In this concluding installment of the Domna series, the stakes have neOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four and a half stars!
In this concluding installment of the Domna series, the stakes have never been higher. Sirius is on the brink of death, and soon Sofia finds herself in yet another agonizingly complicated situation. Will the realm of Osteria's ruler survive, and if not, what then? Who will rule the kingdom?
This was a great final book in the series, full of heartache and perseverance.
Sofia once again shows her wit, resolve, and inner strength as she navigates her continually changing life. She has a lot of character progression in this one, and with it being the last book I desperately hoped she would survive to see a brighter tomorrow for the kingdom of Osteria.
Many of the other characters were great. Lucius and Macrinus were my favorites because I always root for the good guys, but the arrogant Geta and his following also intrigued me as well, despite my loathing for him. Also, can I just say that Heliollo is the most terrifying 15-year old I've ever met? Yikes!
The plot was phenomenal! Just when things seemed to be getting better for Sofia, bam! It's all threatened to be taken away yet again. Each chapter was riveting due to the high stakes involved. The first part centered on Sirius and the consequences of what happens soon after that, but I personally enjoyed the middle part of the book the most. I loved the bizarre and heart-wrenching homecoming that Sofia experiences and what happens soon thereafter.
This was an extremely satisfying end of a Greek tragedy that will break your heart over and over again, and I definitely won't forget this journey anytime soon.
Continuing from the madness that was book four, The Forgotten Heir begins with an incOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four stars.
Continuing from the madness that was book four, The Forgotten Heir begins with an increasingly impossible situation. Still grieving the loss of a dear friend, Sofia soon discovers even more plots against her and her family. Can she eradicate the threats facing her, or will her family's reign finally come to an end?
This is probably my second favorite book of the series so far despite my rating.
Sofia is yet again in the center of a horrible situation, and she's finally starting to hit her breaking point. It was nice to see her finally crumble a bit at the insane situation she's constantly finding herself in. I think she had to go through this period to grow as a ruler and person, and in the end it paid off, at least in my opinion. Lucius is a close second as far as favorites go. He shows great promise, virtue, and I think he'll be a much better Solon than Sirius.
Speaking of the devil, Sirius kind of got on my nerves this time. As established in the prior novels, he lacks a lot in the brain power category, but some of his reactions and orders simply didn't make enough sense to me to achieve full believability. I think if he would've had at least a minimum level of common sense it would've made things a little better. He kind of falls into old habits without any evidence to back it up, and it felt a bit too repetitive for me. Please make Lucius Solon soon, Painter!
The plot was really great. There's several acts in this book, and I enjoyed each one of them. The first part focuses more on the plots against Sofia and Lucius, then expands further as they head to neighboring lands in hopes of them joining Osteria. All of it was engaging, and I couldn't get enough. We also get a smidgen more mythological stories/references in here, and I loved every second of that.
Overall, this was quite the entertaining adventure for Sofia, and I can't wait to read what I expect will be a stellar end to this fun series.
Sirius has won the Solonship. While Sofia and her family rejoice in theiOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four and a half stars!
Sirius has won the Solonship. While Sofia and her family rejoice in their new status as heads of Osteria, the position they are in is extremely dangerous given the past two Solons. As Plautinius begins to affect Sirius's decisions, Sofia must remain vigilant to outsmart him, especially when their lives are on the line. Can she thwart this corrupt rule, or will she find herself compromised?
Man, this has got to be the most tragic of all the books in the series to date. It was heartbreaking to read this book, but I greatly enjoyed it.
Sofia, as always, was a great driving force for her family. She has to be clever from behind the scenes to help mold a better, altruistic Osteria. Her struggles were an intense chess game of strategy, and her emotions and actions were justified more than ever.
Sirius plays the perfect puppet (and idiot if you ask me), and Plautinius ... Well, I'm still gunning for a gruesome death for all his evil deeds. There is no limit to which he won't sink to just to make people miserable, and I was continually shocked by the plots he brought upon Osteria. Lucius became a new favorite mainly because he has a good head on his shoulders like Sofia. I really do hope he gets out of all of this in one piece.
This journey was heart wrenching. Heart. Wrenching! I have no idea how Sofia keeps it together and doesn't go on a murderous rampage. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat, and I really enjoyed the warfare going on in the first half of the book. It was extremely well thought out. Remind me never to get on this author's bad side. She could run an army! Plotwise I think this book is the best of the series so far. There were little bits where I felt the flow of the writing got a bit interrupted, but besides that this was another amazing yet depressing tale of Osteria.
Sofia Domna starts this book between a rock and a hard place. Her efforts to propel hOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four stars.
Sofia Domna starts this book between a rock and a hard place. Her efforts to propel her husband Sirius to the highest position of Solon have failed, and they spend their days living a humble existence on a farm he owns. But when a series of political upheavals occur, a glimmer of hope emerges. Could this be the chance Sofia and Sirius have been waiting for, or should they just quit while they're ahead?
This was a strong continuation of this series.
The characters, like before, were intriguing. Sofia continues to showcase her ability to adapt to her ever-changing life in this book. I swear, this woman is going to have like ten different lives by the time her struggle is over! Her penchant for strategy is tested as events unfold, and she puts her knowledge and resolve to the test. I wouldn't say she had a ton of character progression, but she does change in more subtle ways, ways that could affect her supposed future relationship with Papinias.
Of course I still loathe Plautinius (he's so easy to hate, little rat!) and am starting to believe that simple men like Sirius would never become anything without great women like Sofia behind them to gear them in the right direction.
