Storm’s Heart by Thea Harrison

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 by Jennifer Ashley

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 by Ilona Andrews

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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Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Dragon Actually

Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun, unexpected, and explicit in more ways than one.

The way this book started, I thought I’d give it 5 stars. The tone, the humor, the characters and interactions, everything seemed great. Even thought this book is plenty bloody and violent. Unfortunately, later on the ‘rapid POV switching’ style, while fresh and enjoyable in the beginning, seemed to turn the story a progression bit too abrupt. Puff! Enemies are about to attack this specific village. Puff! We’re in the middle of the battle. Puff! It’s all over. Puff! A year has passed. (And I do feel like making it a year was neither realistic nor reasonable).
It also progressively turned a bit too porny, and when we reached “Chains & Flames” also too S&M-y for my tastes. It’s probably because, once again, I thought I was getting a ‘fantasy novel featuring some romance’, while it actually picking up ‘erotica in fantasy setting’. While it still could be the former if it tried just a little bit harder, it definitely is much more closer to the latter.

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One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m still a little sad that this series has traded a big portion of humor for angst, but I did enjoy this book much more than the second one. I think we could do with fewer ‘almost deaths’ per novel. But the Hiru story was very good.
It’s too bad that it looks like it’s going to be a while before we get any continuation with the story with Dina, if ever.

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Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2)

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, this series didn’t manage to escape the ‘curse of the second novel’. It was so much drier, heavier, and compressed, I can’t even really say I enjoyed it. It made me rush to finish it not because I couldn’t look away, but I wanted it to be over quickly so I could see if the next one is any better. Most of the good content that was in this was practically suffocated from two sides by too extensive dry recapping of the events of the first book in the beginning, and a wave of angst in the end; the humor and flavor of the first novel didn’t really have any space to breathe here.
Also, the twist with Sean was too obvious. I really hate it when I get this ‘well wouldn’t it suck if this happened’ feeling in the middle of the book and it just comes true.
I’m giving this 4 stars because it’s not a bad book (even if I can’t help but feel like there should have been a better way to write it.) But it is also is a book that didn’t really leave me feeling good.

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Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Night Play (Dark-Hunter, #6; Were-Hunter, #2)

Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Unbearably clichéd and cheesy work that is focused on female self-image issues more than on anything else.
DNFed. I actually almost DNFed it after the very first chapter. But then I decided to make myself see if I’d get to any actual plot, made it about 40% in, and gave up.
After reading the Prologue, I thought it might actually be good. With the weres introduced and the dark back-story. But then in the chapter 1 we get introduced to the heroine…who is crying over an email where an abusive boyfriend who used her and treated her like shit all the time and broke up with her, and she ‘though she would marry him’. This alone could be enough to close this book forever for me. But there’s more.
Now I’m going to rant.
I’ve picked up a lot of ridiculous ‘romance’ novels by mistake recently, but nothing quite like this. I can even forgive the constant ‘insta-love’, because it often comes with the werewolf territory, but… They meet, he buys her a necklace, she cries, they have sex. (The end.) …He ‘doesn’t have an ounce of fat of his body’, she’s ‘solid size 18’; he keeps thinking how all other females he knew were aggressive and demanding bitches (literally) and how she is all so soft and kind, she keeps thinking about her ‘boyfriend’ who couldn’t stand looking at her with lights on while the main character is all over her; he is supposed to be a wolf-born shifter, who had lived his all life in a pack until 18 months ago and doesn’t even know how to date humans, and a hunted outcast without his own home and taking care of a comatose brother, but he also has a bank manager on speed dial who apparently his personal account manager, and he has his own table in the ‘super expensive’ restaurant where everyone knows him and he is ‘human enough’ to have that status in the society and throw money around; she is supposed to be spirited and independent and not take shit from anyone…while she let an abusive size-shaming shithead walk all over her for years and wanted to marry him. The 40% of this book that I did read, were so full of the worst kinds of ridiculous clichés I thought my eyes were going to pop out. These characters just don’t work. They contradict themselves constantly. And more importantly, there is something very disturbing about how both men and women are treated in this.

A shame, since I thought some ideas of the series were interesting, but this is going to be a very big NOPE for me.

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