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review 2017-03-20 19:13
Review: "The Impossible Boy" by Anna Martin
The Impossible Boy - Anna Martin

"You make me feel--" Stan said, then cut off the thought before he could voice it.

"Tell me."

"So feminine."

 

Oh man, it was an ordeal to finish this book. AN ORDEAL, I'm telling you!

 

I really liked the premise of a gender-fluid character who suffered from anorexia. Just think of all the possibilities. How does a character like Stan become this confident person at the age of only 21 that he is at the beginning of the book? How does he live his everyday life? How much of a struggle is it for someone who identifies him- or herself as neither male nor female? How is your environment, your friends, your family treating you?

 

 

Alas, I didn't get any of that. What I got instead were endless descriptions of THE most superficial stuff, like putting on make-up and clothes, wearing designer bags, showering! (OMIGOD, all those numerous shower scenes!), washing and conditioning your hair, and body care in general.

 

NOTHING about the everyday struggles of someone who identifies as gender-fluid.

NOTHING even remotely deep about how Stan became the person that he is today.

NOTHING about anything that goes beyond hair styles and wardrobe.

 

I honestly was bored out of my mind during the first part of the story.

 

 

Unfortunately, the second part that dealt with Stan's anorexia wasn't any better. Since the first part was all about his appearances and clothes, his illness has been so neglected at that point that the real severeness of his condition came out of nowhere for me. So much so that I couldn't really relate to it anymore. I really wish the author would have concentrated on THAT part of Stan's personality in the beginning, instead of throwing brands, make-up, clothes, shoes, dresses and handbags at my face.

 

 

It also didn't help that there were A LOT of descriptions that didn't matter at all to the overall story and just made for a boring read. Like

"Remembering they were out of soy milk, he wrote it on the shopping list Ben had brought. It was magnetic and stuck to the fridge, so they shouldn't forget stuff like that anymore."

Um, ok. I know that amplifying a story is important and all, but ENDLESS descriptions of stuff like that that just doesn't matter is nothing but annoying AF.

 

 

But kudos to the author for writing a book with a diverse character. I seriously appreciate that. But if looks, clothes and hair care is all there is to gender-fluidity, then I'm pretty much done with that whole trope already.

 

Thanks again to Julie for accompanying me during another frustrating BR!

 

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review 2016-12-25 15:55
Review: "Fierce & Fabulous" (Sassy Boyz, #1) by Elizabeth Varlet
Fierce & Fabulous - Elizabeth Varlet

*** DNF at 61% because of CHEATING! ***

 

Note: the cheating wasn't completed, but only because Ansel's hookup freaked out when he realized that Ansel was a guy. Ansel would have totally gone through with it though.

 

So fuck this shit!

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-09 20:12
Review: "1/27: An ICoS Anthology" (In the Company of Shadows, #5) by Santino & Ais
1/27: An ICoS Anthology - Ais,Santino Hassell

 

"1/27 answers the important question: What happens next?"

 

Well, wasn't this just a huge fucking disappointment.

 

 

I thought this anthology would explain some of the questions that remained after "Fade". Maybe give me some answers or even some closure.

 

But instead, this was just a set-up for a possible sequel that - according to the authors in the author's note at the end of the book - "is now about 85% more likely than it ever had been before". Um, fuck you very much?

 

Everything that went down with the Agency in "Fade" was nullified by the fact that a new and even more dangerous Agency was arising, and everyone who managed to escape in the last book was now just miserable and in a bad place.

 

I cannot BELIEVE that Boyd and Sin's very last scene ended with them being in a jail cell. Or that my beloved Ryan ended up as an addict.

 

I've spent weeks MONTHS with these characters. I've read thousands and thousands of pages and this is how it ends? With a 85% chance of a sequel?

 

Sorry, but this is NOT how a long-ass series like this should bow out.

 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-25 19:04
Review: "Afterimage" (In the Company of Shadows, #2) by Sonny & Ais
Afterimage - Ais,Santino Hassell

"So why aren't the two of you gay together anymore?"

~Emilio~

 

*** SPOILER ALERT! ***

*** THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ***

*** SPOILER ALERT! ***

 

Ok, NOW we're fucking talking!

 

While I stand by my (very correct) opinion on "Evenfall" (too long, too repetitive, too many unnecessary details/events/chapters), you'll just have to trust me on this:

 

"Afterimage" surpasses its predecessor in every way!

 

 

Part of my struggle with this series is that just when I had decided that maybe it might not be for me, it had to go and give me one of the most emotional reads in months that left me completely satisfied. But on the other hand? I'M AN EMOTIONAL MESS RIGHT NOW.

 

 

The writing was noticeably tighter and faster-paced than in the first book, and it managed to convince me that this series really is as good as everyone claims it is.

 

 

The reason why “Afterimage” was so incredible is that it gave me all the angst, emotions and ugly tears while also remaining to give me a totally fascinating view into not just one (deeply damaged) character's head, but two.

 

 

I was so frustrated at times with Boyd and Sin's actions and behavior that I screamed. I SCREAMED.

 

That idiotic thing with Ann, Sin? And your reasons for it? That was some rude ‘tude, dude. Especially when I'm pretty sure that you very well KNOW the definition of cheating since you talked about it in "Evenfall", you stupid fucking idiot. (But also, farewell for now until the next book, you mega-dreamboat. #TeamSin)

 

 

That idiotic thing with Kassian, Boyd? It was definitely HAWT, I'll give you that. But also, what a hell of a way to deeply hurt Sin, you asshat.

