Friday, March 10, 2017

The Years of Loving You

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

Age: Adult
Category: Romance
Rating: 5 stars


Helen Thinks: Only in her thirties, Molly has the wind knocked out of her when she is diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's. She hopes it’ll make her marriage to Sam stronger but he becomes practical and detached from her so she turns to the other man in her life - her best friend, Ed. Molly and Ed met many years ago at a party and it was instant love for the pair of them but life kept getting in the way so they became strong friends instead. Ed is absolutely heartbroken by Molly’s news and is suffering his own heartbreak due to his fiancee calling off their future nuptials on the night of their engagement party. The Years of Loving You shows Molly as she comes to terms with her diagnosis but also shows us the journey of Molly and Ed’s friendship from that first star filled night where they immediately fell in love to the present day.

This was my first Ella Harper novel. I saw it advertised on goodreads in the corner labelled “because you read...” and the cover grabbed my attention. Within seconds of clicking on the link I had opened up a new browser to my local libraries page and reserved it. Boy, am I glad i did! I sat and read this entire novel in approximately two hours because I just couldn’t put it down. Harper’s writing was flawless.

Harper has developed characters that are three-dimensional and you find yourself feeling alongside of them. When Molly was told she had Parkinson’s at such a young age I was devastated for her. When Sam started being all analytical and practical about her diagnosis I was practically yelling in my head that it’s tears she needed, a hug maybe. And I absolutely adored and treasured Ed with all his family problems that he kept secret and were therefore the primary cause as to why life kept getting in the way of what could have been a blossoming relationship between Ed and Molly. True fangirl at heart and thanks to Harper’s extraordinary writing, I was shipping them from the get go but to obviously avoid spoilers I won’t be revealing which way it goes at the end.

The use of flashbacks can often be annoying and usually pointless but throughout The Years of Loving You that was never the case. The flashback moments were related to what had just happened in the present day and I believe they helped cement a relationship between us as the reader and the characters on the page.

I feel like I could rave on about this book for an eternity. I don’t know why this novel out of everything I have read this year has had such an impact - maybe it’s because we all have that friend in Ed’s position? The love that once could have been but never happened so friendship was the only way forward? - but it has and I am most definitely going to be reading some more of Ella Harper’s work in the future.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Evenfall (In the Company of Shadows #1)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 12:55 PM 0 comments

Age: Young Adult; Adult
Category: Romance, LGBTQIA+
Rating: 5 stars


Rosie Thinks: If you’re a fan of m/m books and you haven’t heard of this series.... where have you been?! This is, without a doubt, one of the best m/m series of the genre. As in, it’s in my top two! I’ve been on a roll with re-reading old favourites lately, and this series was my latest re-read. I feel like I could read it another five times and still not be sick of it!

This is set in a post-apocalyptic world, two decades or so after World War III where most of the major cities were blown apart by bombs. In this world, terrorist organisations pop up all over the place and it is the Agency’s duty, as a secret branch of the US government, to protect the nation’s interest. Which sounds great and patriotic on paper, but the reality is much different. Sin is the Agency’s greatest weapon - aggressive, merciless, highly skilled. His only drawback is the killing sprees he goes on and that his partners never seem to last longer than a few missions. This is where Boyd comes in: after a horrific tragedy years ago, he shut himself off from the world and his emotions, leaving him apathetic to whether he lives or dies. Which, coincidentally, makes him the perfect partner to try and keep the Agency’s most ruthless assassin in line.

Words can barely explain how much I love this series! Both Boyd and Sin are so broken at the start, and watching them grow was stunning. Sin is seen by others as a psychotic monster, and Boyd is written off as worthless. It’s written in multiple POVs, but mostly Boyd and Sin’s. Each author would write one character’s perspective, which I found interesting since there is no noticeable change in writing style. But because of this, you’re taken truly inside the character’s head, making the characterisation fantastic. Both Sin and Boyd go through some serious character growth in this series, and the authors pull no punches. Complicated psychological disorders are explored and a variety of other situations. Neither character is a Gary Stu - honestly, at one point or another, most of the characters disliked Boyd and had no problem pointing out his faults. However, Boyd and Sin are both just so loveable and amazing and gah, I love these books so much.