The plot was pretty crazy! The theme of this book is definitely political upheavals, and each one was shocking. With each instance, Sofia, Sirius, and her allies have to scramble to adjust, and it's quite the rollercoaster. I did wish that Sofia was more directly involved in these crises instead of trying to move her chess pieces from a distance, but that's just my opinion.
Overall a good continuation to the series, and I can't wait to see what happens next! ...more
In a nutshell, this story is about the crew aboard a spaceship sOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this short story three and a half stars.
In a nutshell, this story is about the crew aboard a spaceship searching for other life out in the universe. When they approach a planet teeming with life they are excited, but when they interact with a dangerous species, they struggle to survive and analyze the strange aliens.
I had fun reading this short story. I was part of a BookFunnel promotion hosted by this author and out of curiosity decided to try out some of this author's works for free in return for signing up for their mailing list.
I will admit, I'm a little weird when it comes to second person POV. I've always been a bit leery of it, but I'm trying to broaden my horizons. This one was pretty good!
The main character is put into a terrible situation when she and her crew wake up from stasis to this new planet. I found it easy to relate to her dilemma, especially because it was no fault of her own and she did want the best thing for everyone. Her partner was supportive and protective of her, and overall the entire crew was the same way. It was nice to see that kind of teamwork on a space team.
The plot was fun, although I do have some quips. I found that the first half of the story kind of dragged for me, but the second half was really amazing and had plenty of action. The beginning felt more like an intro to everyone and that's fine, it just lingered too much for me. Once the crew started interacting with this foreign life on the planet I couldn't get enough. I will say that the ending did feel a bit abrupt, but it didn't bug me too much since this is a short story and I was well aware of that possibility going in.
Ultimately, this is a fun scifi short that was pretty entertaining. Definitely worth a quick read if you love space exploration!...more
Following the first novel in the series, Sofia Domna's tale of strife coOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four and a half stars!
Following the first novel in the series, Sofia Domna's tale of strife continues. With no way out of her marriage to Sirius, Sofia must come to terms with her new lot in life, that and the fact that Papinias works within the household. As Sofia tries to adjust, she finds just how unstable this new marriage and the kingdom of Osteria is.
This was a great continuation of the series, hands down.
The characters were really great, even better this time I would say. Sofia's hardship continues, and I think her character really progresses from where she started in the first book. No longer is she the hopeful young woman she once was, and if she's going to find some way out of this, it will take time and she will have to be cold and calculated. Like before, it was easy to root for her, and I really care about her as a character. She didn't ask for any of this insanity.
Other characters are starting to stand out too. First and foremost, I despised Plautinius. I enjoy a good hateable villain, and each time Plautinius did something vile I just kept picturing his head on a pike. Hopefully in time Sirius will truly see that Plautinius does not have his interests in mind. Either that or a mob tearing him to pieces wouldn't bug me.
I also thought it was interesting to see more shades of Papinias. He's not the same young man Sofia fell in love with, and he's far from perfect and prone to anger and resentment. It hurt to read some of these scenes!
Speaking of which, the plot was very entertaining. It was less focused on the mythological theme than I wanted, but I think that Painter's Hercules series may be more focused in that regard. I understand what the author wants to do with this story, and I'm all for it. This book had so much tension! I felt really bad for Sofia in so many of these scenes, but the drama of it all was really great. On the side, we also got to see some political upheavals in Osteria, and as boring as that may sound to an anti-political person like me, it was light and entertaining.
Filled with tension, heartache, and drama, this book was a great continuation to the series. I can't wait to read more!...more
I give this book four and a half fantastical stars!
I've become quite the fan of Painter's short stories and simOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this book four and a half fantastical stars!
I've become quite the fan of Painter's short stories and simply had to give this series a shot. I'm very glad I did!
In this premiere installment to the series, we meet Sofia Domna. She's a bright young woman who knows what she wants in life. To please the gods, to be married to her young lover Papinias. But when a random event breeds tragedy, Sofia's world is turned upside down. Can she figure out a way out of this, and if not, what will happen to the wonderful life she's known?
Hands down, this book was great.
I think what instantly drew me into it was the concept. I've had a deep love of Greek Mythology ever since a took a class on it in seventh grade. The world of Osteria is mysterious, fantastical, and promises to give us many, many great adventures. I enjoyed the little tidbits of mythology thrown in there. Gods, monsters, I loved all of it. Yes, this book wasn't centrally focused on the mythology, but I think we can expect some crazy journeys in this series.
I really enjoyed being in Sofia's POV. She's intelligent, headstrong, and determined, something that is hard to reel in when social standards dictate that women take the back seat more often than not. I think this constant tension helped draw me in further into the story. Sofia was easy to root for, and given the circumstances she's in her feelings are very easy to relate to.
The plot was riveting. I enjoyed getting to know Sofia, and when things take a turn for the worse I got even more into the story. I had to know how things were going to work out for her because I cared about her plight, and that really made me blaze through the pages. The concepts of gods and monsters was a key element to this world and can't be understated. I will admit that the first chapter or two didn't completely blow me away, but once I got to know Sofia a little better I was hooked and couldn't stop.
Overall, this was a great introduction to the world of Osteria filled with mystery, heartache, and fantasy, and I can't wait to continue!...more
I had high hopes for this book, but in the end I felt that it was just okay for me.Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel three stars.
