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review 2015-12-17 22:56
The Arrangement
The Arrangement - Thayer King

I take points away for what is essentially a set up that doesn't feel very credible. But overall this was a quick, fun read.

Ari and Ash are friends who have known each other forever but have Ari has kept firmly Ash in the friendzone despite Ash's broad hints he'd completely like to do her.

Ari's boyfriend dumped her for her scheming cousin and the two cheaters plan to announce their engagement at Ari's family's big ass family reunion.

Asher's father is running for Governor and Ash has a bit of a bad boy rep. He's basically a player.

Ari is not looking forward to being the recipient of pity looks at the reunion plus dealing with her cousin's smugface.

Ash needs some rep rehab ASAP!

Hey. let's get married! Temporarily! And, what the heck, let's have lots of sex too!

So they do.

What really saves this book for me is the ridiculous chemistry between Ari and Ash. And actually I liked Ash's not-so-hidden long-time devotion to Ari.

Ari loses a few of those points for being so blind and obstinate at times.

And Good lord, the amount of enabling Ari gives to her best friend Erika re: her crush of Ash is rather dumb. Erika is not only Ari's best friend but she is married to Ash's best friend. However she has always had a thing... supposedly nostalgic... for Ash. It is one thing to have a benign crush on a hot guy, even if you are married. But Erika's "crush" is a little more proactive than that -- she actually attempts to sabotage any hint of non-platonic relationship between Ari and Ash . Rather than being disturbed by this, the other three seem to be rather indulgent about her feels. Yeah, no. I'd be like 'Bitch, you're married. Deal with your inappropriate feelings in a more appropriate way."

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review 2015-12-17 22:50
At Blade's Edge
At Blade's Edge (Goddess With a Blade) - Lauren Dane

The second book Blade to the Keep - Lauren Dane  remains my favorite of the series so far, but this one is a great rebound after what I felt was a weaker third book.

In this one, we are in the aftermath of Rowan having killed the evil Vampire Witch Goddess Enyo who left Rowan for dead at the end on the second book. But in hunting down and eradicating Enyo ((in the 3rd book  Blade on the Hunt (Goddess With a Blade Book 3) - Lauren Dane) , Rowan has discovered a rot deep in the Hunter Corp, the company that has been like a family to her and that has held her loyalty for years. The corruption has bummed her to the point where she is seriously thinking about leaving the company.

Now she is married to Hot ( but stuffily British) Vampire Clive, is settled in London to meet his parents, and also gearing up to formally solemnify their union with her father as is required by the Vampire Nation. So she is at a bit of a crossroads. She wants to root out the corruption in the Hunter Corp, kill the traitors, and make a final decision on her future with the company.

This was fun and a little less frenetic than the previous book. I liked Rowan in this one. She is just realizing what it means to be married and is starting to adjust a bit into her new role as wife, while still remaining laser focused on her mission to expose and kill the conspirators in the Corp. But Rowan is still Rowan -- mouthy, snarky and ready to cut someone's throat in a quick minute just cuz she's cranky like that.

Clive, even though he is suave and awesome, is also shown to be trying to fit into his role as Rowan's husband and what that really means on a day-to-day basis now that it is a reality. Being who they are and what they represent is bigger than just a being in love with each other. Their union brings huge political baggage (and rewards) that affect Hunter, Humans and the Vampire Nation. On a shallow note, he reminds me of a supernatural, upperclass British, more reserved version of Roarke from JD Robb's In Death series.

We meet his parents and his mother is .... interesting. I won't say more because part of the enjoyment of the book is discovering his mother.

A new character is introduced who feels like she is going to take up permanent (or long term) residency in the series. I rather liked her.

David and Alice, Rowan and Clive's super-efficient assistants remain their normal bad ass selves.

The book deepens the overall story arc of some shadowy group trying to destabilize the treaty that has kept the peace between Hunters & Vamps that we first get a hint of with The BloodFront group and Enyo earlier. But whoever is involved is even more in the shadows and has raised the stakes for Rowan personally. The book ends on a very shocking , abrupt and rather brutal note.

Very much looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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review 2015-11-01 22:21
Cree
CREE - LaShawn Vasser,Melissa S. Harrison

This is a new-to-me author who, on the basis of this book, I will look for more of her work.

In this book the couple is already married and very much in love.  So where is the conflict?  Well distance for one.  Cree is at their hometown in a southern a small town working three jobs to help put Cam through school, while he is in New York pursuing medical school.  That sort of monetary stress is difficult enough but when you add in a long distance marriage, well it amplifies.

I also liked the other, more ephemeral stresses... over the years more than miles have distanced them.  Cam has assimilated into New York culture and seems to be moving forward in life while Cree is slowly coming to the dawning realization that life might be passing her by.  I thought there were a lot of nice character beats, especially from Cree's perspective.  She comes to several realizations about herself and her marriage which I thought were realized in a nicely organic way.  The author did a good job of making us feel Cree's insecurities and her disconnectedness from Cam.  It wasn't some big dramatic thing but rather cumulative thing.

Also, to the author's credit, she didn't pull any cheap stunts.  The conflicts to the marriage were internal mostly.  There were some external stresses but this was primarily a book about them as people.

Since the book is really mostly Cree's perspective it is very easy to sympathize with her.  There were one or two moments you wanted to smack Cam, but on the whole he was a decent guy who was devoted to his wife but she was sometimes as much of a stranger to him as he was to her.  The difference is Cree confronts it and Cam just wants everything to be ok and doesn't understand why it just isn't.

There is an incident that brings a lot of things to a head.  I felt very bad for both of the characters in the aftermath, but liked where the story went later.

If I had a criticism of the book I would say that I thought Cree negative feelings & misgivings about New York became a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy.  She was dead set against being there so she didn't even try to make a life there.  She realized that everything about her was too closely defined to her marriage, but if there was one place where you could potentially find something for yourself it is New York. I think the book would have been stronger if those scenes were expanded and maybe showed Cree getting more comfortable & starting to appreciate the opportunities available to her before the incident occurs that sends her back home.  I think the impact would have been greater.

Also I thought Cree & Cam's -- reconnection -- felt rushed.  I think it would have benefited from more page space.  The pacing of the book felt like we took time with Cree's realization that her relationship with Cam and with herself had changed, but the "fix" in the end felt too quick.

I thought the writing was strong and flowed easily.  I was very quickly immersed and invested in this relationship.

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text 2014-12-31 06:59
Page 314 — *dies laughing*
The One That I Want - Zuri Day,Cheris Hodges,Donna Hill

"'No!' He'd exclaimed in Spanish."

*cackles*

 

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text 2014-12-31 01:43
Page 311 — Oh, my freaking God, ANOTHER ONE.
The One That I Want - Zuri Day,Cheris Hodges,Donna Hill

You guys. You Guys. YOU GUYS.

 

". . . spilling his seed deep inside Lola's valley."

You should have seen my reaction to that one. WHAT IS WITH THIS BOOK?! Because this is the THIRD story now. Not to mention the always sexy "seed". 

 

Holy crap.

 

*walks away shaking head*

 

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