Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ties (Lengths, #4) by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt

Ties (Lengths, #4)Ties by Steph Campbell

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

TIES was going to be my favorite in the series.

SHE was going to be my favorite lead. What was doing it for me was her planning and seeing things a certain way. What was doing it was   her non-fussiness about matters. What was working was how non-drama she was. She was all about 'drama notwithstanding.' (I LOVED that.) There's all the background on who she has and who she doesn't have, yet it's not all that determines her choices (except, maybe it was?)

HE could have been my second favorite after Deo in Lengths with him all about the race being in perfect contrast to her. What I was liking was the succinct, accurate summing up of who they were by him (truly, what a pair of clichés they were!) What was doing it was how He WAS such a screw up, but moving beyond the same. A lot like Lengths, the pair here have got a past BUT not completely bogged down by the same (him more than her) That the past matters is true...yet it's not all that does.

What killed it for me was the lousy translation. Tagalog isn't all that different from English in terms of conjugating verbs… that is having an ACTUAL verb might help, you know? I never thought myself a grammar nitpicker, but darn it, there are two of you collaborating on this one and then there’s the wonderful world of teh interwebz at both your fingertips so that you could so easily have found out that “Siya nagbigay” is missing a linking verb and that “pag-ibig” is a noun and not a verb!

To clarify, I was LOVING most everything in this till that popped up.. at 96% Way to ruin it for me, folks!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

LIMITS (Lengths #3) by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt

Limits (Lengths, #3)Limits by Steph Campbell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

so, i do love dork (but not complete) dork leads. but adam and gen did not quite do it for me. mainly it's him and his wanting what's best for her at her doing. it sounds right and should have felt right  unless you wonder further why he had to be the one to bring  about such moments. And it’s not the little june cleaver moments that had me squinting if I was actually reading what I was reading, because it’s choice, right? Rather it’s the insecurity in her that's later contradicted by how sure she could be in other aspects… that’s what felt off.

the bit about family not knowing her was good an interesting take though because here family in fact doesn’t know best. However, in their place is scientist overachiever man!. why do i hate that fact? why, when later she's all sorts of better than before. maybe, no, surely, it's because she could have become all she eventually became withouthim. at least  that's what i hope would have happened.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Dear KillerDear Killer by Katherine Ewell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting. How matter of fact and unapologetic things progressed; then even more interesting, each touch outside teenaged-love triangles-post-apocalyptic-dystopian-what-not that’s come typify loads of YA I’ve read to date is made; but the most fascinating? The growth on her part, the peeking through of her ‘normal,’ of her ‘humanity’ beyond how perfect she was in what she was doing. In other words, Perfect Killer could be more (or less?) too.

Would it better to say DEAR KILLER isn’t ‘YA’? Where the lead just happens to be a younger one in a story that delves (or attempts to delve) deeper into questions of what is and isn’t moral; then crosses over into what’s acceptable, what’s expected and what’s needed; then throws things like PLACES and ROLES with her as daughter, mother as teacher, friend as tools, and people as props and finally monsters as some sort of social necessity. Perhaps it would.

Yet despite all of how creative thins got, the story wasn’t perfect. My enjoyment of things is pulled short by thoughts of “the boy I could love” slipping in (I’m sorry, but that’s so YA!) It’s pulled back even further by the Big Incomprehensibles of how that connection between Alex and her starts at all.  (It still makes little sense to me as it’s too convenient and too easy in the occurrence.) Even more mind boggling was how obvious it should have been; the cat-and-mouse, you’re after me except you don’t know it. *nose scrunch* Well, nothing is perfect, even is the story is about a “perfect” killer.

So, if only I could get past those issues… because this was working on a couple of levels for me. First, all things done are justified. As seen through her eyes, these justifications almost made sense. Second, (and this is what’s got me uncertain,) the psychological bit of a girl, split between her as regular girl and her as the one shaped to have this very peculiar view of the world and the people in it. I almost didn’t want the second present! It felt like a reason was being given to explain why she’s not like everyone else. Couldn’t she have just been? Seeing that other half, it felt as if the “unapologetic” straightforwardness the story started on was cut at its knees… because now, we had a basis for how she could deal and maybe even why she was the way she was. 

Thank you, Edelweiss!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont

Meet Me at the RiverMeet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved….

… That no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t love any of them completely ~ or hate them for that matter, because they all just were. She’s sad and going on ~ or struggling to, while he’s after-Luke, unable to move on.

… How the story isn’t just theirs, but touches on other lives as well.  In particular there’s that almost mirroring in who her mother was to who his father, made more by those admissions of Romeo/Juliet and vice.

Mirroring but in the opposite because where the younger are meant, there’s a measure of forcing one thing where it isn’t normally for their parents. And that’s what’s screwed up. It’s their own love story that should have been heart breaking, but it's also the same that's left me aware that not one of them is perfect. With the realizations on who another really is and then moving on from there, MEET ME AT THE RIVER is clearly more than just a girl struggling at being alive.