I had high hopes for this book, but in the end I felt that it was just okay for me.
In a nutshell, this book is about the zombie apocalypse. Young teenagers Diego, Cali, and Wes traverse the scary landscape six months after the change, trying to figure out what direction they should go in with their new lives. This journey is fraught with action, chills, and heartache as they try to clutch to their humanity and persevere against the odds.
This book had a lot of potential with the elements it started with, but there were some things that detracted from my reading journey.
I think what worked most for me was the concept and general plot. Most of us have seen a number of zombie flicks or The Walking Dead, so we're not strangers to the concept of a zombie apocalypse. Walking into this felt like seeing an old friend. I liked the general world they were living in. It had plenty of zombies/changed, danger, and of course humans make things more complicated when they pair off in groups or factions. That way of life was reflected well here I think, especially from a teenager's point of view.
Our main characters are interesting. Diego, Cali, and Wes were part of a band together, and they had a lot of good dialogue between them. You could tell they had history, even if they didn't have a ton of depth (I mean, they're teenagers so that's understandable). Diego was the obvious favorite for me. He battled with what it meant to be human in this world, and I can see why he struggled to keep his humanity but feels forced to change himself, to become hardened in a way. I did think here and there some of the decisions they made were questionable (around the beginning and less throughout the second half), but again they are teenagers and probably don't know any better. They're just trying to do what they can.
I think the main thing that made this book less great in my eyes was the writing. Throughout the book the writing felt a bit disjointed. Sometimes sentences would cut off for no reason, or I'd have to backtrack a paragraph or two, only to find that something still felt off about the structure of the writing. Dialogue felt a tad too sporadic for me at times. Conversations could tend to get off subject before veering back to the original point. While I understand that is definitely the case in real life, reading it like that makes it a bit difficult to follow.
There was also something about the pacing that made the events of this book drag, especially with the second half. I wanted things to progress more quickly and found myself antsy to hurry forward because I didn't like what was currently happening.
Ultimately, this book was alright for me but I didn't feel wowed or inspired by it. While I can't quite recommend it, it did have plenty of adventure and battles that a zombie lover might go crazy over. If that's you, this may just be the right book for you. Happy reading!...more
While technically this should be a 3.5, I had to bump it down for a number of reasonOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book three stars.
While technically this should be a 3.5, I had to bump it down for a number of reasons.
Alright, so this time around we're in Cassie's POV. On a mission to stop the Yeerks from recovering a chunk of one of their ships, Cassie finds herself separated from the others. Seeking safety, she hides in a cargo hold, waking up to the nightmare that she's on a plane headed for God knows where. Can Cassie find a way out of this bind and make it home?
This book did have a lot of potential but I was a bit disappointed.
As usual, Cassie is, well, Cassie. Her character is portrayed very well throughout the book, and I felt that she had to make some tough decisions and didn't torture herself quite as much as she usually does. That being said, the other Animorphs are something of an afterthought. They're present at the beginning and end, but that's about it and there's nothing wrong with that. What I did feel was lacking was their teamwork effort. In the mission at the beginning Cassie is all on her own basically begging for her friends to answer her, and they only come in at the last minute to leave her stranded once again. It was really frustrating. Why didn't they tell her about the plan? And even if there is danger around, how could they just leave her hanging like that? It didn't make sense to me after all they've been through.
The plot was alright, but disjointed if you ask me. Nearly half of the book we spend getting Cassie to her destination, meaning we only get the last half to let the story fully develop. I would've preferred they cut down on the airport hijinks and spend more time on the main plot point.
Also, I feel that this book shouldn't be occurring this late in the game. What I mean is, these one-character journeys of survival would be better placed at the beginning. I would've loved to see this one as #14 instead of the actual #14, which was quite disappointing. It's just too late in the game for Cassie to go off on this relatively lower-stakes adventure. There are only ten books left. We need an amp up for the big finish, but we're not really getting that with this story or the other recent ones, and that is dragging my score down.
Is this book well-written? Sure! Just don't expect it to change the trajectory of this series by any means....more
In this novel we continue to follow Nimue's perspective after the evenOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel three and a half stars.
In this novel we continue to follow Nimue's perspective after the events of Eternal Myths. Nimue hopes for a quiet peaceful life after putting Merlin in his place, but when an old imprisoned foe escapes from her magical stasis, it sets forth a chain of events that threaten to topple the entire world of magic. Can Nimue figure out who's responsible for this and stop it in time?
I've been a fan of A.F. Stewart since reading Eternal Myths, and this was a fun adventure. This book had it's fair share of pros and cons, and it was really hard to decide on a final rating, more so than usual.
The characters were very entertaining to watch. Nimue has a slew of old friends that come out of the woodwork when things really hit the fan: Iseult, Vivienne, Morgan, etc. You could tell from their actions and dialogue that they had a past, and I felt it was very three-dimensional. I also very much liked that she took Martin in as an apprentice of sorts.
I do wish that there was a bit more character progression present, but that's tough to do when the characters are immortal and have reached this plateau of existence. Mainly I would've liked to see Nimue soften just a bit more. She ran a little cold in general, though I understand why.
The plot was off the chain! No, seriously, it was crazy! One thing leads to another as the dilemma unfolds, forcing Nimue and company to action to figure things out. I loved the magical element in this book, especially the battles. Holy moly were they entertaining! The alternate history of Arthurian legend was also quite riveting, and I liked Stewart's take on it.
