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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-15 17:51
Shiver (Unbreakable Bonds #1) - DNF @ 50%
Shiver - Rinda Elliott,Jocelynn Drake

That's three for three. What the hell is going on? I've never had this many DNFs in a row. *frustrated sigh*

 

There was some good stuff here, which is why I kept reading so long, hoping the rest of the story would catch up. But...

 

The Good:

 

~Ian seems like a fun character, though I hope he has a good manager since being a good chef isn't enough to keep a restaurant going. 

~Banner, the intrepid detective, is so dedicated to his job he goes on interviews with a flu. Because nothing will scare witnesses into giving answers than fear of getting sick. ;) Naw, that's not why he does it, he just really wants to solve his case.

~This isn't entirely GFY. Andrei's noticed guys and had some sexual encounters with them, but only when their was a woman or alcohol involved. Still, it smacks of GFY because "there's just something about Lucas" that makes him different. What that something is I have no clue. Lucas isn't a bad guy, he's just kind of jerk sometimes.

~The writing is decent and doesn't have too many typos.

 

The Annoying:

 

~Incorrect medical procedures are incorrect. There's no way the hospital would let Andrei out of there, even with a minor burn, without first dressing the burn and wrapping it up, so that whole scene that takes place after the hospital doesn't make sense; it shouldn't need to be happening. And then Lucas is putting this green gel goop on it and also not dressing it. Poor Andrei's shirts are all going to be a mess at this point.

~Speaking of, this is yet another story where the MCs are seriously injured and aside from a few aches and pains the next day, they're walking around like no big deal. At least Lucas took a couple of pills? And only one with alcohol. Yay? But Lucas has broken ribs. RIBS! And he keeps getting thrown down the ground like no big deal. If you're going to go to the trouble of trashing up your characters, can you please remember they're injured? Thanks.

~And why aren't his ribs wrapped?! Are his broken fingers even wrapped or did I just imagine that they were?

~Andrei's supposed to be protecting Lucas's life and keeps getting distracted by his lips and other stuff. Ugh!

~Insta-lust is boring to me on the best days, but when he's lusting after someone covered in cuts and bruises, I have to wonder about the character's mental state.

~Inconsistencies with established facts: Lucas's penthouse is initially described as three stories. Andrei only ever checks the first two stories. What's up with the third floor? Also, Andrei is described many times as being bigger than Lucas, but then suddenly Lucas is bigger than Andrei. Which is it?

 

The Bad:

~Rowe, Lucas and Snow (and Ian) are supposed to be these super tight BBFs but aside from Ian, all the other three seem to do is bicker, fight or strangle (yes, literally) each other at every turn. Just not feeling the unbreakable bond here.

~Lucas is so stupid that he goes off to the property he bought that's putting his life at risk to show off the night skyline view to Andrei. Andrei's so stupid that he actually takes Lucas there. 

~And that's only the first stupid thing they do in the first half. I don't doubt there is plenty more stupidity waiting in the second half.

~That sex scene up against the window is just logistically impossible the way it's written. Andrei's facing the window with his hands on the glass and Lucas is behind him. But then Lucas is suddenly giving Andrei a blowjob. How? Did he crawl between Andrei's legs when no one was looking?

~I kept hoping the glass would pop out of its casing and they'd plummet to their deaths like that Darwin Award winner, but they didn't. :(

~When I realized that I didn't even care enough to skip ahead to see who is targeting Lucas or why, I realized I just needed to put the book down.

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review 2017-12-24 20:11
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee

This is a strange one, so I'm going to split it up.

 

Things I liked:

 

Monty's struggles of self-acceptance. He's an arrogant aristocrat, a drunkard and a rake on the surface, but there's a lot more going on and as we learn more about him, it's clear how he got to be so messed up. But he's got his best friend Percy and his sister Felicity, who are more aware of the world around them and help him see what he's always been so blind to. I did like seeing him grow up and learn new things about himself, and that it doesn't happen all at once in a giant ah-ha moment but a little at a time as the story progresses. 

