Tag Archives: 2000s

Mr Perfect, by Linda Howard

16 Jan

mrperfectlindahowardAs I have been struggling to read new stuff, even by authors I love (Hold Me, by Courtney Milan, and Eidolon, by Grace Draven, languish still in the digital TBR, to name but two), I’ve indulged in some re-reading of old favorites, in the hope this will kick-start my reading mojo.

I have said often that I am a fan of Ms Howard‘s work,¹ so going back to a novel that I remembered loving to pieces was an easy decision to make. Snappy dialogue, female friendships, off-the-charts sexual tension, funny-as-hell heroine, what’s not to love?

Well…

A lot, actually.

This is one of those times when I realize how truly privileged I am when it comes to what I can shrug off: there is some seriously problematic stuff in this book. It was written close to twenty years ago (published in hardcover in 2000), and it really shows its age in its representation of gender dysphoria. If you identify as transgender/gender fluid/gender questioning, you don’t want to read this novel. I will spoil the hell out of this below, but even that may be triggering, so: take care of yourselves, please.

Other reader warnings: there’s violence on the page, explicit sexual content, and adult language. There are also references to mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of a child.

Mr. Perfect, by Linda Howard

Okay, without further ado, because this is going to be rather long, even for me, here’s the blurb from my hardcover copy:
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Dark Desires After Dusk, by Kresley Cole

28 Jul

DarkDesiresAfterDuskIn between attempting to read other things, I’m still re-reading the Immortals After Dark books, so here’s another review for you.

Readers not familiar with the series may want to keep in mind that the world is relentlessly heteronormative; all the pairings involve the ‘fated mate’ trope; plus, there’s quite a bit of cursing and graphic sex, violence and gore.

In this particular installment, the heroine has OCD; I am not overly familiar with this disorder, so I cannot say whether how this is written here is sensitive, informed, accurate, or triggering. (There are spoilers on this in the review.)

Proceed at your own risk.

Dark Desires After Dusk, by Kresley Cole

This is the sixth story in the IAD series, and some of the events in this book overlap what happens in the next title, Kiss of a Demon King. Not coincidentally, these are the stories of The Woede, the two demon brothers introduced in Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night.

The heroine, who I find utterly delightful, is entirely new to the series. And, it turns out, to the Lore as well; one Holly Ashwin, PhD candidate and math professor at Tulane U, and, for her sins, this Accession’s most popular girl.

Here, have a blurb (I hate this blurb–what’s new, right?):
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The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley

18 Jul

TheMadnessofLordIanMackenzieI’m still firmly in the land of re-reads–which will not shrink my TBR Mountain range any, but at least means I’m back to reading. And you, gentle readers, get treated to more reviews of older books. You poor things erm…lucky people you.

I first heard about this book from the lovely KristieJ, many, many moons ago, right around it was released. Unfortunately, at the time I had a very long list of ARCs and other review commitments, so I just made a note to read it soon.

Things happened, and it turned out that I read the second book in the series, Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, first, sometime after it had come out.

In fact, if memory serves for anything, I think I also read the next one, The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, before I finally got my hands on Lord Ian.

When I finally did, however, I loved it as much as KristieJ promised I would; so much, that I own two paper copies (one will eventually my sister’s), and I just got the digital version when it was on sale a few days ago.

Of course, I immediately ‘paged’ through it, and a couple of hours later, when my phone battery died, I realized I was engaged in a full re-read. And so, here we are.

The usual disclaimer: explicit sex, explicit language, and a bit of violence. This novel has a hero in the autism spectrum, most likly Asperger’s; it is the first such hero in genre romance I’ve ever read, and I am not familiar enough with autism to vouch for the accuracy or sensitivity of the portrayal. Proceed with caution.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley

The novel is set in 1881, well into the Victorian era, where many things were changing in Britain; from the political climate to technology, this was a period of social tension. Everything is in flux.

Our hero, the eponymous Lord Ian, is the youngest of four brothers with very tarnished reputations. The family is quite high socially–dukedoms do that–and they have a lot of money, individually and as a family–thanks in large part to Ian’s affinity for numbers, perfect recall, and instinctive understanding of finances.

Our heroine, Mrs Beth Ackerley, is the widow of a vicar from a rough part of London, lately the companion of a wealthy gentlewoman of little consequence, who willed her fortune to Beth.

Here’s the blurb:
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“The Warlord Wants Forever” by Kresley Cole

14 Jul

TheWarlordWantsForeverI’m still bouncing between the Immortals After Dark series, and other, semi-random re-reads.

So here I am, with a review of the novella that set up the IAD universe.

A couple of things to know: there’s a lot of explicit, graphic sex for the page count; both main characters are total dicks towards each other, though the male protagonist’s behaviour toward his mate may be especially triggering for some readers (explained in the review, so…here be mild spoilers?).

Oh, and there’s cursing. Proceed at your own risk.

Also, please note: I’m using the original digital release cover.

This novella was originally released in print, a full decade ago, as part of the Playing Easy to Get anthology, with two other stories; one was Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Turn up the Heat.” The other was a story by Jaid-I-hate-romance-readers-and-will-sue-blogs-and-their-owners-Black, aka Tina-I-married-a-convicted-murderer-and-harasssed-his-victim’s-daughter-Engler.

