Very well written, very sexy erotic short story. Highly recommended for readers looking for a quick and dirty tale of submission. I will definitely beVery well written, very sexy erotic short story. Highly recommended for readers looking for a quick and dirty tale of submission. I will definitely be checking out the other shorts in this series. :-)...more
"Beliefs or anxieties, they don't matter. One way or another, death comes in the shape it wants and doesn't guarantee a pretty ending."
Tragedy, horror, and the instinct to survive will do crazy things to a person, but how will they effect two young men who have barely struck out into adulthood? Dead Meat follows a small group of survivors as they discover the true extent of their recently ravaged world and find out first hand that the promise of living another day will make you do things you never imagined were within your nature.
This was how I interpreted the tone of the book as there are moments you start to second guess the sanity of the main characters Benny and Gavin. As a psychology major, I was immediately taken by the depth of each character and the range of development they go through. The action scenes are well thought out and spectacularly executed, but the true achievement of Dead Meat is in its characters. The Williams boys have obviously taken great pains in bringing the main characters to life and exploring the depths of human emotion, both light and dark, and it absolutely shows. What books have you read lately where you met a character who disturbs and terrifies you one moment, charms you the next, freaks you out again, and then heads straight into becoming one of your favorite, albeit slightly douchey, anti-heroes of all time? The anti-hero is a difficult character to pull off, but when done right, these characters always top my list, because we don't often get to see authors really push the limits with the classic hero. I can't even begin to describe how perfectly Benny both fit and exceeded my expectations. I hated Benny. I loved Benny. He frightened and repulsed me and with a turn of the page, he was being charming and heroic. WTF Benny? Why are you so crazy awesome? I haven't had a character mess with me like this...well...ever!
"'Open the door,' I whisper. I swallow to moisten my throat and say it again, this time much louder. 'Open the door.'"
And that ending? Obviously I won't spoil it for you, but HOLY CRAP! I never saw it coming and I usually have the story figured out fairly early on when I read. I will say that I'm fairly heartbroken over it, but satisfied all the same.
I think the only complaint I have about this book is the female characters. There are only two, and both are fairly underwhelming. Not that they aren't well developed, they are, but one only makes a short appearance and the other is truly vile. I wanted at least one good, strong, female character, but didn't find it here. However, I can't exactly hold it against the authors as again, through the depth and realism of these characters, they show important aspects of how humans can experience and react to life and death situations.
The Final Verdict Dead Meat is gritty, stunning, character driven zombie horror fiction that asks readers, what would you do to survive when you have everything to lose? Another edition to my must read zombie fiction list.
FTC Disclosure I was provided a copy of this book by the authors and IO Tours in exchange for an honest review. I have received no compensation for my review. All opinions stated are my own....more
Eight months after the zombie apocalypse took Earth, a group of brave survivors gets a chance to make their world safe again. Dr. Compton has found a cure for the virus he inadvertently created. The catch? It's back at his lab facility hundreds of miles away through the rotter infested ruins of the American East Coast. Will Mike Robson and his crew of tenacious survivors be able to bring back the cure and take back their world, or will they die trying?
Rotter World is a stomach churning, heart-pumping, zombie killing extravaganza. A true feast for the... zombie in you. I learned the hard way that it it not a wise idea to eat while you read this book. I often multi-task while reading and thought, "Hey, I might as well finish this book up while I have some teriyaki beef and broccoli for lunch." Bad idea, only a few pages later I encountered a particularly detailed death scene in which one of the characters gets eaten alive. While the scene was well written and emotionally evocative, I would have preferred to keep my lunch out of it. You see, Rotter World is very much a book that spares no detail when it comes to graphic gore. While this adds to the desperate and often times disturbing tone of the book nicely, it may not be for everyone. So...you have been warned.
Moving onward, Rotter World offers the reader a unique and intriguing alternate view of the zombie apocalypse in which the virus is spread by vampires in an attempt to distract humans from hunting them down. This of course backfires spectacularly on them and the vampires find themselves facing an increasingly desperate situation; the complete extinction of their kind. When the book begins, humans and what is left of the vampires have teamed up to better their chances of surviving in a hostile alliance that threatens to boil over at any moment. The tension is incredible as it offsets the already overwhelming threat of the zombie horde. Not all of the human survivors hate the vampires which also leads to another layer of hostilities among the group. I loved this, but wished that the loyalties of the characters hadn't been so obvious. I would have loved to have read a scene in which a human you thought neutral or for the vampires turned on one of them during a zombie onslaught. I love that kind of NO WAY! moment. Regardless there are plenty of action sequences and you get to see how prejudices effect the decisions of the group in life threatening situations. I won't say who, but I was very upset to see my favorite vamp go. I was like, "Scott, oh no you didn't!" Kill off my favorite character why don't you? Who are you, George R.R. Martin? I was sad, but it did do the trick of keeping me emotionally invested in the story.
The only thing that I can really critique here is consistency. With all the action and character interaction Baker throws at us that gets our hearts pumping, some in-between scenes come across a bit dry. I know it's hard to make colorful transition scenes when you've just allowed your characters to barely escape from a hauntingly bloody battle, but there were a few times when I felt Baker's writing was becoming more technical in order to explain rather than making readers see it through the already well established interactions between characters. I stress this is only occasionally, but these parts were just so stark in comparison to the rest of the story that they really killed the mood.
Speaking of "The Mood" Baker waxes erotic a couple of times throughout the novel showing readers both the wonderful and destructive sides of the human need for closeness. I was glad to have this part of human nature addressed within a zombie novel as the genre normally stays away from sensuality. What better motivation is there to incite DEFCON levels of the horizontal mambo than the almost definite possibility that you will be cannibalized by mindless, rotting husks of your peers in the near future? I honestly can't think of any. I know I'm outing myself as a perv here, but I genuinely wish there had been more sexy scenes, especially with the vamp, *wink wink* but I digress...
I know this is becoming one mother trucker of a review, but I do have one last thing I'd like to tell you all about. I absolutely hate reading books or watching movies where the women spend more time screaming and crying than kicking-ass and taking names. Thank God for Baker's badass squad of zombie killing femme fatales. The Angels of Death are leather clad ladies with some seriously messed up pasts they have overcome by blowing away many a zombie. If there were some AOD merch like a shirt or a mug, I would be first in line to get me some. I loved these ladies who prove you best not underestimate a woman with serious baggage.
