Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Hope You Are

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:32 PM 0 comments
Apparently the cult of Eddie had not lost its appeal, he still seemed to be best friends with everyone. Except me.' At age 8, May Childs and Eddie Kingsley wrote letters to their 25 year old selves detailing their hopes for the future. 17 years later they return to read them and discover that, while some things change over time, others stay exactly the same.
Banner Credit: Atramento

Melissa Thinks: Nothing is more satisfying to me than a simple and terribly cute one shot. As per usual, this is what star123 delivers. “I Hope You Are” is the story of May and Eddie, two 25 year olds who once upon a time were the best of friends. Now they’re brought back together by their 3rd grade teacher to read the letters they wrote to their future selves 17 years prior. As my opening sentence stated, this is quite a cute story. In Jessie’s usual style, there is great dialogue mixed with unique and simplistic writing. It’s not hard to love and root for the characters, even in short one shots like this.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Line & Orbit

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Line & Orbit by Sunny Moraine & Lisa Soem

Age: Young Adult, Adult
Category: Science-fiction, romance, LGBTQIA+
Rating: 4 stars

Rosie Thinks: What I expected was a quick, light sci-fi/slash story. What I got was an intricate story that was focused on the struggle, rather than solely the sci-fi world or the romance. Which is a great thing, seeing as how I don't ever read sci-fi. The only reason I picked this up was because I was running out of m/m books to read, and this had such tremendous reviews!

Adam Yuga is everything his people strive to be: perfect, intelligent, on the rise. He has the world at his feet until a routine physical reveals him to be seriously ill. His people cast him out and he wanders, lost, until one of the reviled Bideshi saves him from deaths door. Through Lochlan, Adam discovers that the Bideshi are much more than the propaganda he's heard, yet neither the strange sickness nor his people are done with him yet.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter #1)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Age: Adult
Category: Mystery, crime
Rating: 5 stars

Helen Thinks: As part of the Robbery Homicide team, Detective Robert Hunter is called by his rookie partner, Carlos Garcia, to a horrifying crime scene in the middle of nowhere. Hunter is used to nasty, it’s the job description, but the sight of the poor woman skinned alive on a bed in front of a mirror is even enough to turn his stomach. However, nothing is as mortifying as the signature carved on to the back of the victim’s neck... a double ended crucifix. The signature used by a serial killer that Hunter had already caught, a serial killer that had confessed to all the crimes and had been executed; a serial killer that Hunter had never really believed was guilty. The Crucifix Killer is back.

It’s not a big secret that I absolutely love the grittiness that is the world of crime but eventually the novels tend to all become a blur. The same procedural formula is used time and time again - which is not a bad thing as crime fiction is the biggest selling genre in the world. However, Chris Carter has shook things up with his debut novel “The Crucific Killer”. The first scene is a flash forward where we see Garcia - the rookie partner - is caught in one of the killer’s traps and Hunter only has so long to save not only Garcia’s life but his own too. It draws you in perfectly. From the first chapter, I was on the edge of my seat and determined to finish the book just so I could know who the killer was!

Using his experiences as a criminal psychologist, Carter has managed to create three dimensional characters as well as a fluid plot with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. Hunter is your typical flawed but genius detective. He graduated school years earlier than he should, his paper from college is a textbook that all new FBI agents must read as a set text and he just knows everything - because he reads a lot. However, he is flawed due to his dependency on alcohol. Despite it being trademark characteristics for a fictional detective, I adore Robert Hunter and can not wait for more of his cases with Garcia.
My copy of Crucifix Killer has been read that much - from me rereading and me sharing it out amongst my family and friends - I’m on the second copy and I’ve just downloaded it on my kindle. The Crucific Killer is one of my favourite novels, and I happily re-read the series every time Carter releases a new novel so I hope you enjoy it just a fraction as much as I do.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Staff Picks: Best of Our Country

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 6:32 PM 0 comments

The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati
Reminiscent of Kafka’s “The Castle”, this book brims with magical realism and vivid dream-like metaphors, all the while speaking of the dangers of passivity and how time can very easily ate away our lives, leaving us with nothing but disappointment.
Recommended by Marta (Italy)

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
“The Betrothed”, set in Lombardy during the 1620s, is the corner stone of Italian literature. The premise of the plot is set around a couple, Renzo and Lucia, who wish to marry but cannot due to Don Rodrigo’s threats. The best part of the story are its characters, mostly notably the nun of Monza, who was forced to join the religious order and bitterly resents it, and “the Unnamed”, a powerful and feared criminal who dreams of redemption.
Recommended by Marta (Italy)

