*I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this from Dear Author.*
Sophia Russo is a Justice Psy, or J-Psy. She's the one the cops and the prosecutors call i...more*I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this from Dear Author.*
Sophia Russo is a Justice Psy, or J-Psy. She's the one the cops and the prosecutors call in when they need memories retrieved. She first encounters Max Shannon when she's called in to retrieve memories from a serial killer.
Max has the best solve-rate in the city and has a natural shield that keeps the Psy from influencing him. They both sense something interesting about each other, but after Sophia is done with her task they expect to never see each other again. Unfortunately, someone is killing off a Psy councilor's advisers. Max and Sophia are thrown back together to figure out what's going on.
One of the best things about this series is the world the author has created. Each book adds more twists and turns. In some of the books you'll see threads resolved, but in others you'll see those threads twine together in a way that makes you more aware of the bigger picture. Throughout the last couple books we've seen multiple individual strands pop up. We've wondered about the characters we get a glimpse at. What is their ultimate purpose? Are they the bad guys? Are they the good guys? Are they shrouded in silence or are they hiding themselves and fooling everyone? This is the book where those strands start to weave together. Big changes are coming for the Psy, and this is the book where things start coming to a head.
I really liked Max and Sophia. They both had very messed up pasts, but when they came together, they made a stronger whole. Sophia's reaction to Silence was rather unique because of her J status. The J's in general were rather special. Certain side effects of their condition were known but ignored. They were too valuable to risk damaging.
Max and Sophia had a great dynamic together. Sophia was the more stiff and formal of the two, but what can you expect? She's the one that came from Silence. But, she was willing to embrace anything that Max would give her. More than that, she needed what he could give her. Max had a great personality. He didn't let past hardships turn him brooding or emo. He had a playful personality and he when circumstances didn't require him to be serious he was fun loving. I liked that he wasn't above being embarrassed once in a while. There was one or two times in the book where his face might have turned a little red.
There were a lot of players out to cause trouble in this book. They were willing to undercut each other to gain the advantage. It was nice because you couldn't be sure, at least at first, of who was responsible for certain actions.
I like how the author makes every descent from Silence and the Net unique. How it resolved with Sophia - well, I didn't see that coming. Based on past books I really wouldn't have guessed that path. I love it when an author surprises me like that.
The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because of a few issues.
I thought the person from Max's past showing up right then was extremely convenient. It just seemed a little too far fetched. The otherness that Sophia experienced seemed too easily solved too. I would have expected something that could be so damaging would be harder to control. Also, I liked that they took it slow with the physical sensation. If you haven't been touched for 4 years it would be extremely overwhelming to go all the way all at once. Having said that, I still think it was too drawn out. By the time they had sex it was like finally. I was tired of them dwelling so much on wanting to have sex but not quite doing it.
Reading this book has made me so impatient for the next one. I can't wait to see what's on the horizon for the Psy.
For all you Hawk and Sienna fans: there was only a brief mention of them. But, that short mention still seemed encouraging. :)(less)
Once again I have encountered a book that I just cannot work up the energy to finish. I was going to struggle through it, but after thinking about it...moreOnce again I have encountered a book that I just cannot work up the energy to finish. I was going to struggle through it, but after thinking about it I just couldn’t make myself. I can (usually) overlook thin characters and crappy worldbuilding by focusing on the good features of the book, but I just cannot overlook a writing style that I find, frankly, horrible. There’s no looking past that. It’s everywhere.
I made it to page 100 before giving up. By page 15 I was already doing a status update (on Goodreads) complaining about the rushed feel of the pacing and the way the writing felt like it was skimming the surface of everything without any real depth. By page 36 I was cringing over the awkward, forced feeling of the dialogue. Things still seemed skimmed over on the whole, but the author also over explained things that really should have been cut.
Pg. 1 - 2
The flyer on the bulletin board at Strega Nona's Pizza Oven read "Room for Rent: $750 per Month." At the bottom of the page was a line of tear-away slips bearing a handwritten phone number, several of which were already taken.
I happened to be at Strega Nona's that particular day because I was looking at a loft in Tribeca. Since I was nearby, I decided to grab a slice. Located at Broadway and Perdition, on the border of Golgotham, it's one of the best pizza joints in the city.
Sounds too good to be true, I thought to myself as I tore off the next tab in line.
Housing at that price, just for a single room in a larger apartment, was hard to come by. I knew this because I'd been hunting for a new place for several weeks, without any luck. Even though I had a tidy quarterly income, courtesy of robber baron ancestors, I still had to watch my budget. The materials used in my work were far from cheap, and the last thing I wanted was to have to go to my parents, hat in hand, halfway through a project and beg for an advance on my next trust fund payment.
The reason behind my need to relocate was that the management of my so-called artist's loft in SoHo, where I both worked and lived, had recently informed me that the amount of noise I generated creating my metal sculptures was in violation of their most recent tenancy rules and that I was to cease immediately or face the termination of my lease. Apparently, the investment bankers and junior-level stockbrokers who lived on my floor didn't appreciate the sound of twenty-gauge steel being hammered into twenty-first-century art.
I decided it was far easier to move in toto than to either argue the point with the condo board or find separate studio space elsewhere in the city. As it was, there were some unpleasant memories associated with my current digs, all of them involving a certain ex-boyfriend, that made relocating attractive to me.
I checked the time on my cell phone as I shoveled a slice of pepperoni-and-andouille-sausage into my mouth. I had a meeting at three with Derrick Templeton, a Chelsea gallery owner interested in showing my sculptures. Since there were no subway stops in Golgotham, I had to walk either to Chambers or Wall Street if I wanted to catch a train uptown.
After all, time and gallery owners wait for no woman.
I thought that this must have been a first book for the author so I looked at her booklist on Goodreads to check—because I’m inclined to be a bit more understanding to first time authors--but it’s actually not. That really makes me feel that appreciating the author’s style must just be a matter of taste. Obviously there’s a market for it out there. I’m just not part of it.
By page 100 nothing had really happened. Tate had moved into Golgotham and hung out constantly with her new landlord, Hexe. She marvels at his colorful hair and his sixth finger for each hand. She makes a lot of “nump” (equivalent to a Muggle) comments that have her blushing and apologizing constantly, but that’s about it. I was still waiting to stumble upon a plot.
Also, who rents a room and then spends every waking hour with the landlord that they just met? And what landlord lets them? It just seemed really bizarre. I eventually checked to make sure I hadn’t accidentally chosen a YA book. It wasn’t, but the characters really felt young. Especially Tate.
One other thing I need to point out—dialog tags are really, really irritating when they are used constantly. Everything was said ‘sheepishly’ or ‘heatedly.’ It was quite annoying. Also, the author had Tate do huge info dumps in her dialogue. See the quote below. The initial question is posed by Hexe, but the next couple paragraphs of dialogue are all Tate. Until the next question, of course.
Pg. 42 - 43
"What made you decide to become an artist?"
We were walking back to the house when he asked me that. I paused in midstep, forcing Hexe to turn and look back at me as I spoke.
"I've always had a creative bent, even as a toddler. At least that's what my nanny claimed. The first time I realized I wanted to be an artist was in middle school. My school took a day trip to the Guggenheim. I was fascinated by the exhibits--enough that I went back on my own every weekend for nearly three months. When we studied sculpting in art class, I tried to re-create this statue I'd seen there called The Dying Gaul, in modeling clay, no less. It was awful, of course, but there was something about creating something from nothing, using only my hands and will, which was very--gratifying. After that, I was hooked.
"As you may have guess, I grew up rich. Filthy, stinking rich. All that was expected of me was to grow up, marry someone else who grew up filthy, stinking rich and have a couple of filthy, stinking rich kids to inherit the family fortune. I knew so many brats with Roman numerals behind their names who had no reason or desire to make anything of themselves besides what they were the minute they were born, it was disgusting. The last thing I want to do is add to that 'tradition.'
"The trouble with that lifestyle is this: Hanging around doing nothing while waiting for an inheritance is boring. So many of my old schoolmates got fucked up on drugs and alcohol, mainly out of boredom. I swear, half of the girls in my graduating class in high school developed eating disorders simply to have something to do! The sick thing is, my mother wouldn't have any problems with my being anorexic--after all, that's expected from someone of my background."
"I take it your parents don't approve of your career choice?"
"They like to call it a 'phase.' I'm going through, like I'm the moon. I guess they think I'll eventually grow out of it--kind of like baby teeth. They keep saying they don't want to see me get my hopes up and end up hurt, which is another way of saying they're expecting me to fail--at least, that's what they're hoping for."
So, read over the quoted pieces. If they didn’t bother you then chances are this book might be more to your taste.
I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the main characters in this book a lot, but even if they were mediocre I...moreReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the main characters in this book a lot, but even if they were mediocre I might have given this book at least a 4 anyway. The excitement of getting back into the Changeling world and the ultra-excitement of getting to see way more of Hawke would have probably won me over even if Indigo and Drew were lame. Luckily they weren’t, but I’m just saying… :)
I liked Indigo--although I did have a few issues with her that I’ll get into-- but what I felt for her comes nowhere near my love of Drew. Wow, Nalini Singh has hit the jackpot here! I’ve liked a lot of the other guys in the series, but none of them have ever hit the level of sheer lovability that Drew did. He was so sweet and determined! But he still managed to be utterly masculine and hot at the same time. That may sound like an easy thing to portray, but for me it’s not. It infrequently comes off as a good balance, but here it did.
Drew knows (has known for a while) who he wants and he’s determined to win her. He tried to play it smart and approach her the best way possible, but sometimes he just couldn’t. I loved that we got to see him mess up his approach again and again. It really gave me a great opportunity to watch him grow and be bigger than his pride or anger. He would admit when he was wrong and he would put himself on the line again and again to repent. It was so romantic to watch.
That’s actually where my irritation with Indy comes into play. As the story unfolds I, the reader, get to learn about Indy’s hang-ups right alongside Drew. It did make her more sympathetic for me, but it was really hard to watch her shut Drew down again and again. A comparison was made in the book of Indy’s attitude resembling a Psy. That was so apt! I just had a hard time sinking into that mindset with a Changeling. She was just not what I was expecting, so it was hard to like her at times.
I’ll be honest, she could be pretty cold. I still liked her, but Drew was so much more approachable that it was hard not to align my sympathies with him. I could see why he was so upset and struggled to define himself. Her attitude and her refusal to accept him when her narrow mind couldn’t see his position really irked me. It’s what ultimately dropped the grade a 1/2 point. I found myself really frustrated at times.
There are just a few more things that I have to give a nod of acknowledgment to. The first is the conversation that Judd and Drew have. I just have to point out how hysterical I think it is that Judd was giving Drew relationship advice! Even Drew is taken aback. On page 40 he said:
Judd sighed. "That's not your strength."
"You're giving me dating advice?" Andrew was dumbfounded.
"I'm mated," Judd pointed out with a cool arrogance that almost hid the laughter in his voice. "You can't even get the woman you want into bed. I'd listen if I were you."
LOL! The other thing involved the Platypus. I read about it and I COMPLETELY melted. Awwwww! I dare you to read about it and not feel a little gooey. ;)
I cannot end this review without mentioning more about the Psy and the developments with Hawke. Not much happened regarding the Psy. Don’t misunderstand, there was information about the council and new developments, but that was definitely not the focus of the book. I feel that this is one of the more character driven stories in the series. There’s much, much less politics and maneuvering than in a lot of the others.
Now, the Hawke developments… I can’t tell you what they are!!! But rest assured that there are many, many excellent details and developments with him. How could there not be? We’re in the Snow Dancer den constantly. :) I bounced on my toes quite a few times after reading something particularly interesting and looked around in vain for someone to talk to about it. Alas, there was no one. Except my husband, of course. ;P Poor guy got stuck listening to me gush.
I’ll leave you with one final quote from page 240 that made me giggle.
"Did you really steal her phone and record your voice howling her name as the ringtone?"
I won this book from Goodread's First Reads program.
I was pretty excited about getting this book. I love movies that involve government organizations...moreI won this book from Goodread's First Reads program.