 

Percy was also great. I like that the author acknowledges people of color existed, and as more than just slaves. He was born in a high-class family, but being interracial and a bastard doesn't give him much standing. He's treated as second-class, and while Monty might not treat him that way or understand why anyone else would, Percy is aware of his position in society and how tenuous it is. And that's even before the reveal

that he has epilepsy and his family wants to put him in an asylum because they're tired of dealing with his fits.

(spoiler show)

 

Felicity, Monty's sister, knows her own mind and isn't afraid to use it. She wants to study but is limited by her sex. She also helps hold a mirror up to Monty's face, but she's not there just for the benefit of the male characters. She has her own agency and makes her own decisions. 

 

As a road trip gone askew, this is a great book and not nearly as silly or whimsical as I thought it was going to be. And I like that it didn't always follow the tropes to a T, so that it kept you guessing in some places.

 

The things I didn't like:

 

As a historical book, this is somewhat lacking. There's nowhere near the level of details that I expect from a historical. Nothing is really described, like the author is expecting the reader to already know what all these places looked like back then and so doesn't have to bother setting the scene. Except for the lack of pay phones, the author could've easily placed this story in the 1960s or 1970s and not have had to change anything except some character names. The rather modernistic manners of the characters would have made a lot more sense and rang truer than they do placed in 1720-something.

 

The language is definitely too modern. Look, y'all, "abso-bloody-lutely" is annoying AF coming out of mouths from today's youth. It has no place coming out of these characters' mouths. They had their own slang in the 1700s. Use it! There were a few other modernisms like that too, and it just pulled me out of the book every single time. This is basically a historical for people who don't want to read historicals. 

 

There were a few continuity errors too. At one point, Monty has to stop to put his boot back on. I went back several pages to see where the hell he took off his boot - he didn't. At another point, Felicity is hurt rather severely and it's several scenes before she's able to properly tend to her wound. In between, there's an encounter with some rather important people who I would expect to be far more observant than they are. There's no mention at all that Felicity is attempting to hide her wound, yet it's not mentioned and neither does it seem to even bother her. What the hell happened to Lockwood?

 

Then there's Monty's dad and everyone else practically having no concern whatever that Monty's got a liking for boys. Sure, the author does bother to point out a couple of times that sodomy was a big no-no and even bothers to mention some of the punishments that could befall someone because of it. But then everyone just acts like it's no big deal. Extremely distasteful, sure, but nothing you wouldn't bring up in casual conversation during a ball. It felt like the story and the characters were making far too light of something that could get you killed. The fact this is YA doesn't justify that, and this is far too much a trend in many an M/M historical. I was disappointed to see it happen here too.

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review 2017-12-14 04:23
Summerwode (The Wode #4)
Summerwode (The Wode) - J. Tullos Hennig

Gah! Cliffhanger! NOOOOOOO! And I have no idea how long I'll have to wait for the next one. Going by the time between previous installments, two years maybe? :( Unless she pulls a George R.R. Martin or Diana Gabaldon, then maybe ten years? :P Thankfully, I don't see her doing that.

 

 

This picks up a few months after the end of Winterwode. Gamelyn is still entrenched in the Templars, having to suppress himself again and letting alter-id Guy de Gisbourne take over the reins for him, with all the complications that comes with. Robyn's once again has no idea what's up with Gamelyn because Guy's not a man to share his plans, and Marion's just trying to hold her little family together. Of course, forces are in movement that are determined to see Robyn's little band of merry men ended one way or another, and whether foe or potential friend and ally, playing the game could end their way of life for good or ill.

 

There are things here that would normally drive me crazy, except that it's so perfectly in character that there really is no other way it could've gone down. There's no manipulation of characters of OOC moments to force plot points, like other authors would depend on. We've come to know these characters over three previous books, and while my hand itched to smack Gamelyn upside the head several times - and Will and occasionally Robyn - it was clear and understandable why everyone behaved the way they did.

