Elle (theroadtoelle) wrote,

Books read in January

Moon Called - Patricia Briggs *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs  *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Yes You - Tammy Falkner  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Holding Her Hand - Tammy Falkner  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Tall, Tatted and Tempting - Tammy Falkner  *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Maybe Matt's Miracle - Tammy Falkner  *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Anna - Marti Talbott *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Rachel - Marti Talbott *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Hunted - Rebecca Zanetti *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Crazy From The Heat - Mercy Celeste  *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Let It Go - Mercy Celeste  *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Tonight - Karen Stivali *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

The Highlander's Touch - D K Combs  *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

A Fortunate Blizzard - L C Chase  *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Worth The Fight - T A McKay *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

The Bloodline War - Tracy Tappan *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs
This is the second book featuring Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson, a young woman who can shift into a coyote at will. In the previous book we became acquainted with her world, where werewolves, vampire, and fae live uneasily alongside humans, some 'out' to the public, some still living in secrecy.

Mercy is asked to accompany a vampire friend of hers to a meeting, in her coyote form. The idea is that the other vampire won't recognise that she's anything other than a regular coyote and she can be a witness to the exchange. But it all goes horribly wrong. People are dying and her loved ones start disappearing, despite all of them being stronger and more powerful than Mercy herself. How can she possibly save anyone? But mayby, just maybe, she can.

The only thing wrong with this book is that it ends. While it doesn't technically end on a cliffhanger, the romantic triangle between Mercy, Adam and Samuel is unresolved, and the reader is left feeling like they need to read the next book to find out what happened. Maybe I'm spoiled by stand-alone romance novels, but I hate feeling like I have to buy another book to find out what happens in the end. Having said that, the book was a decent length, and I wouldn't have cut anything out, so if the author had managed to include everything, it'd be a longer novel than the Lord of The Rings! Ha ha! So I do understand why the author has made the decision to tell Mercy's story in multiple books, but there's also a part of me that resents it.

It was the only flaw though. The characters are strong and multi-dimensional. Some of the stronger alpha-types were shown in different lights in this one, shown to have real weaknesses, which made them feel more real, more human if you will. The pace of the story is superb. The violence is just graphic enough to make you feel like you're there, but without making you feel like you need to put the book down and bleach your eyeballs. The supernatural characters felt real, and that's always an impressive feat. I'll definitely be reading another Mercy Thompson book.

Crazy From The Heat - Mercy Celeste
Greg is a high school teacher, and life is boring and lonely until one of his students starts to make life interesting. Maybe too interesting...

It is so hard not to give away spoilers. There is a lot of action and a really decent mystery that keeps you engrossed. I adored Paul. He was cute and endearing while still being tough. Greg was an enigma - was he really the meek teacher, or did he have a dark past?

Greg's ex is one of those characters you just want to throttle, but I think he's supposed to be.

There was NO attraction from Greg towards Paul until Greg found out that Paul was of legal age. Phew! I was really worried it was going to cross that line, but it didn't. He noticed him, in a sort of distant way, but there was no significant interaction until after Greg found out that Paul was older. So you can rest assured that it's not one of 'those' books!

The scene in the classroom, where the principal interrupts them... That caught me by surprise, and definitely opened my eyes to the fact that there was more to Greg than met the eye. And for the record, I didn't even know that what he did in that scene was possible.  *Laugh*

Let It Go - Mercy Celeste
Every time Eli and Creed come near each other, they end up in a brawl. Finally a judge sentences them both to house arrest...in the same house. He figures they'll either kill each other or they'll learn to get along, Either way, they'll stop wreaking havoc in bars.

Eli is hiding secrets, and Creed is the last person he would share his secrets with.

Creed is hiding secrets, and Eli is the last person he would share his secrets with.

What happens when they find out each other's secrets...and realising they were both hiding the same secrets all along?

The characterisation was well done. Creed has endured so much that he has learned to lock away his pain and feelings and be emotionless, but now he struggles to break out of that and open his heart to anyone. Eli has also endured a lot, but he has coped by becoming angry and violent. There was enough humour to break up the darker parts, and the quiet times helped the reader to fall in love with the characters and want them to find their happily ever after. There was just enough sexual tension for the overall romance to be believable, although the focus was more on emotion than sex.