… That there’s all these thoughts voiced out on suicide and one’s place and commitments made; and then there’s all these other (not-foreign-at-all) notions on belonging and loving and devotion but there’s their inverse, as well, of being stifled, needing (wanting) to be free, or freer as the case applied.

It’s to the last that a selfishness seeps through; it’s a selfishness that’s much appreciated. Early moments are all done on tip-toe; but things progress and the ”real” comes out. What’s better is what’s real isn’t always what you’d want. Again, there’s that selfishness. Again, there’s that want. And again, there’s that need. It’s all very true but never easy to witness.

…But the thing is it's not always the negative truth that’s revealed; there’s the easier newer things, as well (because to term it as “positive” feels like a stretch) entry of HJ and Evie and the re-emergence of the mother she knew.

It’s HJ that I’m loving the most though… him and his advice of “just the next day” and “just a little bit.” So wrong… but somehow right (in a way.) There’s a shared thing between them… and based on that a growing connection. It’s the newness of who he could be and her having to decide on what that was. It all rang of possibilities that she’s slow to open her eyes to. And darn it, but slow moments always feel right to me.

… That this is a multifaceted sort of haunting. In fact it’s more than being haunted. Sure, there’s the more literal one after-Luke, but there’s the deeper type of wanting to turn back time to  do one thing or another thing or a host of others differently.  And then there’s the way that they all put their truth forth; they all do so in ways I dare not would have but likely thought anyway. So, it’s not linear story: at least for Luke, things go from a past without her, to one with her, then shifts to the present with him on the sidelines. But for her, it’s all that coupled with the uncertainty of what’s to come as well as that ever present feeling of guilt over so many things.

So, while I can’t say I love them, I did love this story.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

No One Else Can Have YouNo One Else Can Have You by Kathleen  Hale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I love this because it’s so unexpected.

No One Else Can Have You is surprisingly funny. The gruesome start is almost out of place in how funny odd ball Kippy could be... except she’s not the only odd ball. Still, the gruesome stayed gruesome but wasn’t the focus; it’s all the inside knowledge on grief and what ought to be and what state you should be in, then all the nice but only to your face bits on her part that was.  It’s also rife with hypocrisy that one sh/could hate, but the surprising thing is they could be so frigging funny while at it.

There’s this clear split with her as odd girl out, and it’s made even clearer by the “niceness” of people and the two faced-ness of the goings-on. The obviously wrong things are let slide and almost everyone, save her, is eager to move on.

Yet, even when what she was saying was making sense, there’s still a part of me unsure about her because she’s damaged and yet sweet and, yes, sometimes too good to be true. It couldn’t be that she was the only one seeing things clearly? Right? So, yeah, there’s this whole thing about unreliable narrators AND me knowing that she’s not the only one … because you have to consider the context, and it’ seemed from her way of telling that it’s the context that’s unreliable. All that had me recalling Fargo, especially with each bumbling and too easy fix put forth. But NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU became not-quite that as it progressed. As in, things got odder then odder and then veered toward the unexpected of the serious bits getting glossed over and the scary bits not being quite scary in favor of it all being funnily told.

Well, look at that… now I’m not sure if I loved this or just liked it!!! Gaaahhh!

Thank you, Edelweiss!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Riptides: A Lengths Novella (Lengths, #4.5) by Steph Campbell

Riptides: A Lengths Novella (Lengths, #4.5)Riptides: A Lengths Novella by Steph Campbell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There’s one too many surfing for love analogies in this one… except as I consider the title and the series this novella is part of, perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised or be as annoyed as I am. Except I am annoyed… bail out this and something tree that plus that distinctly uncomfortable comparison of something else to blowing one’s load? Gah… that was so not what I wanted to be reading!

What I did like: The full circle thing going for some of the old characters. More on how it’s the guy who’s being mushy and feeling like he’s missing out on something. What a refreshing turn around in that was.

I know I’m going to read the books I’ve skipped… because how they end up here, I am curious to see how they started.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Unsouled (Unwind Dystology #3) by Neal Shuterman

UnSouled (Unwind, #3)UnSouled by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s more than one new character, there’s the already screwy characters getting screwier with each page, then there’s pasts uncovered as well as true intentions revealed! Long have I been a fan of these books and with things progressing as they did in this installment that feeling has only become stronger.

The very fact that so many things were going on should have put me off.  Except the longer I think on it, the clearer it is that each storyline in this makes the whole arc stand out. Nothing in this was going to get resolved easily even if I felt that some of the drama had been (needlessly?) prolonged even if I felt things were made even more complicated with each new introduction and each unexpected twist.

And the twists! Holy Moe... Lev is different, Connor is showing more and more of his soft side, and Risa (I could have done with a bit more of Risa.) Or the (re) introductions of Starkey and Cam and Hayden and Bam; seeing things through their eyes it’s clear they’re not all bad, but not quite good either. Some of them are more “complicated” than others: I love that.

