My favorite of Meredith Duran's. I really enjoyed Lydia and her headstrong, willfully blind tendencies. She is guileless and spends much time feeling...moreMy favorite of Meredith Duran's. I really enjoyed Lydia and her headstrong, willfully blind tendencies. She is guileless and spends much time feeling ashamed because she doesn't really fit in, and as a woman this discounts her in society. Then you have James, the caddish Viscount who cares little for society rules, to a greater degree than Lydia, but is considered stylish and popular, in spite of this. I enjoyed the very direct way this disparity was called out. I also enjoyed how Lydia and James interacted as people, not always adhering to societal standards. Because both of them are a bit rogue, and Lydia in particular is a strong, intelligent woman (not at all stylish in that time), I connected more to this story than to other historical romances.(less)
To me the prequel and this count together as one book... without that prequel I don't think this would have been nearly as good. The main thing that I...moreTo me the prequel and this count together as one book... without that prequel I don't think this would have been nearly as good. The main thing that I loved about this and that makes it stand out from others in this genre, is that Ying Ying makes her own decisions and decides her own course. In contrast to so many historicals where the female lead is set upon and has to be rescued, or some other lame (perhaps more period appropriate) lack of agency. (less)
This was what I have come to expect from Julie James: a fun romance with quite a lot of banter and fun humor, with a touch of suspense. Reads a lot li...moreThis was what I have come to expect from Julie James: a fun romance with quite a lot of banter and fun humor, with a touch of suspense. Reads a lot like a movie, and I think she did write screenplays at one time. So a very scene and event-driven approach, which makes it fun and quick to read. I enjoyed it but it didn't really break new ground for me. I still find I enjoy her first few novels the best - something about the way she writes lawyers really works for me, probably because she was one before she started writing books.(less)
I feel like I've been jerked around so much I have whiplash... But apparently I like it! The last time I felt so caught up and sucker punched by a ser...moreI feel like I've been jerked around so much I have whiplash... But apparently I like it! The last time I felt so caught up and sucker punched by a series was the Disillusionists by Carolyn Crane. Opening book 3 now...!(less)
This was just OK for me. Whyborne is a bookish man, a comparative philologist at a suspectedly haunted museum in a questionable New England town. Grif...moreThis was just OK for me. Whyborne is a bookish man, a comparative philologist at a suspectedly haunted museum in a questionable New England town. Griffin is a PI hired to investigate a shady murder, who persistently bugs Whyborne and flirts with him. All in all the town, setting, mystery, and characters were very Sleepy Hollow... I was definitely thinking a bit of Ichabod Crane. :)
However, for a "scary" book it was really not scary. Much of the mystery exposition felt to me like watching Scooby Doo with expositions and info dumps left and right, and a canned horror of occult history. So, chalk the story, mystery and horror elements of this up as pretty much corny.
The characters were a bit better though. Whyborne is hard to like at first with his self-deprecating manner. But as he comes into his own a bit I found I enjoyed him more. His wit saves him from being a bore. Griffin is a man of action and kind... with a little unexpected depth. Christine, Whyborne's Egyptologist colleague and best friend, is a third somewhat enjoyable character, living a feminist existence in a Puritanical American setting and dealing with a lot of misogyny.
The romance itself was not my favorite, it had a bit of the insta-love feel to it. The one redeeming feature was the fact that it was between two men, in an era and setting which had little tolerance for that. I haven't read a lot of period romances between two men, so that was interesting to me. I enjoyed Whyborne and Griffin navigating things together, both in their relationship and in the world.
