I searched for an audiobook on Audible, and the reviews told me that this would be an interesting choice. I was careful to avoid spoilers, so didn't rI searched for an audiobook on Audible, and the reviews told me that this would be an interesting choice. I was careful to avoid spoilers, so didn't read too much.. and I listened to the sample and found the narrator's (Kate Simses) voice interesting, and the "scratching" sound, as if the main character was scratching out her thoughts on paper was an intriguing choice.
I was hoping for a paranormal or dystopian fantasy. Instead, it was purely a romance of metaphors and similes. The descriptions are oftentimes confusing, and I had a hard time staying with the story. Initially, all of the descriptions were creating a very different ambient feeling or atmosphere within the book - some of the metaphors didn't make any sense at all, but the images worked in a unique way and made the novel very visual, for me. That drew me in at first, but then it never changed from that. And too much of a good thing is still overwhelming in the wrong ways. Eventually, intriguing scratches became distracting, and I found myself hearing the chapter end, and realizing I'd stopped paying attention. (I'm sorry!)
The narrator does a beautiful job, though. One page is entirely "I'm not insane. I'm not insane. I'm not insane." and Kate Simses' performance caught my attention completely. She was intense. It was so much more striking than it would have been, had I read it on paper.
I'm not in the target audience for this book, unfortunately. Perhaps I would've enjoyed it, if so. As it was, I got about 60% of the way through before I simply had to leave it be, and read a summary of the plot....more
The first few pages are slow but it does pick up somewhat. The writing style drew me in right away despite some odd phrasing and missing punctuation.The first few pages are slow but it does pick up somewhat. The writing style drew me in right away despite some odd phrasing and missing punctuation. However, that's what kept me from fully enjoying the story, as well. It's jarring and awkward in the descriptions, taking away from the action and the flow. The main character spends a lot of time thinking and considering, and her observations are not conveyed very well either. I found it difficult to keep focused and, ultimately, went searching for something more interesting....more
**spoiler alert** The first two volumes are by far the strongest, and Flutter takes a serious nose-dive in comparison. I will not be reading the fourt**spoiler alert** The first two volumes are by far the strongest, and Flutter takes a serious nose-dive in comparison. I will not be reading the fourth, which is out now, as I do not feel the series can be redeemed. There are so many repeating phrases that I could not help but start counting their occurrence, while reading, and it really pushes one away form the story. Too often someone speaks "not unkindly" or curls a lock of hair behind an ear, or asks "are you coming with?" The last question I find annoying on its own, but I understand some people do talk that way - especially younger people. I can't imagine a 300-year-old vampire speaking that way. I can't accept every single character in every book (that I have read) by Amanda Hocking speaking that way. That just doesn't work for me.
Anyway, Alice is a vampire now and is even weaker now than in the previous novels. She has no aspirations to become anything more than she currently is and continues to get things handed to her on a platter. She has no drive to do anything with, or for, herself. The world ends without Jack at her side. Or in her face. Whichever. It's getting sickening now. One would think becoming a vampire would do something to her, aside from make her hot, apparently.
More in the third book than in the previous, I am beginning to ask myself questions on the direction of the story. Normally I have a sense of a goal, quest, or change that is upcoming. Here, I don't know what Alice's goals are, where she is going, or the point of the story at all. It's getting to the point where it's Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens. Near the half-way point for the book, I started to skim - we have gone into Angst Alley and there is a traffic jam. The plot is going nowhere. Plot lines are introduced and them completely forgotten or ignored. I had begun to believe that the sole point of the series is for Alice to have sex with Jack.
(Spoiler in Hollowland to follow) And when that finally does occur, the scene seems oddly... familiar. It turns out that it is a near copy of the scene in Hollowland, between Remy and Lazlo near the end of the book.