The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa
I formally learned about magical realism in a young adult literature class I took my freshman year of college. When I learned about what it was, I realized that that was the tool that Vargas Llosa employed in The Green House. Magical realism is very trippy, but so fascinating, especially in a book that takes place over forty years. It's complex, but it makes you think.
Recommended by Juliet (Peru)

The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa 
This book, written in 1963, is based on Vargas Llosa's personal experiences at a military academy that he went to as a teenager. It is a negative portrayal, conveying the brutality of military violence. There's always something special about an author's first book, and I enjoyed the truth-telling in this one. Vargas Llosa is an exquisite storyteller.
Recommended by Juliet (Peru)

Seven Deadly Wonders (Jack West Jr #1) by Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly is my number one favourite Australian author, and has been since I was a lot younger and stealing these books off my older brother. He writes in a way that is like an intelligent, fast-paced Hollywood blockbuster, packed into words. All his books are amazing but this one stands out to me because it mixes a whole heap of ancient history and mythology in with an edge-of-your-seat adventure. I've read it about three times, so would recommend to anyone looking for an enthralling adventure!
Recommended by Rosie (Australia)

On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
My review: Melina Marchetta is a giant in the Australian YA world. In school, we studied some of her books and everyone had read at least one of her books. All of her characters have depth and complexity, and her writing draws perfectly on your emotions. It's set in a boarding school for kids who are troubled or neglected, and focuses around their territory wars with the other kids in town, the disappearance of a close friend of the MC, and the reappearance of a boy who knows a little too much about her. This book will rip out your heart and shred it to pieces, and you'll love it all the while.
Recommended by Rosie (Australia)

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
This is the novel that I will always remember from my years in high school. I didn’t just recommend it to my friends, but also to my dad, and I later then studied it in my primary teaching lectures when focusing on teaching children about racial stereotypes. I also know when my nieces are old enough it’ll be on the list of novels I will be buying them so we can enjoy it together. That’s how much this novel means to me.
It follows Sephy; a cross; and Callum; a nought; who have been best friends since childhood. As they grow older, they realise that in their worlds the ruling cross’ don’t mix with the noughts and they definitely do not fall in love with each other. Can their growing relationship survive the prejudices as well as the rising terrorist movement from the noughts?
Recommended by Helen (Britain)

Cold Granite (Logan McRae #1) by Stuart MacBride 
McRae is a homicide detective in Aberdeen, Scotland, and the reason I have always loved this series is because MacBride has created the perfect, flawed cast. There are currently nine novels - the tenth one due out this year! - and two novellas to the series and MacBride keeps you hooked from beginning to end. With the tenth book due out, I’m itching to start my re-read just to fall in love with this team of detectives all over again. The added bonus? Due to MacBride being Scottish, the characters speak the dialect flawlessly. It doesn’t read to be too forced or out of place and I find it absolutely beautiful. Move over the cast of Taggart, there’s a new crime fighting team in Scotland and they’re here to stay.
Recommended by Helen (Britain)

Misery by Stephen King
You can't talk about Maine without mentioning Stephen King aka the most famous person ever to come from here. I still maintain he's the best horror/thriller author of all-time. Misery is quite a dark novel about a writer taken captive by his "biggest fan". It's primarily a character-driven story and it is done in a way which is absolutely captivating. Even if you've seen the movie adaptation, this book is worth a read--it's a classic!
Recommended by Melissa (Maine, USA)

Locke & Key by Joe Hill
Locke & Key is a graphic novel written by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son, actually!) and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez. When a pair of teenagers with ill intentions come looking for him at his home, Rendell Locke is murdered, leaving his wife and three children behind. They move to Rendell's childhood home, which is now owned by his brother Duncan. Unbeknownst to them, the house holds its fair share of secrets. This series isn't for the light of heart; it deals with themes like murder, trauma, grief, mental illness, and best of all it incorporates lots of supernatural goodness.
Recommended by Melissa (Maine, USA)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mark of Cain

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM 0 comments
Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood

Age: Adult
Category: Romance, contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Rating: 5 stars

Rosie Thinks: Hate to love stories are hard to get right. Very hard. As in, about one in a hundred actually feel legitimate and don't feature insta-lust and cliches to help the storyline along. This is one of the best examples I've ever read of 'hate to love' done right. Our main characters here are Lucas Cain and Mark Webber. Mark is a gay Anglican priest, committed to helping everyone around him and committed to his job. Lucas Cain just got out of prison after serving three years. The charge? Killing Mark's brother in a drunken bar fight. So can you imagine the kind of hate between these characters? When Mark sees Lucas out celebrating his first night free, he's consumed with hatred and is determined to do his best to make him pay. But Lucas has come out of prison a changed man, and all he wants to do is lead a steady, sober life, and take full responsibility of what he's done.