It was a solid book and were it a TV show, I would feel it served well to introduce the characters, their backstory, and to give a good example of the type of adventurous plot to expect from future installments. As such I may give one more a try to see if my appreciation grows.(less)
I've enjoyed the whole series so far but haven't found any other books by Stuart I like as much. I was bummed to find no resolution in this book for B...moreI've enjoyed the whole series so far but haven't found any other books by Stuart I like as much. I was bummed to find no resolution in this book for Brandon and Emma; anyone know if their story is out somewhere? I couldn't find it.(less)
"Yesterday I woke up and Bob was crawling around my room, licking my jewelry. So I shouted GET OUT OF MY ROOM!" My kids (and I) laugh a lot when we're...more"Yesterday I woke up and Bob was crawling around my room, licking my jewelry. So I shouted GET OUT OF MY ROOM!" My kids (and I) laugh a lot when we're reading this book. The story and pictures really capture the capricious and hilarious (when it's not happening to you) tantrums that just happen sometimes, no matter our ages. It was a library pick and we've read it probably 20 times this week. The kids (7 and 4) giggle whenever Bob comes onto the scene especially. Quite entertaining! And, we have also used it as a tool to have some conversations about when we feel like we're having a No No No day, and what are some of the ways we can feel better.(less)
I enjoyed the meter of this for reading aloud! So much of my enjoyment of read-aloud children's books stems from the employment of really good rhyme a...moreI enjoyed the meter of this for reading aloud! So much of my enjoyment of read-aloud children's books stems from the employment of really good rhyme and meter, it's my own little idiosyncrasy. The art in this one and all the different types of people represented are also a win too.(less)
The continuation of Dawn's story, also with POV from Sage, who has gone onto his own solo career now. A bit graphic at times - you can tell by the fir...moreThe continuation of Dawn's story, also with POV from Sage, who has gone onto his own solo career now. A bit graphic at times - you can tell by the first chapter, really, which is some of the most graphic in the book! I think Halle sharpened the characters in this one and doesn't feel the need to make everything so vague, so I could connect better to Dawn, Sage, and especially Jacob "The Cob", who I really liked in this one. And a certain Ginger-headed douchecanoe who is familiar from the EIT books made an appearance here as well, lo and behold… continuity huh. I enjoyed it, felt it was an improvement over the first one. 3.5 stars.(less)
About a fledgling rock journalist in the 70's, who gets called to tour with her favorite metal band, and encounters more than she bargained for. I enj...moreAbout a fledgling rock journalist in the 70's, who gets called to tour with her favorite metal band, and encounters more than she bargained for. I enjoyed it, but I can see that many of the things I have come to love about Halle's writing have improved since this book. It seems to be set in something of the same alternative reality that the Experiment in Terror (Perry and Dex) books are, the horror world building is the same.(less)
3.5 stars. More of a return to form for Cole than that last book, which I really disliked. Trehan is an immortal Dacian (vampire), who is blooded by B...more3.5 stars. More of a return to form for Cole than that last book, which I really disliked. Trehan is an immortal Dacian (vampire), who is blooded by Bettina, the sorceress-demon halfling princess of Abaddon, the realm of the Death demons. As a romance, it was decent and I enjoyed Trehan. Bettina had a sense of humor but was pretty immature. The book definitely was more of a fun showcase for Cole's world of the Lore. Trehan has to enter a tournament to the death with some 200 other immortal Loreans to fight for Bettina's hand. One of the hallmarks of this series is how well Cole's characters mesh with the different Lorean rances she has created. I always enjoy Valkyries, perhaps the most, and Lykae and demons. I usually don't like Sorceri, witches, or vampires quite as much. But after quite a while away from the series, I will say I enjoyed returning to this well-drawn world fantastical world. She has quite a good grasp of those details which make world-building feel truly authentic. In the past I think I may have used the word "romp" to describe this series, and it still applies - it's pure entertainment!(less)
The last one of these Jennifer Ashley books I read before losing interest. Cameron is, again, another Mackenzie lord who finds his bride. It's super f...moreThe last one of these Jennifer Ashley books I read before losing interest. Cameron is, again, another Mackenzie lord who finds his bride. It's super formulaic, in my opinion, and I don't feel that any future book will change the formula so I've stopped trying them!(less)
The story of Ian's brother Mac and his failed marriage to Isabella. Again with the meh I felt after the first book. I mean, I finished it, but it cert...moreThe story of Ian's brother Mac and his failed marriage to Isabella. Again with the meh I felt after the first book. I mean, I finished it, but it certainly didn't transport me.(less)
This was OK. A little too mainstream for me, maybe? I did enjoy that one of the main characters, Ian, has OCD and perhaps a bit of autism... and that...moreThis was OK. A little too mainstream for me, maybe? I did enjoy that one of the main characters, Ian, has OCD and perhaps a bit of autism... and that the society of the times did not know how to treat that. I felt like it was a bit too formulaic for me, and not quite psychological enough. For historical romance, I'd say I definitely prefer Sherry Thomas and Courtney Milan.(less)
I wasn't really sure how this book was going to go, I felt like Halle set herself up for a difficult task to write her way out of the situation Ellie...moreI wasn't really sure how this book was going to go, I felt like Halle set herself up for a difficult task to write her way out of the situation Ellie found herself in at the end of book 2. And in the end, although it didn't blow my mind, I feel like Ellie's journey was authentic and she found something in herself I have been waiting for the whole time - a surety of purpose and knowledge of her own heart. Ellie desperately needed to decide something for her own damn self, not because she was scared or wanted anymore. And in this book I saw that growth, saw her step up and make tough calls and face her demons.
