Following the disastrous outcome of the events in Shooting Scars, Javier, Ellie and Camden are forced to team up to right the wrongs. Having the three...moreFollowing the disastrous outcome of the events in Shooting Scars, Javier, Ellie and Camden are forced to team up to right the wrongs. Having the three thrown together forces Ellie to finally choose between the two men that stole her heart.
Bold Tricks is the final installment of The Artists Trilogy where we finally get to see how everything culminates. Told from the sole point of view of Ellie, Bold Tricks maintains the violent and thrilling complexity we've come to expect. All loose ends are tied up sufficiently but without that picture perfect ending because that's the least you could expect with a cast of characters like this. Is there a happily ever after? Well... I suppose that depends on which Team you're on. I will say I was a bit disappointed at the portrayal of a certain character though, but won't reveal who. My guess is it was a way of making Ellie's choice a bit easier but that person's actions seemed too out of character and didn't fit as well with what we've come to expect.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is not my normal genre and if I didn't adore Karina Halle's writing from her Experiment in Terror series then I likely would have never picked this up. Contemporary Romance is not my go-to genre, but the fascinating cast of characters is what truly makes this series shine. They may be written in such a way that makes them incredibly realistic, but they are in no way average nor predictable. I'm incredibly sad to see this series come to an end and despite my slight disappointment, Bold Tricks is still a satisfying enough end and a fantastic trilogy overall.(less)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars A copy of Shooting Scars was provided to me by Netgalley/Grand Central Publishing for review purposes.
I read Sins & Needles...moreMy rating: 4 of 5 stars A copy of Shooting Scars was provided to me by Netgalley/Grand Central Publishing for review purposes.
I read Sins & Needles on a whim last year... it's one of those romantic suspense novels that appeared to be just like all the others but managed to shock the hell out of me with how explosive and thrilling it really was.
And as far as Shooting Scars goes... no middle-book syndrome here! Shooting Scars is an action packed follow-up that takes you on a thrill ride that refuses to let up. It's intense, exciting beyond belief and has the perfect amount of sexiness. This story is a definite favorite of mine... I love the rarity of flawed characters possessing such a mesmerizing story.
The dual-narrative was perfection and offered us the opportunity to witness Ellie facing head-on the issues that drove her and Javier apart... and how their reunion dredges up the same feelings that brought the two together in the first place. It also allows us the internal look at Camden's dark transformation and just how deep his feelings for Ellie are and of the things he's capable and willing to do to get her back. The ending will no doubt leave you anticipating the last piece of their story... it's bound to be intense there's no doubt about that. The Artists Trilogy is dark, seductive and extremely exhilarating. (less)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Ter...moreMy rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my favorites, ever, and I was anticipating this so very badly ever since I got hooked on this series earlier this year. I can't say for sure whether it was my extremely (and possibly unrealistic) expectations that made this not as good or not but I definitely had some issues that nagged at me.
I started reading this series because I love ghost novels especially because they aren't so paranormal as to be completely out of this world; that there are instances where you could really feel this being fact. I absolutely loved Perry and Dex as a team and I loved watching their relationship grow over installments. But what I loved the absolute most was the well-blended way that Karina Halle mixed the two together. It wasn't a paranormal novel and it wasn't a romance novel, it was a perfect amalgamation of the two. And therein lies the main issue I had with this novel: the lack of blending.
While Into the Hollow left Dex and Perry's relationship at an imbalance, I understood and expected drama to have to be sorted out in Come Alive. What I didn't expect was for it to take up practically the entire first half with no plot in sight. Now don't go get me wrong, I love me some Dex and Perry but it just felt way too focused on their crazy (and oftentimes unnecessary) drama and their equally crazy sex life. For those of you adverse to this, Come Alive toed the line of erotica and while I'm not against this, this is not what I've come to expect from these novels. If I wanted to read erotica, I would read erotica.