I love how, for some of them, there’s a line and they’re not quite firmly entrenched in where you think they belong. There’s so much room for surprises because of that. Then of course, the actual introductions of Grace and Argent; they’ve made it so there’s even more people to keep track of! 

Extending the series to book four as they did was the right call because even I’m slightly desperate to get to that conclusion pushing two hundred pages more would have made the story too convoluted with all the players and their respective motivations and back stories.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fifteen Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins

Fifteen Days Without a HeadFifteen Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

He’s 15. He’s 15. He’s 15. I kept reminding myself that the kid was 15 because each act/thought on his part had me feeling like he should be acting older or thinking older, yet there would be instances of him not being and not doing so. The consequence: him come across as a tad young.

It reads like that movie of that kid on his own with a kid brother to look after! Dude, the magazine cut outs for food! Dude, ketchup soup! Endearing AND heart breaking... and if that’s the effect Fifteen Days was going for, it succeeded. You couldn’t help wanting something else for them. But when things went toward the too-odd that I don’t think a fifteen year old would do the same, well the feels couldn’t keep me from doubting. There’s a shift to rooting for him and wanting to hug the kid, to simply needing to see how things pan out.

While nothing is easy for the guy… things are suspended somehow. It’s that in between moment of him seeing bad things about to happen and him not knowing what to do. So he just goes about his business, tries to make do… but there’s also those moments of absurd. It’s not even the nosy neighbors and well meaning friends or kid brother as Scooby that’s absurd, NO those things actually made sense to me! it’s his (non) reactions, refusal to move on and going like nothing’s dong that got me. Then desperate moments of dress up, and him and his fantasies of holidays on the horizon? Absurd? Or maybe, just heartbreaking because it’s with these impossibilities that he’s making do.

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Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein

PremeditatedPremeditated by Josin L. McQuein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I knew it… I KNEW it… Every single reveal here isn’t necessarily a surprising reveal because anyone with a lick of sense and a moment or two for Scooby would likely have pieced things together. But like Scooby of old, it was entertaining, seeing things play out as they did in this one.

Except maybe my Scooby comparison isn’t a fair one as it lends itself to the idea that maybe Premeditated could be too juvenile? Maybe a Buffy comparison is best? How as one watched there’s the “I think I know what’s coming next” but that’s OK because Xander or Willow or Cordi or Buffy or the Wolf boy (seth, was it?) was funny anyway. That’s how they all read! (Yes, Buffy fan I am (was?) And though I may not know the title to every episode, I don’t think I actually missed one. Considering this was way before cable in Philippines achieving said feat required devotion and fancy handwork on my part to render the remote inaccessible for a little under an hour.

But back to Premeditated: something in all of them had me entertained. There’s a quick smart way she thought things through even when she wasn’t doing the smart thing. All of them read like that… plus, the brief drama moment of her slipping into someone else’s skin and pain and baring it? Compounded with the funny easy moments of her and who she was and her friends? I loved that too. For some reason Brucey has me thinking of Mean Girls… though why I still can’t explain.

Mystery. There’s next to none because frankly from get-o it’s obvious who did what and it’s obvious who didn’t. But her piecing it together and her being herself then not being herself? It’s all that that had me speeding through this. So yeah, it’s obvious the same way that Scooby and Shaggy could et.., but it’s entertaining in the same way all those buddy shows and TV are. There’s a true connection and awareness that those you like aren’t always perfect and they shouldn’t be.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy, #3) by Karina Halle

Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy, #3)Bold Tricks by Karina Halle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Bold Tricks is not of the same caliber as the first two books even if by no stretch would I claim to be a Ellie/Camden fan girl. Both instances I was done reading, I still felt like I was missing something in that sad way when you’re out of the loop and not one of the cool kids. But seriously, I couldn’t quite grasp what the fuss was.

The first book was two screwed up people screwing each other over. The second book was three screwed up people doing the same. What made the two installments work was neither over dramatic declarations at the heels of slowly made realizations that each were prone to make, nor the crazy/deadly situations that they found themselves party to, but the people themselves.

What worked, for me at least, was how not perfectly good nor perfectly bad any of them were (despite what others had to say.) What worked were the things going on between them. Here there’s little of that and nothing was… happening with one burdened with guilt (again,) and another, burdened with the need to be OK with things (when the opposite is so obviously apparent) And the other one! The other made no sense at all. It’s sexy, yes, but the lack of sense in what any of them were doing hampered my enjoyment a bit.

Plus, talk about how out of nowhere certain things came! That thing with her mother? That work up toward the epilogue… where’d this maternal come from?

So rating the three: the first was the best, the second OK. And this one? It was something.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Simple Perfection (Perfection, #2; Rosemary Beach, #5) by Abbi Glines

Simple Perfection (Perfection, #2; Rosemary Beach, #5)Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Consider SIMPLE PERFECTION more padding for my Personal Book Challenge. 350 for 2013, here I come!  I saw the cover, wondered over who it would be about this time around, wondered some more if there'd be something (anything?) new in it. I tried... no, seriously, I did, to to keep myself from picking it up. Then failed and allowed myself a three hour stint of eye-roll this and oi-vey that.

