Sigh. A cute premise and pretty decent writing is solidly ruined by most of the plot hinging on everyone the heroine meets acting irrationally pissedSigh. A cute premise and pretty decent writing is solidly ruined by most of the plot hinging on everyone the heroine meets acting irrationally pissed at her, and refusing to clue her in to WTF is going on. If you want me to believe that an uptight preschool teacher is the chosen one, for the love of monkeys give her a rock star support team, not these bickering assholes. ...more
most romance novels rely on utterly absurd contrivances and miscommunication to create a plot. Quick has come up with a way to make the contrivance acmost romance novels rely on utterly absurd contrivances and miscommunication to create a plot. Quick has come up with a way to make the contrivance actually BE the plot, and that bit of built-in sensibility works beautifully.
Elenora is a young woman of decent family (because, hell yes regency romance where things like "the ton" are important and all) that's gotten the short end of the stick after her parents die. Arthur is an overly responsible (and, of course, overly rich and overly handsome) gentlemen trying to figure out who murdered his uncle. he figures his sleuthing among society will be far less disturbed by the marriage brokers of the peerage if he already has a fiancee, so he hires Elenora to pose as such during all the big parties one goes to while hunting for murderers. turns out she's quite clever, and really good at digging up the things he's missed, so they make a dynamic duo. also, they're of course swoonily attracted to each other and there's some sex, because this is a romance novel.
romance isn't my typical genre - i just can't turn my brain off enough to enjoy stupid failures of communication, the threat of rape by a dastardly villain, or the reliance on a timidly virginal heroine that so many of them rely on. finding a book that subverts or avoids all the usual pitfalls and is a snappy-paced read to boot? pure fluffy fun....more
Kenyon has a formula that works for her (and her diehard fans): describe a tortured but hottt bad boy, explain how he got to be so very tortured and vKenyon has a formula that works for her (and her diehard fans): describe a tortured but hottt bad boy, explain how he got to be so very tortured and very very bad, then drop him in the pathof a refreshingly average,sweet caring woman who totally just wants to love him and discover how nice he is underneath his tough tough exterior. this installment is not much different, even though it's about a truly ancient being of immeasurable power. Apparently everybody is going to find their true love somewhere around New Orleans, and it's all going to end out great for everybody, no matter whether God or demons or fate themselves are involved. Pure popcorn fluff of the type that is ideal for beaches and airplane rides....more
a wonderfully ideal palate cleanser for those of us that like lightly trashy fantasy in-between our srs bzns fantasy, this series opener hits pretty ma wonderfully ideal palate cleanser for those of us that like lightly trashy fantasy in-between our srs bzns fantasy, this series opener hits pretty much every note just right. there's a nicely imagined world of magical and mugglemundane people, an engaging plot, leads with solid chemistry, and villains that are deeply dastardly (indeed, if there's anything really wrong with this book, it's that everyone is pretty one-note). oh, and, hey, pretty hawt to boot. special bonus points: you know that obnoxious crap where the plot of a standard romance novel is fueled mainly by miscommunication? well, in this book right here, the heroine gets all worried over something imminently practical she's done, starts to get nervous about overstepping her bounds, and the hero says, "wow, i was such a bonehead to have not done that earlier. thanks for being awesome," and then the plot continues on just fine without the unnecessary silliness. i'll definitely be picking up more of Beardsley's stuff....more
Jade has just moved in to an inexpensive apartment over a strip club (hey, it's bourbon street, there's plenty of 'em) that's conveniently owned by thJade has just moved in to an inexpensive apartment over a strip club (hey, it's bourbon street, there's plenty of 'em) that's conveniently owned by the same team that runs the coffee shop she works at next door. keeping tenants in the joint is difficult due to rumors of ghosts in the place, which ultimately turn out to be true. by the end of this story, Jade has to figure out who the ghost is and why it's bugging her, and what she's going to do about hottie landlord.
