Sunday, May 27, 2007

Finished Megan Hart's Broken...

And absolutely loved it. I finished it a few days ago and needed time to process my thoughts/feelings about the story.

First and foremost let me say if you're looking for a light, fun read, you're not going to find it in Broken. Within the pages of this book, you're going to find a story unlike any you've ever read. One that will leave you, at times, confused, sad, afraid, and fearful, and at other times you'll be happy and content.

In this book, first person totally worked. I didn't want to know what any of the other characters were thinking. Sadie's thoughts and feelings kept me plenty enthralled.

Truthfully, when I picked up this book, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Sadie's brushing the invisible do-not-cross line between fidelity and infidelity, but as I read the book, I understood the "why." When you don't receive physical touch for a long time, I can see needing it, even if it is living vicariously through another's escapades. And in Sadie's case, the title of this book, Broken, fits so many things: her relationship with her husband, her husband, and, most of all, herself. Her life is, indeed, broken. Being broken can make a person feel lost and confused and so totally fucking frustrated you just want to break down and cry your eyes out, especially when no matter how hard you try to find a way to fix or repair things, you just can't.

But Sadie doesn't do that. She doesn't whine. She doesn't wail. Just just does. She goes on living her life, and I applaud her for that. Her strength(which she didn't see in herself) is amazing. I ached for this woman. I cried for her. I got angry with her. I got frustrated with her. I laughed with her. I felt everything she felt.

Megan Hart is an amazing author. With both books Dirty and Broken, she took me places I never imagined I'd go, and I thank her for sharing her amazing talent and fabulous stories with me. First person or not, with these two books, Ms. Hart has earned a spot on my auto-buy list.

(Cross posted on Let's Gab)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Six of Hearts by JT Schultz

Six of HeartsThis is a first book by a brand new author, and it shows. There are awkward word choices, places where the story doesn't flow as it should, and a dénouement that didn't make as much sense to me as it might have.

Having said all that, I did enjoy much of this book. Here's the story in a nutshell: A group of 6 teenage friends is being killed one by one. The detective on the case was friends with them all (sister to one and first lover to another). There are tons of secrets among them, of course.

What I liked: Faith, who comes back for the first funeral and is our heroine, and Devon, our hero. I liked them both. We get to see a lot of their history and they don't try to hide their renewed feelings for one another. They both come across as human, with flaws and issues. But both quite likeable.

I liked Faith's brothers. Who just happen to also be Devon's partners. Lots of humor there, lots of sibling teasing, but brotherly protectiveness and closeness and love that as the reader, I could see coming through as well.

I liked the storyline, although it's one that has been done before and by bestselling authors. For that alone, Schultz gets an A+ for guts. But I really liked the past relationships that Schultz built into the book, and she obviously thought those through well and took the time and care to establish and develop them, and most of the characters were the better for it.

What I didn't like: Schultz has some growing to do as a writer in how she handles conflict between her characters. There is a big scene where Faith and Devon confront a past hurt, and the way that it played out didn't quite ring true for me. She did a beautiful job developing these characters, and then didn't allow them to be themselves during this crucial moment.

But while Schultz did a great job character-building her protagonists, many of her antagonists were characaturish. I would have liked to have seen how the shallow, selfish bitch became that way, when she was one of the group before.

I also kept wondering all the way through the book... who was working the case? Devon and Jake never seemed to actually do any police work. This is definitely one area that Schultz needs to improve upon if she wants to write romantic suspense that includes police procedure in it.

And like I said, there were a lot of places in the dialogue mostly, where the wording felt awkward, just didn't flow properly, like you or I would say things. It almost felt as though she was trying to write it the way it should be grammatically correct, but in dialogue especially, word choice and order has to be dictated more by what is character appropriate.

Also, I couldn't figure out if the old boyfriend was frind or foe. I think that Schultz felt that she established him as friend by the end of the book, but I don't think she cleaned up her loose ends. So she needs to make sure that she keeps all her ducks in a row - a difficult task for any author in a very long book.

So, I know it sounds like there were more problems than pluses here, and perhaps there were, but you all know I'm a very forgiving reader. Overall, for a first effort, I think Schultz did a fairly credible job. It wasn't fantastic, but I can see good potential here. The things that were wrong were things that are the easier things to fix. The basics - good story idea, good character building (for the most part) were there. I would be willing to give her another shot.

Word of warning. This is a "Super/Epic" length novel. If you are not as forgiving a reader as I am, don't go there. If you are forgiving, and are willing to give a newbie a try and overlook her oopsies, you can buy the book at Forbidden Publications.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Pick yourselves up off the floor. Yes, I read a paranormal... on my own *g*. Mixed feelings on this one. While I really loved the world that Jacqueline Frank created in Jacob, I was not so wowed by the world that Cole created here. The book started out very slowly for me, and I very nearly put it down after the first 40 pages or so. But I persevered, determined to meet my 2007 goal of expanding my horizons (I haven't gotten too far, have I?...).

