Random Musings by Frodosco

Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews

Book of the Week: Rogue

BookOfTheWeek

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Rogue by Gina Damico

Summary from GoodreadsRogue

Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it.

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed…but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Normally for a Book of the Week choice I would avoid doing a mini review because I want to give it as much praise as I possibly can and explain why I love the book so much. The problem with Rogue in this case is twofold; I had so many emotions after I finished the book that I was (and still am) a bit in shell shock, and it’s the third book in a series and I don’t want to spoil too much for any readers that haven’t started it yet. So that’s why I’ll be brief, keeping it short and sweet and to the point.

Rogue was one of the best endings to a series that I have ever come across. The ending was absolutely perfect in every way, something I had been worried about, and what had kept me from reading this book for so long despite how much I enjoyed the first two. The writing in this series, and in Rogue in particular, is bar none, just flat out some of the best I’ve ever read. Rogue is equally devastating and heartrending as it is hilarious and sweet. It is filled with equal parts of love and despair.

Every single character in the Croak series is amazing, and in Rogue they are so fully developed and I was so emotionally invested in every one that their experiences really felt like my own. At minimum I felt like I was right alongside them, and that is so incredibly rare to feel for me while reading. Uncle Mort is so much more than he appears, Lex becomes everything I could have ever hoped for and more, and her friends do some amazing things, but Damico makes those acts feel so believable and right that I never questioned them.

The banter and wit displayed in the series is the best I’ve ever seen, and I can’t praise Damico enough for that. She made me near tears on one page and busting out laughing the next. The story was perfectly paced, gripping, and desperate, but wonderfully so. If I had infinite sums of money (which I sadly don’t) this would be one of the first sets of books I’d give to teen readers, especially those that aren’t that into reading, because I swear it could change that in an instant. I can’t recommend them enough, just read it if you haven’t already. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Wicked Ever After

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Wicked Ever After by Kelly Apple

Summary From GoodreadsThe Wicked Ever After

With the help of her monstrous friends, Ari has saved her beloved from the mating contract that nearly killed him. As he recovers, she tries to figure out how to juggle her relationship with him—and her unwillingness to leave his side—with her family and outside life.

As it turns out, her former lovers might have a solution. If they play their cards right, it would give her a chance to be with her Liath Mor mate while remaining part of the human world.

Ari’s proven to be adventurous and willing to think outside the box. This wicked nymph isn’t one to let opportunities pass her by, especially when it means getting everything she desires.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The Wicked Ever After is the final book in the Monstrous Tales series by Kelly Apple. I enjoyed this crazy romp through monster sexlevania (my made up term, not Apple’s) more than I ever expected to. There was an incredible variety of monster types, more sex scenes then you’ll know what to do with, and excellent writing throughout it all.

The Wicked Ever After takes after book nine, The Wicked Lovers, in that it focuses more on the new family of creatures as a whole rather than the sex scenes and naughtiness that dominated the earlier entries. There is certainly sexiness to be had, this is erotica after all, but it’s short and sweet, and full of many other emotions.

It’s clear how much Ari has evolved as a person, going from a sex-crazed whiner, always moping about one thing or another and being a pretty bad friend to boot, to a caring person devoted to the people she loves. What makes this even better is that there has been hinting that some of the characters, though I don’t know which ones, might be making appearances in Kelly Apple’s work in the future. I’d be thrilled to see them again and to have their stories really be fleshed out, something not possible in a series like this where so much else was going on.

The writing is so strong in The Wicked Ever After, the banter perfectly placed and balanced with tender moments, that I would recommend it to anyone looking for a little naughty fun in their day. These stories are short, and easy to breeze through, but worth every second you spend on them. I can’t wait to see what the author will share with us next! Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Killing My Kindle: Elusive Memories

KillingMyKindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Elusive Memories by Amanda Shofner

Released On: June 13th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsElusive Memories

The Northern Alliance Betterment Society, better known as the Hunters, has persecuted the Gifted for years. When Sam Benson is taken and her memory stolen, she certainly isn’t their first victim. But she’s determined to use her family’s influence as memory-bringer elders to make sure she’s one of the last.

As soon as she escapes the Hunters’ compound, anyway.

Two Hunter guards claim to be working to get Sam free, but only one has her best interests at heart—and holds the key to mounting an offense against the Hunters. With her memory fractured and the Hunters set against her, can she choose the right person to trust?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Elusive Memories is designed to throw you off track at every possible moment and in ways you never stop to consider before it’s too late. In that it succeeds. One of the types of powers in this series is that of illusionists, able to disguise all sorts of things, and the book seems to work as if the reader is under one powerful illusion, altering their perception so they don’t really see what is in front of them. For that I give Shofner major credit, it is not something easily done.

