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review 2017-07-19 17:12
Review: "Shiny!" by Amy Lane
Shiny! - Amy Lane

 

~ 3.5 stars ~

 

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review 2017-07-16 16:53
Cover of Darkness by Kaylea Cross
Cover of Darkness by Kaylea Cross (2014-09-11) - Kaylea Cross

During her yearly visit to her Lebanese father, Bryn McAllister is injured in a bomb attack at the US embassy and, along with her father, kidnapped and left for dead in a cellar in a Syrian village.

Luke Hutchinson knows who kidnapped his son's best friend, Bryn, and is determined to end the bastard's reign of terror once and for all. But first, he needs Bryn and her father rescued, and then he'll need the girl's help, providing security in the form of the very man who saved her.


This wasn't as creepy as its predecessor as far as the suspense went, and the heroine was as far from annoying as she could get...But still, it didn't really work for me.

Once more, as the first wave of danger (again, somewhere in the first ten chapters) passed, the pacing got plodding again, and the gist of the story got lost in the (once more very iffy) romance.
I liked both Bryn and Dec, but couldn't help but get merely friendly vibes off them. The whole "romance" was to be just a by-product of the dangerous situation, transference, and hero-worship on Bryn's part. I didn't really feel sexual sparks with them, and what they called love, smelled more of simple affection than anything truly life-altering.

Also, for a series, this didn't really "connect" with the first book except by a few characters. One of them, being the larger-than-life Luke Hutchinson, who is sounding more and more like an asshole, and I truly hope he manages to redeem himself before his book is due.

As far as suspense is concerned, it was once more the saving grace of the entire operation. Gripping and intense, nail-biting and chilling. Although I was rather disappointed it didn't end when the story did, which means we're stuck with the terrorist until Luke's book. I'm rather skeptical of the fact, since I don't know what new plot points it could bring, since we already know the important bits.
Also, as far as the pacing went, this would've worked better as a short story, keeping the suspense arc a lot more condensed without the rather cheesy and implausible romance throwing the wrench into the wheels as soon as things started moving a little faster.

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review 2017-07-09 19:43
great story and characters
Forbidden Blood (Volume 1) by R.L. Kenderson (2014-07-01) - R.L. Kenderson

Anaya/ Naya is a vampire princess. She was in line to go into Pulse a very popular nightclub to meet her best friend Kenzie  who is a human and was already inside. Pulse is one of the hottest spots for entertainment in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. Naya was very tense as her parents were preparing an arranged marriage for her.Minneapolis and St. Paul are separated by the Mississippi River. Naya didn’t approve of the vampire rules especially the one where all vampires were supposed to live on the St’ Paul side.  All of a sudden Naya’s heart pounded with  exhilaration, she hadn’t felt that in a long time as she felt someone’s attention on her. Naya tried to locate her admirer but couldn’t . Vampires only existed on Vampire blood, they could drink human blood but it would not sustain them. The new feeling was gone in a short time and Naya was more depressed than earlier. Kenzie went up to a couple of guys and was talking to them. Naya wished she had the male of her choice to fall in love with. Instead she would mate with the parents her parents chose for her.  There would be no passion in her mating and if she had children they would be out of duty not love. Her parents were looking for for a future king not a future mate. Then Naya felt a burning sensation, it had to be her watcher that warmed her from her inside out. Then Naya went up to the bar for a drink and the only open space is near a very drunk guy who sorely needed a shower. The drunk tried to hit on Naya and was becoming insistent when Naya said she was with someone  hoping the drunk   would leave her alone.  Then Naya senses a presence behind her and it was in anticipation, excitement, arousal, and exhilaration fused in one engulfing feeling. He just put an arm around her waist and kissed her neck  and told her to go along with him.  He played up to the drunk they were together.  Then he told Naya his name was Vaughn. Then he asked Naya if she was okay and if the guy had scared her. Naya said she was fine. Vaughn had been staring at the most beautiful face he had ever seen.  Vaughn first saw Naya when she walked into the club and he immediately wanted her. It had been awhile since Vaughn had been with a woman.  Vaughn planned to go to Naya but he didn’t her to see him spying on her like a stalker. He wanted her to relax first he could tell Naya was edgy. He had come to the club with his friend and coworker Sawyer in hopes of getting a feeling for the club. Then Vaughn saw the very drunk man hit on Naya and that made him mad.  Then Vaughn  heard Naya tell the drunk she was with someone  and he knew she had come alone so Vaughn went to Naya to act as the someone she was suppose to be with. And it gave him an excuse to touch her.  Then Vaughn asked Naya to dance. Later that evening Arianna who was Naya’s cousin was preparing for first dinner of the evening. She was waiting with her aunt Celeste  and uncle Marek who were the King and Queen of the vampire species. Arianna did not understand why Naya wanted to be with humans. Payton was in the family room when Sawyer stormed in Payton had known Sawyer since she was a little girl. He was like a second older brother. Payton’s father was Sawyer’s boss and Vaughn was her brother.

I absolutely loved this book another new favorite. I loved how Naya wanted to be herself  yet tried to do as her parents wanted as she knew her place in Vampire society and that she was the next in line to be Queen and let her pick out who was to her mate and future King.  I also loved how Naya stepped down when in front of the council and asked to be mated to Vaughn. I wasn’t too happy with Naya’s parents but then her father although King was not willing to lose his daughter or his future  grandkids. I also loved that Naya volunteered at an animal center and saved Max. I loved how Vaughn for the most part was very gentle and loving to Naya even when Naya questioned his with her because she was pregnant. I loved the plot and pace of this story. I loved the forbidden romance part of this story. I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like in this book. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this story and I highly recommend.