He kissed my mouth, my neck, my shoulders, everything he could reach, and I moaned against him...Gasping for breath, he relaxed, but he propped himself up so he wouldn’t put the full weight of his body on me. He rested his forehead against my shoulder and tried to gain some composure. When he gently kissed my collar bone, my skin trembled underneath his lips. --Flutter (My Blood Approves #3
He kissed my mouth, my neck, my shoulders, everything he could reach, and I moaned against him... Gasping for breath, he rested his forehead against my shoulder and tried to gain some composure. When he gently kissed my shoulder, my skin quivered underneath his lips. --Hollowland
And if that's not laziness, a pure lack appreciation or respect in her readers, I don't know what else could be. I consider it to be an insult to a persons' intelligence and a lack of care in the work she is releasing for them. Is it so difficult to write scenes of characters having sex that you need to copy from one book to another? Nearly word for word?Now I am done with your books, Amanda Hocking. Your laziness and poor quality of work gets no more money from me. Shoddy work is still shoddy whether its trying to eat your brains, suck your blood, or be a troll. Don't waste your time on any of these books. I was willing to forgive a multitude of other short-comings, but this is just pathetic....more
The last book by Amanda Hocking that I read was... not as enjoyable as I would like. Zombies and Horror are not my usual reads but the description cauThe last book by Amanda Hocking that I read was... not as enjoyable as I would like. Zombies and Horror are not my usual reads but the description caught my attention and seemed interesting enough. It was not until I was a few pages in that I checked who the author was. Oh. Well, her work deserves another chance, I suppose. I shouldn't judge all of what she does on one book, after all... (Plus, I have been hearing Good Things about Amanda Hocking, so perhaps there is just something I missed before.) And then I come across missing words, misspelled words, and odd punctuation within the first 10 pages. This is not a good starting point.
The characters are a little odd, to say the least. Lazlo follows Remy around like a lost little puppy, despite Remy treating him terribly at certain times. Remy, meanwhile, seems a stronger character in the beginning, but that seems to lessen as the story progresses - not that she is wimpy (she is the one in charge, for some reason) but there is something lost. As if her actions don't need justification - no one really speaks against her, or hold their ground with her for long. Also, the supporting characters aren't given much of a background. They have names and vague descriptions, but we aren't really shown much in depth of who they are. It's like Remy doesn't care to think of them, so they don't matter to the story at all. Is she that unobservant?
At one point, a Big Deal is made out of the car running out of gas - the driver is blamed and takes responsibility for it. And repeatedly mentions taking the blame for it. I found this... odd. In the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, where fuel is hard to come by and stations are few-and-far-between, how is anyone at fault for a vehicle -an SUV for that matter- running out of gas? Does no one have a back-bone in this book? Did the virus deteriorate that, too?
I am able to take in that there is a virus that creates zombies - that's no problem. The unbelievability in the story comes from the characters themselves, and their reactions to the situations. It has, at times, more of an "I am doing this because the plot says I should" instead of "I am doing this according to how my experiences tell me to react." And there really isn't a big sense of character development at all.
There was some.. pronoun confusion in Hollowland as well. There is a male character referred to as her at one point, and that all goes back to editing and proof-reading. (I doubt it was intentional, given how it was used.) This kind of thing really bugs me, and I doubt this will be the last time I mention it. Unfortunately.
I liked the sample available on Smashwords enough to purchase the book, but it definitely got worse from that point on. Amanda Hocking is a popular author and has many fans, so there's something there for others. I guess. Samples of her books (around 20-25% of the book) are available to read online before purchase. I'd say it's best to check those out first, along with other reader reviews, to see if any of the stories are for you. The next book in this series should be out October 2011, according to Goodreads, but I don't think I'll be picking up that one. Hollowland was a little too, well, hollow, for me. Amongst other things.
Suggestions for awesome post-apocalyptic would be greatly appreciated. Bonus points if it's an e-book that I can check out a bit of before-hand....more
When I readHush Money mid-August, and posted my review, I did not expect the sequel to be out within the very same month. In fact, I did not even finWhen I readHush Money mid-August, and posted my review, I did not expect the sequel to be out within the very same month. In fact, I did not even find out about it until a few days into September, and at that point I had to find and purchase the e-book right away. Smashwords had what I was looking for, and at a reasonable price of $2.99. Hush Money was $1.00 when I picked it up, and the slight increase in cost for this book is worth it, in every sense.