I was pretty excited about getting this book. I love movies that involve government organizations or spies. If I could bundle my love of Jason Bourne style intrigue and action with an in depth relationship I would be one happy camper. Who could pass that up? Too bad that spies are a lot more boring in book version...
This is going to be a really hard review for me to write. It will probably end up being a lot shorter than my other ones too. It's really hard to think of what to say about a book that you didn't love and you didn't hate. It was just...there. I was very apathetic about the whole thing.
Even things that normally irritated me didn't get a rise out of me in this one. The relationship was flat and underdeveloped, but I just didn't care enough to actually want more depth. The secret agents seemed really dense and blatant, but I just didn't care enough to be bothered. There was even a part that I thought would piss me off for sure. It was where Owen and Tyler tried to use some computer skills to get into an encrypted thumb drive. It would have been much better if the author had just glossed over the details. Then it wouldn't have seemed like a third grader could do it... But even then it was only a minor irritation that passed quickly.
There was nothing wrong with the book, but it just seemed to plod along for me. The action scenes were brief and uneventful, and so were the sex scenes. It just felt monotonous. My attention wandered frequently while I read this, and I kept picking it up and putting it down. I even picked up two more books in between the time I started this book and finished it.
When the bad guy was revealed I actually couldn't remember who he was. I had to skim in the beginning to refresh myself. There were a lot of names thrown around in this book, and with my attention wandering it was hard to remember them all. I really felt that the bad guy seemed to come out of nowhere. Also, that was the lamest reason for being a bad guy that I've ever heard...
I think if you like reading about spies and government organizations you might enjoy this book. As for me, I'll stick to the movies from now on. At least then I have lots of cool fight scenes to distract me from thin characterization.
2 1/2 stars - I didn't hate it, but I sure didn't like it.
If you haven’t read any of the previous books I strongly recommend that you do not jump into the series here. A large draw for the series is Ethan and...moreIf you haven’t read any of the previous books I strongly recommend that you do not jump into the series here. A large draw for the series is Ethan and Merit and their connection. Their attraction grows with each book and it’s best to read them in order and watch the tension build. Plus, you’ll probably be lost about the current situation with the humans if you haven’t at least read the last book.
Starting this book, I was pretty nervous. The last book, Twice Bitten, took me high and then it drop kicked me low. It managed to end on a hopeful note—so I didn’t have a complete meltdown—but I had some definite reservations about this one.
Surprisingly, everything seemed great as I read further and further. Ethan has taken huge strides from the guy we met back in book one. He is honestly repentant about his decision in Twice Bitten and tries his best to get Merit to give him another chance. I really liked that although Merit could see his sincerity she didn’t just fall back into his arms. She has some much deserved reservations and it’ll take time and patience on Ethan’s part to show her that he won’t falter this time. Too often heroines forgive and forget before I’m ready for them to. It’s nice to see a heroine who can hold a grudge—especially because it’s not held maliciously.
I really enjoyed seeing Merit back together with Mallory. One of my favorite things about the first book was the fact that Merit and Mallory were such great friends. Often in books it seems like the main character lives in a vacuum, so it was very refreshing to have so many outside ties with Merit. Although Lindsey’s nice to read about I still miss Mallory when she’s gone. It was really nice to see Merit being there for Mallory just as much as Mallory is usually there for her. I still really wish we got more details about the magic and society that Mallory’s now a part of, but I understand that taking that tangent might take away too much from Merit’s story. In addition to getting more time with Mallory we also got to see more of Jeff and Merit’s grandfather. So it looks like the old gang is back together again. ;)
I really liked the subject Merit was investigating. Not only was it really interesting (and scary) to think of vampires acting like that, but it gave Merit an excuse to get out and about and take us deeper into the vampire world. I also loved that Merit took the lead and convinced Ethan to step back. It didn’t do her any favors, but it was nice to see him trust her and it was nice to see her really getting into her role as Sentinel.
Another thing that was appreciated (and long overdue) was Merit’s final conversation with Morgan. Thank God that the author took the time for that--he has had that coming for a while now. I’m also really glad that Ethan pointed out Merit’s hypocrisy regarding withholding information. The majority of the blame for their messed up relationship lies with Ethan, but Merit sure can be hypocritical when she’s on the other end of things.
Based on my enjoyment of the book you might be wondering why I only gave this one 3 stars. Honestly, before page 335 I was all set to give this one 4.5 stars. But then page 335 rolled around and it was all I could do to restrain myself from setting this book ON FIRE. I thought about giving it a 1 or 2 grade, but after waiting a few days to grade it (and letting myself calm down) I didn't feel quite right doing that. The beginning was too good for me to let the horrible, horrible ending drive the grade down that far. So I just split it down the middle and gave it a 3.
You know those crazy readers who get way too attached and feel personally betrayed when authors throw in huge twists or catastrophic events? That’s me! I am that crazy reader! I literally stared dumbfounded at the page before frantically rereading that section, hoping that I read that wrong. When the shock wore off…oh, the rage. You don’t even want me to describe what I was feeling right then. I had to walk away from my computer to keep myself from sending a vicious email to the author. Luckily, I calmed down enough to prevent that idiocy, but then the depression set in. It’s been a few days and I’m still not quite over it.
I am not quite ready to dramatically swear off this series. I have read/watched way too many Paranormal and Fantasy books/movies to assume that this can’t be fixed somehow. So I’ll read the next book—although I think I’ll approach it cautiously. But if it’s not fixed…I think I’ll be saying goodbye. I do not enjoy reading books when I can’t trust the author. And I’d never trust the author after this. Unless, of course, it’s some elaborate plot that’ll go “Ha ha! Got you! Did you see your face?” and I’ll be like, “Oh my God, you totally did! That really sucked, but it’s okay now because you didn’t really mean it.” So I guess we’ll see in November.
"Never fear," he said. "You may have gotten me down, but I've been above you before, and I'm sure I'll manage it again."
I have a confession to make... I was afraid to read this book. I have a serious love affair with this autho...moreI won this ARC in a contest at Dear Author.
I have a confession to make... I was afraid to read this book. I have a serious love affair with this author's Guardian series. I mean, how many of my Goodreads friends did I nag into reading it lately? Five? I know they finally broke down and read it just to shut me up, but that's okay, because they loved it anyway and I got more people to talk about it with. So, I was afraid something would happen and I wouldn't be able to get into the new series and I'd lose a favorite author. Thank God I slapped the neurotic out of myself and read it! It was great!
So this is an alternate view of England. Two hundred years ago some of the English, now referred to as bounders, fled the Horde and only returned to England after the Iron Duke had broken the Horde control. The bounders aren't very popular because they've come back to try to claim their titles and their land and are rich, while the people of England who stayed and suffered are poor. The Horde hid nanoagents (or bugs) in the sugar they traded with England. When the time was right, they activated the bugs and thus began the Horde control. Nine years ago, the Iron Duke had broken the Horde control on England. For his trouble, his pirating was pardoned and his was awarded a Dukedom.
This book opens with Mina Wentworth being called to the house of the Iron Duke to investigate a murder. She works for the Metropolitan Police Force and is very good at her job. The Iron Duke, Rhys Trahaearn, is willing to let her investigate, but wants to be involved and informed of all the particulars. Because of his particular status in England, Mina is forced to agree.
It took me a while to figure out exactly why Mina was a pariah in her own society. I don't know if the author was slowly hinting at it, or if I'm just slow, but it took me a while to figure out exactly who the Horde were and why her connection to them would be easy to spot. I was expecting something to do with the nanos or prosthetics. I had a lightbulb moment midway through and felt really dumb. Please let it have been the author's plan and not me being dense! :P Once I figured it out, those insults made a lot more sense...
The beginning of this book was hard for me to get into. Not because of the writing or the characters or anything, it just took me a while to fully acquaint myself with the technology aspect of it. I've got to admit, I find it a lot easier to watch a steampunk movie than read a steampunk book. A movie requires much less understanding for me than a book, and I'll own it - I just don't understand engines. The details start coming about engines and machines and it just blows my mind. So, I think this won't affect anyone who understands these aspects better than I do. I struggled for a while, but did eventually understand the technology and the world. But that lack of understanding isn't unique to this book. I always feel it when reading steampunk. It's just me.
I loved the characters in this book! Not just Mina and Rhys, but the side characters too. Yasmeen, Lady Cosair, a merchant captain with a bad ass attitude. Archimedes Fox, the adventurer who seems to have quite an attachment to one of the other characters. Scarsdale, an excellent character who despairs about Trahaearn's blunt speech and who is incapable of getting onto an airship without being extremely drunk, drugged, or knocked out. And then there's Mina's coworker, Constable Newberry... What an absolute sweetie. I really enjoyed his relationship and loyalty to Mina.
Mina was an excellent heroine. She's smart and assessing at all times. She doesn't go looking for trouble, but she won't back down either. The years under Horde control have had a huge impact on her. She will not be controlled again. Not by a person, and not by her own emotions. Her situation in life is so sad. Where can she go so people will look at her and see something other than the Horde? She is constantly having to hide in the shadows and prove her own worth. Poor girl. She lives in fear, although it is not always apparent. Fear of being controlled, fear of being hurt, fear of being the cause of her family's suffering. Her every action is influenced by those fears.
Rhys is a hero who just wants to be ignored. He likes the power and influence his name gives him, but he doesn't want the hero worship. He doesn't want people to look at him and thank him, it makes him uncomfortable. The public takes his image and runs with it and no one seems to care about the truth of his past. He doesn't care, a lie can serve him better than the truth at times. Unfortunately, he seems to forget the image he has been given and pushes Mina and tests her, not knowing that she's judging his actions by who she thinks he is.
Rhys had a really harsh childhood that has shaped his view of the world and his relationships to people. He values people by their use to them and keeps them or discards them depending on their value. He knows that everyone has a price, and has no problem with manipulating someone into the situation he wants them to be in. Thank goodness for Scarsdale. He's the voice of reason telling Rhys when he's fumbling things with his pursuit of Mina. I cracked up at the severe understatement of the term, "bad sport," that Rhys and Scarsdale kept throwing around. I loved Rhys though, because once he figured out that his manipulation was doing more harm than good he dropped it and started tweaking another angle.
There is a part in this book that I think is going to make some readers uncomfortable. I, personally, loved that it was there and that they had to deal with it in an honest and adult way. It was, sincerely, an honest mistake. Rhys didn't mean to do it like that, and Mina couldn't help her reaction. I loved how it all worked out.
Can I just point out that there are zombies in here! How cool is that? I didn't read the summary of the book, I just wanted it based on the author, so they were a big surprise. I loved their roll and I loved the explanation for their existence!
The only problem I had was toward the end. Mina and Rhys and their total miscommunication made me want to smack their heads together. It totally fit with their characters, and the fact that they seem to speak a different language at times, but I still found it a bit frustrating. I just wanted to sit them both down and have an intervention! But it was wonderful too.
I’m so glad that I ended up liking this book! I enjoyed the first book in the series, Ravishing in Red, but...moreReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I’m so glad that I ended up liking this book! I enjoyed the first book in the series, Ravishing in Red, but I was rather unimpressed with the second book, Provocative in Pearls. I had a deal with myself that this would be my tiebreaker on whether or not to continue the series. I was lying to myself, of course! How could I not read the fourth book when I heard it was about Castleford? I do have to admit that I am relieved that I’ve liked two out of three of these books, though. It makes me confident that I’ll love Castleford’s story as much as I think I will. ;P
Wow, I really wasn’t expecting a heroine like Celia. I knew her circumstances from the previous books, but I thought she’d end up being toned down for her own book. What can I say, everyone else does it. How was I to know that Madeline Hunter would make her character feel so real? Kudos to her, though! I was definitely impressed.
Celia didn’t spend any time with her mother, Alessandra, a famous courtesan, while she was growing up. But when she was sixteen she was brought to live with her. Alessandra began grooming Celia to walk in her footsteps and Celia didn’t react how you would expect in a romance novel. She took to it like a duck in water. She appreciated the thought of having pretty things and a nice house. She took most of her mother’s lessons to heart and had a very upfront attitude about pleasure. She embraced it and learned to focus on her own pleasure even if she didn’t really like who she was with. It was just business. Here’s a little hint of her view while she’s talking to Jonathan from page 131.