The action in this was also a big draw for me. I love my books when they have a fantastic romantic plot-line, but also a separate plot that isn’t overshadowed by the romance. This had it. It’s jam-packed with action, from fight scenes to all the different missions to the struggles the individual characters face. The plot was just amazing, with many twists to keep you guessing and never quite sure. Fight scenes can be quite hard to write, but Sonny and Ais nail it. They’re fast-moving but also understable, so I could easily picture what was happening in my head. And it wasn’t just the fight scenes that were on point - the emotional scenes were without cliches and so heart-wrenching, I suggest having a box of tissues on hand at all times.

A fair warning - this is a mammoth book. They recently released the Director’s Cut of Evenfall, and cut out a massive 100k words. And I don’t even want to think about the actual page number of the whole series! But not once did it feel like I was reading a book the size of a small country. The near-constant action, romantic and otherwise, kept me hooked on until 3am in the morning on many nights. So don’t be put off by the length! But I would clear your calendar when you start this series - because once you start, I guarantee you won’t want to stop!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

SC prompt

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 6:04 PM 0 comments
The new prompt for Star-Cross'd is up!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Round 14 Results

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 12:00 AM 0 comments
These were the writing prompts for the fourteenth round of SC:



Winner: Accident by Morine

Other Entries

The new prompt for SC will be announced in one week, on January 15 soon. Happy New Year!

 Note: In this round, entries were not judged separately by prompt. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Vicious

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

Age: Young Adult, Adult
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars


Rosie Thinks: The blurb for this story was pretty ambitious - it promised me a tale of zeal, jealousy, morality and superpowers, a mix that was almost too good to be true! But V. E. Schwab managed to deliver a novel that was all of this and more.

My favourite quote from the story is this:

"Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human."

I feel like this perfectly sums up the grey areas and utterly intriguing characters of this book.

Eli and Victor become fast friends in college, both top of the class, ambitious, and with a dark streak under the surface. When both their thesises collide - the effect of near-death trauma and the creation of ExtraOrdinary humans - they decide to move from theory to experimentation, setting them down a path of betrayal and anger. The book alternates mainly between this time and ten years down the track, when Victor has escaped from prison with his cellmate and takes in a stray girl with an ExtraOrdinary power, and is intent on revenge. The structure of this book - the time jumps every chapter - could've so easily gone wrong, but the author pulled it off masterfully. It gave the story such a rigid structure and allowed Schwab to only reveal a little at a time, keeping me hooked. And I'm not just using that as a turn of phrase - I was honestly hooked in right from the start, and read it all in one sitting without even breaking for the bathroom!

Probably my most favourite aspect of this story was the way it delved into the grey area between good and bad, just as that quote earlier suggests. The quote at the beginning reads: "Life - the way it really is - is a battle not between Bad and Good, but between Bad and Worse" (Joseph Brodsky). Talk about that foreshadowing! Neither protganist is truly good, so the story is a facinating look into human behaviour, especially when influenced by power. The superpower aspect was also explored in an interesting way, though the characters are more the focus of the story than their powers are. But the creation of the superpowers, so rooted in science, was intriguing to read about and refreshing in its originality.

