I only read the first three stories--Ilona Andrews' 'Retribution Clause,' Jim Butcher's 'Bigfoot on Campus' and Rachel Caine's 'Holly's Balm.' I was p...moreI only read the first three stories--Ilona Andrews' 'Retribution Clause,' Jim Butcher's 'Bigfoot on Campus' and Rachel Caine's 'Holly's Balm.' I was pleased with all three, especially 'Retribution Clause.' We got to see a little bit more of the world Kate Daniels inhabits, and a lot more of the magic system. Butcher's story was also really entertaining, as Harry Dresden usually is, though I am a little sick of his chivalrous hero/knight-complex. It worked here, but it could easily be too much. Caine's story isn't part of a larger world, though we met Holly & Andy in another short in 'Strange Brew.' The 'twists' were really predictable (I knew who the serial killer was almost right away), but the magic system is unique, and I just LOVE the two main characters. I hope Caine writes more about them!
The other stories are mostly in series I don't read, except Simon R. Green's Nightside story. As I do read that one, I was turned off immediately by the HUGE infodump at the beginning and quit reading. Seriously, Walker just wanders past Dead Boy and tells him his whole 'death' story, like he doesn't know. Huh? No thanks. I mostly read Nightside for John Taylor and Suzi Shooter anyway.(less)
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. The premise and writing are great, but Charley is just SO mouthy, it feels unrealistic. And her obses...moreHuh.
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. The premise and writing are great, but Charley is just SO mouthy, it feels unrealistic. And her obsession with Reyes was just too much. Why even throw in a possible love triangle (with Garrett, who I really liked) if you're going to have your heroine pick definitively in book 1?
The mystery was interesting, though I ended up putting the book down for a week (moving apartments, ugh!) so I feel like I missed something.
Bottom line: I'll definitely check out more of this series, but I'm not rushing out to buy them.(less)
Amanda Briars is nearly thirty, unmarried, and firmly on the shelf. She makes a good living as a novelist, but though she enjoys her independence, she...moreAmanda Briars is nearly thirty, unmarried, and firmly on the shelf. She makes a good living as a novelist, but though she enjoys her independence, she craves the touch of a man. So, taking matters into her own hands, she approaches one of London's most notorious madams, and orders herself a birthday present--a sexy male prostitute. When he arrives, even more gorgeous and sensual than she could have imagined, Jack shows her a pleasure she never imagined existed, though he stops short of taking her virginity.
Publisher Jack Devlin is rather shocked when the author he's come to negotiate with obviously mistakes him for a hired stud--but he can't resist her voluptuous charms. When they meet again, and she discovers the deception, she's understandably upset, but a working relationship blossoms into a friendship that quickly becomes much more.
If I were rating this book on characters alone, it would get six out of five stars. Amanda is a perfect mix of confidence and insecurity, completely convinced of her own undesirability, yet assertive in her professional life. Jack is the bastard son of a nobleman who clawed his way to the top of the publishing world by any means at his disposal. He is very damaged, convinced that he's not what Amanda needs, yet unwilling to let her go. Their chemistry is explosive, and in spite of--or perhaps because of--their initial encounter, their relationship proceeds at a perfectly slow pace. The love scenes are well-done and numerous without feeling excessive. Jack and Amanda are also quite a bit more adventurous than the average couple in historical romance, which I liked quite a bit.
Unfortunately, the plot doesn't always measure up to the high standards set by the characters. The main obstacles to their relationship are Amanda's fear Jack will tire of her and Jack's damaging past, and honestly, those are good ones, more than enough to be the crux of the plot. However, Ms. Kleypas seems to need to throw more and more things in their way, cluttering up the last 1/3 of the book. And just when you think Jack & Amanda will get their HEA, there's yet another issue! This book would have been much improved if the last 50 or so pages had been cut and jumped right into the epilogue.
If you love strong heroines and sexy, damaged alpha heroes, this book is definitely one to check out. Just don't hold the meandering ending against Jack and Amanda.
