an English...more3.5-4 stars
Very enjoyable... very believable historical fiction set in the William Wallace/Longshanks time frame.
Arbella is the daughter of an English baron on her way with her father and his men to marry a Scottish/English lord - Marmaduke Stewart? (What a name!) But when almost there, in Stirling, William Wallace and his Scots are taking the town. Arbella (Bella) is separated from her father and has to fight for her life against the victorious Scots, still pulsing with bloodlust and the after-battle.
Magnus Sutherland is laird/chief of the Sutherland clan. He's just dropped off one of his sisters Lorna to be wed to Chief Montgomery, near Stirling. He and his men happen into Stirling, getting into the fray of battle at the end. Magnus sees Arbella fighting off the Scots - men who want to claim her as a spoil of war. But he can't allow an innocent to be harmed. So he rescues her, plucking her from her horse and seating her with him... and they ride away.
Except now Magnus has to figure out what to do with her. If he returns her, will he and his clan suffer? Will her father even listen? Will the English just hang him without asking questions? So Magnus decides he must take Arbella with him - home.
Along the way, he comes to admire her spirit and spunk. She admires his character and leadership. They both are swept away by their kisses and desire for one another. And when they discover the English aren't far behind, Magnus decides the best way to protect Arbella from both the English and the Scots is to marry her and take her completely under the protection of his clan, name, and position.
Arbella agrees to a marriage in name, only. Magnus fools the priest by creating proof on the sheets of their marriage consummation. He tells Arbella he'll only kiss her or do more when she asks/begs him.
Of course, these two fall completely in love. Of course, she completely wins over his family and clan. And, of course, her father and her intended finacee do find them.... But now what? Will Arbella return with them? Or will she and Magnus find a way to lasting love and happiness?(less)
An enjoyable, although somewhat predictable tale of an arranged marriage with a Highland lord. And some really goofy, implausible antics at th...more3+ stars
An enjoyable, although somewhat predictable tale of an arranged marriage with a Highland lord. And some really goofy, implausible antics at the beginning... to the point where I almost wanted to throw the book across the room! I mean, an "accidental" nipple sucking? Yeah. How does that happen accidentally again? And what's up with these women who KNOW that virginity is prized, and they can likely be killed if their husband discovers they aren't when they're supposed to be who decide to throw caution to the wind and "give it up" to the hot guy who's there?
But, the story does get much better, and much more plausible - enjoyable, even. And it's a good tale about communicating with one's spouse. And how actions really ARE better than words, but actions + words are HEAVEN.
This book has so much potential!!! I was digging this book - couldn't put it down, and then BAM! It was over. And the way that it ended. It...more3-ish stars
This book has so much potential!!! I was digging this book - couldn't put it down, and then BAM! It was over. And the way that it ended. It felt like being on a rollercoaster and in the middle of racing down a major hill when... SCREECH! The whole thing tries to come to a halt, but it jumps the rails instead.
A few things bug me about this book:
1. Neil - He's supposed to be 23 and already a (view spoiler)[famous, hot-shot pro football player. (hide spoiler)] OK, I can sort of buy it... except he should be older. AND if you do the math with his mom having him at 17, but she's supposed to be 45? Doesn't add up. AND Neil is almost too good to be true. I mean, wow!
2. Eddie - OK, super awful blackmailer. Major *ss. But really? If he's done this to her, he's done it to plenty of others. So why not try to find the others, instead? And WHERE WAS HER LAWYER? Didn't she even meet with him? Or did they just go off and try to put into motion their off-kilter, half-cocked scheme? Ugh.
Again, so much potential. A really compelling story. But it was almost completely ruined by the ending - most of which was told in the Epilogue. Really? Nope. Don't do that to your readers!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Quick Look Lori's Rating: 4 stars! Recommended For: X-Files & Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans who like a little Urban-Fantasy thrown in for good measure
Book Su...moreQuick Look Lori's Rating: 4 stars! Recommended For: X-Files & Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans who like a little Urban-Fantasy thrown in for good measure
Book Summary Just 2 days before starting her junior year in high-school, Janelle Tenner is killed by a runaway truck - a 1997 Velociadad. Yep, a truck never made in the U.S. or in this world. The driver was dead at the wheel and had strange burns... radiation burns that other victims around San Diego are turning up with, too. Janelle's FBI dad has been investigating.
But the amazing part is that Janelle is now alive, thanks to Ben Michaels. Somehow, he brought Janelle back to life and completely healed her broken bones (including broken back) and all her previous scars. No one believes Janelle, not even her BFF, Alex. But Janelle's determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of Ben Michaels - the guy she thinks is just a Stoner.
But Ben is so much more... and in unraveling the mystery of Ben and how he healed her, Janelle and Alex also unravel the mystery of the radiation burn victims, and the mysterious countdown device that her father found and has locked somewhere at the FBI. Can Janelle stop the countdown and solve the mystery in time?
Lori's Review Wow! This book knocked my socks off! It seems like such a harmless YA book. But it grabs you by the throat and doesn't let up until you're done reading it. And it leaves you gasping for MORE! Thank goodness there's a sequel Unbreakable and a short in Ben's POV called "Undone".
The "chapter" titles are confusing at first. But stick with it - you'll see what they're all about. I confess, I didn't pick up on it until the answer was revealed, I was so caught up in the story.
I appreciated Janelle's (J-Baby) strength. She's smart and plucky, yes. And while it might seem as if she rushes in, Janelle's got a lot of great instincts and training from watching her father all these years. She knows how to investigate and interrogate. She knows how to blackmail, when she needs to. She's been strong, because she's had to be for her brother Jared.
It's tough not to be irritated with her father over mostly ignoring her mother's bi-polar and how it affects the family. The *family* is really Janelle and Jared. Their father is working a lot, and even when he's home, he's working. But he does love his kids, and he tries to do right by them. I think, in part, he's avoiding the whole issue of their mom, because he doesn't want to deal with it.
Alex is such a great best friend - I love him! I'm super glad that he doesn't have a crush on Janelle, as most guy BFFs seem to have on their girl BFFs. It's nice to have that solid friendship without the undertones of him always wanting to kiss her or have her notice him. Alex's mom is a hoot, although I'm glad that she's not my mom!
Ben and his friends Elijah and Reid are ... very mysterious. Ben always seems to be around, watching, and Janelle never noticed him before. Ben is really sweet, and my heart goes out to him; he's been trying to do the right thing for everyone, and that only gets him into more trouble. But he's really smart, too - much more intelligent than anyone other than his closest buds have given him credit for, except perhaps the one teacher. He's been deliberately hiding and keeping his head down, and yet... you just know he's missing his real family and doesn't feel love like he deserves.
Their short romance is sweet, too - very PG. Ben's not "icky" or pushy; he defends and protects. Janelle's got her head on straight; as much as she's now captivated by Ben, she knows that rushing in isn't the right thing to do, especially with everything going on around them. And when it's time, she helps Ben make the right decision - or is it?
(Janelle at the end of this book) But I'm alive. I'm alive. More alive than I was before any of this happened. Life if a fragile thing. Apparently the whole world is fragile too. But it'll beat on. Because it has to.