Honestly, I can't recommend this book enough. The writing is truly amazing as well, and the way the story was weaved around me left me breathless. I truly loved this story!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Night Stalker (Robert Hunter #3)

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

Age: Adult
Category: Crime
Rating: 4 stars


Helen Thinks: Unlike the previous two books, The Night Stalker starts with us already at the autopsy of a victim. To the naked eye she is perfectly healthy and bears no visible signs of foul play except for one thing - thick stitches sealing closed her intimate area. During his examination of the area, Medical Examiner Doctor Jonathon Winston notices that something is hidden beyond the stitches and starts the procedure to remove it. What started out as a simple explosion results in an explosive finish as the item inside of the victim detonates - killing the doctor and his intern. Due to the severity of the case, Detective Robert Hunter is called away from a case he is already working and it’s made his main priority because now this killer has also claimed one of their own. It only takes a couple of days before another body arrives in just the same healthy state apart from the thick stitches. It’s not a bomb but it’s just as grotesque and Hunter realises that this serial killer is more of a monster than he could ever being to imagine...

Robert Hunter is back in this third instalment and I hate to be vague but... wow. It’s Carter’s winning style of grisly crime scenes that sells this series of novels to me in the first place but the thought process of this one must have been intense. I don’t want to spoil it too much but from each item placed inside the female victim to the very reason as to why the killer does it was flawlessly written and it was believable. Even more shocking, the killer’s backstory as to why he clicked and went on this psychopathic rage actually has you feeling slightly sorry for him - if he wasn’t a homicidal maniac.

The biggest highlight of this third novel is that finally Carter has finally found his footing with the main characters and they finally start to shine individually while also being able to add in additional minor characters that helps balance out the storyline. Personally, Hunter and Garcia are my new favourite fighting duo and I enjoy reading every instalment as well as re-reading them.
So buckle up and enjoy the ride as Carter takes us back out on the roads of Los Angeles as we chase another twisted mind into the darkness...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 1:59 PM 0 comments

Age: Young Adult, Adult
Category: Romance, LGBTQIA+, Supernatural
Rating: 4 stars


Rosie Thinks: When Melissa suggested this book to me to read, she only needed to say two words to get me interested: gay batman. Now that is not literally right, but it was close enough to get me interested! Pat, reluctant son of a supervillain, is happy with his night manager job until a series of misunderstandings ends with him in the bed of his boss. Not only is his boss a reclusive billionaire and the famous superhero Silver Paladin, but he thinks Pat's a prostitute. Soon, the two are falling head over heels for each other, but the return of Pat's mother with a new plan to take over the world doesn't help matters.

Superhero stories always seem to fall into one of two characters: dark and serious (like the recent Batman movies) or lighthearted and non-serious. This fell into the latter category. I've read several superhero stories in this style, and most of the time I find them ridiculous, overdone, corny, stereotypical . . . overall, I don't enjoy the forced humour. But somehow it really worked in this book. Pat could so easily have become an annoying MC - he's weird, over-the-top, a chatterbox - but I actually did find him hilarious and he was so well-written that it worked. There's an almost satirical edge to this, one that pokes fun at the superhero/villain stereotypes in the funnest way possible. It was silly at times, but in a way that was fun and not absurdly ridiculous.

It is set in a completely different world, but not much information is given on it other than that showdowns between villains and heroes is the norm. The villains aren't truly bad - for example, Sir Toby created a mind control ray to take over the city and make people more happy and understanding of each other. It's situations like this where the satirical side shines through. Plus, the constant reference to the heroes/villains arranging themselves to get the best looking photo for the newspaper possible. It reminded me a bit of The Incredibles - the way it shows the heroics of a supervillain/hero meeting normal, mundane family life.

Pat is the black-sheep of the family. His older sisters are all following in his mum's supervillain footsteps, but he just wants to study Urban Design. He's just a normal university student, except the times when he has to pull 'minion duty' for one of the other villains. Nick, billionaire and Silver Paladin, is utterly adorable because he's characterised as this almost awkward, shy genius with next to no social skills.

This is longer than I would've expected for a story of this type, and I was so glad for it. I enjoyed every second of it and loved how the author wrote every scene to be so interesting. The only down point is the cover - how does a cover that boring match a book as hilarious as this? I don't really know what they were thinking, as it conveys a seriousness and over-romantic-ness that isn't present in the story. Either way, I definitely recommend this to any lover of superhero stories, or just plain slash.
 

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