I have a feeling some people might think I posted this review for the wrong book when I say what I'm going to say, seeing as the title is "Fear", it's set in an apocalyptic world and to top it all off, it features pony play very prominently... But this was actually really cute. As in, huge grins and surprised laughter kind of cute. I'm not crazy, I promise.
There's something about reading a slave being trained into submission that makes me all tingly and happy inside.
That's depravity for you.
Rating: 4 - 4.25 stars
P.S The only qualms I have is how long it took for the story to truly begin and engage me (at 17%).
Back in Dec/Jan when all this was still going on I chalked it up to another bout of insanity from the lady who seems hell-bent on becoming the modern-day Nora Desmond, and let it lie. But now this shit's gone too far. Now even supposedly reputable sites like the Guardian are parroting this farce.
If you've been blissfully unaware of this latest insanity, Anne Rice- author auteur, Goddess of the Night, Mistress of Vampires, blahblahblah- went off the deep end again when she started pontificating all over the Amazon forums about the state of reviewing in general, and how everyone should have to reveal their secret identities in order to post reviews. No more pseudonyms, aliases or screen names anywhere. Naturally, a collection of fools, charlatans, frauds and crusaders fell over each other to be the first to pat her on the back about lending her name to the jihad against Teh Bulliez. She was so tickled she couldn't stop sharing it on FB (here, here and here), ignoring the warnings given to her about the site in question to the point of deleting all comments about them yet left all posts from that site's contributors standing. Because that site's history of abuse, doc-dropping and yeah- bullying, has nothing to do with nothing; what matters is they're kissing her ass here and now. One should always focus on what's important.
You'll also notice that not only are the majority of them's talking about how happy they are about this are themselves doing so under false pretenses, the claims of Rice's victory over bullying amounts to a bunch of sound bites. All screenshots of her 'winning' posts are done so in a vacuum without context or reply; trust me when I tell you there's much more to the story. And it doesn't make Rice look good.
I'll state with 100% certainty that any and all who run around the internet crowing about how Anne Rice showed those meanie-mean poopy-heads over on Amazon never read the entire thread. It's pretty damn obvious TIME Magazine didn't. Because a reading of it shows Rice getting her pop-culture intellectualism handed to her on a pretty regular basis. For the sake of disclosure I'll admit to giving her a few lumps myself during the discussions.
The undercurrent here fools no one, least of all it's proponents who know they're full of shit. That's why the vast majority almost never come out and say what's really on their minds: there should be no negative reviews posted. Ever. (The article is satire but the comments are worth looking at). And the few that do say so only highlights why the rest don't: it reveals them to be the whiny, spoiled, sniveling, entitled children they are. After all, they're SOOPER-GENIUSES! Everyone knows it; back when they were that sunflower in the third-grade play- even the teacher said so!!! They've got a whole wall of participation trophies that confirms it!
Given Rice's well-documented history and complete denial of her own bullying, it was comically ironic to see this posted on her FB page to try and bolster her argument: Science Confirms Internet Trolls are Narcissistic, Psychopathic and Sadistic.
Another example of Rice's disconnect from her actions is seen in this FB exchange with one Dusty Lee. Note how quickly Rice condescendingly changes the topic once she's been called on her previous bad behavior:
Rating: 3.5 stars
"...who are they to place you in a box and tell you to be content only with what's inside it? Boxes can't contain something that's limitless."
The Magpie Lord was an incredibly enjoyable read-- one which I welcomed after a lengthy and tedious dry spell of books (which I attempted to fill with smutty Drarry fanfiction). It is such a rich and lovely book with "a certain je ne sais quoi". The intrigue was deliciously twisty and good lord the dialogue *whimper*-- I could get a boner from that, and this is despite my obvious lack of the necessary equipment. But even better than that was the wit of the dialogue which so cleverly accompanied the brilliantly colourful characters. I could smooch them all. Seriously. The Magpie Lord is an imaginative and intelligent book which managed to simultaneously uphold a strong Victorian atmosphere, this immense, sizzling sexual tension (oh god I want to see Lucien and Stephen fuck properly and for chapters on end), charming and humorous dialogue, and wonderful writing-- all with my utter and undivided attention watching it like a magpie fixated on a shiny.
I await the sequel with grabby hands.
And I want to see Shanghai!Lucien/Merrick.
I, Omega is an interesting enough character-driven novel, however with very little substance in the actual plot-- something that was lost in the fast pacing.
