Emotional, Intriguing, Intelligent
There are many memorable moments and turning-point scenes, but I suppose one of the standout ones for me is the scene where Eve tells Roarke about her childhood and you can just feel the raw emotions, and the pain that she's denied and kept buried. But you can also tell that speaking about it finally is rather cathartic for her and has probably been the start of real healing.
I loved all of the different voices she does for the different characters, the way that she makes each one distinct and the way you can tell a lot about the character's personality based on how she does their voice. I was also impressed with her ability to make you forget that this is a female narrator doing voices for mostly male characters, because none of them sound like a woman doing a man's voice. With Roarke in particular you forget it isn't really a man talking, and the way she handles his accent is nothing short of brilliant, giving him just a hint of an Irish brogue when he's talking normally and calmly, but thicker and rougher when he gets upset or angry just the way a real person would.
I certainly felt the often raw emotions right along with the characters, and the story and the performance became so captivating at times that I didn't want to turn it off.
I thought the book moved along at a good pace and maintained a good balance between plot progression of the murder mystery, development of the budding relationship between Eve and Roarke, and the character development of Eve, Roarke, and various of the secondary characters. I never really felt like one aspect was receiving more than its fair share of attention nor like progress in one area was stagnating due to the attention given to others. The main problems I had with this book had to do with the futuristic setting and some of the attitudes that still existed. I feel like some of the things that were apparently still an issue, like birth control, should have/would have been so commonplace and accepted by that point that no one would really think to question the morality of it.
I've had this book both in Kindle and Audible formats for some time now, but never got around to reading it until now. I started it mainly as something easy to listen to while at work that wouldn't require me to pay complete attention to it for fear of missing something. I was expecting it to be mainly sex wrapped up in some sort of thin plot, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was much more than that. It may not seem so at first, for it has a very memorable first line, but if you stay with it a bit you soon see that this book has some meat to it besides the manly kind. Staying with it isn't a problem, for the humor in the writing that's apparent from page one keeps it quite entertaining from the start.
Delilah is a wonderfully spunky character who is something of a study in contrasts, at least on the surface. She's clearly quite brilliant and has made a name for herself as a top notch auditor, yet she is so directionally challenged that she gets lost trying to walk the few blocks from a Chinese takeout restaurant to the corporate apartment she's staying in and often seems rather oblivious to the potential dangers of being a woman walking alone at night (this part is rather hard to believe in my opinion since she supposedly lives in New York City and not rural Kansas or somesuch place where urban dangers would be a foreign thing to her). She thinks of herself as being boring and uninteresting because of her profession, yet she clearly has more of a sense of adventure than she gives herself credit for in the way she so readily accepts Samson's invitation to the theatre after an inauspicious first encounter with him and gives as good as she gets in the flirtation game they engage in during the ride there. Seeing her finally gain complete self-confidence during the course of the book is one of the more satisfying elements of how it ends.
Samson is very alpha, but also very caring and tender-hearted. He is every inch a gentleman, particularly with Delilah, but he also has a vicious and unforgiving side to his personality as well that is seen in brief outbursts at times. We gradually learn about his history from the hardships he faced early in life that brought him to America as a young man, to the heartbreak and betrayal he experienced much more recently that led to the problem he has at the beginning of the book. He doesn't really try to deny what he feels for Delilah once he realize it himself, nor does he ever really play the "she's too good for me" or "I'm a monster, she's better off without me" game that's often too common with caring vamps like Samson (except perhaps slightly at the very beginning before he talks to the doctor about her), and that is a major plus in my book for I always find that to be a turnoff.
The story easily held my attention from beginning to end, and despite often being distracted to a greater or lesser extent with work stuff I was doing I had no problem following along with it. I guessed who was behind the attacks on Delilah relatively early on, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of watching the plot unfold and listening to find out how the characters in the book would figure out whodunnit. It played out mostly as expected, though there was a twist to the ended that I didn't expect and wonder if what happened there will come back to bite them in the future. Besides the whodunnit plotline, the romance between Samson and Delilah plays out pretty much as you'd expect as well, with plenty of hot sex and and few misunderstandings thrown in to keep it interesting. I did think Delilah was overly "OMG he's a vampire! ack!" when she finds out about Samson and friends, and holds onto that "he's a vampire therefore he must be a monster" mindset rather too long even when given plenty of evidence to the contrary. I would have thought she'd have gotten over it far more quickly given her intelligence, but it just goes to show that blind panic can short circuit even the smartest person's brain at times.
Overall I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of paranormal romance, and of vampire romance in particular, so long as you're not easily offended by sex scenes that are often rather graphic (but hot!). I'll definitely be reading or listening to the rest of the series as soon as I'm able to (which might be awhile). 4 solid stars to a highly entertaining story.
