Review of Sweetheart

SweetheartIt is recommended you read Heartsick before you read Sweetheart as it takes place right after the events in Heartsick. A lot of background information is required in order to get through Sweetheart.

In Sweetheart, Archie Sheridan is on a case of a murder that oddly resembles his very first murder case and the very first victim which tied him with the Beauty Killer. Archie thought he was getting his life back on track, but having moved in back with his wife, and spending time with his kids, he still doesn’t feel great about himself. Gretchen Lowell is still looming over his shoulder. Suddenly there is a big break in the case with the help of Susan Ward yet all that is put aside as Gretchen escapes from prison. Now this time, Archie will put a plan to capture Gretchen and get himself out from her control for good.

Well, I thought the book had really great parts, where it was thrilling and parts where there were quite a few surprises uncovered, but the book just didn’t really live up to the first one. I thought the first one was much more engaging and had a very complete, full plot. Sweetheart though, I’m not sure what to say about it. The plot just seemed to stagnate and it seemed to pick up a little towards the end but it just didn’t have the same fast thrilling ride like the other one.

Gretchen still hasn’t changed, she’s still the same psychotic “Hannibal Lecter” we all have come to know since Heartsick. Although, there’s just something about her that I can’t seem quite to understand and grasp. True, she’s a villain but I’ve read other ones that would easily take the “Crown of Evil” away in a heartbeat. Perhaps it’s because there’s not much information about her yet, I’m not sure. She just feels so “wooden” but it’s as if the author has tried a little too hard to make her a villain and instead the result is a stagnant villain with a dysfunctional relationship with Archie and it’s puzzling. There’s no feeling from her, no “flesh” to her I guess, she seems entirely two dimensional. I don’t know what to say about Archie. I don’t understand what he’s trying to do with Gretchen. On the other hand, it seems he wants to be with her but knows it’s wrong but does it anyway yet somehow “covers” it up by trying to recapture her (at least, in my opinion it sure looks that way). It’s this rather strange chemistry between these two that I don’t quite get and it seems to put a bit of a damper on the book.

The case with the Senator and the underage teen was interesting, but it just seemed so out of place with the main Gretchen/Archie plot that it looked like it was meant as a page filler for the novel. Thankfully though, the chapters were short so it felt as if you could read through the book quickly and easily.

Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t so bad. However I thought it could be so much better. The thrilling action bits were good and nearly redeemed the book but it just wasn’t enough. I’m really hoping the third one after this will do the job and not be a giant snowball going downhill. The ending was really good and was left in a cliffhanger, but I really hope this relationship/obsession between Archie and Gretchen does somewhat come to a closure, it’s just too dysfunctional for me.

overall, I’m not sure what to say. It was good, yet in so many ways it could have been better. It’s a fast read with short chapters so it can be easily breezed through. It’s a “must read” though, if you want to get through the Gretchen Lowell series.

I give it a 6 out of 10.


Review of Obsessed

ObsessedObsessed by Ted Dekker is about the death of a Holocaust survivor named Rachel Spitzer who leaves behind a generous legacy to a Holocaust memorial fund, and a strange cryptic letter phrase regarding the Stones of David, who will eventually “find each other. This message, suddenly makes Stephen the heir to a large amount of fortune but also the key to his own past which he doesn’t really know (he assumes his parents perished in the Holocuast as searches for family has resulted in nothing). However, there is someone else who is also persuing the Stones of David. A serial killer named Roth Braun, who, along with his father, has been looking for Stephen for a very long time. Stephen is the key to the Stones and they will stop at nothing to get them.

This has been an addictive page turner. It’s kept me on pins and needles. There were times where I couldn’t bear to turn the page because I just didn’t want to know if the character was going to encounter an ugly end, or a great success. However I just had to keep going and read it because I really wanted to know what happened. The action and the plot were well written and it just keeps you on edge. It’s been a very suspenseful plot and a very thrilling ride.

Stephen as a character is what makes the story funny and keeps the action going as he keeps on pressing towards his goal. I say it’s funny because there were just things Stephen had to do which just made me laugh out loud. Roth on the other hand, makes the story very chilling and dark, he’s your average villain, but add more evil (about 3 cups) and take away the soul and you get Roth. I have never read a villain such as this and he would most likely end up on my top ten villain list. He was just very real, and oozes evil (he even has the black ensemble to match it). Of all the characters mentioned though, I liked Ruth. Her strength, and her ability to see the good and be able to hold onto hope even when she was surrounded by death and hopelessness was very admirable.

Considering the author is known more for his Christian fiction, and he does make references to faith and God in his works, the book did not seem preachy at all. It did not get in the way of the plot. So those who aren’t into Christian fiction like I am, the story really has nothing to do with God, or anything of any religious denomination. Just read it for the plot, and the spine chilling events. You’ll be a satisfied reader like I was. Obsession does play a major theme in this book; both from Stephen’s side, and from Roth’s.

What frustrated me about the story is certain parts of the book where the characters decide to just stop and hesitate and think about what they’re doing when they should be running out the door and running like hell. I don’t get it. I felt like jumping in and kicking them towards the exit and to stop thinking and blubbering like idiots. It was extremely frustrating and annoying.

Overall though, an excellent page turner with all the right plot twists and thrilling moments at the right times. Give this a read if you want a great thrilling ride.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Musing Monday 3/8

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about dust jackets.

Do you prefer books with a dust jacket? What do you do with your dust jacket while reading? Leave it on or take it off?