At the same time, I feel that the plot was so fast-moving in general that at times it was hard to keep up where I was at and what step of the quest the characters were on. It could be just me, but here and there I just got a smidgen lost.
Overall this was an entertaining read. If you like Arthurian legends, this may just be the one for you!...more
In a nutshell, a transcriptionist has trouble believing an accident is truly a suicide when the recording from within the cab says differently. What he finds shocks his world to the core.
I liked the character Anderson. He cares about what happened to this poor victim, and that pushes him along this brief journey. Though he receives some serious warnings from his Sarge to let things go, Anderson goes with his gut and does the right thing. All around, Anderson is a good guy, and I was all for it.
The plot was simple but interesting. Anderson is trying to find out the true source of the victim's demise, which leads him along a dark path. Painter really captures the five senses in this story. Also, the writing was really great and easy to follow.
I will say that I wanted this story to be a bit longer and for Anderson to get even more ingrained in this strange happening, but that's my only real reservation here. I simply didn't want it to end.
If you're looking for a great lead-in to Halloween this may just be the perfect story for you!...more
Unfortunately I did not finish reading this book and stopped at 41%.
I've loved vampires ever since reading Anne ROriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
Unfortunately I did not finish reading this book and stopped at 41%.
I've loved vampires ever since reading Anne Rice back in high school. So it wasn't much of a stretch for me to give this one a go. Sadly, I couldn't continue on any further than where I got for several reasons, though I will say there were some positives to take away from my experience.
First and foremost, I did like Oskar and Eli as characters. I think that their interactions were strange and interesting, and that largely kept me going. Oskar is a victim of the bullies at school, and doesn't really know what else to do until his life is changed by meeting Eli. Eli has plenty of mystery built around them, and I enjoyed that element.
That being said, there are a lot more POV's than just Oskar and Eli, and I think overall these additional characters really slowed down the pace of the book to the point where I just wanted things to move forward. I do understand that they are a part of the story, but there's just too much back and forth and it took me away from what made the book most interesting.
The plot was intriguing and I was already familiar given that I had watched the movie years ago, but I felt that it was extremely similar to the film, so much that I often wandered why I didn't just watch the movie and be done with it. Don't get me wrong, there are interesting developments and not everything is exactly the same, but reading it is just a different experience, one that I didn't enjoy as much.
A central theme of this book besides bullying is pedophilia, and that also impacted my experience negatively. This theme was explored to an extent that made me uncomfortable, and I just don't think a lot of people will appreciate that.
Overall, this book was interesting, but due to an abundance of characters, a slow-moving plot, and the unnerving theme of pedophilia I cannot recommend this book....more
Mystery surrounds Arlen Hall, a supposedly haunted place that our main characOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this short story four stars!
Mystery surrounds Arlen Hall, a supposedly haunted place that our main character has pined over most of her life. When she gets a chance to own this paranormally active site, her persistence seems to have paid off. But as her dream comes to fruition, she learns she may have gotten much more than she bargained for.
This was a fun spooky read that got me in the Halloween spirit.
The setting was perfect. I mean, who doesn't love a haunted house? Arlen Hall has plenty of history, and I enjoyed exploring that aspect and all the drama and heartache it brought with it.
The main character is obsessed with this place, and I get that, especially since her ancestors owned it and it had backstory. I do wish that the character had a smidgeon more depth. I wanted there to be more behind the obsession than was present, but at just twelve pages, I think Tammie Painter did a pretty good job.
The chills and the mystery really kept me going, and I loved that ending!
Definitely worth a read if you're in the mood for a haunting! ...more
This book was a fun nostalgic read. I love vampires and the eighties, so why not havOriginal review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this novel four stars!
This book was a fun nostalgic read. I love vampires and the eighties, so why not have both?
In a nutshell this book is about a young guy named Rocky. He's never had a girlfriend, and when summer rolls around that's all he can think about. So when dark-haired, pale November enters his life, he's mesmerized. There's something about her that's just ... different. But as people start to go missing in his peaceful tourist-trap town, Rocky begins to fear for his life, November's, and his family's. This is going to be one summer he will never forget.
For a vampire-themed novel, this was pretty good.
The characters worked pretty well. Rocky is your average teenage kid. The hormones, the embarrassment from family, wanting to be liked. There's a lot about him to relate to, and that felt real. To be honest, I didn't like Rocky all that much at first, but he did grow on me. His POV was good, but not always the most entertaining if you ask me. Sometimes he got a little mopey, and while that's realistic given his age, I just wasn't all about it.
Enter Gabriel. He was my favorite at first and a big reason why this book worked. I enjoyed his little jaunts here and there. Definitely a hungry, flawed character, and I liked that he knew what he wanted and went for it. He struck out most vividly.
I also think Julie was written well as his sister.
The writing was simple and easy to read, and there wasn't too much purple prose going on.
Also, the plot was intriguing. I was worried this was going to be all about the romance, but far from it. The romance does come into play but it doesn't overpower the plot, and I commend the author for that. There was a good mix of horror, gore, and action throughout, and that's a big selling point for me. I did think that the climax near the end of the story felt a little underwhelming, but overall I was really pleased with almost everything.
All in all, this was a good solid read, and if you like vampires I think you'll enjoy this one. Definitely worth a peek!...more
Eternal Myths is a two-part short story cOriginal review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this ebook five fantastic stars!
Man oh man did I love this book!