The final installment of this series does not disappoint. The large plot that has been gradually revealed over the last several books comes to a head and most of the questions are finally answered. For the most part, the outcomes are what you would expect if you've been paying attention to all the little clues that were dropped along the way, though there are a few surprises here as well. By the end, to say that nothing will be the same again is a huge understatement.
The substantial character growth we saw from Georgina in the last book continues to develop and solidify in this one. After a lifetime -- several lifetimes actually -- of dodging consequences and shying away from confrontation, she's finally ready to truly own up to her mistakes and at least attempt to deal with the mess she's created. Though she learns some staggering truths about just how much her actions over the centuries have impacted at least one other person in particular, instead of burying her head in the sand and dissolving into a ball of self-pity as she's always done in the past, she sucks it up and faces it head on, determined to try to finally do the right thing and at least try to make amends. Once all it said and done, it appears that she's been successful and will finally get the happily ever after that she's long been denied.
Overall, the answers found in this book are largely what I had expected they would be, for we'd been given enough clues up to this point that it wasn't hard to guess what had been going on in the background unbeknownst to Georgina for all the centuries of her long life. Still, enough of the details had still been uncertain that it wasn't all just an "I knew that" situation here. A few surprises await us as well that keep the story fresh and from being too entirely predictable. The final outcome is largely a happy one, but it's not without a few bittersweet notes. It was inevitable that at least a few sacrifices would have to be made here, and while the biggest one is a bit surprising, it makes sense once you think about it.
A satisfying ending to a very intriguing and entertaining series. While I'm a bit sad to see the last of Georgina, for I've enjoyed her personality as well as those of all her friends, it was good to finally see her get some resolutions and closure to issues that have plagues and haunted her for centuries. I'll definitely be checking out more of Ms. Mead's works for I've really enjoyed her style of writing.
I'll admit up front that I haven't read the previous Half-Moon Hollow books as yet, so perhaps I was missing something coming into this story that might have made it sparkle for me a bit more. As far as the immediate story here, I didn't feel like I was missing any pertinent information about the setting or characters that I'm sure are from the previous novels in the series, so I'd say this really can stand alone in that regard. Knowing the other characters better may have added to the experience, however.
Tess is a snarky, independent chef who is obliged to take a vacation after having a rather public and humiliating breakdown in the kitchen of her Chicago restaurant. I loved the recounting of that event with all of its caustic wit and creatively profane descriptions. It was easily one of the funniest passages in the book and firmly establishes Tess's personality and wicked sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed her voice throughout the story, often laughing out loud at some of her descriptions and epithets. Still, as much as I liked the spunky, sassy, slightly insane big city woman that she is at the beginning, I was also pleased to see how she developed throughout the story. Though some of the realizations she comes to may seem a bit abrupt, that is mainly a side effect of the nature of short stories and the lack of sufficient time to build up to things.
In contrast to the vibrant portrayal of Tess, Sam's characterization seemed rather flat to me. Perhaps that's just because we're hearing the story from Tess's POV and she isn't really spending much time with him for the first 2/3 of it thus Sam doesn't get a lot of "screen time" for much of the story. We're also limited to Tess's observations and impressions of him, and she doesn't have a very favorable opinion of him for a long time. Still, we get to see bits and pieces of his character along the way and he seems like a pretty decent guy. Not quite as assertive and alpha as I'd prefer maybe, but still a nice guy and one I wouldn't mind meeting.
Overall I found this story to be quite enjoyable, with many LOL moments. Despite the relatively short length, Ms. Harper manages to pack in a very complete story that rarely seems rushed at all. Still, though I did like it, nothing about it truly "wow'd" me as I listened, and thus I've rated it a bit lower. I'd definitely recommend it though, particularly to fans of Molly Harper or those who enjoy snarky, irreverent heroines. Perhaps once I've had a chance to read the other Half-Moon Hollow books I'll feel differently about this one. 3½ stars to an enjoyable, but ultimately slightly flat story.
Probably one of the best entries in the series yet. This book deals with a variety of very serious issues and presents some very real threats both to Georgina and her friends and to the entire hierarchy of power in Seattle. Themes of betrayal in various forms run strong here, as do issues of trust, both knowing who you can trust and knowing when to trust and not to trust. The status quo is shaken from top to bottom, and as with previous volumes in the series, nothing will be the same again once all is said and done here.
