3 star review

Review- Falling for Owen

Falling for Owen
by Jennifer Ryan

Last month I read and reviewed The Return of Brody McBride, which I found deliciously soap opera-esque. In Falling for Owen, we have Brody’s long suffering brother who took care of Rain, Autumn, and Dawn all those years. When one of his client’s ex-husband flips his lid and attacks Owen’s neighbor, it puts Owen and and Claire together, which makes the villain furious.

So, I am going to get the bad out of the way first, it was sometimes a bit draggy, particularly some of the dialogue, and I found the mystery to not be so very mysterious, but then maybe I have a bit of a cynical mind. And frankly, I didn’t quite feel the connection to the characters or between the characters as well as I did with the previous book.

Still, I actually really enjoyed the book. Jennifer Ryan seems to write very soap opera type plots and characters. Her world is one where the good guys and gals are almost painfully good and the villains are irredeemable. They are a bit of a guilty indulgence for me, no real thinking required. For the most part Claire is a strong and feisty heroine and while the characters and situations, when all put together, are over the top ridiculous, individually they are relatively believable. I’ll likely continue reading this series with Dylan’s Redemption.

4 star review

Review-The Kraken King Serial Novel

The Kraken King
by Meljean Brook

This is book 4 in Brook’s Iron Seas Series, and the thing to know about this is that it was written in serial format, but the parts are all out now. Eventually it will all be bound into one book, but the parts are all available. I’ll admit, I waited to read it because I can’t handle serial novels, but the premise is clever, particularly considering who the heroine is. There are 8 parts, as follow:

The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster

The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm

The Kraken King and the Fox’s Den

The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction

The Kraken King and the Iron Heart

The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls

The Kraken King and the Empress’s Eyes

The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure

Zenobia Fox has been a character I have had my heart set on since the very beginning. We have had glimpses of her since the beginning with more information dribbled through the series. For The Kraken King Zenobia has decided to set out on her own (albeit rather tame) adventure. As might be expected, things don’t stay tame for very long, which is how she ends up in the clutches of Ariq, the Kraken King.

Because this is a serial, each of the 8 sections definitely have their own beginning, middle and ends, which makes it difficult for me to synopsis. So, I’ll just go with my thoughts and impressions. While I read it straight through, I can see how this would not be as irritating as I have found many serials to be, there aren’t any major hang ups at the end of each section, and each section flows rather neatly to the next. It’s a conundrum how she managed it, but it was nicely done. I love the covers, they are so gorgeous, the titles of each section are extremely clever and cute (but i wish there was some way to have that on the cover). And I adore both Zenobia and Ariq. Most of the plot resolves around the Big Misunderstandings, which normally I hate that trope, but it works well here, they each have legitimate reasons to keep their mouth shut, and with a lack of information of course there are misunderstandings. It works because it wasn’t just that they didn’t communicate, but that they couldn’t always communicate. Even so, their romance was lovely to read and you really got a good sense of these two characters and how their lives might mesh in the future. It was also a very interesting look into Brook’s alternate history, which I find fascinating.

4 stars for a solid Iron Seas Adventure, and while I can’t say this has changed my mind about serials, it may have made me just a teensy bit more open minded about them.

4 star review

Review- Shield of Winter

by Nalini Singh

The Psy-Changeling series is an alternate world where humanity has split into essentially three species, humans, Psy who are an icy and emotionless race and who have mind powers, and changelings who are essentially shifters.

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness… (from Goodreads Blurb)

This is book 13 in the Psy-Changeling series. This is NOT a standalone, so I wouldn’t encourage anyone who hasn’t read at least the first few books of the series to start with this one. Frankly if you haven’t read the entire series, the average reader is likely to be lost. Spoilers for previous books in this series may be contained in this review.

At the end of Heart of Obsidian, Silence has fallen but the infection is growing in the Net. However, the bond Sahara and Kaleb have formed is giving new hope to the most damaged of Arrows, except for Vasic who holds so much guilt and self-hatred and really has very little care for his own life.
Vasic seems to have been used by Ming more harshly than any other Arrow. He’s killed and erased for so long he feels he has very little worth as a human being. Even in previous books while he seemed so very Silent, he never seemed particularly heartless, just…tired. Ivy is an Empath who has been bent and shattered (but not truly broken) by life in a Silent net and brutal reconditioning.
There is fairly strong agreement for the theory they must wake the Empaths to save the net, so Kaleb surprises everyone by offering the E’s employment on this project rather than merely conscripting them, and the Arrows are enlisted to protect them.
So, first things, first. The romance between Ivy and Vasic was fairly straight forward and sweet. I bought Ivy’s relatively gentle awakening as well as her obstinacy, it seems characteristic of all we have learned of E’s so far. I even bought Vasic’s growing feelings for Ivy and how gently he stepped out of his depression, because it made sense for his character that having someone of his own to love and protect would make all the difference in his life. And their Psy sexting was adorable and sexy. Unfortunately, with this book, I wanted more of them. As much as I loved Kaleb and Sahara, there was a bit too much time being spent in their heads, I understand that they are integral to the plot-line, but all we needed was their actions not their feelings or thoughts. But the cameo from Judd was spot on and just what the story needed. He’s still my absolute favorite hero.
And on to the ending, for this book there were two serious conflicts that needed resolution, the disease in the net, and Vasic’s gauntlet. I won’t spoil too much but one was almost a deus ex machina and the other one, while it was a gentler and more straightforward resolution than we might have been led to expect, it also fit perfectly with everything we’ve learned bout the world and all the other actions that foreshadowed this same solution, so it made sense. I’ll let you decide which one is which.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book; it just didn’t reach the same level of enjoyment I received from Caressed by Ice or Heart of Obsidian, so 4 stars.
I am seriously wondering though, where is Nalini Singh going with this world next? We finally have a what appears to be the closed circle of the overarching conflict of this series, from Slave to Sensation with the very first awakened Empath, to now with the awakening of ALL the Empaths. I worry for the continuation. Hopefully the next book is Aden’s, I am hoping to see him hook up with either a human (maybe Alice?) or a Forgotten in order to close another circle.