The Final Verdict
You're invited to a deadman's party. Make sure you gird your loins and bring a hardy constitution, maybe even a turtleneck. That is unless you plan on fraternizing with some vamps then by all means... Enjoy the ride. ^_^
I was provided a copy of this book by the author and IO tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.
"If you wish to know how it is that you can dismantle the undead, laugh maniacally, and continue about your existence, then please continue on."
This has been by far the most informative and concise zombie read I've come across. Pretty much everything you could want or need to know about surviving a potential zombie apocalypse is right here within ZAP's pages. I don't care if you don't subscribe to the whole idea of a zombie apocalypse being a potential threat. The ideas, advice, practical information, and tactics presented in this book are potential life savers in virtually any major natural disaster, terrorist attack, or crisis that could happen within your lifetime. While reading, I began to seriously consider getting some of the suggested supplies together in my house as a disaster kit. Do I sound crazy right now? Maybe, but when that mega, California sinking earthquake we've all been hearing about since elementary school finally happens and you run out of food, fresh water, and a power source, I guess we'll know which one of us was the crazy one. But seriously people, I don't necessarily believe that some vicious virus is going to turn us into rabid flesh eating monsters, but I"m not ruling it out either. Better to prepare and be wrong than call everyone crazy now and be the first to get chomped on.
Outside of its survival merits, ZAP is honestly an immensely valuable resource for writers looking to put out some well researched apocalypse fiction. In all likelihood, your zombies will be unique and many of the zombie facts here won't apply, but the basic weapons knowledge, supply lists, shelter acquisition, offensive and defensive tactics, and terrain survival portions of this book will indeed help you not only shape your fictional world, but also teach you how your characters can survive. As a person who doesn't know much about firearms, (I'm more of a Dragon Age kind of girl), I was excited by the plethora of practical knowledge I got out of reading up on each type. I now know what each type of firearm is best suited for. I know this may be obvious to many, but I grew up in a part of California where we had no need for guns and therefore lacked the necessity for such an area of study. I must say as a fan of science fiction, horror, and dystopia novels this came back to shame me in my adult years, but thanks to ZAP, I now have a general idea of how this stuff works.
If these reasons aren't enough for you to add this book to your shelf of apocalypse fiction essentials, I think it is important to mention the overall irreverently funny tone of this guide. Do you enjoy sarcastic, dark humor with a generous dose of geek? If your answer is yes, this should be a no brainer for you. Houchins and Thomas have infused this zombie survival extravaganza with more references to popular nerd culture than you can shake a stick at! When you're not considering taking copious notes, you will be chuckling to yourself and freaking out the people next to you.
Recommendation: I would honestly say if you have any interest at all in the reading or writing of zombie literature, you should seriously think about checking this one out. All levels of zombie lovers will learn something new and yes, Have fun Doing It....more
Paige is a shy librarian who spends her free time steeped in the lore of the ancient Celts rather than living it up like other young women her age. Her world is turned upside down when she meets Cael, a vampire with a tragic past. Soon Paige finds herself not just studying the lore she so loves, but living it in this sexy new paranormal romance.
I'm a long time lover of vampires, but lately I've been feeling the whole thing has been a bit over done. So what convinced me to pick this one up? Two words; vampire highlander. That's right not only is Cael a sexy vamp, but he's also got the whole super alpha Highlander attitude. *swoon!* There was just no way I was going to pass up a tantalizing concept like that! I have to say Cael had quite a few lines that made me shiver.
"Shh... lass," he crooned. "Let me love ye; I was meant to love ye."
Although shy and a bit subdued, Paige never hesitates to stand up for herself and fight for those she loves. I adored that about her! She had her plate full with finding out her half-vampire heritage and becoming a target. I can't stand a wimpy heroine and was very pleased with Paige's ability to evolve throughout the story even as she was going through her transition from human to vampire.
"I cannot keep running.
The thought was freeing because she realized that she did not want to run from this man.
Ye couldna escape me if ye tried lass."
Although I enjoyed Paige and Cael I felt like the one downside to this story was that there was so much going on. I didn't get near as much time as I would have liked with the hero and heroine. There were so many side stories going on with secondary characters that I became easily distracted from the main story. I think this story would have been a 4 star for me if it had been a bit less cluttered.
In the same breath, the plethora of intriguing secondary characters did spark my imagination and I found myself wanting to know more about each of them, but within their own stories. Luckily, I got the chance to interview Nadja and ask after any potential sequels or novellas. She confirmed that these characters have also had her brain spinning and she is tossing around some ideas! I can't wait to spend some more time with those mischievous Garrow brothers!
Although this book in itself wasn't amazing for me, I still enjoyed it. I see a lot of potential for future tales within this lore and look forward to reading them! I always say you have to give any series a two to three book chance before passing judgment. Thus far my final ruling is Nadja Notariani is a romance author to look out for! I plan to follow her releases with giddy anticipation. ...more
Four years after the zombie apocalypse, Paige is released from her family's locked down bomb shelter into the dessicated remains of her hometown. Her mission: meet up with her father and his fellow scientists at Disney World to help rebuild society. Outfitted with razors that extend from her fingertips and some ocular implants that do so much more than night vision, Paige should have no problem getting passed the undead. That is, until she has a chance meeting with her first love, Chris Parker, now known as Chase. Chase still hasn't quite gotten over her ditching him during the outbreak. Paige hasn't gotten over putting duty before love. Will they find love again post-apocalypse?
First, I'm going to touch on the split chapter element as it seems to be dividing reviewers. The book is set up with chapters alternating between past and present; before the apocalypse and after. Some have found this bothersome, awkward, and confusing, but I thought this was a brilliant way to tell the story and loved how the juxtaposition of the two timelines allowed Chase and Paige's back story to unfold within the action. This kept the book fast paced and made for a truly enjoyable read.
I loved the combination of strong love story and zombie action. Mancusi doesn't shy away from the darker elements of this genre, but still manages to keep the tone intrinsically young adult. These two are still teenagers trying to figure out who they are while they fight to survive. You even get the fairly annoying relationship tug-of-war aspect so common in YA fiction. A bit of this is necessary to keep the story moving, but it got to be too drawn out for my taste. The character development was so-so for Paige, but quite a bit better for Chase.