Suffice to say, I felt the very same things I did in reading Breathe,The Vincent Boys, and Fallen Too Far. And yes, in case you're wondering: I have read ALL books in each those series. Though why I bother is a mystery all its own... given the 1's and 2's I've given. Is it eternal optimism on my part hoping for something good to finally come out from all the drama? Or would it be more accurate to say that it's me taking some twisted comfort out of the consistency they offer? Though "consistency" in this instance is so far from a good thing. I mean it's basically the same story told then retold, with only cover and name actually varying.

What I've come to expect out of
an AG contemporary "NA":

1. Rich guy.
2. Poor girl.
3. Hot sex.
4. Drama.
5. Drama.
6. And oh, wait... some more drama. 

What I got out of SIMPLE PERFECTION:
1. Rich guy.
2. Poor girl.
3. Hot sex.
4. Drama.
5. Drama.
6. And oh, wait... some more drama.

Huh. Color me surprised.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and BeautyOf Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  I am her monster. And she is mine.

Duuuude, my face! It’s been ages and ages since an ending left me feeling as I am right now. I love how this wasn’t at all simplistic in this is the bad guy and that’s the good guy, rather they could ALL be partly both. She’s not Belle perfect. He’s not all cute but scary ala giant Taz looking fella. I love how the both of them could be wrong then right in their assessment of things and of each other. There’s growth here… growth in the two as characters; growth between them as a pair. Then there’s our would-be Gaston… who wasn’t just that. It’s not a simple matter loving/liking/hating any of them as there are layers to all of them.

It’s a richly imagined world of divided people, with deals to carry out and histories forgotten, plus a certain someone bearing a burden. What you think is going to happen does but with a twist… sometimes big unexpected wholly delicious twists at that! It’s retellings like this that have me loving retellings all over again because long has it been since both MC’s have had me enjoying them for very different reasons. Often it’s the girl lead that’s got me rooted; other times it’s the boy. In this they both did it for me… wait: they all did.

Not a thing in this comes easily for any of them and I liked it. That push-push-pull between them, the outside looking in of one then te other, then the slow peeling away of preconceptions to what was? All of it’s very well done. Plus there’s the fact that Isra’s not that easy to love, and neither is Gem. The baddy, for that matter, you think you’re supposed to hate him… except that’s more easily said than done. Because the lot of them are layers and layer of sometimes predictable then a bit of unexpected. How to put it? It’s like they’re all sort of familiar but take the thing I expected and go a different route instead… but still keeping to the original thing that drew me to them in the first place. Or something like that. It was immensely enjoyable is what I’m saying… a little bit of the old with a lot of the new… but not redundant but not too out there either.

So the world’s split and things have been kept hidden, Only with her do we discover how far from perfect it all is. It’s in those imperfections that more come out still. How she’s not just Queen Isra with duty to be done. How he isn’t just warrior Gem and his hate. There’s that personal bit to the two of them- her and her freedom; him and his family? Not as simple as you think they are because between the two who’s the Beauty and the Beast?  And it was fun discovering just who was who and what not.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rock and a Hard Place by Angie Stanton

Rock and a Hard Place (The Jamieson Collection, #1)Rock and a Hard Place by Angie Stanton

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You cannot imagine how many instances my eyes rolled! He's a too perfect. Sweet, sensitive, 'shy' type who also happens to be a rock star. She's perfect... for him. How did he view her, let me put it this way: pedestal required.

Truly though, it's mainly how he repeatedly goes on and on and on that he's her everything. That he's IT for him... in his estimation. There's growth, but it came ever so slowly. That winning moment of her about face on who she was and who he was and what they both needed: it was something the two desperately needed. 'Till that sweet sappy ending that cut it short came around.

My rating on this started at a two, stayed for the LONGEST time, was moving up to a maybe-3, then plummeted to a 1.5 rating with it ending as it did.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Elusion by Claudia Gabel

ElusionElusion by Claudia Gabel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There’s the too easy way in which people come into the story. Need a random new hot guy? Here he is. Need a bloody bestie who sees the other in a different light?? Well, there’s one too. Or what of an unknown baddy off to the sides doing god knows what? Well there’s mentions of that as well. And what of a lead who’s too smart for her own good but not as smart as the rest of them most of the time? Well, we’ve got one of those too.

Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is: almost every other element in this is something we’ve encountered in some shape or form before. The bestie you don’t know how you feel about. The new guy with grey pewter eyes. The smart girl but not smart enough. The parents who are gone but may be not.

Where it strives to make a mark is outside the players. It’s the world that’s different. Supposedly. I think. The world’s been destroyed because of something man has done. The people are trying to make do with what they have and what they remember. Enter the Big Bad making old meet new. There are unforeseen consequences. Or are they?
Unforeseen, I mean?

The virtual world with bad bad bad things lurking should have sounded new and exciting to me, but it didn’t… and I honestly can’t tell you why. I should have loved those vivid descriptions of old world seen anew… I should have loved how everything was possible… and that may have been it: everything was too easy, too possible, with too many obvious answers.

