Tuesday, February 21, 2017

JR Ward - Immortal

The Creator invented the game, and the stakes are nothing less than the fate of the quick and the dead: seven souls, seven crossroads. Reluctant savior Jim Heron has compromised himself, his body and his soul, and yet he’s on the verge of losing everything...
...Including Sissy, the innocent he freed from Hell. Jim’s determined to protect her—but this makes her a weakness the demon Devina can exploit. With Jim torn between the game and the woman he’s sworn to defend, evil’s more than ready to play dirty.
Humanity’s savior is prepared to do anything to win—even embark on a suicide mission into the shadows of Purgatory. True love is Jim’s only hope for survival—and victory. But can a man with no heart and no soul be saved by something he doesn’t believe in?

Comment: Although I consider myself a fan of this author, the truth is I didn't have any trouble waiting to read this book. I've had it in the pile practically since it was released but I admit I wasn't feeling very eager to read it. I like the author as a writer and I still love the BDB, the series that really hooked me to PNR. But this Fallen Angel series, no matter how interesting some scenes, didn't win me over as easily.

In this 6th and final installment, we finally have the battle between Good and Evil and the solution for Jim's task and whether is can be accomplished successfully or not. In the previous book, Jim forfeited a win in order to save Sissy but now he pays a price too heavy on his heart. But as the final soul comes near, who wins it may become the winner of the game the Creator has started.
Could Jim be the savior anyone wants him to become or will he let his anger and past be the final straw that will unbalance things to the side of evil?

Two things that stay with me after having read this final book, especially after all the sort of secret "aura" given to the books and what would happen in them: the battle seems redundant, considering the key players and the end of this books feels rather incomplete and unimportant to the whole scheme of things if we barely see a reference to the previous characters and the ole they played in the whole thing.

To me, the biggest problem in all this is that too much page time was dedicated to Devina, the villain, and not to the connections between characters, namely the good ones. It makes all this sound silly considering we more or less expected the good guys to win. If the lesson is supposed to be about the hearts and actions of the souls to be saved, it was great they were important in their books, but what about now? Sure, Jim has always been the key player but the way this final book showed things, all the other things lost some importance. Why do we need to spend so much time in Devina's head - even if her character is important to the story - and not with the characters that obviously need to make the biggest change?

I liked the overall feel of the story, how the good ones tried their best to accomplish what they had to and how many inner thoughts were shared with us but the romance between Jim and Sissy, after everything, every sacrifice, could have been even sweeter. Jim is not a sweet guy, I know, but come on, everything he did was because of Sissy, I kind of wanted them to interact and bond more. Even the physical aspect, which had importance because of Sissy's role in all this, wasn't as romantic or special as I imagined after so many books.

I still feel dedicated to the author's writing, but it seems she is looking more towards individuals and not couples or the developments always necessary to the better improvement of the protagonists. Who are Jim and Sissy together? If certain aspects of their lives/personalities were given importance before, why not now?
Anyway, I liked Adrien and all the other secondary characters, I liked how some feelings were explored in specific contexts (like Nigel's inadequacy feelings or Adrien's losses) but they also almost felt like adds up to what could have been a stronger central romance.

Overall, I liked many parts of the book, many scenes, but when I think of the big picture, it's not as intensely romantic as I expected, after all the buzz.
The end was sweet, hopeful of course but a little bit bland. It was not a complete surprise but I imagined a different, better scenario to fit all the struggles and fights of before.
I finished the book feeling better than worse, though, because the series has an end and not a dried up version of an end. Better to stop before things get too tricky or out of familiar and expected content. Still, entertaining.
Grade: 7/10

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Molly Harper - Snow Falling on Bluegrass

Kentucky Tourism Commission employee and executive assistant extraordinaire Kelsey is known around the office for having everything under control. So it’s not surprising that she and her boss, Sadie, have everything planned to the second for the office winter retreat. But there are things even Kelsey can’t micromanage.
An unprecedented snowstorm smothers half of Kentucky and knocks out the power, closes the roads, and generally shuts down the state. Luckily, the lodge has working fireplaces and enough food to keep the staff from turning on each other like something out of The Shining. Kelsey wouldn’t mind being stuck inside if it wasn’t for the tension with her not-so-secret crush, Charlie, the office’s statistician. But handsome Ranger Luke, the lodge’s only employee on hand, is there to take Kelsey’s mind off her discomfort.
Even though this weekend is supposed to be a planning session for KTC, Kelsey can’t help her mind from wandering and finds herself conflicted over Luke and Charlie. Someone’s love will keep her warm, but whose will it be?

