Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: male-hero
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-05-01 02:13
Ship Breaker: a review
Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi


Bacigalupi has written a complex, violent novel in a grimly plausible near-future, where our rape of the planet has altered not just the physical plane, but also the way we live. The coastlines are altered beyond recognition as the seas rise, and resources worldwide have failed. Massive destructive storms ("city killers") are now normal events. The gap between rich and poor is so enormous now that they hardly know about one another anymore. Our hero, Nailer, is a wiry youth living on the beaches of the southern coastline, on the fringes of becoming a member of a ruthless recycling gang. Day to day survival is iffy, and the chances of a better life to come are nearly zero. They live (barely) by stripping useable bits from wrecked oil tankers, sleeping at night in shanty huts on the sand, and noshing on roasted rats and bits of fruit.

I liked the first half of the novel better than the second. In the first half, we meet Nailer's "tribe": his fellow crew mates (who would all gladly kill him if it meant another meal for themselves), and his one friend Pima and her mother Sadna (my favorite person in the book), as well as his tormented and abusive father. I was intrigued with how well the author wrote about Nailer's attempts to sidetrack his vicious father (repeatedly described as feral: we need a synonym for that word) as he begins to get worked up into a kid-beating frenzy. It gave me some insight into abused children.


I was intrigued by the half-human "dog man"  character Tool, a genetically engineered bodyguard,  and would gladly read a whole book explaining where he came from and how he became what he is, which defies logic. And I want to know how Sadna managed to retain such humanity in the inhumane world in which she must live.

Bacigalupi is a talented writer, in places completely suspending my reality. When Nailer nearly dies by drowning alone in the dark in an oil tank, for instance, I was engulfed in fear. I also loved the scene in the city, when Nailer, seeing his father with some henchmen, hides under the floating sidewalk and follows them, trying to listen from beneath without being seen. I have actually experienced being hidden in the water, underneath people on a dock like that, low to the water, and I felt he really captured the experience.

I was frustrated by the "pretty" girl Nailer rescues, both because she is not well-fleshed out, even by the end of the novel, and because he had to make her pretty. Why pretty? Why not smart, or interesting, or even just exotic looking to Nailer? I was glad the romance between the two is kept to a minimum. I wish more details had emerged about (a) why so many people with means and money are so loyal to her, and (b) what her motivations are. Maybe in the sequel? I also wished there had been a bit less philosophizing by the young people. For example, just SHOW me that Nailer is beginning to develop compassion: don't tell me what he is thinking about whether or not he should show compassion.

On the whole I really liked the novel. His world building is detailed and wonderful. The fusion of religions, the harvesting of organs for profit, the lack of choices and mobility, the failure of resources, the bits of the old reality that survive (the name Lucky Strike, for instance, or the idea of calendar pictures hung on the wall, inspiring dreams) all rang true to me.

It's quite brutal to read: Nailer must kill several people, in one case by slashing a woman's throat as she lies sleeping, and (spoiler alert) he eventually must kill his own father. Several people die throughout the novel, others get maimed and cast away to be exiled and likely die, and suffer other horrors. Early on, for instance, we are told the tragic tale of a younger, smaller child who got lost in the bowels of the oil tankers while seeking cooper wire to scavenge, and he dies there, alone, his body eaten by rats. Such imagery makes this book for more suitable for older young adults, over 12 at least.

Like Reblog Comment
review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-05-01 02:06
"The Knife of Never Letting Go": a review, book one of Chaos Walking
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Book one in the trilogy called Chaos Walking, by Patrick Ness.


Todd Hewitt, a teenager on the cusp of manhood, appears to live in a small town dominated by angry male religious nutcases. He's had an unusual upbringing, since all the women have died. All of them. In fact, he has never seen a woman at all. He's being raised by Ben and Cillian, life partners. And the men in town have all caught a germ that renders their thoughts-- all thoughts, all the time-- audible to others.

Now stop and think for a moment what your life would be life if every single thing you ever thought could be picked up by everyone around you, and vice versa. (Hence the title of the series, CHAOS WALKING.)

The constant barrage of thoughts is called The Noise, and learning to control your noise is problematic. Lying is of course virtually impossible. Yet everyone in his town is in fact lying to him. (I struggled a bit with how such a huge lie would be possible, but accepted it as part of the plot line.) As he and his faithful dog Manchee begin to discover, things in Prentisstown are not at all what they seem. The reader soon learns that Prentisstown is on an alien world, and was a colony-based settlement that has been cut off from all other settlements for decades now.

Why? What made them be cut off?  That question is central to the novel. What great and horrible secret are the men of Prentisstown hiding?