In the chapters concerning past events, Chase is the scraggly, soft hearted nerd who just wants a shot at the pretty popular girl. In the chapters concerning present events, he has been shaped by the apocalypse into a harder, more world weary version of himself. Obviously this works for a number of reasons, not only has he grown out of his scrawny body, but also his naive view of the world. I even enjoyed the fact that Marcusi was brave enough to tackle teenage drug addiction. She blended it well into the plot and made it one of Chase's eventually redeemable flaws. Overall, the development of his character was very satisfying. However the one thing that really bugged me was I felt like some of his sentimentality wasn't realistic for a nineteen year old boy. All three of my brothers are around this age and let me tell you, when daydreaming they would not be imagining their girlfriend/love interest as a Disney Princess. The imagery I got out of the last third of the book from Chase concerning Paige felt very out of character for a guy his age and broke me out of the rhythm the book had going. It felt much too feminine and not in sync with the more realistic tone of his thoughts from earlier on in the story. To me, this just felt like a rushed effort to tie together the whole Disney themed undertone of the novel, which while kinda fun at first felt a bit out of place in a story that had started out so gritty.
What I loved about this book was the technology aspect. Paige's razors and ocular implants made her a unique and kick-ass heroine. The zombie origin wasn't exactly unique. The zombie virus is spread by a vaccine that should have been a cure for a disease that has been plaguing mankind, in this case HIV/AIDS, but instead backfires turning everyone to mindless, flesh eating monsters. Cure gone wrong has been done quite a bit, but the implementation of it all was done very well.
The Final Verdict:
A very sweet post-apocalyptic love story, awesome tech, and fast-paced story make this a quick and enjoyable read, but the occasional lightness in tone was more awkward than complimentary. Tomorrow Land will please fans of fluffy YA fiction, but may not appeal to more hard-core fans of the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genres....more
I just could not get past the very poor quality of writing and extremely confusing perpetual shift of narrative tense. It was just too distracting.DNF
I just could not get past the very poor quality of writing and extremely confusing perpetual shift of narrative tense. It was just too distracting. I was never able to feel connected to the story because I was so busy deciphering the shifts from past and present tenses. It was like one of those bad dreams where you seem to be separated from everything by a thin veil, making what is truly happening fuzzy and difficult to comprehend.
I hope I can enjoy this author's Of War series better. ...more
'Burn a Pure and breathe the ash. Take his guts and make a sash. Twist his hair and make a rope. Use his bones to make Pure soap.'
When I first picked up Pure I was relieved. My review queue was a mile high and I was looking forward to a fast-paced YA read. With all the great press this book has gotten, I figured it was going to be highly addicting and a nice diversion from all the so-so books I had been slogging through recently. Quick and dirty. Easy Breezy. In retrospect, I don't know if anything could have prepared me for Pure.
My initial reaction to Pure was frustration, confusion, and morbid fascination. I hated the narrative perspective. The third-person present tense completely threw me off and made the experience that much more grating. ie. "Pressia is waiting..." I kept thinking, "Who writes like that?" and "Why write like that?" I even considered updating my Goodreads status to make a point as, "Jess is thinking she does not like this book..." I wondered if this was some strange attempt at making "stream of consciousness" the new literary fad, but no, Pure was still understandable, just frustrating. The strange world I had been tossed into without warning had me struggling to acclimate and I spent the first quarter of the book in aggravated confusion.
Then something strange happened. I couldn't even tell you exactly when, but I began to become attached to the characters and the story was slowly drawing me in by taunting me with little peeks at the big picture. Once the main male character Partridge leaves the Dome and begins to experience the outside world, I had a truly awesome lightbulb moment. What I realized was, Baggott meant for her readers to be confused at first. The strange and disturbing elements of the alien world created by the detonations is shocking and the true gravity of the consequences of nuclear warfare could not be better related to readers than to force them to feel it for themselves.
While this book is classified as young adult fiction because it follows teenaged characters, it carries a much more graphic and intense nature than most book in the genre. I have seen reviewers classify this book as "icky" or "just gross", but let's be honest here. What did you expect? This book chronicles the struggles and survival of individuals who have been deeply scarred, mutated, and even fused to the world around them. The weight of the message this story carries was meant to challenge your way of thinking and immerse you in a world where teenagers must be brave, strong, and decisive as opposed to the often more fickle nature of YA characters. Do I recommend this book for everyone. Absolutely not. There are scenes that made me cringe from their graphicness and scenes that I never saw coming from a young adult title. I'm not talking about sexual content. The novel is very mild in that aspect with mostly a chaste kiss that is few and far between. I'm talking about gore and death. There is a particular twist at the end (I won't spoil it for you) that completely shocked me with it's disturbing abruptness. That being said, it felt completely right within the context of the story. As an adult, I was elated that Baggott was not afraid to truly express the gritty, dark nature of her world.
The Final Verdict
Pure is a hauntingly brilliant story that combines the impact of more literary dystopia with the sneaky addictiveness of modern day young adult fiction. This is a story I will not soon forget and I look forward to future volumes in this series with hungry anticipation. I would recommend this book to adult fans of YA and dystopia and more mature teens....more
I was not aware at the time I took this on for review that it was a non-fiction history book rather than a novelization of historical events. I normally don't take on biographies or other works of non-fiction for my blog, however I must say, throughout the course of the book, I became captivated with the story Goldstone so eloquently revealed in the pages of The Maid and The Queen.
The book is split into three portions; Before Joan, Joan of Arc, and After Joan and chronicles the intertwined lives of Joan and Yolande of Aragon, Queen of Sicily. I was very interested to see just how Yolande of Aragon influenced Joan's journey and how Yolande in turn seemed to fade into the recesses of history. What I found was the much larger portrait of Joan's life and death that the small picture I already had fit into. The things I was taught about Joan through history teachers, documentaries, and films didn't even begin to cover what actually happened to this amazing girl. Goldstone manages to give readers the facts as objectively as possible while still staying respectful to Joan's religious beliefs and claims. While I would have expected a non-fiction book to attempt to explain away Joan's visions and voices as delusions or schizophrenia, The Maid and The Queen points out the events that were pushed along by Yolande of Aragon while gracefully allowing for Joan's piety.