– It doesn’t matter to me, I have a few with dust jackets and the vast majority are paperbacks though. However when I do read something with a dust jacket I keep it on and take very great pains to keep it in a nice condition. Sometimes I put tape on the bottom so it doesn’t get creased or ripped. 🙂

Review of Wake

WakeWake is one of those books that once you start, you have to keep going until you’re finished. I didn’t know what I was getting into once I opened the book, but it took me at least two days to finish (with distractions here and there). It’s one of the most interesting YA fiction I have read so far.

Wake, by Lisa McMann, is about a girl named Janie. Since she was eight she was able to see and even participate in other people’s dreams. It can be a gift, but yet also a curse. A gift because she sees deep secrets from other people that would rather have them hidden. The gift can be a curse though as she can also see the kind of dreams she doesn’t need to know about; the sexy ones (which happen to be all over the place – especially since she’s in high school). She can’t be near anyone taking a nap lest she gets sucked into their dreams. Then one day however, she walks into a particular nightmare. One where she becomes an unwilling participant.

This book literally got my attention from page one. I couldn’t put it down and when I did, I just wanted to pick it up again and resume reading. I finished it in about two days and so far is one of the better books I’ve read this year. It’s the writing style that got my attention. It’s in short sentences, yet with splashes of dialogue and moments of dream descriptions in between. The pace is extremely fast in the book but because of the way its’ written, you won’t be lost in the storyline and everything is easily understandable. The plot is a little haphazard at first, but you do get the general idea and once you do, it steamrolls quickly and you are quickly engrossed and extremely interested as what will happen next. The dreams are well written and the nightmares do sound like something one would dream of. The sexy dreams? well, they’re laughable but I’m sure they’d be quite embarrassing if they were known to someone and you didn’t even know they were watching.

As to characters, I like both Janie and Cabel. They do seem to compliment each other (although they were on a rocky start). I really do love the way Cabel tries to take care of Janie, even when he doesn’t understand what’s happening to her at first. I like his loyalty, and admire both his and Janie’s strength after what they’ve been through in their trouble childhood pasts. Especially Janie, as she’s living with an alcoholic mother and dealing with her “affliction” at the same time, and also dealing with issues at school (Melinda’s a real twit). Other than Janie and Cabel, not much is done with the other characters surrounding them, they are more like secondary ones, so the main focus would be on the two.

A lot of questions have been left at the end of this book. I really wanted to know more about Miss Stubin, it seems she is the key to everything Janie needs to know about her gift. The thing is, it’s not really explained in this book and only mentioned in very vague and subtle references. I wish there was more information but perhaps it will be covered in the next two books, as now Janie finds out her gift, can be of great use after all. Nevertheless I will be going for the second book for sure, this one was way too interesting to just let go without knowing what was to happen next!

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who have a love for YA fiction. There is teenage drama/romance in it, but the paranormal aspect of it dominates. It’s very well written, a quick read, but a very entertaining one.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Review of Dawn of the Dreadfuls and a Contest!

Dawn of the DreadfulsIf you have read my previous reviews before, you probably have figured out that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was one of my favorites. Now, thanks to Quirk books and Raincoast books, they have provided me with an ARC of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls – which is a prequel of the original P & P & Z. Needless to say, I was so very excited when I got the copy of this book. If you would like more information regarding this wonderful prequel please go to their main book page.

I won’t summarize the plot, as the main book page does it for me. However, I can tell you, that I LOVED this book as much as P & P & Z. It had the wonderful moments of humor and wit that I experienced before and enjoyed. You will see the original characters except for a few (no Darcy or Bingley here, sorry. This does take place before they met Lizzy and Jane). You read more about Mr Bennet who seems to take a more active role in the story (he helps trains his daughters to become warrior women). However the book also introduces new memorable ones which will prove unforgettable and absolutely hilarious to read. What I thought was interesting was the nice reference made with the mysterious “soldier” the left and broke Mrs Bennet’s heart when she was a girl. If you’re well versed in P & P then you’d know what I’m taking about. It’s these little references to the main novel that make the prequel do justice to P & P & Z. Readers also be advised, this book is meant to be a parody, and a funny one at that. If you treat it with a sense of humor, enjoyment is increased tenfold.

Of the new characters, I enjoyed Dr Keckilpenny (really, with a name like that, what’s not to enjoy?) the most. First, because no one seems to get his name right (except for Lizzy), and second because he just seemed to be so friendly and so likable. Lord Lumpley played your average greaseball with a secret – I especially enjoyed how he tried his advances on Jane, but to no avail. Then you get one of the most interesting characters I have ever seen, and that is Captain Cannon who uses four of his soldiers as arms and limbs (you have just to read it to get a good laugh). The moment I started reading about his arms and limbs made me laugh, but it made the book much more enjoyable with these kinds of new, strange yet quirky characters.

The book was very well written, the plot flowed well and did not stop. The humor was in the right places at the right times so reading this book was enjoyable and fun. There is gore. Lots of it. I think moreso than P & P & Z. So, if you are not into that sort of theme. Perhaps this book may not be for you. However this would be great for zombie fans and will satisfy P & P & Z readers, it’s a well done prequel and will be listed as one of my favorites for 2010.

Overall, I love this book. What I would like to see next, is another zombie novel but with Darcy and Bingley before they met the Bennet sisters. That would be interesting, I think. Who knows where the Dreadfuls will strike next?

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Alas, here’s the awesome cool part. If you click on this link it will take you to a message board. Mention that you read my review from my blog (Okbolover) and you’ll have a chance to win one of 50 Quick Classics Prize Packs!

Prize Pack includes:

ARC of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Audio books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
A Dawn of the Dreadfuls poster
A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies journal
A box set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies postcards

Awesome swag huh? so what are you waiting for!? click here and mention my blog to have a chance to win!! good luck and I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did 🙂