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


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


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Price to be Paid

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Price to be Paid (A Fairy Tale Romance) by Leigh Wilder

Summary From GoodreadsThe Price to be Paid

Dairymaid Kay’s life is one trial after another, mostly caused by her father’s drinking. When he drunkenly brags of her ability to spin straw into gold (she can’t even spin wool) he attracts the attention of the cruel king. She has two options. Spin the straw into gold…or off with her head.

Fortunately she has some help…but is the price to save her life too high? This is an adult fairy tale and contains sexual situations. Short.

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

The Price to be Paid is a naughty version of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale and is written by Leigh Wilder, one of my favorite authors. However, I can’t say that this short story is very similar to her other works because the sexual scenes aren’t nearly as descriptive and are brief even if they are frequent enough. Normally Wilder offers some new twist or spin on the fairy tale and then gives depth to the naughtier bits by making the scenes vivid and entrancing. I can’t say that was the case for this.

The Price to be Paid does give a bit of backstory that many who are familiar with the Rumpelstiltskin tale will recognize as pretty close to the original, or some of the modern adaptations (such as Once Upon a Time), but it is much of the same really. There is more of a sexual twist and that theme carries through to the end of the story, but there doesn’t feel like much weight is behind it.

The “help” she has is an odd, lustful creature, that is mischievous and only in it for their own sake. While there is nothing wrong with that, they are the only real innovation of the tale, where as the MC is more of a shell that exists because the story requires it.  So when, at the end, the odd creature doesn’t change in personality or intention, the MC just goes along for the ride, and the rest of the world is the same as the original I was left disappointed.

There is nothing specifically wrong with The Price to be Paid. The writing is still solid, the plot flows smoothly, and if you just want to experience a sexier Rumpelstiltskin story than this could work for you. As for me, I think I’m just too spoiled with Wilder’s usual level of expertise, so this didn’t do it for me. It was fine, just not special. Thanks as always for reading.

Two Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: Fungus of the Heart by Jeremy C. Shipp

MiniReviewMonday

Fungus of the Heart

Summary From Goodreads

Readers of Jeremy C. Shipp’s fiction will be familiar with his minimalist, breakneck pacing, his surreal forays into political satire, and his seamless blending of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Now, in his fourth book, the Bram Stoker Award finalist expands on what many critics and fans alike have long considered the most compelling aspect of his work-relationships.

This story collection explores how a person’s desire can infect their every action and interaction with others. The desire to protect. The desire to hurt. The desire to be desired. Fungus of the Heart explores what happens between people when society breaks down and the rules go out the window.

Haunting and heartbreaking, pithy and potent, the quirky inhabitants of Shipp’s bizarro world will carve an indelible line from your funnybone to your spleen to your emotional core.

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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!

Fungus of the Heart is a collection of wonderful stories by one of my favorite writers, Jeremy C. Shipp. It’s got a great mixture of mind-bending horror, humor of all varieties, and all while forcing the reader to stop and think about the people around them and why they do what they do. Perhaps even more importantly, Fungus of the Heart makes the reader examine themselves and think about what is most important to them and what lengths they would go to for those things and/or people.

The first story, The Sun Never Rises in the Big City is one Shipp fans will recognize since it is released by itself, and I read it back in October, 2012. There you get a bit of Noir, and it does stand out from the rest of the stories as a little less dark, and more of a sad story. There is plenty of gore to be had here from The Escapist to Agape Walrus (zombies!), more (dark) philosophical humor in Monkey Boy and the Monsters (what makes a monster?) and Boy in the Cabinet (self imposed prisons), and even just beautifully written twisted stories like The Haunted House and Fungus of the Heart.

For anyone who has followed my blog for a while it will come as no surprise that I loved this book. Jeremy C. Shipp is one of the most talented writers I have ever had the pleasure of coming across and I can’t recommend him enough. He is THE horror writer for me and his bizarro infusions make his work stand out like no other. Definitely check his work out, here, I’ll even give you a link! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #19/365; Mount TBR Challenge #16/200; 2014 TBR Pile #16/50

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Day 4: The Lost Girls by Jason Halstead

Day 4

Summary From Goodreads:  The Lost Girls by Jason Halstead

The only thing hotter than the summers in Phoenix is the temper of a police detective who can’t figure out why young girls keep disappearing. Katalina Wimple is that detective. Her obsession with the missing girls makes her the best person for the job, but it also serves as a refuge from the problems in her own life.

Battling her own demons offers coincidences impossible to ignore. Rescuing the missing girls will require Kat figuring out how much coincidence is too much, as well as fighting her desire for what she can’t have.

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 A shorter piece like this leads me to my own version of a mini-review, Frodo’s Hobbit-sized Reviews! This kind of review was inspired by the amazing Kimberly from Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer who does short reviews called Coffee Pot Reviews where she does the review in the time it takes her coffee pot to finish brewing.

The Lost Girls, the first in a series (currently at 4 novels), was my first sci-fi read in quite some time and was a refreshing change of pace. Following Kat through her action-packed, and slightly insane, journey to find criminals responsible for kidnapping young girls while simultaneously figuring out more about herself was thrilling throughout. There is also some steamy scenes mixed in, though not nearly as graphic as what Halstead does with the action ones that seem almost constant. The combination keeps The Lost Girls fast-paced and the reader on edge.

I loved Kat, she’s a fireball with attitude but with a softer side underneath. That sounds somewhat cliche, and at times it does feel a bit that way, but her sarcasm and don’t-give-a-crap attitude more than make up for it and make her a very endearing character. She has legitimate horrors in her past and overcomes them (to varied degrees of success) with humor, something Halstead does excellently.

The mystery element of The Lost Girls is what brought the piece home. There is a few twists at the end to constantly throw you off the trail and unless you are very shrewd the ending will definitely catch you off-guard. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a good mixture of mystery/sci-fi/and a bit of romance, or just a good fast-paced read in general. Excellent.

Genre Reading Challenge #3/30 – Category – Mystery; Mount TBR Challenge #4/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #4/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #4/365

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