Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Adult

Fade to Black by Francis Knight: Frodo’s Review

Fade to Black

Summary From GoodreadsFade to Black

From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala.

It’s a city built upwards, not across—where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.

Rojan Dizon doesn’t mind staying in the shadows, because he’s got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can’t hide for ever.

Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan—this is going to hurt.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

When I decided to buy Fade to Black it was for a few reasons; I really liked the cover, the idea of the city built upward to a greater extent then even what we have today outside of perhaps some Asian countries, but most of all I thought this would be a really interesting and fast-paced action story with some magical elements. I certainly got what I bargained for with the first two areas, the cover is still a really nice design and looks great on my shelf, and the descriptions of the city were excellent and gave me a vivid depiction in my head as I went through the adventure.

However, the aspect I had been looking forward to most, the action story with magical powers, was not quite what I had in mind. I knew with a title like Fade to Black that the odds were this story would have a darker edge to it, and I was actually quite pleased to find that was the case, but it was the action parts that were somewhat lacking.

The beginning of the story is very slow and Knight is incredibly methodical in how he sets up the later stages, and while he does a good job in foreshadowing, there is almost too much build up and not enough substance to keep me going save for my desire to see where this went based on my feelings prior to reading. The characters are somewhat interesting and the world itself is certainly intriguing and I wanted to know more, but I didn’t feel a tie to anything that was going on. Simply put, I had very little emotional investment for the first third of the book or so.

Let Me Love You

Rather than having the reader organically develop feelings and connections with the characters as they go along, it seemed like Knight felt or understood that there was little there to create any empathy, and so instead they threw a very disturbing and gut-wrenching scene in and figured that would do the trick. I can’t say that it did, all it achieved was ensuring what I already had assumed, this book is dark at its core.

While it may seem like I didn’t like Fade to Black, and for quite a while that was the case, toward the latter half of the book I did finally connect with some of the characters and when the action picked up I was swept up and brought along for the ride. The displays of magic near the end of the story were great and the tension was very real and impactful. The romantic aspects as well as the fear and hope concerning the people of the Pit were excellent and their agony became my own.

Life is Pain

“What about the main characters?” you might ask. Rojan is kind of a sleaze-ball, and only the horrible things he sees first hand were able to bring any kind of good character out of him, but he sticks to character and there is something to be said for that even if he isn’t someone you really root for or like. Jake is a traumatized woman who turned to weapons and the classic icy exterior in order to cope. She also has the stereotypical softer core, but I guess there are stereotypes for a reason because it works for the most part.

that's nice i guess

Pasha is the last “main” character, but I don’t want to say too much about him because it would give a lot away. Unfortunately, Pasha does bring the religious undercurrent that permeates the book, and not in the best of ways either. I couldn’t tell if Knight was on a particular side when it came to that, and maybe there wasn’t a specific religious message given, but the way it was done felt slimy and not at all satisfying (Lion King anyone?).

Eww, gross

Overall the book was alright, but nowhere near meeting my expectations for it. The beginning was too slow, the characters too often were stereotypes and cliches and little else, and by the time the action and magical elements picked up most readers will probably have checked out from boredom or the seedier bits that weren’t expressed in the summary. It isn’t one that I would recommend, but not a “don’t read” either. Thanks as always for reading.

Two Smiling Frodos w Background

Advertisements

Nobody Special by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Nobody Special

Summary From GoodreadsNobodySpecial

Scott Wagner is used to coasting through life as a nobody. His adoptive parents don’t expect anything from him, but they spend more time inebriated than they do being a family. He is invisible at school, and no one talks to him besides his pothead wingman Aaron Marshall. His only other friend Emily Barnes makes up the better half of his gaming club, and he’s not proud of the fact that a girl in junior high can beat him up digitally.

It’s a safe but dull life, a holding pattern of smoking joints and playing video games until a series of chance encounters strips Scott of his invisibility. Forming a band with Emily and some new friends, Scott gains much needed approval from his parents while at the same time coming under scrutiny from Emily’s father, a hard-nosed cop who thinks Scott is a bad influence on his daughter.

Scott’s stumbling path to adulthood is a journey of self-discovery, offering him new friendships, a closer connection to his family, and a taste of young love. But it also brings painful lessons about dealing with prejudices, making sacrifices, and dealing with tragic losses. Between the emotional highs and lows, Scott learns how even a nobody can be special to somebody.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Nobody Special is an interesting read, especially for those that have read Whitten’s work before. Normally there is some sort of taboo involved, regardless of the book is contemporary or supernatural, and that is what sets it apart and makes it unique. However, Nobody Special is far more of what I dare to call a “mainstream” book, but that does not mean it suffers because of it.

