Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Mini-Review

Mini Review Monday: The Iron Trial

MiniReviewMonday

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Summary From GoodreadsThe Iron Trial

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that?

It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

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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!

I received a copy of The Iron Trial via NetGalley, which I was thrilled about because I love Holly Black’s work, had never had the pleasure of reading Cassandra Clare’s, and needed some more MG in my life. The Iron Trial was a highly enjoyable fantasy MG read, filled with magic of all kinds, not just of the elements on which it is focused. There is also the magic of the bonds you make, the wonder of a new world, and the thrill of facing your biggest fears and conquering them.

With the book being by Black and Clare, it is no surprise that the writing style was fantastic, and that I easily read The Iron Trial in one sitting. The pacing is excellent, the world has been fleshed out really nicely, and the Magisterium is a fascinating place to explore. Plus, how can anyone resist elemental powers and all of the cool ways you can use them? I know I couldn’t!

The cast of characters is one of the biggest highlight of the book. Black and Clare really took their time in developing each one, not giving away too much about any one character early on, including the MC. Call (short for Callum) is not your typical main character, being more moody and reserved than a standard hero, and the way his mind works is something quite fresh and interesting, though difficult to describe. Without giving too much away, he does open up after a while, which isn’t too surprising given that the supporting cast is stellar. I can’t wait to see how they develop going forward!

Comparisons to Harry Potter have been made, and while I can see how that might be, I would argue that The Iron Trial is darker in its undertones, and with significantly better (and more interesting) twists. Also, the Magisterium is nothing like Hogwarts, of that I can assure you! If I had to give any criticism to the book it would be that (even for 12yr olds) the characters are a tad slow on the uptake for certain things, and seem a little to clueless at times, but that’s a small issue. If you are looking for a MG fantasy story in the vein of Harry Potter, but with a unique personality and tone, then I’d recommend giving this one a try. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: He Needs Discipline

Frodo's Frisky Friday

He Needs Discipline by Dominic Rod

Summary From GoodreadsHe Needs Discipline

Their relationship never felt normal. Jake and Dorian never quite bonded the way they were supposed to.

It made things a lot easier when little twenty-two year old Jake came to older Dorian for help with his out of control lifestyle, and Dorian’s solution was…taboo at best.Jake needs discipline. Dorian is more than happy to dish it out.

M/M erotica. 18+ Contains BDSM, and taboo situations.

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

He Needs Discipline is another great find that I discovered over at Luna Erotica. Luna has become one of my go to sites when I am looking for something of the naughty variety, but also want something really well written, and it has yet to fail me.

Containing somewhat incestuous as well as fully BDSM scenes, He Needs Discipline is certainly not going to be for just anyone. However, if you aren’t bothered by that, and certainly if that is your thing, then I highly recommend giving it a read. There is even a sequel already released that you can get here, just in case your desire isn’t completely… satiated.

There is plenty of M/F, and even F/F pairings in the world of erotica writing, but M/M is a bit harder to find. While this is short, as are most of the works from Luna, it will put you in just the right mood, and you don’t have to worry about it sounding like a fifth grader wrote it, something that happens far too often with this type of work.

The banter between the brothers is well done, the sex scenes and what might be considered foreplay is certainly exciting, and the stimulating aftermath isn’t shabby either. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot, and if you like it check out what else LE has to offer. Thanks for reading and enjoy. 😉

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


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