Trees, Volume 1

by Warren Ellis, Jason Howard
Digital EditionRead April 3, 2015

Original Release Date: February 24, 2015

Length: 160 pages

Official Description

Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive. Trees, a new science fiction graphic novel by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Red) and Jason Howard (Super Dinoasaur, Astounding Wolf-Man) looks at a near-future world where life goes on in the shadows of the Trees: in China, where a young painter arrives in the “special cultural zone” of a city under a Tree; in Italy, where a young woman under the menacing protection of a fascist gang meets an old man who wants to teach her terrible skills; and in Svalbard, where a research team is discovering, by accident, that the Trees may not be dormant after all, and the awful threat they truly represent.

My Take:

Well, that was fun, and also a bit frustrating. Overall, I absolutely adored this comic. It’s very intriguing, lots of background and thought put into it. The characters are lush and unique, the story is not a carbon copy of everything else. The art…the art was alright, it fit well with the story, but I didn’t drool over it or marvel over the pages. So, what else can I say? How should I describe this book, it’s a dystopian, of sorts, we have these alien beings that landed on earth 10 years prior and they have yet to make contact. They just sent these large, tree type things down on to earth and that caused chaos. We don’t see the immediate aftermath, obviously since we’re doing the 10 years prior bit, we see the world as they have, kind of, become complacent to the trees. There are several different story lines going on, so it can be confusing. The most confusing, for me, was the arctic research group. There was just a dynamic there that you can’t really connect to. You have a sense of strangeness, but  there is just a disconnect there. I have a feeling all that will be important in a later volume. My favorite story line with the transgender woman and her boyfriend. Or perhaps the old man and his protegé. There are so many vivid characters that draw you in. The trees are both major in the back and foregrounds, shaping everyone’s lives, even if they are used to seeing them.  Plus, the ending is a doosey, very unexpected, which was wonderful. I can’t wait to see what else in the future of the world of the Trees.

(I did receive this book free for an honest review)

 

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The Heist

by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg, Scott Brick (Narrator)
Audio EditionRead March 31, 2015

Original Release Date: June 18, 2013

Length: 295 pages

Official Description: This is book #1 of the Fox and O’Hare series

FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.

Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.

Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.

My Take:

Yeah, I finally got to read this! In this book we have Detective Kate O’Hare and thief, Thomas Fox which starts as the classic cat and mouse game. Then everything changes one day and that turns both of their lives upside down. There are several references to the prequel that was released as a teaser to this book. Goldberg and Evanovich dd a fantastic job co writing this one. I can’t say I’ve read anything by Goldberg before though. It also makes me wonder how co-writing works, it seems like it could get frustrating when you put two ideas and writing styles together. It works though, I love the wit of both O’Hare and Fox. You know that they are attracted to one another but Kate is fighting that instinct. Of course you have Fox, who is kind of the opposite of Kate, though they are quite similar as well, who just toys with Kate as if she’s a little mouse and he is the cat cornering her for a meal. It’s all rather predictable, over the top and silly entertainment, but it’s oh so good. I flew through this story and couldn’t get enough, Scott Brick did a great job narrating. I haven’t had a whole lot of audio books narrated by men, I can only think of 2 others, off the top of my head, and he did a wonderful job. What I like about this book, even with the predictability and over the top antics, the story is still captivating, it pulls you in and you root for the characters. Not only the main characters, but those side characters as well. I hope we see more of them in future books!

Previous Books in this series:

Previous Books by Janet Evanovich 

Quote:

“The man was irresistible. What’s with that? she thought. It was like wanting to bake cookies for the spawn of Satan.” ”

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Beachcombers

by Nancy Thayer, Karen White (Narrator)
Audio EditionRead March 26, 2015

Original Release Date: January 1, 2010

Length: 369 pages

Official Description:

Abbie Fox hasn’t seen her father or two younger sisters in almost two years. But now Lily, the baby of the family, is sending Abbie urgent emails begging her to return home. Their middle sister, Emma, has taken to her bed, devastated after losing her high-powered job and breaking up with her fiancé. Also, Lily is worried that the beautiful, enigmatic woman renting their guesthouse has set her sights on their widowed father. The Fox sisters closed ranks years ago after the haunting, untimely death of their mother, but seeing their dad move on with his life forces each of them to take stock.

