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Review of Zero At The Bone by Jane Seville

“I’m just grateful we have each other now. And all we can do is make it good.”

After witnessing a mob hit, surgeon Jack Francisco is put into protective custody to keep him safe until he can testify. A hitman known only as D is blackmailed into killing Jack, but when he tracks him down, his weary conscience won’t allow him to murder an innocent man. Finding in each other an unlikely ally, Jack and D are soon on the run from shadowy enemies. Forced to work together to survive, the two men forge a bond that ripens into unexpected passion. Jack sees the wounded soul beneath D’s cold, detached exterior, and D finds in Jack the person who can help him reclaim the man he once was. As the day of Jack’s testimony approaches, he and D find themselves not only fighting for their lives… but also fighting for their future. A future together.’

Zero At The Bone is not a book for everyone. It’s weirdly written. It’s overlong as fuck. It’s also catching and entertaining and frustrating and a general glass case of emotions.

Most of the entertaining value comes from the relationship between the two main characters. Jack and D have chemistry, physics, math and any other complicated school subject you want to throw in.

Many of the aspects from their personalities are interesting, but I mostly enjoyed how realistic flawed they were. D in special was often insecure and rude, especially when faced with the fact that he might not be good enough for Jack.

Jack never simply forgot who D was. His love for his new found partner did not make him change his morals. He never truly accepted D’s lifestyle and I admire his backbone and ability to stay firm, sticking to his own self.

The sex scenes and the heavy action scenes were well balanced, giving me time to change my wet panties take a long breathe and wonder where the plot was going. Sadly, I had to do that a lot since the plot often spins around on the same place and doesn’t seem to be moving forward at all.

Another minor complaint is D’s dialogue. For some reason the author decided to show his accent rather than simply tell us he has one. If you do this with a small character? No problem. A main character that appears a lot in the entire story? Don’t do this, authors:

“Jus hold me a little longer, Jack. Tell me again that ya wanna be with me, fer real, cross yer heart ‘n’ let me know you ain’t foolin’, cause I dunno how or when it happen but somehow I come ta need ya like air, like blood.”

Annoying, right? Now let’s see how much different it would look if his dialogue was written normally:

“Just hold me a little longer, Jack. Tell me again that you want to be with me, for real, cross your heart and let me know you’re not fooling me, because I don’t how or when it happened but somehow I came to need you like air, like blood.”

I don’t know about you guys but it sounds much better to me now. This is definitely a case where show,don’t tell doesn’t work.

Back to the positive qualities, we did have some good side characters that I would like to see expanded in further installments. The lack of side plots was quite noticeable though. How can a plot be too straight lined when it’s also spinning around like a retarded bunny? No idea,but Zero At The Bone manages it.

The romance though. It was incredibly full of soul, mirroring the complex heart of the characters. D’s heavy past and Jack’s sweet nature collapsed into a beautiful story that seemed to be running towards disaster more often than not. But both of them wanted it hard enough to keep going.And may it be eternal while it lasts.  

Sentence: Zero At The Bone proved to be as flawed as it’s characters,but still strong and full of heart.

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Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince by Jennifer Moore

5 “love blossoms in England” stars!

“Do not let logic or duty override matters of the heart”

Meg Burton is a young American lass sent to Britain with a duty to her family: she must find a wealthy husband to avoid their financial ruin. But will she let her duty to her family overcome her very soul?

As it turns out,my first Netgalley acceptance was a hit. Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince is a funny,delicate book.

Meg turned out be a fantastic protagonist,and it was great to be in her mind. She was well educated, but still playful and charming. Her curiosity and absolute love of life made her stand in any crowd. Her non-conformist mind was something refreshing to have in a regency novel.

Our male protagonist,”Carlos” was also the type of male historical character that I don’t want to strangle. He was a perfect match for Meg on the spot,because his mind was as open as she was. He didn’t observe her curiosity and intelligence with condescension. He rejoiced in it as much as she did.