Todd discovers a new something in the swamp near the edge of town, a lack of noise, an empty silence, and sees his first ever female human person. Females apparently do not project their Noise like males do, Todd learns. But they do still HEAR the Noise of men. --- Now stop and think about THAT for a moment: men can hear all other men, and women can hear all men, but women get to keep their thoughts to themselves and choose what to share and say. Fascinating premise. Society would totally change, indeed.  Kudos to the author for this highly original premise.

In very short order, Todd and Manchee must flee Prentisstown, and the female (Viola) comes with them, literally running through the woods across this alien world to the next settlement, then the next, trying to find safety and answers. Todd is carrying a big ole knife from his father figure, and it is a large part of his story, hence the title of the novel. But they are being pursued. Relentlessly, in fact. Some of the long flight across the planet was dull, and some of it felt manipulative, but along the way facts are gained and things are --at least partially --explained.The ostacles they encountered felt realistic, as did the reactions of various townspeople to discovering "Prentisstowners" in their settlements. Todd begins to learn that whathe was raised to believe was mostly a lie, or at best a spin on the truth.


I found the book hard to put down, and filled with things to ponder. I liked Todd and wanted him to do well, wanted him to find what he was seeking and make good choices. Liking the hero/heroine is rather central to enjoying the story at hand. I liked Viola too but did not really connect with her in the first book.

I was broken-hearted at the choice Todd has to make in the river regarding Manchee, (Shades of "Where The Red Fern Grows", and "Old Yeller") and felt exploited by the return and then almost immediate disappearance of his mother-substitute, Ben. I was also irritated that The Book he carries did not get read along the way: Seems to me he would have been DYING to get it read.

However, I liked the way Todd was growing up: he is forced to make difficult choices when right and wrong are not so clear cut and clean. I liked the way the author avoided romance between Todd and Viola for the most part. No sex in this book, just a growing trust and friendship that may or may not blossom into more in book two. I personally really liked the vernacular way of speaking, though some reviewers found it annoying,  and the interesting font changes, especially early on when it represents The Noise. Todd has a great male voice/ presence. I did get quite sick of the word "effing" and wanted the kid to just go ahead and cuss already. Say the fucking word. Quit pretending not to cuss.

The novel appealed to me on many levels. It addresses some BIG questions, especially to those of us who grew up near repressive religious figures, controlling southern men who preach one thing and do another. Mayor Prentiss is a terrifyingly real figure to me. I knew men like him: I still do. But how do we respond to people like him without hurting others? Also the whole alien race question, which is brought up but not resolved in this first installment.  Who are the Spackle?  Not quite humanoid, but not terribly alien either, they seem to be sentient -- but since we cannot communicate with them, what DO we do? Leave the planet?  Force them off of it? Live side by side without communicating? What if they attack us first?

However, The book is pretty brutal and will sadly not be going into my 8th grade classroom, nor onto on my recommend-for-under-16-years-old list. LOTS of killing. People being slaughtered left and right.  Tough choices to be made by young people who should not yet be forced to make such terrible decisions. Manchee's final scene, where Todd makes the right choice but at a terrible cost. Repressive controlling authority figures who lie, cheat, steal, murder, and beat up children. A disturbing scene when Todd unnecessarily murders a Spackle, one of the alien natives. An entire town is wiped out and more are likely to be destroyed.  There's relentless violence. But, like The Hunger Games, the violence serves a purpose. 

By and large, I loved this novel and am eagerly devouring Book Two right now, The Ask and The Answer. This is book one of a series of three, and I am glad I did not find it until all three books were published, because (warning) book one ends on a HUGE cliffhanger that would have driven me nuts.

Looking forward to the rest of the series.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-03-08 17:48
At Grave's End - Jeaniene Frost

[At Grave's End + Night Huntress #3 + Jeaniene Frost + Read Mar 2014 + 4★]


[Book Description]


It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.


[My Thoughts & Favorite Quotes]





“We are not helpless.” Bones’s voice was never more controlled. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was chipper. “Many times in our lives we’ve been powerless, but not this night. Right now we have the power to choose the manner in which we die. If you have been a master of nothing else in all your days, you are now a master of this moment. And I for one am going to give such an answer to this insult that others will dearly regret not being by my side to see it!”


✳ This is the third book in the Night Huntress series and although the reading was not as exciting as the other ones, still kept my attention until the end of the story.
✳ Since Cat and Bones got back together in One Foot in the Grave their relationship is getting stronger despite all the dangerous and complicated situations.


“Want to know one of the things I’ve loved most about you?” […] “That you never lorded your age over me. Yeah, there’s nothing I’ve seen or done that isn’t old news to you, but you’d always treated me like an equal. Well, now you’re treating me like the pathetic little girl Max accused me of being. You want to have your nasty event without me? Fine. But whatever I would have seen later wouldn’t have come between us as much as what you just pulled did.


