3 star review

Review – The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

Improbability of Love

A smart, sweeping novel–at once satirical and moving–about love, a famous lost painting, and a dark secret from the past, set in the London art world.

Annie McDee, thirty-one and recovering from the end of a long-term relationship, is chef for two sinister art dealers. She’s just spent her meager savings on a dusty junk-shop painting for her new, unsuitable, boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show up for his birthday dinner, it becomes hers. And amazingly, the painting speaks–though only we hear “him.” Shrewd, spoiled, charming, world weary, and cynical, he comments, from his unique perspective, on Annie and the modern world, but he also recounts tales of his previous owners: Louis XV, Voltaire, and Catherine the Great, among them. Once it becomes known that Annie has the painting–whose provenance involves the Nazis–she finds herself at the center of a frantic, and sometimes fiendish, scramble among dealers, collectors, and other highly interested parties, for its ownership. It’s a dazzlingly irreverent and entertaining many-layered tale of a devious world where, however improbably, love will triumph.

I received a copy of this book via Penguin First to Read. This does not affect my opinion or the content of this review.

To be honest I don’t even remember requesting this one. It isn’t in my usual milieu. And I am depressingly late in getting to this. Somehow it slipped from the queue and I only just noted I’d missed it. It seems appropriate that this should pop back up now when I have been pondering literary fiction, because this is indeed categorized as literary fiction, though honestly I might have called it upmarket.

In the prologue we are thrown into the rarefied world of high end art auctions. We first meet the impoverished earl who has set the whole thing up and is instructing his employees on how best to drive up the bidding. Then we run through a kaleidoscope of snippets of the people who will do almost anything to obtain this priceless work of art. This actually is the beginning of the end.

Jumping back to the start of the story, we then meet Annie in the first chapter, and we meet the painting in the second. It is much odder to have one of your characters be a painting than I’d thought it might be.

Poor Annie is miserable in her new life since her unexpected divorce. Dead end job, worse dating prospects, she buys the panting on a whim for her date. The poor painting isn’t any happier where he’s ended up.

Kaleidesope though seems to be the name of the game. We keep jumping from one character to the next. Getting to know their fears and their dreams. And it simply immediately clear what their connection is to the story.

But we always come back to Annie and The Improbability of Love. Frankly I wish we’d stayed with those two characters more. But that is a particular foible of mine. I tend to prefer the relationship aspects of a book when action is not available. This book for the most part hadn’t much in the way of action, and really it didn’t focus on a single relationship. This book is about people and the relationships, known and known.

Biggest advice I can give anyone looking at this book (which oddly enough I do recommend) is to slow down and dive in. This author has created such a rich and immersive setting, which much like the kaleidoscope I keep mentioning, is a restrictive setting, but filled with innumerable pieces, and you turn the story this way and it forms one picture, and that way it forms another picture. It is fascinating. So just sit back and let the colors and shapes of their lives flow over you, turn the story this way and that to see what fascinating pictures you can make. The author has left us with a wealth of material to work through.

Personally, that is the hardest thing for me. I am inclined to race through books in an attempt to gobble everything greedily tight this minute. But even with my breakneck nature, no matter how I tried to race through, the kaleidoscope would turn and it would force me to stop and take a longer deeper look.

Honestly, I’d say this story has very little to do with Annie at all. She one small piece of the kaleidoscope, the mirror system perhaps, but still just one part. She is the simply the reflection upon which everyone else’s story was told. A story of desperation, greed, avarice, and love. But it wasn’t Annie’s story.

You’ll probably not believe me, but I’ve worked on this review as I read the story, and the kaleidoscope metaphor was my own. Turns out the author thought so too:

“While she waits, visions from her life, good and bad, float in front of her like patterns in a kaleidoscope, but when she tries to remember an incident in any detail, it evaporates.”

How’s that for something strange?