Hmm. I wanted to like this one, but I just couldn't get into it. The world building was really good, and Jack kinda hit all my bad boy buttons, but Pe...moreHmm. I wanted to like this one, but I just couldn't get into it. The world building was really good, and Jack kinda hit all my bad boy buttons, but Pete irritated me, as did the incessant British slang. Yeah, they're in London, I get it. I got it fifteen "bloodys" and twenty-five "fags" ago. There's a point where the language goes from immersing one in a different culture and distracting from the story--and STREET MAGIC is pretty damn far into the latter. The climax was really confusing for me--how did Pete know (view spoiler)[that she could fight off the ghost? Or did she? It really wasn't clear; was she being self-sacrificing, or did she know she'd win? (hide spoiler)]
I won't say I'll avoid the rest of the series; I do like Jack an awful lot. But I won't go out of my way, or bump anything off my TBR pile for DEMON BOUND.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I had two (relatively minor) issues with this book. A) Splitting time between McKenna/Aline and Gideon/Livia does a disservice t...moreI want my own McKenna!
I had two (relatively minor) issues with this book. A) Splitting time between McKenna/Aline and Gideon/Livia does a disservice to both couples; though I understand the simultaneous nature of the stories would make it difficult, they each deserved their own book. B) By the end, Aline's reasons for refusing McKenna had worn so thin, they became unbelievable. While the (view spoiler)[dramatic race to catch McKenna's ship was, well, dramatic, if she'd just shown him her damn legs when he confessed his love, or if Mrs. Whatshername would have told him when he went to cry on her shoulder, I feel that the story would have been better for it. He could have easily tracked her down and said all those lovely things about how she wouldn't shy away if they were HIS scars, etc., without her being so unbelievably stupid. (hide spoiler)]
All in all, a wonderful romance with an absolutely swoon-worthy hero. Mmmm... McKenna.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This whole series is really fantastic. (Do I overuse that word my reviews? I feel like I do.) Elizabeth Hoyt is now one of my very favorite romance au...moreThis whole series is really fantastic. (Do I overuse that word my reviews? I feel like I do.) Elizabeth Hoyt is now one of my very favorite romance authors--even more so, because her books are set in the 18th century, which is not the norm. And fairy tales! So many fairy tales. :D(less)
**spoiler alert** ARGH!!!! Who's the killer? I'm glad it wasn't the sheriff, though I thought it might be. The killer is mentioned several times as ha...more**spoiler alert** ARGH!!!! Who's the killer? I'm glad it wasn't the sheriff, though I thought it might be. The killer is mentioned several times as having short hair/a shaved head, as did the sheriff, even though he seemed too good and honest to be a murderer. Plus, it would have involved him being an unreliable narrator which is one of my big pet peeves in fiction writing. When the author uses a deliberately lying narrator (e.g. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd), yet gives the reader no other point of view with which to contrast his... oh, it really makes me feel used.
I knew I should have picked up all three books when I was at the library! I'll be swinging by to get If You See Her and If You Know Her after work, be...moreI knew I should have picked up all three books when I was at the library! I'll be swinging by to get If You See Her and If You Know Her after work, because this was an excellent book. Evil serial killer, interesting leads, good supporting characters, the whole bit. Highly recommended!(less)
Definitely my least favorite of the trilogy. I have disliked Nia since she was introduced in If You See Her, and she did not redeem herself here. She...moreDefinitely my least favorite of the trilogy. I have disliked Nia since she was introduced in If You See Her, and she did not redeem herself here. She was the epitome of a TSTL heroine: rushing off into dark, unfamiliar places to search for a serial killer; refusing to take good advice that would spare her pain because she's too "rash and impulsive;" and just generally being a bitch for no good reason. At one point, she actually asks Law why he puts up with her bitchiness, and I found myself wondering the same thing. The way she continued to talk down to Hope throughout this book was unforgivable. Eventually, she does realize that she needs to back off and let people (read: the police) handle some things, but it was too little, too late.
The wrap-up of the mystery was really satisfying. I had my suspicions about this person from the first book, and was gratified to be proven correct. His devolution seemed a little forced, as did how he tried to scare Nia off. He seemed too smart to think that would work. But damn, some of the revelations about the murders and the bodies--CREEPY AS FUCK. *shudder* I also liked the time spent with Ezra & Lena and Remy & Hope from the previous books, and, of course, Law. Really, the man's only flaw is his atrocious taste in women.
Overall, it's a solid three-star book. If I hadn't hated Nia so much, it could have easily been four, but she dragged down the whole thing.(less)
This one was absolutely lovely. However, I have absolutely no interest in the other three Hathaway siblings' stories; for me, this was all about Cam &...moreThis one was absolutely lovely. However, I have absolutely no interest in the other three Hathaway siblings' stories; for me, this was all about Cam & Merripin.(less)
Rhiannon Murphy sees dead people. Unfortunately for her, the dead she sees aren't limited to the ghosts her necromancy reveals, but vampires too. She...moreRhiannon Murphy sees dead people. Unfortunately for her, the dead she sees aren't limited to the ghosts her necromancy reveals, but vampires too. She left Miami after her best friend went home with a bloodsucker, never to be heard from again, and now she's been Shanghaied into working with a local vampire, Disco, to find the person responsible for the ritual murders of several vamps. Her smartass mouth might have gotten her into this situation, but she's going to need all of her considerable powers and Disco's help to get out of it.