Eternal Myths is a two-part short story collection focused on a main character Nimue and other recognizable characters from Camelot. Magic has made Nimue and others immortal, but just because life has been drab for a century or two doesn't mean something crazy isn't lurking around the corner!
I enjoyed everything about these stories.
The characters were great. Nimue is a no-nonsense character who is loyal to her friends but honestly wants to enjoy the rest of her immortality in peace. She's arguably the most grown up of the characters, although I also think she projects that image of herself. Either way, it's great, and I loved her personality and how it differed with each character based on their history. Other characters were executed well like Morgan, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake.
The plot was intriguing for both stories and had plenty of magic and mayhem. The first was a bit shorter and was more personal for Nimue, while the second was longer and finished out what the first story started flawlessly. I loved all the little twists and turns in each story, and I was captivated the entire time.
I am so glad I gave this author's work a chance. Her spin on mythology was mesmerizing, and her skill with the written word is amazing. Definitely give this one a shot!...more
I have to say, this was a phenomenal ending to the series, and I am veOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four and a half stars.
I have to say, this was a phenomenal ending to the series, and I am very happy I finished this series.
Continuing from the second book, a lot is up in the air. Citra and Rowan are seemingly gone, and Scythe Goddard is now in control of North Merica. With this new world order, the planet seems to be teetering on the edge of something chaotic. Can anyone stop Goddard and his insatiable lust for power and control before things get even worse?
There are so many great things about this book.
The characters, first and foremost were what really made this journey a great one. There are plenty of characters in this book, maybe technically too many, but Shusterman spins an interconnected web between them that makes each of them vital, salient to the plot. Obviously, Citra and Rowan are my favorites, and I enjoyed seeing them continue to fight for a better world. I will say that they didn't have as much progression as they did in books one and two, but that didn't bother me. I think they simply plateaued as people.
Greyson was probably the biggest shock for me. In the second book, he kind of came off as a poser to me, and going in I still had that feeling. But he really did grow on me and I think he had some great progression, enough to make me think at the end 'You're okay kiddo, you're okay.' I also loved Jeri's gender fluid character. They get major kudos for bringing attention to non-binary individuals as well as some major support through this novel.
The plot was riveting. We kind of start the book with a hard reset. The way back to a better world is going to be a rollercoaster ride, and that's exactly what we got. Mystery, action, and double crosses in spades!
I will admit that the first half of the book definitely had its slower moments, but at a certain point there's a shift and things just keep amping up. And those last 100 pages? That's why this is a four and a half star and not just four stars. I was blown away in those last pages. Obviously I can't spoil it for you, but I thought I knew what was going to happen and I was so wrong! I loved the shift that happened and the ending that resulted.
Overall, this book and series are unforgettable, and it ranks right up there with Lois Lowry's Giver series. If you like YA/Dystopian with a thoughtful twist, give this series a read! ...more
This book was a fun continuation of the series, though in my opinion it wasn't quiteOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four stars!
This book was a fun continuation of the series, though in my opinion it wasn't quite as great as the first one was.
Continuing from where we left off, our characters continue their journeys. Rowan has become a vigilante of sorts, seeking out Scythes who abuse their power, while Citra tries to uphold morality in her scythely ways. But a threat looms, ready to test not just Citra and Rowan, but the entire scythehood. Can they figure out who is behind the sinister events that unfold, or are these the last days of the scythedom?
There were plenty of great things about this novel, albeit with their own drawbacks.
Overall, the character were pretty decent. Citra hands down took the spotlight and shined. She stayed true to herself and strived to uphold her ideals. With the events that occur in this book, I think she does a pretty good job at damage control, even though she does show her young age here and there. No one's perfect, and her narrative showcased that.
Rowan's POV was fun. I especially enjoyed following his vigilante adventures in the beginning. However, things change at a certain point and I didn't have the best time. It was still mildly entertaining but I wasn't wowed by the direction it went in.
We also have a new MC named Greyson, but overall I felt his narrative was a bit vanilla. He's an average Joe kind of character that's been coddled by the Thunderhead, but I never really liked him all that much. Yeah, he goes through plenty of things, but he just came across to me as a poser. His role in this book is important, yes, but I just didn't get a real feel for him. He didn't stand out.
The plot was overall entertaining. It took a while for things to pick up (with the exception of Rowan), but once they did I really enjoyed it. We got some added immersion into this universe, and I liked all the added history and information on the scythes we were given. That being said, I wasn't the happiest about the events near the end. I'm not 100% convinced of what happened was all that realistic given the dystopian world they live in, but it was still a bunch of fun, and I'm curious to see where things go after the climax. I have a bad feeling!
Overall, this was a solid adventure and continuation of the series. It wasn't perfect, but it delivered an exciting journey filled with heartache, action, and ever-increasing stakes. Can't wait to read the next one!...more
I'm a big fan of Harmon's, and I was overall really happy with this book. Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four fantastic stars!
I'm a big fan of Harmon's, and I was overall really happy with this book.
In a nutshell, Suburban Secrets is a light mystery set in suburbia. Angela, a single mother, has enough of a hard time supporting her kid Grace and fitting into the landscape of overbearing parents, but when her best friend's kid goes missing, she scrambles to do the right thing. Can they find the child? Did he simply run off, or could something much darker have happened?
Let's start with characters. I personally liked the main character Angela. She has a lot of great traits. Intelligence, determination, resiliency. But she's also a good mom, and that resonated with me. She doubts herself in the sea of seemingly perfect parents, but she does what's right for her family and I had a lot of respect for her. I do feel like in small spots she may have overguessed herself a smidgen, but that's just my opinion and it didn't really hurt the journey of reading this book. Major shout out to Kate for being a great supporting character.
