**spoiler alert** Short version: Can't recommend this book, will not be reading the sequel.
Long version: I blame myself for not reading the back cove...more**spoiler alert** Short version: Can't recommend this book, will not be reading the sequel.
Long version: I blame myself for not reading the back cover blurb to get an idea of what this story was about before I picked it off the pile of books I got at a convention. I don't usually read erotica, and probably wouldn't have started it if I had realized this was another 50 Shades riff.
At first, the story was intriguing and very engaging. The path of self-discovery through sex with total strangers fulfilling a waitress's deepest, darkest, distressingly vanilla fantasies, all arranged by a secret society, felt a bit... erm... hard to believe. Still, in the beginning, the writing sucked me in.
From the start, I didn't like that Cassie, the MC, was crushing hard on her boss, Will, who owns the cafe where she works. The boss/secretary (or similar) trope squicks me out, and it was even worse because he was in a relationship with another waitress who worked for him. Note that Cassie explains in the narrative that he had asked her out first, but she turned him down--which doesn't make me think very highly of Will, considering he uses his employees as a dating pool. It's a point in favor of the author's skill that she intrigued me enough to stay with the story despite my issues with that type of plot-line and the love interest being in a committed relationship with someone else.
The sexual fantasies were, at first, titillating, but at some point I felt like skimming them because it felt like more of the same. For being fantasies, there wasn't much particularly daring or unusual aside from the fact that Cassie was getting down and dirty with perfect strangers. Once the shock and initial "tee hee!" wore off, most of the time I worried more about whether her partners had been tested for STDs before the hookups than what new aspect of her personality would shine after the latest unlikely scenario.
In the latter third of the book, the writing felt weaker and rushed, the characterization of the MC and a few of the side characters seemed inconsistent with the rest of the book, and the "rival" for the love interest's attention became too cartoonish to take seriously. Which was a shame, because it was off to such a promising start, and there was a great deal to like about the book, such as the diversity, the descriptions of New Orleans, and the main character's decision to take control of her life and sexuality.
Then I hit the "surprise" ending--maybe 5 to 10 pages left--and threw the book. Then picked it up and tossed it in the trash. Hence the DNF. Read below the spoiler alert line if you want to know the specifics.
Once Will breaks up with his girlfriend of 3 years and has sex with Cassie, it seems like all is well and we get the requisite HEA with no unsightly strings. However, the morning after, Cassie goes to work and Will's ex shows up to announce that she's pregnant and Will offered to marry her.
Enjoyed this one quite a lot more than expected. Great, smart UF with a mystery that kept me guessing up 'til the end.
Only niggle was that I didn't b...moreEnjoyed this one quite a lot more than expected. Great, smart UF with a mystery that kept me guessing up 'til the end.
Only niggle was that I didn't buy the culprit who was committing the murders. That might seem huge, but compared to the rest of the book and the ending, it wasn't that big a deal. Recommended if you like UF.(less)
Cute and silly. At times, it got a little too repetitive, and it felt a little too much like Carolyn accepted Christian's lies about his family and se...moreCute and silly. At times, it got a little too repetitive, and it felt a little too much like Carolyn accepted Christian's lies about his family and sexuality too blithely when he finally got around to coming clean to her. Her doubts about herself and her body were understandable but it did get exasperating after a while. Christian's methods to get close to Carolyn were uncool, but still pretty funny to read about.
A good beach read. Recommend if you're looking for something light and humorous to while away a couple of hours.(less)
I'm torn about this book. To be perfectly honest, if someone whose opinion I trust had not told me that it got better, I would have given up within th...moreI'm torn about this book. To be perfectly honest, if someone whose opinion I trust had not told me that it got better, I would have given up within the first few chapters, maybe sooner.
Before you read my issues with it, I do want you to know that it was a compelling story, and most of the characters were very well fleshed out. The fantasy elements were well thought out, the plot was cleverly executed, and the romance between Lourdes and Rhys was sweet. The ending was satisfying, and the journey to get there was worthwhile.
In the beginning, my knee-jerk reaction when I realized that the story was about a people who can produce some kind of thread from their hands or fingers and with venomous fangs--spider-like traits--was to "NOPE" right on out to the next book. It wasn't clear to me from the back cover blurb, and spiders are high on my meter of "Things That Squick Me Out".