one of the most solidly written freebies i've come across, this book has clearly seen the blessed red pen of an editor. the story works very well, being neither the comedic fluffy romance you'd expect with the back-of-book blurb, nor a horrific tale of poltergeist harassment, but with a generally nice balance between the two. characters tend to be messy and nuanced, not cardboard good guys. there are actual friendships between women, not just catty chick cut-downs (crazily enough for a romance novel, this book passes the Bechdel test!!). if it wasn't for the eye-rolling insta-romance and the suddenly silly ending, it'd be a solid 4* read....more
well. this whole thing is a hot mess, and exactly the sort of story people would point to when asked why they think a traditional publishing model iswell. this whole thing is a hot mess, and exactly the sort of story people would point to when asked why they think a traditional publishing model is alive and well in this age of easy self-publishing. the only reasons i slogged through to the end were a)i read most of it on a lazy sunday where relaxing with something brainless was a reasonable pursuit and b)sheer stubbornness of not wanting to DNF something at 70% complete.
on the plus side, this ebook was mainly typo-free, which has been an pretty frequent issue with SP books. the cover also appears to be pretty professional and all.
on the minus side... alexa is a werewolf, self-declared as the alpha of her pack. the male alpha is the only person over 20-something in said pack. with these two as examples, apparently, the sole qualification to be alpha here has nothing to do with charisma, leadership, natural dominance, or animal cunning, nope - you just gotta be a brash, selfish idiot. she works in an office where she & the gang openly take hits on secretive creatures of the night, under no kind of charter from the supernatural community (as in, other than a paycheck, i can't figure out why they feel the need to kill some murdering bloodsuckers and go out the bar with others, and i can't figure out why the hit-ees don't just bomb the joint). the plot (such as it is) keeps happening TO her, rather than the other way around. there's an obligatory love triangle that appears to be set up for the sole purpose of having alexa reluctantly-at-first-but-hey-sparks-fly-anyway shag 2 different man friends.
an unlikable protagonist is a real kiss of death for me, and this girl has the mindset of a 22 year old mall bimbo, complete with what all ass-kicking alpha werewolves go "huntressing" in: a wardrobe of playboy bunny baby tees. since a plot doesn't bother to show up until 2/3 of the way through, there's really nothing to entice you to stay in alexa's suburban world. ...more
Meljean Brook has written one of the best examples of steampunk i've come across. this isn't a victorian fantasy where everyone inexplicably3.5 stars.
Meljean Brook has written one of the best examples of steampunk i've come across. this isn't a victorian fantasy where everyone inexplicably chooses goggles as a fashion accessory and the word "airship" comes up every so often as background color. no, instead, this is a gleefully gonzo yarn populated with armored kraken (!) and mirror eyes and insidiously helpful/harmful nanotechnology. most excitingly, all of the steampunk tidbits aren't merely lace trim on the edge of a bustled dress - this is a story that couldn't exist without the world being designed the way it is, an actual exploration of the way such technology would impact the lives of everyday people and the way society functions. there's a sort of class war going on between the uninfected and the "buggers" that embrace the benefits of being colonized by nanotech bots that scrub the industrial london soot from their lungs. leavened through this fantastic version of london, we get a snappy mystery right out of buckaroo banzai vs the world crime league, with a shadowy group bent on killing a huge chunk of the population with a clockwork EMD, and an equally snappy heroine with far more depth & layers than you'd ever expect in a romance novel.
indeed, about halfway through, it becomes readily apparent that the bare-chested brute on the cover was no fib, we are indeed in a romance novel here, and that was ultimately the source of any issues i had with this book. i like some trashy good times quite a bit, tyvm, but the boatloads of frenzied sex our MCs started having were an interruption from the story i'd been liking so much. inadvertently hilarious endearment representative of the sort then frequently applied: "i'm going to shag you with my mouth."
still, it's an A+ world to hang out in, and if future installments revisit the deliciously mysterious Lady Corsair, i'm definitely interested....more
i have a fairly large pile of these UF/PNR freebies back from a couple of years ago when kindles & tablets were a new thing and publishers were gii have a fairly large pile of these UF/PNR freebies back from a couple of years ago when kindles & tablets were a new thing and publishers were giving away free tastes all over the place. a few have ended up surprisingly good, and hey, when you need a fluffy palate cleanser after a 4-volume epic of intergalactic politics and introspection, vampire twu wuv can really hit the spot.