I wish there was more development of not only the setting and back-story, but also of the (intriguing and endearing) secondary characters. The novel is very much centered on Gabriel and Cal and their romantic development, however I feel that a little more elaboration and detail on the surrounding environment and world would have ultimately benefited the story (and wouldn't have detracted much of the fast pace). I would've loved to know more about, for one, Gabriel and what being a human omega really entails (and why other packs are so eager to get their hands on one), pack life, Gabriel's father (who definitely piqued my interest), Cal , and also Gabriel's role in the pack. Thinking on it, we actually know next to nothing about Cal, except maybe his sexual preference and his adoration for Gabriel. And that he's a packleader (though I don't even know if that was explicitly mentioned).
Typical of those of the shifter-subgenre, I, Omega features amate-bond=love-4-eva-n-eva formula. The romantic development (as I dubbed it earlier) usually entailed fucking, fucking, spanking, fucking and very little romance. Even so, their love is still quite... sweet, if a bit illogical. Blame it on themate bond *snort*.
Overall I, Omega is a nice read, especially if you're looking for a smutty read that's light on details but good heart heart.
Rating: 2.75 - 3
An absolute, sheer fucking delight. There's no other way of going about it. I honestly cannot pick any aspect of this book that I didn't want to treasure and hug a thousand times over. The world, characters, sights, scents and everything in between-- it was all so enchanting and powerfully rendered.
Kim Fielding has painted a fantastic world in which the polytheistic worship of very real Gods and Goddesses is still at large, and magic is a subtle but realistic presence. She weaves this world with some incredible, charming characters, and others not so much, but all true-to-life with more layers than the conventional black and white of good and "evil" which completely endeared them to me. Despite the romantic, fairy tale-esque atmosphere, we are presented a confronting, raw insight into the reality of human nature through Brute's eyes, who has suffered constant exploitation and cruelty throughout his life, firstly due to his mother and father (whore and thief respectively) and later due to his appearance and size.
Brute-- Brute is an amazing person. Genuinely kindhearted and humane and totally oblivious to the fact, there are few characters that have given me so much hope for the world, and I'm infinitely grateful that he managed to find someone equally as special. Grey Leynham is just as wonderful of a character; he is so immensely human, his flaws and mistakes a product of youth stupidity which irrevocably shaped his life, where, in the present time of the book, is as a royal prisoner on grounds of treason against the crown. Reading about their slow crawl towards love was both gratifying and heart warming. The sheer magnitude of their love and need for each other really makes one believe that mountains would and rivers would part in their presence. Which, in the book, it pretty much nearly does.
The fantasy aspect of Brute was intriguingly executed, although mostly it didn't manifest very strongly in the novel, apart from in religion and barely mentioned abilities. The recurring myths of Gods and Goddesses added a really nice touch to the story, and tied in fantastically with the plot, where a very traditional romantic theme of Love Conquers All came through (My heart: *melts*).
Not only that, the writing is deliciously smooth, without being overbearing, with lovely sensory imagery. Brute's POV was so tender and raw. And he loves books. Just try to tell me you don't love him. I dare you. *glares and waves around metal bat* 凸(⊙▂⊙✖ )
Verdict? READ *points imperiously* You won't find a more tender and heartful book in a long long time, especially not one that easily reduces you to a lukewarm pile of blubbering goo.
Rating: 4.75 ♥(✿ฺ´∀`✿ฺ)ﾉ
P.S Brute reminds me bit of Al from Muscling Through
Before anyone shoots off a comment questioning my sanity (which, if I were in your place, I would do too), I promise you that reading this was not a very well thought out decision. In fact, I would even call it a whim-- one that probably should have been ignored. For now, let's ignore the fact that it has one of those tacky covers usually gracing the books read by old ladies on the train, and also the fact that this is so very heterosexual (rampant M/M Romance reader here) and that it also happens to be first book I have reviewed on Goodreads in a month. Because I am very sorry for all three of those things, and that this book is staining your newsfeed. But I feel an obligation to mankind (and, on a smaller scale, my Goodreads friends)to warn them of this impending disaster should they choose to read it.
Firstly, I would like to start with a disclaimer: I have not finished this book. Honestly, I don't know if I even made it past the third chapter. However, just reading that minuscule amount was enough to not only determine the rating (which I usually have difficulty doing) but also to absorb enough information to write a semi-review (I say that because this review will have less substance than one written by someone who has finished it in its entirety, which also means you can totally ignore this review).