"People always build some story around pleasure. The story of marriage or the story of love, or at least a brief tale of commerce.”
Her pragmatic attitude was extremely refreshing. She may have chosen to walk a different path than her mother, but she didn’t reject it out of repugnance for the life. I really liked that, because she knows growing up who she is and what her place in society is going to be. It was nice to see a character who didn’t martyr herself for her pride and honor.
All that practicality and acceptance was in every aspect of her personality as an adult. She was just so grown up. It felt like I was reading about a real person. Sometimes I was a little turned off by her choices, but I still liked her because it made total sense for her personality.
Jonathan was another interesting character. He really turned out to be such a nice guy. I wouldn’t say that he carried the relationship, but I really feel that without him Celia wouldn’t have ended up in quite the same arrangement. She was too aware of her place in the world to dare ask for more. Luckily he was there to insist that she was worth it! I really liked how things turned out in the end. I also Awwwww!ed when I found out about his role in her past when he talked to her mom. That was such a good guy thing to do.
I really appreciated how things turned out for both Jonathan and Celia with their families. While it might not satisfy everyone who desires perfect endings, it satisfied me for its very lack of one. It just made it feel more authentic. Especially when a certain something at the very end was predicted to take so long. There’s no magic snap of the fingers here to solve all their problems.
Where I think this book really shined over the other ones in the series is in the friendships between the men and the women. We’ve met all these characters before, of course, but by the very nature of the girls’ stay with Daphne we never felt like we knew them very well. Everyone just had too many secrets. Here they feel like puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. They talk and they laugh and they gossip. I really like it. One of my favorite quotes in the book comes from one of those conversations. On page 149 Verity (from Provocative in Pearls) and Daphne were teasing Celia about the possibility of her and Jonathan getting closer.
"...did I mention, Verity, that Mrs. Hill tried a new kind of trifle the other night? It had a bit of lemon in the cream."
"It sounds delicious," Verity said.
"I do favor trifle myself, so I must ask her for the recipe. I wonder if trifle is called trifle because it was once served on trifle? That is what my father called our everyday pewter when I was young. Trifle."
"How interesting. One could serve trifle on trifle to a man at dinner, who later trifles with--"
"Could we return to the topic at hand?" Celia interrupted pointedly.
Daphne looked innocent. "I did not realize we had left it, Celia."
It cracked me up! But it wasn’t just the women who seemed like more of a real unit. The men were more abrasive and joking with each other too. I think we’re finally getting to see them act like a close group together.
The only complaint I had was that the pacing felt a bit slow in the middle. I still enjoyed it, but it broke the momentum enough that I couldn’t love it.
I cannot wait until next May so I can finally get my hands on the next book! The author has been teasing me with little fascinating snippets of Castleford’s life and personality since the first book! He was almost unlikable in the first book, but something about him was just so compelling that he stole the show every time he came on scene. I’ve loved watching him grow with each book. His attitude on Tuesdays cracks me up! I have to end this review before I write a book myself, but let me leave you with some great quotes involving Castleford that I found in this book. Maybe it’ll whet your appetite enough to want to read about him too. ;)
"You came too early. You are supposed to come at night. Ten o'clock would be good, tomorrow. There is a pugilist match to see, and we can find some whores later. I hope you like common ones. I have never understood men paying a hundred pounds for what can be bought for a shilling."
"I don't like them too common."
"I do. Common and lusty and fun. No sad stories of being driven to sin by poverty either. There's plenty who like the trade."
"I remember it well. All these men salivating over the pretty virgin. I have never understood the fascination with them. Virgins. For dynastic reasons it is wise to marry one, but that first night has to be clumsy."
"So you were not interested yourself?"
"Hell, no. Nor in the mother, although she had something to her. You could tell she knew her trade. But if I wanted to swive a woman who subjects me to salons and assemblies and expects diamonds for the effort, I would just get married."
He ran his fingers through his hair. And froze. "What the hell--" He groped around his head, trying to make sense of what he did and did not feel.
"I had my man cut it while you slept," Castleford said. "It looks much better now. He did a fine job of it."
Jonathan glared at him. "You go too far."
"I can't be seen around town with a man whose hair is so unfashionable. You will thank me once you see it. The women will be swarming you now."
"Rather suddenly Castleford did not appear very drunk at all. Sly intelligence showed in the gaze he settled on Jonathan."
"They should have used me during the war, not you, Albrighton. I have a knack for this investigating business. My analytical powers even impressed me this week."
"Being a duke probably helps too."
"In investigating? Probably so."
"Also in impressing yourself, and in convincing yourself you have the right to interfere."
"So I went there. Hence my sore ass. I did not want to waste too much time on this and thought riding cross-country would be best. I asked some polite and discreet questions and--"
"You are incapable of being discreet, so you are already turning this tale to make yourself look better," Hawkeswell said.
I was so nervous to read this book! Things were settled to a point in the last book, The Demon in Me, but a...moreReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I was so nervous to read this book! Things were settled to a point in the last book, The Demon in Me, but a lot of larger issues were still up in the air. Darrak and Eden still needed to find a way to separate without hurting either one of them, and they needed to find a way to break Darrak’s curse if they had any hope of ever trying to have a relationship.
I wanted to watch it all unfold, but I was worried that the author would drop the ball and I would end up disliking it. That’s not a slur against the author’s skill, that’s just my history with some other series making me skittish. So, I entered the book with mixed feelings but soon found myself just as into it as I was the first book.
I practically inhaled this book. The author has an extremely readable style and the pages just flew by for me. I reread the last quarter of The Demon in Me before starting this so I would be fresh. It was actually really helpful because I didn’t realize I had forgotten so many of the little details that happened at the end! I think skimming it again really enhanced my experience with this book. I was so much more attached and in the moment.
Darrak was such a fabulous character in the last book. For all those who read it, never fear, you won’t be disappointed with his personality in this one! I am pleased to report that he is just as funny and just as reluctantly caring as he was in the first one. His banter and inner dialogue just pops for me. One of my favorite funny quotes from him happens on page 9.
"I hate that guy," Darrak said. "Loathe him. And I can't believe you let him kiss you. I almost made you slap him, but luckily for him he didn't try to slip you the tongue. It's obvious to me that he's only after one thing from you and--" "He's gay," Eden said simply. "Oh." There was a pause. "I totally knew that."
He’s such a spaz sometimes! LOL!
While Darrak is still funny, we really get a more well-rounded view of him in this book. We spend a lot more time in his head and get to watch him struggle with his identity. I really appreciated the identity crisis (even if I wanted to strangle him a time or two). I think watching him struggle with who he was now and the question of whether he even wanted to be that person made him so much more to me. It really made me empathize with him and have more patience while he occasionally behaved badly.
Eden continues to be a character that I love too. She just feels so much more realistic than a lot of heroines out there. She doesn’t melt at the thought of being bound to Darrak. She wants him out! She likes him, but she hates her will being violated like this, and she’s still not quite as sure of him as she’d like to be. In short, she’s smart. She’s always looking out for what’s best for her, but she doesn’t constantly bemoan the circumstances life has thrown at her. She’s had it pretty rough lately, but she’s willing to cope if she can keep a light at the end of the tunnel in sight.
How can I not like her? Even the dumb stuff she does—which I thought was pretty freaking dumb at times!—is understandable. She’s scared, and she’s looking for a helping hand. How can I resent her being willing to trust someone else when that’s the same thing Darrak is asking of her?
Quite a few things happened in this book that I wish I could talk about more. Alas, the dreaded spoilers stop me! I’ll restrain myself, but I do have to mention how pleased I am with how their relationship is progressing. There are no real easy answers for them, but they’re both still pushing themselves to hope for the best. Their determination is such that I can’t help but believe in them, even when the odds are against them.
The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star for me was my impatience with some of Eden’s actions. I wanted to smack her a time or two! She kept making a specific promise (vague for spoilers!) to Darrak and then breaking it. I could see why she was doing it, but it was frustrating. I empathized with her, but I still couldn’t help but get an eye twitch at the same time. But don’t let that discourage you! It was a very slight irritant in my overall enjoyment of the book. I still love Eden’s character and I still love this series for the sheer fun of it.
I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book so I can get more of this excellent series!
This author took a bold risk with this story. I think that the reaction to it will be very polarized....more**spoiler alert** I received this book as an ARC!
This author took a bold risk with this story. I think that the reaction to it will be very polarized. People will either love it or hate it.
Henrietta spends literally half of the book convinced that she is in love with someone other than the hero. She finally believes she's not in love with her cousin, Edward, and a day later she has an epiphany that she loves Kesseley. I agreed that she loved him, but I wasn't convinced she was in love with him.
Henrietta convinces her childhood friend, the Earl of Kesseley, to take her as a companion for his mother when they go to London. Kesseley's mother has finally convinced him to ignore his feelings for Henrietta and start looking for a wife. Henrietta has come up with a plan that she is convinced will lure her beloved, Edward, back from the woman he tried to elope with. Kesseley lets himself be talked into it, which doesn't help Henrietta's opinion of him. She can't help but feel that she would respect him more if he would stop letting himself be used by her.
Here is when the risk starts coming into play. Henrietta is very unlikable for a large chunk of the story. She feels extremely young and selfish. She knows that she hurts Kesseley, and she knows that she uses him, but she just doesn't care. She also has a really bad habit of saying things that crush him and then expects him to comfort her as she sobs about her lost love. She is the kind of girl that is mean and rude but is always baffled when people don't like her. Kesseley's mother for one.
Kesseley starts out as an honest to goodness farmer. He's unfashionable and more than satisfied with living in the village he grew up in. He's confused and hurt by Henrietta's constant scorn toward his satisfaction with his life and his comfort with the village. She longs for London and a dark and mysterious rake like she reads about in her gothic novels. She feels that Kesseley is too much of a country bumpkin to realize what he lacks. She seems so young.
Poor Kesseley had a horrible father. He was witness to things that no son should ever see or hear. He came to regard Henrietta's house as a haven. He grew up feeling that all the things his father prized weren't what mattered in life. Honesty and loyalty and love are what should matter. Who cares how you were dressed or how your hair was cut? The poor man finds out that his opinion is the minority in the ton and grows more and more jaded. Finally, an action of his mother's and more typical harshness from Henrietta push him over the edge.
He says to hell with people and decides to show everyone how like his father he can be. He changes his look, his manner, and his values. He goes to the Courtesan Ball and fights with people and finds his comfort with courtesans. I can see why he snapped, but I think he really couldn't see the forest for the trees. His anger at Henrietta shouldn't make him throw away his money and morals.
Kesseley's mother was a very messed up soul. She had good cause to be, I have to admit that. But she had no right to be so judgmental of her son and he had no right to castigate her for longing for pleasure. Their attitudes toward each other just widened a split that could have been a small thing if handled correctly. His mother won my respect for her dislike of Henrietta and her wish to protect her son, but her atypical behavior toward the end made my sympathy dim. She didn't like Henrietta until Kesseley was mad at her and then she clung as hard as she could.
So, the angst and the circumstances just kept piling to keep Kesseley and Henrietta apart. Up until the last 30 pages I still wasn't sure if they were going to end up together. They seemed to spend no real time together and what time they did spend together was tempestuous. They didn't even have a relationship. Kesseley had more action with courtesans than with Henrietta.
This story really helped clarify something for me. I always long for the person passed up to move on. Seeing it here made me realize that I really don't want that. Even though Kesseley and Henrietta weren't in a relationship, and it wasn't cheating, I didn't like seeing the hero playing the field. It also left little time for me to believe in their relationship.
This book was compelling, and I read it quickly, but it didn't work for me as a romance. If it was advertised as Kesseley's struggle with self-identification and the story of him losing his way, it would have better results. Then I wouldn't have expected a romance and a relationship to be the focus of this story.(less)
This book reminded me of the Immortals After Dark series, the Midnight Breed series, and the Demonica series. Not the a...moreI received this book as an ARC.
This book reminded me of the Immortals After Dark series, the Midnight Breed series, and the Demonica series. Not the actual storyline, of course. What I mean is that it has the same feel as those other series. The world is set up and easy to understand, but the focus is definitely not on the world building. Most of the focus, and the factor that makes the book shine, is the character relationships and interactions. There's a lot of humor and even some sexiness in this book. I think if you're a fan of any of the series that I mentioned above you might want to take a second look at this series.