What is stranger to me is the blurb. Go back up there and read it again. It sincerely sounds like a romance novel blurb. There’s no getting around it. But it is also categorized as literary fiction. It is in fact literary fiction, there’s no getting around that either.

So what does that mean? Is this really what the author and/or publisher feels describes the book best? I really don’t think it does and I suspect that it is an attempt to tap the romance reader market. The line between genre fiction and literary fiction (though honestly literary fiction is in itself a genre) is a funny one. And it depends very much on how one defines the disparate elements.

Would I have even contemplated reading it with a more accurate blurb? No I probably wouldn’t have. Did I enjoy it? Yes I did. But this isn’t romance, it has a romance happily ever after appended rather clumsily to the end of it, but it isn’t a romance. Would I recommend it to romance readers? That is a more difficult question to answer, I’d say it depends on the reader’s tastes. If I did, I would be sure to carefully note it isn’t a romance, because the one thing most romance readers, whether they also enjoy literary fiction or not, have in common is that they despise being deceived to lied to.

The Improbability of Love: A novel
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5 star review

Review – Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews

Magic Stars

Derek Gaunt has no family and few friends. Scarred, solitary, he is the lone wolf who separated from his pack. When those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched Atlanta. Soon Julie Olsen joins him and what begins as revenge turns into the race to save the city. Their search puts them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review. But I even bought it, that’s how fantastic this is.

Eeek, she got it out earlier than I had expected. Sorry for the late(r) review.

Squee! We get a Derek and Julie novella! This is an independent project so YEAH for self publishing! But it is an addition to the Kate Daniels World, and while I find her novellas to be very successful for me, that may be because I am well grounded in this world. So if you are a Kate Daniels reader this is a must read, but if you aren’t, I say what are you waiting for, start at the beginning and then read through here.

This is the Andrews’ version of YA/NA, and they’ll tell you it isn’t their best perspective. But with characters like this who are grounded in a larger series, they do a great job. For me at least (knowing my penchant for disliking YA/NA), what makes it work is that while these characters are 16 and 20 years old, they have had hard lives and aren’t very teen-like. Not like they are grown up characters with young ages slapped on them, their lived experiences have just aged them in a believable way, and so the teen drama is largely absent.

Beyond loving these two characters and wanting to know more about them though, this story is KIILLER, just all sorts of nuggets about what is coming up next. Do you want to know what’s happening with Hugh? Yeah, that is in here. Do you want to know what is up with Kate and Julie’s relationship? In here too! Do you want to see Julie put the feminist smackdown on Derek? You’ll have to read the book. Do you have a great and terrible love for bacon? Very funny Gordon and Ilona, that one scene was priceless.

I could keep going on about the things I love and that you need to read, but I won’t because I’d risk spoilers, and no one wants that. But there are myriad reasons to read this, not the least of which is seeing these two work together as a team. Don’t worry, nothing romantic, Derek very specifically closes even a hint of that right now, Julie’s too young. But they are a fantastic team. And damn, that ending, it is just that start of some sort of fairy tale. Of course not the newer fluffier version of fairy tales, no not the newer fluffier version at all.

Just holy hell, this one is not to be missed. I am just flabbergasted. Probably you could read this without having read the rest of the series, but I don’t advise it. What this mostly is, is a great big luscious Christmas present for fans, and a holy hell I can’t wait for Magic Binds. And it is listed as Grey Wolf Book 1 on Amazon, so a Derek series? Oh please I hope so!

Magic Stars (Grey Wolf Book 1)

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3.5 star review

Review + Giveaway – The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold

LadyWhoLivedAgain-TRappold

 

Madeleine Sutter was once the belle of the ball at the popular resort town of Misty Lake, New York. But as the sole survivor of the community’s worst tragedy, she’s come under suspicion. Longing for the life she once enjoyed, she accepts a rare social invitation to the event of the season. Now she will be able to show everyone she’s the same woman they’d always admired—with just one hidden exception: she awoke from the accident with the ability to heal.

