Sometimes I sigh and feel very silly for still reading these books…especially when I need to pretend not to think about details like ‘a girl catching a big hawk on her arm without a glove and not only being able to hold him up, but also having not a single scratch’, use of word ‘beige’ in 11th century, and various other small plot holes and skips. But then I reach little parts that make me smile like an idiot, and I decide that I can still close my eyes on the glaring writing problems for silly comfort books about knights and stubborn women who try to conquer each other and make the other see reason. My favourite part of this book is the very last page, and because of that last page I kind of forgave and forgot everything else.
Short, simple, predictable, cheesy—what you would expect from a romance about a romance writer written by a romance writer in 1990. Which I had to remind myself of every time I wanted to scowl at the prose and cheesy/poor word choices. The story reads like it’s full of holes, as in most of events are skipped over and it’s difficult to keep track of time because everything is on fast-forward. Expetably, also features a slightly idiotic and largely annoying heroine. She gets worse and worse towards the end of the book, and her arguments and ‘you must tell me all I want to know because I’m entitled to it’ and ‘I’m going to be stupid and unreasonable and nag over and over, but I will also call it ‘reasonable conversation’ and you must pay attention to me’ attitudes literally made my teeth hurt. Not a fan of the ‘alpha male who all strive to please’ character presentation either. Mleh on all accounts at best.
I kept going back and forth between wanting to give this book 3 stars and thinking that there are enough things I like about it for 4. I don’t like time travel stories. I just don’t. Not that I wouldn’t want to try it myself, I just don’t like reading about it. There were also too many details in this I’m still not sure how I feel about. The treatment of time travel and things they can and can’t change felt…strange. Balancing somewhere on the border of ‘wrong’ and ‘maybe okay?’. The discussion of children, when they considered a lot of points but not the ‘maybe not while we are on business in the 16th century?’ idea. Too many characters left in the air. The representation of history and language use (I’m glad none of them are languages I work with, so I remain blissfully ignorant of any mistakes that there might be). On one hand, I know that I would like this book even less if it had more drama/action/dangers, but on the other, this one is just too slow and repetitive. They keep repeating the same dance over in over, meeting new characters, repeating same questions and steps, without any real progression… the first book was slow too, but the (modern) Oxford part was the one I enjoyed the most out of the two books combined. I hated the parts that involved monarchs. They were disgusting. These were the times where I contemplated skipping forward and thought I’d have to give this book 3 stars. Other than that, even though this book is long and slow, and irritated me on more than one occasion, there’s still something about it that kept me firmly in it’s world and didn’t even really let me skip through the least favourite part. And that is why I put 4 stars after all. There is still something I really like about this world and the feeling, the taste, of this series. (Though I’ll have to wrestle with a lot of apprehension before I’ll be ready to pick up the 3rd book and finish it.)
At first I thought this book was remarkably similar to the first one (the auction, similar type of a heroine), but then, of course, the focus of this book turned out to be on an entirely different subject and of a very different direction. Incidentally, since I know very little about the cultures touched in this book, I was able to enjoy it as a fantasy without wondering if the historical/cultural details seemed believable enough.
P.S. Typos…I see you. I can’t unsee you. There is a place in this book where a typo level practically reaches a ‘fatal’ mark (wrong character’s name is used in a scene)…
Usually I’m a believer that as long as a book is not malicious, there is a time and place for it. Apparently, the place for this book is when you wake up before 2am and can’t go back to sleep feeling like shit so you read something silly and fluffy and that doesn’t make you think much.
Unfortunately, you need to be really wobbly in the head and sleep deprived to continue reading through things like an adult woman who had given birth crying because she thinks the man’s dong won’t fit (let me also mention that the whole episode wasn’t even followed through), adult men behaving like 12yo girls, romanticising of night clubs, gangs and russian mafia, infantile language, a neighbour who discovered a murdered pet not calling it in (no police, no filing charges, no filing for a restraining order, even though everyone knows who did it), and the main character who acts, talks, and cries stupid.
