Tall, Dark and Wolfish (Westfield Wolves, #2)

Tall, Dark and Wolfish by Lydia Dare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Pretty much in tone with the first book, but slightly lower on the humor count, and slightly higher on the ‘aggravating females’ count (a whole flock of them).
If I was in a bit more irritable mood when I read this book it is entirely possible I would be going on a rant about how much I dislike these types of people who think they ‘always know better’ and have a right to interfere with and manipulate others’ lives (friends, relatives, etc.)
The whole ‘refusing to realise your own feelings’ concept is also a bit too much of a tired cliche at this point, imho.
Other than that, I enjoyed this book because it’s light, fun, has well-developed characters, and reads smooth and easy. Even when there’s some concept I don’t really like, it doesn’t really ever get truly irritating.



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Not His Dragon (Not This, #1)

Not His Dragon by Annie Nicholas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I don’t think I’ve ever became sceptical of a book as fast as with this one. Simply because, in the very first tiny paragraph, of all the possible synonyms, the author chose to use the word ‘tits’ in a sentence that only talks about spilling scalding liquid over them. I mean, there’s such thing as TPO for words, and even something like ‘bazoombas’ would be better if you’re going for style or humour…as it is it’s just vulgar. (I think there was once a book I dropped even faster, it had something like 6 f-words on the very first, but didn’t as much get sceptical as closed that book and forgot what it was)
Anyhow, that first paragraph sort of represents the quality of writing, and the quality of writing sort of matches everything about this book – mleh.
It’s not bad, but it’s not good.
It’s half-baked, average, confused, full of story elements jumping out of nowhere and going nowhere, a lot of ‘wait. and?’ moments, with a heroine that cries about being strong and independent for the fist half, then turning 180 degrees for the other and being mostly a helpless coward, the resolution for the ‘mystery’ is half silly and cheesy, half not even there.
Just a short silly book that doesn’t require you to use your brain, to read and forget.



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Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels, #4.5)

Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A very short side story. Personally, I didn’t really enjoy the Japanese culture involvement much. Firstly, because of how the cultural behaviors were painted. Secondly, because everyone always zeroes-in on jorougumo all the time. It gets old. (I do realize that this novella was written a while back.)
Jim is great (as always), but Dali’s low self esteem issues are a bit too idiotic (the ‘I think it’s better to be a pretty idiot, that be smart and look like me’ ones…she’s an idiot enough). I don’t think I enjoy how her character was painted here much at all. And it turned into a story of ‘good, strong, smart, and powerful’ man loving ‘an awkward idiot’ despite her idiocy…which also gets old.



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Whatever for Hire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a Body Count)

Whatever for Hire: A Magical Romantic Comedy by R.J. Blain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The body count might be a bit larger than usual (than in previous books). The main characters are great – unique, complex, and fun. My only complain is that I wish we had more time with them. Learn more about Malcolm, more about Kanika’s transformations and origins, more interactions with beings other than Satin and archangels, and so on. Then, there’s the fact that the ending is hardly complete and the little details like that we, as readers, missed the parts of which Kanika has no recollection. So I do hope there’s some kind of a sequel, because the mix of cultures in these two characters is really interesting and it would be terrific to explore them more.



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A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, #2)

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


I didn’t like the first one, but since this one kept showing up in practically every list and ranking I use to find new books to read, I felt almost obligated to try it.
This one felt somewhat better than the previous one, but still 1.5 legs over the line of “too rapey”. Still too full of hatred and aggression. Too crude. Too preoccupied with material things and symbols of wealth and sex, with ‘sex and violence’ being all these books are really built on. Characters hardly talk to each other, mostly at each other. Everyone hates each other, everyone wants to kill everyone else, and then when they feel a fierce need to also have sex with each other for some ‘supernatural-biological’ reason, the ‘plot’ ensues.
At least I now have ‘tried’ these series and the author enough to have no regrets about parting our ways and not looking back.



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Bear Necessities (Halle Shifters #1)

Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Could have been a decent enough urban fantasy plot-wise, with some solid setting and interesting characters, if not for a couple of issues:
– The porny porn is too porny and kind of out of place. I don’t know, it just didn’t seem to fit and made me want to skip most of it.
– The concepts are not really thought-through. For example, nothing about Tabby and her behavior makes the fact that she spent 8 years living as a wolf in nature and not communicating with others believable.
Also, somewhere between the issues 1 and 2 lets consider the fact that the girl who was supposed to be a lone wolf from age of 15 and had one a one-night stand in the six month after she returned to society, acts like a porn star. Where did she get all the experience? Before she was 15? This made the porny content even more cringy.
– Writing is mediocre and there was a ton of punctuation problems.