Heroes 'Til Curfew takes a slightly more adult turn from Hush Money, as the relationship between Dylan and Joss becomes more serious. It does not come across as unexpected or crude, and it seems more part of the plot rather than scenes scattered throughout a meager plot line. Romance is definitely a part of the story, but it makes sense and doesn't come across forced. (And, given my issues with certain other books, I do feel the need to mention this.) There is also a very delicate topic that comes up in the story and, while the subject disturbs me, it was dealt with seriously and carefully. I also did not get the impression that is was brought up carelessly.
Another difference in this volume, from the first, is that Marco is added in as a Point-of-View. Thankfully, he's only the focus a few times, as Susan Bischoff did an excellent job of making Marco absolutely deplorable. I could not relate to him in any way and found it difficult to follow his POV for any extended amount of time.
Again, as with Hush Money, the story and characters are both interesting and realistic. All it took was two books from Susan Bischoff to get me hooked on her work - I will definitely be picking up other books in this series and by this author. (Which I did, actually.. )...more
I picked up this book due to the cover. (Hey - I admit it!) And it was available as an e-book for $1.00. Win-win, I thought. It seemed interesting enoI picked up this book due to the cover. (Hey - I admit it!) And it was available as an e-book for $1.00. Win-win, I thought. It seemed interesting enough, previewing the first few pages, and for only $1.00 I couldn't really go wrong - I have spent as much on far worse.
My initial reaction was that it seemed... interesting. The writing style was easy to follow, and did not come across as awkward like some other YA books I have read. It took some getting used to the alternating between two protagonists, and there were a few times when, despite the names being listed, I got confused about which character was the focus for certain sections. The issue seems to come from the two characters not being different enough in their way of thinking.
Once the story itself is set up, the title of the book becomes obvious. The idea of Talents (the term for various powers) works thus far, as well. I am interested in seeing how far it's taken in the following book(s). The characters, main and supporting, seem strong and realistic. Their actions, while not always agreeable, make sense for their situations.
I found Hush Money to be a quick and enjoyable read, and things really do pick up in the end. The real disappointment for me was how short the book was, and how swiftly it all got wrapped up. Still, this was money very well spent. I will be awaiting the sequel....more
There were a few things that bothered me about Switched from the outset, but it was hard to really pin-point just what it was at first. As I continuedThere were a few things that bothered me about Switched from the outset, but it was hard to really pin-point just what it was at first. As I continued with the book I realized it was perhaps the main character, Wendy, that seemed a little.. unrealistic, to me. I found myself asking questions about her character, and I could not help but feel she was, well.. not very smart.
She lets a young man into her room, even though she doesn't want him there, and repeatedly does things she considers are a bad idea. At first she is concerned about her family, but once she leaves she seems to forget them all entirely. Wendy's decisions seem to be used to push the story along, and didn't always make sense. I just didn't understand why she was doing these things, and her role in the story seemed very passive. True, she is supposed to be young, but she lacks basic common sense... and any real drive to do anything for herself.
With the novel itself, I found myself counting how many times Wendy used the word 'foxy' to describe a male in her vicinity. Foxy really doesn't tell me much, and it is a little much to have it used repeatedly. There are other words, better words, that can be used to express the same thing.
Regardless, I finished the book. I just don't like it enough to continue with the series....more
This novel reminds me of middle school, when I would stop by the school library nearly everyday in search of new books to read. (And returning the oneThis novel reminds me of middle school, when I would stop by the school library nearly everyday in search of new books to read. (And returning the ones I took home the day before.) There were shelves lining the corner of the wall by the entrance that were devoted entirely to fantasy and fiction. Two full rows on the shelves were given solely to The Saddle Club books, and I would go for those first as I tried to absorb everything I could about horses. I adored horses. I drew pictures of them on everything, wrote speeches in class about them (read: every speech I wrote from grade 5-8 was about the subject) and just could not get enough. Reading Horse on the Loose brought back memories of all of those things, so it definitely has points in its favour for that alone.