I kept trying to figure out the mental age of this book over and over again, and couldn’t, because it feel’s like even kinds might have a bit more sense these days. That said, it’s not like I completely don’t understand where the author was coming from. At times, it might have even looked like something I could have written when I was 11-13, and only because I’m on the spectrum and liked to make up stories with characters who hardly ever resemble realistic humans in any way (and then would’ve had a panic attack from embarrassment and mortification a few years later).
‘Do you want to be an adult or a child? Children require comfort even in a crisis, because they can’t understand how urgent things are. In a child’s world, it’s all about them: how this affects me, how this makes me feel, why is life so unfair? An adult sees a problem and tries to fix it. They think of other people and they plan their actions aware of the consequences. …’
(c) Ilona Andrews, Sapphire Flames
i. I ordered a new couch. (Which I wasn’t really planning to do right now, I only wanted to look around to see the selection, because my current couch, even though looks fine, has begin to hurt my back, but then I sat down on one particular couch in a store…and decided that that’s the kind of comfort I have to have at the end of every day…) And now I have unreasonable emotions towards having to say goodbye to my old couch. Apparently, it’s been my only friend since I moved here after graduating, it’s seen me through a lot of hell, and I’ll miss it.
ii. One of the things about myself that bothers me the most, is my inability to talk about or praise something I actually like, other than saying something among the lines of ‘This good. I like. Try it.’, but then going on and on about something I don’t like and explaining why exactly I think it’s bad in much detail. I don’t think it’s a good quality to have.
Normally, a setting like the one of this book would be definitely not my cup of soup. It is essentially a battle royale-like, with factions, and featuring murderers, rapists, and torturers. A lot of senseless gore and violence. But for some reason I didn’t feel as turned off by all the gore as I would usually be. It was unexpectedly easy to read. It is possible that this book lacked some level of realism that would make all the unpleasant stand out more, but personally I find the balance it strikes helpful.
I also didn’t really expect this to be Jael spin-off, since I didn’t finish the Sirantha Jax series…
A perfectly okay light-boned-and-fun contemporary romance. This book is 70% food porn, 10% regular (in fun words) porn, 5% mother induced hangups and behavioural issues, 5% small town love, 5% drama, and 5% (thank god that only that) girlfriend annoyingness. Also featuring a must-have gay couple, beards and flannel shirts, U2, and vegetable-related sex jokes.
DNF. Long story short, this book is vile. And not as in that is my opinion because I didn’t like, but as in it is written to be so. From the very first chapter we are met with rape, violence, blood, vomit, and vile swearing, and everything about sex made horrid… It’s overboard. I just DNFed another book before this one where nasty and disturbing was written in for the coolness factor, and this book make that one seem almost chaste in comparison.
One could have thought that unpleasant details were there to keep true to the medieval setting, but then the writing/language of this clearly sometimes forgot where we were supposed to be. We are in the dark ages, but dialogue may go like this: ‘Awkward.’ ‘Whatever.’ or ‘Like hell.’ (said in a temple, none the less) Not to mention excessive use of swears words, including cnt, fgt, and other c**suckers, in entirely too modern manner, inmh. I’m not saying use Old English, but I do think some phrases and manners of speech are very modern inventions, and should be avoided in a historical world settings.
At first look, this book appeared like something I could love. Dark ages, werewolves, magic, and romance really sounded like a combination right up my alley. Unfortunately, I was completely turned off by the writing, and the excess of gore, and sexual violence. I didn’t even make it past the first part. At first I thought once the MC would get out of her nasty situation in the beginning at the book, it would all pick up. Especially since the short glimpse at Maeniel seemed promising. But then Lucilla made appearance (and started groping the main character) and I gave up. Excessively long and tedious beginning filled with senseless violence, rape, and swearing, and other disgusting details, for the sake of being disturbing, on a loop told me it was not worth wasting my time trying to get through it. Utterly tasteless.
(For future, when a book has multiple mentions of the fact that the author is related to another famous writer on it, and the picture in the back is not a portrait, as it usually is, but a picture of them together, it should probably be a warning enough that they are not trying to sell the book with its content…)
DNFed, for 2 reasons: 1) There’s something very un-likable about the main character from the first pages. Like she is trying to be cold and professional, but actually looks like she is trying to be nasty on purpose. 2) This whole book is like a string of predictable clichés one after another. And not even nice ones.