One of the things I liked about this book was the fact that I was able to come into the series cold and not be too lost. This is apparently book six in The Primal Instinct series. Since it's so far into the series I wouldn't have been surprised if I had been completely lost. Luckily I was okay. I knew I was missing back story and references, but it wasn't an overwhelming feeling. I never felt like I was missing anything that was important to this story.
Kellan was such an interesting character. At first he seemed pretty lighthearted and a bit of a player. While that was true in the past, Kellan was determined to turn over a new leaf. When the details were revealed about why he was so determined to change, I still didn't absorb his absolute devastation about it. It wasn't until later in the story that I understand exactly how everyone's low opinion of him had seeped so far into his soul that he actually believed it. He no longer fought against his own fate. While he was willing to fight to save someone else, he didn't give himself the same consideration. I think in some subconscious way he felt he deserved to be punished for that action, whether that meant unhappiness, pain, or even death. It made his personality quite interesting.
Chloe was pretty interesting too. I wish I understood the Mallory and Merrick side of her nature a little better. What a harsh existence being a Mallory was. The absolute loneliness that they all must have experienced is horrible to even contemplate. I loved Chloe's personality. She always seemed so logical and willing to bite the bullet and have conversations about uncomfortable subjects. She was afraid the curse was affecting Kellan, but after awhile she said screw it and decided to roll with it instead of agonizing over it. I also liked that she took action and decided to test her theory. It was really refreshing.
There was a lot of humor and even some tenderness in this book. There were a lot of great lines that I would have loved to quote. In the beginning the sex and tension seemed like it would be really hot. Especially because Kellan kept fearing to let his wolf control during sex. I felt a little let down by the heat factor. I think a lot of people will still find it really sexy, but I was a bit disappointed.
I saw the potential for a few future stories, but nothing felt like blatant sequel bait. They all actually contributed to this story so I didn't mind them being there. I did feel quite angry at Kellan's brother, but I'm sure I'll be more understanding once I go back and read his story. I felt the way things resolved themselves at the end was pretty convenient, but honestly, that's not unique to this book. While I was disappointed, it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book.
I think I'm going to have to check out the rest of this series to see if it is just as good. (less)
Reflecting back on this book a few words keep repeating in my mind. Confused. Complicated. Why??? I couldn't figure out...moreI received this book as an ARC.
Reflecting back on this book a few words keep repeating in my mind. Confused. Complicated. Why??? I couldn't figure out the point to it all. Did it really have to be so hopelessly complicated?
We're following Aria, Cort, Yuri, and Babette in the story. At one point or another we get a POV from each character. Each one of those characters is unlikeable. Aria was innocent and naive and insanely easy to manipulate. Cort was ashamed of being a werewolf and came off as really repressed. He also manipulated and lied to Aria throughout most of the book. Yuri plotted with Cort to play Aria and then had another plot on top of that plot! Babette plotted with Yuri but then also plotted to thwart him. Do you see what I'm getting at here?
Everyone was plotting, and more often than not, an event or person would thwart part of the plan and then they had to skew the plot even more. The outside characters would plot against the main characters-who were already plotting to escape those outside characters-while the main characters plotted against Aria. But all the main characters weren't on the same page so they were also busy plotting against each other and then plotting to make sure that they weren't discovered. Confused? I was. Through it all, Aria just hung around like a dumb cow waiting to be taken to the butcher shop.
The writing in this book was really odd. I can't put my finger on what exactly this author does differently, but it results in a very distant experience for the reader. The way it's written seems to emphasize the fact that you are an outsider reading a book. I, personally, like to feel a little bit more caught up in the story. It was even more pronounced in the love scenes, by the way.
This book strongly reminded me of the "old school" romance style. Minus the rape, that is. The events felt overwhelming and it seemed like the heroine never came out on top. She wanted to run free as a werewolf and didn't care about the life they kept trying to convince her was better. Her opinions of, and acceptance of, her previous circumstances seemed to be looked down on and scorned even at the end. It was frustrating, because I wish that Aria would have once told them to screw it and went and did what she wanted. But no...she fell in love and automatically decided that love made ignoring her wants and needs worth it. Like I said, it reminded me of the older romances. It also didn't help that strong emphasis was placed on how innocent and naive and trusting Aria was.
I don't think I'll read anything else by this author. Even if I was willing to take a chance on liking the next set of characters better, I don't think I would ever search out this style of writing again. I like my third person view to be more absorbing.(less)
I strongly recommend not reading this review if you have not read the previous two books, Angels’ Blood and Archangel’s Kiss. It is impossible for me...moreI strongly recommend not reading this review if you have not read the previous two books, Angels’ Blood and Archangel’s Kiss. It is impossible for me to write this review without including HUGE spoilers for the first book. So, just know that the first two books were five stars for me and I recommend them!
This book takes us back to New York and all the family and friends that Elena hasn’t seen since being Made. I’ve been eager to see the reaction to Elena’s wings since the end of the first book, so this was pretty exciting for me. Unfortunately for her, not everything goes smoothly, despite her new prestige. Her family hasn’t improved—although we do see glimmers of possible better relations—and not all her old acquaintances are pleased with her new status.
I’m very glad that the author hasn’t made Elena’s journey easy. She doesn’t automatically gain status because she’s the consort of an Archangel. If anything, she’s scorned even more for it. She struggles to learn the rules of her new life and to find acceptance, even with Raphael’s Seven. Nothing comes easily for her. She’s used to being the baddest Hunter on the block, but now she finds herself back to square one. She also struggles to master flying tricks and works to build muscle so she won’t be so easily fatigued. Seeing Elena work step by step to adjust to her new life makes any achievements all the sweeter for me.
Elena continues to jockey with Raphael for cooperation and control. Neither of them are really used to a partnership, and trust comes hard for them. The love is there, but there are plenty of bumps along the path to happiness. Elena and Raphael both slowly open themselves to each other and it’s lovely watching them strengthen as a couple. Raphael still has a hard time trusting himself with Elena when he’s in a mood and trusting Elena to protect herself well enough to ensure nothing will happen to her. But Elena values their relationship enough to keep working at it.
We get some nice details about various members of the Seven here. Before rereading the first two books (right before I started this one) I wasn’t that interested in Venom. I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden he drew my attention like a lodestone. I really liked watching his fighting techniques and hope that we get more of him soon. Illium was someone I’ve been interested in from the start. I like his flirty, fun-loving attitude, but it’s also nice to see a little more depth too.
I had heard that the next book focused on Dmitri before I reread the first two. I paid particular attention to him looking for clues and thought that I had spotted his future love interest, but then I heard Singh had leaked that we hadn’t met her yet. So I suppose I spotted clues where there were none.
Even though I enjoyed this book I didn’t like it as much as the first two. I had to take a while to let it stew after reading it to figure out why I wasn’t as happy with it. I’m still not sure I’ve totally figured it out. Honestly, if I had read this book first I wouldn’t have become obsessed with the series like I am now. The relationship is still good, but it doesn’t have the compelling factor going for it that I’m used to seeing.
I think one of the biggest problems with this book was the pacing. It all felt a bit slow to me. There was a lot of focus on Raphael and Elena—which I definitely do want—but it didn’t feel like the quality time I was craving. It just felt like they were rehashing things when I wanted new development. That’s not to say that it was unsatisfying though. I still enjoyed them together, I just wish there had been more of a spark.
The end fight was a pretty big letdown for me. I wasn’t displeased with the final resolution (because I saw it coming early on) but I did expect more excitement.
Before ending this I do have to mention one thing. We finally get to see Raphael teach Elena how Angels dance! It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, but I liked it all the better for it.
While this was my least favorite of the series I still think it was pretty good. It also didn’t hurt that there was an excerpt of Kiss of Snow at the end of it! Read that at your own risk though, because I couldn’t resist reading it and then I got bummed and crabby when I ran out of pages.
For the first time in forever, he was stunned to silence. Not by her words, but by the tenderness in her hands, the worry in her eyes. He was an archangel. He’d been wounded far, far worse and shrugged it off. But then, there had been no woman with sun kissed by the sunset and eyes of storm gray to tear into him for daring to get himself hurt.
I just finished this book and *sigh* I am even more in love with this series than ever. I’m really glad t...more*Originally read 1/29/11 - 1/30/11*
I just finished this book and *sigh* I am even more in love with this series than ever. I’m really glad that Rachel Caine decided to do a spinoff of her Weather Warden series. I enjoyed that series a lot, but this series has quickly surpassed it and become my favorite.
I know a few people who had a problem with Joanne’s personality and the constant rotation of big bads in such a short timeframe in the Weather Warden series. If you’re one of them, you might want to take another crack at it with this series because it's written very differently. There's one big bad that spans the series instead of a different problem in each book. They just have specific things to accomplish in one book to get them closer to defeating the bad guy.
Also, I wasn't as big of a fan of Jo and David as I think I was supposed to be. I seemed to like the other characters I met along the way better. This one I actually like for the characters and the relationship development (plus the action too). It all feels very solid and even though there's a big bad and the battle to beat her is important, Cassiel's growth and change through the series is a huge part too.
The action and intensity really ratchets up in this installment. We’ve had some pretty gnarly actions scenes to date, but now the stakes seem higher so it it’s all a bit more intense. I don’t think anything can compete for the sheer badass WTF-ery of a certain scene in the second book, Unknown, where Cassiel proves that she’s still Djinn where it counts, but this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Cassiel continues to be a fascinating, complex character. She questions her old beliefs as a Djinn and weighs them against her new experiences as a human. Even when she changes, she never feels different than her core self. Cassiel is someone who will never be weak where it counts. Her practicality and willingness to make the hard choice do not endear her to everyone. She knows herself and her worth and doesn’t care if people think she’s arrogant because of it.
"I can manage."
"Do you have any idea of your own arrogance, lady?"
"Yes," I said. "Do you have any idea of yours?"
Her connection to various people is tested here. The bonds that she has built are put to the test and not all of them survive. There was one character who crossed a shocking line for me and I’m curious to see how that will continue to play out in the next book and if it can be fixed. Cassiel also has to make some hard decisions here, even when it hurts the ones she cares about the most.
I was breaking his heart, and mine, and there was nothing I could do that would heal that wound. It was better to let it bleed out the poison...if that was possible.
I wasn't sure that it wouldn't kill us both.
I feel bad that Cassiel has to shoulder the blame because she’s strong enough to take a harsh look at the situation and do what needs to be done, even when she doesn’t want to. I can see why other characters are hurt by her decisions and it seems like no one wins in situations like that.
We got to see more of Rashid—who continues to fascinate me—and also a bit of Ashan. Things are quickly getting out of control, and something toward the end happened that upped the ante dramatically. Something must be done, and it must be done now or it will be too late. The next (and last) book in the series that comes out in 2012 promises to be a wild, intense ride. I can’t wait.
I know that I haven't gone into much detail about the actual events of the story, but I think it'll lose its punch if I give anything away. A large part of the fun of Rachel Caine's writing is uncovering the wild ride page by page. The only caution I would make about this book is that it does not stand alone well. You really need to start it from the beginning to follow along well.
Everything's fine," I said. "I bought Isabel a pet."
There was an interestingly long silence, and finally he said, "Is it poisonous?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"That's...surprising, somehow, from you. All right. You can explain it all to me later."
I wasn’t sure what to think going into this book. I haven’t enjoyed the last couple books in the series quite as much as I had wanted to. The...more4.5 Stars
I wasn’t sure what to think going into this book. I haven’t enjoyed the last couple books in the series quite as much as I had wanted to. They were good, but the secondary storylines took up way too much space and made me feel like the main relationship was getting shortchanged. I was thrilled to see that the main storyline got way more focus in this book!