The novel is very well written and informative, without coming across as trying to be that way, so one does not need to be an expert with horse and related terms to understand. It doesn't feel "dumbed down" at all, either, and I still found it enjoyable despite the novel not being directed at my age group. Plus, there is even a glossary in the back of the book to help clear up any confusion regarding horse types, colours, tack, and so on. Characters are realistic and it's easy to care about both Jesse and Danielle. I have yet to read the second book, Wild Hooves, but it is a definite on my list... as it is currently sitting on my shelf.
Know anyone that's horse-crazy? I'd give 'em this book to check out, for sure....more
Why is there a butterfly on the cover of a book about fairies?
There's a few things that are a little odd, with Stay. The main issue for me was the wriWhy is there a butterfly on the cover of a book about fairies?
There's a few things that are a little odd, with Stay. The main issue for me was the writing style, as well as the characters reactions to both each other and the situations. The writing is far too formal, and at times it was as if I am reading a very serious textbook - if this is Callie's voice, she does not speak as a teen or young adult would. Other times, sentences end abruptly and the tense changes. It's just awkward.
Additionally, Callie, along with the other characters, are... weird. They act erratically and hold no appeal. I just could not care about them. There are many sentences phrased awkwardly, or do not fit with the writing style.
The thing is... I really dislike weak main characters. Characters that need to follow someone, or can't do anything without the one they "love". Callie is one of these characters.. and once this becomes apparent in a novel or series, for me, it's really a point of no return. The novel cannot be redeemed.
Still, if you want a quick read and have $0.99 to spare for an e-book, you may still find it to be worth it. There are people who enjoy Stay, obviously. I am just not one of 'em....more
Impulse Control is a short story and prequel to Hush Money. I found it an enjoyable and informative read regarding the world and helpful in showing usImpulse Control is a short story and prequel to Hush Money. I found it an enjoyable and informative read regarding the world and helpful in showing us what State Schools are all about. (Rather than just being some Mysterious Thing to be Avoided.) As a plus, it's also available on Smashwords to read for free.
I don't want to go too much into the plot and spoil all the fun.. but I will say it's a nice introduction to the series for newcomers, or as an add-on for those who have read the others....more
When I read novels, very rarely is the genre strictly Romance. I tend to go for the fair mixture of urban-fantasy, sci-fi, or adventure mixed in withWhen I read novels, very rarely is the genre strictly Romance. I tend to go for the fair mixture of urban-fantasy, sci-fi, or adventure mixed in with it. Romance is an after-thought, not the focus of the story. More recently, however, I have been checking out some more novels within this genre. Because the books are, quite honestly, humourous. They're short and quick reads and I am often laughing at the descriptions and characters... even though that's not the intent at all. Some Romance is done well, or is incorporated well enough into a story that it seems normal - natural, even. And that's fine. I have no problems with it.
And then we get stories like The Tide of the Mermaid Tears.
I know that Ember Taffee wanders -sorry, meanders- the seashore twice daily. She also likes mermaids, mermen, the sea, and trinkets. Lily Taffee, her sister, likes to paint and.. uh.. umn.. tease Ember, I guess? Ridge West appears ashore and we know he's handsome and Ember is desperately in love with him for some reason. Desperately. And sometime near the center of the book we have Tempest Taffee, their mother, telling Ridge West of her tragic, sad, desperate past that is very sad and troubling, and stuff.
I got a bit tired of the story by this point because nothing interesting had happened yet. It can be all summed up with the previous paragraph. Aside from that, the way the characters think and speak... it doesn't seem natural to me. I couldn't get into the flow of the story. Even when Ember and Ridge are together, there is only so much I can take with this talk of "mouth-watering" as reaction to their own thoughts of kissing each other. To the point where I can only picture are two people gazing dreamily at each other with saliva running down their faces in a torrent.
Seriousness is Ruined Forever. I had to start skimming the book by this point....more
**spoiler alert** The premise is nothing new, and really nothing special. I found this series more compelling than the others I've read (Switched, an**spoiler alert** The premise is nothing new, and really nothing special. I found this series more compelling than the others I've read (Switched, and Hollowland) and found it slightly easier to ignore the spelling, grammatical, and tense errors peppered throughout the book. (But only Slightly.)