Over the course of the summer, the sisters’ lives grow as turbulent as the unpredictable currents off the New England coast: Abbie breaks her own rules in the name of love, type-A Emma learns a new definition of success, and strong-minded Lily must reconcile her dreams with reality. At summer’s end, these unforgettable women will face profound choices—and undergo personal transformations that will surprise even themselves.

My Take: 

I have not had a very good streak in books lately, they have been very similar, very formulaic, and kind of bland. The last audio book I listened to was one of the Dresden File books by Jim Butcher, and that held my attention enough to also sit down and read it when I wasn’t commuting. This book I almost gave up on. I am glad I didn’t. I rarely give up on a book, I feel I owe it to myself to finish what I started, and also to the author who put their hearts and minds into the books. Call me strange, but I understand that these authors go to a lot of effort, and not everyone is going to like it.

I forget exactly where I got interested in the story. Somewhere in chapter 15 I think. Once everyone had their background story flushed out. My favorite character is the island itself, Nantucket. The history and descriptions of the island were breathtaking. I might have possibly bought some beachy decorations for my entryway because of the descriptions in this book. The island itself was a better focal point, to me, than the actual characters. The descriptions were lovely, you could almost taste the salt on the air while reading the book. The story is filled with lush imagery it is easy to get lost in the waves.

The actual characters are so-so. We have the sisters, Abbie, Emma and Lily and the stranger, Marina. Lets start from eldest to youngest shall we, I will do my best to avoid major plot spoilers.

Marina is a woman in her early 40s, fresh off a traumatic divorce renting a play house from the Fox family. She rented the cottage for 6 months she is trying to find out who she is since her whole life was marred from the divorce. She  finds solace and comfort in the island, learns about herself and discovers what she will become.

Abbie is the eldest Fox sister. She is in her late 20s and comes home from London where she was working a nanny for a wealthy couple, at the urging of her littlest sister. Abbie pretty much raised her sisters since her mom died when she was 15 years old. Abbie is full of self-sacrifice and she is also trying to find her identity, figure out her future, and has never allowed herself to fall in love.

Emma fell a bit too hard in love and she’s now back home with dad after life dealt her a bad hand. Her engagement fell apart, she lost her job, and her home. She is dangling on the precipice of severe depression. Something that was mildly hit upon, but I suppose depression is such a deep subject that is too difficult to really explore in a light beach read. Emma is in her mid twenties and was the most ‘successful’ sister upon graduating high school.

Lily is the youngest, in her early twenties she is the epitome of the youngest child. She is self-centered, whiney, and it is really hard to root for her. She was the only one still living at home before the summer started.

So all four of these ladies has a POV. I don’t really enjoy multiple POVs that much, but once you get used to it, it is not so bad. You know what is going to happen in the story before you get midway through the book. It’s obvious. I don’t agree with Abbie’s relationship AT ALL. I was actually quite upset with how all that ended up. Yes you want the characters to have that happily ever after, but it annoyed me. I love the girls interaction with the older Nantucket natives, they were more interesting than the actual characters, mostly they gave a great history lesson of the island. Overall, this is definitely a beach read. It builds slowly but eventually you kind of care about the sisters journey’s into self discovery. A lot of which involves learning from, and letting go, of the past. I definitely recommend this to people who can suspend the reality of life and loves happy endings.

The narrator did a good job, she made me dislike Lily even more than I already did. She did a fantastic job at conveying the emotion of the characters. She kept me interested long enough for me to actually start enjoying the book.

Up Next:

Rogue’s Curse

by Jason Beymer
Kindle EditionRead March 24, 2015

Original Release Date: July 17, 2010

Length: 287 pages

Official Description: (Book #1 in the Rogue Prophet series)

2000 years after the Rapture, the world still sucks.

