Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Audiobook mini-review: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Dan Bittner and Emma Galvin
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars
My rating of Narration: 5 of 5 Stars
SUMMARY (from Goodreads)

Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn't just want her. He needs her.

Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It's not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes...but what's the point? What is there to win?

Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.

This review is a little spoilerish if you haven’t read previous books in this series.

I’ve listened to the audio version of the whole series and it’s very well done. There are four narrators, each for Sam, Grace, Cole and Isabel; each of them made an amazing job bringing these characters to life. I know most of YA-lovers have already read this series, but if you decide to reread this series I highly recommend the audiobooks. Actually I remember Maggie Stiefvater herself said in one of her interviews that she was pleased how the audio had turned out.

I loved Sinner! Though my favorite in this series is the second book Linger, Sinner is close behind.

For those of you who haven’t read Sinner yet, this book is about Isabel, who moved back to LA, and Cole, who came there to record an album and be on reality show.

There are several reasons this installment worked for me.

1. This book reads almost as a contemporary.

You see, I’m a contemporary girl. I always prefer good contemporary to paranormal or fantasy, though I often venture to these genres and I’m happy when I can find some gems, hidden there. Anyway, back to Sinner. Paranormal aspect of it is practically nonexistent. In previous books “shapeshifting equal losing yourself” was in the front; Sam’s struggles to stay himself had profound effect on readers. In Sinner Cole’s shifting to a wolf is a way to run from reality, like drugs or alcohol. And his ability to control his shifting, to become a wolf when he wants it, only accentuates this similarity to drugs. I’m rumbling here, I hope you get what I’m trying to say.

2. Romance with a celebrity is my favorite trope.

I have a soft spot for famous heroes in my books. Give me an actor or a rock star who fall in love with a noncelebrity heroine and I’m a happy girl. But Maggie Stiefvater is Maggie Stiefvater, of course she took this usual trope about a tortured famous rock star and an average girl and made it into something beautiful, unexpected and wonderful.

3. Cole and Isabel’s relationship was intense.

Cole and Isabel were very intense characters and their relationship was explosive. I don’t mean only their sexual interactions, though compare to previous books there was definitely more this stuff in Sinner and these scenes between Cole and Isabel were hot.

Both Cole and Isabel are unstable persons, so while reading this book I was constantly nervous, in anticipation of someone’s breakdown or some disaster happening. I can say that I wanted this intensity and instability in previous installments. I loved Sam and Grace, but I wanted some angst.

I don’t know why, but I find very difficult to write a proper review on Maggie Stiefvater’s books, and I see that this attempt is no better than the previous. But I hope I was able to convey my love for this author, who writes beautiful and strange stories with amazing characters, which would stay with you for a long time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Audiobook Mini-review: After the Night by Linda Howard

Title: After the Night
Author: Linda Howard
My rating: 3.5 - 4 of 5 Stars


Faith Devlin was a poor girl from the wrong side of the road. Since early age she had a crush on Gray Rouillard, son of the rich and powerful man of the town. After his father disappeared with Faith’s mother, leaving behind his family and his money, Gray was enraged and hated every remained in town Devlin, Faith included. He threw them all out of the town. Twelve years later Faith returned to her hometown to finally find out what happened to Gray’s father all those years ago.

Faith was such a strong and likable heroine. She had been through so much but she didn’t break. She had achieved a lot in life. Despite hardships she stayed kind and kind-hearted person. As for Gray I can see why some readers had problems with this character, but if you like alpha-heroes, he would be right up your alley. He was rude and possessive, but at the same time as their relationship with Faith progressed we see his caring and more vulnerable side. Romance was steamy and Linda Howard wrote some hot scenes here.

I liked After the Night, but unfortunately it wasn’t 5 Star read for me. Why? Two reasons. Firstly I guested early in the book who was the “bad guy”. I don’t know, maybe I’ve read too many romantic suspense… I like when the author keeps me on my toes, when I suspect everyone and have no idea who the killer is until the end. So this definitely took some of my enjoyment. My second issue was with the ending. After the scene where the culprit was revealed, I expected the author would wrap up the book. Instead she continued to drag the story telling us many insignificant and unnecessary details like what clothes the heroine had bought.

