Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)

Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It really is a good feeling when you like a book much more than you expected to.
It’s well-written, complex, thought-through, unique, and fun.
I’m not really a fun of vampire themes (the whole sex-and-dominance imagery ticks me off more often than not), so when a book touches on those images, but lures me in with other good and fun qualities enough to make me ignore them, it matters heavily.
Looking forward to discovering in which directions this series goes from here on.

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Shammed

Shammed by Bernadette Franklin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These books make me happy.
They are not for reading in overly sceptical and realistic moods, they are for reading for fun and to feel good.
I snickered on the parts regarding toilets (because washlets with glowy parts, button panels, and automatic lids are more of the norm around here even in some public restrooms), had a sad sigh on the topic of refurbishing an entire big dream house in 3 weeks for just half a million (I know people who can’t find a way/people to do it for almost 2 years already), pretended that I would’t myself run away and refuse to return to a room with a tarantula in it, wondered if 10,000 trashy romance novels would fit in my apartment even I got rid of all furniture and packed the books from floor to ceiling, like into a box … and generally had a lot of fun reading this disregarding of any realities.

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No Kitten Around: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a Body Count)

No Kitten Around: A Magical Romantic Comedy by R.J. Blain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sadly, this might be the only MRC(wBC) book I wasn’t able to get behind 100% so far.
My reasoning is very spoilery, read at your own risk.

(view spoiler)

For this reason, I just couldn’t get behind the character of Kennedy with all her behaviour. It’s a personal preference. Sometimes some things just really don’t agree with you. Consequently, unfortunately, it also led to me being unable to fully get behind the main characters as well, with the whole stance on love-and-hate issue. And then…the book sort of just fell apart for me.
The amount of ‘beatings’ I found excessive and boring at the same time didn’t help either.

I still think there are a lot of fun(pun) parts in this book, and the main ‘conflict’ wasn’t bad at all, but it sort of took too much of a background role to more uninteresting parts, inho.

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Level Grind (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1-4)

Level Grind by Annie Bellet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had a very loopy experience when I first began reading this…because I may not be a secret sorceress, but I translate from Japanese and Russian, speak nerd, and work in gaming (and there was some other similarity I forgot by now), and for a while there I was all ‘Um… Hi, Ms Bellet, do we know each other?’ … But then of course I reached the point where the main character says she speaks all languages, and calmed down.
I think a lot of people who read this would draw some parallels with ‘Kate Daniels’ series: a sorceress, a scary-scary older sorcerer after her blood, a big alpha cat, Russian, Japanese, gory battles, shifter society, being badass and usually passing out afterwards… There are definitely some similar points, but of course these are very different books.
The stories here are on the shorter side, but are filled with action, lore, fun characters, and nerd speak.
My only real complaint is that, while the nerd elements and romance make an attempt to lighten the mood from time to time, it doesn’t really work, and the overall mood of these books is rather too grim and angsty with not enough reprieve to keep the reading experience actually enjoyable.

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Midnight Angel (Stokehurst, #1)

Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If I knew this story involved ‘Russians’ I don’t think I would ever have picken it up. Because people trying to write from a point of view of real cultures that they don’t belong to and not doing a good job out of it a big pet peeve of mine. Yes, the author tried to do her research. She even used some words right.
But, imho, if you’re writing about a culture you don’t belong to, the least you could do is try not sounding like you’re an absolute authority on the subject. The whole ‘all Russians are like this’, ‘this is definitely unacceptable for Russians, and when the character shows her temper ‘it must be Slavic blood’ moments and phrasing made me see red in places. It’s was just not done smartly. And no, references to Russian culture did not read authentic in this book. At most, it sounded like a mix of weird stereotypes and things one could’ve picked up about the Russian society in 90s, not Imperial Russia. Also, words that don’t exist in Russian language. (And then I started wondering, what if the parts/books about England and English are equally inauthentic and just didn’t bother me because I never studied the period/culture closely to notice the wrong details?…And it kind of spoiled the whole book for me.)
The character of Lucas is interesting, though he jumps from being strong, smart, and reasonable, to fits of rage and lust, to indifference and mild scumbaggery. Anastasia, equally jumpy from one personality to other, but hardly any different from any other English heroine. If she was supposed to be? Then the weird supernatural elements. And those, mixed with sex and the whole attempt to base the book on a foreign culture, made the whole book feel like a mess.
Yet, I do suspect, that for those who know nothing of either cultures and don’t care about how they are written, this could be an enjoyable read.

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Twice Tempted (Night Prince, #2)

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m very much on the fence with these books. On one hand, I enjoy how readable they are, how gripping the story is, and that there are many things that I like about the characters. I feel like this is a very well-written series.
On the other, I constantly feel like I’m closing my eyes on things that are sending alarms blaring in my head. First of all, the over-fascination with gore and torture. As we have established in the previous book, the torture is employed here mostly as a favourite pass time. It’s not necessary. They do it because at the very least they are too used to it even consider in excessive, and they might actually enjoy it. Then, there is still the issue with certain character settings and developments not really ringing/reading true. The vampires here just don’t really feel like I can believe that they were around for centuries. And, more importantly with this book, have been around each other for centuries. There are certain developments in this book specifically, where it didn’t feel believable that characters would act in a certain way if they were who we were supposed to believe them to be.
There are very glaring rifts between character settings and their actions here that just keep bothering me.
I don’t want to go too in detail with spoilers, but there were a lot of development in this book that I felt just don’t sit well with me. Side characters being thrown away left and right, main character changing in a way that makes me feel she is going to embrace her ‘dark side’ too much and then actually lose all those qualities that kept me reading these books…
I don’t know. It’s a well-written book, but it didn’t make me excited to keep reading the series… At most I’m in a ‘I’ll try the next one will just hope that it doesn’t go where I’m afraid this is going’.

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Silver Thaw (Mystic Creek, #1)

Silver Thaw by Catherine Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very standard ‘rescue story’ about a woman with a little girl trying to escape abusive marriage and meeting a man with almost unlimited kindness, money, and patience who saves her first from weather disaster and poverty, and then from her past.
While this book tries very hard to go through all the emotional and legal pitfalls that can happen in these situations, it overdoes it a little. When you chew on the same ideas and sentiments over and over again they sort of lose their sincerity, and that’s what happens here. The first half of the book is marginally better; by the last 150 pages or so it turns outright laborious and as difficult to chew through as old stale bread.
Another big problem of this book is the ‘cardboard cinderella’ image of its main character, who is simply beautiful, innocent, is a of course genius cook, and loves cleaning.
This message, that you have to be young, beautiful, perfect housewife to be a heroine of a rescue story such is this is really not a right one to send.

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Gentle Warrior

Gentle Warrior by Julie Garwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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