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review 2017-12-09 19:33
Good and bad
Monster: Part One (The Monster Series Book 1) - Evangeline Lee

This is supposed to be the first novella out of three that were supposed to be released in the span of four weeks time but for the life of me I cannot seem to find others from this series but this one so I will only review what I have on my Kindle and what I was able to read.

 

This novella is a contemporary mystery/crime, adult erotic romance with a dark edge novella which plays around with abduction and rape as lightly as it would be dangling rope in front of kittens.

 

I think that from my point of view this story held a lot of promise in the first half but then it came undone in the second half when the storyline pretty much fell apart and the characters became either non-existent in personality or overly sex driven to the literal point of becoming a psychopath.

 

 

 

"I wanted to show her that her high and mighty superiority, her degrees and diplomas, her privileged existence, her sense of security, was a façade. I was going to breach the fortress that was her privacy. I was going to leave my mark on her life like a dog pissing to mark his territory, and one day soon, I was going be in her bed fucking her brains out."

 

 

All this said in that one first sentence would be perfectly understandable in this kind of a story if the female protagonist Mina ever did anything of the sorts. She didn't. She is barely present in this novella. She is simply there for the real main character Mikhail to obsess about after meeting her just once. Yes, one look at the woman and our main ex marine, ex special ops, enhanced ex soldier is completely taken with her. I wouldn't mind it so much if Mina was at least interesting or different from a horde of good looking women out there.

 

That was my first complaint. I didn't find them believable as a couple at all. Maybe this is due to the shortness of the story. So I won't judge too harshly because of that.

 

But the second complaint I have that even with the story being so short, some things make no sense whatsoever.

Example: Mikhail is an enhanced soldier who is on the run from a government that created him and now wants him dead so he assumed a different identity. He gets captured by the FBI because of some mafia involvement and when in custody he meets a doctor who was present at the early stages of the Program when he was turned into the enhanced soldier. And for no apparent reason or any other connection, previous or more personal, this doctor helps him in every way possible, even with his escape plan and with providing him the address of his student Mina. It's just not believabe. It took me out of the story. There is no connection or friendship between them. There is no reason for that doctor to risk his career and life to help a man like Mikhail.

(spoiler show)

 

There were a couple of passages/sentences that I liked very much, that were what I thought this whole story would be like.

 

 

"Nothing like making a woman orgasm to point out how they were creatures of the flesh just as much as men.
Bring her down to my level."

 

 

"Revenge is cleansing. It's the only way to move forward because it sets things right. Civilization is this thin veneer that overlays the beast beneath it, hiding its true nature."

 

 

All in all, I think this was a good novella to pass the time and interesting enough to make me pick up the second one in the series (if I had one).

 

If only it had been a little longer and more consistent and provided us with more characters' personality so I would care more about what happens with the protagonists I would certainly give it more stars as I would be more invested.

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review 2017-11-29 20:13
Smoke Through the Pines (Night Fires in the Distance, #1.5)
Smoke Through The Pines (Night Fires in the Distance Book 2) - Ruben Moule,Sarah Goodwin,Alan Moore

This novella is set between the first and second books in this series and starts up right where the first book, Night Fires in the Distance, ends. Laura and Cecelia are heading north after the disaster that laid waste to the prairies, hoping to start over. They have no plans, just a grim determination to get away from their former life and the sorrows they left behind there. They eventually decide to try their luck in Minnesota, where the loggers are destroying nature for profit. Where's Treebeard when you need him? *clears throat* Anyway, things don't go as planned and they have yet more troubles to face as winter comes on. And Laura and Cecilia finally get to have some sexy times. <3

This still needs an editor, but other than that, I really enjoyed this. I did see in reviews for the second book, One Nation Afire, that it ends in a cliffie and focuses more on Laura's daughter Rachel, so I'll hold off reading that one until book 3 is out.

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review 2017-11-29 03:23
Night Fires in the Distance (Night Fires in the Distance #1)
Night Fires in the Distance - Sarah Goodwin

I had no idea what to expect from this and I was pleasantly surprised. Two pioneer women, one running from her husband and the other trapped in an abusive marriage, are trying to make it work on the prairie. This is set at some point in the 1800s, pre-Civil War as there's still slavery, and the characters have the attitudes of white settlers that you'd expect to encounter in those times, which is not always favorable to native peoples or other people of color. This is not revisionist, PC-friendly history, so be aware of that if that'll make you uncomfortable reading this. 

 

Life on the prairie was dire in those days and this doesn't soft glove the details. Laura's husband is a massive douchebag and treats his wife and children like the property they were considered to be. Cecilia tries her best under unfavorable circumstances and while she doesn't back down from the challenges in front of her, she's not always brave at the crucial moments and makes mistakes that are believable for someone new to prairie life and farming in the Wild West. 

 

Given the times and that female sexuality was completely ignored in those days (unless you were prostitute), I had no problems believing that these two women wouldn't have had the opportunities or means to question their sexuality. I don't see this as gay-for-you at all, and the way they come together over their shared struggles and loneliness made it believable. (There's no sex, for those who care; their relationship is quite chaste here.)

 

The details and research that went into this are amazing, and the characters are all starkly drawn and vivid. The dual POVs are a nice way to see what each MC is experiencing, and for the first half of the book, you get two or three chapters in a row with Laura, then switch to Cecelia for the same number of chapters. When the second half of the book comes and their POVs switch off every chapter it becomes clear that there isn't enough of a distinction in their voices to remember who has the POV in each chapter.

 

There are some typos in the first half, but they get much more numerous in the second half. Punctuation is the biggest culprit, but there are also missing words and misused words ("thought" instead of "though" for instance). This book could really use the benefit of a good editor. Still, the writing and prose is strong enough that I was mostly able to overlook this, but I'm knocking off half a star for the poor editing.

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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 2017-11-11 21:24
Interim Errantry (Young Wizards #9.3, 9.5, 9.7)
Interim Errantry: Three Tales of the Young Wizards - Diane Duane

Three novellas? More like two short stories and a novel, because the third story is way too long to be a novella.

 

Not on My Patch and How Lovely Are Thy Branches are cute little holiday-centered shorts, the first for Halloween and the second for Christmas. Not a whole lot to say about them, but they were fun and it was nice to see the kids hanging out and being friends without their lives in mortal peril. 

 

Life Boats is entirely from Kit's POV, which is unusual and a nice change up from the shared POVs. Our friendly Earth wizards are off to help a planet evacuate before the planet's moon can fall apart and crash into it. So you know, no big deal. ;) Except that some of the planet's population don't seem able to or willing to leave, and no one can figure out why. This was not as terrifying a story as I thought it would be, given the world-ending premise, and it's wrapped up in a true YW way. There's a lot more hanging out, meeting and making new friends, and quite a bit of ... er, grown up talk as Kit and Nita are still figuring out their new relationship. I do like what this set of stories did for showing their friendship and how much their affections for each other have grown, and went some way to convincing me this is a good pairing and not just forced because of course the girl protag and the boy protag ALWAYS have to end up a couple. 

 

I don't think I've mentioned it much, if at all, in other reviews for this series, because I was so wrapped up in the emotional hangover, but these NME editions are not the best edited. There are a lot of simple mistakes in the text throughout the series, and while the last couple of books have been much better, this one almost seems to be making up for those. Extra words, missing words, misplaced words - if the writing wasn't so strong, I'd be more annoyed by this, but I felt I needed to mention it at last.

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