Re-read March 19, 2012 (originally read March 24, 2010)
I love Annwyl and have from the start. With a horrendous (and frankly ridiculous) temper, she'sRe-read March 19, 2012 (originally read March 24, 2010)
I love Annwyl and have from the start. With a horrendous (and frankly ridiculous) temper, she's not only a terrifying warrior woman, but she's also got a seldom seen softer, playful side that Feargus brings out in her.
I've always been a little iffy with this series in general because I've never been able to fully wrap my brain about the human-like characteristics of the dragons (while in dragon form), nor the very casual use of extreme violence in the series.
Light and entertaining with a touch of ridiculousness, steam, and a sweet love story, this is still one of my favorite "go to" books when I need to re-read a bit of a palate cleanser when reading review copies. ...more
This is my first Monica Burns book, and whoooo mama *fans self* I wasn't expecting it to be quite so hot! There was a LOT of delicious UST (which I adThis is my first Monica Burns book, and whoooo mama *fans self* I wasn't expecting it to be quite so hot! There was a LOT of delicious UST (which I admit, is often lacking these days), and when they finally came together *cough* pun intended *cough*... Yeah, niiiiiiice :)
I need to start reading more standalone novels, or at the very least, pick books that already have a few out in the series already, because these cliff-hanger endings are killing me :P The relationship between Aries and Emma was wrapped up nicely enough, and I was glad he got back a certain item at the end.. But it was definitely open-ended which often annoys me.
I'm DYING waiting for the next book, Assassin's Heart (which for some reason the Goodreads linking thing isn't working for me at the moment or I'd link it), which stars Lysander and Phaedra *thud*
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it.. It lost half a star because the "oh but s/he doesn't love me" angst got a bit tiring after a while, along with Emma's stubbornness getting them into trouble and her constantly blaming Ares for all her woes.
The cliffhanger ending irritated me, though technically, since it's the setup for a series, I guess I should have been expecting it? *shrugs* I guessThe cliffhanger ending irritated me, though technically, since it's the setup for a series, I guess I should have been expecting it? *shrugs* I guess I didn't realize it was a series in the making until the last chapter and nothing was wrapped up other than Luca and Chloe's relationship.
I really like Linda Winstead Jones' addition to the Raintree series (Linda Howard's was good, but left me wanting -- again with the cliffhanger lol), so I was really looking forward to their collaboration.
I liked the premise with the whole revolution/warrior/witchy/spell.. thing... Luca was cool -- a 2000 year old vampire that nobody could remember (except, of course, for our heroine).. I was a little disappointed he never told Chloe how old he was, though that was a very minor point...
It was sweet (though mayhap a wee bit insulting?) how protective of Luca Chloe became lol Itty bitty little human girl thinks she's gonna protect big bad uber-vamp. Mmhmm. Sure.. But, the thought behind it was sweet :)
Anyway, it dragged a bit at times, and all the jumping around with the various conduits became a bit tiring at times.. Overall though, I was pretty pleased with it, and am interested to see how the series plays out.
Holy cow! There's a good reason that Ava Gray is firmly on my "auto-buy" list!
Ok, I lovedSkin Game, and I do suggest reading that one first, just becHoly cow! There's a good reason that Ava Gray is firmly on my "auto-buy" list!
Ok, I lovedSkin Game, and I do suggest reading that one first, just because it's an awesome book in its own right. However, I do think that Skin Tight could easily stand on its own. While you're only given vague references to Kyra's ability from the first book, she's not actually present enough that you need to know anything other than the fact that she's "different"..
So, slight spoiler for the first novel, the hero of Skin Tight does something to Mia (the heroine of this novel) towards the end of the book which leaves her spitting mad at him (and rightfully so). Thinking they'll never see each other again, they end up working together at the same office, and whooboy Mia is not one to live and let live.
I don't want to give too much away, because the masterful Ava Gray (who also writes as Ann Aguirre and Ellen Connor, btw) does such a delicious job of slowly unraveling details and I'd hate to ruin it for you.