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review 2017-07-09 01:44
The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro
The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro (2014) Perfect Paperback - Howard Shapiro

Genre:  Friendship / School / Drama / Drugs / Sports


Year Published: 2014


Year Read:  6/3/2017

Publisher: Animal Media Group 

Series: Forever Friends Trilogy #2

 

Hockey

I would like to thank NetGalley and Animal Media Group for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Introduction: 

After I had finished reading Howard Shapiro’s previous graphic novel, “The Stereotypical Freaks,” I was excited to find out that “The Stereotypical Freaks” was a part of the “Forever Friends Trilogy” and I was even more excited to find out that I was approved of the second book in the series “The Hockey Saint” by NetGalley! After reading this graphic novel, I found this story to be just as memorable as “The Stereotypical Freaks!”

What is this story about? 

Tom Leonard is back once again as he is now a college sophomore who is a part of the school’s hockey team and he now has a new dilemma to face! The story starts off with Tom’s parents being killed in a car accident and Tom is still trying to deal with this tragedy. Also around that time, Tom has been offered a scholarship for his talents in hockey and Tom is striving to get that scholarship as much as possible. One day however, Tom ends up meeting his favorite hockey player, Jeremiah Jacobson, who is known as the world’s best hockey player. Tom then quickly becomes good friends with Jeremiah and the two of them started spending a lot of time with each other. But later on, Tom discovers that Jeremiah has a terrible secret: he is a heavy drinker and a smoker and Jeremiah refuses to acknowledge that he has this problem.

Can Tom help Jeremiah with his drug addiction before it is too late? 

Read this book to find out!
 


What I loved about this story: 

Howard Shapiro’s writing: 
Howard Shapiro’s writing is as usual a delight to read as the characters are written extremely well and I loved the real-world plot of this volume as it addresses the dangers of drug addiction that has rarely been addressed in many comic books. I loved the fact that we actually have a comic book that details drug addiction in a realistic way by showing that Jeremiah is in denial about his addiction and how it was difficult at first for Tom and his loved ones to try to get Jeremiah to understand about the severity of his drug addiction. I also loved the way that Howard Shapiro wrote the relationships between the characters, especially between Tom and Jeremiah as I loved the fact that Jeremiah shows Tom that there is more to life than just playing hockey all the time and Tom cares enough for Jeremiah to go out of his way to help out Jeremiah with his drug addiction. 

Maricia Inoue and Andres Mossa’s artwork: 
Maricia Inoue and Andres Mossa’s artwork is beautifully done as the characters look truly realistic and I loved the way that the characters glow off the pages. Now, I will admit that there were some facial expressions on the characters that looked a bit odd, especially regarding Tom always smiling during some serious moments; but other than that, the artwork really captures the raw emotions that the characters feel during this serious situation that deals with drug addiction.

Hockey

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

The reason why I took off half a point from this rating was because I felt like the pacing was a bit slow at times, especially at the beginning and I sometimes wished that the plot moved at a much faster pace to get to the main point of the story.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “The Hockey Saint” was a truly heartwarming and realistic story about drug addiction that anyone who wants to read about the consequences of drug addiction and the importance of true friendship will truly enjoy!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-23 16:22
The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (trans. Ken Liu)
The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin,Ken Liu

What would you do if the laws of physics, of the universe, turned out not to be laws at all? Imagine you're a scientist confronted with this realization. This is one of the more disturbing realities that characters must contend with in The Three-Body Problem, the first of a trilogy by Chinese author Liu Cixin.

 

The book does an excellent job of making the scale of the universe, from its immensity to its sub-atomic particularities, conceivable and real. One of the scientist characters has a gift that allows him to visualize numbers, and in a note the author reveals that he has a similar gift. The book is very intelligent and detailed in its explanation of science; I can't say I could follow it all, but I understood the larger picture and was fascinated by the minutiae.

 

The book begins in China's cultural revolution and fast forwards to the present, shifting perspectives from the scientist daughter of a persecuted university professor to a man working in nanotechnology. Most of the significant characters are scientists, with the exception of Da Shi, a corrupt, wily policeman who became my favorite character. The protagonist, Wang, learns of the deaths of prominent scientists and starts seeing strange things, such as a countdown that appears visible only to him. He is tasked with helping to investigate a shady scientific organization, which involves his playing a strange video game called Three-Body. Nothing is what it seems, and Wang falls down a rabbit hole (more like a black hole) that leads to knowledge of extra-terrestrial life.

 

This Chinese SF novel was something unique; I found its different style of storytelling often engaging, though sometimes odd. The translator explains in a note that there may be narrative techniques unfamiliar to Western readers, and I could sense them. For example, much is explained through pages of dialogue, and the narrative can feel interrupted by the video game chapters, as much as I enjoyed them. I struggled with the fact that, after a brief appearance earlier in the book, Wang's wife and child do not re-enter the narrative, not even Wang's thoughts. His thoughts themselves are often unknown--for a time I wasn't sure where he stood in the quiet war going on.

 

Nevertheless, I do look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy (after a break) and to seeing the movie adaptation.

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