Monday, March 31, 2014

Played (Hooked, #2) by Liz Fichera

Played (Hooked, #2)Played by Liz Fichera

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Hmph…. Played was… cute? I just looked over what I had to say regarding Hooked; and lo, no surprises here, but this sequel has me feeling roughly the same way. UNDERWHELMED. Sam is the good kid who just takes and takes and takes the crap that’s unloaded on him; in other words, the male version of Fred. Thank the gods, that Ryan’s little sister isn’t a copy of her brother. She tries to do the right thing but finds herself time again doing the wrong thing; in a word: MISGUIDED.

Then take some convoluted plotting later and we have a romance. The same is cute and sweet, but before it got there: the both of them took turns trying my patience and being a pain in my ass, what with their respective issues: He is still the guy the girl didn’t choose; she is the little sister feeling overlooked. Boo. Friggin. Hoo.

That said, a couple of funnies in this one worked for me, including but not limited to: some kid and a failed Botox experiment; them each pushing the others’ buttons, rescue(s) failed or otherwise,  plus brushes with death, physical injury, assault, and arrest (though not necessarily in that order). Things got crazy and funny because of it! (except I don’t think that’s the effect PLAYED was going for.)

Like I said, cute... but underwhelming.
Thank you, NG! 




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Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava LavenderThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


‘The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender’ is a title most apt. This is more than the winged girl- the story extends to everyone and everything that contributes to her making and yes, that covers their sorrow, as well. It’s sweet then not sweet, terrifying and then terrifyingly real. It’ll also make you cry. It did me.

Her odd family portrait begins with who her grandmother is and why she is that way. It’s a past filled with labels of the pretty one, smart one, then quiet one, then later the strange one;. After an escape of sorts to a new world, we have heart break after heart break after heart break. Then it’s her mother’s story- one that was not sweet, but could have been. A lot of the wanting and not getting becomes clearer here for all of them (Jack, Viviane, Gabe… and much later Ava and Henry.) Finally we have Ava and her own sorrow, one built up first on Emilienne’s and then later upon Viviane’s.

So beyond the girl, we have family. How one story touches on the other; where the latter elaborates on the ‘what could have been’s’ of the first. There’s an echoing of the sentiment from one generation to the next:  that feeling of being limited by circumstance coupled with that need or want for something else (more.) Things broaden in  scope, beyond their common experience t include all other’s they touch on: the community comes to play a bigger role in the goings on. A murmur here, an expectation there… even the moments of fear and lust and even love… on who’s feeling it, but more importantly, why. Take Jack and John and how without them Viviane wouldn’t be as she was and consequently neither would Ava. Or Emilienne’s with her bread and all that opened to them.

This is more than just the girl. I loved it.




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Saturday, March 29, 2014

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

One Man GuyOne Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The blurb says “funny and heartfelt.”  Was I reading a different story? Because this felt too simple too short; there’s very little the lead has to figure out here. And if there was anything to be dealt with, it’s done easily enough.

To start we have Alek, very critical of the way his family is; in much the same way he felt them treating him. So… it’s a young story and he, a young lead. The same is never more obvious in how he sees his parents; and how he feels himself treated by them and his “too perfect” older brother. Essentially, there’s skewed perspective on all their parts; that over critical tendency that he complained of in his parents; well, he could be the very same. There’s a lot of “It’s not fair-ing” all around.

As to the romance, this is no Sedaris book (and I don’t care what the blurb says). There’s a lack of depth here - given the almost too simple resolution on his questions of “what if” and then later of “what now.” He is a blank slate when it comes to everything it seems; yet he draws Ethan in nonetheless because there’s a “Rightness” to how he could be. He’s molded and allowed to learn but a lot of that was superficial (which was fun and cute) but … again: depth, where’d you go?

Past that though and we see as more than the kid learning about himself and where he was going; because there were one or two teachable moments of Alek acting like the stand up guy he obviously  was.

So, this was not as funny or heartfelt as I was expecting especially, with moments that felt forced, contrived even. Then there were those more rare moments that were genuinely funny. I just wish this had more of… everything it promised.

Still, thank you, net galley!





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Friday, March 28, 2014

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


i enjoyed this, in much the same way i did those carson books with the girl with the magical gem in her belly, (whose title as usual elludes me.) it's got the same feel: a little bit of magic that's barely explored; a girl who wants to be more than what others want/need her to be; and even better, a girl who does something about it; and two, (yes, you read that right- two!) interesting fellows of the opposite sex figuring greatly in the complications in this one. 

vastly entertaining. i enjoyed the questions and suspicions that the story allowed because i had a lot of them, especially on who was who and what their roles were going to be. i had my doubts: would this be another princess tale, one who doesn't want to be just that? or even another tale with multiple POV's, each proving there's just something irresistible about her?!  this proved to be neither just those things; thus, my enjoyment of almost every single moment in this, especially those of the not-naming ones because they all kept me guessing, then feeling certain, then backtracking, then shaking my head for doing so, then guessing anew.

