Caution: Don't try to read the Jane Yellowrock books out of order. The emotional payoff won't be there if you do. She starts off ruthless, and with each book we see her start to make emotional ties to the people in her life. She really is the kid "raised by wolves". Lots of big guns, thrilling action, and snappy sarcasm, but this book we see her take on more of beast's protective side and start to admit that she has built herself a "family". Jane is no one's cliched feminine lead, and she takes some warming to. the series is starting to reveal some of the story's depth in a very interesting way - both in Jane's history and in the vampire political world. Solid, satisfying, and action-packed.
Feels so derivitive of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Alex is okay but the disappointing treatment of all the female characters is annoying. I want it to be snappier, sharper, and to make me care more about the characters. Arachne the giant spider steals the show with her sage wisdom. Is it bad that I want Alex to embrace his Dark Mage side?
I, as a rule, dislike time travel fiction. It's fussy, it's confusing, there are paradoxes where people have romantic feelings for partners in older or younger incarnations that sort of creep me out.
This book was really well written. It's brilliantly plotted and crafted so that all the time jumps seem to make sense and are relatively easy to keep track of. The world building, including the descriptions of Cronos and and time travel, are rich and plausible. The time travel involves the Chicago World's Fair, which I adore and that part is very well researched, full of historical details. There is some YA romance, but it is PG and not the main focus of the story. There is even a love triangle of sorts, but the author handles the idea of different possibilities of a person that time travels being essentially not the same person and therefore capable of not splitting their affections in an effective way. Kate's relationships with her father and grandmother were fantastic and good emotional touchpoints through the book. Trey was charismatic, and the scenes with him felt reminiscent of a John Green book (in a good way).
I had some criticisms. Kate, our protagonist is only a construct of a person. She is far too influenced and sheltered by her mother. Then she is far too trusting of her grandmother's "truth" of how the timeline should be manipulated. She is entirely too trusting of Cooper, who I was suspicious of for a good portion of the book. She makes mistakes of judgement that put her in danger, despite saying a moment before that it would be unsafe to do that very action. The romantic feelings that both boys feel for Kate seem unwarranted to the reader as she is rather two-dimensional, often uncertain and fumbling. One would think that with her martial arts training, she'd have more confidence and presence than she seemed to on the page. Perhaps she is just that pretty a face in person?
Overall, I found this book really fun and love the historical fiction parts of it. I liked Kate's grandmother very much, and how the author portrayed her character as it evolved over time. I thought it was clever and worked very well in keeping the time shifts/realities clear in the reader's mind. 3.5 stars
This book was an unusual post-apocalyptic book for a few reasons. First, the setting is unusual. The action takes place in a small, intimate area - a small town in Iowa that has a chemical spill that causes it to be quarantined off for the rest of the United States. This gives us a nice dose of nostalgia for small town Midwest and a very perceptible and easily imagined feeling for the claustrophobia, powerlessness, and despair of those trapped for seven years in Flowertown. It also puts the action on a small scale so that it is easy to believe in the ability of a few to subjugate the trapped - by controlling the media, internet, cell coverage, and supplies that are allowed into Flowertown. We don't have to imagine a world changed immeasurably.
Secondly, the heroine. She is not a stunningly beautiful (but doesn't know it) kick-ass girl just waiting for someone to love her. She is a young adult - in her early 20's. She has flaws,and hides in a haze of marijuana smoke from most of what is happening to her. She does not have magical powers and was not destined for greatness. She is not trained in combat. She does not have two guys fawning over her in a cliched love triangle. In fact, romance plays a fairly small part in the story overall. Our heroine is reluctant and flawed and human, and most of all, relatable.
What we do get is a really intimate and scary medical thriller. We get a lot of backstory told in ways that are not big static info-dumps. We get a strong sense of setting and wonderful memorable details. We get characters making decisions and trying to figure out what is going on at the same rate as the reader is, so there is a lot of suspense and tension. The plot is action-packed and nicely reveal in a pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You aren't sure who to trust. The writing is sharp, well edited, and precise. It's got humor and sass.
The criticisms - okay, Guy is a bit too good to be true, He should have given up on Ellie well before the end. Bing and Ellie are a bit too precious in that John Green-esque dialogue way. They fly off the handle and then make up again and again. Rachel is a bit too good and pure and convenient to figuring out the plot points mid-book. Ellie stops smoking pot and overnight can run without hacking and gasping like a true pothead would have. It is stated way too many times how infrequently Ellie bathes and how filthy her clothes are. Ellie makes a leap of logic in two places that seem too convenient. The contaigen seems too easily controlled.
The audiobook is very well narrated by Tanya Eby.
This was a surprise as I had not heard of it before, and it was a perfect summer read.