That said, I LOVE THIS HERO!!! Good heavens he was just all sorts of delicious with his "curse" and his revenge plot and his attraction to Mia and all the delicious angst that comes with the combination of the three.
I'm dying to read Skin Heat (book 3 in the Skin series), and will be gnawing on my fingernails until January. Arg!
Final verdict? A very easy, VERY solid 5 Stars...more
But, I've had friends on my back to give her a second chance, and since this was short (it really felt like a novella not a novel), I figured I'd give it a go.
It was short and sweet. No villain or anything trite like that -- just a very straight forward, mildly angsty love story.
There's a distinct "twist" but I had it figured out in the first third of the book, so no real surprises, though it did make me smile nonetheless.
I will likely pick up another book or two and see if my dislike for her as an author came strictly from disliking a specific plot vs her writing (any recommendations? feel free to leave them in the comments!)
**spoiler alert** Seeing as how much I adored Grimspace, it really came as no surprise that I'd be head over heels for this book as well.
It had every**spoiler alert** Seeing as how much I adored Grimspace, it really came as no surprise that I'd be head over heels for this book as well.
It had everything I desire in contemporary romantic-suspense novels:
A not so innocent heroine who is being pursued by...
An assassin (with standards) who has been hired to kill her by...
An evil (or is he really?) villain out for revenge on aforementioned not-so-innocent heroine because she publicly embarrassed him as part of her own revenge plot.
Throw in the agendas of other characters throughout the story, a pinch of hot, rough sex, and a dash of paranormal ability on the part of our heroine, and you've got the makings of a deliciously complex and compelling novel.
I was actually hesitant to mark this one as a PNR, simply because it didn't have the "whole world" of paranormality -- as far as Kyra and the reader know, she's the only one of her kind, rather than a part of an entire underground group of psychics or mages or shifters or any other group that typically goes hand in hand with the PNR genre.
While the paranormal aspects definitely added to the story and were key to moving the plot along, I think I would have enjoyed it even without them, which is saying something since I'm not typically one for straight up contemporary romances. The relationship between Reyes and Kyra was simply fantastic to follow. They were both working with trust issues (for good reason obviously!) and the pacing felt perfect for their relationship -- any faster and it wouldn't have been believable, but any slower and the readers would start getting impatient.
There were only a couple bits that kept it from getting a solid five stars, and that's due to my own hangups as a reader rather than any defect in the writing. Having Kyra actually kill people felt wrong to me. Sure, she's no angel, and that fact was established literally from page one onward... She's a con artist, and she was out for revenge, but it didn't seem to fit into her character, at least not the second time. The first time could be attributed to the "power" she'd stolen just prior, rather than an ingrained part of her personality. I suppose that the second time could just illustrate an evolution of her character, but tt just took me aback for a moment. Then again, that's part of what I like about Ann Aguirre/Ava Gray's writing -- she certainly manages to constantly keep me on my toes.
I'm really looking forward to Skin Tight, due out this summer.
**spoiler alert** Wow. This book had a LOT of sex lol
There was not one, not two, but THREE distinct "romantic" storylines (though only the H/H officia**spoiler alert** Wow. This book had a LOT of sex lol
There was not one, not two, but THREE distinct "romantic" storylines (though only the H/H officially got their "HEA"). Every time you turn around, someone's got their pants down or skirt lifted or down on their knees or... Yeah..
Honestly it started to take away from the story after a while. I realize that sex was a very important plot device (just glance at the official description to see that), but some of it seemed gratuitous rather than plot-driven. I didn't mind any of the encounters between Dev and his partners or between Creed and Annika (*hot*), but there was just one or two too many encounters between Remy and Haley.. I got to the point I practically skimmed, and that's never a good thing.
