I received an advance copy of this book for review through Netgalley. Rarely have I ever so deeply regretted requesting a book.
The story itself does hI received an advance copy of this book for review through Netgalley. Rarely have I ever so deeply regretted requesting a book.
The story itself does have some charm. Georgie is a frightfully intelligent (if also clueless) teenager. She gets into scrapes all the time where she tests a theory without properly considering all of the angles (such as when she made her own glider). After having caused a devastating fire with one her experiments, her family drops her off at the Stranje School for Unusual Girls. The scene where her family abandons her there is pure theatre--Georgie's parents are shown medieval torture devices with the implication that these devices are used on the girls to "educate" them. (Of course, that's not true.) Georgie runs off and gets lost in the building--and stumbles on two men discussing the need for invisible ink. By chance, Georgie was working on a formula for invisible ink when she burned the barn down. . .
As quickly becomes clear, the Stranje House is not what it seems, and neither are the girls inside. Each one has some sort of talent--for observation, for bonding with animals--something that makes it difficult for them to fit in with society. Here, they are able to learn the proper modes of behavior while also being useful in the fight against Napoleon. Yep, Napoleon. England's greatest spy resources are a group of underage girls.
I've read far more than my share of novels written during the Regency. I am very familiar with the racism of the time. Thomas De Quincey, in his "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater" from 1822, describes a "Malay" that came to visit him as having "sallow and bilious skin," "small fierce restless eyes, thin lips, slavish gestures and adorations." The extreme focus on the man's appearance--as well as the terms De Quincey uses that express both a vague intrigue and disgust--are typical of the racism of the time. When a contemporary writer sets a novel in the past, she has a choice. She can choose to represent the racism of the time somewhat faithfully. Do do so usually triggers disgust in contemporary readers. She can have an "enlightened" character (and therefore one that is most definitely anachronistic) condemn the racism. She can ignore it and pretend that there was no racism.
Baldwin, unfortunately, takes a variation on the first option. The novel is told from Georgie's first person perspective, so her voice is narrating the story to us. Therefore, we're privileged to read her thoughts about one of the instructors at the school, Madame Cho. Unfortunately, Georgie is never called out on her racist thoughts, so they remain in the book, normalized by their very presence. Let me walk you through a few examples.
The first time Georgie meets Madame Cho, the reader is told "A small Oriental woman padded silently out of the shadows and whacked the mummy case [see comment above about torture devices] several times with a bamboo stick, setting off a sickening chime" (300*). First, people are Asian. Rugs and vases--objects, in other words--are Oriental. Second, the stereotype of her walking--how she "padded silently"--is also disturbing. It ties into images of Asian men and women as dangerous and untrustworthy--racist ideas that were present at the time. Later in the same page, we're told that Madame Cho "looked as crafty as a black cat" (305) and that she moved "swift as a thief" (308). Finally, we're told that she has a "lizard's" eyes (309).
Madame Cho is not the only person to be talked about in a racist fashion. One of the other students is an "exotic creature" named Maya Barrinton (581). She's a "half-caste" daughter of an Englishman and an Indian woman (587). Georgie wonders "How had [Maya] blended into the shadows so perfectly and moved with such quiet stealth? A delicate girl, with dark shining eyes, smooth whiskey-colored skin, she was draped in a swath of cinnamon brown fabric trimmed in filigreed saffron" (582). Later, the "musical quality of [Maya's] voice, or her gentle nature" convinces Georgie to follow the other girls in exploring the house (670).
Sadly, the way that Baldwin writes about Maya is actually more disturbing than the somewhat overt racism of her treatment of Madame Cho. The emphasis on Maya's beauty, on how exotic she is in comparison with these English girls, is yet another racist stereotype. Instead of being the sneaky Other, she's the entrancing, enchanting Other.
Both of these introductions occur fairly early in the text, so one might expect that Georgie would learn better throughout the narrative. Even if she's never confronted with her racism, she can learn to see both Maya and Madame Cho as individuals, can she not? Well, the answer to that seems to be "not". Consistently throughout the rest of the book, Madame Cho is referred to as the "old dragon" (619, 627, 1289, and 2730). She is also referred to as "Madame Dragon" (2286) and as a "sneaky fox" (650). Madame Cho "slithered" into rooms and stared at Georgie with "her cold lizard eyes" (1289-90). Maya remains consistently beautiful, exotic, and sweet.