I’ve heard some buzz going around recently about people being irritated that Haidee hooked up with Amun when Strider was interested in her first. Honestly, this didn’t bother me at all. I thought the eventual explanation for Strider’s attraction was a bit of a cop out, but at no time did I think that he should have taken Amun’s place. All Strider registered as (for me) was the vehicle to get Haidee into Amun’s vicinity. Besides, just because he was interested in her didn’t mean she was interested in him. I thought she got her feeling across very nicely in the last book with the sharp point of a knife. :)
I was a bit concerned (and have been ever since I met him) about how Amun’s romance would develop when he couldn’t even talk. Finding a heroine that knows sign language isn’t exactly a snap. Luckily that was solved nicely. I was worried about how the author would explain the connection between Haidee and Amun, but I shouldn’t have been. Their (unexpected) past together helped make sense of a connection that would have otherwise seemed a bit too convenient.
I really enjoyed getting to know Amun. He has been mentioned often in the past books, but he never developed much of a personality. I was surprised to find out that he was an incredibly nice, caring, non-Alpha man. He paired perfectly with Haidee, who had seen such pain in her long life. Speaking of Haidee, the reveals about her were a complete surprise. Not just her past, but what she was. I really liked it and appreciate the author for coming up with new reasons for a character to be immortal.
I liked that Haidee’s involvement with the Hunters and her part in Baden’s death weren’t just ignored. It wasn’t dealt with quite as seriously as I was hoping, but it was at least addressed. I was pleased that Amun was able to see Haidee’s side of things. He really was a very sweet guy.
The secondary storyline in this book revolved around Strider. He is quite the show stealer when he’s on scene. That goes doubly for when we get to see him interact with his future heroine. We also got to see William and Paris along the way and learned quite a few interesting things relating to them. William is even more interesting than before and I’m really hoping he ends up getting a book of his own so I can learn more about who and what he is. Paris also seems to be gearing up for a very interesting battle. I’m very curious to see how that will resolve itself.
Although I did enjoy the book, I had some minor frustrations. One, what was the deal with Micah? A big deal was made of him and Amun looking alike, but then it just fizzled out. That was a big coincidence to just ignore. Two, the whole cheating vs. not cheating thing really bugged me. I’m glad Amun pointed out that it was all cheating. Three, the end was too neatly solved. It felt a bit too similar to one of the previous books for me.
Even though I found some things about the story too easy, I didn’t let it bother me much. I knew going in that the books in this series are light and fun, with characters and events that are usually over the top and that there’s rarely anything truly serious or angsty about them. That’s all right though, because they’re fun to read, sexy, and addictive. I’m already dying to read the next book!
One last thing before I finish up the review. I really loved Hailee’s tattoos. I’ve seen that idea before, but it has always seemed like an extremely clever idea in cases like these. Also, I hope we get more info on Zacharel. He seems very interesting and I am amused by Strider’s reaction to him.
Hate. Huh. He'd never hated himself. If anything, he'd always liked himself a little too much. Once, a human female had even accused him of picturing his own face while he climaxed. He hadn't denied it, either, and the next time he'd slept with her, he'd made sure to scream, "Strider" at the pivotal moment.
I have to be upfront and say that I am not this book’s target audience. I didn’t know this until I started r...moreReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I have to be upfront and say that I am not this book’s target audience. I didn’t know this until I started reading, but within the first 16 pages it was glaringly apparent. I hate reading about cheaters. If I hear a book has infidelity I’ve learned to just skip it. Otherwise I usually spend the whole book pissed off. It is a rare day when I believe in the relationship after they’ve cheated on one another. It has happened a time or two though, I have to admit, but those I liked despite myself. On the other hand, I am nuts for second chance romance stories. I love watching people work out their problems after they’ve grown wiser. I love knowing that two people love each other enough to put themselves out there even though they know they’ve already been burned once.
I struggled through finishing this book. To be honest, the only reason I read the whole way through was because I have a little OCD problem where I’m compelled to finish. It drives me insane to not have resolution! I spend way too much time wondering what happened and if the book got better. It’s better for me just to grit my teeth and finish it. Yes, I know I’m weird.
My biggest problem with this book was Charlotte. I thought they were both pretty shabby people, but because of how the plot of the book was set up my ire was focused on her. Because Philip was trying to win Charlotte back he was much nicer than she was. He just took whatever she threw at him and kept trying. It actually made me feel really bad for him, even after I learned about their past together. He was like that dumb little puppy that kept trailing behind someone even though it had already been kicked multiple times. You just want to save it from itself, you know?
I’m pretty sure that I was supposed to be on Charlotte’s side. I think I was supposed to look at her behavior and think Yeah! Girl Power! but I didn’t. Philip’s wrong (and it was a really bad thing to do) did not excuse her behavior in my eyes. I can see how she got to that point, but that doesn’t mean I like her and want to read about her. Maybe if I had gotten to know her before her antics came into play? I might have ended up more sympathetic. As it was, it was really hard to like her when I spent most of the book disgusted by her behavior.
Charlotte used men. She was very upfront about using her looks and seductive presence to manipulate men. She flat out reveled in her power over them. Whenever she was in a tough spot she turned on the seduction and tried to control people with it. It was very off putting for me. I don’t like modern girls who use their sexuality as a weapon, why would I like it in a historical? I find it pretty shady, and it really makes me sad for the character. Her behavior to men everywhere makes her just as bad and manipulative as Philip was.
Her constantly turning on the sex kitten routine made her look pretty slutty because she did it to everyone. The book opens with Philip coming and peeling her out of some guy's lap. Her insolent sex kitten act when he did so was not a good introduction for me. Then he tries to take her to their country estate and when they stop at an inn she runs in first. When he catches up to her she’s offering to strip for all the men in the place and even starts to before he stops her. This all happened by page 18, by the way. I’m sorry, but debasing yourself because you think it’ll hurt your husband is the dumbest thing ever. I’m sure it happens, but I don’t want to read about it!
Philip is really no better than Charlotte. I had more sympathy for him, and I finished the book pitying him, but he was the one who screwed his own life up. He was screwed over in the past, there’s no denying it. But his revenge was a really, really jerk thing to do. It was also illogical because he trapped himself too! I’m not surprised by the current plots he cooked up—although those are pretty dumb too. I really think he needs to hire someone to come up with some plans that actually have a chance of succeeding!
I can see why he was constantly scheming though. When he was upfront it still didn’t work! Charlotte was just so back and forth about him that it made my head spin. She would do the exact same things that he did—like try to make her jealous—but then when she found out, it was just more proof of him being a controller. Even though she did the EXACT SAME THING! I just really think these people would have been better off apart. There was one “big reveal” about Charlotte that I think was supposed to make me grateful and relieved by the truth. (I can’t specify because of spoilers!) It didn’t work. I just shook my head over it.
One thing that really bothered me is the way Charlotte behaved. She went around cursing constantly in public and making insulting obscene gestures toward Philip. I just find it hard to believe that a squire’s daughter and a duke’s wife would run around comparing his head to a “horse’s testicles” in public. At the end there was a slight mention of the “stodgy” members of the ton and the “self-righteous matrons” making her feel like an outcast for her behavior. I honestly think that she would be a pariah everywhere, not just with the sticklers. Especially when all of society knows she’s estranged from her husband, so being nice to her won’t win them any points with him. Maybe there were duchesses running around like that, I could be wrong.
Ignoring the characters and the plot… I see a lot of potential for the author. She had a smooth rhythm to her writing. Pages turned quickly for me, even when I was irritated. She also had quite a few funny one-liners. One of my favorites was on page 95:
"You must not stalk around the room--"
"Stalk?" His brow wrinkled.
"--as if you were a lion and everyone else is your prey."
"Do you really think I stalk? I must say, that is quite a stroke to my ego. I assume I appear quite dangerous when I do it?"
There isn’t a very strong period feel at all, the setting felt kind of tacked on with no real depth. I believe people refer to those as “Wallpaper Historical.” But I’m okay with that! Not every book has to be like that. I enjoy a lot of books that would fall into that category.
Wow, this book turned out to be quite the dark horse for me! It had a pretty rough start. It took me days to get pas...more*Orginally Read 11/4/10 - 11/6/10*
Wow, this book turned out to be quite the dark horse for me! It had a pretty rough start. It took me days to get past the first three chapters. I just kept setting it down for something more interesting…like cleaning. I know, right? Buuuut somewhere before page one hundred things seemed to click for me. Even though I wasn’t rooting for every character whose pov I read (yet), I finally understood their motivations and cared about their storyline.
The first chapter was incredibly awkward. If you read the first chapter while browsing in a bookstore and set it back down because it didn’t seem like it was well written, you might want to give it another chance. It was almost like the author had this great idea but didn’t know how to start it off. So the beginning felt forced and awkward. Don’t despair, it didn’t stay like that forever!
Fantasy is not my genre of choice. I like the ideas in it, but it usually comes off feeling more distant than most of the other genres I read. Maybe it’s a symptom of having so many pov’s? I know it’s not just because it’s not focused on romance. I felt the same way in C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul books and those were romance… Anyway, I have a problem connecting with them. I felt that same thing in the beginning, but somewhere along the line it went away. I may have had a hard time getting into the book, but I had no problem finishing it! I hit my stride around page one hundred and read the rest of the book in one gigantic gulp.
The book focused on three people. There was Sorcha, the Active Deacon, Merrick, the Sensitive Deacon, and Raed, the Pretender. Sorcha was the hardest of all of them to like. The two guys had more mellow personalities, and even though they had a strong sense of self they were more willing to bend than Sorcha was.
In the very beginning Sorcha came off as hard instead of strong. She reminded me of a warlord in a way. All rough edges and hard and in control with no real care for anyone else’s say in the discussion. She’s the boss and what she says goes. You either agree or get out of her way. She grew and softened the more she got to know the people she was stuck with and she became more likable without losing any of her strength. I’d actually venture to say that she became stronger as her worldview expanded. It may have taken a while for me to truly like her, but she grew on me to the point that I wouldn’t have changed a thing about her.
We met Raed right off that bat, but his story didn’t actually intersect with Sorcha and Merrick’s for a while. It was interesting getting to see how difficult it is to be him. I wish we could have gotten a bit more history about his family and how they lost the throne, but I suppose we’ll learn more as the series continues. We did get enough information about Raed’s past and curse to keep me satisfied. I rather like the thought of getting to know him slowly.
Merrick was quite the surprise to me. I liked him in the beginning, but I expected that the author would just have him fade into the background and become the “sidekick.” He ended up being a very compelling character. I liked that something specific about his past was revealed at the end. It just helped bind them all even closer. I really liked his love interest and all the secret potential I sensed there, but ended up shocked by how some of those things turned out. I wish I had my hands on the next book!
The world was interesting but it wasn’t given to you in one big dump. We learned new things as the characters experienced something that brought it up. I liked that the author didn’t overload us all at once. The world was important to the story, but I felt that the author spent more time focusing on the characters and developing their relationships and connections. Some might be bothered by that, but I consider that a boon. There’s nothing worse than having an intricate world with flat characters. I’d rather have a slightly less detailed world with richer characters.
Just as a warning: Sorcha is married to someone other than the guy she falls for in this story. Some of you may be giving me the fish eye because of my previously stated hatred of cheaters. I still don’t like them! I really wish she hadn’t been married, but my rules for Romance are different from my rules for other genres. I didn’t expect a romance going into this one, so it was just a sweet bonus for me. It wasn’t a very in depth relationship, but I have hopes for it.
I would have given a higher grade for this one if only the beginning had been smoother. I think that I’m definitely going to have to reread this one before reading the next book. I’ll need to be fresh on all the reveals and machinations that happened in this book.
My favorite quote was on page 194:
"I've been running all my life, Sorcha--I shouldn't trust anyone, and yet I have already given my life into your hands twice this week."
Sorcha's lips twitched upward in a beautiful and cruel smile. "I'm just that sort of woman, my lord Pretender."
Ah, Hawke and Sienna’s book… It has been the most anticipated release of the series for me. All that tension between them and the curiosity of how the...moreAh, Hawke and Sienna’s book… It has been the most anticipated release of the series for me. All that tension between them and the curiosity of how they would end up together (with him already having had a mate) has made for a very long wait. While this book didn’t exactly rock my world the way I thought it would, it is still definitely worth the wait.
