It’s been quite a long time since a book has blown me away like Watch Over Me has done. I’m a big fan of Tara Sivec’s writing, but before now, I’ve only read her comedy and (meant in the nicest way) borderline obnoxious use of crude language. Last year I tackled her Chocolate Lovers series. They’re hilarious, light reads. Watch Over Me is not like them at all, aside from the fact that Sivec shows her ability to write a great book, yet again. Being the polar opposite of previous Sivec books, this novel packed an emotional punch with each new scene, and I may have underestimated it at first glance.
Some of the best things about this book were the well-developed characters, believable plot, and slow, non-forced romance. Addison is a broken young woman trying to get through each day. The way she is written makes the reader feel everything she feels, to sympathize with her, but also to realize when she’s being stupid. It’s all displayed and she doesn’t even deny that she has issues. It was great to see a character who wasn’t trying to hide, from the reader, behind a mask of anger or an act, to cover up what she was going through. It wasn’t at all hidden to build to a big reveal later in the book. This was also helpful in going through the story. She let’s us into each interaction, each milestone in her path to recovery.
I also liked how, while there’s a romance in this book, I didn’t see it coming for the first chunk of the book. And once Zander shows up, there’s no guarantee if he’ll be a permanent character or not. There’s no insta-love, there’s no predictable personality either. Zander is just Zander.
It’s all written in such an honest, no-nonsense way. I couldn’t help by to be drawn into the book. It gripped me early on and didn’t let me go…and still hasn’t. Seeing this type of serious writing from an author who (up until now) is normally trying to make the reader die laughing, gives me even more respect for what she writes. Some authors can write one type of book, and do so in great ways. Others can write many different types, but not really write an amazing book in any. Sivec has shown me her diversity in evoking the emotions of a reader, her diversity of genre, and an adaptive writing style.
This is the first episode of Cruelty and I'll throw it out there that I'm not sure if I'll continue onto the next one. It wasn't poorly written or anything like that, but it all felt a bit mundane and was lacking something to hook me in. I was expecting more to the horror elements, but it didn't seem to "scare" or "shock" me. It had a "wtf, that's gross" thing going for it, for some readers, but I felt that it was telling it too much of it, not showing it. Showing would have allowed for more emotional attachment to the scenes.
Still it wasn't a total loss for me if I look at the last bit. While it might have revealed a lot early on (first of ten episodes), I felt it was the only part of the story that really grabbed my attention. I might keep on with the serial to see where it goes from here, because of the ending, but as for the other stuff, it wasn't my thing.
This is the first in the Forever Girl series and I hope future titles are just as enjoyable a read as this first one was.
The book revolves around the character Sophia. She is a twenty something college graduate living in a small town in Colorado. She lives alone in her deceased grandfather’s house, works at the town dinner as a waitress, and tries to get through each day having to deal with ever-present voices in her head.
There is no apparent cause or cure to these voices and Sophia just puts up with them. She makes occasional attempts to quiet the voices through positive energy rituals she performs, but it’s never a permanent escape. Did I mention that Sophia practices Wicca? Well, she does. And this doesn’t help the town’s attitude toward her.
Sophia only has two friends, Lauren and Ivory. They don’t even know about the voices. She tries not to tell anyone. But eventually things start happening around her that she can’t ignore. One night out on the town with Ivory changes her life forever, and she is thrown into an underground world of supernatural beings and ancient secrets.
Will she ever find the source of the voices she hears? Can she trust the new friends who saved her life? Can she control her attraction for the mysterious Charles? Well, you’ll just have to read the book now, won’t you?
I only read a chapter or so the night I got this book, but I didn’t want to put it down. If I weren’t reading another book at the time I might have finished half the book right then and there. It’s just that good.
Even though there isn’t always action happening at every point in the book, (what story can be only action) the book hooked me in and didn’t want to let go. A key factor that kept me reading was that I didn’t know where the book was going to go next. I mean, I could tell that in the next chapter the characters were going to drive here or do something over there, but normally I can predict a major plot point well in advance. I was never able to make that sort of prediction with this book. It was a great feeling to always be surprised.
Another thing I really loved about this book was how Sophia saw the world. The description of her surroundings and the people she encountered were always detailed and filled with color, smells, and sounds. There are many books out there that are good, but they can still lack strength in this area of setting. Other books can have strong description but lack in other areas. There was a perfect balance between the plot’s forward motion and the development of the scene. It didn’t get in the way of knowing what was happening, even in the middle of fight scenes.
I didn’t want to mention too much above about the characters, but now that I think about it, I should mention briefly about the supernatural characters: There are vampires, shape-shifters, and witches. Before you think “oh, another of those books,” please trust in me saying “no, this isn’t just another of those books.” I didn’t think a book with vampires would interest me much, but I was proven wrong very quickly this time. It may also help that the mythology Hamilton creates around these supernatural beings doesn’t call them vampires and puts an uncommon reason for their creation (originally to save the world) into the story.