Comment: This is the third installment in the Bluegrass series by author Molly Harper, featuring a team of employers from the Kentucky Tourism Commission. I wasn't totally excited about this because the previous book kind of let me down but I had hopes for this one. Again, the characterization is perfect but the romance not much.

This is Kelsey's story. Everyone has wanted her to leave Darrell, the boyfriend who spend her money and didn't work, always complaining about this or that. When this book begins, the employers are leaving for a team retreat and Kelsey has recently broken things up with Darrell. Maybe this will be the time to see if her long lasted attraction and love for co worker Charlie might have some chance.
However, the team is caught on a snowstorm at the hotel and there's only one employee to help them, ranger Luke. He seems interested but can Kelsey just put aside that Charlie is right there?

The best thing about these little stories is the humor and the details about each character, and every single thought behind anything they do. The author took time to create them and to give them all specific quirks that make look funny and cute but also a little bit cartoonish at times. But there's a good balance in what they think and what they stand for so it's more a feeling of getting to know someone different but likable.

Another great aspect is the details about the character' work. I mean, we do learn a lot about how certain things work or can be dealt with if all these informations are correct. At least they do look well researched and presented. I liked the thought I was seeing how real people deal with situations, even obviously knowing the characters are fiction. But the possibility work related to Tourism Commissions can have some sort of truth in all the elements given is interesting.

What wasn't as amazing was how the technical side of every little thing the characters did seemed to be given more focus than the character's interactions or the relationships between them. When we do had this, something would happen and the emotional development I was hoping for wouldn't be addressed as seriously as I would have liked. I understand this is supposed to be funny and that's great but in some details, less could be better.

The romance too, wasn't as explored as it deserved. After getting a hint here and there in the previous books about Kelsey's crush on Charlie and the possibility he might like her as well, I wanted a more intense romance, or more "romantic". The conversations they had weren't as deep as I think they should have been and when they do talk and agree to try, something happens and there's some angst before the final HEA. The book is already short and with so many pages dedicated to other stuff, I really think the romance was barely dealt with, even if we acknowledge they were already in love.

The whole snowed in aspect was interesting and allowed for some funny scenes and developments but... I don't know, I expected something along these lines, this is not my first book by the author but I think there is some balance missing from this book and the previous, at least when comparing to the first one and some other titles by the author.
I understand the fun side of things but in some cases, it can be a little too much.
Grade: 6/10

Friday, February 17, 2017

Lane Hayes - A Kind of Romance

Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.
Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.

Comment: This is the second installment in the A Kind of Stories trilogy by author Lane Hayes. This is Benny's story, a friend of Will from the previous book. I was quite eager to try this one after having enjoyed the other book so much. This one seemed a little less magnificent but so far this trilogy has been quite amazing to me.

In this second installment we follow Zeke's voice, he's one of the sons of mr Gulden, the owner of the bagel shop where Rand used to work and where Benny helps now as well. Zeke works high finance and wanted to separate himself from his father's shops and dealings. It's not that he doesn't like his father but they tend to clash. however, when he is told his father hit hid head he goes to the hospital and meets Benny, someone he immediately dismisses even if there's something about him...
Benny knows his book is a matchmaker and seems to think Zeke would be his perfect other half but do they really have something in common? One daring date probably would solve everything but what if they do hit if off?

Probably, the only major thing I'd change in these books is the narrator's voice. I liked Rand in the first book and I didn't have anything against Zeke in this one but often in a romance it's great if we can have both takes on things. I think these books are quite balanced in this aspect but t wouldn't hurt to have a third person narrating, that would increase the relationship angle for better, in my opinion.