Upon reading the blurb, I was surprisingly filled with a sense of anticipation and expectation. Say good bye to the typical alpha male with his straining lovestick and say hello to an intriguing, genuinely mysterious male character with a mental disorder-- say hello to Lord Ian Mackenzie. You don't usually come across authors who are bold enough to write such interesting (and difficult) characters, so I was incredibly enchanted by all the wonderful possibilities from the start. By the way, these were just my preconceptions coming into the book. Evidently, things did not turn out the way I expected.
I expected depth. Having a character with a mental disorder, I would have thought that some interesting insights would be presented. In the few chapters I had read, there were none. And if I am to extrapolate the trend seen in those few chapters, I would say that none are presented at all. His mental disability is downplayed, and Lord Ian Mackenzie is no lordly Gentleman at all. In fact, he resembles little more than those typical Rough, Chiseled, Alpha Males with their Glowing Lovestick. Mhm. Right.
I expected a unique courtship. I did not want the typical man-mauls-girl-with-a-wet-cunt-into-a-loving-relationship kind of story. I honestly cannot believe that Beth -- you foolish girl BTW -- actually went for that sort of thing. I had no affection or sympathy or anything (except for the occasional facepalm and loud, gusty sighs) for the characters.
I expected a connection. Seriously, any sort of fucking connection (apart from the one that happens when you insert Part A into Part B). Banter. Sexual tension (one that ACTUALLY EXISTS, not the one that the author tries to tell me exists. Some sort of indication that maybe this really could work as a relationship. And on a whole level of meaning, I expected some sort of connection between me and the book (the lack of which led to the abandonment of it).
And last, but not least, I expected more-than-mediocre writing. Nothing to elaborate on there.
Rating: 1.5 STARS (because 1 star is the lowest rating, one that I really shouldn't give since I haven't finished it) (*whispers*It's really a 1 star*whispers*)
I confess: the title of this book confounds me. It's strangely fitting - my dubious interpretation being that it describes the state of the main character (Erred) throughout nearly the entire book - but at the same time, it's an incredibly odd thing to allude to in a book title. What it does do, however, is hint at the tone of the novel; i.e. miserable. I admit I far more enjoy fluffy reads or, at least, books that contain some sort of humor, but that's really quite the opposite of this book. I always appreciate a good slave fic, but - to my embarrassment - I definitely prefer the happier, obviously more romanticised, stories of this genre.
Everything about this book was very well done. The writing is incredibly decent and -- if I had the confidence to claim such a thing -- is actually very good. I found no obvious editing mistakes which is always a win, and the author paints an incredibly realistic, functional fantasy world -- realistic enough to make me grimace and lose faith in humanity, as our world often does.The cultures and religions and world which were created by the author and breathed life into are fascinating and hypnotising in their complexity. The deeds done and deeds suffered in this novel is incredibly painful to read about and horrifically brutal, something which definitely suggests a slave fic done well. The characters are skilfully fleshed out and all very true to life and strictly grey zone, which often makes them difficult to like, but the realism and skill involved is appreciated and noted nonetheless.
There is a weird feeling you get while reading this book-- this odd sense of being directionless, floating aimlessly in an ocean. There isn't really a climax or anything of a sort; for me, I spent the entire book feeling a muted yet heightened sense of unease that didn't relent, even when painful situations relieved themselves.
Something of importance to note if you are planning to tackle this is that although this is a romance the main character not only passes through several masters and 'lovers' (if you can call them that, but a word with such positive connotations can't really be used to describe them) but he also forms bonds with them on varying levels which may confuse you. I spent much of the time trying to guess who Erred would eventually end up with, if he would be in a true relationship with anyone at all and even worrying about if he would end up with this or that person. In saying that, if you're looking for a classic romance, a happy romance or a slave fic where there is a clear love interest, this book is not what you should be perusing. There isn't much satisfaction we readers get from the romance, unfortunately (and here is the part where I would love some romanticisation); the damage done from suffering so much brutality makes love seem quite a distant and unfathomable concept. Even when there love to be had, it's not the typical, clear, all-conquering and burning passion that makes us all fuzzy inside.
However, not matter what you are or are not looking for currently, this is definitely a good read. Although I didn't enjoythis book (If 'enjoy' literally means joy and fuzzy feels) I was captivated -- enthralled even -- by the descriptive writing and brutal tale told.
Humorous and more than a little wacky
We were all drawn in by the ridiculous blurb -- don't even try to deny it. Thick as Thieves is as bizarre as the blurb suggests, but at the same time, it is a well created novel -- something people may forget or overlook because of the gigantic elephant in the room wearing a unicorn horn (i.e. the silliness of it all) which understandably outshines nearly everything else.
