15 September 2011

The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts

The Return of Rafe MacKade (The MacKade Brothers, #1) (Silhouette Intimate Moments #631)The Return of Rafe MacKade (The MacKade Brothers, #1) by Nora Roberts
My rating: ★★★½

This is the first book in a quartet that comes highly recommended by Lady Vale (and most of my other friends who have read it have loved it too). And no one writes contemporary romance quite like Nora Roberts. So with these two things in mind, I was sure I was going to love the book/series. Things didn’t happen quite like I planned.

I haven’t read a contemporary romance for some time, and it took a while, but Nora Roberts sucked me into the fabric of her story and made me care about what was going to happen to all four of the Mackade brothers. So I know that I am going to read all their stories.
Unfortunately, Regan and Rafe were not my favorite characters, even in their own story. Regan was so concerned by not being defined by her mother’s neediness/dependency on her dad that she defined herself in another way – the opposite of her mother: I don’t need help from anybody. It was annoying. Rafe, was way too “me man, you woman” for my tastes, especially in a contemporary. Mebbe in a parallel/fantasy world, it would have worked well (as it usually does), but not in a contemporary. I was not impressed with either one of them.
Hopefully the other three brothers are not as unnecessarily “macho”(hah!n ot quite) as Rafe, and their heroines are not as annoying as Regan.

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11 September 2011

Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews

Silent BladeKinsmen #1
Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★

4 stars.

5 stars for the story. I took one star off for the heroine. Silent Blade is a sci-fi short story by Ilona Andrews, one of my favorite authors. As always with them, the narrative delivery is excellent, and I was intrigued by what I was reading.
I did not like Meli, the heroine. To be sure, her backstory is rather heartbreaking Due to the politics of her time/society, she’s basically left to become a spinster when her betrothed decides to break the engagement , but I did not feel that her decisions were justified. She chose to use her talents as an armed thug for her family, who I felt were bullies, notwithstanding the politics/culture of their society. So she didn’t have any sympathy from me.
The hero made some bad decisions in the past re: spurning Meli without stopping to think about the consequences for her and is not the most endearing person in the present, but I did come out with the feeling that he had more honor than Meli.
I enjoyed the story very much though, and am waiting with bated breath for the sequel, Silver Shark.

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Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen

Lord of the Wolfyn (Royal House of Shadows, #3)Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen
My rating: ★★

3 Stars.
This installment was based on Little Red Riding Hood and was a pretty hard one to rate. I kept vacillating between 2+ and 3 stars. Here’s why.

The good:
1.It’s a little thing, but I loved all the names in this book. Wolfyn, Dayn, Reda, Moragh… even Kenar. I liked them. These were names that belong in a fantasy novel, and they made me smile to read them.

2.Jessica Andersen (a first-time author for me) wrote certain scenes quite beautifully, and I found myself being carried away with the emotion and events in those scenes.

3.I liked Dayn a good amount of the time.

The not-so-good:
1.The niggling issues I had in the first and second (mostly the second) installments are piling up and becoming magnified. The timeline in the kingdom is really fuzzy for me. 20 years ago Dayn was 26? So that makes him 46 now? (Not a young man, although it the book makes it sound like he is young. Same for Nicolai and Breena). Just confusing. Is lifespan different in the other realms? How?

2.I was left with the feeling that Dayn was so much less than he could have been. He spent too much time “thinking” noble/brave thoughts than “acting” nobly/bravely.

3.As I’ve said before, the history behind the parents just doesn’t feel right to me.

4.I did feel Reda as a heroine was lacking, but I’m not sure she could have been more than she was. Some of the conclusions she jumped to, I’m not sure how the thought processes went. Smh.

All in all, this book was a rollercoaster. I’d be liking it one moment, not liking it the next. The whole was less than the sum of its parts. I’ll go with a 3-star rating.

Off to the final book in this quartet!

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05 September 2011

Duchess in Love by Eloisa James

Duchess in Love (Duchess, #1)Duchess in Love by Eloisa James
My rating: ★★

Not her best work.
Eloisa James' writing is good as always, but this time around, here characters were not as good. There was not one of the females that was not witless, frivolous and simpering. They were just not good characters, IMO. None of the males were either.
The plot was boring and I found myself patently uninterested throughout the novel.
I am putting it as DNF because I skimmed major portions of the book.

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03 September 2011

Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

Lord of Rage (Royal House of Shadows, #2)Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

My rating: 

Lord of Rage is the second installment of the Royal House of Shadows continuity quartet/series, and my first book by Jill Monroe. This is the story of Breena, the second born, Princess of Elden. As with Nicolai she is filled with the thirst for survival and vengeance that their parents instilled in them before their deaths; she also wakes up in a strange place, with a hazy memory. She stumbles on for awhile and comes to a hut in woods, which, unbeknownst to her, belonged to the berserker Osborn, and his two younger brothers. Jill Monroe modeled her story after Goldilocks, and unlike with the first installment, I had no trouble remembering. Some of the scenes were classic Goldilocks, and they made me laugh.