I liked this story. Not as much as the other because this one seemed to have  a lesser focus on the romance in the way that although there are romantic scenes and this is a romantic story, the relationship between the two protagonists felt a little bit more clinical. Yes, they agree to a date just to see what they can talk about, and yes, things progress quite nicely, yes we are convinced they are falling in love but the way those things happen aren't as amazing as I hoped for.

Maybe my problem is the characters themselves... I liked them as a couple, I liked several parts of them, especially the emotional level they were showing when dealing with important tasks/situations, etc. But Benny seems to want to shock or to at least not hide from others his real thoughts and preferences and Zeke is a bit too quiet and "cold". I get it that this works out and they balance each other well but their personalities, no matter how charming at times, weren't always convincing or appealing to me.
Zeke, in particular, also had some issues with his father abut his own youth and his father's role in how he saw himself growing up.. it was an interesting take on a father/son relationship, especially when one of them is gay. The closure on this is one of the things that made me appreciate Zeke a bit more.

Something I liked too was the emotional development we saw the characters go through. Both had an idea about what it would mean to be together, to just see what it was between them, as a way to appease Zeke's father into thinking they tried...but the real connection they form seems believable. I liked all the little steps they took, all the sweet moments they shared. 
Of course there was an antagonist here, that was there - in my opinion - to simply act as a propeller to make Zeke realize what he had with Benny was true and could be forever. I don't really mind this tactic but it didn't make things work out as smoothly as I hoped for, considering all the things they were going through.
Zeke, as the narrator, also seems to have something more to deal with. He has his own mind, his father's opinion and his mother's illness. It's a bit too much but... it does provide interesting scenes and dialogues.

I liked the secondary characters. It seems everyone had a purpose, with more or less importance, and things went well, the pace was fluid... I wasn't as marveled with this book overall, but I still had a great time reading. I'm very eager to read the final story and I hope it's as good as these first two were.
Grade: 8/10

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kevin Hearne - Hounded

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Comment: This is the book chosen for this month's read in my book club. I had never heard of this author and seeing how prolific this series is, I started the book with some doubts, if it was good I would feel inclined to read everything but if not it was easier. How things turned up, however, is that I still don't know if I liked this enough to keep reading.

In this book we meet Atticus O' Sullivan, the last Druid to ever exist. Being an old druid doesn't seem real when Atticus looks like a young man and works at a bookstore in Arizona. When this book starts, Atticus is told an old enemy, an ancient Irish god is looking for him to get the sword - which rightfully belongs to Atticus - he wants back and what should Atticus do? Along with his wolfhound Oberon and a good sized cast of gods and goddesses and witches and supernatural beings, Atticus will use all his cleverness to not only keep his sword but defeat the god that has made him hide so well for all this time... 

I'm still wondering how I feel about this book. I mean, I did like it and it was fun to see all the interactions between characters but there's still something missing, which i can't really pinpoint but that doesn't let me say with more conviction that it was great.
I think that the story is well thought, the author has managed to insert countless details about myths and characters from several mythology pantheons which makes this feel very complete. I didn't check all the information given but everything seemed to be credible and that added interest to the plot. It was nice to see all the maneuvers around the plot.

I think that one element I would definitely change is the narrator. I totally understand the appeal and tactic of a first person narrator but I just can't forget how much more information about more important things we could get in that way. And more, when it comes to other characters' motivations or thoughts, it's all nice to see them talk and act in relation to the main character but it's different if we could have access to private thoughts of others too.
I liked Atticus in general. Many say he acts too young for his real age but sincerely, I liked him as he is and that was the least of the details that made me think about going on with the series or not.

I liked the pacing. It was good to go step by step into each situation while still having an idea of the overall picture. Obviously, I liked some scenes/situations more than others and I was entertained for the most part. I just think that some things weren't as seamlessly as the author probably wanted it to be and to me it shows when we have some new information coming at a time where it didn't make sense. The fact we had explanation after didn't make this look "quirky" to me, and was in fact a little bit annoying. 

