What can I say that hasn't already been said? I'm in awe of this author's way with words. I could almost believe he was shipwrecked the way he describ...moreWhat can I say that hasn't already been said? I'm in awe of this author's way with words. I could almost believe he was shipwrecked the way he described things. What a massive amount of research he had to have done on not only being a castaway but on animal behavior. Wow.
The end is driving me crazy now as I wonder which was the "truth." I won't spoil it by giving things away, but I want to believe the animal version but find the other more plausible, as the Japanese inspectors did. I know this was supposed to be a religious type book with proof of God stuff in it, but since it's a work of fiction, I hardly find that to be the case, at least in the way Barack Obama did. But the author's prose for me is proof of God, that someone so talented is out there writing books. And that's good enough for 5 stars from me.
P.S. I selected this book for a book club reading (my first) and I know I won't be disappointed with the conversations this will inspire. I am out of commission with the flu, which is the only reason I was reading and not writing!(less)
This is my all time favorite romance. Old school Scottish Highlands laird meets the beat-down English lass. Whoo hooo!! I think I've read this book ab...moreThis is my all time favorite romance. Old school Scottish Highlands laird meets the beat-down English lass. Whoo hooo!! I think I've read this book about five times. What I loved is how resilent the MC is and her sneaky sense of humor. She is tiny and weak, or appears to be, but as the story progresses, you see her inner strength and in the end when she makes this hulk of a beast-man fall for her and get wrapped around her finger, well, you just want to cheer. And the whole cutting the tartan thing with the battling clans? Brilliant. BRILLIANT!! If this had ever been made into a movie I would have bought it and watched it a hundred times.(less)
I'm a big fan of Samantha Young's YA work, so when I saw she was writing an adult contemporary romance, I was curious. But then when I saw she got pic...moreI'm a big fan of Samantha Young's YA work, so when I saw she was writing an adult contemporary romance, I was curious. But then when I saw she got picked up by Penguin and that her book had become an overnight best seller, well, I just had to jump on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss was about. I haven't read a straight-up romance in a long while, so it took me back for sure to my days of Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, and many others. And I can now say after having read Sam's book, that she knows what she's doing and then some.
Samantha knows the romance formula and gives it a special twist, putting the setting in contemporary Scotland and giving us readers a glimpse of the sexy super-males who walk the streets of Edinburgh. Now I *really* need to take a trip there so I can oogle those Scotsmen. I was already planning a trip there, but now, I'm searching for flights. Hoo-eeee! I'm sure every single one of them are incredibly handsome. That's how this book makes me feel, anyway, kind of like romances set in the West make me think all cowboys are sexy. (I married one, first time around, and so for the record I have to say that not all of them stay sexy, but that's another review for another day and another website. lol)
**very minor spoilers from here**
--What I liked: First off, the humor. I laughed out loud at "Apparently, I'm having sausage." Holy you-know-what, that was hilarious. There were several other "chuckle moments" for me too. The emotional roller coaster was just the right speed for a girl like me.
I also liked the fact that there was a complex female lead who isn't into relationships. That's a new one for me. Even if some romance characters play at it, this one really means it for about 1/2 of the book.
I also loved the alpha male. He was just the right amount of pushy and jealous without being a stalker or abusive guy. I read a review on here, a very snarky one (why does everyone love snark so much? so negative...), where the reader/reviewer just went to town on how ridiculous these alpha males are lately in romances. While I appreciate different opinions and can see how others might feel this way, I have to say that I've known a lot of guys who are like this - jealous, protective, assertive, saying the f-word as part of their foreplay, etc. Not every guy is like that, JUST THE ALPHA MALES. So if you don't like an alpha male character as the male lead, don't read this book. If you like tough guys who are also smart and incredibly handsome, but who also have personality flaws like the jealousy thing, read this book.