 

This was as strongly written as ever, and it's also well edited despite this being DSP. My one complaint is that it felt a tad overlong. In particular, that whole cliffhanger ending, while certainly compelling, felt like it was resetting the board too much. There was already a threat there hanging in the shadows to give an ominous ending to the book while the characters still got to enjoy life for a little bit, so the last few chapters really could've been held off to kick off the next book with a bang, at least in my opinion. 

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review 2017-11-22 17:18
Infected: Epitath (Infected #8)
Infected: Epitaph - Andrea Speed

I should've just skipped to the last chapter to see if Roan got to retire and live, or if he was killed by his own pigheaded stupidity. 

He gets to live. And just move up to Canada and buy property up there without having to worry about immigration laws. What?

(spoiler show)

 

I admit, I was burnt out with this series by this book, and I did actually skip a lot of the "we're so macho because x,y,z" paragraphs that the characters like to ruminate over again and again and again. Yeah, we all got it the first time. You don't have to keep rubbing it in. It's as if Ms. Speed is afraid the readers would somehow forget basic information if she doesn't constantly remind us about it every other page, or like we won't know we're supposed to be impressed if she doesn't tell us how impressive they are all the time. (I'm not impressed; I'm bored now.)

 

And for the last book, we didn't really get to see much of the supporting characters as I'd hoped we would, though we do get to see them. And there's this weird detour to see Roan's friend from his teens who he hasn't thought of in years and we only heard about in passing once. And why?

Just to find out Collin named his son after Roan? Big whoop. What was the point? That's page time that could've been used for the characters we already know and actually care about.

(spoiler show)

 

I don't know. I'm not sold on the shifter genre at this point. THIRDS went downhill mega fast and I gave up on that one after the third book (how are there already ten of those things?) and this one just sort of petered out. Ms. Speed relied on cliches and stereotypes for much of her world-building, we never got any definitive details about this cat virus that infected people, and Roan's transforming abilities reached critical mass of ridiculousness a couple of books back.

 

Like I said in my review for the previous book, much of this felt like it was treading water, and I can't help but feel this series should've ended two or three books ago. It might have helped if she'd followed the traditional case-per-book narrative device - there's a reason it's so successful - instead of jamming two, three or even four cases into one book, none of them getting much attention and many of them going unsolved. It's admirable to want to show that yes, sometimes cases don't get solved, and yes, detectives and investigators often have more than one case going at a time, but she never quite settled into a cohesive way to handle all this juggling. The end result is that it all feels kind of random, and if she'd cut out even half of the "we're so awesome and crazy" self-congratualatory nonsense, she'd have had a lot more page time to dedicate to other things.

 

And I still don't buy Roan and Dylan as a couple. *shrug* Even the Scott and Holden stuff was boring by this book. 

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review 2017-11-09 02:31
Infected: Undertow (Infected #7)
Infected: Undertow - Andrea Speed

Hm, not sure what to say about this one. It more or less starts off where the last one ended, but then it kind of meanders from there. Roan's condition keeps changing and no one knows what it means - which has been par for the course throughout the series. There's some repetition that could have been edited out to provide a tighter story, and at this point in the series, it really doesn't add anything to keep going over the same ground. It feels like Ms. Speed is treading water, more than anything, and I'm getting rather tired of how impressed everyone is with themselves. Let's just say, I'm glad there's only one left.

 

Once again, the characters themselves are the best part. Holden and Scott are the special treat here, since their not-exactly-a-relationship-but-it's-totally-a-relationship relationship allows us to see different facets of Holden and actually see him have no clue what he's doing for once. :D I wish we'd seen more of Fiona, Seb, Dropkick and the other side characters, but they were mostly shunted to the side. Even Dylan wasn't as prominent in this one.

 

The cases were more hodgepodge than usual and not even worth mentioning, really. At least Roan solves one.

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