Many people comment on the humor and  did find some scenes funny, especially when Oberon was in the area. But I wouldn't say this is a funny book. I do think it's lighter in terms of emotional content than some other UF series out there. It's good, to me, that not everything is life and death and doom in the horizon. But this also means some situations don't seem to have as much importance as they are credited. Maybe it's just my impression.

The secondary characters are interesting, yes. One of the things that would make me want to keep reading is to find out what happens to some of them and if they keep on being key to the plot. And, if I may dream a bit, perhaps they can also evolve emotionally and become more fleshed out and not as mighty-powerful-with-no-care-about-others as they looked like to me here? Anyway, I will hope for it and maybe the next book has the "improvements" I imagine in my head.
I'm not going to get it right now but I'll try the second one day...
Grade: 7/10

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TBR Challenge: Aly Martinez - Fighting Silence

I've always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn't a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.
You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.
They both happened anyway.
Now, I'm on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career. Fighting the impending silence. Fighting for her.
Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.
I think that's the sound I'll miss the most.

Comment: Time flies and here we are again, with another TBR challenge book. This month the theme is new-to-you-author and, as always, this is one of the easiest themes for me because I do have many books to read by unknown authors. This book is the first in the On the Ropes trilogy, it was also a recommendation and has a good average score on Goodreads. I thought it would be a good read for me, even more because it features a hero that would go deaf. I really wanted to see that play out. But in the end the story ended up a bit meh for me.

In this story we meet quite the cast of characters, being the main one Till Page, a kid that has grown up in an unloving house, he took care of his younger brothers and his only escape was an abandoned apartment he went in through a window One day, he finds there a young girl, Eliza, also running from her uncaring parents. That turns into their personal heaven and they become friends but at school they never talk and Till pretends Eliza doesn't exist. As years go by, we see these two grow up and all the challenges they face, both physical and financially, and all things that help them, namely Till's love for boxing and the doors it opens up for him and how working for happiness is the lesson to learn...

Sometimes amazing recommendations and opinions and even some elements that we recognize as almost spot on to our personal tastes don't really make a perfect read. I liked some things about this book but it only went as far as average to me, especially because I can't not focus on the things I liked less. Maybe I let my opinion be colored by my tastes but it's still an opinion.

I'm not exactly a fan of NA, mostly because characters tend to act as teenagers anyway and that has become super annoying to me. In this book we have characters going through so many domestic situations they would grow up very fast and in some situations, that was shown, but in others not so much. I guess everyone has weak moments and less than stellar performances but... I found the investment in their mature personalities and behavior not always as consistent as that.

Another thing that was super, super annoying to me, at least, was the continuous change in time. We have some chapters, some parts of the story with them as children, then time moves on, then some more scenes, then another six months, then one year later, then five years, then some more months...I mean, we get glimpses of what they are doing and feeling in a specific moment but we don't stay there. I get it that we learn interesting things this way but it feels so unsettled, it's difficult to pinpoint the key scenes that matter if you have to focus on something else again. Each step has a purpose, I know it, but...it made me lose focus and removed some of the angst I'm sure was part of the author's point here.

I liked some situations and I specifically liked how Till got his head straight because he had a passion and good manners and he worked hard to impress his boss who became a friend as well. The working relationship between Till and Slate and the secondary characters were probably what I liked the most. I also liked some emotional elements we learn from almost every character, even at a small scale and it's obvious the author has thought about all things but the structure just didn't win me over.

This book also shows a character that fights going deaf. I really expected most of the book to be focusing on that but no. It's something we see, it's dealt with but mostly towards the end. All those pages dedicated to the guy's childhood and teenage years can have interest but surely removed attention from we are supposed to get and to me, this was a pity.

The romance...well I don't have any special opinion on this, I think we have many scenes with them to know they love each other but honestly I never felt I was reading about Eliza the way I was about Till. He is clearly the focus and she almost looks like a sidekick. Besides the fact she is nice, they like her, she is an artist who worked accountant and hated it, she wasn't as well developed.
We also have Eliza and Till as the narrators throughout the book. This allows us to get a reading on them but I admit I usually prefer a third person narrator.