Doctor Jace Merrick has fled the failures and futility of city life to start anew in rural Misty Lake. A man of science, he rejects the superstitious chatter surrounding Maddie and finds himself drawn to her confidence and beauty. And when she seduces him into a sham engagement, he agrees to be her ticket back into society, if she supports his new practice—and reveals the details of her remarkable recovery. But when his patients begin to heal miraculously, Jace may have to abandon logic, accept the inexplicable—and surrender to a love beyond reason…

Excerpt

Mr. Piedmont worked swiftly, the sound of crumpling paper filling the awkward silence as he wrapped her purchases and bound the tidy parcel with string. By rote, his freckled hand reached to the nearby jar of candy. Placing a single peppermint stick on top of the bundle, he slid it toward her, then turned to face the shelves lining the wall behind him.

Tears blurred Maddie’s vision as she stared down at the red-striped treat, the simple reminder of who she once was—who she still was, if only one of her neighbors could manage to look her in the eye long enough to see it. She swallowed hard.

“Thank you,” she murmured to the shopkeeper’s back before he walked away.

Maddie left the store and proceeded to her final errand. As she’d anticipated, a letter from Amelia awaited her at the post office. Maddie would wait until later to open it. Their recent correspondence had rattled her to the bone, and she knew any public display of emotion would be ripe fruit for hungry local gossips.

Not that maintaining decorum could help her cause now. People already believed the worst about her. These rare trips to town only served to remind her that nothing had changed.

Shoving the letter into her skirt pocket, she headed south on Main Street. To her relief, the band of young hooligans that had taunted her earlier was nowhere to be seen. She hurried out of town nonetheless. Each dreaded trip was a tax on her nerves, and when added to the anxiety of what awaited in Amelia’s letter, Maddie yearned for the comfort of home.

When she reached the outskirts of town, she took the path through the woods that opened to a large field. She welcomed the sound of chirping crickets and birds. As always after she exerted herself with a lengthy walk, her leg was beginning to ache. She slowed her pace, then stopped to rest at her favorite spot on her grandfather’s sprawling property. Sitting on a felled birch log in the broad clearing, she stretched out her leg. The cramped muscles unfurled as she enjoyed the serenity of the surrounding forest, the gentle spring breeze through the swaying trees. The sun felt heavenly, and she lifted her face to bask in its glow.

She’d avoided town all winter, hibernating like a bear in a cave. She’d emerged from seclusion renewed by foolish hopes, but the first outing of the new season had been just like the last. A bear would be better received.

Maddie sighed in defeat, dug out the letter that was fairly vibrating in her pocket, and unfolded its pages. The bold strokes on the delicate cream sheets conveyed Amelia’s confident tone and dramatic style.

My dearest Mads,

I received your response denying my request, but I refuse to take no for an answer. I simply cannot get married without you!

You swore an oath to one day serve as my bridesmaid, and it is time for you to honor it. My deep love and concern for you force me to hold you to your promise.

The past is the past, my dear friend, and you must lay it to rest. Eventually, the town will follow suit. Consider attending my wedding as your first step toward getting on with your life.

We arrive in Misty Lake in three weeks. I look forward to seeing you then.

Forever yours,

Amelia

Maddie’s breakfast turned in her stomach. How on earth could she attend? No one, save Amelia, wanted her there. Certainly not Daniel. The mere thought of facing her former fiancé and all the others who’d blamed and abandoned her…no. Maddie hadn’t the courage. Amelia didn’t understand. How could she? She was not present when it happened. Nor was she here for the aftermath.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

You typically expect doctors to be Mary Stus in fiction (assuming they aren’t the evil villain), but this one is something of a cad and a rake. Jace is also more than a bit of a know-it-all ass. Maddie on the other hand, it is hard to get a handle on her, all puffing, preening, flirtation one minute, soundly grounded and reasonable the next, and flighty as all hell the next one.