I was specially delighted by the subtle parody of the British Society. It’s pretty interesting to see how it seemed from the eyes of two unconnected protagonists: Meg is American and Carlos is Spanish. (Can we also get a horray for a book that uses Spanish correctly?)

There is romance of course,but it’s very light. It’s also healthy,something that seems to be missing these days. Meg and Carlos observed each other and tried their best to be what they needed,while still keeping true to themselves.

Of course, a forbidden love is a great side plot and this one is played out well with just the right amount of chemistry, tension, and emotion. Miss Burton is a charming story that has a little bit of everything and left me feeling completely satisfied.

“The correct relationship will make a person bloom. He becomes more himself, his talents deepen, his personality grows, and he thrives. But the wrong relationship will produce the opposite. The things that were once so vital no longer matter. His talents disappear, his individuality fades, and he wilts.”

Sentence: With funny and likable main and side characters and a plot that stays strong until the ending,Miss Burton delivers what it promised and even more than that.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

Review of A Constant Love by Sophie Turner

5 “I’m so in love” stars!

“You and I and our little one must stay together.”

‘Elizabeth Bennet finds the joy of her marriage and honeymoon are followed by the demands of becoming Mrs. Darcy, all while helping her shy new younger sister come out into society.

Georgiana Darcy must deal with more suitors than she expected, when she fears nothing more than once again being persuaded to think she is in love with the wrong man.’

A Constant Love is a novel sized Pride and Prejudice continuation that picks nearly where the original novel left.

It’s no secret to anyone that P&P left a hole in my heart. I wanted more of those characters I grew to love, and I believe that stumbling upon this sequel was the best thing that could have happened.

It’s pure and simply fantastic. Sophie Turner writes with the confidence and accuracy of someone well researched into both Austen’s work and other works of historical fiction. I daresay that even Jane Austen would find no fault in this book.

The characters themselves were just as endearing as in the original work, while also being well developed and believable. I was finally able to take a private look into Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage. While their reunion was very sweet, Elizabeth’s concerns over her new life were not forgotten.

AND WE HAVE MORE GEORGIANA. I like to think that her personality in this book is exactly what Austen would have thought for her: sweet and shy, but very intelligent and brave when needed.

“My Darling Elizabeth. If an acquaintance had told me before our marriage that I should hardly be able to sleep without by my side,I would have thought them to be absurd. Yet last night I found myself unable to do that which had come so easily before.”

The plot is everything I wanted and more. We see Elizabeth’s introduction into “high society”,her concerns about her new family,her transition into a strong woman that can easily handle the responsibilities given to her. Besides developing the dearest characters we already know, Sophie also created new characters with deep backgrounds.

The only fault I found in this entire novel is that it had to end. I dreaded the moment but I’m taking some solace in knowing that Sophie will eventually write a sequel and I can droll all over her work again.

Sentence: What can I say? It’s bloody fantastic. I’m making this my official Pride and Prejudice sequel.

Speechless Sweetness | Review of Speechless by Kim Fielding

5 “this is giving me sugar poisoning” stars!

‘Travis Miller has a machining job, a cat named Elwood, and a pathetic love life. The one bright spot in his existence is the handsome guitar player he sometimes passes on his way home from work. But when he finally gathers the courage to speak to the man, Travis learns that former novelist Drew Clifton suffers from aphasia: Drew can understand everything Travis says, but he is unable to speak or write.’

This short story was sweet from start to finish and I feel so luck for finding it. Travis and Drew were adorable and Drew’s disability was portrayed extremely well. I’m only sad that it was so short,because I can’t get enough of these two.

This was me by the end of the story:

Recommended!

Review of And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie

3.5 “everyone is dying” stars!

“In the midst of life, we are in death.”

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

And Then There Were None,is the second book I’m cutting of my “Novels Everyone Should Read” list. Being it a thriller by the mother of mystery, I have to admit that I expect more. It’s a fairly simple concept,albeit well executed. The thing is: I expect to feel excitement from a Thriller. I want it to grab me and hold my attention until the ending. The only reason I read this novel so fast was because it was fairly short.