the questions on who would turn out to be who aside, the whole poor little rich girl isn't just what she is. we begin her tale with her and her being determined NOT TO BE what's expected. it's a little predictable  in that aspect but became less and less so with each chapter that passed. there's more to her than what she didn't want, and there's more to her world than to where she'd headed; and that though much may her desire be for a simple life was, the same's essentially impossible here. because while she fancied herself a pawn, there were others just like her in this story, only more aware of the specifics than she was.

also, it made me cry! i wasn't expecting to; her moment of clarity at the heels of such terrible things produced in me so many FEELS that it left me surprised; because despite the poor little rich girl start, despite the love triangle so obviously coming, despite the not-knowing of who was who was who (really, one of the best aspects of how this story was told) i didn't expect to be as affected as i was in that moment. the last chapters here rival those in my recent Winner's Curse read. The feels in both come from out of nowhere SO now i'm hooked, waiting on the next book.

thank you, net galley!  



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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

Painted FacesPainted Faces by L.H. Cosway

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


PAINTED FACES, an unconventional love story? Maybe. That he sees beyond her insecurities where she sees her beyond his physical make their pairing a special one.

But beyond them being the odd balls that they are, some of it could get pretty typical: sad trauma carried over from his past, dictating who he’s become converging with insecurities she’s failed to let go covered by witty banter on her part. I’d encountered both before. Yet despite that, their combination makes for an interesting as leads like him are rare, unique even (I can’t quit say the same thing for her.)

There’s the added bonus of them being funny, mainly her then her with him; it’s that that makes PAINTED more than their respective baggage.

Not bad.




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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie    Murphy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Side Effects May Vary. About love and life and forgiveness BUT it takes long while before it got to any of those things because mostly it’s him being used and her using him then the both of them being aware of it. Did I enjoy it? Not by a long shot. Was it different? Most definitely. Do I appreciate what made it different? This begs the question: what sets this story apart? IS it that it does not paint a pretty picture? Lots of stories do so, except here it’s neither sad nor just the emotional because of her having been sick; if anything that’s just a side note here. It goes way beyond her being sick and the consequences of that. Here, the ugly comes from what they are all capable of. It is not her being sick but her being herself: mean, manipulative girl, with glimpses of kind but mostly the first two. It’s not sad because he loves her but because he allows himself to be used by her time and time again.

Liking her is impossible here; there’s no “next to” about it. She is mean and aware of her actions; she is likewise aware of how others see her yet nothing, least of all them, prevent her from doing what she was doing. Liking him is almost as difficult as liking her, but more- I pitied him, and not in the “I want to take him under my wing” way. I truly felt sorry for the kid; yet at the same time, he frustrated me! I was frustrated by his willingness to be used… ‘Til he wasn’t anymore, except by that point I was FORCING myself to get through this. Eventually they both changed their tune, too late though because it had been drummed into me what was wrong with her, what was wrong him, then what was wrong them together.

Redemption comes slowly here; in the mean time sympathizing with her, an impossible feat and pitying him, coming a bit too easily. This story is far from the love story its tags proclaims it to be; more it’s him used and her using and the both being aware of both as well as being unable to do and be otherwise. Then things shift when too much of it’s done; but by that point I was almost desperate for a something else – either a comeuppance or a head out of sand moment for the either of them. Then to tack on the blame game… well, this is me disliking where the story was going even more. When it started, I thought I knew where it was going; I was wrong, where she took the story: I quite disliked. She says “I am the way I am because of you…”Gah! I just hate that!

Blame game here made it apparent, Side Effects is more than the both of them loving each other the way they knew how; there’s carry over from something else that propels her to be the way she was. The ugly comes out only because of something else; and I just didn’t buy that bit of it.




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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, BreatheBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


At first there was Jordan.
And then there was Parker.
And then Kate.
Then Savannah.

And now, Annie.

The first things that struck me when I heard a new MK book was coming out was… Another Hundred Oaks book?! The second thing was the cover and me wondering over why the sudden departure from the previous books’. Honesty time: I was not the biggest fan of the first three books. Too preachy is what I’d complained of time and time again, but there’s always that one thing or some other thing that’s kept me reading through the series. It was the last one with Savannah that had me more than slightly impressed as it had less to do with a girl and her questions on faith and more on that same girl learning who she was. THIS is more of that. I like the direction in which the series had turned, less the preachy moments and more of her (them) opening themselves to possibilities. Overall the books have become them becoming ‘more’ than what they’d thought themselves capable.

Some background: Annie has lost someone and taken on a task to honor him. As she gets ready to just that she allows us glimpses of why things changed and how things have changed… not just between her and Kyle, but between her and her friends as well as between her and her family. Clearly one thing touches on all the rest here. Right off the bat, I liked that she’s not unsure about what she didn’t want. Sure, sad consequences followed, but that she knew herself enough to answer the way she did, despite the unavoidable reaction, felt real.

Feelings abound in this: Feelings of guilt as well as feelings of anger that come about for varying reasons; they’re all explored then faced. Through all those, her experience came out clear and then clearer to me and as a result she’s likely the most sympathetic of all MK leads I’ve read so far. Her recollections on who she was with Kyle and the changes she’s put herself through. Particularly, it’s her “why” that had me wanting to know more of her. There’s an awareness of the screw up’s made, but a refusal of sorts to take ALL the blame (eventually). It’ is said eventuality that made me like her even more because before coming to that point: she put herself through pain- emotional mental and even the physical.