This book is really fantastic. Rhiannon is a smartass who tends bar at a strip club, works out somewhat obsessively, and sees ghosts. She could have easily fallen into the UF cliche of mouthy, tough girl heroine, but doesn't. She often doesn't think before she speaks, but it never comes off as out of character. Her past is tragic, but Ms. Saare doesn't play it for sympathy, even though it obviously colors much of Rhiannon's life. The reader doesn't even find out what happened (though it was relatively easy to guess the direction--it's a depressingly common story) until a bit past half-way. She's determined not to be a victim again, and throughout the novel, she repeatedly shows that she can take care of herself. She even says once if you wait for a white knight to save you, you'll miss the chair aimed at your face. It's refreshing to see a woman who can defend herself, but that doesn't consider violence as the answer to everything.
Rhiannon is an unusually powerful necromancer, in that she can see the "twice dead," or vampires that have died. This gift is the reason she comes to the attention of Disco after one of his family members disappears. Her interactions with Ethan/Goose served well to teach the reader about necromancy without a big infodump. The eventual villain reveal was a bit out of the blue, but it did make sense within the context of the mystery. I loved that even in an almost hopeless situation, she doesn't wait for Disco or anyone to save her, but she's not too proud to take help when she needs it.
I did have a couple issues with this book. One was Disco. Not his character--he was a nice love interest, and I liked his interactions with Rhiannon. But really, "Disco"? The only person in the novel who calls him that is Rhiannon, and, briefly, Ethan. Gabriel is a perfectly good name, and much sexier than Disco. Seriously, I'm feeling Studio 54 here, and that's not a good look for anyone.
Another was the strange formatting of the paperback. The text seemed extremely small, and there wasn't much margin. Somehow the actual book came in at 172 pages in my copy, and that few pages feels odd in trade format. It's a minor quibble, but I would highly suggest purchasing the ebook over the paperback if you don't want to strain your eyes.
And here's my big, big issue, the issue that takes this from almost five stars to four: I HATE CLIFFHANGERS. I get that this is a series. I get that the next book is out already, so I should just go get it and shut my trap. But I believe very strongly that books should be able to stand on their own. Let a few threads hang, yes, please! I want to look forward to reading the next installment, I want to think forward to what might happen. But big cliffhangers like this one make me want to ignore the next novel out of pure spite. This story is fantastic, and letting it hang like that does it a disservice. I want to know more about Rhiannon, and Gabriel (Disco), and Paine; the cliffhanger at the end was an unnecessary annoyance.
Overall, this is a strong four-star read. Rhiannon is a strong character, and I'll be checking out her next story (despite my cliffhanger-induced anger) The Renfield Syndrome as soon as I can.(less)
The world was interesting, and I really like Charlie. There was no obvious love triangle setup, and I liked that she's a single, divorced mother. On t...moreThe world was interesting, and I really like Charlie. There was no obvious love triangle setup, and I liked that she's a single, divorced mother. On the other hand, I felt as if this were book 2 or 3, and I missed the intro book. There's a fine line between dropping the reader in the middle of a fleshed out world and tossing them, unprepared, into the lion's den. This book skirts that line.
Charlie isn't going to replace Kate Daniels in my heart any time soon, but I definitely want to check out the others.(less)
Not as good as the previous two books in the trilogy. Lucy felt too much like a pushover--though Simon kept talking about how she stood up to him. Whe...moreNot as good as the previous two books in the trilogy. Lucy felt too much like a pushover--though Simon kept talking about how she stood up to him. When was that? And Simon was just SO messed up. I love tortured heroes as much as the next girl, but there has to be some redeeming feature outside of the his love for the heroine, and I didn't really feel that from Simon. I would also have liked a bit more justice in the end; IMO the villain got off rather lightly. Hell, with his self-made-man attitude, he's probably better off at the end of the book than he was at the first.
Either way, this doesn't diminish my obscene amounts of love for The Raven Prince and The Leopard Prince (Edward! Harry!) nor my desire to read all of Ms. Hoyt's back catalog. (less)