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Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
Kurt Vonnegut
Progress: 36 %
Ian McEwan
Progress: 150/351 pages
Heart of Steel
Meljean Brook
The Cult of Me
Michael Brookes
Virginia Woolf

Is Goodreads Dead?

I haven't been able to get into it all day. It says it's loading/transferring/blah blah blah, but I can't get the site to actually appear. Anyone else having this issue?

OFF-TOPIC: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader - G.R. Reader Still processing. VERY angry. Need to look some (all) of these people up. VERY glad I read it, I think it's important to have a record of such things.

Hell's Super (Circles in Hell, #1)

Hell's Super (Circles in Hell, #1) - Mark Cain I really liked this a lot! It's fun, funny, imaginative and creative, and surprisingly touching. There's a nice little mystery in the middle of it, and the payoff was very cute. (And more than ever I want my own BOOH.)

I am definitely going to be getting the second one, which I believe comes out in a few months.

I loved how the author sets up several scenarios that lead to a lot of mystery and confusion as to why all these seemingly 'good' people ended up in hell. The whole conflict between the Seven Deadly Sins and true evil is an intriguing one, and I'm very curious as to how that will be addressed in the next book.

Just a lot of damn fun, and very recommended!

The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble (a CriminalElement.com original collection)

The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble (a CriminalElement.com original collection) - Various, Clare Toohey Overall it was ok. Not fantastic, but some of the stories stood out in a good way. I liked 'Follow Us on Facebook and Twitter' until the end, and enjoyed the style of 'Her Haunted House,' though I thought it was a bit predictable. 'Benign' was my favorite until the end of the story. I mean, ending a story with the narrator getting shot is fine, but I'd like to know what happens AFTER the shooting. The person is obviously still alive or they'd not be able to tell their story, right? I find it annoying, maybe because so MANY short stories seem to employ that kind of ending. Actually, my own short story may do that, too. I will have to check.

'Incident on the 405' was very well done, and I did NOT hate the ending. It was my favorite until I got to Chuck Wendig's 'Birds of Paradise.' That ended up being my favorite (kind of knew it would be/was the reason I bought the collection). I'm already a fan of Miriam Black (cannot wait for 'The Cormorant') and so having this little vignette involving Miriam was nice. I wonder if there will be a call back to the incident described in the new book...?

Anyway, I'm pretty "eh" on the whole thing. I don't read a lot of short stories or short story collections, so I don't know if this is the norm, but I expected more.


Corpalism - Arun D. Ellis Well, wow.

3.5 stars

It's a LOT of information, this book. It's a large number of suppositions carried to seemingly-outlandish-but-actually-completely-logical conclusions, each meticulously researched.

My mind is still kind of reeling...will try to more thoroughly review at a later date.

I will say that he could have used a punctuation expert, especially in the first part, but truly throughout the book. Honestly, though, that's a bit of a nitpick. It's a strong effort and truly made me think. I won't say it changed my perspective because I agree with the majority of the ideas, but it added some depth to it.


Disturb - J.A. Konrath Not bad. Not the best thing I've ever read, and I didn't like it nearly as much as I did 'Origin' by the same author (which I loved).

But about this one: Eh. It was ok. There were parts that were intriguing, and parts that flowed, but for the most part it wasn't my cuppa. It's pretty obvious at the beginning what's going on and what's going to happen. I think the twists and shocks may have read a lot more, you know, twisty and shocking five years ago, but for me it was pretty predictable. As a life-long insomniac, I did find the premise really interesting but I thought the execution (ha) was...eh. Not bad, really, but it could have been so much more. The potential didn't pan out, I didn't think.

I'm very "eh" about it, obviously.

I may try 'The List' or one of his Jack Daniels stories, but not right away.


Origin - J.A. Konrath There are spoilers in this review.

So. Good! I just loved this book! I loved how it was written, how fast-paced it was, how original. The characters were well-drawn and the science-y stuff was accurate (as far as I know/what do I know?) and actually readable (which is strange for me, usually I skip over that kind of stuff).