The next stories in the trilogy feature Till's brothers but I've peeked at some reviews and some of the issues I had seem to happen again in those books (namely in terms of writing and narrative structure). I'm still debating if I want to go through it all again. I feel some interest in the next one, considering the things we saw at the end of this book but...
Overall, this had interesting, good elements but some things in it didn't appeal to me and I'm sure it can to other readers but it just didn't make me want to keep reading and some parts also seemed a bit repetitive. It's not exactly bad but it wasn't the marvel I expected..or maybe I just didn't get into it well.
Grade: 5/10

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Beverly Adam - The Spinster and the Earl

She was known as The Spinster of Brightwood Manor, and that suited Lady Beatrice O’Brien just fine.
She was happy being a spinster; happy running her father’s estates while amassing a fortune of her own; happy tending to the needs of her community; and most of all, she was happy not having a man around to tell her what to do.
But when Beatrice accidentally shoots her new neighbor, the Earl of Drennan, her life turns upside-down. Suddenly, this very arrogant gentleman, who also happens to be charming and attractive, makes himself at home at Brightwood Manor, and proceeds to court her!
Beatrice knows one thing for certain. Marriage will complicate her life. But falling in love? That’s an entirely different matter.

Comment: I got to be aware of this book some months ago, I can't precise exactly when and I don't really remember why I decided it would be a good idea to read it. The fact it had the premise the main couple would go through a enemies to lovers kind of trope probably had something to do with it but after all this time I no longer know. Anyway, it was in the pile and this month I added it to my reading list.

This is the story of feisty Lady Beatrice, she's an only child and the current lady of Brightwood Manor, she's used to deal with everything her own way and she is quite determined and confident in her abilities. Lady Beatrice is considered a spinster but she doesn't mind because she is used to do things her own way.
One day, she accidentally shoots a man and she finds out he is her new sort of neighbor and because of his injuries and not cared for house, he stays at her father's house instead, to recover. The two of them come closer together and seem to be attracted to one another but if only their attraction weren't disguised by Lady Beatrice's antagonism and her new neighbor's arrogance and secret plans...

Oh what to say about this novel... I still can't really find a logical manner on how to best describe my impressions about it. It just seemed too boring and unappealing to me.
This is the first book I've tried by the author and I can't really say it was a pleasure nor do I feel inclined to try something else by her. Sometimes things just don't work out for us.
I found the writing too difficult. I understand the intent of the Irish way of speaking, it did add veracity to some scenes and to the characters but being english my second language I struggled. Of course this is not the author's fault but as a rule it does not allow for many people to simply enjoy the story if so often one has to decipher or go through parts that aren't fluid or easy to grasp.

The narrative also seemed boring to me. The elements that would have made this a vibrant read, the magical coins, the feisty heroine, the cat and mouse sort of game the main couple would play until admitting they were in love, all this felt flat to me because it was done in a way I only saw as almost silly. The magical coin would have been interesting if it really played a part but as it is, I feel it was just an appropriation of Irish folklore and not really developed. The relationship that would have amazing felt like a childish game, considering the protagonist's personalities.
I confess I found the POVs from lady Beatrice's father to be rather silly as well. I think overall this story had interesting base elements but the tone of the narrative and some details were a bit too silly and not well explored in the serious way I'd expect from the narrator's "voice".

I didn't like lady Beatrice. I do admire her sense of enterprise, her need to be as independent as she can and her opinions on it but her behavior and her way of treating others seemed childish and not amusing at all. I also don't think someone in her position would ever act like that. Is this meant to be a comedy? Then, some things make more sense but I just didn't get any fun out of reading it.
The hero whose name I can't say from memory was bland. He had secret agendas, interests, but of course the heroine was just too perfect for me and everything else seemed like a game for them both. I wouldn't say their romance was "romantic" nor do I feel their HEA was as destined as we often feel when we finish a good romance.