 

 

The secondary characters remain a pleasure to behold. Ryan, Kassian (I don’t know about you, but I DEFINITELY ship these two), Carhart and also all of the Level 10 trainees.

 

 

And let's not forget about Emilio. I lolled so hard whenever he opened his shameless and unfiltered mouth. His addition to this series is a gift, a treasure, and I had to put down my Kindle at the end of the book and smile out the window for a minute, he just made me that happy.

 

 

Guys, what a great and emotional series this is turning out to be. “Afterimage” was exactly the addictive and mind-blowing book that I've been waiting for. It not only rectified all my complaints from "Evenfall", but paid off with compelling plot lines, captivating suspense and fascinating characterizations.

 

 

I just can’t quit you, ICoS!

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review 2016-10-16 15:18
Review: "Evenfall" (In the Company of Shadows, #1) by Sonny & Ais
Evenfall - Ais,Santino Hassell

 

(Note: The following review has been provided with pretty ICoS fan art to soothe the fans.)

 

I MADE IT!

 

It took me two whole weeks to get through this 1427-page-long (!) fucker of a book, but I finally made it.

 

And I'm afraid that it was... not really worth it. Sorry, guys.

 

 

You know how some TV shows consist of 24-episodes seasons where most of the episodes are just fillers? You feel like the premise of that show is quite good, but it would have benefitted if it were only 10 or 12 episodes, because the storyline would have been tighter and more compelling? This book just felt like that.

 

Or in a nutshell: this book was too frigging LONG!

 

Now, I am well aware that I've read the original version and there are two edited DCs out there. But even so, these DCs also consist of 334, respectively 344 pages which is STILL to long IMO. Because not much really happens besides inner monologues, repetitions, a lot of completely unnecessary scenes and chapters, and more inner monologues. The whole story could have easily been told in just 300 or 400 pages.

 

 

But one thing at a time.

 

The writing

There were just too much unnecessary paragraphs, scenes, hell even whole chapters. Stuff that added nothing to the overall story, but went on and on and on. Just two examples (believe me, there's more):

 

  • Why do I have to read an entire chapter about how Boyd is giving training lessons to Ryan? In full excruciating details! That whole chapter was completely unnecessary and pointless. And remember that when I say "chapter", we're talking 30-60 pages here.

 

  • Or why do I need to get a full technical explanation about how a GPS equipment is supposed to function? An explanation that - again - went on for pages after pages after pages?

 

And don't get me started on the repetitiveness of certain terms or whole events. Sin's "green eyes" will be hunting me for weeks.

 

 

The characters

Boyd's and Sin's behavior was so contradictory at times that I felt like the authors had two different characters in mind while they wrote the book. Both were like these two super spies one minute and then total imbeciles the next.

 

Boyd was supposed to be this natural and tactical pro when it came to analyze and plan how to infiltrate a hostile compound, but then he turns into a complete idiot when he's confronted with an ordinary oven (!):

 

"Standing back and staring blankly at the glass, he realized he had no idea what it meant to preheat. Obviously he heated it prior to something, but to what? Placing the food inside presumably. But if that was the case, how in the world did he know when it reached the appropriate temperature? Was it important that it was exactly on that degree? If he left it heating long enough, would it heat over 300° or did it have some sort of failsafe that cut off the heat producing agent at the correct time to keep it only at that temperature?"

 

Dude, seriously?

 

Sin, on the other hand, felt jealous about Boyd and Ryan's friendship or if anyone else touched Boyd, but then he goes and outright offers Boyd to another couple for a threesome:

 

"Johnny smirked and bobbed his head in time to the music which was still blaring over the loudspeakers. “Let’s have a farewell three-way, just you, me and the kid. Whaddaya say? In the private rooms, you know? Hot shit.”

Sin snorted and looked away, letting his gaze roam over to the spectacle his coworkers made on the dance floor as they talked loudly and danced excitedly, like children who’d just gotten out of school early. “You’re not my type. Feel free to make the offer to him though.”

 

*facepalms himself unconscious*

 

 

The "romance"

Friends, let's not even go there. Lemme just say that I love me some UST in my books. But there's only so much that even I am willing to tolerate before it becomes annoying, frustrating and yes, utterly ridiculous.

 

Boyd's and Sin's back and forth got to the point where I completely stopped caring about their relationship. By the time they finally did the dirty (and in a very disappointing and unsatisfying scene at that), I was already over them as a couple. Add to that the most unromantic declaration of love that I have EVER read in a romance novel, and you could stick a fork in me, because I was D.O.N.E.

 

 

Nevertheless, I will continue with the series, because of the following reasons:

 

1. I really liked the last 30% when the pace of the story finally began to pick up, I got some action and something was finally happening. That part was suspenseful, exciting and thrilling. I was glued to my Kindle and I wanted to know what would happen next. So I'm crossing my fingers that this will set the tone for the rest of the series.

 

2. With the annoying UST out of the picture (and Boyd and Sin finally fucking), I hope there's more focus on the missions and the action and the overall story. Because I want to know more about the Agency and Janus.

 

3. RYAN! Love him, adore him, want to cuddle him. He's my favorite character and he stole every scene that he was in. I want to know more about him and I definitely want more of him and Andrew.

 

So would I recommend this book? Probably not. Maybe if you're an avid reader and you're reading hundreds of books per year, then you could give this one a chance. But if you don't have that much time to read and can only read every now and then, then you're probably better off reading 5-6 average long books instead.

 

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