Friday, April 10, 2015

The Pledge

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy; romance
Rating: 4 stars


Rosie Thinks: I went into this book with mixed feelings. On one hand, I was intrigued by the premise of the story. On the other, a lot of the top reviews on Goodreads weren't overly nice about the book. I'm glad I disregarded the latter and gave it a try anyway! This story is more Dystopia than fantasy, which I didn't realise until I actually started reading it.

Based in the world of Ludania, this story focuses around Charlie. Her country is ruled over by a tyrannical queen who rules her domain with an iron fist. The society is segregated into various classes who speak their own language, and these class lines are severely enforced. Once you're born into your class, there's no way to get out of it. Charlie, born into the Vendor class, should only be able to speak the common language and her class one, but can somehow understand all. She keeps this a close secret until she meets a guy she's instantly attracted to and he figures it out. So we have the crazily evil Queen Sabana with a tyrannical hold over Ludania and the revolutionaries who oppose her regime - and caught in the middle is Charlie and her little secret.

I like Kimberly Derting's writing. It was fluent and precise, with lovely descriptions that weren't too long-winded and were suited for the YA audience. Her world-building of Ludania was subtle and slow, so I gained a well-rounded understanding of the world by the end of the book. I liked all her characters, and the situations they were in were so original that I couldn't really tell what was going to happen next (most of the time, that is). Charlie was smart, loyal and stubborn - while I've seen this character a lot of times before, the plot made Charlie into an interesting character to read about. Of course, my favourite character was Max, our love interest. He was amazing from the beginning and I liked how Derting unravelled his secrets (even if some were guessable). Usually, the love interest's personality is shaped around his being a love interest, but that wasn't the case with Max - thankfully, he was characterised further than this!

I had only one problem, and that was with an event close to the end of the novel. I'll try and be vague so I don't spoil anything! This event consisted of something that was incredibly obvious to me, yet the characters in the book were surprised by it. As a result, it came across as forced and unbelievable, and made me want to yell at the book. But other than that, I loved it! I was hooked on it and read it within a day, which shows how well Derting's writing flows.

My final words are this: I loved it and would recommend to anyone would likes dystopia/fantasy/romance/fast moving stories. Having read the second book already, I can assure you that it doesn't disappoint!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Shadowfell

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 8:49 PM 0 comments

Age: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy; romance
Rating: 4 stars

She went on because there was no going back.”

Melissa Thinks: Growing up, one of the only things my sister would talk to me about was books. Although she was substantially older than I was, we both were enthralled with high fantasy YA novels. Juliet Marillier was a staple in our combined diet of books. Her Sevenwaters series was a great source of enjoyment for both my young self and my snotty teenage sister. It was these memories of a bridged relationship that convinced me to pick up Shadowfell this week.

Neryn is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a world where people with “canny” gifts are hunted and often killed by order of the King Keldec. Neryn has been on the run with her father for three years now, ever since her brother and grandmother died at the hands of the king’s Enforcers. After her Father gambles her away to a mysterious stranger, Flint, her journey of takes a strange turn. She learns her gift of seeing and talking to the Good Folk could mean a lot more than she originally thought. Now her only hope lies in Shadowfell, a mysterious place where she might finally find her freedom.

There are so many admirable pieces in the beginning book of this lovely trilogy. The entire plot is filled with exciting situations that strengthen Neryn’s characterization; the prose, rich with pieces that come together to construct Marillier’s extraordinary world, is threaded with a voice fitting of the fantasy genre. The romantic aspect of the novel is not a crucial feature of the plot. The story could very well continue without the relationship between Flint and Neryn, but it works to sweeten the story instead of dominating it. The most admirable part of this novel, however, is the amazing character development that Juliet Marillier builds so well for Neryn. When we first meet her, she’s a timid girl under the control of a drunken and selfish father, but as she continues on this dangerous journey, Neryn becomes stronger with each challenge she faces. In a sea of young adult novels with crumbling structures, problematic characters, and stale plots, Shadowfell sticks out so wonderfully there was no way I could leave it unreviewed.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Camp Nano (Again), SC, & tumblr

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 8:17 PM 0 comments
Hi again! Just a reminder that the Star-Cross'd entries are due in 74 days (June 13, 2015). If you've been thinking about participating this round, I highly recommend joining ADoR's cabin at Camp Nano. If you're already registered for NaNoWriMo, then you're already registered for Camp Nano. You simply have to log in and set up your novel. We start writing on April 1.

So if you plan on joining us on writing something of any length (like something for SC), let me know your username via email or a comment to this post so I can add you to the cabin. It's definitely going to be fun/scary/crazy/awesome.

Lastly, I want to formally present ADoR's tumblr to you all. We post bookish and writing-related things. Feel free to follow!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Judas Kiss

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 12:43 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: Mystery; crime
Rating: 4 stars

Helen Thinks: Here we are with the third trip to Nashville with DI Taylor Jackson in Judas Kiss. Just back from her trip in Italy with handsome FBI boyfriend, Baldwin, Taylor is called to a crime scene. As if it's not bad enough that the victim is seven months pregnant, the scene is accentuated with the tiny red footprints where her daughter has been running roaming around the house waiting for her Mother's body to be found. Before long, the whole thing is a media frenzy and things don't go any smoother when videos of Jackson in compromising positions with her ex-partner come to light on the internet just as Baldwin is called away to deal with a case for the FBI.