However, my main issue with the book is that it takes a long time to build up into anything really interesting. Now, I’m a fan of authors like Stephen King, and most of us know how much setup he uses, so I’m used to that, but he does it with purpose. He also manages to enthrall you even while just giving you a layout of the world or slowly working you into knowing certain characters.

With Elusive Memories there is no gripping effect, the main character is so broken, lost, and hollow that there is no connection to be made there, and while we find out about the different abilities pretty early they aren’t made fascinating until around the middle of the book. There’s no big draw to lure the reader in and keep them there.

Hollow

Why So Hollow?

Despite that, I decided to keep on reading, figuring that the buildup had to lead to something pretty crazy, and it did. New powers, a struggle between regular humans and gifted, experiments on the latter, and some needed action and suspense. There was even a bit of potential romance thrown in. I’d say there is enough there in the second half of the book to warrant being patient through the first.

I still didn’t really connect with Sam, even though I understand her motivations. She seems to much of a shell, someone being forced to go through the motions that the author needs while not having much of a sense of self, and while losing some of her memories explains a bit of that away it doesn’t excuse it. I’m intrigued enough by the concept of the gifts to read further, and I’m hopeful that new characters will make the series more interesting, and that I might find a connection with them. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: The Cutting Room Floor

MiniReviewMonday

The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

Summary From GoodreadsThe Cutting Room Floor

Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley

Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she’s publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.

Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn’t know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez’s web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The Cutting Room Floor first and foremost is addicting. With the distractions of Twitter, video games, more Twitter, sports, and Twitter, I often find myself pausing every so often when I’m reading a book, rarely do I devour it in one go. This was an exception to that, but honestly I’m not sure exactly why.

My first guess is that it has to do with the pacing of the book, that the sheer amount of action kept me going. The devious plotting, revenge, the insane amount of relationships that will make your head spin, and the transformation of the main characters many times over keep the book moving rapidly. The Cutting Room Floor is never dull, but all that action does mean some arcs are underdeveloped, and others aren’t even explored. The characters tend to do a 180 whenever Klehr needed them to, not necessarily when it fits the person they seem to be or even the way the plot was going. It’s a bit disconcerting, but I got caught up in the whirlwind of it nonetheless.

scatplo1

I can’t say that there is a love triangle, or anything really close to it in this book, because it feels more like a love scatter plot with no correlation. Sure there is the main “romance” arc between Dez and Riley, but there seem to be a bunch of other ones that come and go randomly. There is no logic to the progression, if it can even be called that, and the reader finds out about random flings for no apparent reason at times when it has little to no impact on the main storyline. Ugh.

The characters themselves are compelling, and the dual point of view works in this case because Klehr manages to keep the voices of Dez and Riley very separate and unique. Dez is cunning, devoted to Riley and his filmmaking, and incredibly focused on getting what he wants. He is willing to do whatever he deems necessary to win Riley over, regardless of if it is dirty or reckless, and can often be cold to others if they aren’t helping him at the moment. Riley, however, is warm, sweet, and quick to love. She’s unsure of herself, and while she does some questionable things it is because she wants to do good, not out of any malicious feelings. She just wants to figure out who she is and what the best way is for her to be happy.

Devil and Angel

The bouncing between regular writing and script style can be a little jarring, but it’s not too terribly hard to get used to. High school students that participate in theater or acting of any kind will likely enjoy the many acting scenes and discussions on the craft, as well as the scenes done in script format. I feel like The Cutting Room Floor might have been better as a duology or trilogy, that way the arcs could have been more developed, the characters better understood, and the pacing slowed down a bit so the readers don’t get whiplash. It’s a good book, but it could have been a lot more. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Wicked Lovers

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Wicked Lovers by Kelly Apple

Summary From GoodreadsThe Wicked Lovers

Ari’s chance to free her beloved is here. With her allies standing beside her, she must face down two territorial females and save her imprisoned love. All while trying to keep the human world blissfully ignorant of the monsters moving among them.

Her monstrous friends might be willing to fight on her side, but having that many alpha males in one place could be a recipe for disaster. And that’s before her mom schedules some family time, her best friend shows up heartbroken, and her mysterious bloodline tempts her to give into her urges.

What’s a girl who loves monsters to do when love and lust get tangled? Her wicked lovers are about to find out.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The Wicked Lovers continues the journey of monster-loving fun that is sadly nearing its end. However, it looks like Kelly Apple has been saving the best for last as this was my favorite entry into the series thus far. Ari’s character is fleshed out, stronger than when she began, and genuinely devoted to the monsters she has encountered on her way back to her love.

For me The Wicked Lovers was a breath of fresh air for the series, blending in a bit of sexual tension and a scene or two of naughtiness, but focusing on the new family she has become a part of. Every character is special, it feels like they’ve each given Ari something that has made her the woman she has become. As someone who has read the entire series to this point I can definitely say that every “monster” has their own unique voice, something that has impressed me from the beginning, and Kelly Apple made me be invested in each of their problems and situations.