You must be wondering why I have given it only three stars after having enjoyed it so much. Although it is beautifully written, there are points within the book that seem bogged down with political dealings and war strategy. While these details are important to the overall understanding of the events of the Hundred Years War, they dry up the lushly told history and slow down the read exponentially. A reader who is only looking for the tale of Joan of Arc would easily get frustrated fishing through the political intrigues, rivaling parties, and genealogies. That being said, I still enjoyed learning about these two strong women.
If you are a fan of non-fiction, Joan of Arc, and are interested in learning in depth about the Hundred Years War, I would recommend picking this one up. As a reader of mostly fiction, I enjoyed it very much and feel it has been a good introduction for me into reading more books like it. ...more
Derek Prince's night on the town takes a sexy turn when he meets a mermaid. No, not a real one, but one of the nearly legendary beautiful, virginal women who entertain Manhattan's most prominent men. Entranced, by her beauty and charm, he follows her into the infamous nightclub, Fathoms where he discovers how the other half really live!
I really liked this sexy, contemporary adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Although there is no actual magic or mermaids involved, this erotic short still tinged my nostalgia for the Disney film even as it turned up the heat.
What I loved about Immersed in Pleasure was that the hero, Derek, doesn't try to sweep Xenia off her feet and take her away from her life. The heroine is not some damsel in distress, but a strong woman who can take care of herself. Unlike many popular romances today, Xenia doesn't just throw her life away for her man. I won't spoil the end for you as it has an interesting little plot twist, but I enjoyed it very much.
I also really loved that the narration of the story unfolded as Derek told his guy friends about how he and Xenia met. The funny little interruptions of his buddies asking for more info had me chuckling and added to the fun tone of the book.
Recommended for those looking for a sweet and spicy short!...more
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland meets Greek Mythology when Teenager Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole during her abusive father's funeral and finds herself in the Underworld! Together with her strange and not entirely trustworthy guide, Minotaur, Cora must navigate the Underworld to find her genius brother Lucas. But what's a living girl to do in the land of the dead?
The White Oak suffers from a raw narrative riddled with short, choppy sentences. However, there is an undeniably captivating quality regardless of the overall unpolished feel. From start to finish I was pulled into the strangely wonderful world White has created. The chapters are a reasonable length making it easy to read one chapter at a time during a busy schedule, but you may find it difficult to stop. Cora's surroundings are so unique and fantastic that you will devour many chapters at a time just to see what comes next. Despite its obvious Alice roots, the entire reading experience fondly reminded me of Jim Henson's movie Labyrinth with all the bizarre and fiercely beautiful creatures and locations.
My main problem with The White Oak is that it felt more like half of a book than a whole one. Just as the conflict with Minos began to reveal itself, the story ended. I felt like the moment I began to truly love this tale, it was over and I was left feeling like I had been majorly jipped! There was just not enough actual story and there is no real character development in sight. I never felt like I got a chance to really know Cora as a person. I understand this is going to be a series, but this felt more like a novella companion than an actual first novel in a set. I really would have liked it to be much longer
Although this book didn't match up to my standards with length and polish, I still can't deny there is something magical about this book. An immense potential lingers in the background showing itself in brief spurts throughout the novel. I kept waiting for it to reveal itself during my read, but just as I thought, "Yes! Here it is!" the book abruptly ended. Regardless of my disappointments, you can bet I will be reading the next book in this series. This author has the potential to be amazing, and I want to be reading her books when that happens. ...more
Jax is a young witch on the run. She does not want to live her coven's black magic lifestyle and dreams of a normal teenage experience. Then she finds Baker's Gap, a tiny little town where everyone knows everyone else, and Jax settles in. Can she keep her powers under the radar and avoid being tracked down by her coven? When things get crazy, will she stay and protect her new found friends, even if the price is death?
When we first join Jax as the story opens, she has already flown the coop, bought a used slug bug and a small RV, and has procured herself a campsite to live in. She already has a plan for getting herself enrolled into the local high school in Baker's Gap, after failing numerous times in other towns. This is also where she gets her first sight of the local supernatural hunter who ends up being the school hottie. Don't worry, that wasn't really a spoiler as you find this out almost immediately. That was one of my problems with this book, there was very little mystery. Most of the plot is straight up with only a few minor plot twists. It was very easy to feel like absolutely nothing was going on.I would have liked to have experienced the escape with Jax and gotten a better feel for the hostility of the life she was leading rather than just being told, "this is this, and that is that."
The awkward toss of the reader into the already executed escape was a rough start, but really the whole book feels rough and underdeveloped. There is just not enough world building for the reader to feel either comfortable in the story, or confident that it is going somewhere. This is not helped by the fact that the meat of the book is made up of silly teenage stuff. Jax gets a crush on her super hot hunter, Jax gets a BFF, Jax goes to local dinner and gets milkshaked by local bitch, Jax pines over hottie hunter, Jax goes to homecoming! It just goes on and on and it was disappointing for me because I was looking forward to a fun YA paranormal experience not teen time with residual magical effects. This felt like a story about a contemporary runaway landing in a new town and doing silly teenage stuff. The witch aspect plays a very small role until the very end of the book.
My other main problem with White Witch was that I never really connected with any of the characters. There were plenty of fun, likeable characters, but this book was so short, and there was so little development, that these characters just felt like faces put there for the direct purpose of furthering Jax's journey. Although this is exactly what characters are in relation to a hero/heroine, the reader should never recognize them as such. A reader should be so lost in the story that they see supporting characters as people, not tools to move the story along.
That being said, there were things I enjoyed very much. I loved Jax's new bestie Toni. She's a tough young lady who isn't afraid to be who she is. As a fellow Buffy nerd, I had a lot of fun with all the references to the show and definitely though Hostile 17 would have been an excellent name for Toni's band. Although I still couldn't quite connect to these nearly transparent characters, Toni was my favorite. I think this really sums up how I felt about the entire experience; fun, cute, but just not quite completely there.