If you have read this blog before, you already know how I feel about any of my hard earned money making its way to that asshole’s pockets. If you have not, you may start here, and lose a few hours of your life finding out why. The point being: if you must read the anthology, you may want to buy it used, so the aforementioned asshole gets no royalty money from your purchase. Otherwise, this story is available by itself digitally pretty much everywhere ebooks are sold.

All good? Okay, let’s start.

“The Warlord Wants Forever” by Kresley Cole

The protagonists are Myst, a two thousand plus years old Valkyrie, and Nikolai Wroth, a three hundred years old Forbearer Vampire.

If memory serves, I read this story fairly recently, and only after it was released digitally. At any rate, I had already read at least the first two, perhaps even the first three of the IAD full length novels. Obviously, at this point I knew quite a bit about the series’ world, but I think that this story does a really good job of introducing the series and providing background for the characters’ actions and thoughts, while avoiding infodumping all over the place.

As I don’t have the print edition, I don’t know if there was some sort of story-specific blurb somewhere, but here’s one from Fantastic Fiction:¹
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Where Dreams Begin, by Lisa Kleypas

12 Jul

WhereDreamsBeginI am feeling very frustrated about my reading right now; even though I’m enjoying the Immortals After Dark quite a bit, I’m having trouble concentrating on any one thing. *cue frustrated scream*

So when someone mentioned this title, I realized that I had not re-read it in a good long while, despite the fact that I like it quite a bit. In fact, I really like many of Ms Kleypas’ historical romances, but I’ve only reviewed two of her books. Which just makes no sense, so here we are.

Reader beware: there is sex on the page.

Where Dreams Begin, by Lisa Kleypas

This is that rare beast, a fully stand alone novel. It also has a widowed heroine who not only loved her husband, but was sexually satisfied by him–this is even rarer in romance. She’s also a lady, a member of the ton, long on manners and pedigree, short on cash. The hero is one of those trade magnates, a nouveau riche who wants to purchase respectability, and acceptance in society, through his fortune. Hijinks, inevitably, ensue.

Here’s the (inaccurate as always) blurb from my paperback copy:
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Dark Needs at Night’s Edge, by Kresley Cole

7 Jul

DarkNeedsatNightsEdgeI’m still not reading new stuff, so, since I’m once again engaged in the Immortals After Dark re-read, why not review them?

Plus, can we agree that this series has the best titles ever? Seriously, they fit the world and each of the books better than so many generic paranormal titles I’ve seen.

Note: I’m using the original covers for these reviews, but they have all since been re-released with new ones. Personally, I prefer the old ones in almost all cases. What say you, dear readers?

The obligatory disclaimer, same as the last time: there are issues with these books. Beyond the graphic sex and graphic language, and the abundant gore and violence, the consent is problematic and heteronormativity rules the world. Also, some readers may find the depiction of a character with mental health issues to be triggering/clichéd/inaccurate/wrong. Reader, beware.

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge, by Kresley Cole

While this is the fifth story in the Immortals After Dark series, it’s one of the rare ones that can be read alone without missing too much. There’s enough world building worked into the text–not quite info dumping, though if you read a few of them in a row it does feel repetitive, but then, this is a known effect of glomming–to set the story up, and both of the main characters are new to the series, though Conrad had been mentioned a couple of times in previous stories.

There are a couple of scenes that keep the overarching series storyline going, specifically, setting up the next book (Cade’s story), but since they also advance this novel’s plot, I didn’t found them terribly distracting.

Here’s the blurb:
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Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, by Kresley Cole

3 Jul

WickedDeedsonaWinter'sNight originalI’m still having a hard time reading new-to-me stuff, so I’m doing some re-reads to see if I can break the stupid reading slump.

Comfort reads have not quite done the trick, so I went for over-the-top-crazy-addictive-sauce this time: the Immortals After Dark series, by Kresley Cole.

It’s been over seven years since I read A Hunger Like No Other, the first novel in the series, and while I pretty much devoured it in one greedy gulp, it would be almost five years before I read No Rest for the Wicked–as I mentioned in that review, I have issues with the series.

The thing is, once I accepted that the things that bother me are part of the world building, and basically shrugged them off, I pretty much read nothing but Immortals After Dark for a couple of weeks back then.

It seems to be working this time around too.

However…

Reader beware: these books are relentlessly heteronormative; they all involve the dreaded “fated mates” trope, and they all have graphic sex, graphic language, and quite a bit of gore and violence. Also, if you fall for the world and the author’s voice, it’s likely you’ll find yourself reading the whole series (there are sixteen stories out so far, with the next one coming out some time next year).

Proceed at your own risk.

Oh, and, this review? It be long, yo.

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, by Kresley Cole

This is the fourth story set in the Immortals After Dark world, all of which overlap in the time line of the series.¹ A reader can consume any of these four stories as stand alones, but she will miss a lot of the world building, and will likely have a lot of questions about incidents mentioned in passing by any number of the many secondary characters. This is not a problem if you like the author’s voice, and if sequel bait is your thing.

The protagonists of Wicked Deeds on a Winter Night are: Bowen MacRieve, yet another member of the Lykae clan, who is introduced in A Hunger Like No Other; and Mariketa, a member of a fairly disreputable coven of witches from New Orleans, whom we meet in No Rest for the Wicked, at the assembly to begin the Talisman’s Hie (imagine the love child of The Amazing Race and Survivor, only with a lot more treachery, and a(n un)healthy dose of violence and gore).

Here, have a blurb:

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