The whole book is soaked through with the feeling of “let me show you something vile, because I think it’s cool”. It’s everywhere: in the word choices (I find the whole ‘our boy’ talk about the killer distasteful and trying to hard, like children trying to play at ‘badasses’; and the distasteful sex talk everywhere), the victim choices (because of course prostitutes shot in face and genitalia, what else is ‘cool’?), the side characters (pompous sexist senator with gun obsession, flaunting beauty salon worker, … and other stereotypes that hardly require any imagination); dominance games; and so on and so forth. Also, the mind-hopping writing doesn’t do this book any favours. Then the “mysterious, tall, dark, handsome, and rich” couldn’t have been a bigger cliché if we all tried together. The expensive presents, the coffee mania, the insta-lust, the prostitutes,… every single thing about the part of this book I read felt like the most overused elements you can find stuck up your nose. With a constant unsavoury undertone to boot.
This book is trying to be a serious futuristic crime suspense…but it stops just there. At trying very hard.
This book has an interesting enough setting and idea, but it simply failed to grip me. I attribute it to the fact that writing was dry, and repetitive. Sometimes it almost seemed like every chapter was written separately for people who didn’t read the rest. Seriously though, while people with attention span of 30 seconds might appreciate it, it at times felt like readers were treated like idiots who aren’t able of remembering that main character is as a seer and what it means for longer than 3 pages. A pity, really, because it feels like I could’ve really like the characters and setting (and Stat Trek references) if the prose just didn’t feel like such a snooze fest…
Confusing writing. Annoying characters. Triggery content. Story elements that make very little sense. Featuring a woman who was raped and betrayed by everyone, than married and misunderstood by her new husband about her past in various ways for the duration of the whole book; super convenient magic dress; weird healing coma and weird woman who instructed the husband to rub medicine onto the whole body of an unconscious above-mentioned woman 3 times a day practically forcing him to rape her again; proud whores and assholes. On top of it all, disturbingly weak writing (the first battle left me grimacing at the ways details were presented and skipping through the text to get it over with) with So. Much. Head-hopping. Sometimes it felt like POV would change before 1 sentence even ended. How is this okay (enough to be published)?
This book was not what I expected. Especially the beginning. The way it begun you would’ve thought it was some kind of modern thriller or heavy-crime-shit drama, instead of a romance. There’s a lot of heavy and nasty themes here, and if people pick it up thinking they’re getting some light time with a contemporary romance they might be disappointed.
I didn’t like everything about it. The writing is a bit too heavy on reflection and looong paragraphs of over-explaining and thinking back on things that already happened. Also, weird time skips, just to spend half of the chapter to recount what happened during the time that was skipped (two-steps-forward-one-step-back style). It also is very heavy on bad language and swearing. I personally never been anywhere even close (as in on the same continent) as Colorado Mountains, so I don’t know how natural the speech in this book is, but it bothered from time to time. As in Chase’s manner of speaking did tend to get annoying. I couldn’t tell how much of it seemed too condescending because he was too condescending, and how much of it was just his speech manner.
Even with the points above and some other issues, I’m still going to give this book 5 stars, because it has some very good things going for it. The main relationship is about things that are very right. There are a lot of right things said, and the characters are written very well. You don’t need to like a character to know that they are written thoroughly and consistently. This book also got better and better towards the end. Since this is a romance, the beginning actually of the book makes you expect more of the ‘gory real-world-crime-shit’ that there actually is. Not to say that there still isn’t enough of it, some of it quite dark and gory. There isn’t too much, and it does take a background role. I also probably have a talent to imagining worse developments. What I really appreciated about this book is how multiple characters got to ‘set the record straight’ by explaining to other people how things should be and what is right, and it actually got through. It’s not often that I find a book where I can not only breathe happily when people make logical arguments at length, but also don’t have to get all annoyed because no one listens to them anyway. Also, humour. And geek humour, none the less.
Not what I expected from this book when I got it, but a good lengthy read that will go on my ‘favourites’ shelf.