Once again, Ellison shows the reader just how manic a detective's life can be with more than one case load as well as juggling their own personal lives with their careers. Taylor's detective's are the ones that find the 'sordid' videos online and respect her enough to immediately stop watching as well as let her know. Ellison writes the bond between the detective's superbly and makes the reader believe that these people are not a family by blood but still family all the same. One of my highlights of this novel is that Ellison introduces new characters to this series flawlessly such as the internal affairs officer that is now 'gunning' for Jackson.

The highlight of book three is that we finally get to see Baldwin work solo as an FBI agent and not as a consultant with Taylor and the Nashville police force. I appreciate that local police force do sometimes get a lot of input from the FBI but I was starting to bore of Baldwin constantly being called in just as a backdrop and a great access point for sources on Taylor’s cases.

Ellison delivers fast paced cases, a combination of characters that have you feeling their pain as well as laughing along and also an explosive cliff hanger that has me reaching for the next book as soon as the last word has been read.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

14: Taylor Jackson 2

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: Mystery; crime
Rating: 4 stars

Helen Thinks: Taylor Jackson is back in 14 by JT Ellison and in this novel we see her getting prepared to marry her FBI boyfriend, John Baldwin, but that's being clouded by the return of a serial killer known as Snow White to Nashville. In the 1980's, Snow White hunted down women with pale skin and long dark hair where he would slash their throats and smear their lips with the same shade of red lipstick. He claimed ten victims before sending the police a letter saying that his work was done. Now four more bodies have been found and Jackson is unsure whether this is the work of a copycat or has Snow White came out of retirement?

Ellison creates a perfect balance in this novel between Jackson's personal and professional life that allows the reader to feel more for her protagonist. We can see how much she loves Baldwin and wants to marry him but she also has a love for her work, her team and her job that makes her want to put all her focus on catching Snow White before she gets married. Thankfully, Baldwin understands this and also focuses on catching Snow White so they can get married without a hitch – or so you would think. Just as we’re about to get Jackson to the aisle, her limo is hijacked and she is kidnapped causing her to realise that this case lies a little more closer to home than she originally thought.

One of the great aspects of 14 is that Ellison gives the reader a glimpse at who Snow White is by showing us who he is in league with. Due to the audience knowing the characters already, this is a perfect hit of the wow factor that allows the reader to be on the edge of the seat as well as wanting to tell Jackson what’s coming.

Just like her first novel, Ellison writes a great plot that has the reader sucked in from the very first chapter but keeps us hooked with the twists and turns in the plot that she introduces as the plot unravels. 14 is a fast paced novel that had me hunting out book three in the Jackson series before I had even reached the final chapter...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Camp NaNo!

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 10:33 PM 0 comments


Hello, everyone! This year, Rosie, Melissa, Helen, and I are participating in Camp NaNo. It starts on April 1st and lasts through the rest of the month. It's essentially NaNoWriMo (except that it's in April), and you can set your word count to be any number. There are cabins made up of twelve people to create a supportive environment.

If you're interested in joining our ADoR cabin, create an account and comment on this post with your username or email it to me.

And as always, FictionPress suggestions are always highly welcome!

Monday, March 23, 2015

All the Pretty Girls

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: Mystery; crime
Rating: 4 stars

Helen Thinks: All the Pretty Girls is the first book in the Taylor Jackson series written by J.T. Ellison. It follows Jackson as she investigates two cases; The Souther Strangler and the Rainman. The Southern Strangler is a serial killer that abducts brunettes in one state and disposes of their body along with a hand from a previous victim in another state making the case federal. The Rainman is a serial rapist that only attacks when it rains and has made the previous lead investigator to his case his latest victim hence Jackson's involvement in the case. You would think what with the two individual cases that it would be easy for Ellison to make minute errors that cause the cases to intermingle and become hard to follow. This, however, is not the case. Ellison makes the cases airtight so that there is no confusion or intermingling. You know which case is taking up Jackson's time at the part you are reading and can follow on from what has happened previously without the fear of information overload.

I am a huge fan of crime novels but an even bigger fan when the protagonist is a female detective with a tough as nails persona and does Ellison deliver this with Taylor Jackson. She's the lieutenant of the homicide division, she has a close rapport and is respected by the detective's that work under her command, she has close friendships that she maintains and has a hot FBI boyfriend to boot! Despite all these positive characteristic traits, Ellison still manages to make Jackson a believable three dimensional character through the flaws and vulnerabilities shared throughout the novel. I personally cannot wait to see how Jackson progresses as a character throughout the series.

With two addictive cases that deliver twists at every turn, All the Pretty Girls can definitely be defined as an addictive page turner that leaves you speechless when the conclusion is shared with you – a conclusion I did not work out myself which I normally find myself doing!
 

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