Georgina has been trolling around at rock bottom in the months since her spectacular and heart-rending breakup with Seth in Succubus Dreams. She's since hooked up with Dante, a human psychic that we met in that book, much to the dismay and disgust of her friends. Instead of the caring and charming woman that we've known so far in this series, she's become bitter and angry, caught in a downward spiral of drinking and evil-doing that seems more than a little unlike her. The situations she is thrown into here, however, make her re-examine her attitudes and her reactions to everything that has happened to her, and thankfully serve as a catalyst to bring her out of her funk and restore her mostly to her former self. Of course, given the nature of some of the trials she has to face, it's inevitable that they will leave her changed as well, though this time it seems the change will be for the better going forward.
Characters and storylines from previous books resurface here, some which it had been obvious would be continuing but also some that are a bit surprising in their return. Because of this I'd highly recommend reading this series in order, for while the basics of who people are and what has happened previously do get explained here, you'll most likely be lost here if you haven't read the previous books. This is partly due to the way the author so adeptly throws out things that seem to be a minor detail at the time but later gain much greater significance, and not every allusion to previous events gets explained enough to really give the reader a complete appreciation of the intricate storylines at play here. Even if it hadn't been obvious before, it's completely obvious by the end of this book that this series is telling a larger, likely finite story, with each book revealing just enough more of the larger picture to keep the reader intrigued and reading on.
In summary, I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has been following the series and agree with what I've heard many say regarding this being probably the best one of all, at least so far. If you haven't read the previous books, definitely go back and start with book one to get the full effect of the series. 5 solid stars to a book that held me enthralled from beginning to end.
This was the third or fourth time I've read this book, and I always enjoy it. It is a fascinating tale of a battle between Light and Dark and the measures each employs. It incorporates many things from children's fairy tales and the creatures in them to various religious traditions, though pagan traditions predominate. It is interesting to watch how each of the characters evolves and responds to the challenges presented.
Woven throughout the tale is Ms. Huff's brand of irreverent and snarky humor that provides many lines that draw a chuckle or a laugh even in the midst of dire happenings. As the tale unwinds, you come to care about the characters a great deal, and you want everything to turn out well for them even though it's fairly clear that such can't really be the case. The ending when it comes is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Good prevails (not really a spoiler since we all know that it will) but not without a cost. Some of the characters have grown considerably by the end, others have simply had their beliefs and values re-affirmed, but none are left unchanged, at least in some small way, by their experiences.
Recommended to all who like fantasy, particularly that with a real-world setting. I'm standing by my intital 5 star rating on this, though my true rating is probably more like a 4.8.
Note: For this re-read, I listened to it in audiobook form, and while the narrator does an acceptable job, there were times when I felt her performance left something to be desired. In particular, in several places there are lyrics given, and she always recites these in a rather flat manner. I wouldn't expect them to be sung necessarily, but they could have been read as poetry with a bit more feeling than she puts into it.
I've only listened to the audio, so can't really compare it to the print version.
The big confrontation scene at the end, most definitely. I don't want to say more because it would be too spoilery, but it'll rip your heart out and leave you aching on Georgina's behalf.
She really brings the characters to life and helps you to visualize what's going on a lot better than just reading it on a page or a screen would I think. Each character is done with a different voice, even if it's just a subtle difference of tone in how she reads their lines, such that you quickly learn to recognize who's speaking even before they're identified.
This one will definitely have you wanting to cry I think. Also will have you wanting to scream "No! Stop! Don't!"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite, or perhaps because, of the emotional roller coaster it takes you on. Where in the earlier books we've gotten to see Georgina at some of her highest and happiest points, in this book we get to see her at her lowest. Will she recover from it? The jury's still out on that one. I definitley look forward to continuing the series to find out the answer and to see where things go from here for all of the characters involved. The more we learn about Georgina and her world, the more fascinating it becomes until you can't wait to learn even more. 4½ stars to an excellent entry in a very strong series.
The storyline that kept you guessing, pointing you in one direction then revealing it had sent you down a blind alley so to speak. I suspected who the villain was but not until just before it was revealed. Still, there were a few twists at the end I didn't quite see coming, and the ending left me very curious to see what will happen next.
Georgina. She is very personable and easy to relate to. It's easy to feel sorry for her and the life she's landed herself in, her desire to do as little bad as possible. It's difficult to impossible to see her as an evil being for she seems filled with good rather than evil.
Georgina. She really brought her to life and made you sympathize with her, made you feel her regrets and the highs and lows of her emotions.
A few scenes made me laugh, and a few scenes made my heart break for Georgina, but the main strong reaction was that I was so caught up in the story through the last half that I just had to keep listening, to find out what would happen and how it would all work out.
A great book, and one that I'd definitely recommend to others. I read some of this one on my Kindle to start with, then switched to audio for the sake of being able to keep making progress on it while doing other things, and am very glad I did. It was enjoyable from the beginning in print, but the audio performance really brought the characters to life and drew me in more than I think the print might have done.
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