Things change and things don’t stop. That she breaks over what’s happened but doesn’t stop allows for more and more people to enter her life. First the re-connections: Kelsey and her mother in particular. Later it’s all those new people, particularly Jeremiah. It’s regarding the first that more moments of guilt –except-why-should-I’s on her part happen. And it’s this that made her read young to me (this is not necessarily a bad thing)… because despite all that’s happened, she IS young. It’s this second aspect that’s explored more with Jere in the picture.

While the this whole YA series has been a cross of sports and romance, I was never a big fan of the overly sweet romances that took place… that’s not completely what I felt here. The newness of what she feels for him is complicated by what she still feels for Kyle. So, complicated? You betcha! But as things move forward, the clearer it becomes that Jere’s a totally separate thing from what she was and who she knew. But getting to that point? Well, not all is sweet and not all is easy. I like that. That Jere isn’t the just the new guy, but one with baggage all his own made for them together even more interesting. It’s not just HER in this one after all.

Thanks, E!




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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Impossible Knife of Memory is her seeing the truth

…That what she wants may not be what she or her father needs

…That what she wants may not be even what’s good for her for him

… That what she remembers isn’t as bad as she her behavior have them seem; but neither as good given the way she is with her father.

On what she wants versus what he needs OR how things are versus the way thing sought to be: there’s this general feel of “disconnect” between what is and how she acts, especially with regard to the roles they each fulfill in their family. Theirs is non-traditional definitely, but not in the cute quaint sweet way others are. Because she’s all there is for her father, so that while she takes on responsibilities much bigger she should, here she went going on with it --- failing to see why that shouldn’t be the case.

Factor in further what their system has molded her into: this odd combination of old soul- bitter and biting in some respects, BUT also so unaware and even innocent of the other ‘usual’ things. She’s a contradiction… but that contradiction is slowly recognized and then bridged, with her being able to act her age with that reconnection made with childhood bestie as well as with Finn (it’s on account of him that I just have to add: much love for the math jokes!)

It’s not pretty. It’s not meant to be: how she’s there for her father when he should be there for her. And also why that’s the case. The glimpses into his experience are few and far in between but allow clarity into why it’s heartbreaking both for her and him. BECAUSE it’s his past that has changed who he is; the man she recalls is no more… and yet, despite that knowing, there are more than moments pointing to how little is done about it. His shifts are sudden confusing and terrifying but also heart breaking because of the little that’s done given the knowledge that she’s there for him but some times being there isn't all that a body needs need AND YET there are all those other instances when it's clear that it is THE VERY SAME THING that's called for.



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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology, #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology, #1)The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Nothing actually happens.

I feel like Wizard’s Promise is essentially the LONGEST. Introduction. Ever. We know who and what’s coming, yet in the mean time there’s a lot of her asking questions that eventually started to feel like, “ARE WE THERE YET?” (She wasn’t asking that, of course! It just felt like she was; thus, me wanting to smack her.)

There’s some mention of the awesome that was Ananna as well as the mist and the magical, yet for the most part we have Hannah. At first it’s her and what she does not have; then it’s allot of her failing to ask the right questions and asking the most annoying question over and over and over. Of course things are not helped when the people around her only respond with non-answers!

There is eventually more interesting moments of her making her world bigger and learning things she’d previously not known, but descriptions of awesome magical fish and how to cook the same failed to satisfy me.

Bottom line: I’d have loved to get more out of this, but I was honestly just bored. Add that the only time I wasn’t bored was somewhere in the last 5%. Things were happening! She was doing stuff! It was good… unless one recalls that all that’s good was compressed in said measly 5%!
Thank you, Net Galley!




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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Of Metal and WishesOf Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5

At first Of Metal and Wishes had me thinking Beauty and the Beast; only wait a beat and it’s Phantom of the Opera. I enjoyed this despite the female lead not being the most sympathetic at first. She was too ‘woe is me’. 16 year-old Wen is struggling with the changes that have come and the roles she’s been assigned from her mother’s daughter to doctor’s assistant, none of it’s what she had planned for herself.

As she adjusts, more change comes with the Noor, perceived less and treated thus, their presence make her adjustment all the more difficult. In the midst of that, we have a presence, this mythic entity righting the wrongs and easing burdens of those who’d ask (‘twas very ‘dramatic’.) And then to complicate matters for her even further, there’s a weasily skeeze (all right, one or two fellows of that sort) in this one too.  

Truth time: it’s not that difficult to piece things together, to see who was who and what they would become for each other; but I enjoyed it all the same. Mainly because it’s fast paced and for another things got pretty interesting in terms of the connections being made. First, there’s her Belle to his Beast, though the start of their tale is conventional, it progressed less so: there’s crash into hello thing that takes places, plus bruised egos, and expectations that were too either high (or low) based on each their preconceptions, but I liked that; I liked them. AND just as a connection starts there, another yet picks up: Who the ghost is is key here BUT it’s who the rest of them are in relation to the same that’s makes all this more than just a girl falling for the guy who’s her total opposite (though that’s there too).

