3 star review

April TBR Challenge 2016 – Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

TBR Challenge 2016

Topic: Contemporary

Taking the Heat

Passion this hot can’t be faked…

All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town’s irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.

Gabe MacKenzie’s heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future’s tied up in his family’s Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there’s just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

I don’t read a ton of contemporary, but some way, somehow, this was the series that reminded me about libraries, and got me into borrowing ebooks from the library.

I’ve enjoyed this series because it is about grown-ups, about women I could see being friend with and going out for a Girl’s Night with. But this particular book, it felt a little NA. We have two main protagonists who while a little older than the NA crowd, are still desperately trying to figure out their futures, and not being honest with their families or themselves about what they want.

The only thing that saved it for me was that it was punny and the banter was hilarous and dorkily hot. Plus, hunky male librarian? Yeah, that will cover a host of sins, including said hunky librarian being a lying, misrepresenting, polecat.

But the “Girls” are still a ton of fun and I can absolutely imagine girl’s night out with the bunch of them. The only problem is there’s not more page time with them.

What makes this story though is Veronica, she starts out so timid and afraid and SHE decides to grow and change and implements everything on her own and for herself. But since we readers already know that Gabe is a lying, misrepresenting, polecat, it just makes it kind of awful in a lot of instances.

In the end we have the power of love and change and the story was left on a we’re giving this a chance and not declarations of undying love and matrimony. So it DOES work, it just wasn’t completely successful for me. But it was well written, often very funny, ans the sex scenes were delightfully realistic (for the most part). It is worth the read if you are a fan of the series, but while it probably could be read as a stand alone, I don’t advise it because I don’t think it is the best of the bunch. Start with the first novella, it is the best.

I don’t know if this is the end of the series or not, but since I am still holding out for Jill’s book, I’m not marking this as a closed/ended series.

Taking the Heat (Jackson: Girls' Night Out, #3)

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3 star review

February TBR Challenge 2016 – Sudden Backtrack by Kim Harrison

 

Topic: Series Catch-Up (a book from a series you are behind on)

My TBR works a little different than most people’s since I just never could afford to buy that many books. So it is mainly just a Goodreads list and the books I am waiting for holds to catch up from the library. And I don’t tend to lag on series. So this was a hard one, my options were Kim Harrison’s Sudden Backtrack, Hannah Howell’s If He’s Noble (2  people ahead of me), or Mary Balogh’s Only a Kiss (6 people ahead of me). So that clarified what I would read pretty handily because I waited till the last minute and those people just wouldn’t finish and return those books.

Sudden Backtrack.jpg

Of course there is a reason I hadn’t read this. When I read The Witch with No Name, I was…ambivalent toward it. It was good enough for a finale to not leave me screaming in rage, but not exactly something that let me leave this series on a happy and high note. So when I heard Harrison was putting out something else, I had mixed feelings to say the least. But it has stayed on my TBR because I am curious about Al and Newt’s history.

The origins of the elf and demon war have been shrouded – until now. Told from a demon’s point of view, join Al as he helps Newt spin the curse that caused the elven downfall… and perhaps holds the beginnings of their own reclamations.

So, here we are,and I am reading a book I am not sure I actually want to read, in the midst of one of the biggest reading slumps in my history (heck I am following politics and social media politics instead of reading much right now).

The particulars: this is NOT for someone who hasn’t read the series. If you haven’t read the series yet, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Urban Fantasy and doesn’t mind not having much romance…and now I suppose I have to add a lackluster series finale. But overall, it is a series I enjoyed very much. The biggest mystery, and one that was never tied up, is how exactly did demons come to be what they are?

Dang this is just heartbreaking though. Demons are painted as very morally ambivalent throughout the series, and we get just peeks into the history that set up the final confrontations.

There isn’t truly much I can say without spoiling things, but it does answer some very significant questions about how the elves and demons came to be how they were, and especially how Newt became what she was.

My thoughts? I wonder why the heck Harrison waited until after the series was over to share this. I think it would have changed to tone of the series in a small, but significant and positive way. And I don’t think it would have spoiled anything either. But after it is all over, this 22 page snippet just leaves me feeling frustrated. I’d have been thrilled to get this any time before the series ended, but now I am just glad I borrowed it from the library rather than wasting $1.07 on it. But I am glad to finally get it off my list, so thanks to Wendy Super Librarian for that at least.