It should be noted that Madame Cho does nothing to deserve to Georgie's spite. She is simply there. All of the quotes, above, are not dialogue. They are Georgie's mental narrative--the exposition of the book--literally, the words the character uses to describe woman to herself and to her readers.
Georgie herself is a deeply unpleasant character. She never listens to anyone around her. They warn her to take care to avoid haste and dangerous actions--and she does whatever she wants anyway. The romantic relationship is ridiculous in the extreme--the sort of insta-love one typically only sees in a paranormal novel, not in an arguably historical fiction.
I am deeply sorry that I requested this book. I read it from beginning to end, in the hopes that it would improve and that I would be able to leave a positive review. But I cannot.
I consider the book to be bad in both writing and characterization. But I consider it to be dangerous when it comes to race and racism. The casual racism of this text--especially since it is never confronted and recognized as such--is insidious and awful. Too many of our young people do not understand racism well enough to recognize it in this context. Instead, they might find it funny, laugh at "Madame Dragon," and not realize the ideas that they're internalizing.
I have never met Kathleen Baldwin. I do not mean to impugn her character in this review. I simply wish she--and her editors--had made better narrative choices. As it stands now, I do think I can recommend this book to anyone.
*All numbers refer to text locations in my Kindle advanced reader's edition. They have not been checked against the final draft, but the sheer number of them indicate that it's unlikely they will have been edited out....more
This book was compulsively readable and shockingly boring. I wanted to keep reading, only for the very predictable resolution. I hated myself for wastThis book was compulsively readable and shockingly boring. I wanted to keep reading, only for the very predictable resolution. I hated myself for wasting the time it took to finish this book. At least it was free.
I may post a longer review later, but that's only if I feel like spending the time....more
The only thing more stiff and stilted than than this book's cover art is the writing within. Ug.
As someone that has worked in Detroit for 13 years, IThe only thing more stiff and stilted than than this book's cover art is the writing within. Ug.
As someone that has worked in Detroit for 13 years, I have to say that this was not a Detroit novel. It could have been set in any post - industrial city in the US. I don't think the writer has ever spent serious time in the D. If she has, this book is evidence of her inability to portray realistic characters or locations....more
This book felt like a pointless exercise. A few things happened that I know will have repercussions in the storyline (notably, the set up for both NigThis book felt like a pointless exercise. A few things happened that I know will have repercussions in the storyline (notably, the set up for both Night Huntress World books was addressed), but the plot never gelled. Cat and Bones did not grow or change emotionally, and the villain was a waste of time.
I like the concept of this world, but it's beginning to bore me on the page. I don't think I'll read more of Cat and Bones. ...more
I enjoyed the first book but didn't think it was wonderful. Since I wanted some more light reading, I checked the next three books out of the library.I enjoyed the first book but didn't think it was wonderful. Since I wanted some more light reading, I checked the next three books out of the library. Half way through this one, I started skimming and sped my way through all of the ones I checked out.
I do understand why so many people love this series, but there's just not enough here to hold my interest. The plots are a little too predictable, and the romance moves at a pace that puts snails to shame. I'm not in the mood for this, and I doubt I ever will be again....more
I thought I wrote a review of this book some time ago, but all record of it seems to have disappeared from goodreads. A number of my friends liked thiI thought I wrote a review of this book some time ago, but all record of it seems to have disappeared from goodreads. A number of my friends liked this book, but I simply could not enjoy it. The problem is likely with me rather than with the book. I'm an academic, and I study early nineteenth-century British literature. I've read Austen both as a fan and as a student. Despite Kowal's skill as a writer, I did enjoy the book because the language she used did not seem right. Austen's novels had a certain tone--as well as liberal use of free indirect discourse--that this book simply lacked. Most readers will probably enjoy it. Sadly, I could not....more
When I working at the bookstore, I kept seeing these books. They were in the Body Movers series, and they had clever titles. The cover copy--as well aWhen I working at the bookstore, I kept seeing these books. They were in the Body Movers series, and they had clever titles. The cover copy--as well as funny blurbs from the author's family members--drew my eye. However, we never had book one in stock, and I wasn't interested enough to actually order the book.
This weekend, I found books one and two at my local library. I happily checked them out, eager to discover the wonders within the covers. I shouldn't have bothered.