I really enjoyed Sienna in this book. She got tired of the games and she took a stand. She didn’t make unreasonable demands of Hawke, but she let him know that she wouldn’t accept the hot and cold attitude anymore. He either wanted to give them a shot or he needed to back off and stop giving people the impression that she was his territory. I really appreciated that because I want the characters I care about to have enough self respect to value themselves and not look foolish by hanging on after they are ignored time and again. Besides, it was fun to see Hawke’s wolf side come out whenever she confronted him with the fact she wasn’t his.
Speaking of Hawke, he seemed different from his previous self, but one of my favorite things about the new him was his playfulness. I loved that his wolf took control so frequently and that he wanted to play with Sienna so much. His excitement over chasing her while she tried to trap him was adorable. One of my favorite moments between them was when he still didn’t think they could be together, but they slow danced in the dark when they were all alone, anyway. It was so sad and romantic to watch them cling to the only moment they might have together.
I really liked the way Sienna handled the previous mate thing. I would have been very upset if Sienna had been portrayed as angry and upset about that situation. I wouldn’t have minded her being sad and a little upset that she wouldn’t have the same connection with him, but I would have found her incredibly small and mean-spirited to try to insert her drama into his happy memory. I found the end resolution a little too convenient, but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I was also happy that we finally got to hear what really happened to Hawke’s parents and to his mate.
I loved that we got to see more page time with Sascha and Lucas. They have continued to draw my attention from the first book, so it was great to get more development with them. We also get more details on the state of the Psy Council and even get some face time with Nikita and Anthony. I was very pleased with what we learned about Nikita and am looking forward to more tidbits about that in the future. We also get more details about the Ghost and I’m still dying for confirmation of who he is. Soon, maybe?
I was surprised to find that there was a secondary romance in this book as well, but I loved getting a further look into Walker and into the Laurens family background before they defected. Who knew that Walker could be so compelling? He’s always been the quiet rock of the family who seems to stick to the background. It was great to see him finally step forward and shine.
While I did like most of the book—as mentioned—I found myself disappointed with Sienna and Hawke. If this had been a book just about them I probably would have rated it lower, but there was quite a bit going on and the large focus on other plot threads brought my enjoyment up.
One of my biggest let downs of the book was how the past tension that Sienna and Hawke dealt with seemed to disappear and be replaced with other issues. In the past Sienna struggled with controlling her powers while in close contact with Hawke. She even contemplated returning to Silence if she couldn’t find a solution. But that was a non-issue in this book. She has control and the only worry she has about her power is what it’ll do to her in the long run. I found this quite disappointing. I guess it’s easier to set up a romance if you fix Sienna’s power control problem between books... It would have been nice if this issue had been dealt with in the book, though. I thought it had been built up in all the past books for a reason. :(
Also, in the past Hawke had been charming and playful with Sascha, but he had some real issues going on under the surface. He has issues with the Psy and he was still carrying around a lot of anger and hate. He seemed colder and harder in the past books whereas he was almost as laid back as Drew in this one. Excluding his alpha dominance tendencies, of course. I found myself confused by their different issues and personalities.
Other than that I also got irritated with the constant interrupted sex scenes. At first I didn't mind—although I was a little crushed that the first hot scene got interrupted—but then it started to happen again and again and it felt like things were needlessly drawn out and that the scenes started to become repeats of each other. Speaking of that, although I did believe their romance and I did enjoy them together I found that too much of their growth revolved around sex. I just felt like there was way more of that then there had been in any of the previous books.
One other thing that bugged me was that Sienna came to the pack when she was a teenager and became friends with other Changelings. I had a hard time believing that she would be so naive and retiring about sex. The other Psy I could understand, they had been stuck in the Net where it wasn't done, but even virgin-Judd knew about it. Sienna just seemed too innocent about it all to be believable. I guess I just wanted more of an equal relationship in the bedroom instead of Sienna just taking whatever her gave her.
I'm not disputing that he was good at sex--or that it wasn't hot (especially the biting ;P)--but it almost seemed at times that it was being done to her instead of with her. I know that one argument from other people disputing this irritation will be that it was because she was a virgin. But that only flies for me in a historical where that info wasn't prevalent for girls in day to day life. The Changelings are not shy about sex and I doubt Sienna would be different than many other teenagers of today who are very knowledgeable about it even if they haven't felt the sensations themselves.
While I didn’t enjoy Hawke and Sienna’s relationship as much as I thought I would, there were still a lot of things to love about this book. If you’re a fan of this series you’ll definitely want to pick this one up as soon as possible. And if you haven’t read these and you’re not a fan yet…well, why haven’t you started? :P
And he was focused on her to the exclusion of all else.
She wet dry lips, saw his eyes follow the movement. "Stop it."
A faint smile that made every tiny hair on her body rise in quivering attention. "How fast can you run?" A wolf's question.
It takes a lot to get me to DNF a book. I have a compulsion to keep reading. I can’t help but think the book...moreReview originally posted on Fiction Vixen.
It takes a lot to get me to DNF a book. I have a compulsion to keep reading. I can’t help but think the book might redeem itself in the end. But, sometimes, I stumble across a book that is so incredibly irritating and frustrating that I just can’t keep reading. In my whole life, the number of books that I have DNF’ed can still be counted on one hand. So, needless to say, I’m not very pleased to add another to the list. Unfortunately, this book irritated me to the point that I couldn’t not be frustrated with everything.
I chose this book on the assumption that it would be in the same line as Christopher Moore. I didn’t expect them to be exact copies, but I thought they’d have a similar style. I was wrong. They couldn’t be more different. For one, Christopher Moore is actually funny. I didn’t see a lot of humor here. Just a bunch of whiny people making grand pronouncements about how lame humanity is.
The main character, Fate (or Fabio as he’s nicknamed), whines about how lame humans are constantly. They rarely live up to their potential, they have mindless existences, blah, blah, blah. By page 4 I was already getting the vibe that it was not my kind of story. It seemed way too preachy, and I cannot stand “message” books that bash ad nauseam. There’ll be multiple quoted examples so you know what I mean.
The mall is one of the best places to go to see human nature at its best. Or worst, depending on how you want to look at it. Men and women, teenagers and children, shopping, eating, gossiping, filling up the vacuum of their lives with retail therapy and empty calories.
In the United States, there are twice as many shopping centers as there are high schools, and the shopping mall has replaced the church as the temple of cultural worship. In a society that encourages its citizens to measure their worth by financial success and material possessions, American humans spend more of their income on shoes, watches, and jewelry than they do on higher educations. Sure, it keeps Greed and Envy busy, but it makes my existence a living hell. Back when humans were still in their hunter-gatherer phase, existence was all about survival, fulfilling the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, so it's not like there were a lot of options for better living. Food wasn't prepared by Martha Stewart. Clothing didn't come with a Calvin Klein logo. And shelters didn't require Ralph Lauren curtains with a matching duvet. The thing about humans is that they're addicted to products. Habitual consumers. Indulgence abusers. Gratification automatons. Programmed to need and want and buy. MP3 players. Xboxes. Playstation 3s. TiVo. Surround sound. High-definition flat-screen TVs. A thousand cable channels with movies and music and pay-per-view. Distracted by their desires, overwhelmed by their needs and wants, they'll never remain on their assigned paths. Their optimal futures. Their most beneficial fates.
Not every human being has some kind of sexual hang-up or disorder or desire waiting to be realized. But most Americans do. This probably has something to do with the fact that the United States demonizes sex and represses sexual energy. Personally, I prefer the Italian and French. To them, sex is just a part of their culture.
Taken in small doses, these observations can be amusing. But there were no small doses here. All Fabio ever did was whine about how lame humans are and how much his job sucks. Beyond that he didn’t have much of a personality. And silly me, I actually like my characters to have some depth.
A huge premise of the book centered around Fate being a bad thing for humans. People who were going to be somebody important or have something good happen to them had destinies, not fates. The author explains this by throwing in some common sayings like “a fate worse than death” or “his fate was sealed” and saying that negative things are the only thing associated with Fate and the positive things are all associated with Destiny. But that is not how I associate Fate and Destiny so I found the whole premise rather perplexing.
But that wasn’t a big thing. It was really the whiny, self absorbed, hypocritical characters that I had to read about that really bugged me. I mean, really! How can you bash on people with Fates for making bad choices and screwing up their Fates when you don’t actually do anything with your life beyond bitching about said humans? Fabio’s head was just not a fun place for me to hang out in.
Some of the places are a little seedy and can occasionally get rowdy, like this one, but I understand why human men enjoy going to strips clubs. Beautiful women dressed in not much, walking up to you and sitting in your lap, smelling yummy. Not to mention the private rooms and pole dancing and naked flesh in Technicolor abundance. True, the strippers are being paid to be nice and flirtatious and desirous, but technically, when you go out on a date with a woman, you're paying for it, too. And unless you're Greed or Frugality or a tightfisted bastard who insists on going Dutch, you're going to spend about as much money on a date as you are at a strip club. Of course, if you and your date don't connect for whatever reason, you're stuck on the date for at least a couple of hours until it ends. You can't just walk out after paying the cover charge and say, "Thanks a lot." And when the evening finally does come to an end, chances are your date won't rub up against you, give you a lap dance, and brush her breasts against your face and say, "Oops."
One last thing about the actual style of the writing. One, it’s written in First Person present tense. It was really hard for me to get into. Just a warning if you don’t enjoy that style! Two, the author had a compulsion to repeat patterns to his (or her?) writing again and again and again. The author constantly listed examples in three’s—and did this every few pages—and constantly said stuff like “the thing about so-and-so is that he’s such-and-such.” That happened every single time that a character was talked about. I was getting an eye twitch!!!
I made it to page 111 and I was done. I just couldn’t last long after Fabio’s love interest was (honest to God) turned on when he admitted to out and out stalking her for weeks. Blech! (less)
Wow. There was a lot of WTF-ery going on in this book.
The hero didn’t start off on the right foot for me. Within the first 5 pages he screws with a pr...moreWow. There was a lot of WTF-ery going on in this book.
The hero didn’t start off on the right foot for me. Within the first 5 pages he screws with a prostitute’s mind while he takes her blood, and then after he was finished he generously decided to let her give him the blow job she initially offered. What a prince. Of course they were interrupted, so he didn’t actually end up doing that, but it was still creepy. I was willing to brush it off, but then 20 pages later he’s screwing with the heroine’s mind and groping her into giving him information. Yuck.
I was extremely unhappy with the relationship between Ramsay and Madison. There was no chemistry or tension between them. The only reason I knew they were attracted to each other was because the author told me. When Ramsay came to the conclusion that he loved Madison I was honestly shocked. I hadn’t seen any build up for that yet.
The sex scenes were weird and came out of nowhere. The reader never really got a chance to feel the mood coming, it was just like BAM! random sex scene. Especially the first one. Of course, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by that. We don’t even get a chance to see if Madison really wants Ramsay or wants to go with him. Ramsay screws with her mind so much that she never really gets the chance. It was extremely creepy considering the first two sex scenes occur directly because of Ramsay altering her mindset.
I know the author was aware of how this was coming off, because she had the heroine reassure herself that she hadn’t really felt drugged and she was attracted to him too, deep inside. Right… It’s still creepy.
The heroine was incredibly passive and pretty stupid for someone who’s supposedly an archeologist who has worked in the field in dangerous situations. Honestly, if this hadn’t been a romance novel and the hero hadn’t actually been the hero, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Madison captured and chopped up by a serial killer. Even when she was suspicious of something she just went along with it anyway. Also, she never really stayed suspicious. There was one part that had me seriously questioning whether or not she was on drugs.
"I wanted to keep you safe, is that so bad?"
"You tried to influence me."
He could have denied it. Instead he nodded. "And when the cop took you into the parlor, I tried to connect with you. I didn't know if I could reach you, but it seems I did."
"Unless you tell me what's going on with you, I'm going to walk out of here."
The defiant look in her eyes made his chest tighten.
"How did you do it?" she demanded.
"I thought about the two of us. Of us making love, of how wonderful it was having you in my arms, with no barriers between us,"he said in a thick voice.
"A nice story."
The next words came from deep in his soul. "Then I thought about how much I love you."
He felt his breath catch. He hadn't meant to say that. Not at all. But the words had tumbled out of his mouth.
Her expression turned from wariness to joy.
"You love me?"