There is also a love story that is in the forefront of the plot, but with me being a guy, I feel safe saying that the romance factor is completely bearable and enjoyable. Not only did I not want to throw up, I also want to see where the next book takes it. This interest is increased with the way the book ends, but I don’t want to spoil anything more by getting into that.
To wrap this up. I WANT the next book to be released tomorrow if not today. I would buy it right away and not put it down. I trust that it will be just as good as The Forever Girl was. For now I will have to just enjoy the aftermath of reading this one.
This book has been on my to-be-read list for a long time, and I’m very happy to finally get the chance to read it. What I find missing in some dystopian books that I read is the beginning of the new way of life. Many books start years later with a character/resistance to take down the wicked government. Collapse is a novel that’ll bring the reader through the entire process of how America deteriorates and falls, as well as how a new government rises.
What I enjoyed most about this novel was that, as I said, it takes the reader through the fall of one nation and the rise of a new one. (I don’t feel this is a spoiler due to the New America series title and what’s said in the description.) Even though it’s known that the outcome of this book probably won’t be positive, the journey to the end is filled with much to enjoy. The book follows the struggles of a few group’s of American in the Second Great Depression. These interlaced stories about very different characters can be books all by themselves. That’s how much detail and planning seems to have gone into telling their stories. Stephenson is also able to jump around from story to story without me getting tripped up much of the time. That’s always an obstacle when carrying along with a few storylines in one book.
Whether others agree or not, I felt that much of what happens in this novel could actually happen some years down the road. For me, the fact that I could picture some of this being actual history at some point in the near future added to the emotions of the book. Some details are obviously exaggerated or too “out there” but overall, I see realism in Collapse and that enhances the “horror” these characters face. As with many dystopian books, the ability to fear realism from a book makes me enjoy it that much more. Maybe I’m just sick and enjoy reading about a dark near future, though.
The only real issues I had was that at some points in the book, the story was moved along by things out, rather than allowing the story to move things along. In this I mean some sections were written as “This happened. Then this and this. Followed by…” It wasn’t too troubling, but there were strong sections in this book, and these others were a bit dull. With as much detail of characters, events, and other elements that this book had, it’s expected that some things are glossed over though.
Book 2, Resistance, is on my Kindle now (as well as the short story Spider). I’m looking forward to the next installment of the New America series. If it’s anything like Collapse, I’ll find it hard to put down.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book with vampires. I don’t always find much exciting about the genre, but Parkerson was able to write the mythology of these vampires, werewolves, and other creatures in an interesting way.
I liked the idea behind how the creatures came to be, and how/why The Society of Sinners itself was set up. It adds a better depth to the story than just having all these characters with abilities and leaving it simply as that. This also helped in the development of the characters and their histories.
I also found it interesting that the novel was split into 5 separate, but connected, stories. At the heart of it, these are 5 stories about the pairing off of various characters, as well as way to introduce bits of the ongoing plot for the next stories to build on. This worked well, though I found that it allowed some events to become predictable, as the stories had obvious similarities with the romance. But all in all, the first four stories were great and built up a nice story. I didn’t feel the same way about the 5th story though. It takes place about 25 years after the others (which occurred in a much shorter time frame, all together). This alone sets it apart from the rest of the book. It also doesn’t really build off of the rest of the book directly; it’s a side story in a way. Though, I can see how it’s possible that the conflict could lead to the next book in the series, I felt this was a self-contained, unrelated occurrence.
Looking back at the characters, I do feel that they were developed nicely, even if there was too much insta-romance for me. It still fit in with the idea of fate/destiny/a bigger picture that is a factor in their world.
Now that the characters have been set up, their relationships established, and some hints at a bigger conflict thrown at me, I’m anxious to see where the other books of the series take the story. It was nice to read a novel from this author, while in the past I’ve really only read short stories.
I listened to this collection via the audiobook format. I feel that the audio helped bring out the rhythm and rhyme of each poem, and with that, the words had even more power than they would simply on the page. Since poetry is as much about the audible experience as it is the visual/textual experience, this added to my enjoyment.
I’ve read another collection of Puckett’s not too long ago, and enjoyed that one as well, but Breaking Dawn has a little extra something in the subject matter of the poems, allowing me to sit back and enjoy each one that much more.
Only reason for the half-star drop was a line here or there that was just too wordy and/or long. In these instances the meter and flow was disrupted, taking me out of the poem momentarily. But it’s only a minor issue for me as a reader, easily going unnoticed at times.
It’s becoming harder and harder to win me over with contemporary romance novels, lately. I find that I’m somewhat picky when it comes to books that sound too similar to ones I’ve already read. So I try to find something different. My Favorite Mistake was one such book that seemed like it could offer something different for me.
One of the things that hooked me in from the beginning was the way Cameron was able to write about college life for these characters, and make me feel like I was back in college again. There was a familiar atmosphere to it all. I did find it a little hard to believe that a college’s housing department wouldn’t have accommodated Taylor’s request to not have Hunter as a roommate. I dont’ have much co-ed dorm experience, but if someone’s uncomfortable, it’s their job to remedy the situation. But after accepting this, I was back into enjoying where the story went and how the author used this detail to her advantage.