I've rarely read such a slow moving book with so little to recommend it. The death mentioned on the back cover doesn't occur until about 150 pages into the book. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but the pacing of the book was just plain odd. Bond spent far too much time setting up Carlotta's story and too little actually advancing the story itself.
Carlotta is an interesting character, as is her brother Wesley. However, I've realized over the years that life is too short to waste on books that I don't enjoy (unless they're necessary for my diss), so I quit this one. Maybe someone else will love it. Sadly, I'm just not into it....more
I wish I could remember that I really don't like cozy mysteries. I seem to be missing the gene required to enjoy them; every single one I've picked upI wish I could remember that I really don't like cozy mysteries. I seem to be missing the gene required to enjoy them; every single one I've picked up tends to land in the "never again" pile. (Except for Agatha Christie, which is probably why I keep trying.)...more
I'm a quarter of the way through the book, and it's not grabbing my attention. The Austen-pastiche is just too obvious, and I'm told that aI give up.
I'm a quarter of the way through the book, and it's not grabbing my attention. The Austen-pastiche is just too obvious, and I'm told that a Jane Eyre-pastiche will soon appear. Considering that Charlotte Brontë hated Jane Austen, I find that I cannot bear the thought of them combined....more
I bought this book for $1.99 yesterday from Barnes & Noble. I want my money back. Or at least the hours I spent reading it.
When I bought the book,I bought this book for $1.99 yesterday from Barnes & Noble. I want my money back. Or at least the hours I spent reading it.
When I bought the book, I couldn't see the summary of the text, as BN was displaying information about a book by Eloisa James. However, having worked in a bookstore, I know how popular Phillips is, and I decided to give her a chance even though I had no idea what the book was about. Big mistake.
Daisy Deveraux is the spoiled (and illegitimate) daughter of a former model and an ambassador. After her mother's death last year, Daisy went on a completely insane spending spree; she didn't know how to handle her grief or the perplexing notion that she was finally free of her mother. However, her finances, even with her inheritance, couldn't keep up with the money she spent, and Daisy passed a bad check. Facing jail time, she turned to her father for help. However, the only way he'd help her is if she'd marry someone he picked out for her.
Already, this isn't my cup of tea.
Daisy marries Alexander, and she even has to be reminded of his name during the ceremony. Alexander very quickly moves to establish his dominance of her, quickly taking Daisy away from the wedding and on a flight to South Carolina. We learn in the elevator of her building that Daisy is afraid of dogs and most animals. This is amusing to Alex because he works for a circus.
Alex threatens Daisy that she'll learn her place, and he doesn't really explain either what her place is or how he plans to enforce it. When she arrives at his trailer, she's horrified by the terrible conditions he lives in, and even more horrified by the sight of a whip on his bed. Don't worry, though--Alex isn't that much of a jerk. It turns out that the whip is a prop in his circus performance. However, he does understand that she fears the whip and continues to use it a vaguely threatening manner.
The novel tries to redeem Alex's initial bad treatment of Daisy, and tries to kill of any interesting aspects of Daisy's character. The slightly befuddled Daisy of the wedding is interesting; she rebels against the solemnity of the marriage by wearing a short gold dress and gladiator sandals. However, upon arrival at the circus, she quickly learns the value of hard work and bonds with the animals. (Including a bizarre and stupid telepathic link to the tiger SinJin.) The sweeter and more accommodating Daisy gets, the more I want to gag.
Also: the circus? That was a odd and lifeless group of carnies if I ever saw one.
Alex & Daisy's sexual encounters are interesting for a very little while. Of course, he doesn't realize she's a virgin and all that fun stuff that's so typical of a cheap romance. Suddenly, they're spicing up their love life with dominance games, as when he tells her in the restaurant to go into the bathroom and remove her undergarments. Of course, the sheath dress she's wearing is suddenly see through. Bleck.
I kept reading only because this was a quick book and because I wanted to see if it was possible for it to redeem itself. It failed to do so on every level.
When my husband and I find that we've wasted time watching a truly wretched movie, we'll say to each other, "Let us never speak of this again." That's how I feel about this book....more
This book was so not my cup of tea, and, as a student of the Gothic and fan of Stoker's Dracula, that's saying something.
As I listened to the narratioThis book was so not my cup of tea, and, as a student of the Gothic and fan of Stoker's Dracula, that's saying something.
