Breathe (Colorado Mountain, #4)

Breathe by Kristen Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


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.



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Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3)

Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This series maintains its high level and doesn’t disappoint.
I do have one complaint, however, and that it that sometimes it does feel a bit ‘too much’.
…But it is possible that I feel so because I read to fast, and when you read this book within 2 days (while doing full-time work in between) all the angst, gore, sex, and the emotions that do run thick in these books come in a doze that is too concentrated to feel good. (It affected my sleep, and I didn’t enjoy that>.)
But otherwise, this is a great, very well written and unique series.




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Rusty Nailed (Cocktail, #2)

Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A very slice-of-life kind of book.
So few authors actually bother to continue the story of a pair after the initial ‘get together’ book, that this already deserves kudos based only on this point.
Though, to be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to give this book more than 3 stars for the 99.5% of it.
There is a couple of points.
1) Reading books where female characters are portrayed as hysteric idiots, and make you wish you were unrelated to the gender, is getting a little tiring (that’s polite speak for ‘effing annoying).
Mimi is difficult to stomach, but at least there was very little of her.
But the whole Sophia/Nill episode? Was there really a need for women to act so idiotic?
It’s not even a problem of if cheating occurred or not. It’s a problem of the necessity of all the hysterics, theatrics, property damage (car-keys-in-toilet-flushing), and inability to communicate like human being with a person you were supposed to be in a committed relationship with.
Dislike.
2) Main character’s thought processes were repetitive and loopy. She went on and on about the same things. Then the whole drama of her telling herself how she should be feeling about things instead of actually thinking about things. It was boring and annoying at the same time.
It was the fact that the resolution finally involved sitting down and actually talking to each other calmly and honestly, even though it came at the last possible moment, that I was able to add the 4th star to my review.
3) Speaking of boring and annoying, personally, the balance of things on which attention was spent in this book didn’t really agree with me. It was very disappointing to see the holidays get ‘brief digest’ treatment. I would prefer to actually read about holidays and meeting parents, instead of reading same things about work and sex over and over again.

Good things about this book include fun prose and light, easy to sink into, atmosphere and setting.
It will probably make a lot of people envious. With regards to both the partner and the house.
If not for the annoying female shenanigans, would be a great comfort book.



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The Demon's Possession (Shadow Quest, #1)

The Demon’s Possession by Kiersten Fay
My rating: 1 of 5 stars


This book is a weird mix of some okay-ish sci-fi plot ideas, fiction written by a grade school-er, and adult (sexual) content.

At the beginning, I actually though it started with a decent idea and world setting. Characters seemed interesting, some details seemed promising…
But then, unfortunately, without much of a warning, the story turned into a high-school drama. Almost as if the author had simply forgotten what book she was writing.
Suddenly, the big, scary, hundreds-of-years-old-demon-aliens became ‘boys’ and ‘guys’, and the main character, who supposedly spent last 200 years in slavery and torture (and also was supposed to have some super abilities), works as a waitress, goes clubbing, gets interested in high-heeled shoes and mini skirts (yes, we are still talking space ship on a mission),…
Any sense that might have been there in the beginning of this book went down the drain and took writing quality with it.
It is really quite abysmal in places.
Grammar-less sentences aside, by the time I reached the scene where the ‘demon alien ship captain’ (!) was wearing swimming shorts (!) in a swimming pool (!) (on his merchant ship) to give the main character (who also wears a bikini, of course) private swimming lessons, I was ready to brain myself on the nearest hard surface.
(insert a ‘facedesk’ GIF here)

Then, of course, the ‘destined mates’. Where would we be without these 2 words in a romance book?
And the increasingly disappointing ‘reveal’ of the main character’s true identity (because that’s who you have to be, to be fantasy romance heroine).
Also, everyone must want you.

By the time we finally run out of all the ‘silly girly romance cliches’ that hardly fit with the world and character settings, we seemed to remember that there was supposed to be some plot in here too… but then it didn’t really improve the situation.
Hardly anything in characters’ behaviour reflects presented settings (being alive for 500 years, or being tortured for 200 years, or running a crew on a merchant ship in space …)

I believe this may say all you need to know to understand what to expect from this book:

‘Five hundred years old demons and space elvesFaieara have a surprise birthday party and go club-dancing (on a merchant space ship). ‘

Also, demons who speak “Demonish” language. Sorry, sounds like something a 10yo would write.