The characters are fun to get to know, and again, they act and feel like real college students. There’s nothing extraordinary about them. They go to class, study, hang out together. The focus given to college life in this book isn’t something I find in others. There’s normally a focus on characters and romance, not setting. Hunter was a great character once we get to see a big more of him. Taylor, the narrator, was good as well, if sometimes a bit much to handle reading about from the first person. Seeing her character from the outside might have let me feel for her, or understand her a bit more. They both have their issues that make them who they are and I think the way their conflicts grew into a childlike game, and relationship evolved was a nice touch. There were times when I couldn’t tell what’d happen next. Would there be a fight or a more tame civil moment? It kept me guessing.
Overall I was pleased with the book. It’s a good sign when an author can get me to like the male lead and feel like the romance was never forced. There are many memorable secondary characters in here as well. With this being my first time reading Cameron’s work, I’m looking forward to the others I have on my Kindle.
Having finished book 1, The Light Tamer, recently, I was compelled to check out Enlightened, as well. As with the first book, there was an intrigue to see what Dawson has in store for these characters and for the light tamer mythology.
In Enlightened, there’s more time given to reveal more about the light tamers and the way things work, than in book 1. Eventually, the explanations get more complicated by throwing in some other things (which I won’t spoil), shedding new light on what’s really going on for Jessie and her friends. I can feel that there’s a conflict building up for book 3, though, there wasn’t really a main conflict in this book at all.
In a way, with reading book 1 and 2 so close together, I get the feeling that they could be put together in one book, and possibly the 3rd (not released as of writing this review) might fit into that combination as well. There’s a bit more to this book than the first, but still I felt there was enough for there to be just one stronger more fleshed out book.
The reader will need to suspend their beliefs to a higher extent than I’m used to for some aspects of this book. For reasons, that I won’t reveal, I was again left with the feeling that these 15 and 16 year old characters are written as if they are young adults (in the real world sense of 18 & 19 year olds, not the literary world’s definition) and not like more realistic 15/16 year olds. I understood that this series was written for a YA audience, yet, I felt as if, while the writing suites the genre well, the characters and situations didn’t fit the ages well.
As mentioned just above, this book is most likely to please a YA reader. I think the style would to be a younger reader’s liking and they’ll be able to relate to it well. Again, the insta-love didn’t sit well, as it’s explained away with the wave of a hand. But it still fits the rest of the book’s flow. All-in-all it was another enjoyable, fast, read. I’m sure I’ll grab book three when it’s released so I can finish the story, that’s only in its infancy with book 1 and 2. I have a feeling more will take place throughout the next book, and it might help me appreciate the previous books, as well.
The Light Tamer has been on my TBR for quite a while. I found the premise to be interesting and I was looking forward to reading a book with, what to my experience is, a unique paranormal premise.
The idea behind the light tamers in this book is great and new. It’s not often a paranormal book isn’t about an exhausted type of “creature.” But I did feel that there was also some strange things to it. The writing in this book wasn’t the best I’ve read before. I think that lead to some of my disappointment.
Dawson has great promise with this book, but there are aspects that could have used some work. To just touch briefly on that, I felt mainly like all of the characters didn’t react realistically to much of the reveals of the book. There was often a moment of questioning, but then it was explained away with a vague “we believe it could be….” explanation and everything’s back to normal again. Also, the conflicts that arise are almost too easily resolved. This is most apparent at the main event of the book.
Some of the dialogue wasn’t to my liking either. Jessie sounds enough like a fifteen year old, but Caleb who’s not much older than her, sounds too mature for his age. The way they deal with issues also makes many characters feel older than they are and the responsibilities given to them so easily by adults makes it seem like they’re older teens.
It wasn’t all iffy though. I wanted to keep reading and to find out more about light tamers and what was all going on. The book is very fast paced, if not a little short even at roughly 60K words, and this helps more things along nicely. I really liked Amber’s character, though she was a little upstaged by Jessie and Caleb’s insta-love relationship (explainable insta-love but still slightly too fast).
I did enjoy this book, even if it wasn’t all that I think it could have been if it were fleshed out more and given time to blossom in various ways. I grabbed a copy of book 2 and plan on reading it soon to continue in this trilogy.
*Please note that I haven’t read the rest of this trilogy, so I went into this novella with a blank slate. The description mentions this could be read before or after reading the other. I’m sure my reaction would be a little different had I read it after the other books.*
Gabriel: Zero Point was a pretty good novella. There isn’t that much to it in terms of building the futuristic world that it’s set in, but it does a great job of setting up Gabriel, the main character. Being that he is the main character of the trilogy that follows this novella, I think getting the story of where he started is probably better than getting the grander world view. The novels have more room for that. Still, this is only, for the most part, a small glimpse into what is to come and I felt like maybe just a little more info would have made it that much more enjoyable for me.
Overall, it’s filled with action, there aren’t any lulls to the story, and it’s gotten me interested in the other books. I think Umstead has much in store for me, once I start the trilogy. I’m looking forward to it.
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