The magical tattoos thing just really didn't do it for me, either. *wrinkles nose*
And while we're at it, go ahead and smack me for this double standard too -- I don't care for female protagonists who use sex as part of a spy job. Total double standard because, as anyone who reads my reviews knows, I adore me some Anne Stuart and she's the cliff-hucking queen of the sex-and-seduction-as-a-means-to-an-end plot device. For some reason though, it doesn't sit well with me when a female does the same thing *shrugs*
Despite all that, I did enjoy it. I was a bit disappointed that Remy didn't push the "what happens if I say no" issue, just because I'm a sadist and wanted to see what they'd say (*evil laugh*), but overall it was a good story. The emotional relationship between Remy and Haley seemed well paced, despite their sudden dive into sex right after they met, and I really enjoyed Creed and Annika's.. er.. "relationship". I was hoping that they'd get their own book, but from reading the descriptions of the next few, it doesn't look like that's the case. I wonder if they continue the trend of secondary (and tertiary) romances in future books.
I'm finding myself withdrawing from the more erotic romances lately, so do keep that in mind when you consider my rating -- it's entirely possible that I'm being unfair to the novel simply because my own personal tastes are changing :)
**spoiler alert** *whew!* What a crazy ride this book was!!
I'm going to try hard not to spoil anything but I'm putting the warning up in case I get ca**spoiler alert** *whew!* What a crazy ride this book was!!
I'm going to try hard not to spoil anything but I'm putting the warning up in case I get carried away lol
Carrow, powerful witch mercenary slash party animal extraordinaire, gets kidnapped by a secret human group hell bent (no pun intended) on capturing, torturing, and subsequently exterminating all members of the Lore. Once there, she discovers that not only have these humans captured several of her friends, but they've also captured her young (8 year old) cousin, Ruby.. Ruby is now an orphan because her mother was murdered by this organization, and according to how things are done in the witch community, as her closest living relative, Carrow finds herself thrust into the position of adoptive parent.
Talk about a culture shock -- Carrow is a party chick, intent on living it up while she's still young, so to suddenly have the responsibility of caring for a young girl, as well as being the one who has to try to help get her free from the members of this organization is enough to make anyone's head spin.
Sooooo this evil organization bargains with Carrow to go and seduce, beguile, threaten, or otherwise fetch, this big bad mofo known as Malkom, who is, in fact, a vemon (vampire demon).
Malkom, being a vemon (which is considered to be an abomination in both the demon and vampire communities), is a complete loner, living in a cave in the realm of Oblivion (the name of which totally makes me want to pull out the XBOX, but I digress), which is a really nasty desert hell plane full of all sorts of nasty critters and other random enemies...
Carrow is sent to Oblivion and has 5 days to convince Malkom to return with her or the organization will abandon her there and, well, vivisect Ruby. Ew.
What worked for me: * Good bloody hell I adored Malkom. That poor bastard had been through so much in his life, and y'all know how much I adore a tortured hero *dreamy sigh*
* I loved that Carrow the party chick was thrown into the role of surrogate parent, and wholeheartedly embraced it. She could've gone all sulky and woe-is-me or even refused to accept her responsibility, but instead was determined not to be the neglectful C U Next TuesdayS that her own parents had been to her
* Loved loved loved loved loved the language barrier between Malkom (who hadn't spoken anything but Demonish and a wee bit of Latin for a looooong time), and Carrow, who only spoke English and a few *ahem* choice phrases of Demonish that some of her party friends had taught her. I also enjoyed the difference in social mores that resulted from two people from very different worlds trying to overcome communication issues, such as the misunderstanding about the ghoul head..
* As with the other books in the series, the humor is such a wonderful bonus. I quite literally LOL'd at several points in the novel; for instance Carrow's description of one of the nasty critters in Oblivion as "ManBearPig" :P Some readers not up on pop culture might find a few of the references a bit confusing, but I say just like with J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you may just want to keep Urban Dictionary on hand.