Anyway, Bub was a scary SOB and his abilities were fantastical but logical within the mythos of the story. I don't know what he really was, and honestly I don't care. He was charismatic and magical and ancient and I found him fascinating. I honestly had no idea what was going to go on with him. I had a brief hope, when he had his encounter with Helen, that things would, you know, work out, but of course they couldn't. That sense of hope mixed with dread pulled me through the story.

I loved Sun and Andy and especially Andy and Sun together. The little pockets of humorous banter fit well, I thought, and helped establish their characters more deeply. Also gave me hope that they'd make it and IF they did, they'd have a basis for a real connection. I so wanted that for them!

Dr. Belgium was made of awesome and Race was a hoot and a hero (adore!). I very much enjoyed Shotzen and Thrist, too. They were distinctive (and ok, ok, Konrath used a few shorthand cues for them, but I did not mind that at ALL) and believable and I really loved their relationship. It was completely believable that they'd been arguing and talking circles around each other for twenty years. There was some affection there, and a deep connection and respect buried beneath their theological disagreements. I learned a lot of Judaism, too!

Harker was a brittle shell filled with damage and if I have one complaint, it's that she didn't get enough "screen time." She also should have gotten just a LITTLE more time with her Shirley. I mean, don't get me wrong, she was one sick fuck (pardon) who maybe a little bit deserved what she got (equivocate much?), but I was touched at her brief shining moments of pure happiness.

The backstories were handled adroitly and were just cliche enough to resonate, but original enough to be interesting. I really enjoyed the whole idea of these damaged people who'd made horrible mistakes but who had that little core of strength and honor beneath their various weakness, that one little kernel that got them into this terrifying, amazing experience.

I LOVED that no one helped Bub, beyond the original "helping" that Belgium and Harker did. I liked being surprised, especially, at the strength of "the holies."

Yeah, so, I loved it. I'm going to check out more from J.A. Konrath, for sure.

Vs. Reality (Vs. Reality, #1)

Vs. Reality (Vs. Reality, #1) - Blake Northcott,  Jim Deley,  Jennifer  Joseph Pretty good, actually. I was reminded periodically of The Hulk and The Thing, of Storm from X-Men (and actually a little of the in-general X-Men world mythos, with all the agency politics going on), and various other characters from a few of the super hero movies I've seen recently. That didn't bother me too terribly much, though, because the author has a bit of a different take on things.

It moves very quickly, which is normally a good thing in Urban Fantasy, but I had a little bit of a disconnect at the way all of the new relationships turned intimate and comfortable pretty darn quickly. Donovan also seemed to accept the fantastical almost instantly, which didn't ring totally true for me. Jens fell in line almost immediately too, actually. I think that overall it could have used more depth and maybe just a BIT of a slower pace to allow the relationships to develop naturally, but it wasn't bad.

So...yeah. I liked it. Didn't adore it, but it was pretty well done. I liked that there were a few chapters of the second one included at the end, and if the price is right I'll definitely check out the next one.

Yeah. Pretty good!

Death Will Save Your Life (Bruce Kohler #4)

Death Will Save Your Life (Bruce Kohler #4) - Elizabeth Zelvin Pretty cute, actually. Moved very quickly and I was momentarily disappointed until I realized (duh-uh!) that it was a novella. Will definitely consider reading more.

An Extended Journey

An Extended Journey - Paul  Sherman Very well written and definitely imaginative, but didn't resonate with me. I skimmed most of the ending, sadly. Just not a period of history that holds a lot of fascination for me and the fight scenes didn't hold my interest (it's NOT the writing, it's ME, swear).

I may give it another try in the future. I'm not sorry I read (most of) it, but it wasn't really my cuppa (tea).

An Extended Journey

An Extended Journey - Paul Sherman

Very well written and definitely imaginative, but didn't resonate with me. I skimmed most of the ending, sadly. Just not a period of history that holds a lot of fascination for me and the fight scenes didn't hold my interest (it's NOT the writing, it's ME, swear).

I may give it another try in the future. I'm not sorry I read (most of) it, but it wasn't really my cuppa (tea).

