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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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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The Pirate (Ladies and Legends, #1)

The Pirate by Jayne Ann Krentz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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.

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Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.)

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undefined The Captive King: A Royal States Novel by Susan Copperfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


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)…



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The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance.

The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance. by Trisha Telep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  1. FLYING IS FASTER by Jeannie Holmes
    ★★

    2. STAR CROSSED by Cathy Clamp
    ★★★★

    3. NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL by Jaime Leigh Hansen
    ★★★

    4. SEVEN MONTHS OF FOREVER by Linnea Sinclair

    ★★★★★

    5. MEMORIES OF GRAVITY by Patrice Sarath
    ★★★

    6. FADE AWAY AND RADIATE by Michele Lang
    ★★
    (DNF. Couldn’t stomach something about the writing.)

    7. NEW EARTH TWELVE by Mandy M. Roth
    ★★★★
    (I’d like to meet Oliver.)

    8. RED DAWN by Delilah Devlin
    ★★★
    (Something very realistic about world setting, but very unrealistic about human setting.)

    9. RACING HEARTS by Kiersten Fay

    ★★★
    (Background setting seemed interesting, but faded behind some kind of immature relationship drama…)

    10. IN THE INTEREST OF SECURITY by Regan Black
    (-)
    DNF. Something about the theme and tone of prologue turned me away.

    11. END OF THE LINE by Bianca D’Arc
    ★★★★

    12. SPACE COWBOY by Donna Kauffman
    ★★★★

    13. TALES FROM THE SECOND CHANCE SALOON: MACAWLEY’S LIST by Linnea Sinclair

    ★★★★★

    14. WASTELAND by Jess Granger
    ★★★

    15. NUNS AND HUNS by Charlene Teglia
    ★★★

    16. SONG OF SAIRE by Leanna Renee Hieber
    ★★★★★

    17. THE NOAH by C.L. Wilson
    ★★★

    18. WRITTEN IN INK by Susan Sizemore
    ★★★★

    19. NOBODY’S PRESENT by Marcella Burnard
    ★★
    (Character setting that might be interesting, but creepy sex disease/kidnappery.)


    -would like to continue reading more of.



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Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell, #1)

Playing for Keeps by R.L. Mathewson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book is built from a couple of parts I don’t really believe fit seamlessly together.
First comes a strange and bumpy beginning, where the antagonistic feelings (and circumstances causing them) between the two were so over-emphasised that the rapid transition to friendship felt very far from natural.
(Would you invite a neighbour you hated for months (at least, I don’t remember) with no manners, who just physically fought with you to rip out your poor flowers to shreds, to your home, shower, and feed him pizza? Just like that?)

Then comes a fun middle part, filled with all kinds of shojo-manga and fanfiction favourite cliches (food talents and obsessions, comparisons to other bitchy females, carnivals, sleep-buddies who can’t sleep without each other, comic relief family vs. assholes-only family, etc.) It’s fun, it’s mostly lighthearted, with hardly any seriousness in there at all.

Then comes a weird ‘drama’ part, with identical idiotic pissy fits from both sides.
This part especially drives in the point that colours all of this book – everything about the main characters and their behaviour paints them as teenagers at most, not at all as 30yo adults as they were supposed to be. (I had an urge to mostly skip through this part as it made very little sense, if any. I feel like there could have been better topic choices to fill this ‘required drama space’ in the plot, and that it wasn’t done very well.)

The book overall isn’t bad, just…requires a non-questioning mind set and an agreement to enjoy the fun childish part as it is and not look too closely at the rest.



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The Wolf Next Door (Westfield Wolves, #3)

The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I’ve expected from the very beginning to have to treat this book as ‘something push through in order to continue reading the rest of the series.’
That would be because, unfortunately, I haven’t liked Prisca since book 1.
She is a spoiled brat. There is a difference between having an opinion and believing your opinion to be above everyone else’s. She sticks her nose in everyone’s business, thinks she has a right to manipulate everyone’s lives, and doesn’t care to listen to anyone but herself.
The whole situation where she ‘loved’ him, but chose to believe the worst about him and leave him a note cursing him to hell, when she actually made a promise to elope…doesn’t do anything to improve my opinion of her either.
She doesn’t listen and think, she stops her foot and screams that everything must be as she wants it.
A very annoying lead female character.
In fact, it’s like she was on purpose written in a way to annoy readers to hell.

Then the “love rival”‘s behaviour didn’t help this book’s impression either…
I really don’t enjoy reading books where all you want to do is smack a character on the head hard and long enough until you can shake some brains into there.

The only thing I actually really liked about this book is that the characters of the previous books, all family members, were present and active participants of the story.