I've been putting off reading this book for a long time, since I wasn't a fan of one of the man characters being a priest. As a personal issue, I'm not a fan of overly religious stories, especially ones that shove it down your throat. I'm not a religious person at all, and could see the religious aspect in this story totally putting me off. Luckily, I couldn't resist the allure of such a highly rated hate/love story! So if you have the same worries I did, don't be - I found Mark's perspective and personal storyline, wherein he faces problems with the Church, to be interesting and not off-putting at all. One thing I had no idea about was that Anglican priests are allowed to marry, and that they're also accepting of openly gay priests (although I did go to an Anglican school for five years of my life, so oopsy).

Lucas was a fantastic character. He is so filled with self-loathing and guilt that my heart went out to him, despite him committing a horrible crime to land him in jail in the first place. He doesn't make any excuses, and tends to take the weight of the world on his own shoulders, so it was amazing watching him open up to love and healing as he made his own personal journey towards recovery. Which brings me to another thing I really like about this book: both main characters had their own storylines throughout the novel. They had their own battles to fight, and it kept me consistently interested in their story. Not once did I lose interest! The situation at the beginning seems so helpless and traumatic that I couldn't imagine it ever ending happily. But Kate Sherwood did a brilliant job at slowly, realistically bringing the two together, so even the reader could feel the love and forgiveness between the them.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM 0 comments
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
Age: Adult
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

Rosie Thinks: I don't even really know how to start the review for this story. Maybe some history, first: I read it 5 years ago and flew threw the entire trilogy. This book introduced me to the author that has become one of my favourites of all time, and I've just been dying to read it again. Two days ago was the time, and I polished off this not-very-short-at-all epic in two sittings. In an interview, Weeks says "I've dreamed of keeping people up late reading my books since I started my first novel at age thirteen" - and yes, he most definitely has achieved that!

This story starts off with Azoth, a guild rat with one true dream: to be as fearless and powerful as the infamous assassin, Durzo Blint. Blint offers Azoth a way to get out of the abuse, hunger and desperation of the slums, but has to leave his old life, including his two best friends and name, behind. Azoth becomes Kylar Stern, masquerading as a baron and learning the art of poison, weapons and death in secret as Blint's apprentice.

Friday, May 6, 2016


Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Age: New Adult
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars

Brittany Thinks: As a life long reader of Young Adult who is arguably still in the stage between YA characters and Adult fiction characters in my own life, New Adult is an exciting new genre for me. New Adult stories are still humorous coming of age tales, but for characters a bit older than the typical YA heroes and heroines. NA characters know a bit more about who they are, but they still have a lot to figure out before they’re fully settled. I’ve been devouring the most popular New Adult titles lately, and my newest addiction is Colleen Hoover.

Confess is the story of Auburn Reed. When we first meet Auburn, she is desperate for money to hire a lawyer - I’d tell you why, but then you’d have to kill me - and she finds herself taking a job with a quirky and intense artist named Owen. Confess follows their story as their lives intertwine and fall apart. It’s a roller coaster of emotion and I’d love to tell you more about the plot, but discovering on your own is seriously the best part. Colleen Hoover will always keep you guessing, unsure of who to trust or what awaits you on the next page.

One of the coolest parts of the book is Owen’s art. He runs a gallery called Confess, where patrons submit anonymous confessions and Owen uses some as inspiration for his art. Hoover actually found an artist to make art based on a few confessions and the paintings are beautiful, vibrant, and one of the neatest additions to a novel that I’ve seen in awhile. They add depth to the story and allow the reader to feel the emotions of the characters in an entirely different dimension. I loved it.
In a lot of ways, Colleen Hoover reminds me a bit of Sarah Dessen for an older audience. For years I’ve said that no one can do character development like Dessen can and that has always held true for me - until now, that is. Hoover is a master of the character and drops bombshells on every page that will leave you gasping for breath - and wishing you could shake some sense back into your favorite characters. If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced read with well-developed characters and a page turning plot, definitely pick up Confess. Colleen Hoover is an author to watch.

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