One of the big issues I have with the main character is, well, her lack of character. Does Alice have no sense of self preservation? She is so flippant in her constant talk of others killing her, and even asks, dares, or begs others to do it. (In more than one instance.) Okay, okay, it's a romance about vampires, I get it. The main character has to have something odd in her head to want that kind of... relationship(?) - but it gets annoying in its repetition. Alice is just so plain and lacks any real character qualities, aside from passive, whiny, and pitiful. She can't seem to do anything for herself, from driving to cooking - someone else must do it for her. She must be genetically susceptible to the virus of Mary Sue, which seems to plague far more heroines than it should. Tragic, really.
There is also a lot of explaining regarding the brands characters wear. Every single time someone changes clothes, we get a list of brands they are wearing. A description makes sense, but this listing of brand names clothes is lazy and does no help at all. I get the sense the clothing is expensive, but the brands do nothing for me - I shouldn't need to look up brand names to figure out what characters are wearing. Dickies or Converse - just tell me it's a t-shirt, shoes, or pair of shorts, and let's move on.
Within the second book, Fate, especially, I get the impression the author doesn't entirely understand what it means to be gay, and holds onto a number of stereotypes or preconceived notions regarding those who are gay or lesbian. The following line, here..
"He sat on my bed with his back to me, and he appeared to be filing his nails, or something equally gay." -Fate (My Blood Approves, #2)
I found the observation from Alice to be somewhat odd, as many others like it littered throughout the series. Okay, yes, there is a character who is gay. We were told this in My Blood Approves, multiple times. (Awkwardly.) It felt like it was a forced addition, to add some kind of depth to the story... but it really doesn't. It's Alice realizing he's gay and "should've seen it sooner" because of a list of trivial things that have nothing to do with a person being gay. Nail-filing? Really? That falls under personal hygiene which has nothing to do with a persons' sexual orientation....more
Solomon's Jar begins on a stronger note than the first book, and a lot of that is due to having the groundwork already prepared, from the first novel.Solomon's Jar begins on a stronger note than the first book, and a lot of that is due to having the groundwork already prepared, from the first novel. The writing quality may have taken a few steps up, as well, but that could easily be my own imagination. There is definitely more focus on describing locations, but that's taken almost to excess as well. (It's just not that interesting.) I also want to note that this sequel is a bit more graphic when it comes to violence, than the first novel - there is a lot more blood and death. If that's not your cup of- well, "cup of tea" really wouldn't be the most appropriate phrase to use here, would it?
We start off with Mary Annja running for her life - she is being chased by various goons just like in Destiny. The Bad Guys are bad, because we are told they are, and that's about the extent of their personalities. The plot itself, too, feels more like a movie script; the motivations of Mary are mystifying at best. She hears about Solomon's Jar and off she goes to find out more from the person with the jar, who lives in the Netherlands, for a reason that seems very close to "just because". While there she gets attacked, once again, after walking into a shop. And again shortly after that when visiting a home, as a guest. It's definitely getting that "Monster of the Week" feel to it all.
I say the novel feels like a movie script, and the main reason for that is that... it's action placed over a tissue paper plot. It's all about Mary showing off her body and Elite Fighting Skillz (that she obtained from some place or another.) Fight after fight she is proving she is sexier, deadlier, and can best all of these big trained professionals while she Saves the World. There is also repeated mention on her lack of being out of breath while doing all of these activities, while everyone else seems to be tiring and struggling to keep up. Nothing can go wrong for Mary!
I do find it odd that the main character has changed so much between the first and second novel. In Destiny, Mary was very much against killing the Main Villain, despite how he tried to kill her on multiple occasions. In Solomon's Jar, she's waving that sword around like an expert, killing off random lackeys as she sees fit, and all without even an afterthought. Here's one example..
"She knew she had every right to take their lives if they raised their weapons against her."