I liked that everyone had plenty of money. I know that's kind of unrealistic, but it made the story easier all the way around so the reader could focus on the character's inner thoughts and traits. There was no Cinderella stuff going on here which is so often the case - the Pretty Woman syndrome where the billionaire woos a poor girl or a maid. Don't get me wrong, I like those kinds of stories, but I also like to read something different once in a while, and this book got it right.
I liked the roommate who was sweet and tried to be wily but wasn't that good at it. Endearing is a good word for her.
The descriptions were done well - I knew what the rooms looked like without having to be bogged down in overly descriptive stuff. That's a big downfall with most romances, but you won't find it here.
I also loved the therapy sessions which allowed us to see the MC's mind slowly changing about life, herself, relationships, the people around her; and the sessions and progress of this "patient" happened in a way that seemed genuine. It was a great way of showing, not telling, while also not getting overly bogged down in a bunch of scenes to do it. Each one was full of good stuff that carried the following scenes and made the MC's evolving thoughts and actions believable. I hate it when a character is firmly one way in her mind and then one day, wakes up and is totally different. Here, we don't see that. We see a gradual shift, one that could happen in real life. I think this author has some experience with loss and grieving. She describes its effects well.
--What I didn't love, but still was okay with (and so it didn't affect my rating):
There was a little too much telling and not showing in some sections of the book, but maybe that was a tool to keep the pacing going. I just felt like skipping those parts because they were so much just a narrative of a bunch of past events, but I couldn't skip them because they were filling in blanks. Those narratives, I could have lived without.
This might sound hypocritical coming from me, based on my own work (and lord knows I've been taken to task over it enough times by readers), but the MC's overuse of the word 'f*ck' was a little bothersome. Not in a moral way, hell no.(FUCK! I LOVE THAT WORD!) It's just that in many cases, it felt forced.
My lame explanation: During sex, it's cool. People talk dirty when they're getting busy, so I'm okay with that. And the sex is most def good here. But it's the silly internal thoughts of the MC that include it, when the character herself is not really a cusser, that makes it seem like it's not real. And the word "shittity" is hard to say, so I can't imagine anyone using it in her head. (Go ahead, try and say it out loud. Weird, right?)
I think it was supposed to be cute ("f*ckitty f*ck, sh!ttity sh!t"), but for me, the result was that for those few moments, I could feel the author intruding on my reading. For the rest of the book, the author's presence wasn't felt; it's as if I were watching the story play out, and I like that about Samantha's writing - she's behind the scenes and her characters carry the story as they should.
I have no business or right re-writing anyone's work, but I wish she had used 'dammit' or something more in keeping with the character's personality for the cuss word du jour. Perhaps I'm just a cussing snob though, thinking I always know the best cuss for each situation. The good news is, it doesn't interfere in the enjoyment of the book or the characters. I think I liked the right people, felt disdain for the right people, was rooting for the right person, and definitely had my emotions jerked from right to left, up and down.
And I just have to say one last thing: *Damn you, Samantha Young, for making me cry in front of strangers on the train!*
This book is definitely worth a read and MORE than worth its price. Congrats to Samantha for stepping out of her YA box and rocking the party with this Adult Romance.
If you like zombie stuff and John Wayne, you'll *really* like this book. I admit to being a zombie newbie (so not cool, I know) but I'm an old hand at...moreIf you like zombie stuff and John Wayne, you'll *really* like this book. I admit to being a zombie newbie (so not cool, I know) but I'm an old hand at westerns, both books and movies. Jason Brant's strong suits are the way he weaves humor into the story, despite their dark nature, and also his character development. You love who you're supposed to love, hate who you're supposed to hate, and in the case of zombies, feel like barfing when you're supposed to feel like barfing (which, BTW, is throughout most of the book!)