Favorite bits: FIRST, them learning more of each other; the notions they had shifting a little and then shifting some more until being chucked completely, because what they though the other was, isn’t the case at all. SECOND, that they were all really different: her seeing him and his together and their ways being so foreign to her own... it added a touch of something more here.

Also, Book, why'd you end like that?!

Thank you, Edelweiss!





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Friday, March 21, 2014

Breaking Nova (Nova, #1) by Jessica Sorensen

Breaking Nova (Nova, #1)Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Brave author is brave. There’s depressing then there’s depressing. Mawkish, self-pitying come to mind after reading this because he’s broken and so is she. He’s broken because he’s lost someone and blames himself; she’s broken because some else was broken before her and broke her. When they do finally meet and you’d think ‘Kindred spirit, you get me.’ Wrong.

The two see each other in the worst possible moments of both their lives: it’s in their respective aftermath’s. What’s the problem you ask? The whole reason I enjoyed (a term I use loosely) her first books were despite the leads being in their respective after’s as well, at least there, there was an effort to move beyond; not forgetting the root, but a one step forward then the next then the next nevertheless.

Yet, here it’s the both of them… No, wait it’s not even just the two leads but even the people around them who are all too bogged down in each their respective dramas. Him, on losing someone and her and self-castigating there for versus her, losing someone as well and doing basically the same thing the male MC was; the rest of them too with their using especially as they all USED each other.

But wait, there is a positive here- the ending. And how completely unexpected it went. There’s a feeling of redemption here that made an HEA for the both of them together unlikely. So, like I said, the brave author is brave.





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Thursday, March 20, 2014

House of Sand and Secrets (Hobverse #2) by Cat Hellisen

House of Sand and Secrets (Hobverse #2)House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


House adds even more of what made book one different, especially as we take in the mistakes made and how things build up between them despite the same (or is it because of?) What’s said versus what’s not are both used to make it clear that the pair of them is from typical. She’s the stronger one of the two, but why that’s the case is a revelation, considering where her story started.

If at first she’s the girl who doesn’t want certain things, meeting all she did and doing all she had, here’s she’s left with the consequences of all that. She’s still far from perfect; there are jealousies that cloud things, sad sad sad moments of wanting because of the not having and then a failure on both their parts to say what’s meant and matters. Early on we know he is more than “bat” he’s perceived as; but it’s in seeing him be just as unprepared to deal as she was had me wondering more. I love that they’[re both so unsure; I love that they both hold notions of the other… at times right and in others so far from it. Basically, them together: neither easy nor sweet, and often times, it’s the difficult they encounter and more than just because they’re new to each other.

Yet, beyond this pair (and who they were to become to each other,) there’s another vital thing in this: the new city they’d landed themselves in and the roles they were set to play in it. Running as they had from the troubles in When, here they’re beset with other challenges of making nice with another pair similarly situated, and navigating through the perceptions and expectations of their peers (because they see them as anything but.) All her musings on what others think, what she thinks, what he does: a complicated mess, but interesting too… because it’s through all that that we see the order they live in or at least the order that others would like to maintain and others  would like to change.

The threads of their personal drama plus the political aspect of Lammers then Hobs then Vampires are pulled together so that where one ends and the other begins, I was not quite sure and neither did I care to find out because it all meshed so well.





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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3) by Julie Kagawa

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3)The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


2.5/5

Never has a book title been more fitting. In fact 'forever song' has me thinking of Lamb Chop and that other song because they both just wouldn't end; though this was less the cutesy cute with the puppet, and more on the gore plus the pissing and moaning over The Hunger or Who They Were Now (note the use of caps because more than one person makes a big to-do over the same in such a wordy manner.)

Were I to describe the story's progression, it would be: walking, walking, bitter internal monologue about this or that, some more walking at times with said monologue. Pepper all that with moments of Jackal and the even fewer instances of Kanin being the awesome mentor that he was.

As things stood, the characters in this are largely the same folks PLUS Allison's brain. God! Someone, somewhere was begging to make it stop (as in me and here.) All the whining and the crying over what's lost, what's gone, and her conviction on What She Was Going To Do About It (yes, caps on that, too) took away from the awesome of what could have been.

Hell, the only instances the story veered away from said pattern was when a Twist would come in; though calling them 'twists' is a debatable as well. Sadly, there's predictability in how things turned out that even the surprises happen exactly as you expect them.

But why the 2.5? Easy! Jackal and her mentor. From the start Kanin had a fan in me; though my hero worship in the latter has dimmed over the course of this three book series, I still say he is the best in this. Jackal was a surprise, shifting from one thing to something else entirely. I simply love love love what he added to this story. 

thank you netgalley!




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Monday, March 17, 2014

Feather Bound by Sarah Raughley

Feather BoundFeather Bound by Sarah Raughley

My rating: 1 of 5 stars



 
   
"Feather Bound is a dark debut reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and the twisted truth behind the fairy tale of Cinderella."