* The angst! Oh the angst!!!! Arg! Bad childhoods, abuse, neglect, social disdain, physical and emotional torture, trust issues, and catch 22's abound. There were actually several points during reading that I got teary eyed, which really threw me for a loop because I associate Kresley Cole with humor, action, hot smexin, and a bit of good old fashioned angst, but never before have I ever dreaded what was coming next because I knew how heartbreaking it would be for everyone involved.
What didn't work for me: * ........... gimme a second, I'm thinking ..... Okay I got one -- new readers to the series might be completely lost on some points, such as what the deal is with La Dorada and Lothaire, and the history/relationships between some of the more minor characters who've starred in previous books... I'll be honest though -- I'm not so sure that's really too bad of an issue, because with the exception of keeping straight which Wroth brother ended up with which female, I can't say I was all that confused (though I did have to stop and remember who the eff La Dorada was even though that was from the last book -- oops!), and it's been quite a while since I've read the previous novels in the series.
* Another thing that might give some readers pause is the squick value... While most of the horror and gore is off-screen, there are multiple references to vivisection, torture, sexual abuse of a minor, and a few cases of gory retribution. And keep in mind I said "most" -- there are definitely a few scenes that involve quite a bit of gore and ick factor. Like I said, it's not like it's in the realm of Stephen King or anything, but definitely not for some of the more sensitive readers.
Yeah. That's all I got lol I think some fans of her earlier stories might think it a bit too smutty, but while it's most definitely not a YA read, it's not like it's delved into the erotica genre either.. I, for one, thought it was just the right level of hotness (and can I just say *guh* at the tattoos and body piercings? *swoons*)
**spoiler alert** This book was so good that I'm hesitant to read the sequel because I know it can't possibly be as good as this one lol
I love the cha**spoiler alert** This book was so good that I'm hesitant to read the sequel because I know it can't possibly be as good as this one lol
I love the character progressions and how Ann Aguirre wasn't afraid to kill off major characters over the course of the story... That gave it a gritty realism that you have to respect, not to mention keeping you on your toes as a reader, because you never know who's gonna bite the big one next...
The first person POV helped as well I think, since I've recently discovered a strong liking for first person POV in my reading ;)
Don't get me wrong, I'm as into a good old fashioned PWP ("Plot? What plot?") story as the next gal.
But th**spoiler alert** Meh. Not really my thing..
Don't get me wrong, I'm as into a good old fashioned PWP ("Plot? What plot?") story as the next gal.
But this one just didn't do it for me.
I really wanted to like it. The premise is great -- BBW hooks up with an uber-hot vampire alpha male for a weekend of amazing sex, only he was expecting a thin, blonde, white chick, and, well, our heroine isn't any of these.
PERFECT SETUP for both some amazing angst and awesome smexin, doncha think?
Only.. It wasn't... Both the hero and heroine were practically bipolar with their mood swings, the whole "in blood" thing was a bit squicky for me, but beyond that, the hero goes out and bangs other people... Wait, no, not only does he go bang other people, but we get the joy (sarcasm) of reading it in full descriptive glory.
Now IDK, I don't read a whole heck of a lot of "erotica" (I typically prefer smutty romances that are less about the "sperm" and tons of other graphically explicit words and phrases that I can't type in my review, and more about the hot-banging-leading-to-true-love), so that definitely could be my problem with this book... It's just that I want my hero to, well, be faithful. There's nothing sexy about a man going off and @#$%ing some other chick (especially not in explicit detail) while he's trying to work out his new connection/feelings/desires/whatever with the heroine. And then for her to find out about it and forgive him (and then tumble into bed with him) in the span of a five minute conversation?
*shakes head* Not sexy.
Not to mention, who the heck has a "fantasy" about having unprotected sex? I mean, I get the wanting to go without a condom, especially if you're going to be with someone who can't carry/transmit STI's, but to intentionally stop taking your birth control two weeks before a wild weekend? Srsly? *shakes head*
But, like I said, I'm not as into the straight "erotica" type novels as I am into "erotic romance" (keyword being romance).. Stuff like Larissa Ione or Lisa Marie Rice, so take my review with a big grain of salt.