Plus, there’s how she manages to know just the right amount but always never enough, or how the right guy shows up at just the right time, or how things are moving forward with her always there at the right time (wrong time?) It should have all worked and had me excited… except I didn’t and I wasn’t.

Thank you, Edelweiss!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought I was over this... early moments had me thinking this is the same drama all over again! I mean, really how many times must a rebellion be had? How many instances must it be them doling out whoop ass? Or how many more of those long drawn drama moments of him mis-assessing her then her flying off the handle would they subject themselves (and me) to before it was clear that they're equally strong but equally messed up?

Yes… frankly, I thought myself over all of the 'Didn't this just happen?' and 'Haven't we just been over this?' moments.

Clearly, I was being stupid.

Because the feels, people! There were many varied feels that snuck  up on me. Loads of it happens close to the end, sure... and I kind of  feel it's about the biggest thing that worked. But that's key, right?  That something worked? So, the feels. so many there were! That even if I may have been over them fighting all the danged time or them and dealing with yet another unmasked secret, well... I wasn't over them.

For me, Allegiant was all about the connections: both those they were so desperate for, as well as those they could do without. The most obvious: that between Tris and Tobias. They’re what’s got me swoony-happy when they were swoony-happy themselves, but equally pissed when they were likewise. As said, had we not gone through all that with them before already? Except it’s when they clicked and when they were seeing the truth of who they were for each other that’s got me *heart go boom*:


I used to think that when people fell in love they landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. and maybe that’s true of the beginnings, but it’s not true of this, now.

I fell in love with him. But I don’t have just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, everyday that i wake up, everyday that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other.

I choose him over and over again..

And he chooses me.

But even beyond the two as a pair, there’s how all those other connections they had that allowed for all sorts of confrontations/dealing with’s/letting go’s to happen. And I tell, you… the feels were strong in this one. It’s made the conclusion so much more than the not-quite dystopia that Divergent was and definitely more than the romance-to-the front that Insurgent turned into.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Come Alive (Experiment in Terror, #7) by Karina Halle

Come Alive (Experiment in Terror, #7)Come Alive by Karina Halle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

EiT 7… It’s good to know that he could still be jerk. Dex of old (as in 1through 4) is back with  a vengeance and I liked that I could dislike him so! The Dex 2.0 and his you are my light-ing could read too much like all the other NA’s I’ve loathed of late as in Alpha dude turned mushy. He’s not completely so this time around.

That aside, the scary in this one was still not really scary. Interesting, is what I’ll give it. Halle sure isn’t afraid of sticking her characters in the oddest of situations. And even better, she sure isn’t afraid of making them feel silly. Oh God! The flashbacks to my childhood; I haven’t laughed so hard at something I’d read in such a long time. Better: the laughs weren’t even unintentional. I am now officially seeing what’s charming in the guy. I dare you not to cringe/laugh with “A little bit of Perry by my side..” to the tune of Mambo #5  running through your head.

This was fun, if not scary.
I can’t wait for # 8

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror, #6) by Karina Halle

Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror, #6)Into the Hollow by Karina Halle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book 6… and holy moly! Sooo, if book 2 had Perry seeing Dex for the man he was, here it’s her seeing him for who he is. I’m slightly surprised by this as she’s come a long way from pegging him the creeper odd ball, to the funny and not quite regular Joe to this Dex: all you are my light and devoted. Frankly, I didn’t enjoy this version of him… but I suppose it’s been a long time coming and some HEA’s are called for. I do like seeing things being less about Perry and her woe is me, and things being more about the damage they’ve caused each other. It’s not all about her, it’s them.

Then there’s scary. Or in this case, the not scary at all. There’s been slow build up on that ghost connection the two have from 2 til 4, yet the scary here isn’t about that at all. The scary in this one was of the unexpected variety. Yet, funny too because I simply couldn’t buy it; then there’s how the scary is made less so with each funny Twatwaffle dropped.

On to the want next one now.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4) by Karina Halle

Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)Lying Season by Karina Halle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lying Season. I am feeling the strongest urge to punch somebody… that somebody being Dex, most likely. While I love that were seeing more of what makes him ‘him,’ I’d have loved a bit more of what made the third book work for me. This wasn’t scary, it’s heavy on the relationship drama and less on the scary. I wasn’t surprised by the big reveals; I was, however, caught up in what the pair were becoming for each other. Oh, the complications! Oh the insecurity! Oh, what a douche canoe he could be! The pair of them work for me… and I want more… even if I want(ed) to punch one or the other or both of them at given moments.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle

Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3)Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is the best one yet. Interesting choice of setting making everything in it just bit more scary than say people turning into animals or you know killer kelp, even if we still have vegetation with murderous tendencies in this one. Now, cheesy as I have just made all that sound, this was actually good in terms of potential and actual scares scary as well as the “deeper” aspects.