As I listened to the narration of this abridged audibook, I came to several conclusions. First, I was happy with the abridgment, although I occasionally found myself asking "and why did they have to go here again?" Second, it was nice to hear the Eastern European locations and names pronounced properly. That's the extent of the good things I have to say about the audiobook. It was narrated by several people, and while their voices were pleasant to listen to, I found myself having a hard time emotionally engaging in the reading. For a relatively dramatic text, their readings were rather flat.
As for the book itself, I was not all that impressed. It started rather strong, but by the end, I found myself thinking that this was the Da Vinci Code of vampire novels. Our two main protagonists spend most of the novel shuttling around Europe, traveling from location to location, always searching for a rare text or work of art that would help them locate Dracula's tomb. I do understand what they hoped to find at the tomb, but the search itself is based on several assumptions that just didn't make that much sense in the audiobook (I will recognize that the explanatory passages may have been abridged and not present in my copy). Their entire search seemed contingent on one scrap of paper--and a refusal to consider that a nearly thirty year old scribble might not have been the clue they sought.
I was incredibly frustrated with the narrative structure. Normally, I would appreciate the intertwined narratives, but I got annoyed when Paul and Helen kept having to explain their recent history to every scholar they met--while at the same time making certain that no communists overheard . . . If this were a movie, that repetition alone could be used as a drinking game. How many times must they share these dangerous facts . . . and why does everyone believe them?
Of course, it would be remiss of me to neglect a mention of the Keystone Kops, sorry, the communists. While some of them did appear dangerous, for the most part, they were ineffectual and merely irritating. Rather than add danger to the plot, the communists seemed to exist only to make travel through Eastern Europe more difficult.
Finally, I must talk about Dracula. This was the most toothless portrayal of the vampire that I have ever read. (view spoiler)[I was angry, really angry, when all it took was one bullet (in all probabilities, silver) to kill this ancient evil. The final confrontation is no more than three pages long. After all the build-up and mounting suspense of the novel, the confrontation failed to deliver an emotional payoff. Also, this whole mess took place because Dracula wanted a personal librarian? Lame. (hide spoiler)]
I did think that the end of the book worked well, but it was simply too little, too late.
This book was not my cup of tea. Based on its rating and sales numbers, I know that I am one of the few to dislike it so intensely.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I won't go into great detail about how badly this book sucked, because if you're drawn to it, you'll probably have to find out on youThis book sucked.
I won't go into great detail about how badly this book sucked, because if you're drawn to it, you'll probably have to find out on your own. But suck it did.
Derting's book has an interesting premise; her main character, Violet, can sense the location of murder victims. Her gift is hereditary, and she inherited it from her grandmother. Everyone in her family, and her best friend Jay, know about the gift. As a small child, she found the location of a murdered girl. For some time after the discovery, she was distraught, but once the girl was buried, she recovered.
This set the pattern for her life to this point. Violet can sense any murdered body--including those killed by animals. Once she discovers the body, she buries it, and then she finds peace. Until that time, the body radiates a sound, scent, or taste that overwhelms her other senses. Unfortunately, her family owns a cat that does kill birds, so this feeling happens often. She's managed to get by so far by having a small graveyard in the backyard.
Sounds promising, no? Trust me, the "no" is the right word.
When Violet returns to school for her junior year, she's troubled by her attraction to Jay. He's been her friend for years, but he matured greatly over the summer, and he's now the object of desire for nearly every girl in the school and apparently the tri-city area.
When she's not obsessing over Jay, Violet is disturbed by the reports of missing girls in her community, but the disappearances only become real once she finds a body.
At this point, the novel takes a nose dive.
Here, as readers, we are introduced to a random chapter from the point of view of the killer. He's hunting these girls and gets off on the chase. Oddly, he likes girls that surrender meekly; if they struggle, it ruins his mood. His sections of text are always in Italics--you know, in case we mistake his thoughts for those of Violet. We have to have that extra visual to make certain that we understand that Violet would never consider a girl her age "delectable." (I could be wrong about the word there, but it's the sort of word he would have used. I'm too lazy to flip through my nook and find a real quote.)
