It felt like we got a more concentrated focus on Eve's feelings and attachments to certain people than we usually do. I liked the change up of Eve alr...moreIt felt like we got a more concentrated focus on Eve's feelings and attachments to certain people than we usually do. I liked the change up of Eve already knowing who the bad guy was. I read this book mostly because I wanted to see the Christmas gift exchanges that we missed in Holiday in Death. I would have liked to see it in the moment, but hearing about it after the fact was better than nothing. I loved the bits with McNab and Peabody and liked that we got to see a lot of Mira. I'm not a huge novella fan, but this was a nice little short. It whet my appetite for the next book. (less)
Unfortunately, I did not like this book anywhere near as well as I liked the first book. I spent almost the whole read clenching my teeth and wishing...moreUnfortunately, I did not like this book anywhere near as well as I liked the first book. I spent almost the whole read clenching my teeth and wishing I could reach through the book and strangle the heroine. I honestly have no clue why Kevin had the slightest interest in her.
Beth completely closed herself off and came off like a jerk--for ten months. She argued about every single thing the hero wanted to help her with, even though he was just trying to do his best by his baby and a woman that he liked (her). Her pride was completely ridiculous. I am all for pride, but it has to make sense. And nothing about this girl did. She felt claustrophobic and blamed the hero for trying to welcome her into his family. That kind of intimacy is just not okay for Beth. Sleeping together is one thing, but expecting her to eat Thanksgiving dinner with his family is quite another. Right...that makes perfect sense.
Beth's mom had quite a few miscarriages before having her, so she was coddled and smothered with love quite a bit when she was a child. Apparently her answer to this issue was to leave and bounce from town to town, never having an actual career or home. She'd rather live in shanty style apartments and get a job where she just barely makes enough to move to the next town. Yes, that makes perfect sense. Because being poor and living in crappy apartments is always preferable to acting like an actual adult and taking control of your life and setting boundaries.
Beth's fear of forming ties with anyone and setting down roots makes her come off like a complete hag the whole book. Every single time Kevin tries to help her or buy something for the baby, she blast him about trying to smother her. She argues about everything and is prideful to the point of stupidity. She closes the relationship door in his face again and again and the poor guy just takes it. Because he thinks she's worth it. I have no clue why, but he was stuck on her. I actually pitied him by the end of the book. He was such a nice guy and he deserved so much better than her.
The secondary romance was my favorite part of the book. I wouldn't have minded if Sam and Paulie would have become the main relationship focus. ;) (less)
I wanted to read for a little bit before I went to bed last night, so I opened this up. I had heard great things about this series from Sophia. She lo...moreI wanted to read for a little bit before I went to bed last night, so I opened this up. I had heard great things about this series from Sophia. She loved how the whole family was so important to the series and since I enjoy the same, I was eager to give it a try. well, unfortunately for me, I really got into the book. I say unfortunately because I had to go to work in the morning and I ended up staying up way too late because I wanted to read it all. I may be cursing myself today, but it was worth it. ;)
I loved the family dynamics and the fact that we got a glimpse at each couple. The family provided a comfy sense of fullness to the surroundings and helped me see--without having the author shove it down my throat--how connected the hero is to his family and why it would have been so hard for him to leave them. I also liked seeing the various reactions to Keri coming back into Joe's life. Having someone still resent her made it feel more authentic than if she had been welcomed by all with open arms. Especially after Joe's life crashed so completely after she left.
Speaking of Joe's life crashing, I was surprised to see how badly he took her leaving. I felt that he was a bit too casual about his past problem, but after having Kevin talk about it more seriously and seeing it handled at the end, I came to realize that it was more a symptom of Joe's character than of the author not handling the issue well.
Joe and Keri's reunion was pretty simple. Neither of were resentful or surprised to find themselves so attracted to each other after so long. The only real issue they had was the same one that originally drove them apart. Keri wants to have her life and her career, and Joe still wants to stay near his family. I liked that the issue was so simple--even though it was difficult for them both to compromise on.
This was a simple, fun read, and the only real problem I had with the book was how manufactured I found Keri's reasons for leaving Joe. I find it unrealistic that they wouldn't have even talked about the issue before she decided to dump him for his own good. (less)
I can't say that I read much Fantasy romance, but I was intrigued when I read the description of this book. It made it seem like the book would be ful...moreI can't say that I read much Fantasy romance, but I was intrigued when I read the description of this book. It made it seem like the book would be full of uncertain politics and tense relations between two factions. The politics and twists and turns were one of the things I loved about the Tairen Soul series, another Fantasy Romance series I've read, so I was hoping for the same thing here.
Although I found the world idea interesting, it wasn't developed as well as I'd hoped. In the beginning we're introduced to Annika, a Na'Chi (AKA a Na'Reish/Light Blade halfbreed), Kalan, a Light Blade warrior (human), and the Na'Reish, the race of demons who captured Kalan. The plot develops from there, with Annika striking a bargain with Kalan to help him escape. They both initially distrust each other, and even occasionally fear each other, but they are forced to learn to rely on one another in order to successfully survive the escape.
Unfortunately, not much more development happens in regards to the world setup. The author developed the broad strokes of the world, like... There are demons and there are humans and they don't like each other. Halfbreeds are abominations that are rarely allowed to survive. The Na'Reish seem to have no religion, but the Light Blades believe in a goddess--who is indicated by the incessant use of italics and capitalization of the words "Her" and "She"--and their whole culture seems to be based around her, excuse me, Her influence. But that's about it for worldbuilding. At the very end more detail is given, but even then it wasn't enough. I needed more depth to the world and characters to truly become engaged.
One thing that I really enjoyed was the tension and wariness between Annika and Kalan in the beginning. Both of them took a big leap in trusting each other, but there was no other alternative. Their wariness was not cured in an instant, and they both spent a lot of time watching for betrayal. Of course, I didn't like that the heroine only proved that she was different from the other demons by showing her humanity. That seemed to translate into her showing her soft and caring side. Basically, she had to be emotional. This left the heroine feeling rather young and overly emotional, at least for me. Then again, I found the whole tone of the book flowery and overly emotional in general. Given that the Tairen Soul series reads the same way, I have to wonder, given my relative inexperience with the genre, if that's just the style of most Fantasy Romances.
The romance took its cue from the rest of the book and stayed underdeveloped. Kalan and Annika were likable characters, but their connection came too easily once they got past their initial mistrust. Love came way too quickly for both of them, and given Kalan's position and the responsibility on his shoulders, I expected more of a struggle over divided loyalties. The lack of it gave the whole Light Blade culture, and the romance, a superficial feel. Even at the end, when Annika is faced with the threat of an addiction she'd fought to avoid, we're still only given a bare minimum focus on it. It wasn't gone into at all, and I had to wonder why the author even felt the need to bring it up if she wasn't going to treat it as important.
I liked the book's focus on prejudice, and especially liked that the author wasn't afraid to play with who was to blame in the situation between the Na'Reish and the Light Blades, but I found the overall plot to be predicable and the conflict to be too easily solved. The situation lacked the intensity I was looking for and I was left feeling ho-hum about it when it ended.
"Hesia was right. The real test of a person is whether they can see past the names and labels." His gaze was steady. "I've seen you. You laugh, you fear, you cry, you love. You're as human as me, Na'Chi."