The other big issue I had: the point of view. I did read 'The Dex-Files' and while I enjoyed these short glimpses into Dex's point of view, they weren't my absolute favorite. I was a bit leery when I found out that Come Alive would be told solely from Dex's point of view but of course I reserved judgment. WELL. Dex is one crazy fucker, I think we all know that, but being inside his head and knowing each and every one of his (mostly sexual) thoughts was a bit much. He's just too much sometimes and can be quite intense. I wouldn't be completely adverse to a story from his point of view again, however, I think I'd like it more if it was shared with Perry's POV because, well, Perry is the absolute best.
Regardless, I'm still a die-hard fan and will gladly read anything Ms. Halle writes because she really is an amazing writer of truly entertaining stories. While this is not my favorite installment, the ending did hold much promise for future installments so this is far from my last Perry and Dex story.
A copy of Tampa was provided to me by Ecco/HarperCollins for review purposes.
'The rage of lust was like an IV drip in my veins; I felt it beginning to...moreA copy of Tampa was provided to me by Ecco/HarperCollins for review purposes.
'The rage of lust was like an IV drip in my veins; I felt it beginning to spread inside me with the helpless awareness of someone realizing she's been slipped a drug.'
Celeste has the intensity of a psychopath or even a serial killer when it comes to her sexual obsessions. The desperation in doing whatever it takes to satisfy her need was disturbing to say the least. Her complete disregard for how her actions would affect others in her life was unsettling. Celeste is hands down one of the most warped characters in literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Comparisons to Lolita cannot be helped (although it could also be compared to Belinda by Anne Rampling, one of Anne Rice's lesser known novels written under a pseudonym), despite the fact it's actually quite different it still manages to touch upon the same subject. Unlike Lolita, this is not a retelling of events or even a confession but a first person accounting of the main characters sexual forays. But be warned, Celeste makes Humbert Humbert look tame in comparison. Nabokov wrote a truly lyrical story that managed to win over many readers despite Humbert's wrongs; he became one to be pitied. Nutting has done the opposite with her character Celeste and does not ever intend for you to pity her or feel sorry for her affliction. She's extremely lewd and vulgar and the pages reek with indecency and she's not ashamed to admit it.
'I found that sometimes it was a relief to do something unattractive in private, to confirm that I'm deeply flawed when so many others imagine me to be perfect.'
She found anyone that had begun to show signs that adolescence was leaving them to be completely foul and disgusting and was utterly envious of the female children of her class. The fact that she was flawless and appeared much younger than her true age I think was the only mitigating factor that prevented her from personally disgusting herself as she took extremely good care of herself to avoid showing signs of her age for as long as possible. It could also be said that her sexual encounters with the younger boys was seen as a purifying or cleansing ritual in her eyes. Bottom line, she was an extremely disturbed individual.
Tampa is a book that opens up the discussion that women are obviously not always the victim, that they can be just as guilty and just as psychopathic as their gender counterpart. It's a topic that forces you to look at the stereotypes in society today whether it is gender stereotypes or even stereotypes based on looks alone. Also, it definitely brings to light how the pursuing of an older woman no matter the age of the pursuer has become slightly glamorized over time.
In an interview with Cosmo (incredible review, definitely worth a read), the author stated that there is a void in literature about female sexual psychopaths and she sought to fill it. I can't think of any books related to the topic either but I have to applaud the fact that Nutting tackled this subject head-on and didn't water it down simply to avoid controversy. The extensiveness of her sexual conduct did at times seem gratuitous and left you feeling just as empty as Celeste, however, there’s no denying this was an exceptionally scandalous yet efficiently written debut novel.
'It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.'
Lolita is likely one of the most controversial stories in 20th century literature...more'It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.'
Lolita is likely one of the most controversial stories in 20th century literature to date. Lolita has been coined as a 'love story' and even 'erotic'. In all honesty, this was simply Humbert attempting to convince himself (and others) that his actions were normal and completely justified. By the end pages, I could honestly say that Humbert believed wholeheartedly he truly loved Lolita, that he always had the best of intentions for her and that he was a good father to her. His version of love was of course far from normal and was quite sick and twisted indeed but because we're only seeing this story from his point of view it's obviously a biased and glamorized interpretation.
'We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.'