The plot was simple and started out pretty cozy, blossoming into something a bit more harrowing. I'm actually a fan of suburbs, so I enjoyed the surroundings and situations that were presented. It was easy to envision what was going on in each scene, and Harmon does it with ease. I enjoyed the mystery element presented and it really kept me turning those pages quickly.
The writing was nice and simple without too much fluff, so major kudos for Harmon using the KISS method. I'm big on that.
Overall, this was a solid mystery debut novel from this author and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. She's definitely got a bright future. Give this one a shot!...more
Can Travis Liebert do any wrong with his writing? Hmm, I don't thinOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this anthology four and a half stars!
Can Travis Liebert do any wrong with his writing? Hmm, I don't think so.
Having read several short stories by this author, Halloween seemed the perfect time of year to dig into this horror-themed novel of short stories, and I'm very glad I did. Here are my brief thoughts on each story within:
A fun, disturbing letter from a concerned father about his son and his 'guardian angel.' This reminded me of Rosemary's Baby, and I shudder to think what will happen next to this worried parent's son.
How powerful are the thoughts and energy we put into things? If you create something and disregard it does it fade away forever, or could it come back to haunt you? Very creepy!
When two college students venture into their campus's forbidden forest, their worlds are changed forever. But when they test how far to take this new secret things take a dark turn. Loved this one!
A police officer inherits a parrot after its former owner committed suicide. He quickly learns that it is far from an ordinary bird and may have dark, sinister intentions. Gripping and scary!
When a son moves in with his father suffering from dementia, he hardly takes a second glance at the old clown costume his dad used to wear. But when strange happenings take place, he begins to wonder if there might be something more ominous at work.
A diver investigates an ongoing set of disappearances near a local river, uncovering a dark and grisly evil. Atmospheric and mesmerizing.
After losing a close family member, a man searches out an estranged uncle and finds himself in a bizarre world filled with an irresistible darkness. I really enjoyed the progression of this one.
A man signs up on an app for odd jobs, only to realize much more is at play. Much, much more. The terror of this really struck me.
After attending his grandma's funeral, a man finds that there is more to his family than meets the eye, and it's nothing he could've ever imagined. Brief, but the plot moved very quickly and I enjoyed that.
Each of these stories was well thought out, expertly written, and most importantly, scary in some way or another. You can really tell that the author loves horror, and it makes all the difference. I would easily give at least six of the nine stories a 5 star rating, hence my rating of 4.5.
Overall, I'm continually impressed with how passionate Liebert is with the concept of horror, and I can't wait to read more of his work. Definitely give this anthology a read if you need some great scares!...more
This short story was great, and I enjoyed every murky minute of it.
In this tale, we follow a diver in his investigation of an ongoing set of disappearances near a local river. Through his sleuthing skills, he discovers a dark and grisly evil, one that he desperately hopes to thwart.
This story had it all. Mystery, chill factor, excitement.
I liked the main character. He's kind of your average Joe diver at first, but when he starts noticing odd things about these disappearances he can't let it go. In that way, he's a hero, and I found myself rooting for him the entire time. He desperately wants these disappearances to stop, and his heart's in the right place.
The plot was intriguing from the get go. I was curious about this river and why so many disappearances happened. I mean, people can be stupid, but the number of disappearances implies maybe something else is at work. That element of mystery really kept me going, and layer by layer we get further insight as the MC discovers small, startling truths.
This wasn't hardcore horror but more atmospheric in nature, and that really worked for me. You don't have to have tons of gore to have a scary story, and Liebert is proof of that.
This was a stunning read, and I can't wait to read more!...more
Unfortunately, I just don't think Holly Black's writing is for me.
This story is about a pair of siblings who have grown up around a mystery. An elven prince (they assume) has slept within a glass coffin in the woods for years. The local youth have parties out there, dancing, drinking, and making poor decisions. But when the coffin is found smashed open, the siblings decide to track the prince down.
I want to say I enjoyed what I read of this book, but I'd be lying to myself.
I think the one thing that kept me going was the premise. There are all sorts of mention of fae folk, and I wanted to see just how diverse these magical creatures were and how that fit into the siblings' world. Who doesn't like magic?
Unfortunately, we don't really get enough of it.
The book starts with a party in the woods. Hazel is there, sizing up guys because she wants to be a flirt and make out with somebody. Oh, the coffin? Yeah, it's there, but the author just wants to talk about how lonely Hazel is and how desperate she is for attention. Um, okay? Maybe they'll focus on the coffin later. Nope, that doesn't happen, at least not enough.
The plot just really wasn't moving anywhere for me. There's way too much description about the characters' clothing and meaningless whatnot and not enough happening. It was very boring to me and hard to keep going. Even when the plot does get going, we're randomly interrupted by poorly placed flashbacks that end up being an entire chapter.
Um, that's not how you execute a flashback. It totally took me out of the main plot and didn't give enough to the story. The flashbacks were just more dull high school drama, and as much as I love drama, its significance was minor at best.
The writing itself could've been a lot better. People say show vs. tell for a reason, and there were way too many info dumps along the way. I don't need someone to tell me how/why someone is the way they are. Let the reader discover that through the plot. I felt like I was being lectured the whole time. Certain events are clearly placed to try to make the reader feel sympathetic, but honestly I didn't really care all that much.