 

Sudden Backtrack (The Hollows #13.1)

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3 star review

January TBR Challenge 2016 – Review B Cubed by Jenna McCormick

TBR Challenge 2016Topic: We Love Short Shorts! (category romance, short stories, novella etc.)

I decided to participate in a TBR Challenge this year after lurking around them for a number of years. My actual owned TBR honestly isn’t that bad as far as numbers go, because I used to be too broke to hoard, and once I could I had mainly switched to digital, so it made sense to make my TBR as virtual as my books. Where I have gotten myself in a small bit of overload is that I then discovered ereaderIQ and I uploaded my whole wishlist to it and have been picking these books up either free or when they are under a dollar, often without considering if I even want them any more.

B CUbed

Born: Natural born humans are precious few and dwell in darkness.

Bred: Genetically engineered slaves who are the protectors of the Born.

Borg: The cybernetically enhanced enclave that split from the Born humans.

These three factions are all that remains of the human race after the world stopped turning. Scavenging in the darkness for what little is left, the war between them rages on though few know why. It begins with a child’s prophesy and can only end when they unite.

Or die.

From the moment he spies her silhouette cast by the bonfire, Cormack understands what it is to yearn for something he will never possess. Breds are made to provide for the natural born humans, dig their homes deep beneath the surface of the earth and to protect them from the ever-present cyborg threat. A Bred who reaches beyond his station will be recycled immediately, yet Cormack cannot get her visage out of his mind. Until he unearths a box, buried long before the earth stopped spinning.

Task Mistress Allora has no wish to brutalize the Bred worker she finds hoarding treasure, but as a servant of the colony that raised her from infancy, she is duty bound to report anything unusual to the Overlord, even if it costs the blue-eyed man his life. Yet something about the way Cormack watches her forces Allora to reevaluate her understanding of right and wrong. For this genetically engineered soldier is her only protection against the cyborgs who seek what they have discovered, a journal written by the prophetess Cassandra and a way to end the warring between the factions forever.

This month’s theme is “We Love Short Shorts”, which I actually kind of don’t. I usually only pick them up as part of an established series I am reading and I read them immediately, so there wasn’t a lot on my TBR that fit except for serials I picked up because they were free and by favored authors (but then I never read them because I looked at how much they cost over the whole span of the serial and I gave up). So this is as close as I could come. It is 106 pages, it has been on my TBR for a  number of years, and I actually bought it 02/12/2015 when it hit the low price of free. I think as much as anything I haven’t read it because I was toying with not starting the series until I had picked up the whole trilogy, but I still don’t have the third one. The rest of it is that it just fell off my radar. No time like the present though.

So I think this went on my TBR when I was having a major love affair cyborgs. Plus it is post-apocalyptic dystopian, which we all know I can’t pass up. I wish I could remember how I came across this book, but I have only recently been tracking in any sort of way why I added something to my list, and frankly I am still pretty horrible about it.

Anyway, about this particular book. It began with a prophesy before the world as we know it. Poor Cassandra, always born knowing the future but cursed that none should believe her. Or at least most. Unfortunately it is the ones who did that spawned the wars and horrors. There is very much a chicken and egg situation here. Did the things come about because that was what was always going to happen? Or did they come about because they knew and believed the prophesy and sought to twist it to their own ends? Having read the book, I still don’t really know because we just don’t have enough information.

This book is just super short, and really I think that is a shame, because the bones were there for something rather epic. But short as it is, as much as I liked it, it still left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied. I just wanted more. Now, there are more stories in the series, but it appears they don’t focus on these two characters to further the overall plot.

As for the two main characters, Cormack and Allora are two very interesting characters with histories and futures shrouded in mystery. There are also some slightly uncomfortable power dynamics from start to finish. It is often unsettling, I mean he is a slave and she is an overseer with the power of life and death over him. You get just the barest of sketches of who they are as people, but it is just enough to make them just real enough to actually care.

The BAM! Plot twists and the story is basically over. Seriously, the book is so much shorter than I wish it were, but I’ll definitely be pulling the next book out of my stack. I can’t wait to find out what else Cassandra has up her sleeve.

 

Born (B Cubed, #1)

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