The bottom line is, this was a cute but lacked direction. The story and characters were rough, underdeveloped, and felt more like a sketch of what this could have been rather than a final product. White Witch could use some more action and a final polish, but definitely has potential behind it. There is a stronger version of this story somewhere and I would be glad to read it once it is found....more
This companion novella to Firelight fills in that three year time lapse at the beginning nicely. Readers who enjoyed the first book in the Darkest London series, and couldn't get enough of Miranda and Archer will find this informative. There were many things left unexplained about Miranda and Archer's time apart in Firelight like (view spoiler)[Miranda's failed engagement and her deflowered status (hide spoiler)]. I definitely wondered about these things and was glad to have gotten a decent explanation thanks to Ember.
I think my favorite part about this though was getting to experience the beginning of Miranda and Billy Finger's friendship. The development their was very sweet and often times chuckle worthy.
I'm only giving this 3 stars as it really is only a bite of the original and doesn't necessarily offer us a new story. Enjoyable, but read Firelight first. I observed that it would have been confusing for me otherwise as they leap over key plot points in expectation of the reader already being aware....more
After being saved by, and feeling up, a shadowy man in the alleyway behind her home, Miranda dreams steamy dreams of him every night. Three years later, the destitute status of her father forces her to marry The Dread Lord Archer, a darkly eccentric nobleman whose face is perpetually covered with a mask in public. He makes ladies faint in fright at the thought of what deformity he is hiding, but really he cares only for the affections of one lady in particular. The young lady he saved in that alleyway three years ago. The beauty marries the beast in an attempt to pay back her father for ruining him forever as a merchant with her dangerous gift. Can this beauty ever truly learn to love a beast?
I will begin by saying I absolutely adored this book! As a fan of historical romance and urban fantasy, I about died when I read the description for Firelight. A sassy heroine with supernatural skills forced to marry a mysterious masked man with a frightening reputation in Victorian London? Yes please! Usually, I bounce back and forth between a saucy historical romance and a gritty urban fantasy, however in this case, both of my cravings were equally and undeniable satisfied. Callihan's ability to place the reader directly in her world without getting too into the often tedious societal explanations is astonishing. I literally felt like I had jumped straight into Victorian London from page one. The world building is done flawlessly throughout the span of the novel as Miranda and Archer attempt to keep their secrets from each other. The third person perspective jumps from Archer to Miranda nicely offering readers intimate insights on each of the characters and their back stories. I ended up soaring right through this book and was left desperate for more. Not to say Miranda and Archer's story isn't wrapped up, it is, and very nicely so. Now to discuss my new favorite couple...
The chemistry between Miranda and Archer is incendiary! I can honestly say I have never been that hot and bothered over a near-kiss scene before. I mean, they don't even really kiss and I was fanning myself due to my furiously flushed face. The tone set between the two of them left my skin tingling in anticipation of the next heady moment.
“With the suddenness of a cat leaping upon its prey, he leaned forward and caught up her wrist. "Tread lightly, Miranda Fair." His thumb moved lightly over her fluttering pulse, as she stared with her mouth assuredly hanging open in shock, her heart beating furiously within her breast."You know, it's never wise to tempt the devil." His gaze lowered to her hand, still locked in his grip, her fingers glistening with pear juice. "Had I not this mask, I should be of a mind to suck that juice right off of your fingers.”
After ridiculously sexy scenes like this I was dying to get to the good stuff. The frustration Archer and Miranda felt at being so close to each other, but still kept at arms length due to their secrets was so palpable, I ended up writing this short poem to express my own longing.
Oh sweet frustration!
Oh agonizing fascination!
Oh desperately desiring delight!
Oh despair for I am doomed to die without Dread Lord Archer's dark dalliance!
And oh what dreams may come!
Archer's secret was definitely not what I was expecting, and a tad bit disappointing, however I think it is fair to say given such a wonderfully intriguing tool as a masked man, it is easy for what we imagine to be much wilder than reality. All in all, I am thoroughly impressed and delighted! Calihan has been added to my list of must have authors. I don't have too many series or authors that I will go right out and buy without seeing if the library has it first, however anything Callihan releases from now on will be sure to appear on my bookshelf!
To Be Continued? Absolutely! I will be impatiently, agonizing until book two, Moonglow, comes out in August! ...more
Tess and Jack haven't seen each other for 10 years, but when her father's disappearance brings them back together again, they must overcome their turbulent past and join their roguish skills once again for the greater good. Will Black Jack be able to deny the fire that still lingers between them? Will Tess find the strength within herself to love him once more?
Much Ado About Rogues is the final installment in the Blackthorn Brother's series as Michaels has run out of brothers to write about! I have to admit, this series will not be added to my favorites list, however it still holds its own unique charm. I enjoyed reading about each of the bastard brothers and felt Michales wrapped up the series quite nicely, leaving no loose ends and offering a satisfying solution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these books, all are well written, witty, and charming; I merely feel they were an "ok" experience for me.
In this last book, we meet some new faces and get reunited with some old favorites. I couldn't force the silly grin off my face when Puck made his grand entrance. His infectious personality had me adoring him since the second book in the series and I felt he made a perfect fit within the plot of this book as well.
Our heroine Tess is a woman to be admired as she is no damsel in distress. We first meet her wearing buckskins and a linen shirt , looking very much like the lady rogue she is portrayed as. I enjoyed reading about her childhood and her subsequent training by her father and Jack. These were by far the most interesting portions of the book as I just couldn't get into the rest of the story for some odd reason. In all honesty this should have been the ideal story for me as the heroine is kick-ass, the hero is dark and broody, and it takes a sharp turn away from the traditional historical romance formula. All of these are usually elements for a sure fire winner in my book, but it just wasn't working for me this time and here's why.
Jack and Tess have been together before. They have already experienced those first heady moments of discovery with each other off the page and the excitement of the chase and the sparking of the flame just wasn't there for me. Sure they still have chemistry and they have definitely both matured since the last time they were together, but I honestly just didn't feel the heat between the two of them. The sex scenes felt very mechanical and been-there-done-that to me. I didn't get that great build up between the characters like I'm used to. Sure there was emotional tension between the two. They've been keeping secrets from each other for over 10 years, however the physical tension was just not there. I think I almost have to have this in a romance novel or else it just doesn't do it for me.
While this formula may not have worked for me, I think many historical romance lovers will find it does work for them. Jack and Tess are a well-matched pair and the adventurous nature of the plot sets readers up for an exciting ride. The part of the book that touched me the most though was the Blackthorn family's reunion and ultimate resolution of the tension between the brothers and their father. Michaels does a superb job emotionally involving her reader at this point and giving them the ending they didn't even realize was possible.