The inklings about future stories just didn't do anything for me and I found everyone to be very boring and without any little reference that would make me curious. Another thing: many other readers mentioned in their reviews how everyone treated the hero by "your grace", something apparently only dukes would receive? but in this case, an earl was acknowledged this way. Is this an Irish thing? I can't tell but it seemed annoying to me. Also too annoying were plot inconsistencies...
Anyway, certainly the author was dedicated to this and that only proves some effort but I can't feel glad I read it not do I want to try it again with another book in the series.
Grade: 3/10

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bookish problem?

Does anyone else agree with this?
I think it's quite true when it comes to me!
Happy reading!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cameron Dean - Passionate Thirst

Candace Steele is as tough as she is alluring. For her, killing vampires isn't just a job-it's personal: She's still haunted by erotic memories of an all-consuming affair with Ash, a seductive vampire who thrilled her-and then nearly destroyed her. Now, working undercover in a Las Vegas casino, she seduces the most powerful undead-right before she drives a stake through their unbeating hearts.
When hot-ticket singer Temptation McCoy sweeps into town for a major concert, Candace is tapped for security. But after meeting Temptation, Candace feels the cold, tingling sensation that can mean only one thing: There's a vampire in the diva's entourage. To complicate matters, Ash suddenly appears in Sin City, vowing to do anything and everything to draw Candace back into his arms. Overwhelmed by desire and suspicion, she lets down her guard . . . a move that could cost Candace her life. 

Comment: Once more I have added some books to my monthly list that have been in the pile for a long time. This is one of those, something around since 2010, a few months after my PNR discovery. I've come to really like the genre and I confess I've got several titles, usually first books in a series, to pile up and leisurely enjoy as time went by and series were finished. For months in a row I would get one or two or three books that I thought I would probably enjoy just by the blurb and my tastes at the time.
However, time goes by and we all change, even if at that precise moment we think we won't. I still like PNR but I tend to stick to certain series and very specific styles nowadays so many other books no longer catch my attention nor do I enjoy them as I probably would have years ago. It's life but I can't help feeling a little bit unfair towards these not-so-great-books. At the same time, if they were really amazing for me, it's not time that makes them bad...

Ok, little sharing moment, over, this book is focused on Candace Steele, a woman we meet working at a casino in Las Vegas but we quickly realize she is a vampire hunter in disguise. Candace doesn't have a great history with the acceptance of vampire existence so she does what she can to help them disappear but there's this man from her past who can't seem to let her move on...
Candace has a job at the casino so when a superstar comes to perform and brings her entourage, Candace, as part of the security team, meets everyone and surprisingly one of the elements is a vampire. Candace tries her best to investigate, to help the superstar somehow but then her past and her present meet and she will have to make a choice.

This ended up not being a great book to me. Although it's not a complete deal breaker, books with first person narrator aren't my favorites. I just think that, as happened with this story, we loose a lot from only having one POV. Now, if the narrator were someone incredibly interesting, that would be good enough but I didn't really like Candace that much. I can understand her attitude and fears and some of her actions but the settings described, the way things develop looking through her eyes just didn't seem that interesting. 

The plot wasn't terribly addictive. In this world vampires can be bad or not too bad and they can control humans in a robotic manner which makes them less appealing than average but only the strong ones do. I never got the notion why vampires exist or why does it matter to the world and why was Candace special for one of them. I got the idea that vampires and humans never mix except in specific situations like when vampires obviously want to feed and of there is attraction between them. If there isn't a well structured society then it's no longer appealing to me to read about bad and good vampires in the old school style. It just doesn't interest me anymore.

The narrative wasn't boring per se but I also didn't feel eager to keep reading. I skipped the sex scenes and I got really annoyed at the incredible amount of chapters going back and forth with past and present situations about the protagonist's relationship.
In terms of plot, there's a twist at the end, it wasn't so bad but the whole execution sucked and honestly, because we only got Candace's POV it didn't feel that interesting and I wonder why the author bothered when she could have simply kept the focus on the romance.

The romance was weird. Candace was in love with a vampire, then she hated him for something, now she is dating a cop, but she stills think about the vampire, she also still hates what he is, she is bent in killing as many vampires as she can but when she is in trouble, there comes the vampire she hates to help her, then she changes her mind but still fears afraid and goes back to hate him. It's tiring to read about indecisions and things like this without any real conclusion. I see there two more books, i might read the next one one day but I'm not feeling the urge that much, to be honest.