I did feel a little jerked around at times, but it's kind of a given with the high stakes action in these books - car chases, shootouts, showdowns, helicopters. There are going to be some fake outs. From the first book this series has felt so much like a great dark action movie, and this book continued that feeling with intensely visual descriptions, very real-feeling action, and gobs of atmosphere. I can totally see these books as movies, but whoever does them needs to be more than a little twisted, no hollywood treatment here.(less)
This book and the novella prequel, On Every Street, really deepened this story and Ellie's voice for me a great deal. I loved the continued twists, pa...moreThis book and the novella prequel, On Every Street, really deepened this story and Ellie's voice for me a great deal. I loved the continued twists, particularly as Ellie, Javier, and Camden continue to sink deeper into the web of... whatever the hell they are in. Is it a love triangle? I guess you could call it that, but it's seriously twisted. More like a triangle of obsession, lust, violence, despair, hope, and drowning. By the end I didn't know what I even wanted to happen anymore. Definitely a gripping read!
And I have Karine Halle to thank for introducing me to the Dead Weather, a group whose song she featured in the first book, and who in one of her blogs she said really conveyed the feeling of these books. I have to agree, after she turned me onto them, I grew to LOVE them, and their songs and sound will now always be linked in my mind to Ellie's voice, and the sweet, rough, demented Western sensibility of these books. What a cool connection, I do enjoy how cinematic Halle makes her books, with vivid scenes, imagery, and soundtracks.
Eagerly awaiting book 3, out next month October 2013.(less)
I loved this beautiful, dark, tortured prequel to Sins and Needles! This is the story of Ellie and Javier, when they met and fell in love, some six ye...moreI loved this beautiful, dark, tortured prequel to Sins and Needles! This is the story of Ellie and Javier, when they met and fell in love, some six years before the events of Sins and Needles. So we kind of know how it turns out (kind of), and we know going into this novella that Ellie is deeply scarred from her time with Javier, but I don't think anything can prepare you for the intensity of this story.
When I enjoyed the most, what I found Halle did better (here, in this book) than any other time I have come across this, was how she openly portrayed how love can turn everything on its head. Right and wrong, black and white, what you want out of life, all of it can be consumed and completely flipped by love. It's so hard usually to put yourself into the shoes of someone who is in love with the wrong person, the bad person, the person who mistreats them or others. It's so easy to stand back from a safe distance and say "She (or he) shouldn't do that, what a bad move". Well, in this book Halle completely immerses us into Ellie's experience of this relationship, and for once, I could actually understand completely how she could make the choices she made. I not only objectively understood how she felt, I felt it with her. The love of a magnetic, charming, powerful man, of someone who is obsessed with her, it is like the light of the sun after an entire life of being thrown away by everyone who she ever loved. Ellie is so, so scarred by her life. She wants, and deserves happiness. It is not her fault that no one ever taught her how to love and be loved. But even though it's not her fault, she has to live with the consequences.