He had said it. He couldn't take it back, although he didn't share her joy. He might love her, but that wasn't going to solve any of his problems.
Still, when she rushed across the room, he held out his arms and gathered her close.
Closing his eyes, he held on to her, because she felt like the only point of stability in a wildly titling universe.
She tipped her head up, her mouth meeting his for a long, passionate kiss.
"Ramsay. Oh, Ramsay. I'm so happy. I love you. I kept fighting it because I was afraid to trust you. Now I know we're going to work it out."
This book is presented as a standalone, but it didn’t feel like it. I felt that I was missing huge chunks of Ramsay’s backstory. It’s like the author assumed I should know and care about him already. I didn’t, so his lack of development really irritated me. At the very end we finally got a 4 page info dump of his history. It was an Ah hah! moment for me, but it was too little too late. I finally looked on the author’s website and saw that yes, Ramsay was originally seen in another series. This must be a spinoff.
Random things occurred in this story that really had me scratching my head. The hero asks the heroine if she wants to share a “Native American vision quest” completely out of the blue. It was bizarre. Plus the author had the hero throw in a bit of Cockney rhyming slang once and had the villain refer to the hero as a “buttinsky.” It was all just so random.
The beginning of this book was pleasant, but that was about all. I felt that the attraction between the hero and heroine was a bit ham-handed and abru...moreThe beginning of this book was pleasant, but that was about all. I felt that the attraction between the hero and heroine was a bit ham-handed and abrupt. I also became very nervous when the author whipped out a competition and elimination a la The Bachelor. I am definitely not a fan of things like that.
But somehow I forgot my concerns as I got more and more into the story. Tristan and Tessa had a great dynamic together and I had a blast giggling over some of their interactions. The bride competition wasn’t focused on in the manner I feared it would be, so that was a plus too. It wasn’t ignored by any means, but I didn’t have to watch blow by blows of the hero interacting with countless other girls either.
I really liked all the side characters, especially Hawk and Tristan’s mother. I felt that they really added a lot to the story, especially as Tristan became more and more frazzled by his growing feelings for Tessa. Watching them slyly wind him up was hilarious for me!
Tessa had some moments of inner awareness that really surprised me. I was extremely pleased that the author had her honestly look at her actions and behavior toward Tristan, even though it didn’t always change her future behavior. The way she didn’t spare herself from the truth really bumped her up in my estimation.
I was extremely pleased that the author didn’t have the Tessa and Tristan constantly groping each other while he was supposed to be finding a bride. There was tension there, and they did slip up a time or two, but for the most part they both were aware of their roles and knew that they couldn’t just do whatever they wanted to.
This book was not stunningly original, and the bride competition was a weird setup, but it was fun and readable. The setup with Tristan being a rake and Tessa having a big dark secret were things I really felt could have been cut from the book. The draw here was the interactions between the characters. I felt there was enough of a hook there without including those things that were token at best.
So, overall I was very satisfied with this book. I even ended up getting so hooked into it that I stayed up until 1:30 am to finish it—and that was on top of being sick and having to wake up at 5:30. I just couldn’t help it, it hooked me.
Pg. 56: "Your Grace, I must be honest. Ladies expect gentlemen to display some tenderness. Thus far, you've demonstrated a sad lack of the finer feelings. I know this embarrasses you."
"Dash it all. I am not embarrassed."
She gave him a pitying look. "You needn't pretend with me. I'll instruct you in the ways to please and attract a lady."
Pg. 213: “Think of a time when you did something you knew was wrong. Tell me what happened.” He hoped it had nothing to do with little lambs.
“Not long ago, I did something very bad,” Sally said. “I stole my sister Sarah’s love letter and read it.”
Julianne’s eyes lit with mischief. “What did it say?”
Sally wrinkled her nose. “It was all nonsense to me. The gentleman signed himself as Lord Randy. He said he wished to plunder the treasure in the bush and claimed he carried a candlestick in his, er, unmentionables.”
What an absolute sweetie this hero was! Wow! He was just perfect. He was funny and cheerful, and he was determined to win the heroine and end a family...moreWhat an absolute sweetie this hero was! Wow! He was just perfect. He was funny and cheerful, and he was determined to win the heroine and end a family feud. He dreamed of living his life by the honor and principles of the knights of old. He lost his way there for a while and stopped making an effort to live up to his own expectations, but after he met the heroine and they began a friendship it quickly kicked back in.
Tristan made the story for me. Everyone else contributed to my enjoyment, of course, but it wouldn’t have had quite the same charm with a different hero. He was so cheerful and determined that it was hard not to love him. He took quite a few knocks in the story, but he just kept getting back up and continuing on. It was very admirable.
At times Tristan came off as a little sexist. But it was just a stray comment here and there and the heroine was quick to call him on it. Once he saw her point of view he was quick to adapt and agree with her. Isobel was a strong character and she wasn’t willing to be treated like a delicate flower. She didn’t run around playing warrior, but she was the rock that her family depended on. She had to play mother to most of her brothers and with no one else to keep food on the table, she had to labored just as hard as her older brother Patrick to keep the family fed.
There was quite a lot of humor in this book. It wasn’t over the top humor, but there were multiple times that I giggled over scenes. Especially when Tristan comes to visit Isobel’s family! Hilarious! That visit was not easy on him. Every time he turned around some other calamity was befalling him. One of my favorite quotes comes from that part.
"Clearly, they did not want peace. He had to escape their demented clutches, but he couldn't even think without a wave of nausea threatening to overtake him."
The heroine was not perfect for me although she didn’t irritate me to the point that I disliked her. Quite a few times she would say or do something that came off as a bit hypocritical. I started to get exasperated because it seemed like she was behaving that way just to be contrary. Luckily the author didn’t let her characters act like this was acceptable. Tristan was quick to point out when she was throwing stones in a glass house. That definitely made it easier to take.
There wasn’t a very strong sense of period in the book. Occasionally something would be mentioned about a political event, but honestly it all felt very vague. That isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I know it is irritating for some, so be warned.
One of my pet peeves is faux Scottish brogues. I cannot stand hearing “wee lassie” and “dinna fash yerself” and the like constantly. There was some of that here, but it managed to blend into the background and not irritate me into getting an eye twitch. Maybe because it was consistent and not just thrown in haphazardly? I’m not sure, but it worked for me here.
I was all set to give this a 4 grade, but the end made me drop it down to a 3.5. I am not a fan of cutsie and the end was full of it. There had been a few moments in the story where the sweet aspect had strayed close to the too sugary line but it never actually crossed it. In the end it did. The last couple chapters seemed to be there for no reason other than to show how happy Tristan and Isobel will be and to give everyone and their brother a chance to mend fences and be BFF’s forever. Some people really dig that sort of thing, but I’m of the mind that sometimes less is more. So less sweet and cute at the end would have been a boon for me.
Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book. I think it might even end up being a great book for people who like their romances a little sweeter than I personally prefer.
This book turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. Urban Fantasy books seem to be hit or miss w...moreReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen
This book turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. Urban Fantasy books seem to be hit or miss with me. First person narrative is not a favorite of mine—it makes me feel like I’m living in a vacuum—and too often I don’t like the heroine. It’s hard for me to read and enjoy a book when I’m stuck in the head of someone I don’t particularly like. I’ve also noticed that quite a few heroines seem to be bitchy and argumentative as shorthand for strong. Unfortunately, bitchy does not equal strong for this reader. My point with this surplus of information is that I actually liked this heroine. She hit me just right.
Another strong point in the book’s favor is the lack of love triangle. Thank you Christina Henry for not including that. I hate them! This book has enough tension and roadblocks in the relationship without the added headache of another man.
This was an incredibly quick read. Once the action starts it just doesn’t stop. You’ll find yourself sucked in and unable to set it down until you read just one more chapter. The writing is smooth and the author did a nice job of spicing the narrative with humor. It achieved a nice balance with the action and never strayed into the slapstick.
Maddy felt very real. Her reactions were more in line with a regular person’s, so it was easy to relate to her. There was even one part where she got her ass kicked and threw up from the pain before passing out. Now, you may wonder why vomit stuck out in my mind enough for me to mention it, but it’s just one more example of her atypical UF heroine behavior. She didn’t gracefully get beat up and still manage to not break a nail. Maddy had some knock-down-drag-out fights and she didn’t always win on her own. She doesn’t come out of the fight with her pride untarnished either. Some of those people cleaned her clock! But I liked it because it was way more believable than an invincible bad ass.
I really loved Maddy’s relationship with Beezle. He was so cute and protective. He was just like a grumpy teddy bear that you wanted to cuddle! His interactions with the people who interacted with Maddy were a lot of fun too. I love when characters have that wise talking sidekick, like Bob in the Harry Dresden series.
This is a UF that actually felt like a UF instead of leaning toward a PNR. There was the beginning of a possible romantic relationship, but that was just a small focus in Maddy’s new life. The most sexual contact you’re going to get is a kiss or two. I didn’t mind though—I actually think it made the book better.
The author did a good job of hooking my interest into Gabriel though. The things that we learned about his past made him very sympathetic—especially because he doesn’t seem to recognize that his life should be any different. Also, the reality that they face with Maddy’s new political position makes me invested in seeing them work it out. I’d probably root for them on pure principle even if I didn’t like them together just to thwart a certain someone who thinks that he can rule Maddy’s life now no matter what.
I really liked the details of the world. Maddy’s job really interested me. I especially was intrigued by the politics of it. How interesting! The new political world that she has stepped into also seems like it’ll be quite fascinating to learn more about. The only real complaint I had about this book was the lack of world building. Don’t get me wrong, I understood her world and I enjoyed it, but there was just something missing for me in the development of it. Possibly the author will add depth as the series unfolds a la Kate Daniels.
The only warning I would give is for those that do not enjoy books that play with how bad Lucifer actually is. If you don’t enjoy anything but the traditional role of Hell and fallen angels you might just want to pass on this one. They weren’t presented as boy scouts or anything, but they weren’t quite as reviled as some might prefer. So be warned!
That leads to one last comment I’d like to make about the author’s style. She had a very clean writing style with the occasional flip into a more descriptive, powerful style. I also really liked the way the angels were portrayed as beautiful, but it was almost a terrifying beauty.
pg. 32: ...opened her eyes to find the dark angel blocking out the sky, and all she could see was his awful beauty, haloed in starshine and moonlight, and his black burning eyes. He whispered her name, and his voice wound into her ear and down her throat and under her ribs, and she knew what he had come for.
I just loved the way it was written!
I urge all of you who are interested to go grab a copy of this book and try it out for yourself. Hopefully it works as well for you as it did for me!
His dark eyes were lit by starshine, and I felt I was falling again into the heart of the universe. Not by some spell of Gabriel's, but by my own foolish wants and needs. He had kissed me to save me--this much I understood. But my heart, my very lonely heart, ached for what I had never known before.
Although I enjoyed this book for the most part, a lot of what I loved about the first book, Black Wings, was missing. I had quite a few iff...more*3.5 Stars*
Although I enjoyed this book for the most part, a lot of what I loved about the first book, Black Wings, was missing. I had quite a few iffy moments while reading and found myself genuinely relieved when I ended Black Night more positive than not. I have no plans as of yet to quit this series, but I have to admit I’m a little more wary than I was after reading the first book.
It seemed like a good chunk of my time reading the beginning of the book was spent trying to resist the urge to pull my hair out. The heroine, Maddy, seemed to subscribe to the belief that she should ignore any advice she was given about her interactions with the supernatural world, just on principal. I cannot stand deliberate stupidity, and she had it in spades. Again and again things would turn out badly because she just wouldn’t listen. She would acknowledge later that she could have avoided it, but she just brushed it off by saying that she couldn’t stand everyone telling her what to do. Personally, I think smart people would prefer to know the lay of the land before they went blundering around. Too bad Maddy wasn’t that intelligent.
I was really pleased that Henry didn’t include a love triangle in the first book. I marveled over finally finding an Urban Fantasy without a love triangle and was impressed that the author didn’t feel the need to conform to the current trend. I guess I spoke too soon, because although there isn’t an out and out love triangle, there seems to be one in the making what with the flutters going on for another man. How lame. :( Gabriel was barely even in the book, so that was another downer. I was really looking forward to seeing the tension between them and watching them (or her, since he feels he can’t) try to find a way to be together. I felt we ended the book in the exact same place we started in, just with a different setup. I’m afraid if plot devices that seem like carbon copies of each other keep popping up to keep them apart, I’m going to get tired of this. I don’t like the feel of being stuck spinning my wheels.
