I've lost count of the number of times I've picked up this book over the years and inevitably put it down because something else caught my attention. Books by this author used to be my jam, but it doesn't seem to be holding up anymore. This novel was very slow paced through the beginning, but when things speed up it was so good.
The heroine (with the exception of the very end) was out of the loop on everything and it wasn't a fun ride. It seemed like the author wanted to make her appear to be this sassy kick-butt heroine (especially when you take into account her being half gargoyle and half demon) but I don't think it was accomplished in the first 90% of this novel.
This book wasn't an exception where my stance on love triangles was concerned. Both love interests were sketchy and were looking out for their own interests by protecting Layla. Though Roth eventually won me over to his side because he presented himself as more competent but mysterious. Zayne, for the most part, was portrayed as a little boy who follows the rules the patriarchy sets for him even if he doesn't necessarily agree with them.
An annoying conclusion I came to throughout this story was that it was only possible because of all the lying that was happening. The gargoyles were the biggest hypocrites of them all and the leader refused to listen to reason even when it was presented in a respectful way. He could never see past Layla's demon half even though he raised her to essentially hate half of herself.
Overall, I disliked how absurdly easy it was for an outside source to figure out the supposedly "complex" riddle that leads to an ancient possession that a lot of creatures were looking for for years and years. I'd also like to mention that most of what happened in this story could be seen coming from miles and miles away. This isn't what I'd call a book of twists and turns. Despite all that I've mentioned in this review I do intend to continue on with this series considering how the book ended. I'm too invested for my own good at this point.
The Audio Book:
The narration was pleasant and that's about it. The overall tone was relaxing, which is what I usually look for in an audio book but there were a lot of times where there wasn't much of a distinction between male and female voices. That ended up confusing me for a few lines of conversation throughout the story until I figured out who was supposed to be who again.
When I first read the blurb summary for this one, I wondered how I could warm up to Casey Tanner. The thing is, she came to me a little too rigid and uptight during her first appearance in the previous novel, And Then He Kissed Me. Casey played a significant part of driving her sister and her boyfriend apart, and well, I was pretty annoyed with her since then. Getting her own story might be a chance for Casey to win my heart.
Alas, it didn’t successfully happen, I’m afraid. See, Casey comes to White Pine with a mission to ‘change’ herself (as well as getting closer to her younger sister, Audrey). Casey wants to be able to let herself go for once in her lifetime: to have a fling, to have great sex, and doesn’t want to care about a relationship. Especially because Casey has one major principle that has killed her previous relationships: she doesn’t want kids. Ever. No kids.
I liked the idea – I mean, not every woman wants to have kids. To be honest, I don’t think I want to have one either. Maybe it will change, but at this moment, kids are the furthest thing I want in life. So I can appreciate Casey not wanting one. However, throughout the book, I thought Casey was still too rigid and unbending about herself. She wants to have fun? Well, I didn’t think she could. Even when there is a chance to date Abe – whom we have been told is a serial monogamist and never wants to have a relationship – Casey still questions things… A LOT. I just couldn’t warm up to her at all!
Although, it wasn’t a total lost cause. Casey shows another side of her when she is dealing with this ten year old kid who has been coming to Robot Lit, a youth literacy nonprofit where Casey works. Those parts, where Casey befriends Carter and tries to find out what is wrong with him at his foster home, well those parts are REALLY GOOD.
As for Abe, Casey’s love interest, unfortunately he was another bland hero in this series. I really haven’t been impressed with the men of White Pine so far. Abe has been avoiding commitment all his life. His nickname at his fire station is “Ninety Eyed”, meaning every relationship he’d ever been in blew up within ninety days. Then he gets a health scare and suddenly he wants to be serious with Casey? Nope. I didn’t buy it.
All in all, I guess I wasn’t really convinced of Casey and Abe’s romance, although their initial meeting and the ending of this book were pretty good. I would still return to this series though. There are two men who might change my initial thought about White Pine men: Abe’s younger brother, Stu, and the bartender, Dave. They seem able to have fun at least.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.