Personally, I hate mysteries that include chapters from the point-of-view of the killer. The viewpoint hopping disturbs me simply because I'm not a fan of splitting a book between two characters, for one reason. For another, in this book it seems like a sloppy attempt to imitate adult mysteries or television shows. In a show like Criminal Minds, it makes sense to show the killer's POV. This gives viewers a chance to compare his/her behavior with what the profilers recognize and to build suspense. However, in a novel, it doesn't work so well. In this case, the killer is used to build suspense and cause readers to constantly fear that this time he's got Violet in his sights . . . but he doesn't. The cheap trick of having Violet and the victim act alike gets old, and quickly. Even more annoying, I have to admit that I don't think this trick belongs in a YA novel. I have no problems with YA novels about murder. However, I don't think it's a good idea for a YA to be from the POV of the killer. Asking teens to read those thoughts seems inappropriate.
Add to this the fact that the novel was boringly predictable. When I realized the timing of the end of the novel, I bet my husband $5 how and when the novel would end. He didn't take the bet, which is just as well. I would have won.
I found this book to be a terrible waste of my time. I will not read the second book, and I doubt that I'll read anything else by Kimberly Derting. I understand that this is a young adult novel; I read YA novels more than almost any other genre, so I'm familiar with its tropes. Just because it's YA doesn't mean that it has to be bad, and this one is very, very bad. In fact, it sucked....more
I've had this book on my to-read shelf for a year. I bought it during the clearance sales when my bookstore was closing, and it got a bit lost in theI've had this book on my to-read shelf for a year. I bought it during the clearance sales when my bookstore was closing, and it got a bit lost in the sheer quantity of books I was buying at that time. The first time I picked it up, a few months after I bought it, I couldn't get into the story very easily.
This time, I got pulled right in.
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I wished I would.
This is the story of Ayla and Malachi. Alya is half Fae, half human, and works as an Assassin for the Fae court. It's her job to go into the Darkworld and kill those that would endanger the Fae. Malachi is a Death Angel, and when he attacks Alya, he makes the mistake of touching her. Since she's part human, the touch of her skin is enough to cause him to Fall and become mortal.
Ayla, to obey her vows to the Fae court, should kill this Darkling. Malachi, out of revenge for his Fall, wants nothing more than to kill the girl. But neither one can do it--instead they find themselves drawn together by a much different emotion.
Queene of Light is the first in a trilogy, and I'm not sure that I will read the rest of them. This book was OK, but it tried to be too many things, and it wound up being unable to be any of them. It wanted to be an urban fantasy, but since humans are almost completely absent, that didn't work. It wanted to be a fantasy focusing on fairy politics, but the characters' motivations were always obvious. It wanted to be the romance of Ayla and Malachi, but neither one had enough character to truly drive a story, and their attraction to each other made very little sense.
While I would not say this was a bad book, it did fall flat for me. I might change my mind about it if I choose to read the later two books, but right now, I don't recommend this book....more
This was, without a doubt, one of the most irritating books I've ever read. It continues and reinforces Orientalist characterizationOrientalist trash.
This was, without a doubt, one of the most irritating books I've ever read. It continues and reinforces Orientalist characterizations without a single qualm. As a scholar of nineteenth-century British literature, I'm used to seeing Orientalist tropes used in books from my period. While they are regrettable, they're also part and parcel of the time in which they were written. While this novel may have been set in nineteenth-century Victorian India and England, there was no need for Bray to continue those same tropes. As this is a fantasy novel, that sort of realism in the setting was not necessary, especially when it is never condemned within the novel.
It's been six years since I read this book, and it still makes me angry. Sometimes, I think I would like to reread it just to confirm that it was as hateful as I first thought. However, that tends to be a passing urge. Life is simply too short to waste on bad books--especially when I have a dissertation to write.
I gave it a college try. I'm finished with this book, even though I didn't reach the end. As much as I love YA novels, I have a limited tolerance forI gave it a college try. I'm finished with this book, even though I didn't reach the end. As much as I love YA novels, I have a limited tolerance for whining and obsession. Learning that the whole focus of the series is getting Ever and Damen in bed (according to the blurb for the last book) killed whatever interest I had. ...more
In each of the previous books, Bella makes some connection between herself, Edward, and a literary work. The first waI hated this book with a passion.
In each of the previous books, Bella makes some connection between herself, Edward, and a literary work. The first was Pride & Prejudice and the second was Romeo & Juliet. (I'll admit that I checked Wikipedia to confirm which classic went with which novel.) In this one, Bella reads Wuthering Heights and sees it as a romance.