The scary. This is the first book that I actually do consider scary. It may have been the whole roughing it scenario because what’s scarier than having one’s bum left vulnerable to god knows what? Picture what could happen! Terrifying. Plus, animals! You’d think me tired of creepy ass animals especially considering all that book two was about, but the goings on in this one actually had me jumpy. Think Snow White and her scary forest. I was terrified for her because scary eyes behind gnarled branches in the right light (wrong light) can be pretty scary:

(view spoiler)

Not so cute:
(view spoiler)

(view spoiler)

(view spoiler)

So animals being animals –and not those morphing into something else- is what’s got me liking this for no other reasons than that they were being animals in the forest. Now, ask yourself this, what do they do out there?

The deeper. No more idol hero worship, she’s seeing him for who he is. Her “You're just a man” had me impressed, as it’s a reversal of what we typically get. Rather than each thing having her deeper for the guy; rather than each little quirk, foible, thing of his being endearing to her, here we have several eye opening moments that maybe he’s not all that. But it’s not a one way street, because neither is she to him! That other bit of him propping her up, bolstering her confidence and getting her to see herself for herself was equally good, but what I’m trying to get at is this is not just all about what’s frightful. There are genuine moments between the two that makes me see them as more than the douche moody guy and her the needy naive one.

Next one, please.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)The Falconer by Elizabeth  May

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Violence and angsting and (the not) grieving and then some romancing... but mainly it’s all the killing that takes place (sometimes in big explosive fashion) that’s made reading FALCONER remarkable. Well, that and the scary faeries… think V’lane except with a dash of whatever made scarymysteriousterrifying Barrons all scarymysteriousterrifying. And then go back to the killing again.

It’s the laid out violence that makes it clear: she’s a kick-ass lead and this? This is a kick-ass book.  And, sure, there’s the Vlane/Barrons type all hot and mesmerize-y… but there’s also all the creative little steampunk bits made even better as it is creativity present in kick-ass girl lead. So kick-ass with the smarts!

Yet beyond the big different things: there’s the smaller more personal aspect, too. Particularly that thing pushing her to do what she’s doing and owning what’s become of her. it’s this that reveals the ‘something’ more here.

So, let’s break Falconer down: (a) It takes turns being kick ass and then even more kick ass. (b) There’s V’lane/Barrons/V’lane feeling male lead in this one; complete with the never trust the fae thing. I am now craving a reread of Moning’s Fever books. (c) The soft doesn’t drown out the hard… there’s intensity in the violence and it isn’t shy about it; it revels in the same.

If there's any negative to say about this: it would be that it ended almost too soon.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth That's In MeAll the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry It’s a slowly worked out story told with that rare second person point of view that's used quite brilliantly. One would think they were forced into it… except, I didn't. Mainly because it’s all those different bits that have it standing apart from what’s popular now. It’s different but in a good way… no, in an outstanding way.

The time its set isn’t even the biggest significant thing in it because it wouldn’t have been too hard of a stretch on my part to picture her in some other time, those Puritan notions, the other bits of daughter, mother, and duty… all there, but not limiting the story to just those. And while it’s not everyday I read anything about the Puritans, but to read this and her history, I’m pleasantly surprised with the turn of things in this one. Because it’s all about her and her backstory: she’s different from those around her, and it’s that same story that added another layer of different. It’s got the makings of a psychological thriller, but it’s historical and then romantic: a combination I don’t think I’ve encountered…ever.

Now, despite the time in the story, it’s not really such stretch to picture in some other time. It’s all her, who she as daughter, sister, woman (in the making).  So her backstory: being maimed, the why and the how and the who are part of it, but it’s the what-after where most of the focus is laid.

More remarkable: it’s told in second person.  Her “you” is the boy she’d love to be with, but as he grows up and is ready to move on, we read her pine for him. A pining that didn’t have me raise me brows too much… because it felt natural. How she sees him as leader, the good one, the one not damaged. That’s it: how she sees others contrasted to how others see her, and I didn’t realize how all the while it’s their stories being meshed together. How that last bit is managed is possibly one of my favorite things about this: the coming together takes place ever so slowly with these threads I wasn’t aware of come together.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

TampaTampa by Alissa Nutting

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two words: disturbing and uncomfortable. Identifying with a protagonist is not necessary when the reading is so compelling. Reading this, I immediately wanted out of Celeste’s head. But, again, her is a compelling voice. It’s in how she views others, herself in particular that left me in need of something cleansing after.

Tools. Everyone and everything, here are means to be used.  There is no contrition, not much self- doubt about who she is and what she wants (more on that later) So hers is a story of a predator. And theirs isn’t one of love. There are no romantic notions in the scarily systematic fashion that things are done; or in how completely self-aware she is (“It’s just what I want.”)

Everything is viewed one way: tools. Body and her beauty are means and she fashions them thus. There’s nothing apologetic about how she goes about things. She knows, needs… and systematically goes about seeing its satisfaction. It’s that absence of remorse that troubled me first. The way she sees these kids: tools yet, again… things to get things done. Even the way she views her husband: a reverse trophy-figure. Pretty and all, but doing nothing for her; he and another are emasculated into something to get around/over/passed toward what she wants. It’s this aspect that gets you thinking, contrasting the typical gendered views of whom to avoid and who’s capable of setting off alarms.