But, as we see just how the townspeople have treated Maddie, and how she bears up under it and faces down her fears, you can’t help but learn to like her. She learns to truly live again and we watch her blossom on the page, and it is HER doing, not the love of nay man or the regard of any other person. Frankly I don’t think anyone else besides her grandfather (and their two servants-who aren’t really fleshed out) and Dolly (a minor character) are worth anything at all. And that includes the supposed hero and her best friend.

Frankly I liked her best friend Amelia until she single handedly managed to ruin almost everything there at the end and then blithely went on about her life. And while there was some degree of chemistry between Jace and Maddie, I didn’t really warm up to him until the very end at all.

For all that though, I liked Maddie so well, and enjoyed her journey so much that it bumped up my rating tremendously. I was also interested in the events of the town and how things would resolve. And I am especially hoping that as this series plays out that we get to see Dolly’s happily ever after.

But don’t read this expecting some epic love story, or a woman who gets rescued by the love of a man, because in this case it is almost like the classic video game situation only in reverse. Jace is the princess in the tower with no agency, and he is Maddie’s prize in the end for completing her quest. But for readers who like that sort of thing, of which I am one, I heartily recommend this book.

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/10/the-lady-who-lived-again-sole-survivor.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25219448-the-lady-who-lived-again

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/151338-soul-survivor

 Buy Links:   Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

The Lady Who Lived Again (Sole Survivor, #1)

Author Info

A three-time RWA Golden Heart nominee, Thomasine Rappold writes historical romance and historical romance with paranormal elements. She lives with her husband in a small town in upstate New York that inspired her current series. When she’s not spinning tales of passion and angst, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing on one of the nearby lakes, and basking on the beach in Cape Cod. Thomasine is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Capital Region Romance Writers. Readers can find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @ThomRappold.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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4 star review, News

Blog Tour + Giveaway – Feel the Burn by G.A. Aiken

Feel The Burn Banner

I read and loved this so well I jumped at the opportunity to give everyone a chance to win (scroll to the bottom for the giveaway link) copies of this.

Excerpt:

Kachka Shestakova, formerly of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains, gazed blindly over the beautiful lands she’d been living in for near on six months now. Lots of grass and trees and fresh water lakes. Ample food supplies and happy people ruled by a benevolent ruler.

Horse gods of Ramsfor! It was like hell on earth!

And Kachka had no one to blame but herself. She’d given up her painful, harsh life as a Daughter of the Steppes when she’d saved her sister from their mother. It was still a decision she’d make again if she had to, but she’d never thought that her life would end like this. She’d assumed that their mother would have tracked them down and killed them both. Kachka had been wrong. Her mother never had the chance because she’d come face to face with Annwyl the Bloody, Queen of the Southlands.

The royal had killed Glebovicha Shestakova, cut off her head, and ripped the eyes from the skull. All in front of the Anne Atli, leader of the Outerplains Tribes. It had been a bold move on the queen’s part. Or, as those closest to the queen had said more than once, “a completely insane move.” Kachka didn’t know. She didn’t talk to the queen. Or really anyone unless she absolutely had to.

All of Garbhán Isle was littered with dragons in human form. She couldn’t tell one from another without her sister’s help. Kachka didn’t hate the dragons. She just didn’t understand why a human would mate with one as they would a man. True, men were mostly useless, but they served their purpose: trash removal, child rearing, and breeding.

Although in the past few decades, the breeding part had changed where dragons and humans were concerned. The queen herself had a set of twins who were half human and half dragon. And it was because of them—and the other offspring that came after—that the humans’ gods had turned on their worshippers. Leaving them to fight the followers of Chramnesind by themselves.

It was shaping up to be quite the long-lasting war from what Kachka could tell. The Southlanders and the inhabitants of the Quintilian Sovereigns Empire were unwilling to give up their multitude of gods. And those who did choose to follow Chramnesind were unwilling to let the others worship anyone else. Armies were being built. Battle plans arranged.

And Kachka wasn’t involved in any of it.