Another nice horse for the Jason Brant stables! (less)
*** Little Tiny Baby Spoilers About Plot Basics ****
I loved the cover of this book and admit to being lured in by the great colors and design combined...more*** Little Tiny Baby Spoilers About Plot Basics ****
I loved the cover of this book and admit to being lured in by the great colors and design combined with the title. I'm a sucker for great marketing! But it's the writing and story that kept me reading. Amber Sweetapple can write! Her descriptions of the magic in this book are very poetic. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see she writes poetry too. Oh, and the sexy parts were just sexy enough for me. Weeee! :) I don't want to put any spoilers in here, so I'll just say that I love the idea of a book about a different kind of magic than I'm used to (another author who does it well is Samantha Young), but this book stands on its own, different in many ways. I admit to being frustrated with the MC when she wasn't standing up for herself enough, but I know this is a true dynamic of an abusive relationship, and it was oh so satisfying to see her finally come into her own. Amber Sweetapple did a good job getting me to hate Ben but also see how Miriam might be drawn to him. There's a lot of underlying understanding for the human condition displayed in the characters and their thoughts and actions - it makes it believable and real, even when it's fantasy. Bravo, Amber! Looking forward to the next installment. (less)
I loved this book. Not only was it hilarious, told from two MCs' perspectives in alternating chapters, it was really like being a voyeur in their worl...moreI loved this book. Not only was it hilarious, told from two MCs' perspectives in alternating chapters, it was really like being a voyeur in their worlds. I found the dialogue and most of the situations they got themselves into to be realistic and believable. It's one of the few books I've read twice and even purchased twice when I gave away my copy (stupid me). In short, I recommend it. If you don't like crude humor or situations, wear sunglasses when you read it. (less)
I read the short, but entertaining and intriguing work of Kary English's "First Call" in an evening. I didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't what...moreI read the short, but entertaining and intriguing work of Kary English's "First Call" in an evening. I didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't what I got. Wowza. Kary is an amazing writer. Seriously. I wish I could write like this.
From the first paragraph to the last, you get swept away in descriptions that are almost poetic, without being long-winded or hoakey. I could actually picture the things she was describing in my mind, with a soundtrack playing and everything - like a movie. That Kary is able to do this in a book is remarkable. Here's an example: "And when the riders' cloaks are woven of midnight and starshine, the tale travels faster than ripples through ripening grain." Have you ever seen rippling grain in the wind? I have! Just recently, in fact. And the image that this description provokes is absolutely perfect. I couldn't think of a better metaphor if I tried. And like I mentioned, they're not long-winded - just long enough to create the image and then back to the action. Perfect.
The characters were well drawn, as well as they could be in a story of this length, I think. The story of a group of people who answer The Call to go out and find those who have a certain gift is very unique and lends itself to all kinds of adventures and conflicts, à la the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (I noticed Kary is a fan of Tracy, as am I, so I'm not surprised to see his influences here).
I'm looking forward to reading the continuation. My only complaint is that it was short because I would have liked to read more; but that doesn't downgrade my review in any way, since I was warned in the blurb that it was a short story. The only other issues I noted, which is typical for this genre (high fantasy), is that it took me a little while to understand who was "what" in this story, since it's a new realm for me. I also found the names hard to pronounce which slows my reading a bit. These issues are so very minor, they mean nearly nothing to my reading experience. So this book gets a solid 5 stars from me.
Highly recommended for those who like high fantasy. (less)
I bought this book after reading all the good reviews. I don't download just any ebook, even the freebie ones (this one wasn't free for me, but it has...moreI bought this book after reading all the good reviews. I don't download just any ebook, even the freebie ones (this one wasn't free for me, but it has been free in the past for promotional purposes, I think). I don't have a lot of time to read, so I'm picky. I'm also a big YA Fantasy fan, so for me to grab this book (different genre) says something. I found out about the author on Twitter, believe it or not. I miss 99% of the tweets that come my way, but I got lucky this time seeing Jason Brant's book mentioned.