The Iron Duke -  Meljean Brook I liked this a LOT more than I figured I'd would. The world is fully built, as it were, and Brook is a very visual writer. I liked Mina and The Duke together, but I felt as if it were always from a distance. I could sympathize with each of their situations, but nothing really gutted me. Their attraction to each other was handled well, but although it was completely justified within the realm of the story, I thought the "it will destroy her" stuff went on a bit long. I also thought the 'misunderstanding' near the end was, well, a little clunky. Until that point they'd seemed very much on the same wavelength and it seemed strange that suddenly neither knew what the other truly felt. Eh, I don't have a huge amount of experience with romances, maybe that's expected, but with the way Mina had been drawn and the strength of the Duke, the whole hurt feelers situation didn't quite jibe for me. I mean, it seemed clear from their first encounter that they'd be together, and it seemed like just one more little bump to delay the gratification. I understand the reasoning, but it didn't really work for me.

Also, some of the language during their "encounters" struck a little clunky, but then again, I don't read a lot of romance, so that may be the standard. I just can't help it, though: every time the Duke said "shag," I pictured Austin Powers. Took me right out of it.

I will say that the writing, in general, was lovely. Smoothly flowing and very evocative of the era she's created. The machines were ingenious and I never felt lost or confused by what went on or the purpose or looks of them. When I think "steampunk," I think about that horrid "Wild Wild West" remake Will Smith did eons ago. I liked this a LOT more than that!

I actually enjoyed Scarsdale and Newberry a bit more than the main characters. I have a soft-spot for redheaded men, and for self-deprecating, brave, intelligent, and loyal sots.

Overall, a fine read. I've already purchased the second one.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

This is a lovely, weird, completely imaginative and creative story and I just loved it. The idea of using "found" photographs as inspiration for such a story is brilliant. Aside from that, I found it beautifully written and completely engaging. I honestly went into it thinking that the "peculiar" children were going to be very dark and ominous. I'm so glad to say I was completely wrong. Darkness there is, indeed, but it's an original darkness, inventive and pretty scary.

I never knew what was going to happen in the story, and I LOVE that in a book. Everything, as fantastical as it was, made perfect sense, flowing from the logic Riggs created for this world. Beautifully done all around and I'll definitely be getting the second one!

Doubleblind (Sirantha Jax, #3) - Ann Aguirre Whew again, that was exhausting! My favorite of the series, so far.

Spoiler alert:

I loved the body-language stuff that came with the chip Vel inserted into Jax. Down-right poetic, it was. The way she's maturing in leaps and bounds is touching and I can't overstate how relieved I am that she has March back (for the most part). I love how his absence from her head helped facilitate it. I'll admit to some annoyance when they went to tell the truth about Jael and March was already gone. I chalk that up to it being 3 a.m., being almost to the end of the book, and being completely unprepared for...well, more. And to being mentally exhausted by the thought of it. I started to skim (which I rarely do), then realized what time it was and told myself to be a damn grown-up and put the book down and go to bed. I honestly just wanted a nice prisoner exchange and then for them to get the hell off that planet.

Aguirre is a master of "not so fast," however, and I should have known there'd be at least one more twist, one more hurdle, one more tension-packed life-and-death situation to get through. I was grateful at the way the taking of Jael played out. I could not have handled more suspense. I really love Hit. I hope she keeps being a good guy. After what went down with Jael, though...well, hell, I have to hope he's the only betrayer in the inner circle. Honestly I can't imagine any of the rest of them having nefarious intentions.

I love the way this woman writes! I'll say again: it's that alchemy of a fast-paced, seeming overview without the loss of any depth or detail. I don't know how she does it, but I envy it. I can't believe how fast these things read, but having been through the emotional wringer with this one, I'm going to try to take a break before buying the next.

"Try" being the operative term ;)

Jack: A book about a dog where the dog doesn't die at the end

Jack: A book about a dog where the dog doesn't die at the end - Ray Braswell Pretty cute, I enjoyed it :)

Death Will Save Your Life

Death Will Save Your Life (Bruce Kohler #4) - Elizabeth Zelvin

Pretty cute, actually. Moved very quickly and I was momentarily disappointed until I realized (duh-uh!) that it was a novella. Will definitely consider reading more.