Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wickedly Imaginative, but..

Wicked as they Come
Book #1

This one isn't like anything I've ever read before. The plot is outlandish, but fun and entertaining. A well written, image filled, and easy to read book, that kept me glued, at least at the beginning. A jumble of different genres, Steampunk/Witchpunk, Fantasy, Vampirism, and Romance, makes this one difficult to categorically define.

The male protaginst is not your run-of-the-mil hot brooding alpha male lead, you get with most bodice rippers. A mix between Willy Wonka and Merry Poppins, with a dash of fabio for good measure. I don't think I've ever read a story with killer-blood sucking bunnies or caravans full of carnies. I don't normally equate carnies as being hot or all that interesting.

However, this good book does fail in one major way, and that's with its dispassionate tone. The interaction between the main characters and the dialogue just seems to fall a tad flat & emotionless. However, this might only be due to the style of the genre or the era that the alternative world emulates.  Either way, it was the main thing that kept this one from being a Top Read.
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Trish is a down on her luck, after a rather bad breakup from an abusive and controlling man. After she finds an old beaten up locket at an estate sale, the world as she knows it turns upside down. Muddled and divided between two realities, Trish has to find her way home before all is lost, including her sick and elderly Grandmother. But can she leave behind the wondrous and deliciously handsome Bludman, who is quickly whittling his way into her heart? Alice has nothing on Trish, as she flips between her normal life, as a broken hearted & rather bored hospice nurse to a courted gypsy who has the power of foresight.

In Summary, this book was Incredibly imaginative and well written, but I often found my mind wondering, leading me to put this book down on several occasions. Simply put, the lack of emotion, character ARC (Somewhat Shallow), and heat between the MCs (it just wasn't believable), prevented me from embracing it fully.  Those who aren't looking to commit to a whole series, will be happy to know that this books ends the current MC's story.

Warning: Sexual Content (2 scenes) and a bit on the Gruesome side

Similar Reads:  The Native Star, The Greyfriar, & Phoenix Rising

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PNR Pick

Blood Law
Book 1

Pretty decent Shifter PNR. This one is about cursed twin Lycan brothers, torn apart by a blood law and a sibling feud. In order to break the curse and provide payment for killing his brother's mate, Rafael must give up his chosen. And in so doing, sentence his true love and an innocent to death.

The story starts off more akin to folklore than a run-of-the-mil romance. The world building turned out to be quite interesting and fairly good, and it also did a good job of offsetting the romance/love triangle subplot. The writing is pretty decent as well. As per usual, you have your typical alpha male and destined romance, but surprisingly enough, the Female protagonist is no ones's fool, even with her tank 1/2 past empty (as in starving and hurt) for a good quarter of the book.

The romance does get a bit muddy with the love triangle, but I thought the romance between the two MCs was pretty hot and believable. A nice twist at the end gives this one an added surprise that wasn't completely predictable. I really enjoyed this one overall, and only took off a star for the epic cliffhanger at the end. Way to ruin an already decent book. What can I say, I hate cliffhangers.

Warning: Cliffhanger Ending, 4 1/2 Stars otherwise.

Update:  Even though some parts were relatively okay, I could not bring myself to finish the 2nd book.   I made it about 80% of the way before I started skimming and calling it quits.  3 stars for Blood Right.

3-Blood Vow  (Dec 04, 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top Reads

Blood on the Bayou
Book #2

If I had any doubts on whether this author was talented or not, this book squashed those ambiguous feelings with a vengeance. Everything that I had issue with in the last book seems to have been worked out for its followup. Brilliantly written and edited, with imagery to match. I couldn't help but get sucked into this book, right from the start. Jay has expertly crafted an interesting & unique world I definitely would like to know more of, and a likable and often funny self-deprecating protagonist, that has more issues than a hypochondriac (but great taste in beer).

