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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-04-04 01:26
Once A Gunslinger
Once A Gunslinger - Diana Bold

3 stars. There'll be no full review... so here's what I thought in a nutshell:

I liked another one of this author's books so I decided to give Once a Gunslinger a go. I do love western historical romances, and an outlaw hero can be very appealing for sure. However, this one disappointed me. I didn't like the hero, and didn't care much for the heroine either.

The H and the h had a past of some sort when they were young, and there were consequences of their relationship. The H went to war (Civil war I believe) and fought for the enemy side, leaving the h behind and his own family in peril. He has been sort of an outlaw ever since. There were other things too, but I won't mention them.

H and h met again years later, and that is where the actual story begins. Unfortunately, he was an a$$ who decided he liked being a jerk to the heroine for what she did to save her reputation so long ago. He wanted to make her suffer because 'he was suffering as well'. His grudge, she married his now deceased brother and didn't wait for him. -_- However, if you read you will see that the fault wasn't hers at all. She had to do what she had to do, and she wasn't even a good wife to the brother who obviously cared for her because she still loved the H. The H even realizes that at one point but keeps on being a jerk until the last couple of pages of the book. The h, I wanted her to ditch this a$$ and look for a better man. But she was still so enamored of him that she continued being a doormat and took what he dished out almost without any argument at all. I could NOT understand exactly why? WHY?! :/

Their romance was not convincing to say the least. Believe me, I tried but I failed to see any HEA with such a hotheaded, impetuous a$$ for a hero. In the end, the argument that he was being a jerk cause he was afraid to acknowledge his feelings didn't float my boat either. Not my cup of tea, sorry. 3 stars because otherwise, the writing was very good and I thought this could've been better. Also, I really liked some of the secondary characters such as the heroine's brothers. I'd be more interested in their stories!

Note that this is a reissue of the author's earlier work, Savannah's Hero.

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review 2016-12-14 20:14
Battlestar Galactica: Six
Battlestar Galactica: Six - J. T. Krul

[I received a copy of this comics through NetGalley.]

In general, I found the artwork here problematic. The covers—both internal and external—are striking and often dramatic, and one of the reasons I requested this book; they easily evoked the internal turmoil and the ambiguity that I expect from Six. On the other hand, the inside panels, more specifically their characters, aren't consistent enough, and not really recognisable. Which is a problem, indeed, considering they should look like their counterparts in the TV series, but don't. Or not much. I probably wouldn't care as much about this if the comics was a series on its own, however when it's about translating real faces/actors to paper, it's all the more easy to notice when it fails. Moreover, it didn't convey the kind of feeling that would've paved the way to TV!Six, with her blend of seduction, ruthlessness and questioning.

I didn't enjoy the storytelling either. I was expecting something more enthralling, that would play on Six's psyche, what happened, what shaped her and set the foundations for how she would develop in the TV episodes. Well, it did try to explore those aspects, but the narrative(s) were too disjointed to make sense early, creating a sense of confusion—one that confuses the reader, rather than actually echoing the character's. Also, I wouldn't recommend it to someone who's never watched the series: some tie-ins are understandable even when you don't know the original universe, some others aren't, and this one is part of the latter category.

Conclusion: 1.5 stars.

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review 2016-10-22 16:02
Never Never (Part 3) by Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher
Never Never: Part Three of Three - Colleen Hoover,Tarryn Fisher

Took me a while to read this book in its entirety since it was broken up into segments and I'd read other things in between them. But I loved this book. Loved the relationship between Silas and Charlie. Loved that they kept relearning each other over and over. Loved how it showed us we are capable of change and to focus on the things that really matter. I listened to the audio version, and both narrators gave an excellent performance. Five stars.

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review 2016-08-21 11:26
More of this trope, please
Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 1 - 3: Wake Up Married, Meet the Family, Do the Holidays - Alice Griffiths,Leta Blake

I haven't really been a fan of "waking up married in Las Vegas" trope in fanfiction but I'm all for it in original fiction. Apparently. Now, all authors, get to it. *insert ridiculous imperious gestures here*

 

No? Damn, that's a shame.

 

Anyway, the only way to get me to buy and read a serial is to have it on sale after all of it is published so I can read it in one sitting—if I so choose—like an actual book.