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Oracle's Moon (Elder Races, #4)

Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I find myself very cautious reading these books now…
Because, unfortunately, it’s been more and more difficult to enjoy books in the series because they (and some other books from the same author) 1) have been following the exact same theme and pattern (which on its own is already alarming) book after book; 2)and the pattern they tend to follow is a one that really doesn’t agree with me.
And yet, even after the alarming developments in the last two books, I still wanted to hope there still was a chance.
When I begun reading this book, at first I felt my hope pick up (because it at least seemed like it won’t be about another sentinel completely abandoning his post, life, and Dragos all together), but then, around Chapter 9 came the ‘oh shit’ moment. The ‘Oh shit, please tell me that this book is not going to go in the direction I think it’s going to go judging by this sentence…’ kind of moment.
And until the very very end of this book I was sitting on this ‘just please don’t go there’ feeling, while the topic was picked up over and over (in the end, it left on the ‘we won’t go there yet, but still might in the future’ note). Aaaand… it completely spoiled most of my experience reading this book.

Thing is, I really liked the very first book a lot (enough to buy a better edition after I read it for the first time and read it twice in one year already). But the first book also was also the one that had this underlying theme I’m having so much trouble with in the least amount (it’s not like it didn’t have it at all, but there at least appeared to be at a reasonable level).
I also still enjoy many things about the world and writing in these books. Personally, it’s the dialogues like this that I love especially:

‘I will clear away this mess and…I will achieve pancakes.’
‘You’ll achieve pancakes?’
‘I do not see why not.’
‘Have you ever achieved them before?’
‘That question is irrelevant. I will achieve pancakes now.’

But.
There is this same topic that I’ve already seen repeated as the main topic in 4-5 books by this author (and 3 more where it was present to a degree, even if it didn’t turn out as bad), and I apparently I can’t really enjoy these books anymore because I keep seeing just this same topic and pattern all the time.
(Here I am, instead of actually writing a review about the content of this book, writing about how I was not able to really enjoy it because I was too afraid it was about to turn out like the previous two.)
It makes me genuinely disappointed, but I’m beginning to turn to the idea that it likely will be better for my health to abandon the ship (this series as a whole, save fore the some novellas I’ve already purchased) and only re-visit the first book from time to time.
The world is great, the characters are fun, and the plot might be second-best after Dragon Bound so far in the series, …but there this underlying direction that leaves this very nasty after-taste that spoils the whole experience.
Sad.

I’ll say it again. One party in a relationship having to throw away everything about their previous life, their jobs, their loyalties, their other relationships, their nature, “for the sake” of the said relationship is NOT ROMANTIC AT ALL.

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I was always against the idea that a book review should include a book summary. Want a summary? You can find on every page that sells the book and on the book itself. In a review, it’s a waste of space.

Anyone who read a book can write a summary. Tell me what you felt from reading it, only something you can do.

In addition to being against summaries in reviews, I also avoid reading them (the summaries) more and more overall. I skim at most (to see is there are any trigger words I’d want to avoid), and that only with new authors. On one hand, I’m getting more and more sensitive to spoilers, and have found out that I have much more fun reading a book when I don’t know what to expect; on the other, more often than not, a summary of a book have made me expect something else entirely, so I also want to avoid the unnecessary disappointment.

What then can I use to determine whether I want to buy a book or not, especially when I buy/read more than 20 of them a month?

Cover? Is a big factor. I also use the ‘genres’ and other tags that get listed on the Goodreads. The lists that the book appears in. The ‘similar books’ lists. Random mentions by other people.

The Prize

The Prize by Julie Garwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Quite possibly one of the most romantic romance stories I’ve read.
The main characters are very well-written and engaging.
Their interactions have a lot of depth and are truly fascinating to observe. There is something very appealing to me in both of their personalities, some sort ‘rightness’ they both carry and moral rules they both follow.
How she says without thinking ‘You’re my husband, if I escape you’ll have to come with me’ and how he ‘rolls with the punches’ and accepts responsibilities for people without thought.
They are two very similar people, who have some very similar qualities and dreams, but they are also so similar in their stubbornness that, even though they have the exactly same goal in mind, they simply can’t believe that his/her own way to achieve it is not the only possibly correct one.
The way they can’t seem to communicate is very aggravating, but the way they actually feel for each other somehow does make up for it.
(Admittedly, I would be tempted to side with Royce more than Nicholaa, because he chooses absolute honesty and logic where she chooses manipulation and pretending instead of working issues through, but they’re definitely worth each other.)

The only real problems I have with this book is the annoying ‘head-hopping’ writing style and the unresolved family issues.



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Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2)

Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


My impression is that this book felt a little too dragged out. A lot of circling around the same questions without actual developments. A lot of back-and-forward on relationships.
A lot of interesting side character, but so many questions…
Even the humour felt sometimes laid too thick and forced sometimes.
Also, …mostly frustrating and unsatisfactory ending.
Hoping for swift improvement in the future books…




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