Tag Archives: 7.75 out of 10

Kiss of Steel, by Bec McMaster

23 Jul

KissOfSteelIt’s TBR Challenge time again, and I’m late (like, three months and change late, but who’s counting, right?). July’s theme is “Award Winner or Nominee,” but after last year’s Nazi ‘hero’ dêbacle, I just couldn’t look for a Rita book this year.

On top of which, I’m still struggling to read new stuff.

However, I had read “Tarnished Knight,” the novella that follows this story,  sometime ago, and liked it quite a bit; and Steampunk hits all my “I wanna read it right NOW!” buttons.

So when I saw that I had this in the digital TBR of doom, bought sometime ago (probably during one of those 99¢ deals), of course I had to try it.

Kiss of Steel, by Bec McMaster

Let me begin by saying that I like how Ms McMaster introduces the reader to her world–I love it when authors credit readers with enough smarts to deduce things, instead of explaining everything at the first opportunity. Here, the author lets the characters show us her world, bit by bit, in a very organic way.

Our heroine, Honoria, is a gently reared lady whose circumstances have been drastically, and irrevocably, changed. Six months before the novel starts, her father was murdered, leaving her in charge of her younger sister, Lena, and her much younger brother, Charlie. He also entrusted a number of diaries, containing important information that must be both preserved and hidden, to her keeping. Hiding from the authorities, and other, more sinister interests, the small, nigh destitute family struggles to survive–and hide–in the rookeries of London.

Where Blade rules with an iron and merciless hand. For fifty years, he has kept the aristocracy at bay, biding his time to exact revenge on the creature who made him. And Honoria just may give him the means to do so.

Here, have a 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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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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Defy Not The Heart, by Johanna Lindsey

9 Sep

Defy Not The Heart - new coverBack in the dark ages (early 80’s), many popular single title romance novels (mainly Avon titles), were translated to Spanish and published in Latin America, within a year of their release in the US.

While there were no Nora Roberts novels anywhere (and, going by what my sister tells me, still aren’t), there were plenty of Catherine Coulter and Johanna Lindsey titles to choose from, right at my neighborhood bookstore. And so, I was exposed, at a fairly young age, to the wonders of the over the top, old skool crazy sauce.

Back then, lacking all that many options, I would re-read those books until they came apart. At one point in the late 90s, I owned all of Ms Lindsey’s backlist, either in translation or the US paperback edition (with the original Fabio covers, thank you very much).

Being one of those people who keep books unless they find them absolutely, irredeemably offensive, I was greatly surprised to find out, a couple of years ago, that I had purged most of my Lindsey books. Which is why, seeing recently that Defy Not The Heart was on sale for a couple of bucks at amazon, I snapped a copy, and read it.

Now you get to see what I think of this novel–almost three decades later.

Defy Not The Heart, by Johanna Lindsey

I don’t know about anyone else, but I sincerely lament the fact that, for the past decade or so, historical romance seems confined to one place, one time period, and one socioeconomic class: the Regency. Back when I started reading romance, we had novels set all over the place–we had Romans in ancient Britain; we had British explorers in Asia and Africa; we had Westerns from the Gold Rush to the Civil War and beyond. These days? I’ll say that over 90% of historical romance published is confined to those nine years, to London, the Season, and balls.

So let us enjoy a something just a tad different.

It is the year of our Lord 1192, and, somewhere in England, our young heroine is in a bit of a pickle. She’s the only heir to a large and rich estate; her father is dead; her overlord is somewhere in the Holy Lands with Richard Lionheart; and she’s still unmarried. In other words, she’s the perfect target for many an unscrupulous baron.

Here, have the original blurb (from Fantastic Fiction):
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Shards of Hope, by Nalini Singh

3 Jun

(Please see edit – 06/05/15)

Shards of Hope cover

A day late, but here you have my thoughts on this latest installment in the Psy/Changeling series.

I was hoping to get my own, hard cover copy by June 2nd, so that I could double check a few things against the ARC I received a few weeks ago, but alas! amazon is not happy with me, so it’s not shipping until next week. (So much for pre-ordering.)

I am likely to read my print copy soon after I finally get it, regardless (I’ve read the ARC four times already); if there are any changes significant enough to warrant it, I’ll edit the review accordingly (with notes).¹

As I’ve said in the past few reviews for the series, I advise readers new to the Psy/Changeling world to start with any one of the first four titles. At this point, there are too many long running threads in the overarching story arc, plus a lot of world-building detail, to be a comfortable entry point for the series.

Finally, the heroine was abused as a child, and some of this and other abuse is discussed in detail at various points in the novel.

Shards of Hope, by Nalini Singh

Back when this book was first announced, I was very excited to see that the two main characters were Arrows. Not only have the Arrows so far been great characters (Judd is probably the best hero in the series), I have been intrigued by Zaira since we met her in Tangle of Need. Not only is she the first female Arrow we meet, her interaction with Judd in that book hinted at true badassery.

Then, as if it wasn’t already a foregone conclusion that I was going to gulp this book down the moment I could get my grabby little mittens on it, this blurb was posted:

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Blind Passion, by Bonnie Dee

27 Apr

Blind PassionIt had been a while since I had read one of Ms Dee’s stories, even though I have liked all the ones I’ve read. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was looking for something else on amazon and realized that this novel was free (still is, as of this writing).

I read the blurb and one clicked–not realizing this is yet another New Adult novel, with alternating first person points of view.

I have mentioned a few times that I’m absolutely not a fan of this particular subgenre of romance, so I was not very enthused as I started to read, but it is Ms Dee, and I really like her work, so I continued reading…and then looked up, a hundred pages later.

So here you have my review.

Blind Passion, by Bonnie Dee

This category length novel is the first story in the Wyatt Brothers quartet. A sweet romance, though with a bit more explicit language, it’s set in Chicago, and the protagonists are both in their early twenties.

Leah, our leading lady, has lost her sight due to a head injury sustained in a car crash, and is still struggling to adapt to her new reality as someone with a pretty major disability. J.D. has recently been discharged from the Army, after first being captured by the Taliban, and then rescued by fellow soldiers–some of which died during the operation. He suffers from PTSD, which he combats by taking prescription medication while mostly eschewing the benefits of actual therapy.

Here’s the blurb from the author’s website:
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“Seduced” by Molly O’Keefe

20 Feb

SeducedMs O’Keefe’s work is often recommended and widely praised in the circles of romance blogland that I visit most. And yet, I had never read anything by her.

Not too long ago, I saw mention of this story somewhere (perhaps at Dear Author or SmartBitches sales posts?), and decided to get it.

I’m so very glad I did!

Be aware that there is violence on the page, and a backstory that includes rape.

“Seduced” by Molly O’Keefe

A novella roughly a hundred and fifty pages long, “Seduced” is a historical western. More specifically, is a romance set in the late 1860s in the mountains, near Denver.

I was very impressed with how much emotional impact Ms O’Keefe managed to pack in such a limited word count. It helps that there are only five characters in the story, but still.

The blurb, from the author’s site:
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