Overall an enjoyable read for historical romance lovers, but just ok for me. ...more
When Alyson accompanies her new husband Niall Clyne during his voyage she discovers one of the young passengers is the heir to the Scottish throne. Along the coast of England they are quickly overtaken by pirates, the heir is kidnapped, and Alyson is left for dead on the sinking ship by her negligent husband. Enter Jake Maxwell, Scottish knight of the realm and captain of the Sea Wolf. Will rescuing Alyson lead to an epic romance or epic trouble?
After being thoroughly impressed with the previous book in this trilogy Highland Hero, I was looking forward to continuing the story Scott set before her readers and get to know our Highland Wolf, Jake Maxwell better. All I can say is that what I got in comparison to what I had previously read was a bit of a disappointment. For a book titled Highland Lover there was very little loving going on. The majority of the book is bogged down with details concerning Jamie's kidnapping, the journey to St. Andrews, and the legal ramifications of Alyson's marriage making the overall feel of the book come off dry and drudging. We gets hints throughout the book that Alyson and Jake have a thing for each other, but not much happens until the last quarter of the book. This final installment in the trilogy is still well written, but lacks the captivating spark of the previous book. I kept putting this one down and moving on to a different book. I read chapters in between large sections of other novels in hopes I would finally get into it, but it never really happened.
For some reason, in the previous book, the Scottish colloquialisms were charming, but in this book they became cumbersome, slowing down the read substantially. Especially when the group sets foot in the English tavern and decides they need to imitate the speech of the locals. Dear lord! I was struggling to get through the dialogue portions at this point and was grateful when a large portion of narration came along. Don't get me wrong, I love me a sexy Scottish accent, but it was just not happening here.
Besides the dryness of the story and lack of any actual "lovers" until near the end, the main plot revolving around the Scottish throne is never resolved. When the story comes to a close, Jamie is still in English hands and Albany appears to be on his way to claiming Scotland for his own. It was almost like Jake and Alyson got their happy ending so *shrugs* oh well! I'm hoping that Scott did this because she is planning on continuing the development of Jamie's plight in another set of novels, and this may very well be, but it still felt unpleasantly abrupt. Needless to say this is my least favorite installment in the series, but Scott has not lost me yet. I look forward to future Highland romance novels from her matching up to the potential I observed in Highland Hero. ...more
At this moment, after just finishing Deadline, I believe I'm in shock. I don't really know how I will write a review for this book without giving away spoilers for itself and for its predecessor Feed, but I will give it a try. Was this the best book ever? Certainly not. Were there flaws? Quite a few actually. Do either of those factors compare to the grip this series has a hold of me? Do they effect the love I have for the characters that Grant has created? Do they lessen at all the emotional reverberations I feel long after I have put the book back on its shelf? The answer is a loud and resounding NO. The people we love without a doubt have flaws, but the sheer magnitude of the impact they have on our own personal human experience makes these flaws pale in comparison.
This is Deadline to me.
This is the Newsflesh Trilogy to me.
The After the End Times team is back and hot on the trail of the conspiracy that rocked their world in the last book. If you think I'm being incredibly vague here, I am because there is honestly very little I can talk about this book plot wise without giving everything away. Let's just say I was very impressed with how quickly the action got going compared to Feed. Instead of a huge info dump that gets us acquainted with the characters and the world they inhabit, we take a quick moment to catch up with the team, and then are thrown directly into the action. And thank god for the action! Where Feed spent much of its length exploring politics, blogging, and evil plotting, Deadline spends it running, jumping, climbing trees. (Sorry couldn't resist the Eddie Izzard reference ^_^) There is still plenty of evil plotting going on here for those of us who loved that in the previous book, but this time we get to enjoy a faster paced story.
What Deadline has made up for in pace and excitement, it seems to have lack key character development in Shaun. I felt Grant had an almost unlimited amount of potential for Shaun's character here, but she held back for some reason. This was really disappointing for me as I love a good crazy anti-hero, but after being blown away by the ending, I trust that Grant knows what she is doing here. You see, after finishing Deadline I got the distinct feeling that everything that felt like a flaw throughout the course of the novel was absolutely intentional. Every emotion I felt during my read of this book seems to have been directed by Grant's storytelling in an almost subliminal way. To me this proves that Grant understands her core audience and knows just how to play us.
Which leads me to my final thoughts... What exactly does she have planned for us in Blackout? The ending of Deadline completely threw me as did the ending of Feed. So, if Grant is topping herself with each book... what epicness can we expect from the final book in the Newsflesh trilogy? I'm absolutely tingling with anticipation.
The Final Verdict
I think fans of the first book will love the ride and be left dying to find out what happens next.
I'm terribly conflicted in my feelings for this book. You see, I was so excited to begin reading. I received this book in a Secret Santa exchange and immediately fell in love with its gorgeous appearance.The hardback version of Miss Peregrine's is stunningly beautiful with its superb dust jacket artwork, inclusion of vintage photographs and letters in each chapter, and smooth, luxurious pages. The publisher succeeded in making the packaging alone worthy of today's high prices. However in the growing cover lust market it seems more focus is being put on making an outwardly beautiful book with less emphasis on the quality of its content. The old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," could not be truer here and ultimately leads to an experience that is downright disappointing.
Theintriguing premise along with the deliciously macabre vintage photos makes for perpetually limitless peculiar plot possibilities. Yes, I'm a fan of alliteration. With this seemingly bottomless well of literary wealth, how the hell did Riggs completely miss the mark? Let me explain.
I'm the sort of reader who loves a deeply visceral and emotionally engaging read. The superficial appearance of Miss Peregrine's along with all the sparkling reviews led me to believe my experience would be like this:
When in actuality, It ended up being more like this...
Scary monsters huh? Cool...
So what happened? The storytelling is at first pleasantly creepy and the inclusion of the strange and disturbing photos made it that much better. I anticipated being drawn in deeper and waited patiently for the core plot to be revealed. To my surprise, and dismay, the actual action/conflict doesn't begin until the last 100 pages! This subsequently led to the author shoving me down a hill and leaving me with brief glimpses of depth as I tumbled toward the end. The first half of the book sets you up and slowly reels you in with cleverly deceptive photographs that never quite pay off and are often awkwardly placed. This ends up slowing the story down considerably rather than enhancing it. The farther I got into the story, the more I cringed each time Riggs planted another photo op. If that wasn't frustrating enough, certain plot twists happen way too late in the story cutting off any actual character development.