Let's get the story straight here: Wuthering Heights is not a romance, but it is the perfect story for Bella and Edward--just not for the reasons Bella can understand.
Wuthering Heights is a story of obsession. For those of you that haven't read it, and are relying on Bella's understanding of the book, here's a quick synopsis: Cathy is raised with Heathcliff as her best friend/foster brother. Together, they are untamed children. Their relationship is disturbed when Cathy meets the Lintons and sees what gentility should act like. When Cathy is an adult, she chooses to marry Edgar Linton rather than Heathcliff, choosing a marriage that will settle her comfortably within her class. Heathcliff disappears and returns a few years later to wreak revenge on Cathy. He seduces Edgar Linton's younger sister and elopes with her. To prevent anyone from discovering their elopement, he kills her dog* when the animal's barking threatens to expose them when they run away together in the middle of the night. He does this not because he loves Isabella, but rather to torment Edgar and Cathy. There's more to the story, but I'll stop here--if you want to know more, you should read the original novel.
As should be clear from my summary, above, Wuthering Heights is not a love story. It's a story about obsession and how it twists people and destroys lives.
Unfortunately, Bella is too young, inexperienced, and ignorant to see the proper parallels between her story and Cathy's. She has no idea what love is, and understand only obsession.
*Edit: Quick correction--Heathcliff only tried to kill Isabella's dog. He left it hanging from the neck by a handkerchief, and someone else discovered the dog before it actually died. While the dog does not die, that's through no help of Heathcliff's. He had every intention of killing the animal....more
I couldn't make it past page 283. There's nothing significantly bad about page 283, in case you're worried about spoilers, but I realized after readinI couldn't make it past page 283. There's nothing significantly bad about page 283, in case you're worried about spoilers, but I realized after reading 17 chapters that I simply couldn't take it anymore.
I'm too old for this series.
I bought the original series--the trilogy--when they were first published. I love them still, even though my tastes have gotten much more demanding as I've grown. Reading the Return series for the first time as an adult, I don't have that rosy affection for it that I have for the original books. It's not that there's anything wrong with this series; L.J. Smith's writing has not significantly improved or declined in the intervening years. I've just grown to expect more depth from a book--even a YA title--than what's here....more
The story almost starts like a porn flick. Casey, the unappreciated waitress atThis was another free ebook from BN.com.
I won't bother with the sequel.
The story almost starts like a porn flick. Casey, the unappreciated waitress at a strip club, saves a man from mysterious attackers in the parking lot when she leaves work. He refuses to go to the hospital, so she takes him home and plans to nurse him there. The man, Theron, heals unnaturally quickly, and he seems to have some sort of mind control powers. When she asks him about his attackers, strange creatures that seem like a mix of humans with multiple animals (they're called deamons, but she doesn't know this), he uses his mind control to wipe the memory. As he holds her wrist, he also feels her surge of desire, and in a move straight from some kind of bondage flick, compels her to do anything he asks. Within a few pages, they're tumbling on the sofa--at least until he sees her strange birthmark that could pass for a tattoo . . .
It turns out Theron is an Argonaut, a descendant of Heracles, a Guardian sworn to protect the magical land of Argolea. That's where the descendants of the Greek Gods and humans were sent--it's a realm separate from both the human world and Olympus. Both humans and gods need help from Argoleans in order to cross the portal. Casey's mark says that she's more than what she appears, but he has no idea what that might be.
Overall, I gave this title two stars because it was, literally, OK. It was not special, only moderately original, and the writing did not distinguish itself in any way. I won't read book two in this series because I could barely muster any interest in finding out what would happen to Casey and Theron. I don't need to know more about this world....more
OMG. I can't believe I actually wasted my time finishing this book.
The set-up for this book had potential, and that may explain why I wasted the timeOMG. I can't believe I actually wasted my time finishing this book.
The set-up for this book had potential, and that may explain why I wasted the time to finish it. It opens with Carl Hades, P.I. and former cop, on the phone with his father. Carl is eating gummy worms, and his dad is beating him up for the fact that Carl hasn't dated anyone in a year. Not since Amy . . . The cheerful bawdiness (his dad tells him that going without sex isn't good for the prostate, and "waxing your own candle" doesn't count) was fun, but it quickly devolved into a gross level of detail that I didn't care for. Carl then gets a call from Tabitha, a wedding planner who fears her brides are being murdered . . . but won't give him details over the phone. They set up a meeting later in the day.