What a great story! I laughed out loud a few times and smiled a lot. The whole time I kept thinking about what a great movie it would make, or a great series of movies. It's full of action and the plot is a concept that hasn't been done quite like this before, and not in this way. I wasn't sure about the ending, if it really was an ending or not, and I'm hoping it wasn't. I'd like to follow these characters some more. There were some minor editing issues, but they in no way detracted from the flow or the story. One of my favorite lines: "Is 90 good?" You have to read the book to understand. It was cute, though. I keep trying to think which actors I'd put in the various roles. That means I care about the characters, I care about the story, and I'm still thinking about it. That's always a good sign in a book!
After reading the book, I went to the author's website and read some of his blog posts. He's just as funny there as his writing is in this story. I hear it's his first work, so let me just say, wow. I'm impressed. Jason's gonna be big. Mark my words. (less)
Really liked it. This is the first book I've read that have jinn (genies) and so it's really original. Samantha Young's website has pictures of the ac...moreReally liked it. This is the first book I've read that have jinn (genies) and so it's really original. Samantha Young's website has pictures of the actors she'd like to see play the parts of the main characters and they are just how I pictured them. I'm absolutely on Team Jai. Samantha's good at keeping the reader guessing. I'm not sure how I feel about Charlie. Is he good or bad? Does he have Ari's best interests are heart or is another agenda more important? I can't tell! I have to buy book 2! Cool powers, cool characters, great set up for a next book. I will read it and I recommend this one.(less)
Posted over on Amazon... I picked this story up during a free promotion, read 3/4 of it, and then forgot I was reading it when I got busy. But then par...morePosted over on Amazon... I picked this story up during a free promotion, read 3/4 of it, and then forgot I was reading it when I got busy. But then part of me kept remembering the story, bugging me, and I realized 'Oh yeah! I was reading that one and I liked it - I need to finish it.'
Back in the day when there were never free books and no Kindles, this didn't happen to me. Now I'm spoiled with lots of books - unfortunately not all of them are good, so I abandon many. But not this one! It made me come back, and I'm glad I did.
I liked the heroine, Penryn (cool name). She's brave, kicks butt, is realistic. Nothing is too easy for her. She's smart. She's loyal. She's dealing with a lot of crap but keeps moving, keeps striving. The hints of romance are perfect - not too much and just enough to keep me reading and hoping. I'd love to see the actor who would play the part of her love interest.
If you are bothered by graphic violence, you'll have to skip this book. There are some seriously creepy parts described in good detail. I think it would make a dark but gripping movie - almost sci-fi in some ways. I'm probably going to buy the next in the series because I need to understand more of the story and I want to see what happens to the two main characters. I don't want to put any spoilers in here so I'll leave it at that. There is so much background not given here in book 1, but I'm sure it will be in the coming books. I'm actually frustrated with not knowing more about how the world got this way, why the angels are the way they are, and many other things that are too much like spoilers to include here.
There's really only one thing I didn't like in the book, and it's so minor and just a personal quirk of mine, so it didn't affect my rating at all. The entire story is pretty much told in present tense, which gives me this impression that I'm getting a blow-by-blow of what's happening, making the story-telling a bit stilted. Example: "I help Paige out of the chair and carry her on my back ... I put Paige back into her chair. I sweep a strand of dark hair behind her ear." Whereas many books use the past tense like this: "I helped Paige out of the chair and carried her on my back ... I put Paige back in her chair, sweeping a strand of dark hair behind her ear." I don't feel like I got to know the main character Penryn as much since it's written this way. But again, it's just a personal preference issue, so it in no way changes my mind about how good the story is. And it does give a sense of hurrying all the time, which seems to be theme in the book, everything needs to move fast, so it's effective for that, if the author wants the reader to feel pushed along and driven.
I recommend this to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic worlds that are dark and involve angels who are nothing like the angels you're used to (aka, they're seriously mean).
I would just like to say thank you so much to those of you who read the book. I hope you love reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Super big hu...moreI would just like to say thank you so much to those of you who read the book. I hope you love reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Super big hugs for the reviews here and on Amazon and on your book blogs too. You guys are THE BEST!!