 


   photo 3cbf4579767f1adb02212e241a6cb4efd198d607b2243230ddd6486eb9c6115e_zps8862d72f.jpg


unwarranted comparison aside. the one good thing about this is the cover. hello, cover love! unless one factors how it misleads the reader. yes, this is another case of beautiful cover… only.

one, on world building. what world building? things just 'are' in feather bound... something i would normally be ok with, except here, what 'is' is overly simple with that line between her world and his world, (and i'm not just talking of that rich and not so rich divide, which is likewise present here. I simply could not stand the easy way we're expected to swallow what makes their world different. Apparently it is what it is what it is. but, swan slaves my ass, as there is no rhyme or reason here. Random is what comes to mind.

two, kick ass heroine. what kick ass heroine? for a self professed do it yourself watch over the others girl... well, nothing she did in this established any of that. most everything from her is reactive and done after next to zero contemplation. this is how thing went down:  'oh, i am dear troublesome situation; i must stop crying. but wait! i shall cry some more first. now, i must think of a way out of my predicament; but wait! let me cry some more. and wait again! i have a plan' (if you could call it that.) sadly what she wanted and what she did only made the situation worse as the plan in question was so hare brained that it was a wonder she'd thought it up and put it in action.

and back to one on world building (i cannot help it as it annoyed me no end) there's this save the swans thing that should have been interesting, but fell flat as the more we went into the story, and the more random it felt. even the extra chapters on the mythology where things sprang from ended up feeling out of place. bottom line: there's poor follow up on what could have been something it's executed so poorly here. you know the seals and their pelts?


but thank you, net galley!



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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8) by Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It's been ages since I last read a Mercy book. And from what I recall, it was Adam and his perspective in seven that left me not completely satisfied. A more fleshed out laying out of him was what I wanted but not exactly what I got.

That book 8 goes back to just Mercy has me happier because seen through her eyes, Adam reverts to the Alpha Adam of earlier moments. The Adam pre-marital bliss, whose presence offered comfort/frustration/other moments of questioning for her (OK, so maybe not pre-marital bliss Adam, after all.) My point is it's partly because of the unconventional love connection between them that's kept me coming back (8 books in!) So that them getting (view spoiler) in 5 (or was it 4?) had me worried over how that aspect of the series would progress. 'Up' as they were then, the question of where they would go kept nagging at me. A worry that's been proven baseless, a liitle by six, then more by seven, and solidified here in 8.

Because more than them being perfect for each other (though others here were hard pressed to see it their way,) we most assuredly have more! There are reconnections, both those  sought and avoided. We have introductions, revelations, and a hell-whole lot of complications. Plus magical goings on that place Mercy in the sensitive spot of having to deal with them all! Briggs also throws in a psychopath of the god-like variety. Also fae. And vampires. And complicated pack politics. Plus mother-daughter drama that's human enough to balance all those other non non-'people' people things.

There was going to be a minor complaint on my part about there being soooo many things going on. But if i'm being honest, that so many things were going on is something that  I liked, because one thing following on the heel of another or two or three complications being addresed at once? Well, thing got exhilarate. We've all seen those action movies where a whole gang of baddies are about to attack the good guy; them going against said good guy one after another instead of attacking all at once has always felt a tad too easy- convenient. Why give the other the time to catch their breath, eh? It's the opposite here. Instead of easy, there's crazy then crazier. In a word? exhilarating.  </["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]></["br"]>



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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Zac and MiaZac and Mia by A.J. Betts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5/5

I had no idea they called this sick-lit, but for what it’s worth, Zac and Mia is more than just two kids with cancer. No cheap tricks, no cavalier attitude toward the subject. At first they stand on different ends of recovery: him, knowing versus her, still learning. It’s that back and forth between their points of view that allows us to see that indeed there is more to be seen, to be felt.

And though you may predict what the ending is (more or less) on the way to that, much care’s been put into making clear what they go through: the happier of being there for someone else (or its reverse), the sadder of wondering to what end it all is. The sadder still as his thoughts on boredom and being alone contrast to her thoughts on what’s different and what’s been lost. Not much is prettified, they’re not made out to be strong for this or for that, because sometimes they couldn’t be and because of that, they both felt more real.

The anger she feels toward how unfair things are; and the ending you may or may not predict, plus the people in this and the things they feel… all feel real. Him and what he’s learned, her and what she hasn’t. Contrast the two to each other, and liking one is so much easier than the other because it’s not brave girl or  strong kid and what not (though there are mentions of those), more it’s coming to terms for the both of them in different ways: a split in both their before’s and after’s. But it’s in the AFTER where HEA’s are not guaranteed, that I came to like the both of them more. Because while there’s frustration that made sense, there’s eventually, courage, as well… and the sweet and the poignant of how one KNOWS what the other is going through.

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Friday, March 14, 2014

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking NormalFaking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


They both break your heart page by page, only to put it back together again by the end.

I love books like these.

It's 5:13 in the morning over here and having read through the night, was it worth it?

That it's not just her but him as well, who feel broken.
That it's not just her being there for him, but him being there for her.
That it's her and how she (does not) deal, as does he... it ALL got me weepy.