but GAH this one is almost too dumb to actually enjoy. our heroine is a dentist, which means where i come from she'd expect people to call her Dr, she'd never be working in a clinic all alone overnight without so much as one technician or nurse or even a receptionist to help out, and she certainly wouldn't be so impractically squeamish as to be bothered by blood. our hero is a former monk, so very obviously not at all an eeeeeevil sort of vampire, that manages to break a fang in a ludicrous situation with a sex doll (wait, what??) and therefore finds himself in desperate need of an emergency overnight dentist (do they even have those??). i get that in the tropes of formulaic romance novels, it's quite reasonable for there to be a lot of screwball hijinx in order to set the star couple up, but boy did this one really stretch credulity. our hero and heroine are also as sweet and as full of depth as a sugar cube - perfectly decent, perfectly honest & honorable, perfectly ready for true love in the course of a day, perfectly zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
there's some much more interesting side characters and there's plenty of good ideas rolling on through here, enough so that i wish the story had been in the hands of an author that would have made the light comedy and meet-cute and sex come off with a whole lot more panache and grace....more
Brooks' series of sci-fi flavored romance novels is up to a half dozen or so, of which this 4th installment was a kindle freebie.maybe even 2.5 stars
Brooks' series of sci-fi flavored romance novels is up to a half dozen or so, of which this 4th installment was a kindle freebie. it's a good intro to the series, and I'm assuming if you like what's going on here, you'd like the rest of them. there's a lot of details about couples from presumably the first 3 books, so if you don't want to know about their inevitable HEAs, save this one until later. the otherworldly elements are mixed in with a light touch, just a bit of planetary immigration and the idea of multiple species, not a bunch of sketchy faux-science & made-up words to distract with their silliness. sex scenes are graphic and (forgive the pun) earthy - if you like blushing euphemisms about gentle lovemaking, this is not your book. other than the offworld details, this is a pretty by-the-numbers romance novel: boy & girl have to overcome some silly, largely invented obstacle to their budding love. oddly, there's a strong focus on childbearing, with all of the heroines (current & past) being pretty much constantly delightedly pregnant. sure, I get it, that's some kind of shorthand for "stable forever relationship", but for the space captain, the witch, and the farmer to all want the same things out of life seems a little silly.
bottom line: it's a quick, breezy read with engaging characters, but it's a little too silly here & there to completely hold your interest. ...more
if you pick up this sequel, try to devote the time to reading it straight through before you can think too much about the ridiculousness of what's goiif you pick up this sequel, try to devote the time to reading it straight through before you can think too much about the ridiculousness of what's going on in there. 'one foot in the grave' starts out as a fast-paced actioner, and clips along at a pleasingly speedy pace right up until our hero bones returns to cat's life, after which this becomes a silly romance novel complete with all the expected romance novel tropes. in the first book in this series, cat was occasionally hard to like because her naivete came off as stupidity. 4+ years later, at the start of book 2, she's gone through a lot more in life - she's a more worldly leader of a military-style team of vampire hunters; she's confident in her abilities to kick ass and get stuff done. when bones returns from his exile, though, cat's IQ is halved and idiocy takes over. an unnecessarily convoluted plot to free her from a big baddie (a friend of a friend...oddly, the whole "let's just ask him right quick if he'd mind not being a jerk" plan never comes up) gets tossed in the trash due to a stupid slip of the tongue. and perhaps worst of all, bones' "british accent" comes off way more austin powers than james bond (who would never say "shag" when he just wanted to f***)....more
tracking trends in romance novels is an interesting diversion. as a genre, they're generally intended to be popcoreh, 2.5 or 3, somewhere thereabouts.