It’s the language used that’s another remarkable. Easily, it’s a tool as well. Purposefully gross, with nothing held back. Each fantasy that’s allowed reality is what takes out any possible notion of romantic, so that there is no stepping back. It’s simply about what she needs and why and how to get things done. 

So there’s how she sees others (oldly gross, completely malleable, and even more easily manipulated,) everything is a means to what satisfies. That’s what’s icky. It’s not needlessly graphic either, each fantasy makes it clear it’s not about romancing anyone. But what’s even more troubling is its honesty; it isn’t about love at all. It’s a need that’s given little sense. Her ease with it, that basic acceptance of hers negated possibilities of redemption (none is sought or granted here). Things just are. And Isn’t that simply scary? 

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Alienated (Alienated, #1) by Melissa Landers

Alienated (Alienated, #1)Alienated by Melissa Landers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picking this up I was hoping for something big either in tension, drama, action, or conspiracy. Like B These Broken Stars or Star Glass or the even Across the Universe. Then I realized, highly unlikely given the blurb that screams of  ‘intergalactic exchange students.’  What this does read and feel like was PARANORMALCY  (or whatever funny but different YA book, that springs to mind.) You know, funny girl meets funnier out of place guy with that inevitable love connection.

Except wait a beat for that inevitability. Because this is all about the not wanting to be where you are and the quirky things they discover about each other. It’s all that which permits a growing on each other which leads to that more “real feeling”/ plausible connection. I liked that. Scratch that, I really liked that.

There’s that newness, that ‘how different you are!’ that lets the tenser moments seep in, too. It’s here where parallels of what was and could have been that make ALIENATED a surprisingly deeper read than I was thinking it was going to be:

The little then big divides people perceive are not exclusively held on one side. There’s preconceptions each have to deal with. A friend so cleverly pointed out that this wasn’t just fish out of water and it being funny while at it; it’s got a depth with more than one moment of someone on the other side of a two way mirror, waiting for/expecting for a screw up to happen. So couple preconceptions and prejudging with actions of the not so stellar variety, well it’s clear while things start out as funny, and progress reliably toward the romantic… well, it’s not just both those things.

(I enjoyed the funny bits the most though.)

Thank you, M!

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Unbreakable (Legion, #1) by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable (Legion, #1)Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wasn’t exactly sure about what it was in this book that didn’t work for me, but a friend of mine pointed it out… and I can’t help but agree: it’s Supernatural rip off from the set up, to the characters, to the very ending! Except that this one failed in one key way: the Winchester brothers have personality, have heart... it’s not all chases and crazy ass demons to beat, the brothers have this ineffable thing that always has me rooting for them. Not the case here.

There’s a girl and then there are two boys, who both happen to fall in love with the first because…  because… well, just because. And all that would have been fine, too what with all the cool mentions of salt and bullets and guns and genius/kick as kids plus knowledge passed from generation to the next; if only the members of aforesaid triangle had even a pinch of personality:

One boy is simply so kick ass that he’s known as the kick ass one; the other boy is so sweet and sensitive that Kennedy always ends up thinking something sappy like feeling safe with said guy who’d just so suddenly appeared in her life. And this girl, by the way, is so wishy-washy in her thoughts that I just couldn’t get behind her. Thus, for each kick ass-y moment there was a wishy-washy/I don’t know-I  just don’t know one from one or two or all of them that cancelled the first out.

Good lord. I disliked this to the nth, except that maybe too strong a reaction from me for this. Recall, the only thing I actually liked in Beautiful Creatures (etc) was the different feeling atmosphere? Well, now, I know who was responsible for the same. Hint: not (view spoiler)

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Gunmetal MagicGunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Frankly, I didn't pay that much attention to characters outside Kate and Curran in the Magic books because truly, what would the point be? But I enjoyed this, even if I started it for perhaps the wrong reasons (I was flipping pages just for a glimpse of Beast Lord and Consort!) That said, Andrea proves herself almost as formidable as Kate. She's beastkin and starts to own it in this one. Raphael too proves himself more than bouda prince. It's the back and forth between the two that was equal parts scorching and entertaining (and made me miss KD and Curran only more.)

My love for all that notwithstanding, I could have gotten behind GUNMETAL MAGIC faster if the thing(s) to resolve were better laid out; not to mention that it took ages and ages before that thing was even actually laid out.

And what thing? Well, it's two-fold here: The first is Andrea and the pack...or more apt, her not being in it. the second and equally dire issue: Why crazy gods and their crazier machinations of course! It's the first that makes Andrea a smidge more like Kate. No easy past for the tow of them, we see exactly how Andrea's past has shaped her. And it's sad but a powerful bit too... her becoming what she is despite all that. It's the crazy god bit that got confusing... the who and how and where, how all that converges could have gone smoother for me, I confess.