I love that reading is is not easy, that resolving things don't take place in 1-2-3. But I love more the learning who you're with coupled with the finding out what you're capable of.

Then there's the complications of other people in their lives, and how those same people make things easy then hard then harder as well. I want to say more... but I'm tapping this out on my phone and am just about tapped out, but I'm asking myself again, is going out today after zero hours of sleep because of this worth it?

TOTALLY.



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Thursday, March 13, 2014

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


meh.

this is the same thing all over again; even the twists felt like we'd hit repeat on her previous books. let me count the ways: one, douche-bag hot male lead (who oddly enough endears and annoys simultaneously). two, fierey tempered, super smart (or something else)  female lead, with a good guy or maybe not in the side lines (that'd be three for those keeping track!) then four, some random besties, who didn't really add much to the story anyway. and hell, five: even the cliffy felt like been there and done that. methinks someone  somewhere should rethink something here, for if even the cliffy feels redundant, well... what's the point, eh?

i wanted something fun and fresh and fast.
sadly, this was none of those.

but still thank you, ng!





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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

Girl DefectiveGirl Defective by Simmone Howell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



 

  'It's a story of a wild girl and a ghost girl;
a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything.
And it's about life

and death

and grief

and romance.


All the good stuff.'
 
this book, you guys!

thank you, edelweiss!



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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths, #4) by K.A. Tucker

Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths, #4)Five Ways to Fall by K.A. Tucker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


possibly, the best of ka tucker so far. damaged girl, she may be but there's a shift toward something else here. contrast that to a self confessed man whore whose very no-apologies about it. if nothing else, they certainly made for an interesting combination.

additional plus, this didn't feel like all those other companion novels in NA. the ones that felt tacked on to milk the first's success for all it's worth. sure, there are mentions of so and so from this or that installment, but their (reese's and ben's) story is precisely that: their story.

even better? it's not all about the chemistry between them. she's working on herself; he's already worked on himself, and that's when they meet. there are a lot more interesting moments care of reese because what a contradiction she could be! first messed up, then turning over a new leaf, at times insecure about the most mundane things i'd think outside the realm of what she'd give a fuck for; but all that's there in her- the crazy, the scary, and the vulnerable.  now ben? not as compelling a character, but still interesting. all easy breezy about things but then dig deeper and there's a surprising something else as well.

but the biggest plus? that they're both inapologetic about who they are...but more as well.

thank you, edelweiss!



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Monday, March 10, 2014

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


'I am a thirty-nine year old, tall, fit and intelligent, with a relatively high status and above-average income as an associate professor. Logically, I should be attractive to a wide range of women. In the animal kingdom, I would succeed in reproducing...  However...'

Oh, boy! That 'however' is pivotal here. There was just something in the dry and 'this is how I see it, so why don't the rest of you do so, too?' he was prone to that made most every single he'd encounter hilarious.

Three things I enjoyed: emotion need not be spelled; despite his being different, they are there and evident in his interaction with Gene and Claudia then later Rosie. 'An inability to empathise is not the same as an inability to love.' The mention of Gregory Peck! And finally, this book making me want to watch some Sheldon.





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Friday, March 7, 2014

Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

TsarinaTsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It is the author's parting words that just killed me, 'When you forget that those you disagree with are people, not just your faceless opposition, you don't end up proving who is right or wrong. You end up with a body count.'

The way she's laid both sides out- what either side of the divide was feeling, what each was motivated by is made clear. Like the frustration both felt in how things were, the same leading either in choosing to do one thing or another for essentially the same goal. Coupled that with the inability of either to put themselves in the other's place, only to become more and more confused (and frustrated) about why the other was doing whatever they were (or weren't)... it's in this aspect where this book shines because the Red then White perspective? They're both clearly presented here.

Sadly, Tsarina felt woefully superficial when it came to the more personal connection of Natalya and Leo. They left me... underwhelmed. Frankly, the two leads here were each predictable on their own; that blossoming thing between them, likewise. Thus, where the context their story was happening and the tragedy we knew was too unfold, both had me tearing up, the two MC's failed to rouse any strong positive emotion in me.

It was Natalya who frustrated me most. I confess, I was strongly tempted to chuck this one early on, given her failure to THINK about the ripples her actions would cause. The easy way things are done by her, it was a thoughtlessness almost. A flaw that's thankfully, quickly shed by necessity. So credit where it's due: at least she changes. 

As to Leo, hmmm. What to say? What to say? The words typical and predictable come to mind... and little else. I could say more, like the connection between the two being a smidge too baseless ...but where's the good in that?

I will say that the moments of this had me crying--- more because of the actual tragedy that the story pivots around and less because of the leads.



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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I loved, loved, hated, loved... mostly, loved this one. Because WTF was that ending? By no means is this a “perfect” book, but its second half more than made up for the mess that kestrell initially was. so, she is a girl and he’s a boy, and together, they make star crossed lovers seem like a trifling thing, given all the FEELS that was going on here.