I’ve listened to the audiobook narrated by Natalie Ross. I love this narrator; she brings so much to the book. She masterfully delivers distinct female voices as well as male ones. I have only two small complaints, and they are so weird, that I’m sure you won’t have them. First one: Natalie Ross has such a melodic throaty beautiful voice; it’s like music to me. So I constantly was in situation when I was listening HOW she was saying words, not what words she was saying. It was like blackouts for several minutes. So I have to concentrate more while listening to this audiobook. My second issue is that my first experience with Natalie Ross was Fever series by Karen Marie Moning (which I absolutely loved), where she brilliantly narrated main character Mac. I was so impressed by her work (I’m still impressed), now when I start listening a new book narrated by Natalie Ross, during first several minutes I hear Mac from Fever. I just couldn’t help myself. It’s only first several minutes but it continues to happen again and again.

Despite some qualms I enjoyed After the Night very much and recommend it to all romantic suspense lovers. Linda Howard delivered amazing steamy romance, strong heroine and hot alpha hero. After the Night was my first book by Linda Howard and it was a positive experience. I plan to check out her backlist.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Should foreigners write reviews in English?

After some contemplation I finally decided to write this post, because this incident really bothers me.

A couple of weeks ago I received a comment where I was told that my English is awful and my reviews are full of mistakes, so why I even bother to post anything, nobody want to read my stuff. I’m sure many of you have your share of hateful comments and I usually ignore them. The thing is this comment really hit a nerve. You see, I’ve always been self-conscious about my English level. I am weary to make a mistake, misspell a word or use wrong tense. Actually this is the reason I’ve been a silent follower on GR and blogs for a long time. But lately I was relaxed, I found many fellow booklovers and was happy to chat with them and write my own reviews. While I know my English is not perfect I thought that it’s not that bad, that I can write a coherent review, which people can enjoy. So this comment made me upset, mostly because it was so unexpected and I wasn’t in my happy place anymore.

Those of you who follow me probably noticed that I wasn’t very active lately and didn’t post my reviews for a while. The reason is that I was somewhat depressed and wasn’t in the mood to do chat and review.

But you know what? I realized that I don’t want to let one hateful comment to rule my life. I love reading and writing reviews. I’ve met so many wonderful people who have the same passion. So I start reviewing again.

Why I wrote all this? I think I just wanted to let it all go, and it seems like a good way to do it. Also I want to open a discussion. DO REVIEWS WITH GRAMMAR MISTAKES AND MISSPELLINGS BOTHER YOU?

PS. I also want to say big THANK YOU to Rachel from The Readers Den, because you accepted my friend request when I had about five friends and a dozen reviews and actually began chatting with me, read my reviews and left comments. You were a big support for me. After that it was not so scary to send friend requests and comment. Now it seems funny, but then I found many reviewers very intimidating (I’m looking at you, Feifei).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mini-review: Captive (Captive #1) by Brighton Walsh

Title: Captive (Captive #1)
Author: Brighton Walsh
My rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
SUMMARY (from Goodreads)
He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

I’ve read this book a while ago and wasn’t in the mood to write a review right away. Now some details are a little bit foggy, so it will be a mini-review.

Captive was such a mood read for me. I wanted a brain-candy and I got one.

Despite the fact that this book is about kidnapping, Captive is a sweet love story at core. Romance is the strongest aspect of this book. My favorite part of romance is prelude. Build-up, furtive glances and touches, fighting their feelings, gradually increasing sexual tension; these are elements that make great romance for me. And Brighton Walsh delivered it all. I loved romance between Madison and Ghost.

I found both main characters interesting, but I would like them to be more fleshed out.

As for the plot it was rather weak in my opinion. I think fans of suspense and thrillers would be disappointed. There were many little inconsistencies and gaps, as for the big revelation, I personally found it far-stretched and unbelievable.

My final verdict: if you want romantic suspense with unpredictable realistic plot, you should probably look elsewhere. If you are looking for a romance with amazing chemistry and sexual tension, grab Captive right now.

Captive was my first book by Brighton Walsh, but won’t be my last. I think I’ll check out the next book in this series, also I’ve heard a lot of positive things about another series by this author Caged in Winter which is on my tbr-list.