That didn’t really surprise her, though. She wasn’t of these lands. She was a Rider, and her people’s fighting style and reasons for fighting were vastly different. The Anne Atli and the Daughters of the Steppes did have an alliance with Queen Annwyl and the Southlanders, but it was less about fighting by the Southlanders side and more about not stopping the Southlanders and their other allies from traipsing through Outerplains territory when necessary.

What dug into Kachka’s soul more than anything, though, was that before her sister had returned home with that request to speak to the Anne Atli—the title given to all their leaders since the first Anne Atli wrestled power away from the useless men—on Queen Annwyl’s behalf, Kachka\ had been moving up through the ranks at a nice, steady pace. She would never have been the Anne Atli, but she could have led her own troops into battle. Perhaps sat in on the all-tribes meetings when large decisions were made.

In other words . . . she’d have had a purpose.

Kachka needed a purpose. She needed a goal. She needed to make a name for herself. Their mother had never liked Kachka or her sister, but Kachka’s skill and willingness to throw herself into battle couldn’t be denied.

Where did that leave her here?

Of course, she could join the Queen’s Army, but marching in formation and taking orders from mostly men . . . no.

Never!

She was a Daughter of the Steppes, not some sheep blinded to the decadent life offered in these Southland territories.

Which left Kachka . . . where? Exactly?

“Um . . . excuse me? My lady?”

Kachka cringed at the ridiculous moniker these Southlanders insisted on using. She’d gotten tired of correcting them, so she let out a breath and snapped, “What?”

“Margo”—the leader of the kitchen staff—“was wondering if you could perhaps, if you’re not too busy, round up some meat for us? Some of the Cadwaladrs will be attending dinner tonight and the butchers don’t have enough to feed them all. You know what hearty eaters dragons are. So she was just—”

As the sheep went on—begging—and Kachka stared her in the face, she raised her bow, an arrow already nocked and ready, and shot the first thing she saw from the corner of her eye. The bison cried out once before dropping to its knees and bleeding out from the wound on its neck.

“Anything else?” Kachka asked.

The woman was pale now, her head shaking in answer.

Disgusted—hunting was not a challenge for a Daughter of the Steppes; it was more like breathing—Kachka turned away and started walking.

“Kachka?” She stopped and looked over her shoulder to see her sister.

“Fuck,” Kachka muttered as her sister walked over to her.

“You can’t be nice?” Elina asked in their native tongue.

Kachka’s sister wore a bright purple eye patch where her left eye should be. It had been the last thing their mother had taken from Elina. Over time, she’d grown accustomed to the loss, her skills at using her bow improving day after day. But the eye patches . . . this ridiculous purple one could have only come from that idiotic She-dragon, Keita. Her obsession with what Elina wore bordered on the disturbing. Wasn’t it bad enough the Shestakova sisters had already become decadent and lazy? Must they also become pathetic as well?

“I was nice,” Kachka replied, but when Elina pursed her lips, Kachka threw up her hands. “What more do you want from me, sister?”

“How about not terrifying the staff?”

“You mean the sheep?”

“And stop calling them that! You know they hate it!”

Seriously, how can you not love these women? I adore and re-read the entire series often.

Link to Follow Tour:  http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/10/feel-burn-dragon-kin-8-by-ga-aiken.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23453137-feel-the-burn

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/62647-dragon-kin

 Buy Links:   Amazon B & N Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

Originally from Long Island, New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken has resigned herself to West Coast living, which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Writing as Shelly Laurenston, she is also the creator of the wickedly funny Pride series for Brava. For more info about G.A. Aiken’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, go to www.gaaiken.com.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads
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4.5 star review

Review and retrospect – Burning Wild by Christine Feehan

Burning Wild

So after the debacles which were Cat’s Lair and Wild Cat, I just had to finally go back and re-read an earlier one to see if I was so very mistaken or if my preferences had changed so dramatically.