I didn't see much point in Candace's actions overall, and not in the plot as a whole. There are some erotic scenes to...give atmosphere? Who knows, but I bet I will easily forget about this book. Years ago it might have been good but now I can't go past what annoys me.
Grade: 4/10

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mary Balogh - Slightly Scandalous

Enter their dazzling world of high society and breathtaking seduction…where each will seek love,
fight temptation, and court scandal…and where Freyja Bedwyn, the wild-hearted daughter, meets her match in a man as passionate, reckless, and scandalous as she.
Growing up with four unruly brothers has made Freyja Bedwyn far bolder than most society ladies. From feisty manner to long, tumbling hair, Lady Freyja is pure fire, a woman who seeks both adventure and freedom.
Adventure soon finds her on a visit to Bath, when a handsome stranger bursts into Freyja's room and entreats her to hide him. His name is Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, a man with a hell-raising reputation of his own who is quickly intrigued by the independent beauty. So intrigued, in fact, that he makes her a surprising request: to pose as his fiancée and help thwart his family's matchmaking schemes. For two people determined to be free, it's the perfect plan…until passion blindsides them both. For as Joshua sets out to achieve his complete seduction of Freyja, a woman who has sworn off love is in danger of losing the one thing she never expected to give again: her heart… 

Comment: This is the third installment in the Bedwyn Saga series by author Mary Balogh. Like the previous stories, it focuses on one sibling, this time Freija, who we know has had bad luck with love. I was curious about Freija's story, even more so after having really adored the previous book.

In this book, Freija is in Bath, trying to pass the time while the child of the man she loves is born. Freija knows she wouldn't endure the looks and the pity and while in Bath she tries to occupy her time leisurely but just before the even manages to get to Bath, she is surprised at an inn, where a unknown man simply enters her room and tries to hide from an angry owner, accused of trying to seduce his daughter. 
Freija wanted to out everyone in their place but something about the man and the adventure of it allows her to let him go. Later, they meet again and Freija acts impetuously and is proved wrong. Can these two find common ground even more when it looks they both will be in Bath for a while? And can a simple prank be just the beginning of everything for both of them?

I had a great time with this book. I don't think it was as amazing as the previous one, simply because the heroine in that book was more to my tastes in terms of personality but this was quite the surprise. Freija ended up being a great heroine, especially because she never tried to be more or less than what people thought her to be. Same for the hero, with every page something new - and better- was found about him as a person and that made all the difference when I think about why this gradually grew on me. I confess I wasn't terrible impressed with both in the beginning.

The development of this story was very good. It started with some apparent unimportant scenes and situations I couldn't really see the interest of but when the two protagonists decided to escape a situation that would be bad for both, things changed and we got to see them interact better, especially when together with other characters as well. This allowed me to see them in different contexts and that was great, we could see how many layers they both actually had and it proved there was a reason behind all their less then appealing features.
I liked the feeling of getting to know them better individually but at the same time it make sense they should be together. I feel very glad they were so much more than what they seemed and how that wasn't done in a way that would make them look too good to be true, but their flaws only made their good side seem even better.

What probably made this book as good as it was for me were all the character interactions we've seen. I really like when character just don't talk to each other, just don't go through the motions and when we have interesting character connections that allows room for more development. Freija's family is particularly interesting, loving and supportive and I liked how every member had a distinctive voice without taking over the whole story. I'm very curious to see if the family interactions continue because I feel they really leave room for more positive scenes and aren't there just to fill up space.

The plot isn't complicated but I really appreciate the author's style and narrative. It makes things have specific meanings, detailed characteristics and that makes everything feel complex in a realistic way. I like how the characters are portrayed seriously ad how the romance isn't simply based on lust or redundant situations.
This book isn't as good as the second one was to me but I recognize many positive aspects and that convinces me that this author might be one of those who improved with time and can be a winner for me. I hope it's not just one series wonder and after reading this series, others can captivate me as well.
Grade: 8/10