✳ I cried along with Cat when she thought Bones was dead (I knew is wasn't true, but still...). And what about that box? And the letter? *I need to know!*

(spoiler show)


“I’ll be back before you know it.”


✳ In this book the author gives emphasis on the secondary characters - they all have important roles. I loved Vlad and his sense of humor. I can't wait to read Night Prince - spin-off from the Night Huntress series featuring Vlad as the hero and a new character named Leila as the heroine.


✳ But back to At Grave's End, the thing (or better yet, the someone) that annoyed me the most - Tate. To be honest, I'd never liked him and he needs to move on! I wasn't even surprised when Bones thought he was the traitor.


“That was a warning. The next one won’t be. Did you think you could just slide into Bones’s place and I wouldn't miss a beat? You lay your hands on me again and I’ll finish you, Tate.”


✳ And what I loved the most in this book - the magic. Mencheres, the most powerful one + Bones and his new abilities + Vlad and the fire control + the mind reading + zombies!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-03-01 23:30
Donners of the Dead - Karina Halle

[Donners of the Dead + Karina Halle + Read Feb 2014 + 5★ + Favorite]


[Book Description]


The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.

What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.


[My Thoughts & Favorite Quotes]




"There are only monsters inside of angels and angels inside of monsters. Choose wisely."


✳ And I've just add one more book on my Favorite shelf!
✳ I loved Donners of the Dead and I'm not a zombie fan (well, I guess I am now). But I'm not surprised I liked it so much. Karina Halle is a great writer - she creates the strongest heroines and the scariest stories. If you are looking for a different paranormal romance, you should read Experiment in Terror!


✳ But back to Donners of the Dead... my first western zombie romance.


Eve Smith - confident + courageous + kind + sweet

I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't like her.


Jake McGraw - jerk + mysterious + playful + protecting + sexy


✳ Once I started to read, I couldn't stop. I was completely immersed in this gross and scary book. 


"It lunged for me with skinny, outstretched fingers. I opened my mouth to scream but horror seized my throat and the monster seized my legs, its fingernails digging into my pants like claws. I rolled over onto my back and tried kicking at it. I got it once—hard—in the face, shattering its jaw. But its grip on my calves barely loosened and it dragged me toward its bloody, unhinged mouth that snapped open and shut like it was about to devour me whole."

How am I supposed to have a good night sleep?!


✳ The big stars of this book are the zombies, and the romance is a good complement to the story. After all, they (and us) deserve some happy and peaceful moments with so many creepy stuff going on.


"The son of a bitch had kissed me. It was quick and fast and nothing like I thought it would be, but he'd kissed me all the same.

I was glad he couldn't see the odd smile that found itself on my face."



✳ Just one more thing, the cover is GORGEOUS! Loved it.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-02-27 01:32
Kaleidoscope - Kristen Ashley

[Kaleidoscope + Colorado Mountain #6 + Kristen Ashley + Read Feb 2014 + 2.5★]


[Book Description]


Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?


It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him...


[My Thoughts]


✳ 2.5 or 3 stars? I can’t decide!


✳ I love Kristen Ashley's books. I always know what to expect from them. That's a good thing. That also can be bad.


✳ Well...I read my first K.A.'s book in October 2012 - Mystery Man - and I'm a big fan since then. Some of her books are my favorite - Fire Inside, Rock Chick Redemption, Motorcycle Man, Breathe - but others got a low rating (2 stars) - For You e Rock Chic (both with very annoying and immature heroines).
✳ I love the bossy alpha-male (always sweet) heroes who would do anything for their strong and funny ladies. And, of course, I really enjoy her amusing writing style and her stories are a promise of romance, emotion, action and humor. What's not to like?


✳ So what's wrong with this book? While reading Kaleidoscope I had the feeling that I had read this book before - Ok, it's a different plot, but for me the characters had the same personality as the previous ones - nothing to make them stand out. Maybe the boringness? And, let me tell you, I was excited to read Deck's story since I met him in Breath.

✳ Oh, it wasn't all that bad, the book had its good moments, but overall it didn't work for me. 

✳ At 70% I thought: "Yeah, it was worth the waiting! Finally!" and I almost cried! Some heart-breaking moments.
But it only last until the next 13% and then it was back to blah blah blah... whatever... I don't care...
✳ I couldn't connect with Deck and Emme and I didn't feel the passion between them. It wasn't natural.
✳ And what about that epilogue? It was totally rushed and not-incredible!


✳ 2.5 stars :(


Am I going to read her next books? Yes, because I believe Kristen Ashley is a good writer. In fact, I'm going to read (in the near future) the Fantasyland series - very good reviews!



More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?