tracking trends in romance novels is an interesting diversion. as a genre, they're generally intended to be popcorn - all empty calories, just fun to eat - but each style has its tropes. if this was a regency romance, it'd have someone contemplating marrying to save the family's fortunes. if it was a teen romance, there'd be a super angsty love triangle. instead, it's the start to a paranormal series, which means we get a brotherhood. actual brothers this go-around (as opposed to a black dagger sort of brotherhood), but the standard members are there. you have the honest, respectable one to ease you into this world (crikey, he's a hot BMW-driving doctor. you'd introduce him to your mom, and she totally wouldn't give you crap...well, maybe a little about the tatts), and then the next books will of course be about his bad-boy and super tortured brothers, respectively.
it's fun, some asses get kicked, some angst gets worked out, the obnoxious rape trope takes up some small percentage of the story. it's not exactly ground-breaking, but it succeeds very well as popcorn. yum....more
ok, 1.5 stars maybe. to be fair, i did stay up a hair late to finish it.
dear jr ward, why the hell do i still read your trash? don't get me wrong, i rok, 1.5 stars maybe. to be fair, i did stay up a hair late to finish it.
dear jr ward, why the hell do i still read your trash? don't get me wrong, i really like a deliciously trashy book on regular occasion (we're not in black tie discussing 'war & peace' at my house EVERY day after all), but lately, the "deliciously" part is missing from yours. gigundously hulking male rescues beautiful female from some weak baby-powder smelling baddie, epic bouts of multi-orgasmic sex ensue; good guys and bad guys hate each other for no discernible reason. rinse & repeat with the next novel. (view spoiler)[problem was with this one was that you kinda pooped all over your characters with this book and the result is just lazy as all get-out. the most interesting, complex, kick-ass, female character you've ever written (a leather-bound independent assassin iron goddess!!!!) was swiftly reduced to as much as a damsel-in-distress as any other chick in this series (and then some. seriously, she had a tortured enough past without you needing to knock her down to the hero's level by making her a rape victim). lengthening the plot by making it the standard romance novel cliche of failure to communicate just added insult to injury. sigh.
the best part about it was a thoroughly delightful subplot where the sweet gay kid finally gets sophisticatedly seduced by someone who's pleasantly right in the head...and then after chapters of pounding hetero sex, ya cut away without even the slightest suggestion of how that sweet seduction went down. sigh. (hide spoiler)]
you can do better than this. hell, you HAVE done better, but i'm convinced that you won't anymore, so we're kinda breaking up now.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
by now, we're all familiar with the world of vampire-and-were romance (maybe too familiar at this point, where so many of those worlds seem to be pretby now, we're all familiar with the world of vampire-and-were romance (maybe too familiar at this point, where so many of those worlds seem to be pretty much the same). Singh therefore gets bonus points for shading that into some less-travelled territory with her sci-fi flavored novel. she's deleted the vamps, and added a handful of Anne McCaffrey's psionic talented people to create an interesting spin on the "2 worlds colliding" sort of PNR novel. our heroine is a psy, raised to be purely analytical and without emotion, but her training didn't quite work out and so she's hiding her emotional heart from the autocratic psy hierarchy. she meets a ferocious shapeshifting leopard, sparks fly, passions blaze, and solving a murder mystery is tossed in to boot.
the book throws you right in the action, leaving the reader to piece together what's going on in this world as the story unfolds. it's a familiar literary set up to sci-fi readers, but not at all what I was expecting in a romance novel. the world Singh builds is interesting enough that I may check out future installments, but unfortunately, her writing style can be a bit annoying - she's a fan of short sentences that build on one another ("they were out for blood. psy blood."), which gets real old real quick. a ruthless editor would have made this a marvelous book. ...more
i strikingly similar re-tread of the first "black dagger brotherhood" book, minus the bizarre spelling. a human woman "who never quite fit in with heri strikingly similar re-tread of the first "black dagger brotherhood" book, minus the bizarre spelling. a human woman "who never quite fit in with her life" is swept into a clan of bad-ass vampire warrior buddies sworn to rid the world of the evil vampires. she is, of course, destined to be the life mate of the head bad-ass, necessitating she give up everything to be his one & only (in these sorts of books a woman's life isn't all that interesting until she finds her Destined Big Man). nothing great, nothing horrible, but then again i didn't care for the first BDB book as much as the rest of the series either....more