I had some issues with Ellie's voice in Sins and Needles, I had trouble connecting to her, I didn't really like her very much, it was like she was holding something back. This story helped me get into Ellie's head so much more. Understanding her past with Javier definitely opened up so much about her - told me why she was closed off, why she pushed people away and made deliberately bad choices. I find, going into book 3 Shooting Scars that I don't have trouble connecting with Ellie anymore.
What a terrific follow-up to Sins and Needles, for me - I read it after. The whole time with Sins and Needles, I could not really commit to Ellie's relationship with Camden, because I didn't know what had happened with Javier. I was saving my judgment on who she should love, if you will, until I knew more about Javier. I have to say, I still don't know what I think. It's definitely not about who loves her more or anything like that. It's about who Ellie needs to be, to become herself, and how each of them have played and may continue to play a role in that evolution. I think I read somewhere that Karina Halle, when asked "Team Camden or Team Javier?", replied "Team Ellie". I definitely agree. This is Ellie's story, I want Ellie to have an ending she earns and deserves. Even if it is tragic in some way - in fact I don't see how tragedy can be avoided, this is a dark story. This novella definitely made me even more interested to continue with the series!(less)
In this book, Perry and Dex are living together (still a bit tenuously) in Seattle, and their jobs are in peril because after all that went down in In...moreIn this book, Perry and Dex are living together (still a bit tenuously) in Seattle, and their jobs are in peril because after all that went down in Into the Hollow, their footage was confiscated as evidence by the police in a murder case. Jimmy has an ultimatum for them: you have one chance to pull EIT out of the shitter, and it involves working with a producer. None other than... cue drumroll... the ginger balls douchecanoe we know and love to hate, Maximus Jacobs. It was nice to actually learn more about Maximus and why he keeps hanging around, which was something we found in this book.
Dex and Perry suck it up and head to New Orleans, Maximus in tow, to investigate some voodoo happenings and zombie attacks that have been cropping up. Pretty much immediately, they encounter some weirdass shit and it seems everyone in New Orleans is out to get them, or to rip them apart from each other. Oh, and Dex is being haunted by his mother, which is totally unrelated... or is it? Welcome to the intoxicating blend of mindfuckery that Karina Halle dishes out so well! Is it a ghost? Is it a dream? Are you f*cking crazy? Don't you wish you knew!
So I have to say, this book felt really different for me. Mainly because, it's the first full-length EIT novel told entirely from Dex's point of view. Yes, previously there had been two novellas, The Dex-Files and With Madness Comes the Light, told from his POV, but those were rehashes - going back and retelling events we had experienced first from Perry's point of view. This time, we have only Dex's viewpoint with which to encounter the story. I feel like I know Dex well enough to follow his POV and gather the important points. But I did find myself really missing Perry! It was like Dex's perception of her didn't let me into her head as well as Perry's used to let me into Dex's, or something.
While I definitely enjoy Dex and his incredible sense of humor (and his constant fixation on sex, as well as Perry's eyes, Perry's ass, Perry's tits... geez), I did get a little tired of it. I wonder why Halle made this choice? Is it because she got so much great feedback about Dex's POV? I mean, yes, it's awesome! But I think it's a bit more awesome when there is less of it. This book did have more Dex focus than Perry focus - for the first time, we're learning more about why the ghosts and demons are interested in Dex, and he's actually the target, not Perry. So from that regard it kind of makes sense that it's from his perspective. It also makes sense because the whole time we were in Perry's head, she was unsure of Dex. Now, we're in Dex's head, and he's unsure of Perry. So it's a bit poetic. But still, it didn't work for me quite as well as the earlier books did. Maybe I just enjoy some musing about sex but not the constant obsessing over it that comes with being inside Dex's head! :)
It looks like the next book will be Dex's POV, and the final book will be split POV between Dex and Perry. So I am glad to know we'll be getting Perry back as a narrator sometime. I do feel like this series is excellent and I trust Halle to have a plan behind this approach.(less)