The girl: general's daughter, is split on who she's to become. it's this aspect that tried me most because liking kestrell? 'twas almost impossible. to wed or to follow in her father's footsteps? were it but those two choices plaguing her, i may have dropped this... but the confliction in her was not just in who she'd become; in fact,  a lot of the moments with her become all about her internal conflict: what she wants versus what her father wants versus what every one else expects. sure, choices, choices, choices but truly? i was expecting a kick ass girl lead;  i was waiting for her to live up to the brilliant strategist reputation she was said to have because there were hints of the same (brilliant, intriguing hints, in fact) but those moments would time and again get buried under her being... being so non-kickass! so another love-hate thing: loving the glimpses of smart tough in her then hating everything else.

The guy. I enjoyed his part despite the inconsistencies. he's like no other slave i've read of. and while in the end it's all given reason, as it was happening, i could not help but wonder how non-slave like he was treated,  (the same could be said for kestrell, come to think.)

Save that, it's the story of how he became who he was at the beginning that sealed it. the details into his why and how had all these feels swirling in me. his snippets on pride and survival and fighting or not fighting? it all made him more than just her enemy... because there's this sameness to the two of them. it's that which drew me in, then had me wanting yet as well as wondering if/how an HEA could be obtained.   

i came into this expecting something like Graceling... but frankly, fantasy (epic/high) this was not. it's political intrigue of plotting then confrontations, but in the midst of that: a romance. a romance that's not flash and burn, but slow and hesitant and even reluctant at times. yet, it's  both these aspects (political and romantic) that won me over. Both are built up then built up so more, so that by the time I'd breached second half, nothing was going to pry me from my book, not even my job.

The hype, believe it (if only for the second half)






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When the Sea is Rising Red (Hobverse #1) by Cat Hellisen

When the Sea is Rising Red (Hobverse #1)When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Different. the lead, her troubles, their world... taken together there's nothing quite like this, partly given how magic is wove into it; mostly for the world it's set in; and a little bit for the connections made.

The world will enthrall you. Her society is structured with the Houses, both high and low, plus those on the fringe. Each is governed by rules on what to do and why to do something. And in all that, there's Felicita- aware of what's expected and limited by it.

Not much is glossed over, the ugly in her world, the choices made necessary because of the same, and the mistakes and discoveries made as a result. Each detail here, each person contributes to the dark stark feel of things. Dark at first, given how stifled amd choiceless everything is made to appear for her, but then darker still once out of her box.

I repeat the dark is not glossed over. I wish the same attention to detail had been paid  to how all the relationships came to be. As they were, this aspect had me wondering at the convenience of it all. Connections, allies and foes, are both made too easily. How she finds herself taken under their wing... a bit unexpected, but set that aside, one sees this is not just about Dash and his big plan or Jannik and his problems or Felicita and the choices she's made. It's all that AND MORE.

All the people encountered here contribute in their own way so that Hobverse is clear. Nala and Lil, Esta and her theatre boy and Dash on one side, Jannik on the other, then the world as she knew it: cruel brother, indifferent mother, and lost best friend included. It turns your head a little how so many things were going on all at once but when those threads finally get pulled together it's ends all the more impressively.

because we have the political, the fast paced, the magical, then the down rigjt depressing, but the way all thos things just ARE is what works. We're not given paragraph after paragraph of how thing are, we're given people and their stories amd their with each their agenda. Side note on a fantasy world of what IS verus what SHOULD BE OK, on who you're with; there's none of the I wish it were's just a matter of faxt handling of things, they are who they are and who they choose to be. And that? That was just a lovely bonus.   

-----

wow.  now, how. do. i. get. book 2



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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Murder of Crows (The Others, #2) by Anne Bishop

Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Not since Curran have I been so giddy over an Alpha. I just loved the two leads in this one because the novelty of who she was was wearing of, but there's still a lot of unknown about her and then contrast that to the oddness of him feeling what he was... it was all so cute, just. so. darned. cute.

But me all giddy-happy over the cuteness of them together should not detract from the overall scary monster throwback a majority of the characters had going for them.  In fact it's that scary nature of things and people-as-clever-meat combo that made for all the interactions even more interesting.

Because there's this obvious split between how those on either side perceived the other. They each made valid points... there's indeed a shorsighted tendency of one; there is also truth in the brutality of the other.  Yet, despite whatever lack or excess either had, there's the positive to contend with as well. The hierarchy and order of their world allows us a peek into them specifically; there are rules regarding how things work and they all play by it. And with all that as backdrop, we've all these players who made. my. month!

I enjoyed them. Especially, how the newness of her was still there, but not completely. Because she's found her place and they've made a place for her... and it's obvious! Yet it's the why of that which confounded a lot of them.... him especially. And I loved all those moments. How there were all these feels, yet they're both unsure about what to do, what to say, or why that was the case. Basically, they're bumbling about, yet here I was feeling giddy-giggly over their misteps as well as when things would go right. Because though things are unclear to them, it's just obvious to the rest of us. And that... that had me giddy.

However, set aside all the cutesy romantic (that I loved,)  MoC still has the edgy dark aspect that was notable in the first; it's what pushed the story faster and faster here. The questions of Meg- where she's from plus what's she's been through are clear but not completely because if in Book One, it's her outrunning her past, here one could say, the same has caught up with her and now, she's got the Others. And what they do and all that happens because of the same... I want to say it now.... I really do, but you all have to pick this up and read it.          



