Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

24763621Rating: 3 stars

It was really good at first. Then it fizzled out about half way through. In the beginning, there was some goblin lore, and it all seemed like it was building up to something fascinating. About halfway through it became a straight up romance. All of the other storylines were dropped. The goblin lore no longer mattered. Some things seemed completely pointless in hindsight such as Hans being the story at all.

The writing was beautiful, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of other things. There weren’t enough details about the world and the goblins. Some things were alluded to but never followed up on. The pacing was too slow. The book really could have been shorter. So much page time was spent on Liesl’s obsession with music. I did not give a shit. It was boring as hell to read about.

Liesl was admirable in her desire to put others needs before her own. It was cool that she wasn’t a great beauty although several characters mentioned that she was, but the emphasis was on her plainness. Putting herself in great danger wasn’t something she generally did, but she had a habit of not thinking things through, which got on my nerves at times.

The goblin king was the best part of the book, but even he wasn’t too interesting by the end. His misery and history were not explored enough. At first he was mysterious, charming, and manipulative. By the end he was just a sad guy.

The ending was unconventional, but it wasn’t satisfying either. It was one of those weird things where it was sad and happy at the same time. It didn’t feel complete. There were still things I wanted to know. This ending would be okay if it were the first in a series, but I believe this is a standalone. Then again even if this were a series, I didn’t like this enough to want to read the next one.

Advertisements

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

25670396Rating: 2 stars

Jacqueline Carey’s books are hit or miss with me, and this one was definitely a miss. In some ways this reminded me of the things I hated about Kushiel’s Dart except this wasn’t as bad. The plots were completely different, but both books had a drab tone and dull, lifeless characters. The pacing was agonizingly slow. It took forever for the story to advance, and the end was anti-climatic. Since I have not read The Tempest, I had no idea how this would end. Knowing this was a retelling of Shakespeare’s work, I had expected the ending to be tragic or slightly more dramatic. The ending wasn’t a happy one, but maybe I wasn’t more affected because I didn’t care enough about the characters to feel their pain.

The book is told in two parts. In the first part Miranda is six and Caliban is several years older. The weird thing about her POV was that her inner thoughts sounded more like a mature adult in her thirties than a young child. It was really hard to believe she was a kid. She and Caliban grew close as children. Flash forward seven or so years to the second part, and their friendship had blossomed into love. The time jump made it feel like I missed out on something essential in the development of their relationship. This was not a romance, but their relationship was central to the plot. It was essential to grasp what they were feeling for the ending to have an impact.

Caliban was my favorite character. He stood up for what he believed in. Miranda was so disgustingly pathetic. Knowing right from wrong rarely caused her to act on it. All her father had to do was chastise her and she quickly cowed. She was practically blind to her father’s cruel and selfish ways, always determined to see the best in him. She seemed quite content to be ignorant. Her father openly admitted to keeping many things from her, and it was rarely questioned. Her father was evil. Absolutely nothing about him was good. The only other character Ariel wasn’t interesting. Knowing something of his background might have helped to make him more appealing.

The world building in regards to the magic needed more attention. Obviously Prospero was capable of magic, but were there limits to his abilities? Where did his power come from? Some stuff didn’t make sense. How come Miranda and Caliban each had a parent capable of powerful magic but neither of them had any? The story made sense, but considering the amount of time spent on a painstakingly slow plot, some of that time could have been invested in character development and further exploration of magic.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

619bct1f69l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Tradd Street #5

I didn’t like this book nearly as much as the last two. Things are different now that Melanie and Jack are married with kids. Despite them finally being a couple, they still didn’t feel like a team. They didn’t work together as much as they did in the other books. Jack didn’t make as many witty comments that get Melanie all flustered. He is my favorite character in the series, and I wanted more of him. Melanie is anal retentive and obsessive compulsive about certain things, but it’s funny and endearing. It’s expected that there will be some drama since no one can live up to her lofty standards. But does there have to be a quasi love triangle in every book? The other man/woman never goes anywhere serious as a potential love interest, and it’s obvious it won’t. I’m okay with them having problems, but I want them to be sure that they are 100% committed to each other for a whole book.