Simply put, I want more. There is only one more entry into Monstrous Tales left, and even though there has been hinting of some of these characters coming back in other works in the future, I do feel like something special is coming to an end. I’d guess that’s pretty rare when it comes to erotica, so kudos to the author.

The writing is exquisite as always, the naughty bits just as steamy as ever, and the ending incredibly sweet. The only complaint if I had to make one is that the best friend accepts this new monster-filled reality without hesitation, but when there’s a werewolf and a dragon in your face it would be hard not to be convinced. I highly recommend checking out the series if you haven’t already, and make sure to read this one if you’ve started the series but aren’t caught up! Book 10 can’t come soon enough.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Killing My Kindle: Pieces by Michael Crane

KillingMyKindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Pieces by Michael Crane

Released On: May 13th, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsPieces

When a little girl’s body is found in the woods, a once quiet town is shaken to its core as it deals with the aftermath in this short story collection.

A man desperately tries to make a living but finds it difficult when the company van scares potential customers away. A parent fails to see when being protective of her only child transforms into an unhealthy obsession. A man decides he no longer wants children after hearing about the dead little girl, but is there something else factoring into the sudden decision? And in the final story, a child shuts down almost completely and has no idea if she can go on without her best friend.

In these twelve stories connected by a terrible tragedy, grown-ups and children alike try put the pieces back together again without any easy answers.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Pieces wasn’t quite what I had expected when I picked it up. I’m very familiar with Crane’s writing and his style, and usually his books (especially the Morbid Drabble series) have a consistent theme or tone to them. Pieces doesn’t quite fit that goofy or twisted vibe that I was used to, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.

The twelve stories all center around the young girl that was killed and display different ways that humans might grieve after hearing about that kind of news. It doesn’t matter if they were close to her or not, all that had to happen was it being in close proximity for their lives to change in some way. Some coped with drinking, others with isolation, some become obsessed, others just try to go about as if nothing had changed.

Pieces does a solid job at showcasing how the human psyche can be affected by tragedies such as this under a wide variety of circumstances. However, in terms of just enjoying the writing, it missed the mark a bit. A few of the stories didn’t seem to have much point beyond that general scope, and it felt like they were plugged in just to show variety. Other stories were stronger and had a lot of meaning and power to them, such as the best friend at the end or the lady obsessed with the news even though she didn’t know the girl.

For me it was the inconsistency and how some of the stories were rather mundane that put me off a little. Overall I’d say Pieces does what it is supposed to, but knowing Crane’s skill as a writer, it was unfortunate that it didn’t feel like it was as strong as it could have been. Some people wouldn’t be as affected as others, but that doesn’t mean that those stories need to be lacking in purpose.

If you want to read about the many different ways humans react to a singular event then Pieces is probably for you. If you’re a fan of Crane and want his usual brand of twisted humor, then maybe pass on this one. It’s a good piece, just not a great one. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes: Frodo’s Review

The Art of Lainey

Summary From GoodreadsLainey

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The Art of Lainey is a book that I’ve been very excited to read simply because of how amazing the author is. Luckily for me, not only did I finally get my hands on a copy of the book, but I got to hear the author’s thoughts on it at the first stop of the MMBB YA Tour (for more info on that click here). Paula Stokes gave her reasoning for why she went with this kind of character, one more preppy and a bit shallow, instead of the standard quiet bookish type. She said she wanted to prove that even the popular girls aren’t all that different from the rest, and in that she succeeded.

Lainey is a tad shallow, pushy, and is certifiably boy-crazy, or at least Jason-crazy. However, I will say that much of how I discovered what she was like was not from how she acted during the story, but from her friends telling her how she used to act, or her comparisons to another diva-type. When you come down to it, Lainey just seemed a bit lost, not as self-centered as I was led to believe, so her “transformation” wasn’t quite as effective as it could have been.

Easy A

As for the plot, well it felt very much like a lighter version of Easy A. For those who don’t know that movie (you should watch it) it’s about a girl who gets paid (in a variety of ways) to fake dates and sexual encounters with guys from her school. Eventually she wants a real relationship but her persona gets in the way until the end when she winds up with the good guy. The Art of Lainey doesn’t get as sexual, but the fake dates are here too, and the strategizing is similar too. With that movie in mind the arc was pretty obvious from the get go, she’d fall for the bad boy who turns out to not be so bad after all (Micah in this case), and well…you can guess the rest.

Despite a few cliches, The Art of Lainey is a well written, light-hearted, and plain fun book to read. Whether you know the outcome or not, it doesn’t make the journey any less fun to take part in. There are some hilarious scenes on some of the dates and they are worth the read by themselves. If you want a nice fluffy contemporary this is a solid option for you. You might even enjoy it more than I did since I had some preconceived notions going into it from the bookish event. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Three Smiling Frodos w Background