This fantasy novel is an easy and light-hearted adventure to follow, and even when it deals with relatively dark themes (Madd is bound by an enchanted collar which renders him a sex slave to his enemy), it is executed gently and with humorous relief. The world-building is solid and imaginative with interesting ideas, especially with the use and production of magic (female mages produce magic naturally, males need to consume 'life' i.e. eat living things).
Although the actual writing and story-telling was average, the characters were a warm surprise. Well-fleshed out and likable, it was fun watching them progress through their quest and relationship. Brutish and simple yet surprisingly (and endearingly) genuine, Vorgell was such a dear. Seriously. And Madd, in his prickly exterior, was a sad character to read about, especially due to the constant rejection and abuse in his life. Together Vorgell and Madd had... interesting dynamics. Fun and humorous banter and surprising (and hot) bedroom dynamics.
Oh, and talk about ignoring another elephant in the room... Unicorn horn = horniness (and boy is that a lame pun) = very fun smut and horniness-induced-situations. Fun fun.
Rating: 3.5 - 3.75
”Maybe one day you'll learn that not all Germans are monsters and not all Americans are heroes.”
Summed up in --undoubtedly-- my favourite quote of the book, Lovers in Arms speaks of the capacity for humane and monstrous deeds in each and every human-- regardless of race, gender or religion.
This sweet and romantic story follows the ultimate forbidden relationship between a high ranking Nazi strategist, Johann, and American officer Frank. Despite the cruel and unforgiving circumstances, the romance which develops is surprisingly gentle and angst free.
Prior to actually beginning the novel, I admit I was expecting a little more... oomph. The set-up is quite literally the epitome of forbidden love and in context of such a infamous and tragic event, I believed that more emotions and thoughts could have been evoked. Simply put, the story fell a little flat. The overall message of the story -- summarised in the quote -- was illustrated well, however the romance, as sweet and lovely as it was, lacked any spark and the characterisation didn't have enough depth to place me in each character's shoes.
As mentioned in some other reviews, the structure of the story was quite off-putting at times. The past and the present plots were developed concurrently in alternating intervals and consequently, it didn't allow for much tension or suspense to build and there were many times where I was only interested in one plot line. The two plot lines were the Nuremberg trials of 1946 and 1943 with the meeting of Johann and Frank and the subsequent romantic development. Although I have no problem with flashbacks, I find that many authors fail to execute them properly by maintaining interest in both of the story-lines.
However, despite my criticism, Lovers in Arms was an enjoyable read. It was a pleasure following their romance develop and bloom and persevere in an environment that allowed for none to occur. It's quite miraculous that the author created a lovely feel-good book in such a difficult setting; not once did I doubt their Happily Ever After. If you're looking for a warm and relaxing read with an interesting context, I would definitely recommend this to you.
Rating: 3.25 - 3.5 STARS
Originally posted on Goodreads here.
Okay, seriously, what the heck is going on here? What the heck are you doing, authors? STOP DOING THINGS. JUST STOP.
At least for a moment.
Think about what you are doing to your so-called careers.
We are adults here, right?
If readers and reviewers are the stalker-bully-trolls you seem to think they are, why are you (yes, that's right, Y-O-U) the one obsessively following, threatening, harassing, insulting, cataloging, challenging, mocking, fretting over, and in general, just completely making a big deal of the individuals you claim you can't escape from?
You're not in a trap, guys. You're not being freaking persecuted. You've tied your own shoelaces together and are staunchly refusing to untie them. Then you're blaming your reviewers for causing you to trip. That's how ridiculous these circular arguments of "shut up, you're a bully and I don't have to listen to you because reasons" are. It's nobody's fault but yours.
That doesn't mean I'm not sympathetic. Maybe you're lonely or depressed. But the internet is not your therapist- don't be surprised when it argues back. You shouldn't be taking out your own issues on your readers and reviewers. That is not what being a writer is about.
Think about it this way: would you do such a thing to your coworkers?
Would you say, "Hey Bob, I don't really know you, but I know you gave me a shitty eval on my presentation and I'm having a miserable day so fuck you, here's a photoshopped picture of me banging your wife. Also, I posted your public information on my blog, encouraging my friends and family to throw feces at your house. LOL. But seriously, you suck. I am great."