That being said I think it was entertaining, in the lightest, easy-reading kind of way. For sure almost everything has shades of a more clichéd and generic writing, (The closed-room murders, the sequential deaths of our characters, the wolf hiding among sheep) although to give Christie some credit, it was all probably new and exciting back in her days. So I’ll overlook it for now. Kinda.

I also raised my rating because I liked the characters, and I *specially* liked our dearly, trigger crazy villain.

All in all,it was a good book. Maybe not deserving of so many hype anymore,but I’m sure it made people go crazy back in 1939.

Sentence: Not as exciting as I expected it to be,but surely good enough to make me want to read more Agatha Christie.

Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be

Whatever

The other day CNN let some dude named Joe Peacockvomit up an embarrassing piece on its Web site, about how how awful it is that geekdom is in the process of being overrun by attractive women dressing up in costumes (“cosplaying,” for the uninitiated) when they haven’t displayed their geek cred to Mr. Peacock’s personal satisfaction. They weren’t real geeks, Mr. Peacock maintains — he makes a great show of supporting real geek women, the definition of which, presumably, are those who have passed his stringent entrance requirements, which I am sure he’s posted some place other than the inside of his skull — and because they’re not real geeks, they offend people like him, who are real geeks:

They’re poachers. They’re a pox on our culture. As a guy, I find it repugnant that, due to my interests in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and role playing games…

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Review of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

4.5 stars!

“Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.”

I did it,guys. I finished my first Jane Austen book. Now I can finally join the cool kids club. And I have one thing to say to Miss Austen:

To be quite honest,I’m happy I waited. Younger me wouldn’t have understood the satire in this book and I daresay she would have dreaded the romance. So let’s get to it!

The Characters

I didn’t expect them to be so colorful and unique! To meet Elizabeth is to fall in love,and of course I adored Mr. Darcy once he realized his flaws and did his best to fix them. The same goes to Lizzy. My favorite thing about the characters might have been their admittance of their own flaws.

“How despicably I have acted! Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned.”

The side characters were just as good to know about. Jane and Mr.Bingley were both too good for this world.

A character that seems to get little love is Mary, but I did like her a lot. Lizzy had Jane and Lydia had Kitty, but Mary was alone most of the time. Mr.Bennet didn’t seem to care to her at all,even considering her good wits. Some love for the middle sister, please?

Of course, there’s also Lydia who might be the most obnoxious character in the entire literature book. And Mr.Bennet. Mr.Bennet should write a guide: How Not To Father. Worst dad ever!

The Plot

It’s amazing how such a simple idea can be so well executed and become well loved through the entire world.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”. Indeed. And this premise made for a lovely novel, albeit a slow one.

My only two reservations about the story: I wanted to see more of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth as a married couple. We only got a couple of pages about their live together, and that’s not nearly enough (I’ll have to appeal to fanfictions!). Lydia’s drama, while important, took way too much of the book. The fact that I didn’t like her wasn’t much help.

I have no other complaints though. The little we got from the love story was adorable, and the character development was superb.

The Setting

Deliciously Historical Fiction. If…that makes sense. Anyway,stories about the past have been growing on me a lot. Throw London in the lot and you’ll have me jumping all over the place.

Now,do I recommend this book, Mr.Darcy?

Hello Darkness My Old Friend – Review of Darkness Visible By Pip Janssen

The Dark Tide shall rise…

Darkness Visible is a Victorian Fantasy novel set in 1895, in a world which is identical to our own history except for one key fact: there are people, known as venturers, who can travel instantly between locations by tearing holes (Thresholds) in the fabric of reality. However, Thresholds are not entirely safe, and a bad one will cause unreality to leak in from beyond the world, with potentially fatal consequences.

I’ve been struggling with this review for some time. I wasn’t sure which rating to give it, considering the amount of stuff I liked was proportional to the things I didn’t. So let’s get to it:

The Good

  • It’s a Victorian Fantasy novel that is NOT Steampunk whatsoever. Is there an award for this?