Born into a world of twisted monsters, Jake Bannaconni is shaped and molded into a cold, revenge driven man. Honed in the fires of hell, he controls his world and rules with an iron hand. He has everything and anything money can buy. He’s ruthless, merciless and considered a man to leave alone. His hidden legacy, that of a shapeshifter, makes him doubly dangerous in the corporate world.

Emma Reynolds is a woman who knows how to love and love well. When their two worlds collide, Jake’s plans for a complete take over, may just come tumbling down.

I was really afraid it wouldn’t live up to my memories. But no, this is really almost as good as I remembered, and it is nothing like the most current Leopard series.

I mean there are some surface similarities. The heroes are super dominant and not always likable and the heroines are somewhat dependent. But deeper, there is a wide chasm of difference.

Jake may be aggressive, dominant, and emotionally closed off, but we as readers know PRECISELY why. He is more of a “real” character than later ones. We learn him through his history, and even his wrongheaded actions match up well with his history, his perspective in life, and his emotions. Plus, he at least often tries to moderate the worst of his impulses and he acknowledges his internal damage and sets up an escape hatch for Emma clearly explaining, should I ever hurt you, you go to these people for help leaving me and you never-ever return to me. And after the initial “let me make you dependent on me” stratagems, he was rather upfront with Emma.

And Emma feels reasonably real too. She has a spine, albeit a cat’s hyper-flexible one, but she does have agency, and she will stand up to him, and there is much more to their relationship besides sex. She makes decisions, she sets things in motion, and she does some of the actual fighting and tracking.

While the sex is still kind of dark and the relationship between Jake and Emma isn’t exactly a healthy one, it is miles away from what happens in later books.

I sincerely don’t know what has happened to this series. The later books seem to have lost characters, plot, history/culture/mythology, and the sex got weird. Where is the emotional connection to the characters, where’s the depth? What happened to the Leopard culture and the reincarnation thing? And damn it, why do I feel like I am reading those creepy old skool historicals where the heroine is a teen and still a child when she marries with all the patriarchal BS included?

So for any of you out there fearing going back to the earlier books, re-read unabashedly, we aren’t crazy and this doesn’t seem to be the same series anymore.

Burning  Wild (Leopard People, #3)

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2 star review

Review – Wild Cat by Christine Feehan

Wild Cat.jpg

Consider this spoiler warnings and trigger warnings and any other damned warning you can think of.

A simple request for Siena Arnotto: deliver a gift to her grandfather’s friend. One look at Elijah Lospostos, hard-bodied and stripped to the waist, and Siena succumbs to a feline stirring she never felt before, and to Elijah’s reckless and pleasurable demands. But when that pulse-throbbing moment ends in the murder of an unexpected intruder, Elijah accuses the shaken and confused Siena of setting him up.

Then Siena discovers the truth of her Leopard heritage, of the secrets in her grandfather’s inner circle, and the sinister plot of revenge that has put her in jeopardy. When Siena’s grandfather is assassinated, she realizes the only man she can trust is Elijah. Now as her Leopard rises from within, Siena and Elijah share not only an animal instinct for survival—but a desire so raw and wild it may be the only thing that can save them.

Yeah, don’t let that blurb fool you. Siena starts out an idiotic, oblivious, blithering fool so worried about her libido and her looks that she never took a moment to merely take a look at her life. And Feehan turned Elijah Lospostos, a character I have been waiting on for years, into a sadist, and brute, and all but a rapist. After the situation with his sister he damned well should have known better. And because of his actions she is sent back to a situation where she is brutally beaten, then her grandfather is murdered, and then she is freaking mauled and almost died. And that is just the first part of the book.