Speaking of characters, I enjoyed Jacob's snarky wit and general dry attitude up until he turns into one of the freaking Hardy Boys (with much less sleuthing ability) halfway though. Jacob takes the express route from charmingly cynical to dauntingly featherbrained. I won't go into depth on the shallow secondary characters and their even shallower relationships with Jacob, but yeah... Very unconvincing to say the least.
The sporadic and often random spurts of gore miss unsettling and go straight to just plain awkward. I don't mind gruesome details, but if you are going to do graphic then be consistent! The majority of the book is spent picnicking, making out with an eighty year old teen, and arguing the pros and cons of terrorizing a sweet little village in a time loop. So when out of the blue disemboweled sheep (and people) appear, the general impression comes off as an afterthought.
Finally, I have to say...WHERE THE F*** ARE ALL THE CHILDREN? We are tantalized with creepy photographs of the peculiar children from beginning to end and are introduced to barely any of them! This wouldn't have been such a big deal if I had just gotten even a whiff of the disturbing clown faced twins! There are two separate instances where Jacob finds a picture of them and they are just so damn creepy you would think Riggs wouldn't pass up the chance to use them to his advantage. But no! Not even an honorable mention is made throughout the entire book. Some of the more off-the-wall peculiars are a real treat and helped keep me interested, but this fact alone was not enough to save Miss Peregrine's for me.
The Final Verdict: A promising premise is poorly executed. If only an actual writer had written this... ...more
Fifty Shades of Grey huh? Well James has certainly delved into the ethical grey area that's for sure. I know this trilogy has amassed a legion of fans in a fairly short amount of time, however I feel the majority of those fans don't realize their romance/smut fix is actually a re-vamped Twilight fanfic. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, a fanfic is a story written by a fan of a particular movie, television show, video game, book/series of books, etc. These stories are supposed to be written entirely for fun and the enjoyment of fellow fans of said fan base and usually come with a disclaimer that the characters, settings, etc. belong to the original author or creator and that the fan writer is in no way making any profit off of their fanfiction. Popular fanfiction archiving sites like FanFiction.Net require these disclaimers and even have a list of authors/creators who have specifically asked that their works not be reproduced and archived on fanfiction websites. Obviously, people are going to do what they want and write what they want about whatever they want. I myself have enjoyed reading fanfiction for favorite anime and book series. There is nothing wrong with exploring the depths of a world you love, as long as you realize it is not your world in any way shape or form. You do not own the world, the characters, or any of the plot lines therein.
This is where my issue with Fifty Shades of Grey comes in. Originally published as the Twilight fanfic online Master of the Universe, this story was James' attempt at taking Bella, Edward, and their fellow cast of characters, and setting them up in a real-world situation. Trading claws and fangs for whips and chains if you will. This is what we call an AU or Alternate Universe fic in the world of fanfiction. Yes, the characters find themselves in different situations than the original Twilight story, however not by much. There were several instances during the reading of Fifty Shades that I snorted with derision and shook my head because the parallels were so blatantly obvious. If this were being portrayed for what it is, a fanfiction of another author's work, I probably would have enjoyed it. However the case is, James is selling this as her own work. After her fanfic became popular, James decided to change everyone's names, slap a new title on it, and sell it as her OWN work. Some other reviewers who are aware of its regurgitation status are claiming that James has taken out all the Twilight references and made this book undoubtedly her own. This is absolute delusion as the characters, locales, and many of the plot and back story details mirror the original Twilight story almost exactly with only a minor tweak here and there.
The main character Anastasia is clumsy, plain, and works at a ... hardware store... Dear god, i wonder who that could be? It also doesn't help how wimpy and pathetic she is. She is constantly telling Christen no and standing up for herself, only to cave not five minutes later. There is a constant theme here of, "Oh gosh! I can't believe he likes me! How can someone soooooo gorgeous want me?" It gets extremely irritating as I like a strong, heroine who can stand on her own two feet without swooning every time her man comes through a door. There is nothing wrong with drooling over a sexy man, but when you start acting like a brainless husk, well, you've lost my respect. Ana is not the only character who has retained her Twilight character trait roots. She can tell her friend Jose wants more, but she just doesn't see him that way even though he is super muscular and sexy. Mexican Jacob, nice save.
Oh and our copper haired hero is none other than... Christen? He was adopted by a loving family and even at his young age, he is rich and successful and acts like a much older man. He warns Ana to stay away because he is dangerous, but doesn't do a very good job of actually keeping his distance. Stalker much? Oh and he is just OMG gorgeous of course! Literally he is just... the epitome of a beautiful man. No seriously, he's fucking hot, ok? If you're not convinced, James will keep reminding you that he is the hottest man ever without really explaining why. I was surprised he didn't sparkle at some point.
This book read more like a draft than a final product. I quickly got sick of hearing Ana's internal dialogue. Apparently she is not intelligent enough to come up with something better than "Holy Crap" "Holy Shit" "Holy Cow" or "Holy Fuck" She says these phrases constantly throughout the entire span of the book. It was so bad, it felt like she used at least one of these every couple of paragraphs. Also the number of reflections beginning with "I can't believe..." is just over the top. This baffles me because James spends so much time telling her reader how literary Ana is. Ana loves classic novels, especially Jane Austen, and is a graduate with a degree in literature. So why does she come across as a vapid teenager with a very limited vocabulary? Oh yes, that's because she started out as Bella, had her name changed, and underwent little to no character change.
Repetitive, unimaginative writing makes Fifty Shades of Grey a complete slog until we begin to hit the sex scenes. I admit, the concept of the Dom/Sub contract leading into their relationship was intriguing and is what ultimately kept me reading. However, as you get further into the book, you realize the promised BDSM element is a sham. Christen is constantly indulging in what he calls "vanilla sex" even though he insists it is just not for him. James is trying to get across to her readers that Ana is just so gosh darn special that even control freak Christen Grey can't help himself when he's around her. However, she continues to portray Christen as dark, unmoving, and unreachable. And the control freak thing? James continues to remind her readers how much of a control freak he is by having Ana reiterate it over and over and over again in her internal dialogue, emails, and conversations. We get it! He's a Dom! We are not children who need repetition to grasp a simple concept. As the novel goes on, the sex becomes less and less sexy until near the end, it became blase and anatomical at which point I was dying to finish the damn thing so I could get back to quality romance novels.