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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 (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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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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Knight (Sons of the Alpha, #1)

Knight by Addison Carmichael

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


While I expected to like this book enough, black wolf protectors and all, there was a number of issues that just really bothered me:
– Personalities of main characters seem inconsistent and floating. They jump from one kind behavior to another in a way that doesn’t feel natural. The heroine switches from acting like a reasonable young woman kidnapped out of her life and being hostile and suspicions, to suddenly being all accepting and understanding and kind to everyone, to suddenly playing at being the lead detective on a case and having authority, to playing at girlfriends, to cuddling with a person and propositioning them, to shutting them out and down 5 mins later… and on and on. The hero only appears to be better because there is much less text in his POV, but his personality also felt like it flipped over half way through. There’s also this ‘brainless’ disease I’ve seen a number of times before, where characters talk and act but pretend that they have no ability to analyze or comprehend why they are doing something and just exist in denial.
– A tad too much hate towards women. As in, it’s very hard to find a positive female character who is not dead. I half expected for Rachel to turn out to be the killer. Because the remaining female characters were a lying traitor who sold people out for money and an aggressive egocentric bitch who couldn’t take no for an answer. A vivid contrast to a whole collection of attractive males who also all look like they are in their twenties, regardless of their age, and of course like the main character.
– The fact that people kept forgetting and ‘letting be’ the serial murderers they had to catch. The treatment of this part of the plot didn’t seem appropriate, as it was constantly pushed behind something else, as if catching the murders before they killed again was far less important than a whole list of other things. Or at least that was the impression I got.
– While the ‘twist’ conclusion itself was not boring, something happened to writing on the last 20% where it turned jaw-numbingly cheesy and dry. The places that were supposed to make me swoon made me grimace. It’s like suddenly there was something very unsavory about the tone of the book and it spoiled the conclusion. The bare facts of which, again, weren’t actually bad on their own… there was just something about the way it all was presented.



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Playing with Fire (Magical Romantic Comedies, #1)

Playing with Fire by R.J. Blain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was such a pleasant surprise.
This book is fun, thought admittingly sometimes to a chaotic degree, very detailed, very well-developed, and very unique.
I really can’t help but admire the author’s imagination and humor.
I gave it 4 and not 5 stars because I feel that sometimes it might have been just a bit too chaotic and crazy (and sadistic towards the main character, with whole decontamination business), and a bit too abrupt, but I still would recommend it to any lowers of fantasy who enjoy having books sweep them up and away somewhere else. Definitely a book to come back to from time to time.



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Storm's Heart (Elder Races #2)

Storm’s Heart by Thea Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There is this something about Thea Harrison’s characters and style of writing…when, even if usually I would’ve found this ‘teeny-tiny girly woman that likes pink lipstick and stiletto heels’ and ‘very big and very scary power man’ pair of main characters too cheesy and stereotypical, there’s something about the insight into them and their interactions that makes me ignore the voice of cynicism and actually enjoy the story.
I did feel a little put off at first at how much sexual undertone there was in this, in descriptions on both sides from the very beginning. But the plot was also there and not actually lost behind it. I have a feeling the first book was tamer, with more focus on fantasy setting, but I might be not remembering correctly. Also, the floating POV…
This is very much a female ‘comfort book’ through and through. Tricks was about to leave the safety of her found family out of necessity and begin a new life all alone surrounded by people she couldn’t trust, and this is about having a person who not only came to save her from danger, but decided to stay forever and trade a whole old life for a new one with her, and take it all in a stride. I might not understand high heels and lipstick, but I understand ‘tell me when are you going to leave me, because I need to know what will happen’ and the dream of someone saying ‘never’ and meaning it. And also actually enjoying it.



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Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound, #1)

Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


To be honest, I first, after reading the description, was actually planning to avoid these series… The whole ‘Shifters are Collared and controlled, outcast from humanity’ concept doesn’t appeal to me at all. Not that I’d have hard time imagining humans being discriminating asses trying to degrade, insult, and control others on every step, but just because I don’t really like to be reminded of these disgusting human traits. I only picked this up because I have read Bodyguard by chance first and thought maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.
It’s not a bad story. The plot is there, not dissolved behind the romance, and the characters are interesting and mostly well-developed. And yet, too much of this book talks about these issues of control, power over others, dominance and submission… even if the main character says she is not ‘into it’, everything in this book rotates around these concepts. Which honestly kind of puts me off.
Also, the insta-love and thick-headed main female character did seem clichéd, even if not enough to be annoying.



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Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2)

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


On one hand, I can’t help but feel that these novels (especially this one) are too short, on the other hand, they are so packed with non-stop action that I also believe if it was any longer I would actually get tired reading it. The main character hardly has any any time to rest, she spends more time passed out after almost dying again than sleeping, she hardly eats, she goes from one deadly battle to another, ‘almost dies’ multiple times, and the whole book hardly covers more than a couple of days.
I enjoyed this book more mostly because there weren’t really any unreasonable blunders like in the first one, but I do think I would enjoy it even more if there was more ‘room to breathe’ between all the action.



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