Monthly Archives: June 2011
As the second book in the JENNY POX series, I found this novel, TOMMY NIGHTMARE to be all that I expected and then some. As with the first book, the unusual plot and otherworldly characters drive the story on at a good pace. This book picks up where JENNY POX left off, and without giving away any spoilers, I’ll just say that Jenny has to deal with a few things, including the fact that her secret may be exposed and a set of new dangers crops up.
More characters like Jenny with special “talents” show up in this second novel and I’ll just say they have some interesting abilities as well. The How and Why of these abilities are explained further and the story goes back in time to explore some of the past reincarnations of Jenny and the others. At it’s heart, this novel is a tale of the struggles of opposites. Good and evil, love and hate, hurting and healing. JL Bryan explores these themes with finesse and deep-level character development.
I found myself gripping my book, flipping pages as fast as I could during some parts, while slowing to savor the prose at other times. In other words, I am surely hooked into this series, and I can’t wait to see what Bryan has planned for Jenny and the others in the next book! Recommended for older YA readers and adults that like their supernatural/ paranormal fiction to have originality and a solid story arc.
This is not your typical vampire book. The author has an interesting and compelling take on where vampires came from, why the live like they do, and what happens to a vampire that needs to be punished. The story itself is fast-past and full of twists and turns, with a heaping-helping of action and suspense. The darker side of vampires is also explored, and rest easy, they don’t sparkle, come off as devastatingly charming or broodingly handsome. This is the story of the vampires of old, with their compulsions, loss of humanity and bone-shaking intensity. I was saddened by the ending, but looking back, I can’t see how it could have ended any other way. Great book, compelling story and I definitely recommend!
A Modern Witch is an innovative and clever take on the world of Witching. Bespelled computer-game coding? Launching a witch sniffer program online to seek out other witches and bring them into a Witches only chat room? Ingenious! But it also is the start of some very big changes for a family of witches and the “normal” Real Estate agent Lauren, who doesn’t have a clue that she possesses latent and untapped magical powers until she’s sucked into the Witches chat. From that quirky premise evolves a novel that I just couldn’t put down. I had to know what happened, and now that I’ve finished it, I absolutely can’t wait for the next in the series. I already miss the cast of lovable characters!
Debora Geary writes with finesse and style, cultivating a magical world where little gifted children can do amazing things and where one woman learns that families can be made, not born into. Geary’s style is upbeat, concise and butter-smooth. The supporting cast of characters are fully-developed and authentic. The plot clips along nicely but never feels rushed, and the build-up to the second novel is catchy without leaving the reader hanging. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys lighter paranormal (as opposed to all dark and brooding), women’s fiction with a smudge of romantic elements, quirky family novels, Chick-lit and anyone who is interested in the metaphysical and mystical aspects of paranormal. I can’t crow loudly enough about this book, you’ll just have to read it for yourself!
I was worried that Vestal Virgin would read too scholarly or dry, given the amount of research the author put into crafting this novel. Not only were my fears unfounded, but the rich detail and careful construction of the suspenseful plot actually made the novel go one stop past the “great book” designation.
Mind you, I have no idea if the factual information laced throughout the story is accurate but the author deftly wove the information in with such a light hand that it felt natural and true. The characters are fully-fleshed and even the ones I disliked for their actions I still managed to feel compassion for at times. Tyrpak not only wrote believable, multi-faceted characters, she breathed life into them with refreshing complexity.
Reading the last lines were a little bit like watching the last epidose of a long-favored show. Afterwords I felt spent, contemplative and sad to see it end. Even now, writing this review a few days later, I find myself pausing to think about the Tyrant and the Virgin and the ways their lives intertwined. Neurosis, depravity, religion, love, faith and betrayal- it’s all in this book.
My first thought upon finishing Vestal Virgin was just a simple, sated “Wow” – then I kicked back and thought about the book for a good while. Great books do that to me. They cling to my skin, invade my neurons and poke at my emotions. I know without a doubt that Vestal Virgin is one of those rare books that will stay with me for a long time and for that reason I will certainly be on the lookout for Tyrpak’s next novel!
I finished reading this book several days ago, but I wanted to let the experience stew for a bit before writing this review. My reason for the stall tactics? I loved JENNY POX but I was having a hard time putting my finger on just why it had captured me so.
Was it the top-notch writing from author JL Bryan or the unique and creative plotting? Yes, to both. But that wasn’t all. Perhaps it was the shunned main character Jenny, who lived her whole life unable to make skin contact with another living thing for fear that they will die from her touch? She couldn’t even pet her dog! I felt connected through sympathy with Jenny and that involved me in her story from page one.
Or maybe it was the way Bryan humanized Jenny and the supporting cast of characters letting them make good decisions along with bad ones? Unlike many protagonist in contemporary fiction, Jenny isn’t an unblemished saint and the story is so much the better for it. But you’ll have to read the novel to see what I mean.
The answer I’ve finally settled on is this: JENNY POX as a whole is a cohesive, captivating novel and Bryan has seemlessly addressed all the issues that can make or break a book (plot, fleshed-out characters, fresh voice, etc.) with such a tender touch that it’s hard to pick just one reason that I enjoyed this book. To me, that is the mark of a great writer. I look forward to reading Bryan’s next novel TOMMY NIGHTMARE. In fact, it’s sitting on my desk calling my name so perhaps I will start on it tonight!