Although I love the cast of characters which made the book worth reading, this wasn’t the best mystery ever. About half way through I figured out what really happened to Hasell and who Jayne really was. The clues about Jayne were numerous and obvious. There wasn’t anyone else whose child she could possibly be. I wasn’t thrilled with the plot probably because I’m not a fan of secret baby storylines. A few other minor things were easy to figure out. It got annoying after awhile that the characters weren’t figuring any of this stuff out. More things got on my nerves than normal, but I will gladly read the next book if there is one.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Gilded Cage by Vic James

30258320Rating: 1 star

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Started off with a bang: a tragic death of a helpless innocent by a cruel guy with magical powers. A young child was the cause of all this drama. There was a sharp contrast in abilities and personalities of the cruel guy and his two brothers. My hopes of this being good were so high, and then I kept reading.

The POV kept changing with each chapter. They were switched up so much that I didn’t care about any of them. The characters were in drastically different circumstances, social circles, and settings that for the longest time the stories barely seemed interconnected. Literally I was at the 50% mark and was wondering WTF the point of this book was. It was all so damn boring. So many storylines were going on at once, but not much was happening with any of them until the end. By then I would have rather gouged my eyes out than keep reading, so I didn’t care that it finally tied together.

The elites who ruled the world had magical powers although they varied in ability and power from person to person. Since they were superior, regular people had to serve as slaves for 10 years at some time of their choosing throughout their life. Luke and Abi’s family decided they would serve as slaves because they honestly believed they would be able to remain together in slavery. How stupid were they to believe this? It’s not like they never had the chance to speak to people who had been enslaved.

The main characters were all teenagers or in their early twenties. Of course the power to change the world whether good or bad resided in their hands, because that’s so fucking likely. Since Luke and Abi were no longer disillusioned with their situations, they decided to do what every YA does in a dystopian novel which is try to make the world a better place.

There wasn’t much romance although it might have spiced this story up a bit if there had been. Abi and Jenner were the only people who cared about each other romantically, but based on their situations it wasn’t meant to be. Despite Jenner being a nice guy, Abi was his slave. When her thoughts drifted to Jenner, it made their situation seem more appealing than it was.

Silyen was demented and self serving. There was definitely more than meets the eye with him, but he was too heartless for me to care about him. Gavar was an asshole. Just because he loved his daughter it didn’t make him a good guy. Jenner didn’t have the balls to stand up for what was right. Bouda was a power hungry bitch. Daisy was a love sick fool for Gavar. Abi didn’t have the best instincts when it came to people. Luke was nothing but a pawn. Doc Jackson was slick and secretive at first but seemed dumb by the end.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Turn by Kim Harrison

29277157Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: The Hollows #0.1

Finally an explanation for how tomatoes almost wiped out the human population! It makes more sense getting the whole story rather than getting bits and pieces in the Hollows. I still question why tomatoes, but then again it’s not like any other food would have been less ridiculous.

Trisk was an elf in the sixties. She had two strikes against her: being a dark elf and being a woman. At that point in time all supernatural creatures were still in hiding. Trisk, despite being the smartest in her class, was sent to work in a human lab. She managed to do two amazing things while there. She made the T4 Angel tomato which was helping to feed the hungry around the world and perfected Daniel Plank’s virus so the biological weapon could not harm the inderlanders.

Kal had picked on Trisk for her whole life. An argument between them caused Kal to lose his shot at getting a prestigious job. After a while he was tasked with the job of verifying Trisk’s work would work as she claimed. If there were fault with her work, Kal would be able to take it over and make a name for himself when he perfected it. He was determined to find fault with it whether it was there or not.

I liked Trisk. She made the best out of what she was given. Sometimes she made some stupid decisions but it made her seem normal. They weren’t of the TSTL variety. She was strong, caring, and determined to do what was right regardless of the odds being against her. Kal OTOH was a self serving bastard. It’s easy to see where Trent got his ruthlessness and superiority complex from. Kal would have done anything, manipulated anyone to get what he wanted. Despite being privy to his thoughts, I didn’t like him. Regret and self doubt weren’t there, so it was hard to see him as redeemable. I didn’t hate him, but there sure as hell wasn’t much to like either.

I enjoyed the book, but it took me a while to get into it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a few characters from the Hollows series like Al. I’m not sure if this is a prequel series or simply a novel. The storyline about killer tomatoes was wrapped up, but I want to know more about Kal, Trisk, and Quen. Things weren’t settled between them, and I’m hoping they end up better for them at some point.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!