Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Action-packed, blood-thirsty, emotional. Impressive.

I was really about to give this book 5 full stars.
But then I made myself consider a couple of points:
-This book works for me in some ways I kind of wish it didn’t (it’s kind of discouraging to see yourself identify like never before with a protagonist who is grieving, broken, and clearly not conventionally sane…not that any of this is a surprise), and it sort of made me question whether I would still feel the same way about this book if I was in a healthier state of mind.
– This book actually has a very simple/traditional structure (as in highs and lows and their timing) that hides behind very good writing, but once you see it…it makes it a bit too predictable.
– The bloodthirstiness sometimes comes over the top. We start at a point of great loss, and then we go on from death to death. This book is full of sacrifices and it constantly exists on an edge of complete hopelessness and desperate hope. It’s not a very pleasant journey. Despite the way the book addresses the issue on the very last page…I have my doubts about whether the balance was actually achieved.

Regardless though, the writing is great, it has depth and style and I was caught from the very chapter. Depressing or not, this book is definitely a one for my Favorites shelf.

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Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever (Fever, #1)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Mostly dark, woman-hating, and sexual in a decidedly unpleasant way fae-themed urban fantasy.

While the language itself was not unpleasant and there were enough of interesting turns of phrases and stylistic choices that could have made this book a bit above average writing-wise, the story content and details made it feel rather cheap.
The things the main character focused on (pink nail polish, hair, clothing, expensive cars) and the descriptions of the main character in her own words (overly emphasized attractive qualities, sometimes unrealistic, and the ‘I could never become ugly’ approach); the fact that sex is only present as a weapon of humiliation and death (and scenes with V’lane were so cringy I practically had to skip them); the fact that there is not a single positive character in the whole book (women who are alive are other bitches or brainless trophies, men are either villains or just bullies; every single person tries to walk over others)…
I haven’t read many books with this kind of ‘recounting’ (looking back approach) style of narration, but I have to say I really don’t like it. As in, saying: “Before long, I would understand that nothing had been what it seemed that night, and the reason … was not…” and then doing nothing to explain what it actually was. I don’t know if someone who thinks they know all about writing said that this is a good technique to use to keep readers interested, personally I find it nothing but annoying. If you’re not going to say what it is just don’t say it…
Since there hardly was anything pleasant or positive/attractive in the whole book, for me this was a kind of book I just couldn’t get done and over with soon enough… A tiring experience.

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Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle

Call of the Highland Moon (The MacInnes Werewolves Trilogy, #1)

Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m not sure how to categorize this impression I’ve got from this book… On one side it felt almost childish, on another it reminds me of a b-rated fantasy movie, especially with the very villainy villains and magic stones with magic crystals. The writing didn’t feel engaging, especially the villainy parts, I could barely keep myself from skipping some of them because they were both boring and unpleasant. But the biggest were these details that kept poking out… like (let’s take the very beginning) woman finding a bleeding wounded animal at her workplace, loading it into her car, taking it home, dumping it in her spare room and going to sleep to wait and see if it’s going to be alive in the morning or not? In what world this was supposed to make sense?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a question of compatibility, but this really didn’t work for me.

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Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison

Serpent's Kiss (Elder Races #3)

Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a bumpy ride, and I couldn’t tell if I’m going to give it 5 stars or lower than 3 half of the time… I really loved some parts of it, maybe even the whole first half, but I also have 2 major problems with this book that spoiled my experience and left me a bad aftertaste. (In fact, it also made me suspicious about the rest of the series I thought I would love…)
I was actually a little cautious about this book ever since I finished the previous one and got the hint of who this will be about in the end of it…because I didn’t like Carling in the previous book, and because I felt Rune should have a better story. As I was reading, I eventually saw that Carling was a very interesting character, and especially liked the glimpses of the past. But just as I was about to say ‘I was wrong and I probably will give this 5 stars’ I reached the ‘dressing up and painting face’ episode and my excitement fled down the drain. I’m sorry, but having people buy women make up and want them to put it on is a giant turn off. As are men who care about women using make up. And it made me very disappointed because Rune was really my favorite male character in this series right up to that point… This was the problem numero 1. The second problem was the whole damn ending – I felt many missed opportunities, scrambled events, a boring solution to what was a really interesting set up… and most importantly, personally, the fact that they didn’t go back to New York. Is this how this series is going to go from now on? Sentinels abandoning their lives and places that supposedly spent hundreds of years in, as well as abandoning their friendships and all other responsibilities, and just making their lives all about living on the terns of their mates’ circumstances? I don’t know, maybe it’s supposed to be romantic, to show them, as men, just giving it all up…but it feels wrong and idiotic, especially regarding their relationship with Dragos. I don’t like it. With Rune especially, the way this book ended spoiled my impression of the whole book, and made me afraid of reading the next one because I don’t want to read about another one doing the same thing Tiago and Rune did…

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Viking in Love by Sandra Hill

Viking in Love (Viking I, #8)

Viking in Love by Sandra Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A light and fun read, for those who don’t mind a cruder side of humor.
You look at this title and this cover and think this will be one of those porny cheesy romances with not much substance or credibility. I would never have bought this if I didn’t actually accidentally read an excerpt in the back of another book a while ago.
While it is still a romance, you can’t escape from that, this book is built on utterly ridiculous, sometimes entirely idiotic, humor, and this humor, even when it turns crude and sexual, is the best thing about it.
It a very well-constructed story for what it is. It is full of small ridiculous details and even brief side characters have vivid memorable personalities. The hero of this book is neither the ‘viking’ from the title, as many might have thought, nor is he a very typical romance hero, which is only a plus. He has a likable personality of someone who is very tired of other people’s shit (because it tends to fall on his shoulders), but still tries to do the right thing, if not entirely successfully. The heroine is not as unusual of a character, but still isn’t dull, boring, or annoying. Their friends and family (including the children) are precious. I do feel like I enjoyed reading this.

One thing I didn’t get about the writing were the cursive opening lines for most chapters…I’m not sure what purpose they served and have a feeling the text would be better without them—less interruption of the immersion, some of the remarks felt too modern to fit in. In fact, there were times where the text seem to lose its flavor and turn too modern from time to time in other places as well, but not enough to really bother, I think.

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Curran POV Collection by Gordon Andrews

Curran POV Collection

Curran POV Collection by Gordon Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been looking forward to reading this compilation and waited until I finished Magic Bleeds…but now I think I oversold it to myself.
I have a strong feeling the Curran in the main books gave out impression of something deeper, more intent, more awareness…in other words, it a clear case of ‘the version in my head was better’. Especially with regards to the first half of excerpts…the amount of insight they provided was a bit disappointing. The second half was better, but still…it could have been more.

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The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1)

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never expected it to be this much fun. At first, the venomous undertone of the humor in the prologue made me a little suspicious. But then I had the hardest time stopping myself from grinning while reading (in public places), mostly because of the dialogs. The dialogs are definitely my favorite part about this book. I didn’t really enjoy the topic of the main ‘drama’ as much, but regardless, this book was still a surprise and a delight.

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