But to me that was the most amazing part of this story. When you really think about this story as a whole, you know what he did was wrong, you know that he changed that 12 year-old girl irrevocably and you can almost despise him for the fact that he blamed her for seducing him initially. However, despite all that, I know I'm not the only reader that struggled to not feel at least a slight bit of sympathy for him. And that's the true brilliance of it.
'And the rest is rust and stardust.'
Lolita is a truly remarkably written story that was undoubtedly shocking after its initial publication in 1955. I can't help but find it severely unlikely though that it would have ever been published during this day and age.(less)
'Holy cow... This beautiful man wants me back and deep down inside my sweet joy slowly unfurls like a...moreInterested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!
'Holy cow... This beautiful man wants me back and deep down inside my sweet joy slowly unfurls like a morning glory in the early dawn.'
Ana's naivety really grated on me this time around. Well OF COURSE he wants you back. YOU broke up with him. HE never wanted you to leave. So how is it such a shocker that he wants you back? Dumb woman. And then there's the whole 'I forgot the safe word, I just thought I'd deal with the pain instead' and then 'oh god! I've made him mad!'. Ana just comes across as an extremely weak willed woman who cowers in fear of upsetting Christian, this man she barely knows. I had a really hard time with Ana this time around.
And was it just me or did Anna's inner goddess make her seem like some schizophrenic with multiple personalities?
'My inner goddess nods frantically in agreement. And as I stand in line, we come up with a plan.'
I'm thinking that it's maybe just the way it's written, but it really made Anna sound nuts.
I was really looking forward to the second installation in this series as I really enjoyed the first one. Unfortunately I find myself in the minority on this one… It was still hot and steamy but I felt the story line was a bit too forced and was so extreme that it didn't seem real or plausible. Plus, with Ana's constant irritating behavior it took me forever to get through it because I kept putting it down. If I find myself irritated with a book, I owe it enough to put it aside till I can hopefully get over it. But if I'm picking up a book on almost a dozen occasions and find myself with the same constant irritation then it's not for me. Really wanted to like this one more than I did, but I don't even have the urge to pick up the final book in the trilogy.
This story was written in 1954... I cannot even begin to imagine the outrage this novel must have caused.
Taken at face value it’s a strange, odd, and...moreThis story was written in 1954... I cannot even begin to imagine the outrage this novel must have caused.
Taken at face value it’s a strange, odd, and confusing tale of female submission. The main character, known as O, is brought to the château of Roissy where she is taught to be constantly ‘available’ to the men who belong to that ‘elite group’. Like I said, awkward. You’re not given much background story at all so you don’t quite understand the O and why she’s allowing this to happen when she doesn’t even appear to be enjoying this (regardless of the fact that she actually gives her permission frequently for them to do such things to her).
After reading more about Anne Desclos (The Story of O being written under the pen name Pauline Réage) the story begins to make a bit more sense. It wasn’t originally intended to be a novel; however, it was written as a series of love letters to her lover Jean Paulhan. Her lover had been a fan of the work of Marquis de Sade and had once said that a woman could not write anything such as that. Taking it as a dare, she set out to accomplish it. So it probably wasn’t meant to make sense, her lover may have been into stuff like that and she was trying to … pacify him. Either way it was quite the difficult read and wasn’t exactly enjoyable.(less)
I won a copy of this short story off of LibraryThing; however, I don’t actually recall entering it. I still figure I should be courteous and give the...moreI won a copy of this short story off of LibraryThing; however, I don’t actually recall entering it. I still figure I should be courteous and give the author the review she requested in exchange for a copy.
As I said above, this was a very short story, only about 10 pages tops. The story is about Marcia and Joe, together for 4 years and married for 2. Suffice it to say Marcia and Joe don’t have the best of relationships. The opening of the story introduces Marcia as she’s ‘taking care of herself’ in the bathroom stall at work. The POV then switches to Joe who is in the middle of making restaurant reservations because he knows the only way he can get his wife to have sex with him is if he spends hundreds taking her out to dinner and buying expensive champagne. As Joe puts it, “Tonight he’d make love to her for the first time in nearly a month and he was eager to have sex with someone other than a woman whose last name was jpeg or gif.” Bottom line, I found this more sad than comedic as I think the story’s intentions were.