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review 2016-08-06 21:16
Amnesia Labyrinth (manga, vol. 1) story by Nagaru Tanigawa, art by Natsumi Kohane, translation by Nan Rymer
Amnesia Labyrinth, Vol. 1 - Natsumi Kohane,Nagaru Tanigawa

I'll start by saying that the description on the back of the volume contains several incorrect statements. There is no evidence that Souji's sisters' clingy behavior is anything new. Also, I don't know if Souji and Yukako start dating in the next volume, but Yukako is not Souji's new girlfriend in this one. Now, on to my description.

Souji is a high school student who left his family home some time ago. He had hoped never to return, but sometimes we don't get what we want. At any rate, his three sisters are thrilled he's back. Harumi, his stepsister, is sweet and quiet and clearly has a crush on him. The real problems, though, are Youko and Saki. Youko is Souji's full sister. She possibly has a split personality, and she's certainly a vaguely malevolent presence in the household, glaring daggers at Souji even as she cuddles up to him in a more than sisterly sort of way. Saki is the daughter of Souji's father and Souji's father's mistress. She works as one of the family's maids and, when the other sisters aren't around, sleeps with Souji. And possibly also Kazushi, Souji's older brother. Kazushi, meanwhile, may be lurking somewhere nearby.

At school, Souji instantly comes to the attention of Yukako, the self-proclaimed sole member of the student council's “Intelligence Committee.” It's Yukako who tells Souji of the three murders that occurred at the end of the summer, shortly before he arrived. The school's smartest student was stabbed. After that came the track team's star runner, also stabbed. Then the student council president was pushed in front of a train. Yukako wants to know why the killer chose those particular victims, especially since she had a crush on the student council president. She basically forces Souji to join her, but Souji secretly thinks he knows who was responsible: Youko, his sister.

I think I picked this volume up in the clearance section during a used book shopping trip. I wasn't aware, at the time, that this was only a 2-volume series. It wouldn't be hard for me to either buy the second volume or get it via interlibrary loan, but...I don't know that I want to. Even that small amount of effort feels like too much.

This series' vibe reminds me of When They Cry, only with added incest and less playing around with tropes. Souji is a boring blank slate. He's supposedly good at everything – a star athlete, top student, handsome enough that all the girls fall for him (including all of his sisters) – but if Yukako hadn't repeatedly said how awesome he was, I'd have guessed he was a stereotypical loner geek with no friends and creepily affectionate sisters.

The creepy sisters thing was apparent right from the start, although the only one who seemed to genuinely creep Souji out was Youko. He took Harumi's devotion in a stride and saw it as destiny that he and Saki regularly slept together. I had a feeling he would have easily accepted Youko's habit of draping herself on him all the time if she hadn't also radiated hostility. The first time readers saw her, she was standing at the other end of a dark room, glaring at Souji. Also, when she unexpectedly visited Souji's school, Souji could sense her presence well before he saw her, in the form of a chill running down his spine.

This first volume was jam-packed with mysterious elements: Souji's gross relationship with his sisters, the murders, the hints that Souji's older brother was lurking somewhere in the background but refusing to reveal himself, Souji's reason for leaving in the first place, the possible references to “other selves” (either other personalities or doppelgangers), and the hints that Souji and/or Youko and Saki had previously killed someone.

I'm just not sure I have it in me to care. Souji was a boring guy who only got involved in the murder investigation because Yukako dragged him into it, and his relationship with his sisters was extremely off-putting. The storytelling was sloppy and unfocused, especially for something that was going to wrap up in only one more volume. And I shouldn't have to find out the answers to certain questions, like “why does Saki work as a maid in the family's household?”, by reading the character profiles.

Extras:

  • Character profiles for Youko, Saki, Harumi, Souji, and Yukako.
  • A brief message from the author that makes this entire project sound like a mess from the very start. Apparently Amnesia Labyrinth started off as a story idea that Tanigawa couldn't figure out how to turn into a full novel. Or even a 2-volume manga series: “Although an overall plot does exist for this story, when everything was said and done, I sort of ran out of things to write, and therefore I admit there are a number of lazy, phantom passages scattered throughout.” Who includes a note like that in something they're hoping strangers will buy? On the plus side, it makes me more confident about my decision not to continue on with the series.
  • A one-page note from the character designer, of all people. Why the character designer and not the illustrator? And why did the series have both a character designer and an illustrator?
  • Translation notes for a few terms, the most important one being “yogare,” which is probably the key to understanding what's going on with Souji's sister, and maybe Souji himself. Perhaps Souji's older brother, who looks an awful lot like an evil version of Souji, is really his doppelganger?
  • A 12-page preview of Gunslinger Girl.

 

(Original review, including read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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