It did get better, don’t get me wrong. Siena grew a backbone, or at least half of one, pretty damned quick. She had to, all things considered, though Feehan doesn’t seem inclined to let any of her heroines grow too much anymore. And Elijah figured it out how bad he effed up, but he didn’t do what any sane and rationale person would have. Move past it he says? I don’t think so. I figure Feehan used the method she did as a short cut to make her grow up. But personally, I never moved past it and don’t see how the reader can be expected the believe Siena moved past it either. And Joshua, another character I’d liked actually laughed about what Elijah did to her. Not laughing about the situation, but more mocking Elijah for how badly he screwed up. There was no thought to how Siena felt, no righteous indignation one her behalf. Just mocking his friend like it was a prank gone awry.

Things seemed to be smoothing out, but then because these idiotic men can’t be bothered to tell Siena what the hell is going on and what the hell their plans are, she ended up in even more turmoil than is needed. It was gratuitous.  And just when you think maybe Elijah is serious about settling things out, he effing spanks her. I am not even kidding. Siena has gone through all of this and he effing spanks her because HE is an ass. No apologies, no real remorse, nothing. And weirdly enough, she isn’t hurt or upset, she finds it funny. If I didn’t have so such anger and irritation over the whole book up to this point, maybe I would too, because she wasn’t intimidated at all. But I just couldn’t.

Looking back through it, as the story progressed he was rather sweet, still overly dominant and aggressive, but sweet. It was a good difference from the way Eli treated Cat in Cat’s Lair. I would have felt completely differently about the entire thing if it weren’t for the way she started them out. But it is like Feehan just couldn’t let him be sweet with her without being completely brutal first. It is like there is some quotient she feels like she has to adhere to.

And the way she is building the world and the reason why these men have been setting things up they way they have is really interesting. There have been hints, but many things have been made clear.

And I was all ready to break up with Feehan. Except that ending was super sweet, and she set up two characters and I fell in love with Alonzo. If his book is next I am terribly likely to go back to her knowing it is just going to piss me off. Just like I fear she’s going to piss me off with Trap in Spider Game. Because she did the same thing with making Wyatt Fontentot such an awful character in Viper Game and then dangling the sequel bait new character.

I don’t like myself very much right now.

Wild Cat (Leopard People, #8)

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4 star review

Review – Indirect Lines by Dana Marie Bell

Indirect Lines

There’s only one way to win this game: break the rules.

Halle Shifters, Book 5

James “Barney” Barnwell is losing his ever-loving mind. Between the threat to the white shifters and a riddle he’s been ordered to solve, he can actually go for ten whole minutes without thinking about Heather, the woman destined to be his mate.

As much as he burns to get the redhead under him, the safest place for her is far away from him. If the bad guys catch the barest hint of her scent on his skin, she’ll become a target.

The way Heather sees it, the quicker she helps the stubborn Bear solve the riddle, the quicker he’ll bite her—literally. But when she’s hurt while protecting her cousin from an attack, she finds herself right where Barney never wanted her: smack dab in the middle of the investigation.

Like it or not, Barney is forced to bring her fully into his crazy world. With his mate’s life in his hands, he’s in a race against time to solve this maddening riddle before the enemy discovers that the Hunter has finally been caught by love.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, lots of questions and maybe even some answers. Remember: Fox holds the key.

I have been reading this series for a while now (well really it is three series, the Halle Pumas, Poconos Pack, and Halle Shifters), and I am not sure why I haven’t reviewed it here before. They tend to be shorter but highly satisfying reads and while the first two series or more traditional paranormal romances, the Halle Shifters has had a mystery threaded through the romances. While the last book wasn’t my favorite in terms of the romance, the overall mystery has me very intrigued.

And I am pleased to say the romance was hot, I liked the characters, I liked the new characters we have been introduced to, and the mystery has just been blown wide open. War is coming.

And frankly that is kind of all I can say without spoiling the plot for the whole series. I am a ridiculous person who thinks they are going to hop in and review book 5 (well book 5 in the series, book 12 overall) first. See, completely ridiculous.

But seriously, this is a fun paranormal series, and it tends to be a less expensive one as well. So if you like shifters (and don’t mind fated mates, mystery, and family/pack bonds, definitely check them out.

Indirect Lines (Halle Shifters)

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