Issues are tackled, from homophobia to racism, age gaps in relationships to control and even suicide. The difference is that Nobody Special does it in such a natural way that you can hardly tell you are dealing with some of the issues until either the characters make it obvious, or you reach the end of the book and realize, “Hey, that sure covered a lot of interesting points.” All of these concerns that are so prevalent in society today are looked at and examined, but while often there isn’t an incredible amount of detail so as not to take the focus away from the story, the book as a whole gets you thinking. I imagine that was Whitten’s goal, and if so she succeeded with flying colors.

As far as the main story goes, there are a few minor issues I had, mostly to do with some info dumps in the beginning, and a few sections that felt repetitive. Despite those small problems, the music aspects were great, the romances sweet as can be, and the entire thing had a feel of innocence and wonder about it. The main character, Scott, learns what it takes to step out of his comfort zone and anxieties and how to find self-worth and confidence. He learns that even minor achievements can be fulfilling and hard work really can get you very far, no matter what you end up pursuing as your goal.

Emily, the best friend (or at least one of them) in this story, is a fabulous character. She’s funny, a bit of a goof at times, and brilliant without being in your face about it. Emily was one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read about in some time, and incredibly easy to fall in love with. She’s a sweetheart with a backbone of steel, and what better combination is there than that?

Much of Nobody Special is introspective and serious, and certainly there are very grim moments in the story, but they are well balanced with witty dialogue and budding young friendships and romances. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good contemporary read. I think it would be categorized as YA based on the character’s ages, but adults will enjoy this title as well, I know I did. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Another Full Moon

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Another Full Moon: Deadly Liaisons SCD #1 (Werewolf Detective Story)

Summary From AmazonAnother Full Moon cover

This is a 7,000 word SHORT story.

Detective Julie Nova’s life was ruined three years ago when she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s the lead detective in New Franklin, Pennsylvania’s Supernatural Crimes Division.

A vamp tramp (someone who enjoys being bitten by vampires) is found ripped to pieces after a full moon. It’s up to an exhausted Julie Nova to fight her urges for a snack and a nap, and bring the wolfish killer to justice.

This is a companion story to the Deadly Liaisons paranormal romance series. It can be read as a stand alone story.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

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

While Another Full Moon may be set in the same world as the Deadly Liaisons main series, this first entry into the Werewolf Detective Story arc is far from the same kind of content. I would definitely consider this a mature read still, but because of a violent and graphic nature to some of the story, not anything sexual. There are some sexual tones that might lead to something later on in this new short story series, but it isn’t really the case here.

Another Full Moon, unsurprisingly, brings the focus to the werewolves as opposed to the vampire one of the Deadly Liaisons main series, and that brings a refreshing change of pace. Wilder’s werewolves aren’t like others you might have encountered though, with a darker, harsher side being unveiled that I urge you to take a look at. These aren’t Jacob clones, nor are they the somewhat over-sexualized ones of series like Jessica McClain, but hardier folk that have to go through some hardships because of their way of life.

This story, while it may be short, is well worth the read, and Wilder’s talent shines through as they often do with her vibrant characters and vivid, unique worlds. Click the link or cover above to get a copy on Amazon, it’s only a dollar, and if you like what you find check out the main series, it’s naughtier but just as exquisitely told. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess by Zoe E. Whitten

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess

Summary From Goodreads:

It’s a simple story about a half-orc barbarian, an elvish thief, a nightmare, a quest, a kidnapping…I’ll start over. It’s a complicated and raunchy romp following the gastronomical and sexual adventures of Lana the light-fingered and Bran of Greenwood in their quest for a certain belt. A 2010 NaNoWriMo “winner,” this is cheesy porn at its finest, best read after The Hunger Games. Yes, really.

———————————————————————————————————————————————

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

The thing you have to understand when you go to read this story is that the author says in a note to her readers that this is a “lazy doodle” so it isn’t one of her masterpieces. This makes it all the more amazing how great the story turns out to be. I laughed throughout the entire piece, from the nods to Monty Python to the joking references to The Hunger Games, from the “normal” sexual tales to the absolutely bizarre and hilarious, it all works.

The characters are fun and engaging, the story is really strong and would hold up on its own which is quite the feat, and Lana’s plight is actually quite moving. There is a sweet relationship mixed in with the silly sexual exploits that take place and they mesh very well. Simply put, it’s all of Whitten’s fantastic skill mixed in with hilarity and naughty bits. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a light naughty story. Thanks for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #142/200

Five Smiling Frodos w Background