And I'm really tired of you guys saying authors who disagree with you are just jealous. Am I promoting my own career by disagreeing with you? Well, yeah, in a sense. People like buying books from people who aren't jerks. They might not like them, but hey, at least they'll be willing to give you a chance. You know? But even if you're a good author, if you act like a jerk nobody's gonna want to take that risk. Because you're a jerk, and that's a can of unpleasantness nobody wants to open.
Really, the only one hurting your career, my dear Butthurt Authors, is you.
There is no Team Author. And if there is, I do not want to be on that team.
I'm a reader, first and foremost, and your behavior makes me sick. Because it's not even about writing, is it? You're using your reviews as an excuse to spew your misogynistic, ageist, racist, classist, sexist, ignorant bull-pocky.
I have no desire to partake in it.
Every time you insult a reader, call him or her stupid or ugly or pathetic...
Every time you post personal information to the public...
Every time you claim that you're too good for spell-check and grammatical errors...
Every time you berate your negative reviewers...
As for the negative reviews you're taking issue with?
I don't know what to do with you anymore, internet. I just don't. Sometimes it feels like you're going to heck in a handbasket, and I'm being forced to go along for the ride.
Winter Wolf and I had a rather rocky beginning. The blurb is the lengthiest one I've ever seen in my entire years of reading and upon starting I was greeted with slightly funky grammar (and if I noticed, then it's got to pretty damn funky).
It was to my greatest pleasure, however, that this book proved me wrong. Winter Wolf is a lovely breath of fresh mountain air to the M/M Shapeshifter genre. The romance is a tender, slowly building and burning process which never failed to delight or interest me. Axton was endearing in his fragile hesitance and social ineptitude. The submissive undertones -- of his shifter ego, no doubt -- is brilliantly done in its subtle yet defined presence.
Likewise, Leander was a wonderful character who utterly endeared himself to me within moments of his introduction. Being kind, caring yet confident, he skilfully coaxes Axton out of his shell.
Something I truly enjoyed within this book was their chemistry, interaction and, more importantly, their friendship. It's not that often that we read a novel where the characters become good friends with each other before actually entering a romantic relationship. What was really special about Axton and Leander's relationship was that the basis of it was rock solid and not at all focused on the romantic and sexual aspect, but rather, just the way they clicked as two separate entities. Reading about them, their reactions and how they unknowingly compliment and lift each other up was truly gratifying.
To sum it all up (because god knows I won't stop rambling),Winter Wolf isn't your typical shapeshifter novel; you won't find the idiotic cliches of insta-mating and defined and exaggerated top/bottom roles. It's an entertaining and tender ride and one --despite its flaws, though I didn't really mention them, hah-- I would recommend for someone looking for a light and heartwarming read. Real koooot.
Apparently there is going to be a sequel as well! I don't feel that it's particularly necessary, but hey, who doesn't love goodsequels?
Rating: give or take 4 STARS
I read this book a while back, and even now -- or perhaps it's because it is 'now'-- I struggle to write a review and give a rating.
Time hasn't made it easier to collect my thoughts, but nor did having the fresh, raw feelings seeping out and around me like an open, gaping wound. Fascinating. Yet I noted this with a sense of detachment.
The Adorned is a beautiful book. Delicate, with stunning, swirling details rendered so skilfully-- a mirror of the tattoos which featured so prominently and symbolically within the novel. The details of tattooing, the details of each and every character and the details of the setting-- all so fascinating and executed with the elegance of mesmerising prose.
As wonderful and enchanting as everything was though, there was this connection that was missing. A sense of detachment which caused my experience to feel more like a silent black and white film. And -- to continue with the poor metaphor -- it carried a similar somber atmosphere to it. For me, anyway; god knows my interpretation is always on the wacky side. This whole book felt like an artwork which I appreciate, praised and admired but always from 3 metres away in a bloody gallery with jackass guards staring me down.
Anyway, my rambling about abstract feelings needs to stop. The characters were real and interesting and some needed to be clobbered on the head and quartered, but I suppose that's a sign of good characterisation (I would prefer to have never known them though). The romance felt a bit vague honestly, but still very tangible and sweet and unlike more erotica romances.
There was very little erotica in this, which, surprisingly, I agree with since it wouldn't really fit the atmosphere anyway. Tristan successfully provoked emotion and fondness in me despite the detachment I felt, and the ending was particularly strong in that respect.
Overall, I very much adored this wonderful book, though it hasn't quite made the strongest impression I think it had the potential to.
Rating: 4 - 4.25