I knew I liked this book going in to it, but I didn't remember just how much. I think it's a shame that this series is "just" a self-published one and it's not crossed more people's paths than it has. I'm pretty sure if Shadow's character was female, these would be some sort of best sellers (although some things would surely be different in the story line.)
It's hard to pinpoint what I love most about these, but in the end it probably boils down to the characters and their interactions. I especially like Nate and Johnny, but they all feel so real (if not completely realistic) that I just feel like I'm more invested in them than I probably should, considering they are all fictional. It makes it all the more difficult to read, knowing what's up a head for them.
The other thing that Chandler handles exceptionally, is tension. These books pull me in so completely because they are just so well written that you feel like you're living in the story. I just can't get over it.
These books somehow manage to have a bit of everything I usually look for in a good book (or most of everything). The dialogue is funny, the emotions are easy to empathize with, the characters are flawed but lovable, the plot moves forward with exceptional pacing and while the plot might not be mind blowing, it's well thought out and very entertaining.
I like that The Relationship isn't the leading plot line, while it is an interesting one. Simon's so messed up and Shadow's too good for him, but there's constant development and hope. I also appreciate the author's decision to fade most sex scenes out. I agree that in a book like this, sex scenes would detract from the plot, so it's good to leave it to the reader's imagination. (Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good sex scene as much as the next person, but I think there are books better suited for those than these ones.)
I'm probably going to get into With a Bullet straight away, even though I'm simultaneously dreading it.