When he arrives for the meeting, he finds Tabitha dead. A bride is in the house, hiding from the killer. When Carl goes into the room with the bride, the killer locks the door behind them. (Side note: I understand its importance to the plot, but who has steel interior doors inside the house? Also, why didn't either of them think of breaking through the drywall? Interior walls are not that strong . . .) He and the bride spend 12 hours or so (and 60+ pages!!!) stuck in the room together, and they develop the hots for one another.
When his dad (!) finally arrives to rescue them, the story goes downhill. Katie (the bride) winds up dumping her fiance--but that's OK, because he has a crush on her maid of honor, a woman he just met. And will hook up with.
Katie and Carl spend the rest of the book dancing around each other, with just a few sexual encounters. They're drawn to one another, but she wants a traditional family life, and he wants . . . well, he wants someone to screw. *yawn* By the end of the book, they seem to have met somewhere in the middle, with him taking the time to watch The Brady Bunch on DVD as evidence that he's willing to settle down, and she realizes that she doesn't want more from him than what he's willing to give.
Oh, and there's a serial killer after Katie. He kills brides. (Tabitha was right, btw.) But he's not important to the plot. Except for the occasional boring sequence from his point of view, and the necessity of forcing Katie to live with Carl's dad (she's not safe at home, and she and Carl had a fight), the serial killer is unimportant. No one is all that afraid of him. They're all too hung up fantasizing about having sex. The killer is disposed of in a two page sequence. In a book that spends 60+ pages with a couple stuck in a room together, you'd think that the climactic confrontation at the end would take up a little more time. But you'd be wrong. It seems more like Craig reached her word count and said, "let's wrap this puppy up!"
I wish I could have the day that I spent reading this book returned to me. However, at least I didn't spend money on it. It was a free download for nook owners, and rather than encouraging me to buy more books by Craig, it's scared me away. Thanks for the warning, Barnes & Noble.
As the novel opens, Lady Emily Ashton is horrified. She's a recent (and young) widow, and her period of half-mourning is not yet over. She's entered tAs the novel opens, Lady Emily Ashton is horrified. She's a recent (and young) widow, and her period of half-mourning is not yet over. She's entered the stage where it's acceptable to participate in limited social events, and her mother plans to use these occasions to relaunch Emily into the marriage market. Emily had chosen to marry her husband to get away from her mother's matchmaking; apparently, even her status as a widow is not enough to protect her from her mother, now.
Her husband died when on a safari, and after one of his companions visits to offer his condolences, she becomes curious about the man she had married but had barely known. Her curiosity leads her to the British Museum and to the study of Greek artifacts. Emily never knew that her husband was an avid scholar and collector of antiquities; she had thought his only hobby was the rather repellent hunting.
As Emily digs deeper into her husband's life, she learns that he loved her dearly, and she comes to love him as well. She also finds herself in danger from his secrets . . . and those that fear she may uncover them.
I liked this book for about the first half. That section of the novel deals with Emily's desire to educate herself and understand her new identity. After that point, when the mystery kicks in, the book lost my interest. I could see the number of places where Emily was making bad decisions, and it annoyed me. Instead of making her a flawed character (and therefore interesting), her bad decisions seemed designed only to move the plot forward.
Also, does every man in the empire think that she's the most beautiful women he's ever seen? ...more
Years ago, one of my goodreads friends gave this book an amazing review, and it's been on my radar ever since.
When I saw a few days ago that my libraYears ago, one of my goodreads friends gave this book an amazing review, and it's been on my radar ever since.
When I saw a few days ago that my library had an ebook copy available to lend, I snatched it up with glee. Now all that I can say is that I'm glad I didn't pay the $5 to buy it.
There are many things that I did not like about this book; in fact, there are so many things that I find it difficult to number them all. Therefore, I will stick to the biggest complaint: I could not suspend by disbelief for the setting.