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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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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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Games of Command

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book has the best blurb I’ve ever seen on a book, and it might get 5 stars just for that.
Because ‘strong feline companions’ says it all.

In other news, this book latches on to your sympathy with sharp claws and will pull you along by it all the way.

I have only 2 real complains: 1) it’s a bit too nerve-sucking for my peace of mind; 2) ‘mind games’ and ‘hallucinations’ themes are big pet peeves for me…as in I can hardly stand them. I had to exercise a lot of will power to get through them.
Otherwise, it’s a great sci-fi romance with action and mystery.
And strong feline companions.

P.S. I also have a feeling that this book might especially appeal to people who had, at some point of their lives, found themselves reading a lot of Trek TOS fanfiction.




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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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Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor, #1)

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Am I the only one who sees a big fat problem with the central idea of this book that has a 6 yo child who just lost her mother making a wish for ‘a mother for Christmas’?
A part from an unbelievable child and a throw-away character of Shelby, who just shouldn’t have been in the book in the first place,
it’s a perfectly ordinary contemporary romance story with attractive characters, food, coffee, and an ugly dog.



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Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2)

Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I find myself very cautious reading this.
There is simply too much senseless violence and gore. Their whole world is based on the survival of the strongest and proving it in the cruellest ways possible. Blood, torture, too many innocent victims… Too many triggers at every step.
But then there’s also a certain kind of captivating elaborateness that makes me keep reading.

It’s not a big surprise that the biggest factor that keeps me with these books is the main relationship. The kind of love that is longer than forever and strong enough to destroy the world for each other. I usually don’t like books where the relationship is wobbling near the line of using force and other dominance play tendencies, but since they don’t actually cross that line and are striving for a two-way street on most aspects of the relationship, I find myself captivated.
Also, the fact that the main character tries to stand against all the cruelty and heartlessness certainly helps.

It’s a very well-written book, with a complex and well-built world, multitude of no less complex and interesting characters, and captivating story.
But I find myself constantly waiting for it to cross some line where I won’t be able to follow it… because too much gore and sadism is too much.



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Must Love Otters (Revelation Cove #1)

Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A well-written realistic contemporary romance. There are details, imagination, well-built characters, self-deprecating humour.
While the writing is above average, the content itself…is 50/50 at best. The main character inspires more pity, than sympathy (although I do believe the book is self-aware of the fact), and definitely a lot of ‘why do you need to be so stupid’ thoughts. She is also a bit too venomous and judgemental towards her surroundings (in a cowardly way), for my comfort.
A lot of developments were very predictable, which only made the main character’s bad decisions seem even more stupid. And then, the drama in the end seemed a bit too ‘dragged in by the ears’…as in, too convenient and suddenly very not realistic, compared to the rest of the book. …It is likely, however, that it was necessary because nothing less would ever shake this main character enough to change something.
The writing does save this book though, it makes it enjoyable regardless.



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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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Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City, #2)

Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everything about him at that moment made my internal organs bleed hearts and flowers and puppies and kittens and hot chocolate and hot apple cider and red wine and campfires and Star Trek and yarn—my favorite things.



(It’s so much easier to read these romantic comedies when the female part of your brain doesn’t push you to try to over-identify and empathise with a character just because you identify with some neurological characteristics.)

Yes to the humour, to the tone, to the sarcasm, to the Star Trek Voyager references, to the characters, to the “it has always been you” kind of love. I enjoyed reading this book much more than I expected myself to.

Though, as with the first one, there were also some moments that felt ‘just…no‘… Mainly everything to do with the TV show (including the whole scene in the end). And the fact that the ‘villain’ part, the non-romantic comedy part of the world, felt too half-baked.

If not for the tv show thing, Nico’s character could really be that perfect kind of romance hero.
I really don’t get this part of this book and the insistence on trying to make something trashy and sleazy sound like it’s not.



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