I also felt like things were too easy for Maddy this time around. She seems to shrug and accept anything that comes her way with barely a flinch. Her reactions and the lasting impact of certain upsetting close calls were nil, so it was hard to get swept away and feel any urgency. Plus, I wasn’t happy to see a certain event used so cavalierly. That’s a pet peeve of mine.
Despite my dislikes, the pages turned quickly, and I was sucked in. Once the action starts, it just keeps on going. We rarely see Maddy do her actual job—which I missed—but we get exposed to a lot of new sides of her world. We meet the Werewolves and the Fae, and although I didn’t feel we got much depth to them, we got enough to whet my appetite for more.
The politics involved in being Lucifer’s granddaughter are still the main object of my interest (and frustration) in Maddy’s new role in the supernatural world. I really liked watching Maddy find her feet as Lucifer’s representative and enjoyed her burgeoning self confidence in that arena. But those very politics also frustrate me and leave me with the feeling that I’ll be stuck watching this same dance again and again for a few more books. I could be wrong, though. The author really could pull through and surprised me.
Just like with my review of the first book, I have to warn those of you who are not fans of having the angel/demon/Lucifer angle messed with against reading this book. I doubt you’ll be happy with the role Lucifer is cast in and you’ll probably grind your teeth to find that pretty much every major character in the book is some kind of relative of hell. So, just an fyi. :D
"People are staring," Gabriel murmured next to me.
"Oh, gee, why would they stare?" I said. "It's not like I'm having an argument with my coat lapel or anything."
Well, it has been quite a while since we got a new release in this series, hasn’t it? It feels like I have been counting down to the release of Fair G...moreWell, it has been quite a while since we got a new release in this series, hasn’t it? It feels like I have been counting down to the release of Fair Game forever. I reread the last book, Hunting Ground, to get back into the swing of things, and it was just as awesome as I remembered. Perhaps the change in tone in the series wouldn’t have been so glaring if I hadn’t reread the second book, but I did, so it stuck out. It’s not that the new tone was bad, it was just…different.
In the previous books we have seen Anna struggle to get over the abuse she was subjected to by her first pack. Charles has always been a rock for her, despite struggling with the worry that he wasn’t doing everything exactly right to help her recover. So flipping things around and making Charles the one to struggle this time around perked my interest. I found it a bit surprising that Anna seemed to be so completely over her past issues (even up til the last book), but I suppose she had to step into the role of the rock while Charles struggled.
I find it amusing that I mentioned in my review of Hunting Ground that I thought this series was more PNR than UF, because it wouldn’t feel the same or be quite as good without the romance, and I got to turn around and test my theory with this book. The change in tone in the series stems from one simple reason: the romance was pushed into the background. Charles’s personal demons led him to close himself off from Anna. A lot of this book featured them interacting like acquaintances, not a married couple. I understood why Charles was acting that way, but I have to be honest and say that it gave the book a very subdued feel. Anna spent a lot of time upset about the distance between them and Charles spent a lot of time worried about his issues bleeding off onto her. But there wasn’t much quality interaction together. As the romance is one of the main draws of the series for me, that wasn’t a good thing.
Other than that, the mystery and world details were just as wonderful as you would expect to find from Briggs. We’re taken out of our normal comfort zone when Bran sends Anna and Charles to Boston to help the human authorities track down a serial killer. I liked seeing a more capable Anna, working on werewolf PR and smoothing the waters with the police, and I liked that we got such a strong focus on Anna and Charles only. I missed the usual werewolf dynamics and the uniquely animalistic characteristics we’re usually treated to, but I liked getting to see a whole new cast of characters and getting a glimpse of the human side of things. The crimes were quite disturbing, and some of the people they called in to consult on the case gave me the willies. Witches certainly can be a creepy bunch. o_O
Although most of the book felt subdued, the last quarter of it really kicked it in gear. That’s when the action started to get thick and Charles and Anna started to work things out. My enjoyment, as well as the book’s final grade, was bumped up considerably during this time. And when the very end came… Well, I have to hand it to Briggs. I did NOT expect that. AT ALL. I gaped at the book a bit and frantically tried to figure out where she was planning on taking on the series. I don’t know. All I know for sure is that I plan on sticking around to find out. Based on that end, I bet it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
His brother maintained that what sent people backing away way neither his size nor his mother's blood, but solely the expression on his face. To test Samuel's theory, Charles had tried smiling--and then solemnly reported to Samuel that he had been mistaken. When Charles smiled, he told Samuel, people just ran faster.
I’ve tried to figure out how to write my review honestly without giving spoilers, but I just can’t. My major dislike involved a plot point that I woul...moreI’ve tried to figure out how to write my review honestly without giving spoilers, but I just can’t. My major dislike involved a plot point that I would consider to be a spoiler, so be wary and don’t read it unless you really want to know.
Dmitri, I’m happy to say, is still the same guy we first saw in Angels’ Blood. He’s wicked and naughty, and still has that disturbing vein of cruelty. He was, I have to admit, one of the members of the Seven that I was least interested in, but I really got to know him here and grew to love him. He’s dark and dangerous, but what really swayed me were his memories. That guy, the one his memories, was the one that really made me fall for him. If we wouldn’t have seen him as he was then, I’m not sure how much I would have cared for him in the present. As I said, he had a vein of hard anger and cruelty in him that had me shying away. Rafael could be cruel and cold to Elena and others, but he didn’t seem to relish it the way Dmitri did, and that seemed to make all the difference for me.
I tried not to compare their relationship to Elena and Rafael, I really did. And I succeeded for the most part. It was weird seeing them from the sidelines and only having a few scenes with them, but the author was smart not to let any of the other characters accidentally dominate Dmitri’s book. We got to see Jason and Illium and Venom, but the scenes with them seemed few and far between. What we did see of Illium continued to hint toward a worrying fixation on Elena, though. Just like in the last book, I’m not sure what I think of the continued mention of this subject. It’s making it into a bigger thing than I want it to be and I keep hoping it will be dropped.
Honor and Dmitri both have had to learn to cope with the horrific abuse they’re suffered. Dmitri is, of course, further along in the game than her, but he has had way more time to adjust. Honor is still jumpy and can’t control her occasional involuntary fight or flight reaction around him. Although Honor would seem to be the more wounded of the two, being that her experience was more recent, Dmitri really stole the show. His constant flashbacks exposed us to a pain and a yearning that has never healed in him. It has been so many years and he’s still not over his wife. He longs for the happiness and the love he felt when he was with her, and he just about broke my heart. That’s really what leads into why the relationship between Honor and Dmitri left me dissatisfied.
Dmitri was clearly not over his wife, and honestly, I don’t blame him. The flashbacks we were shown were incredibly compelling and it broke my heart to know that he didn’t have that anymore. Although he started to make a connection with Honor, there was so much time devoted to memories of his prior life and Honor’s similarities to his dead wife that I felt that the present relationship was shortchanged. I mean, we even had flashbacks during the scenes where Honor and Dmitri were getting frisky! I ended up being more interested in the past relationship than the present one and wished I could have read that romance, because they had something beautiful.
(view spoiler)[I know why Dmitri was constantly reminded of his wife when he was with Honor, but it really made me doubt that Honor was actually what kept him interested. The author built up the past connection and Dmitri’s continued devotion so well that the current relationship didn’t quite fit. It seemed like the only reason why it developed into more than his typical catch and release attitude was because he became unwillingly intrigued by the similarities.
I was very shocked and unhappy to find that….This is where the SPOILERS come in, people….Honor was cast as Dmitri’s dead wife, reincarnated. I know that some people find that situation very romantic, but I’m not one of them. To me, there’s a very clear definition between this person and that person. Just because both people have the same soul does not mean that they are both guaranteed to be loved by the same person. Every action and inaction and event that you experience defines who you are. It’s that person that someone will fall in love with. And I don’t feel that those things are interchangeable. Change one event about your past and you could change your whole personality and outlook on life. You might not have grown and learned enough to become the person you are today.
So to have Dmitri’s dreams come true by tying up his pain in a big red bow and giving him his wife back makes me very unhappy. What about Honor? She seemed to exist only as a vehicle to ease his torment. I am not convinced that he would have ever been completely fulfilled by just her. He was too hung up on his wife. But because she is his wife it’s okay. Now he’ll love her with everything he has. But is he really loving Honor? Or is he just loving his wife any way he can get her? I don’t like to close a Romance with these nagging worries, so I’m not exactly stoked about how this all turned out. (hide spoiler)]
Other than that, I also felt that the story was a little slow and that the plot wasn’t really important. It almost seemed like it existed only to give Honor and Dmitri an excuse to be around each other and to give Dmitri a compelling reason to reveal pieces of his past.
Although I wasn’t thrilled with this book, I still enjoyed it. The Guild Hunter world is an awesome place to be and I enjoyed getting to see more of Ashwini and getting to see the storyline for Holly (Uram’s victim) developed further.
"Like to push, don't you?"
"If I don't," he purred, leaning down to kiss her while he plumped and shaped her breast with a proprietary hand, "how will I ever get you to a point where you'll let me tie you up and use a whip on you?"
Review originally posted on Fiction Vixen.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This series is a relatively new discovery to me. I actually only read the first book of the series, Tempting Danger, in October of 2010! But it was lo...moreThis series is a relatively new discovery to me. I actually only read the first book of the series, Tempting Danger, in October of 2010! But it was love at first sight for me. Right after I closed Tempting Danger I called one bookstore, visited two other used bookstores, and even hit up the library looking for the second book so I could jump into it immediately. Alas, my little town sucks and I had to order it and wait for it to arrive. But finally the rest of the series came in and I got to read them all. I actually just finished the last book, Blood Magic, before starting this one. So, needless to say, everything is very fresh in my mind.
This book is not one that I would recommend reading as a standalone. The events that these characters experience and the way the relationships have evolved are only really appreciated when read in order. The series slowly layers with each book and the payoff really comes from taking the journey with the characters.
Once again we’re following Rule and Lily’s journey. There is a surprising (but welcome) secondary romance included as well, and I hope we’ll eventually get a whole book devoted to them like we did with the other secondary couple. I was a little afraid that the secondary romance would leave me unsatisfied as it did previously, but I was actually really happy with it.
Benedict and Arjenie were very intriguing to read about. Benedict has always been something of an enigma to me, so I was thrilled when I turned a page and realized it was starting to focus on him. The glimpses I have seen of him while reading about Rule—and his tough past with his Chosen--made his terror at the prospect of another connection very compelling. Paired with Arjenie’s babbling about interesting facts and her overall cute personality, there was no way I couldn’t like them together.
Rule and Lily continue along the taboo path that they chose at the end of the fifth book, Mortal Sins. Not everyone is pleased for them, and Lily and Rule have both been receiving threats. In addition to this, something has happened to endanger the public opinion of the lupi.
I find myself more and more fascinated with the lupi world. The way everything is starting to tie together and the importance of the Chosen is keeping me glued to this series. I really love the world that this author has created and don’t understand why I don’t hear about her more often.
I loved getting to see more of the other clans, and I was thrilled to get a deeper look at Isen. At times Lily’s black and white view of her role as an agent of the law irritated me, but I guess she wouldn’t be who she was without that attitude. I’m pleased that even though Lily and Rule run into personality conflicts during their relationship they never turn it into unnecessary drama. The realness of their relationship and the normal way they work on their problems is one of my favorite parts of the series.
The end of this book had my mouth gaping. Finally we learned more about the prophecy that has been hinted about, but it just led to a bigger surprise. I am shocked (but thrilled) by this development and cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!
"Why did you want me flustered or annoyed?"
His mouth turned wry. "The same reason I would have pulled your hair a few decades ago. Or turned cartwheels, or lifted something impressively heavy."
"You wanted my attention." Delighted, she propped her chin on one hand, elbow on the table, so she could look straight at him. "Okay. You've got it."