Which ties in to the character. I didn't really like any of them. Hazel is basic, and so is Ben. Hazel's desperation and lack of any admirable traits just bored me, and Ben wasn't much better. Both just seemed so intensely focused on a relationship to the point where it felt childish, especially when they lived in a magical part of the world. Who cares about a relationship when there's magic all around you?
It's hard for me to understand how this has a rating of 4+ after so many reviews, and I'm glad I didn't waste any money purchasing this.
Overall, this was a very disappointing read that lacked plot and character depth. It may be for you, but I would seriously consider reading a preview or borrowing it from your library before buying....more
This time, we are in Marco's POV. After discovering a potential Yeerk plOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four and a half stars!
This time, we are in Marco's POV. After discovering a potential Yeerk plot to infect the National Guard, the Animorphs split up into teams to address the threat. Marco's team's goal is to travel to the state capital and contact the governor about the Yeerk crisis, but with their lack of information can they really trust the governor isn't already infected? Is this just an exercise in futility?
This ramp up to the end of the series has been amazing. The last two books were wonderful, and this one is no different.
Marco's POV was great. His team is comprised of him, Ax, and Tobias, and I enjoyed the witty banter between them. Considering how dark things are getting it was nice to have a couple laughs here and there. Marco was portrayed expertly, and while he didn't necessarily have a ton of character progression, we did get to see just how far he's come from the beginning of this epic saga. Marco shows his intelligence, charm, and wit under chaotic circumstances, and he's not a bad temporary leader for Ax and Tobias.
Once again, the plot totally blew me away. Every scene was action-packed, and I loved every minute of it. The stakes are high, and the Yeerk's threat level only continues to increase. There's a constant sense of tension that really draws the reader in. I read this in two goes and simply couldn't put it down. Some of my favorite scenes were where they acquired the ducks and the end of the boat scene (not going to say any more than that to avoid spoilers).
One thing I would've liked to see reflected a bit more was the world's view on the events that were occurring. The Yeerks aren't really hiding anything anymore, so it's kind of hard to believe that people would carry on with their day like nothing's happening when there are crazy Dracon beams firing and intensified violence. Besides that, I have no complaints.
I really loved this book, and it easily made my favorites list of Animorphs books. Definitely worth a read! ...more
This time around we're in Rachel's POV, my personal favorite. Rachel isOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book three and a half stars.
This time around we're in Rachel's POV, my personal favorite. Rachel is going through some serious PTSD after all that she's been through and battling her darker side. If that wasn't enough, after a series of terrifying dreams, Rachel finds herself trapped underground in a cube. The culprit? David. Can Rachel figure a way out of this or will she have to negotiate with this selfish little rat (pun intended)?
This book was pretty good. I wanted to love it like all the other more recent ones (#45-47 has been a serious turning point), but there were a couple things that bugged me and dragged my score down a bit.
Let's start with Rachel. I enjoyed reading her POV like always. I think the PTSD that was portrayed made sense. I mean, there's only so many battles and questionable actions you can make before those actions catch up with you. I felt really bad for her, and I get where she's coming from. At the same time, her personality felt off. A central theme this time was animosity towards Jake, but for me it didn't work. Yes, they've had issues in the past with leadership and control of a situation, but ultimately they love each other because they are family. I didn't feel that was portrayed. It just centered on the negativity of everything and her PTSD, but her love for her cousin would have still been a big factor in the decision-making process given her situation.
The plot was fun, a little bit more on the psychological thriller side given Rachel's PTSD. But there is more at play than meets the eye, and that mystery was fun to be engaged in. At first, there didn't seem to be a lot at stake besides Rachel's fate, though that definitely changed as things went on. I particularly enjoyed Super-Rachel. I think her going through that really allowed her to see herself at her best and worst.
I will say, there was a point where she couldn't morph that didn't seem to make sense to me. I trailed back but couldn't find an explanation, so I took off some starage for that. Also, in general I think this adventure was a smidgen disappointing given how everything is so ramped up now. We didn't really get a sense of that in this book.
In the end, this book was a fun adventure. Yes, it was flawed, but it was still an important journey for Rachel to go through, and I enjoyed it. Worth a read if Rachel's your favorite!...more
The blurb pretty much explains it all. A husband named Jonah comes home one Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this short story three stars.
The blurb pretty much explains it all. A husband named Jonah comes home one night to find that his wife has apparently lost her marbles and is trying to sacrifice his daughter. Chaos ensues.
I wanted to love this story, but there were several things that just didn't hit the mark for me.
First off, the characters. The story centers around Jonah, his wife, and his daughter Madeline. I felt that overall the characters were perhaps a bit too simple. Yes, this is a short story, but we still have to have enough backstory to connect the dots and establish their personalities.
We did get a bit of backstory with his wife as far as how strange she was being, but there's not much more than that. By fleshing it out just a bit more, this story would've felt more complete. As is, the characters feel two-dimensional.
The plot was simple and definitely horror, but again, I wanted more. We get a smidgeon of buildup, then the rest of the story is gore and chaos. As much as I love my chaos, we went balls to the wall too quickly. I didn't have enough time to build any feelings towards the characters. On the gore, some of the extent of the physical damage from what happens didn't make enough sense to me. I also don't believe the chronology of the ending made complete sense either.
I do have to say that the technical level of writing was pretty solid, and that kept me going along. This was pretty easy to read, and I like that in anything I read. No purple prose here!