  • The romance was pretty light and realistic.
  • It’s dosed with references of literature in general. Special mention goes to the Discworld shout out.
  • The main characters were likable and well developed. Not you though,Lewis!
  • William Hotness Marsh.
  • I enjoy stories about two men that basically hate each other and lately start to bond for random reasons.
  • The whole idea of portals that can lead you to different states on even countries is fairly interesting.
  • I’ve been on a Historical Fiction kick lately, so I was happy to notice how realistic the costumes and speeches of the past were portrayed.
  • Pip Janssen has an amazing style of writing, managing to be antique and sophisticated without being ridiculous or exaggerated. Capital!
  • I’m never tiring of novels set on England.
  • A London full of undirected Thresholds must have looked somewhat like this:

The Bad

  • I only started to warm toward the main character when I was around 30% into the book. Have you ever been in the mind of a Victorian aristocrat? It’s UNBEARABLE. Lewis was incredibly arrogant. I could forgive him considering it’s a realistic behavior, but many of his actions were simply part of his jerk personality. As the novel progressed, however, it became quite obvious that Lewis is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. So I forgave him.
  • There wasn’t much going on. Marsh and Lewis were trying to close bad Thresholds. That was basically it.
  • The villains were boringly predictable. They were murdering everyone for the Evulz. We never get deeper explanations as to why.
  • I always think that something is wrong when I manage to uncover the plot secrets before the characters do.
  • The whole ending was wrapped up in the last 4% of the book. That’s too rushed! I expected more complexity and more epicness. The epilogue was a nice touch though.

The Ugly

  • Nothing,really. There’s nothing wrong enough with this novel to make me throw my Kindle on the air or punch myself in the face.

Sentence: Decent historical fiction with a fantasy touch. If you’re looking for something slow and different,go for it!

Review of Ricochet by Kery Lake

4.5 “an eye for an eye” stars!

“Monsters did exist. They didn’t hide under the bed, though. They stormed through the fucking door and stole away everything we loved.”

Three years ago,Nick lost everything. His wife,his beautiful son.  All brushed away under the orders of Michael Culling,a ruthless Mayor that has Detroit on his hands.

But Nick didn’t lose his life,and now he’s out for revenge. An eye for an eye.

To kill a monster,he had to become one.

Have you ever felt emotionally drained by a novel? Ricochet was fucked up in every way and some more. The story is gritty, the violence is graphic. And yet I couldn’t take my eyes off it for a second.

Seeing Nick’s journey toward rage and madness was incredible. The writing was pretty good and in first person, making me feel like I was Nick. I felt the hatred, the anger, the pain, the suffering, the torture and the love. And damned if I didn’t love every second of it.

Michael Culling was a despicable villain. He tainted everything he touched, including our female main character, Aubree.

Aubree herself was a complex woman, cracked but not broken, caged but not destroyed.

The plot itself was exciting enough to keep me up until 5 am until I finally finished it. It’s rare for a story to touch me so deeply. Nick’s story broke my heart. Seriously, give the man a break. The fast-paced, action-packed lines had my heart racing and my stomach in knots. You know the feeling where you’re on the verge of tears but not crying just yet and your throat feels like it’s burning from holding back? That happened to me while I was reading a couple of scenes where Nick was tortured and haunted by his past (dead wife & son). I can’t remember the last time I had such a strong reaction to a book.

The ending wasn’t exactly original but it was so unexpected and well done I didn’t even care. It fit the story perfectly. Another amazing twist in this web of amazing stuff.

The half star I took off was for the sex scenes. They were a bit too long for my taste. Important stuff was happening through the book and I just couldn’t care for the sex. This may be a first but I thought the sex was standing in my way. I want to see death and blood, goddammit!

Sentence: Sometimes you need a cute,fluffy book that you can cuddle to while reading. This is not that book. If you need a gritty,dark romance,go for it!

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