After spending 2000 years on this earth, blinded and forsaken by God, Vikardt wants to die. But only one thing can kill him: the Stone of Rapture. So when an archeological team extracts the talisman from the ocean floor, sweet death finally comes within his reach.

But a rogue beats him to it. Now the talisman responsible for the infamous Rapture is embedded in Doban’s chest. In a desperate gamble, Vikardt manipulates the king into initiating a manhunt for the rogue.

Doban must seek protection from the unlikeliest of allies: one, an abused monster with an appetite for human flesh; the other, a woman he once left to die in a tomb. Can they let go of the past long enough to keep Doban alive? Or will Vikardt recover the stone and bring about a second Rapture?

Warning: This title contains graphic violence and off-kilter copulation.

My Take: 

I have had this book in my “To Read” list for quite sometime. It has fantastic reviews (Averaging around 4.5 stars on both Amazon and Goodreads) and an interesting premise. I liked the idea of the book. I like the writing style, I just didn’t like the characters. I could not get into them. I liked the wit and the banter and some of the comedy, and try as I might, I just could not get into the story. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny, as others have claimed. I suppose it does have some nasty violence, but I was so disconnected to the story that nothing phased me. The change from perspectives was distracting, obviously I’m a one POV supporter. However, there are TONS of books that I enjoy with multiple POVs. This book, though with a great premise, just failed to grab me. Maybe I’m broken right now, maybe I should give it another shot in a few months. I kept thinking, “this is such a guy book”. I like male authors, there are several that I adore and will read all of their stuff, but this one was just so out there, so very immature, in a guy way. Which sounds terrible, I know. It reminds of the maturity level of my husband at the age of 20. Great, now I feel terrible and sexist for saying that. Oh, well it is what it is. Honestly the author writes well, it’s just the characters themselves that I can’t connect with.

Up Next:

A Deal with the Devil

A Deal with the Devil (Sweet Home Chicago #1)by Abby Matisse
Kindle EditionRead March 13, 2015

Original Release Date: July 26, 2012

Length: 226 pages

Official Description: (Book #1 in the Sweet Home Chicago series)

In this lighthearted romantic comedy, a practical, responsible Chicago career woman agrees to pose as the fiance of her ex in exchange for money.

A woman in trouble.
Amanda Wilson is in trouble and as usual, it has everything to do with her irresponsible brother. So, she heads to her best friend’s cabin in Lake Geneva for a weekend of solitude and soul-searching. But she didn’t count on the blizzard or the unexpected arrival of the man who broke her heart. The man she’s come to think of as the devil.

A man from her past.
Fresh out of the Navy SEALs, Jake Lowell is ready to start his own business using his trust fund as seed money. But his grandfather has other ideas and changed the terms, requiring Jake to marry before he gets access. Now he needs a plan. But first, he must head to Lake Geneva where his ex is vacationing, ignoring all the weather bulletins and her best friend’s calls, pleading with her to come home.

A deal that changes everything.
Getting stranded in Lake Geneva wasn’t part of Jake’s plan. Neither was his proposal. And he definitely hadn’t expected her to agree, but she did. Now they are forced to deal with unresolved feelings and the issues that tore them apart a year ago. Jake’s proposal seemed like the perfect solution for both of them but it soon becomes clear that their harmless little engagement deal is far more complicated than either could have imagined.

My Take: 

Ok I think I am about done with these fluffy ‘romantic’ books. They are all the same, they have this crazy notion of love. Not even love, it’s all about manipulation that ‘turns into love’. My goodness, I just couldn’t get into this book. It seems that I am having poor luck lately picking out a good book. This actually put me to sleep. Honestly, it isn’t written terribly, the writing is good, it is just the story. I don’t like the characters, I don’t think they had chemistry. I don’t like manipulation in a relationship. Even if you know what is going on. Overall, it just didn’t cut it for me. The average rating for this book on Goodreads is 3.54, which means that there are plenty of people who love it. If you enjoy the formulaic romantic books that are out there, you might like this. If you like the alpha male and stubborn female joining together to trick family members but then fall in love ‘for reals.’ Then you may like this, it’s just not for me.

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