This book was a rollicking good time that I could imagine in my mind's eye as a movie. The plot was ludicrous but if you let yourself go with the farcical nature of the thing, it was fun to be swept up in the action. The book started really strongly, and while the plot lines all pulled together pretty neatly by the end, I did notice a decreasing attention to editing as the book went on. I was a little confused by the fact that some of the celebrities were named by their real life name and others were "hidden" by a rhyming version of the famous name instead. The narrator did a good job, with some great celebrity impressions along the way.
Entertaining and rambunctious farce, if a bit silly.
This book wasn't bad - it just felt like it wasn't fully written yet. The writing was pretty solid, but could have used a bit more editing and reworking for most impact and better flow. The characters and their alternating POVs worked, but overall the book felt more like an introduction to their stories than the full novel. My only quibble was that the historical time period seemed to shift - with modern terms and traditional/fantasy terms used together to make the setting a bit muddy. The narration by Alex Hyde-White is very good. I think that the author shows promise and that with a bit more experience, this could develop into a really satisfying fantasy series.
Easy, fast-paced cozy mystery with a lot of humor. Despite the cat that is almost a character herself, the book didn't fall into the traps of many cozy mysteries and get too "precious". The heroine was refreshingly smart, brave, and not superficial. Jess is 52, and is able to stand up for herself without obsessing about the man in her life. I enjoyed the unusual angle of Jess being a pool shark, and the Wade Inn was a great location for the investigation. The trio of friends were very funny, as was Jess's mother. The murder mystery never got too scary. A fun summer read. Recommended for fans of Janet Evanovich's writing.
Classic John Green teenagers engage in witty banter. Oddball Margo enlivens the life of staid Quentin in one memorable night of hijinks and daring, then disappears. Q and his friends follow a trail of clues to figure out where Margo went, all the while negotiating the end of senior year of high school and contemplating the inevitable "end of an era" that is coming after high school. The unlikely intermixing of kids in different social groups reminded me of classic high school movies like The Breakfast Club, Can't Hardly Wait, and Empire Records.
This book opens with a bang, hums along with the giddiness of senior year, roars into the wild abandon of a ridiculous road trip... and then stutters to a halt into a too-talky, overblown precious ending full of sweeping philosophical statements that seem empty. At least the story didn't wrap up neatly into a happily ever after romance.
While a lot of the book is enjoyable, I felt like Green was trying too hard, and his characters became flat dialogue bubbles at the end. I don't believe that he achieved the coming of age character progression that would have redeemed the book. I'd recommend 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' instead.
Grisham is on his game with his second installment of Jake Brigance (A Time To Kill) legal thrillers. Loaded with twists and turns, this case will surprise and delight as the facts are revealed. The racial tension (both historical and current time of the story, in the 1980's) is compelling but Grisham doesn't let it make the story one-dimensional. The cast of characters is full of Southern charisma and oddball pathos, as all Southern novels should be. Highly enjoyable and well-narrated by Michael Beck.
This book is a well-researched historical account of the Battle of Concord as told through the sympathetic and realistic eyes of an 18 year old girl. It starts off a bit stilted due to the language and historical conventions of the time, but you ease into the book quickly and the Betsy's telling of the Revolutionary War strikes home with immediate and realistic detail. I appreciated that this is not the typical YA that is centered on romance and idle youthfulness - Betsy and her family have no time for frivolity as they are fighting for their life, village, and country. It was an interesting view of the war as it came from the perspective of women and children rather than primarily of the men fighting. The account is very detailed and while the story is bleak and bloody, there is hope alive still in the aftermath of war.
This book was a mixed bag. Ilona Andrews' writing is smooth, adept, and enjoyable with humor and adventure, as usual. The book is more emotionally charged than most of the Kate Daniels series as so much of the plot centers on motherhood (the pack children going loup, the fears of Kate and Andrea and Aunt B about future children, the Desendra pregnancy) and fatherhood (Hugh and Kate's shared "father", the danger of Kate's real father, Desendra's despicable father and husbands). The plotline felt a bit contrived but it's always fun to have a group of characters take a journey together to accomplish a common goal. The new characters were good and not too confusing or detracting. The scenes with Kate and Hugh were really rich and interesting, and really fleshed out Hugh as a character. Even the shocking death in the book was well done and pulled on heartstrings effectively.
I felt that I enjoyed the secondary characters so much more than Kate and Curran, because of Curran's behavior with Lorelei. I did not buy his story, could not believe the did not make Kate aware of the threat against her life, and felt that it diminished Kate to forgive him so easily. The ending with Christopher felt really pasted on and unrealistic. Hugh would never have let Christopher escape with his powerful ability.
It's still an enjoyable read, as I expect from Ilona Andrews. I am disappointed with the characterization of Curran at the moment.
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