Overall, while this short story was fun, gory, and ambitious, the plot and characters could've been done better. On to the next read!...more
This is my first time reading this author's work, and it was very good!
The blurb pretty much explains the gist of the story, but in a nutshell, a son moves away from his mother and her crazy occult conspiracies only for her to contact him years later spouting the same insane ideas. Jason makes moves to ensure her mental health, but soon learns that everything may not be what it seems.
I really liked this story.
For me, the main thing was the writing. It was expertly done, didn't have any purple prose, and was exciting.
Jason's POV was handled well and I think a lot of people can sympathize with his plight. We all have that relative that we just can't stand for various reasons. We got a little bit of depth and backstory to Jason's life when he was younger, and I think it fleshed out the story without feeling info dumpy. Very hard to do with a short story, so major props to the author there.
Oh, and his mom? Creepy and a bit batshit crazy, which really intrigued me. There was an element of mystery about her that I enjoyed. I had a bad feeling from the start.
The horror itself didn't necessarily dominate the whole way through, but it's definitely there, and I think the author approached this in the right way.
I honestly don't have any complaints with this story. The only reason I didn't give this five stars is that I wasn't completely blown away, but this is an extremely solid story, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Unfortunately I only gave this short story two stars.
Just for clarification, I get no gratification out of givingOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
Unfortunately I only gave this short story two stars.
Just for clarification, I get no gratification out of giving low scores. Being an author myself, I know a lot of hard work goes into each work presented. However, there were a lot of things that didn't work for me on this read.
Before I take a trip down constructive criticism road, what did work for me was the concept. Haunted houses are a frequently visited theme in the realm of horror, and for good reason. They're super creepy and you never know what evil lurks in the darkness. Going in, I had high hopes but was quickly disappointed.
Overall I felt that the writing could be improved upon. The sentences don't flow as well as they could, and the metaphors/similes used are a bit weak. Since haunted houses are now somewhat cliche, this work needed to set itself apart, and on this level it didn't. It's not terrible, but has a lot of room for improvement.
The main character Heather was alright, but I didn't really develop any feeling for her. That's often the case with short stories, so I'm not surprised.
The plot was super simple, which I typically like. Friend gets dared into going into a haunted house and chaos ensues. Unfortunately, what does end up happening in the house wasn't really scary to me. I'll admit it is hard to scare me, but it didn't even come close. The 'scary' bits we do get are okay, but are just not executed as well as they could be on a writing level.
In the end, I just didn't have much of a reaction to this story. If it was revised and the flow improved upon, it may become a three or even four star read, but until that day comes this story is forgettable in my opinion and I cannot recommend in its present form....more
I give this short story four and a half fangtastic stars!
This was a great short story.
In a nutshell, a vampire struggles with his marriage while trying to make sure his son succeeds at school, all while resisting the urge to feed. What a nightmare!
The characters were great. We got a lot of great information about Vlad our MC, and none of the backstory felt like an info dump. He's been so used to his 9 to 5 life that when his hunger and restlessness comes back with a vengeance it's really hard for him to control. It was great seeing that struggle as well as the strained interactions with his family and others.
The concept and plot was simple. Dysfunctional family with a vampire dad? Sign me up! Vlad's feeling a bit estranged and is going through the motions of figuring out what he needs and why he's feeling so off. While this wasn't too action-packed, we get little displays of Vlad's power, and I seriously enjoyed every bit of that. The story had depth, which is hard to pull off for a short story.
I really enjoyed the writing style, which felt poetic at times, but didn't have much purple prose if any.
If I had to pick at anything, there were bits in the beginning that tripped me up with the writing, but it wasn't anything too serious.
In the end, this was a great short story that blew me out of the water. Can't recommend more!...more
I really enjoyed this read. It came at the recommendation of a Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four and a half fabulous stars!
I really enjoyed this read. It came at the recommendation of a friend, and I was sold after noticing the genres presented were a combination of apocalyptic, horror, and superpowers. I love all of those things, so I was super excited.
In a nutshell, this book is about a post-apocalyptic world where a group of super-powered 'apostles' and their 'prince' have caused the end of the world. Now the world is an echo of what it once was, and the prince spends his time ensuring no one else threatens his supremacy over New York City. But when a young girl is visited by the prince, it sets off a series of events that threaten to topple his empire.
There were so many great things about the book.
I think my favorite element was the characters. There was a large cast of characters, and though that usually is a negative for me, it really worked well in this story. I had this childlike excitement about getting to know all the apostles and what their powers were. I guess some things never cease to mesmerize me. Each character had a distinct personality that set them apart, which can be hard to pull off given the length of this book.
The plot was extremely fascinating. I mean, you have a world that already ended, and with that comes a ton of questions. What happened? What is life like now? Will the world recover? There's a whole world to explore in this novel, and I enjoyed the apocalyptic theme immensely. The prince is convinced that someone is trying to take away his empire, and there's a huge element of mystery throughout where he and his disciples are trying to figure it out. It was a fun ride!
I also liked the dark theme in the writing. It can be quite hard to pull off, but through the characters we get to experience their unique losses, and that helped flesh out this despairing world in a somber view.
If I had to pick at anything, I would say near the end I think the writing might've gotten a smidge clunky here and there, and Dina's viewpoint, while strong, didn't really capture my attention all that much, although I could easily blame it on the amazing superpowered apostles that I loved.
All in all, this was a wonderful book, and I'm excited to read more of this author's works in the future. Definitely worth a read!...more