All said, I like this Andrea-Raphael pairing. They're no Curran and Kate (who could measure up. yes?) But they're entertaining in their own right.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2) by Karina Halle

Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2)Red Fox by Karina Halle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I strongly feel that the scariest thing here is Movember more than anything else.
That’s real a thing? That aside… I do love how Perry and Dex have grown here. There’s a growing attachment on her part coupled with that clearer picture of who Dex is. I can’t say there’s balance between them despite neither of them having it all together… because they’ve both got secrets. But still, one can’t help liking the non-perfection they both have! Then the skin walkers! Yes, there are a lot of “young” moments here care of Perry… but clearly that’s not just what she’s all about. The insecurity that we started with her in book one has shrunk a bit, and in its place some balls have grown. She’s found herself totally out of her element and is excited about it. Musings of Poltergeists in Navajo country… and well, who wouldn’t feel excited? Ugh… I mean, scared? So it’s a good sequel, with the not-discoveries on who she could be as well as the bigger developments on who they could be for each other, especially.

Good sequel.
Next, please.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dark house (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1)Darkhouse by Karina Halle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Look, scary clown lady had me thinking: I can totally see why that particular mental images would be scary. What? Was that too mean? Admit it you’d be scared too… but for most of the start to a lot of the middle, I was not as impressed as I thought I was going to be. Killer kelp and crazy light house keepers just didn’t do much for me.

She just sounds too “young” to be as kick ass as she seemed to think herself. There’s naiveté to her that one doesn’t often find in urban fantasy heroines, though is this urban fantasy? May be not. What it is is someone figuring there’s more to who they are. What it is is two people who’ve similar things going on for them finding themselves in the same place. Did I like it? Yes? Am I interested enough to continue the series? Yes. First, there’s the idea of mysterious dude popping in from out of nowhere right when she’s questioning who she is and where she is in life. Deep. Then, the thought of aforesaid scary clown lady acting as their “sign” like a black cat to a bad ass witch. Better.

Though frankly, me wanting to continue this last is largely due to that closing scene of an eye peeking at you through a crack. Stuff of my nightmares that… just the type of scary that I was looking for!
Good start.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

The Waking DarkThe Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it was Jackman in some interview- Yes, he is valid authority. Wolverine’s abs say so! – who made a distinction between two types of horror in film: the one that’s a bit like Saw, where death is a forgone conclusion and all that’s left to imagine is how bloody/ gory things can get. An odd almost contrary statement was then made where that type of horror was described, “sanitized terror” (I don’t know if I have the words right, but that’s roughly what I recall). Odd, because there was nothing clean about how that dude cut his own leg off, yeah? Except there’s sense in that description, too: it’s sanitized because all the blood and gore were forgone or so obviously going to happen.  Death was going to happen, it was simply a matter of how bloody things would get.

Then there’s that other kind: the old school one (No, not of the rubber mold monsters that’s (painfully) obviously fake,) the older than those; the one’s that have your neck hair standing on end because you don’t know what’s happened/ happening. The one’s heavy with silhouettes and shadows, background music, and perfectly times pauses that all propelled the viewer to further imagine what could be next. Imagination was it’s tool… we’d come up the limitless even when…  No, especially when it came the terrifying.

Rambling Introductions need a point: this book? This book?! has taken both kinds of horror and crammed as much of both into it as possible. There’s mass killings, murdered infants; there’s bully kids revealing what they’re really capable of; there’s chaos. In short: INSANITY…. And I loved it. The sinister less obvious bit creeps in with how easily it all took place. It’s very Stepford in effect. They all looked on as one horror is heaped on and on and on like it was all, “Next please.”  The horrific was acceptable; it’s all so easy in execution and that’s the sanitized horror I’m talking of. So, take a saw to your leg; there’s going to be blood… and that precise things doesn’t actually happens here… there’s still lots of parallels to make! So blood, terror, scary kids then scarier adults: I loved it, even as I was terrified by it.

Bonus (of the delicious variety): I could feel Stephen King all over this.  Never mind what could have been chopped up moments with the potential of stopping the flow of terror. The pacing in this was… put To. Die For. Wasserman’s made it her bitch because written as it was, pausing at each moment with that split second of me waiting for that next thing simply raised everything (the sinister, the creepy, the terrifying, and -- this surprised and pleased me most--  even those tender moments in between the said terror/blood/ gore) to something better.

But it’s more than the actual horrific goings-on, it’s the individual kids and their particular stories that added another bonus (of the delicious variety) here. The young ones have been screwed over. Badly. West, Jule, Daniel, Cass, and Grace each stories that add something more. And if that were still insufficient: there’s also the way the same stories get woven together. A Breakfast Club comparison is too obvious a comparison because despite there being a jock, an outcast type, a loner bad-ass type and weirdo in this one, they’re no brat pack (thank gods.)

Hype over this particular title: Completely justified. And with October coming up as it is... well, it’s just is timely, isn’t it? Unless you all are like me, impatient about the next good thing to read in which case: grab a copy of this; get reading.

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