Osborn is a berserker, the last of them, because his entire family and village were destroyed by vampires, save for his two brothers. He ekes out a living for them as a mercenary until he can't take it anymore, and flees to the woods (I am still not sure where/how the woods is in the mythology. Is it outside of time or just a secluded woods? I dunno) - and their hut is what Breena comes across.

Osborn knows Breena as the seductive girl who invades his dreams at night, and Breena knows Osborn as the warrior who she goes to in her dreams at night. Now that she's found him, she wants him to help her in her quest for vengeance.

I am still loving the mythology that has been created for this world, and I also enjoyed Ms. Monroe's storytelling. I was always present in the story, following the journey of the characters.

Three niggling issues -

1. The characters. I felt that for a good part of the book, Breena was a user. She just wanted someone to further her own ends, and nothing more. It's funny, since Nicolai, in the first book, did the same thing to Jane. But the difference as soon as Nicolai realized that Jane was a person, he felt conflicted about what he had to do. Breena - I didn't get that feeling from her, she was only selfish. So I do not like her as much as I could have. I also felt that Osborn (fitting name for a berserker, lol) was not as honorable a character as he might have been. I hated the scene where it looked like he was going to barter teaching Breena how to fight in exchange for her body

2.Breena's background was a bit confusing to me. From the parents Nicolai remembered, I found it hard to believe that these were the same parents who'd raise their daughter only as a princess to be married off. But then, double standards when it comes to sons and daughters is fairly common, so I guess it makes sense. But I still get the feeling that it was out of character for her parents as well as the world. Being raised as a dainty princess just did not fit right.

3. The continuity is kinda off. I felt the same with the previous book, but it did not bother me as much, I guess, because it was the first book. I can't figure out the timeline..or the ages of the royal kids. Were they all caught in a timewarp? I don't know. I can't tell. It's really confusing.

That being said, I really enjoyed the book. I liked watching Osborn and Breena fall in loved. Ms. Monroe has created another winner. On to the third!

*I received this ebook/eARC free from Netgalley; it had no influence on my rating/review*

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02 September 2011

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

*Reviewed in July 2011*

Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

My rating:

This is the first Ilona Andrews book that didn't do it for me.

ON THE EDGE was their very first book I read - and it took me a while to warm up to it, but when i finally did, it was great. BAYOU MOON... not so much.

The writing was good as it always is with Ilona Andrews, but I just couldn't get into it. for one, I didn't care for/about the characters. Cerise was just there and William too. The plot was also just there. I saw it all unfolding and I just kept wondering when it would come to a resolution. I just didn't care. In the end the only saving grace of the book is that is a well-written book. However, the plot and the characters are not at all engaging.

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01 September 2011

Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows, #1)Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter
My rating:

ETA: after finishing all the books in the series, I am downgrading my review to three stars. It factors in how much I like each book, and how many flaws I felt each book had when taking into consideration the whole quartet.

Now I understand why so many people love Gena Showalter. The woman is a master storyteller. The first book I read by her totally underwhelmed. This is my second book and I am totally overwhelmed.

I love, love, love the mythology Ms Showalter and the other three ladies have created for this series.

This is the first book in the series, and Ms. Showalter chose to model her story after Alice in Wonderland (I had to look that up to remember :O), and I guess I kinda see the resemblance.

I liked the book quite a bit. I was completely transported into the world and the experience of the characters. I felt rage when Nicolai was enraged, I felt sad when Jane was sad, I felt angry when Nicolai was angry. The tension/foreshadowing was out of this world.

After a tragedy that befalls his family, Nicolai, crown prince of a kingdom that runs parallel to our world, is trapped in a time warp, literally, with his memory wiped clean. He's been made a sex slave in the time warp kingdom and lives his days out planning his revenge. He also knows there is something urgent to do re taking back a kingdom, but with his memory gone, he has no idea what he is supposed to do. With his magic he summons Jane, a woman with her own scars, to free him. This being a PNR, of course they fall in love along the way (well these two fell in love rather early).

The characters were fantastic. Nicolai was one scary dude- he reminds me vaguely of Jericho Z Barrons and Nalini Singh's Raphael - utterly ruthless, completely without ruth (lol!). I felt every bit of his frustration when he'd start to remember something about his past only for the memory to fade when he was on the cusp of remembering, argh! The little snippets of memory he did have about his family all made me go "awwww."

I also totally loved that Nicolai was a vampire, but not in the undead sense of it. I don't like the undead. So this was one 'vampire' novel I enjoyed.

Jane was a kick-ass heroine, smart, witty, mature, and not at all TSTL. Girl was take-charge, going straight for what she wanted: Nicolai. No misunderstandings, no nothing. Just two adults who were as straight as possible with each other (well, most of the time) from the get go.

I loved reading this book. I see what all the fuss about Ms. Showalter is about now.
I am excited for this series and I am excited to read more of Gena Showalter's work.

I highly recommend this book description
*I received this ebook/eARC from Netgalley free of charge; it had no influence on my review/rating*

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