The Good I enjoyed the author’s writing style. She kept it interesting, intriguing, and I’d be interested in reading more from her.
The Not So Good The whole sex in a dumpster? I don’t know but… it didn’t do it for me. It ended up being more funny than steamy. And for the record, that is a TERRIBLE waste of a good pat of butter. LOL I would be interested in continuing the story and seeing how Marcia and Joe’s relationship progresses. (less)
I love historical fiction and I love a good romance novel... I also love a combination of the two. I thought that was what I was getting with this fre...moreI love historical fiction and I love a good romance novel... I also love a combination of the two. I thought that was what I was getting with this free novel from Carina Press; however, the story was a bit far-fetched and silly at times. Overall it was just decent.(less)
Good little introduction story to the series. I've been waiting to read this series for so long and am finally giving it a sh...moreMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Good little introduction story to the series. I've been waiting to read this series for so long and am finally giving it a shot. The Warlord Wants Forever introduces Nikolai Wroth, a general in the rebel vampire army, and Myst, a Valkyrie. Nikolai has been searching for his Bride, the one who will make him strong again, and he’s finally found her…
I'm not usually a fan of paranormal romance in general but I've heard great things about this series and this short story gave me a good idea whether I would enjoy the remaining books or not. It did come off as being a bit rushed and would have benefited by being a full length novel but I’m looking forward to continuing reading the Immortals After Dark series and getting into the actual novels.(less)
Alright so I had totally written a review, and it somehow got deleted, so in place of missing review you’re going to get this half-assed one because I...moreAlright so I had totally written a review, and it somehow got deleted, so in place of missing review you’re going to get this half-assed one because I really didn’t care for this book. I’d give it 2.5 stars… and I debated a while on whether it was worth rounding up. I decided against that obviously.
I had really been looking forward to this book, I thought it was going to be A LOT better than it ended up being. The story was extremely fast paced, set in this ‘Steford’ type society, just with supernaturals, including a vampire, Parker, cursed to be a vegetarian. Go figure he finds a dryad, Amara, that solves that exact problem. Anyways, the crazy ex-girlfriend that put the curse on Parker is still trying to come after him and cause problems, and that’s the story in a nutshell. Like I said, half-assed. Sorry.
The relationship between Parker and Amara was a bit irritating… I have read plenty of novels where the characters fall madly in love almost immediately, but these two were marriedby date number two. Not only that, but there was no real connection between the two other than the fact that Parker wanted to suck her dry. It reminded me a lot of the relationship between Diana and Matthew in A Discovery of Witches , but not in the best way. Unfortunately I don’t think this is a series that I will be continuing.
Hearts in Darkness is a short little contemporary romance about Makenna James and Caden Grayson getting locked in an elevator together for th...more3.5 stars
Hearts in Darkness is a short little contemporary romance about Makenna James and Caden Grayson getting locked in an elevator together for the night... in complete darkness. I really enjoyed this even though I didn't realize it was contemporary until I was well into the story (not my typical read).
I'm going to have to agree completely with similar reviews that mention how the writing and the point of view shifts definitely threw you off. I can understand telling the story from one point of view and then back-tracking in order to tell the story from the point of view of the other individual... but it lacked something in this story. It lacked flow for one, and also... I felt that the author didn't need to do this for every interaction between the characters. Blah, I don't know, I'm having trouble forming sentences this morning.
I liked it, I enjoyed it, I will keep an eye out for more from this author in the future. (less)
I've never read anything by Gena Showalter before, but I've heard good things about her books. I decided to read the prequel first before jumping into...moreI've never read anything by Gena Showalter before, but I've heard good things about her books. I decided to read the prequel first before jumping into the rest of the series.
This was a really short story and didn't take me long at all to read. The premise was interesting, but I didn't quite understand why a Goddess was assigned to protect the wall of the Underworld that prevented demons from being unleashed to the world. But regardless, she falls in love with the other Guardian of the wall who was transformed from a man to a monster when he sells his soul to save his wife (at the time). For a short story it wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite paranormal romance I've read. Will still read the actually series sometime though.