Overall, it felt like I was reading a fanfiction, probably because I was, but you would think the author and the subsequent publisher who picked it up, would have done some better cover up here. There is just no excuse for the poor quality of writing, shoddy narrative, and uncanny resemblances to another author's work. And what the hell is with charging $29.99 for a paperback copy? How can the publishing company justify that when it is so poorly written? At least do a good edit and take out every Twilight reference. The sad thing is, I probably could have liked this had she been original. The fact that this series has gained so much success riding on the coattails of Stephanie Meyer's empire makes me ill. Seeing a cover on my favorite book website has never made me so furious before.
Angry fangirls, I'm sorry I couldn't like this book. You have every right to like any book you want. On that note, I also have the right to not like any book that doesn't do it for me. If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm happy for you and respect your opinion. Unfortunately I couldn't get past the completely unethical use of another author's material and the inexcusable poor quality for the sake of a cheap thrill. You want to take a shot at me? That's fine, but my opinion on plagiarism and sub par writing is not going to change.
Flat and underdeveloped narrative Choppy sentences Poorly edited Immature style Not Harlequin huh? Well these people sure gasp more than a flustered regency debutante who has found herself in a shamefully compromising position. And what the hell is wrong with Harlequin anyway? Snobs... ...more
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not your teenager's zombie fiction. Grant has put together an intricate and well thought out world for her characters who are just as gritty and strong as the world they live in. I was fascinated by the political and journalism aspects and have great expectations for this series , so much so, that I went out and bought Deadline last week after only reading a few chapters of Feed. I enjoyed how the zombies weren't exactly the main focus of the book, but always lingered in the dark corners waiting for their chance to make a move. Without giving away spoilers, I can say that less than 1/4 of the way through, you realize the zombies aren't the real villains of this novel, but a tool. This concept is what finally hooked me after the extensive info-dump the first part of the book turns out to be.
The Virus I was thoroughly impressed with the intelligent tone and Grant's obvious extensive research. The Kellis-Amberlee virus isn't just some all purpose explanation for why the zombies are around. Grant describes the virus so intricately, if it didn't reanimate the dead, it would sound like something that could be present in the near future. The origin of the virus is described for the reader in great detail making the creation and spread believable by playing on the rash actions of today's extremist groups. The virus is so well developed in fact, that it really is its own character. Dark and sinister, it lays dormant in all living creatures just waiting to come in contact with an active strain of itself. Once it does, it amplifies rapidly inside its host, slowly enough for the host to get near others while still appearing normal, and quickly enough for the one person to have the potential to create a hazard zone the size of a large city. No one is safe, and eventually, everyone will succumb to the virus, even if they die a natural death.
The Pacing & Narrative It was kind of slow to start, but everything that contributed to the slowness was vital information. The narrative can come across a bit dry in spots between the action, however I believe this is due to the author staying true to the voice of her narrator. Georgia is such a 'let's get right down to business' sort of person that this style makes complete sense. One of the best aspects of this book is that nothing feels irrelevant. Not once did I say to myself, "Now that was definitely filler." Literally every scrap of information either helps you understand the world and the characters better or it sets up impending plot twists.
Georgia & Shaun This sibling duo is one of the best I've ever read. They offset each other perfectly with Shaun's mischievous, devil may care attitude balancing Georgia's more dry, goal oriented personality. Or does she balance him?? I truly believe they need each other to function properly. Shaun adds much needed comic relief to the story and often punches up a dry section of dialogue nicely.
I read a lot of reviews for this book before and during my read and noticed almost everyone makes a comment about an implied "relationship" between the two. While I did notice these implications, I didn't' find them as obvious or damning as others did. I felt the implications were fairly light rather than the "in-your-face" vibe I got from some of the reviews. I agree that it does appear there is something going on there, but I don't think everyone who reads this book will notice unless it is pointed out to them. There is never any confirmation of a romantic relationship between the two and readers going into the book expecting one will be greatly disappointed. The occurrences are so light and few that they could easily mean something completely different. The only reason I feel these claims are warranted is because of a statement made by Georgia at the end of the book. I won't get into this further in order to avoid spoilers.
The Twists My God the twists! There are quite a few with two really major ones that will completely throw you for a loop. I obviously can't go into them, however I will say they make this book one of the most shocking and fluid reads I've ever had. My warning to you all is under no circumstances should you read descriptions, summaries, reviews, or the backs of the other two books in the series. These WILL give away major plot points and HUGE spoilers for the first book.
The End A reviewer friend of mine here on Goodreads gave me the same warning that I just gave you all. Unfortunately I did not see it in time to save myself from my own curiosity. Curiosity really did kill the cat, or in this case, the ending for Feed for me. I was so mad at myself and now that I know how it all ends, I'm sad because I know this book would have been even better had I not seen it coming. Let me tell you, you do not want this epic ending spoiled for you so please stay away from the other books or anything about them until you finish this one!
Even with the spoiler, the end still hit me hard and I literally bawled. I had myself a good, soaking wet, snotty, hiccup inducing cry. Not just because of the shock of this plot twist, but because of the way the author handles it. The portrayal is perfect and heart-wrenching and felt so right in its context. Grant stays so true to her characters and I am just blown-away with the entire book.
The Final Verdict Feed truly lives up to the massive hype and deserves every nice thing that is said about it. I really couldn't find much fault anywhere. The writing is fluid and intelligent, the characters are well developed and maintained, and Grant's dedication to making this book absolutely brilliant shines through on every page. Personally, reading this book made me want to be a better writer, blogger, and media consumer.
Zombie skeptics and newbies will find this a nice transition book as it is more focused on the drama and the characters than the actual zombies and gore. Zombie veterans and developing fans will find it a fresh take on their favorite rotting fiends. Everyone will learn a thing or two about virology, politics, and just what it takes to bring us the news. I can not think of a better way to begin a series. ...more