Added to the already great writing is the exciting and original plot, and the thrilling twists that are presented along the way. The book starts about 3 weeks after the first, but there doesn't seem to be any great loss from that, especially with the recap presented at the top. For those reading the first two books back to back, they may find the small recap annoying and repetitive, but it doesn't last for more than a couple of pages, thankfully.

The only other faults I could find is the ridiculous love quadrangle we were introduced to in the first book. However, (A) it seems to make a bit more sense this time around, (B) I didn't find it completely gratuitous, and (C) the sub-plot is properly dealt with and possibly put somewhat to bed (pun intended) by the end. The last issue I had was the conclusion. The author did such a great job of keeping her readers along for the ride, but she quickly detours us by the end, when she skips a good chunk of time and just gives us a quick and dirty epilogue of events I would have rather have read in greater detail.

In summary, barring a couple of minor issues I had with it, I have to say this is one of the best books I've read as of late.

Warning: Some sexual content, but nothing too graphic.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Book Review

Framed
Book #3

*May Contain Mild Spoilers*

I liked this one better than the last. No wasted space and the pace was dead on. Even though I thought this book wasn't at all bad and it was definitely a step up from the last, I still had a couple of issues that kept me from marking it as a Top Read.

I'm still on the fence on whether I truly like or care about the protagonist. A particular issue I had were the non-sequiturs or inconsistencies by the protagonist. For example, even though Ruby spends a few pages on explaining that she in fact agrees with her friends, that driving is the last thing she should be doing in her current condition, she turns around and does exactly that in the scene that follows. My other issue is the sex scene. I can understand the author is trying to keep it clean, and in doing so, doesn't include much description on that front. However, when you say that the moment the couple "joins" they both come instantly, it just seems utterly unrealistic and ridiculous.

I also had issues with the dialogue in general. It just didn't seem to flow all that well or natural at times. And my last issue is with the Scooby-doo cliched ending wrap-up. Whenever the hero nets the bad guy at the end and he provides you with a super lengthy & neat explanation/monologue, with just a bit of prodding, that's when you know you've reached pay dirt. Don't pass go or collect $200 dollars.

In regards to the book's main plot, I never really felt any of the dramatic tension the conflict intended on building, since I never felt the protagonist was truly in any danger. Maybe I need to work on my suspension of disbelief a bit more. I also felt a lack of romantic tension and heat between Ruby and any of her many suitors. I actually I got more from the police officer she kept running into and maybe the odd scene where she befriends a lady shopping, which I guess wasn't intended judging by the turn of the events. And I almost forgot my biggest WTH moment, where my brain just didn't want to accept, was the big Sean reveal. I know, I know, this is fantasy and you should already have your I-Believe party hat on, but I don't think I'm buying what's being peddled on that front. Time will tell.

In summary, even though I had some "issues" with this book, I general liked it and really thought it was thoroughly entertaining and well paced. There's a lot of great scenes and wth moments. And if I can't decide whether I like the protagonist, I can safely say I do like her alter-ego and Cooper for that mater. Sean I can do without.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Really Good, But not for Everyone

Captive in the Dark
Book 1 of 2-Erotica

Altogether too short, but incredibly and surprisingly very good. I'm not an Erotica fan by any stretch, but I did enjoy this book. Well written and captivating, I couldn't help but read this in just one sitting. I was oddly entranced by both main character's stories, and their shared pain of depravity and strong will for survival. The author also somehow managed to create a redeemable and empathetic character from one willing to inflict pain & humiliation on others, just as others inflicted upon him.

"This isn't a romance. You're not a damsel in distress and I'm not the handsome prince come to save you."  No. He wasn't. In real life you had to save yourself.

Caleb is a man who spent half his life in the pursuit of revenge. Revenge against what others have done to him and his rescuer's family. In escaping the depravity of his early years, he slowly becomes the monster that he once abhorred.