I found the Scottish brogue of a werewolf distracting and rather out of place, but overall I did like the character of Lachlain. He seemed truly confused by discovering his mate was a vampire (turns out she was half vampire and half valkyrie, whatever that is! - SO not up on the terminology!). He spent a good deal of time wondering how he was going to explain it all to his clan - you know, the uh oh, I'm up shit's creek without a paddle, even if I am the king of the clan. Apparently werewolves and vampires are sworn enemies. (I SO need to figure out the whole relationship of the different peeps thing). I was a bit annoyed by the constant description of Emma as a "wee thing". I kept expecting her to go pee or something. (one of the hazards of having boys, I guess - the whole "wee" thing and all.) But I digress...

As I was saying, I liked Lachlain overall, and his attempts to control his alpha self around Emma endeared him to me. It was also very sexy the way he got off on her drinking his blood. (So maybe there's hope for me with the whole vampire thing after all, hmmm?).

Side note: why do all the men in paranormals have to have long hair? No matter their race/species/whatever. Can't some of them just have normal dos? I mean, they are trying to fit into society so humans don't know that they are ... whatever they are, right? Long hair is SO not my thing. And I wish just one of them would have a normal name, too! Side note over.

As for Emma, I think I liked her. But it took a while. She was whiny and bitchy at first. And she just up and went with Lachlain. What's up with that? But she did seem to grow into her role, although she kept him at arms length and was quite the tease, albeit unintentionally. When she did finally learn to stand up for herself and kick some ass against a rival, I got my one chuckle from the book when one of the guys claimed the only thing that could have made the fight any better was if it had taken place in some Jello. Men. *rolling eyes* They are the same, no matter the species, I guess LOL.

Supporting characters: I think there were too many types of "others" for me to keep them all straight, even though they were defined in a glossary of sorts at the end. And for a bunch that hate one another, there sure were a lot of them that found their mates among each other! Sheesh! I also thought that Emma's family just came off as bitchy and whiny (I guess I see where she got it from), and mostly just unlikeable in my eyes, rather than strictly protective, as I think they were meant to be.

So, a mixed bag for this book. I'm not eager to race out and pick up the next in the series, but I won't write it off, either. However, Lauren Dane has promised to woo me to the "dark side" with an ARC of Ascension. WOOT! I've said it before and I'll say it again. There are very few writers that I fully trust to deliver a fantastic story in a paranormal. Lauren is one of them, although I admit I've read all her contemps, but never one of her paranormals. So I'll have to let you know how that goes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase

Long Time no blog! I've read a few that make me want to actually blog again, so here's the first. Next up *gasp* a paranormal! But first...

Not Quite a Lady by Loretta ChaseThis is the latest in the Carsington series. I approached it with a little bit of unease – the last two had left me a tad disappointed. After all, my first two Chase books were Lord Perfect and Lord of Scoundrels. I’m happy to say that although this book doesn’t compare to those two (they are definitely in a league of their own), I thoroughly enjoyed Not Quite a Lady. I found both Darius and Charlotte to be likeable characters. I found Charlotte to be especially sympathetic, and thoroughly enjoyed watching her open up to Darius.

What I liked: There was a stepmother in this book. Chase avoided the “evil stepmother” cliché, and gave Lizzy (what a great name for a stepmother!) and Charlotte an especially close relationship, even though Lizzy is only 9 years older than Charlotte. Charlotte’s parents are loving, caring people, and when her “secret” comes out, her father only wants what’s best for her, despite his shock.

I liked that Charlotte managed to turn men away without being rude or “spinsterish” and acquiring a reputation as nasty. Men still adore her.

I liked that Darius was the first to say I love you. Those Carsington men are something special, aren’t they? He has a great sense of humor, great looks, and a desire to make it on his own, once challenged to do so by his father.

I liked the references to Darius’ brothers. He frequently referenced (in his own mind, as well as out loud) being the youngest of a large family of boys, and how that influenced him. I loved that he was sensitive to Charlotte, and how he never once turned away from her when he figured out that Pip was her son.

I loved the laughter during the sex scenes – especially in the laundry room. That was terrific.

Also loved the very short glimpse we get of Olivia (Benedict and Bathsheba’s daughter) teaching Pip to play (read: cheat) whist.

What I didn’t like: How on earth do a 16 year old and a newly married 25 year old hide a pregnancy from their father/husband? Truly? Did he never come to visit while his beloved daughter was so ill? I found that portion of the story a tad unbelievable.

All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal more than the previous two installments. That’s it for the Carsington brothers – I only hope Olivia grows up soon and is next in line – what a great heroine she will make!
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