And all I can think is "What?! Who did Destiny Mary get replaced with?" This is her line of thought regarding random protesters from Jerusalem that (for some reason) began chasing her down. Seriously, this book is all random trivia, chase scene, fight scene, talking of Solomon's Jar, and then repeating the process ad infinitum. She has Joan's sword but when did that give her the right to kill anyone? I'm sick of being constantly reminded of her perfection and flawlessness.
Mary Sue is perfect, and Mary Sue is boring. Convenient Plot Device is written off as being "her destiny."
There are some phrases and situations I found so genuinely funny that I laughed aloud. It's unfortunate that those situations were so few, and the plot so heavily garnished in graphic fights and walls of text that do nothing to move the story along and keep interest. I found myself skimming over so many pages of fight scenes or what felt like textbook pages about Soloman's Jar that it seemed like such a waste of time.
So.. if you buy this book as Rogue Angel: Renaissance, where you're getting three books for the price of one.. go for it.; It's a good deal if you want to check out the series and see if it's for you.
I won't be coming back to it, though - I didn't even finish the last book in this trio.It's just not for me....more
Well, for starters, the beginning of this book is very off-putting. It's one of those series that I can tell the writing style is going to bug me endlWell, for starters, the beginning of this book is very off-putting. It's one of those series that I can tell the writing style is going to bug me endlessly. The writing itself, too, was very awkward at times and often told me who Annja was, rather than show me through her actions. In this way I found it condescending, almost as if this book were intended for a much younger, and less intelligent, audience. As an added bonus, Annja is the Maryest of all Sues. She has some type of martial art skills, can sense thugs tailing her, and was, apparently, taught most of this by nuns. All of this is told within the first few chapters, but none of this is really explained in a way that flows or makes sense. Half the problem is that we get the hefty dose of Exposition whenever she gets a moment in the midst of battle. 'Cause, you know, breaking up the fight scene for a little bit of Boring is the best thing to do when you want to keep your readers interested! Woo!
Another issue, and perhaps it is due to being in eBook format, was the odd word spacing in some places. At the start of a new section or chapter, there would be three or four words capitalized, and sometimes there would be a space after the first letter in the sentence. But notalways. I got the sense that the main letter(s) may have been of a fancier font in the printed version and yet no one cared to fix it later on when made into an eBook. The thing is, though, it also appears in the middle of sentences. All of a sudden I would come across a word with a ran dom space added in the middle, making the reading slow and awkward. Plus the tense changes and weird use of is/are littered throughout... Ugh!
There are even a few instances where I wondered whether or not the author(s) were aware of their writing/voice. It's like I am being told a story buy someone who thinks both that they are clever, and that no one else can see the obvious path their story is taking. There is one instance where a sword magically disappears. I figured out where it went right away -it's not the first time it's been used in a story- but the characters hadn't a clue and argue about it for a time. Later on, while Annja is in a taxi, she starts to fall asleep and pictures herself holding the sword and.. The sword is in her hand!
I had to stop reading for a bit, there. Am I supposed to find that Not Completely Obvious? It's just getting silly. And what is with the exclamation point? I can't help but wonder what the story would be like told from her point of view, in her voice. It has to be better than this, right?
Annja herself is, as I mentioned, a Mary Sue. I have seen her in many, many stories and she has not changed at all. She is still perfect in mind and body, and turns the heads of every male in a hundred mile radius. Everyone wants her, and her goal is to correct the wrongs of the world. The supporting cast, Roux and Garin specifically, are not too much better. Their goals, even when expressed, are still not very clear. As with Annja, their personalities are quite flat - there seems to be little consistency in their actions.
Oh, and for anyone wondering about any Romance in the novel... there isn't even a kiss scene. Unless you count that one character who woke up surrounded by naked ladies. There was nothing going on there, though, so.. it doesn't count.
Anyway, I hope Annja and her entourage find each other a personality in the next book because.. this is just awful. I think that's why I am still reading this.. it's like a disaster in progress I just have to watch.
Note: I read this book as the "Collector's Edition" Rogue Angel: Renaissance. If you're interested in reading the series, this version will get you three books for the price of one.. go for it. It's a good deal if you want to check out the series and see if it's for you.
I won't be coming back to it, though - I didn't even finish the last book in this trio. It's just not for me....more