I did stick it out, and I'll admit that in the beginning my arachnophobia contributed to my desire to find a reason--any reason--not to read to the end. The name soup with the people and their clans made it very confusing and difficult to follow at times, and was another issue I had a hard time overlooking. Araneidae, Mimetidae, Theridiidae, Salticidae... Those are just some of the clan names. Some of the character names are tongue-twisters, too. I won't go into that here, but suffice to say it was enough to make me wish for a guide chart of some kind to refer to now and then.
Aside from those issues, the story itself was intriguing. Lourdes made an excellent, strong-willed heroine who used every tool at her disposal, including herself, to solve the murder of her parents and discover whether her sister had turned traitor. The originality and effort that went into the world-building can't be denied. The ending was warm and fuzzy, just right for a sweet romance, and the buildup of sexual tension between Lourdes and Rhys made the ending satisfying.
The road to get to that ending was rocky, with a few stumbles along the way, but once it got going, it was a decent read. I can't in all honesty say that I recommend A Hint of Frost highly, but if you're in the mood for a romance with strong fantasy elements, you might enjoy it.
Disclosure: Review copy received from author. This in no way impacted my review or opinion of this story.
What a fun book!
Kit Colbana is a ha...moreDisclosure: Review copy received from author. This in no way impacted my review or opinion of this story.
What a fun book!
Kit Colbana is a half-blood Aneira–something like an Amazon with magical powers–who works as a private investigator in an alternate, present-day Florida. Due to her half-blood nature, her grandmother abused her badly in the process of training her to be a warrior. In the present, Kit uses the skills that were beaten into her to stay alive and help some of the more powerful supernaturals in her community, which is how she came to the attention of the cat shifters. The love interest and an enforcer for the cats, Damon, delivers her up to his alpha, whose ward has run away.
And it’s no wonder the kid ran off. This woman is scary powerful and completely batshit.
The crazy-ass leader of the cats isn’t the only one who has had a family member go missing. The more Kit and Damon dig into the case, the clearer it becomes that young non-humans of all flavors have been disappearing. This strikes a very personal chord for Kit, as she knows what it’s like to be abused, alone, and scared. Her concern for them and drive to find the missing kid(s) leads her to making deals with a vampire, visiting dangerous shifters, and turning to local witches for help.
I really enjoyed this story. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I liked the world building, the way the mystery was set up, and how Kit was very realistically in an emotionally bad place from the start. Her tragic past made it clear that the case was impacting her in a very bad way, and it made the search feel more personal, somehow.
There are a couple of things which did pull me out of the story. The repetition of certain points, particularly near the beginning, and then again towards the end, did make me want to skim some parts to get on with it. While it slowed the pace to a degree, the way the tension kept building as new facets of the case came to light did keep me glued to the pages.
The other thing that bothered me was how much of an alphahole the love interest turned out to be. As hot as Damon is portrayed, and though he gentled towards her later, I didn’t feel there was enough of an apology out of him for assaulting Kit or really any change in him as a person. I’m not convinced that he was such a great guy or that he really grew out of that assholish, abusive behavior where anyone else was concerned, particularly considering how she had to use the threat of leaving him to push him to do the right thing near the end of the book. His change in attitude towards her over the course of the story seemed pretty organic for a shifter finding his mate, and the sexual tension was phenominal… but I’m not convinced that choosing Damon over the vampire, Jude, was really any better for her. If you’ve read the book, you know what a condemnation of his character that is.
Characters making and suffering the consequences of bad decisions is what makes for juicy reading, but there’s a line between alpha and alphahole. Damon has his sexy moments, but the jury (at least in my case) is still out on him for a long-term relationship with Kit. She really rushed into a decision that can’t be taken back, and it really made my respect for her as a character take a nosedive when she chose to tie herself so permanently to Damon in the end.
Aside from that, the author does a fabulous job of building the tension, working the mystery, and tying all the loose ends together. It certainly didn’t turn me off of the story–I devoured half of it in a single sitting. This is a real page-turner, and I do recommend it if you’re in the mood for a compelling, gritty read.
In short, this is a fascinating new urban fantasy with a dash of romance, I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on the next book.(less)