Haines' idea of gladatorial combat to the death aired on live tv seemed like a fascinating combination of reality tv and our society's love affair with violence. However, I simply could not buy into the Gladiator ("Glad") culture and its inherent lack of respect for life. Quite simply, the Death Race movies (even the one from the 1970s) seemed more believable. Part of the problem may be the fact that I was watching the WWF pay-per-view event when Owen Hart fell from the arena ceiling and died. I saw how a modern arena responded to the death of a beloved athlete, and Haines' attempt to combine Roman attitudes with modern tech simply didn't gel....more
Lily is dead; she died in an attempt to kill the man that raped her half-sister, Rose. (Yes, they have flower names.) However, Lily is not gone. At thLily is dead; she died in an attempt to kill the man that raped her half-sister, Rose. (Yes, they have flower names.) However, Lily is not gone. At the moment of her death, she's offered a chance to atone for her crimes, apparently because this final crime was motivated by love.
Lily is in Alice Purdue's body; Alice is dead, and Lily doesn't know who killed her. Clarence, Lily's handler, tells her that she shouldn't bother to investigate what happened to Alice, as it's not important.
What is important is that Lily is apparently Prophecy Girl. She's the one that can permanently lock the gates between Hell and Earth, and Clarence helps her train for the upcoming battle.
There's also Deacon, an enigmatic man that Lily feels intensely drawn toward. Clarence tells her that Deacon is dangerous and Lily should avoid him . . .
Clarence tells Lily many things . . . and Lily needs to decide which of them she should believe--before it's too late.
. . .
While this was a decent book, I can't help but be annoyed by the format of it. It's the first in a trilogy, and each book is being published a month apart. The chapters are incredibly short (as in almost James Patterson short), and many of them end with a cliffhanger--which almost functions to make the final cliffhanger seem like a natural occurrence of the plot. Most of these cliffhangers seem forced, and while the final cliffhanger is a doosy, I think this book doesn't function well. It may have been better if all of the books had been published in one volume; artificially extending the plot seems to have weakened the story. I enjoy Julie Kenner's Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series enough that I'm willing to read the next two books, even though I didn't particularly like this one.
**spoiler alert** Every time I finish a book in the Blue Bloods series, I can't decide if I like it or not. Typically, I borrow it and read it in hard**spoiler alert** Every time I finish a book in the Blue Bloods series, I can't decide if I like it or not. Typically, I borrow it and read it in hardcover, and if I liked the new one well enough, I'll buy last year's in paperback. (Odd, I know, but my feelings about this series are so ambivalent, that I can't even decide to buy a single book without more input . . .)
I think this will be my last Blue Bloods book. My reasons are below:
As you can see from my rating, I did like it. Some fantastic things happened in this story. Mimi actually became more than a cardboard villain. Bliss learned to stand on her own feet. And that's it. Everything else to me felt like so many pages of non action. While I didn't mind the narrative switching (each chapter has its own narrator, but they follow in order: Schuyler, Mimi, and Bliss), I was annoyed that there was not more difference in the narration. The chapters are written in third person voice, and the narrative voice is roughly the same for each one. Occasionally, de la Cruz will delve into free indirect discourse (where the third person narrator actually speaks in the voice of the character while maintaining a third person voice), but even these sounded the same. Except for the events going on in each girl's life, they're practically the same girl.
I'm irritated that the series is not over. These long-running series make me ache for the age of Dracula, where the monster dies and there are no sequels, where the narrative ends with just one book. (No matter how many people have tried to write a sequel, they just don't work.)
The worst part, for me, was the end. Oliver gives Schuyler to Jack and tells her: "I know you would never leave me. I know that. I know you would never be able to make a decision, so I decided for you. You have to go with him . . . You cannot choose between us. So I chose for you."
OK. Where to start? In the context of the story, Schuyler still loves Jack but pledged herself to Oliver. When he "gives" her to Jack, Oliver is acknowledging Schuyler's feelings. However, she'd already made her choice--preventing Oliver's pain was more important than her own happiness, so she had decided to stay with Oliver. He knows that Jack can protect her in ways that he cannot, so Oliver "gives" her away. Keeping her safe is more important to him than his own happiness. (Gah! All this self-sacrificing angst gags me!) I hate that Oliver can't respect Schuyler's right to decide her own fate, and I hate even more that when he relinquishes his claim on her heart, Schuyler is happy. Having been given to Jack, she feels like Oliver has given her a gift . . . once again, gag me.
I'm too much of a feminist to enjoy either the tortured gender roles or angst in this series. I'm done....more