In order to enact the final stages of his revenge, he sets out on snaring an unwilling victim to train as a submissive, for the purpose of selling her as a sex slave to the very man he has long dreamt of destroying. The only issue is that his surprisingly strong-willed and complicated captive might be a bit more than his experienced hands & heart can handle.

In summary, I enjoyed this book, but I definitely would have held back in reading it if I knew it ended just short of a satisfying conclusion. As in, this does end in a cliffhanger of sorts, and would have been better tackled after the 2nd book and its conclusion was published.

Warning: For Mature audiences only. This most definitely isn't for everyone, it's quite disturbing on so many levels. If can get past that, it really is a very good book.  Lots of sexually charged scenes, but only one with the full act. There is also violence, murder, Sodomy, and rape flashbacks, but nothing as far as cruelty or complete forceable sex by the captor-Caleb.

On a side note: For some reason this book reminds me of the Fever series.  The protagonist reminds me of Mac when she was a Priya and her captor has a bit of JZ.  It might have something more to do with the author's writing style though.  

2-Seduced in the Dark (Sep 2012)  Excerpts

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Caroline Hanson: ARC of Love is Mortal Auction

Caroline Hanson: ARC of Love is Mortal:

No, the book is not done yet. But a copy of the book will be auctioned off through Brenda Novak's Diabetes auction. The moment it's done you...

This is the 3rd book in the Valerie Dearborn series, and it's set to release this Dec.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Top Reads: A Perfect Blood

A Perfect Blood
Book #10

A top read for 2012. This book exceeded my relatively low expectations, stemming from the book's initial reviews and impressions. I found the book extremely well written/edited, constructed and just plain enjoyable. If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be "Tension". As in, it's chock-full of it. Dramatic, Sexual, and Thrilling tension. I was so caught up in it all, I barely had time to lament about missing a of few of my favorite things like Big Al and the Ever-After. Big Al does make a couple of appearances, but nothing like he does in the previous books.

There is a lot of forward moment in this book, as Rachel's ARC comes full circle. This began in the last book, but it is taken one step further here, as she begins to not only see people and situations in new light, but starts to accept and trust those people, along with herself. Because we still have more than a couple of books until the grand finale, Harrison is taking these realizations a bit slow, especially in discovering and getting to Rachel's HEA. Not to say we don't get any interesting and meaty chapters between Trent and Rachel in this book. No, we still got plenty to chew on and enjoy, as we slowly gain momentum on that front as well. However, as one person put it, it's sometimes two steps forward and one step for those two, as it probably always will be until the very end.

The only complaint I have is the less than exciting ending. I wouldn't go so far as to call it cheesy as some have described it. More like somber compared to the rest of the book. It still felt satisfying, rounding out what is easily one of my favorites for the year, thus far.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely even though we do still have some time to wait to see everything come to fruition. Oh, but the journey will be oh so sweet.

I look forward to reading the upcoming Short, contained in the Novella-Into the Woods, set to be released early Oct. Written in Trent's POV, it is the events regarding Trent's covert operation to take his daughter-Lucy back, with Jinks by his side.

I'm Finally Free

Fifty Shades Freed
Book 3

A good conclusion with a decent ending/climax, but most of this book is filled with pointless filler. There is only some conflict and a somewhat purposeful plot, but you have to read almost to the end to glimpse it. The ending is like the beginning, mushy and very repetitive.  By about 75% of the way through, the book started skimming through time, marked only by repetitive text messages between the main characters.  The Sex scenes are all the same and quite boring. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen there, but alas, it never did. Overall this series is just fair. The only redeeming quality these books have is the endearing love story between the main characters. Other than that, this is really not worth the read. At least the writing improved as the books progressed.

With a bit of editing, I truly believe all three books in this trilogy could have been sized down to just one. Most of the books are filled with superfluous events, especially the first half of book #3. And although I enjoyed the books as I read them, I didn't feel they were all that special or satisfying by the end. I find it funny that with so much sex & S&M subject matter, I found little of interest or shocking and I don't read Erotica.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-