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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6) by Abbi Glines

Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6)Misbehaving by Abbi Glines

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


geeeez.... what is up with their names?

i realize i should probably stop picking these books up by now, (hell, i knew this some time after book 1, right before i was starting book 2, but they are quick reads if nothing else.

to the book, is there anything good in this one? let's go with a nope. same old same old of poor sad rich boy wanting... no, needing to be there for the female; though the same girl is almost slightly different from the previous ones as she's not virginal woman on pedestal... just the exact opposite but if you wait a few beats, you discover that beneath the caked up make up and inside her inch long skirt is a girl who's hurting too. bla bla bla. (basically, if you've read one of hers, you've read them all.)

there's also the added bonus of her being the object of every single guy's affection here. seriously, why though? there's her crazy ex, there's the rock band lead (KRIT?! seriously, what's with their names?!) and yes, jason, who's come forth in this one as another one of gline's man-boy leads who is wealthy beyond imagination, hot-hot-hot, and vacillates between being the only nice guy she has seemingly ever encountered who wants to help her to the Alpha type who's all mine-mine-mine when other's like him come out. it's all so old hat.

yet, with all those negatives pointed out, there's a welcome variation in the way things started then stopped then started up again for the two of them. it's not all "mine" declarations being made the first time they each lay eyes on each other (but it was close.) because the whole trying to step back on both their parts, that was new.

but geez, "krit?" really? his name alone has me thinking something creepy crawly despite the character being one of the "better" guys (and i say "better" in the loosest sense, too.) 



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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Unravel by Calia Read

UnravelUnravel by Calia Read

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Wait a minute. Just. Wait. A. Minute. I’m slightly confused even if I sort of knew how things were going to play out. Is this Tyler Durden all over again or Beautiful Mind? because this book was for the most part awesome in the telling but slightly confusing in its ending. Soooo, I love/hate that final twist because yes, part of me readily picked up on all the hints as they were dropped; yet another part of me is still shout-asking what the hell that one thing meant.

In this is a story of a girl who wants to do right by her friend. It’s the same girls falling for two men, both equally good but not too good. Though this factors sounds like it’s the makings of a a triangle, that’s far from the case. There’s a layering of things here that makes things more than who she’s with. More than who she’s with because the question eventually becomes that of where she was as well as WHY.

For most of the story, I thought I knew the answer. And I did just not all of it! And I… love (?) that (witness my uncertainty!) Unravel is a complicated little web of who then who then how because it’s not just Naomi’s story, but Lana’s as well. Then it’s not just Naomi’s story as “friend,” but her story as girl becoming woman with Lachlan in view; then later her becoming her own, woman given who Max was.

If only this simplification of mine were the extent of it… 

Because with each slip and each detail revealed, the more I thought I’d pieced the bigger picture together, then faster I‘d read in wanting a confirmation of  how awesome my sleuthing skills were. Once I got there I felt like I’d walked face first to a pane of glass. I was so sure… only to be faced by that sudden What’s this? moment.

Now all that talk on twists aside, Calia Read’s writing is just as remarkable. In the same way that Sea of Tranquility and Storyteller proved that NA is not always just simply hot romance; well, there’s nothing “simple” here, neither is it just a romance for that matter. There’s sophistication in the manner of telling here as she does not rely on the romance to fuel a reader’s interest (although the same is present). On the writing, it has got the same feel as those two book mentioned. Moody. Slow going - but not boring, and very specifically vivid (till’ that ending of course). On the romance, it’s not just that.

This is so much more than the typical NA.






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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Say What You WillSay What You Will by Cammie McGovern




say what you will. i feel sort of bad for not liking this more. it's got a lot going for it but it fell short of that something special. sure, the two are good for each other. she helps him and he helps her. sure, there's the tense-but-obvious questions on the 'rightness' of the two for each other. and sure, there's something more to the both of them than what makes them different: she, more than what her body cannot do. he, more than his compulsions.

but it's this last that i wish were explored more. as it was a lot of the book is them being there for each other... because of, all right,  I'm saying it: convenience. he is who she knows and thus who she wants. and it is in knowing her that she becomes what he wants and yes, sadly, needs. but what if that weren't the case?  

simply, the sad thing is it how a lot of them together becomes what they can do and want to do for each other. well, ok not just that... but a big part of things become that. and i just couldn't keep from hoping for more. maybe that's what should have drawn me in, the need in both. but in effect, it's what had expecting something more because there were hints of it in both of them. there's this big leap saying you're more than what you can't do, but a lot of what makes them who they are for each other is precisely that. there's a 'you complete me' feel that is only shed mere chapters toward the conclusion.

and I'm ok with that, but what of the rest of it? he sees himself as her helpmate, and she sees herself as the same for him. only later do they see themselves and allow themselves to be more. it's that bit- of them apart- that worked best for me; even if a little part of me (that romantic awe shucks prone part of me) was expecting  an HEA. My point is this was almost like that old Depp movie only not as nuanced hence not as sweet. 

thank you, edelweiss!



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