I struggled to accept the sheer amount of abuse that Creed in particular had endured. I don't think it was unrealistic necessarily - the world can be a terrible place - but perhaps there was more than the reader needed..or that Creed needed in order to become who he was in the story.

A few aspects of the plot were predictable near the end of the story, but I didn't feel that the two main characters were, and on the whole I couldn't predict what how things were going to turn out. I found it hard to put the book down.

Both of the main characters suffered from abusive childhoods, and there are flashbacks to these. There is also violence and abuse in the current storyline.

The Highlander's Touch - D K Combs
The King (of England) has sent his cousins, Saeren and Blaine Sinclair, to Scotland to be wed. In hope of brokering peace, he insists that one of the girls must marry Kane Shaw, the Lion of the Highlands, and the other girl must marry Lord Grayham. One is reputed to have murdered his wife and sister, the other to have murdered (or driven to suicide) his three previous wives.

The girls agree to a charade - Blaine, who is adored by men, will sacrifice herself, marrying The Lion, but Saeren, who Blaine believes is barren, sure to be the death of her if either prospective husband found out, will disguise herself as a boy and offer herself to work as The Lion's squire.

This book was very poorly edited. It appeared that someone had run it through a spell checker, as every word was technically a correctly spelled word, just not the right word. There instead of their, she instead of he, a part instead of apart, and so on and so forth. Many of the errors were blindingly obvious and would have been clear if someone had bothered to read through for errors.

More frustrating though was the lack of consistency. First we are told that Blaine is very thin as is fashionable at court, and Saeren is voluptuous which makes her less appealing, especially in Blaine's opinion. Later, it is Blaine who is chubby, and Saeren is very slim. It changes back and forth, and I honestly had no idea which sister looked like what. Also, there were occasions where the wrong names were used, such as Connor when it was in fact Kane - easy to figure out but distracting.

There were a couple of significant holes in the plot. Firstly - Saeren bound her breasts, wore men's clothes, and cut her hair to shoulder-length, but that was the extent of her disguise. No, I lie, she did put dirt on her face and wear a cap.  *Rolleyes* She did not use a deep voice, change her walk, personality, or anything. We are given absolutely zero indication of any further attempt to make herself appear masculine. So why, when Kane comes to know her in her female form under a pseudonym of Alice, does he not recognise her? She has the same voice, same hair, same face... I understand why he might not at first realise that Alice and Saeren were the same person, but after he has spent a long ride with Alice and kissed her endlessly, does he not then recognise her when she dresses as Saeren again? I needed more in order to suspend my disbelief. I understand the concept of 'seeing what you expect to see' and all that, but the disguise needed to be more convincing to, well, convince me.

Also, what's up with the King? He tells everyone who listens that these are his adored cousins, yet he insists that they marry these ruthless men? Even if he knows (as we learn) that The Lion would never hurt a woman, Lord Grayham is appalling and I wouldn't wish him on my worst enemy. And we are clearly led to believe that he intends for Saeren, who is sweet and innocent, to go to Lord Grayham. That is not a man who loves his cousin. No way. I understand that he was a king and therefore ruthless and political and all that, but it seemed like the author believed that the king loved his cousins, and that was what made me think 'Something's not right here'. It just didn't fit.

And finally, a girl as sheltered and innocent as Saeren does not take aggressive control of her first sexual encounter. We'll ignore the multiple orgasms for a newly non-virgin as this is standard in romance novels, despite being totally unrealistic. And then on her second-ever sexual encounter, she is 69ing like a pro. Yeah, I so didn't buy that, sorry.  *Smirk*

If you take out the editing errors (which are so easily fixed, come on people!), and fix two the two plot holes that bothered me (the disguise wasn't strong enough to withstand scrutiny, and the King claimed to love his cousins but sentenced at least one of them to a marriage that was likely to end in her death), the writing was very good. This author has huge potential, and I wouldn't be afraid of trying out her future work. I actually enjoyed the book, despite everything, and even if it was purely edited with no changes to the storyline, I would have given it four stars. The editing really let it down. But editing is such a simple thing to fix (which is what makes it so frustrating when you get books like this one!) that I think it is a disservice to write off this author. On the whole, the writing was well done, and it drew the reader in. The characters were excellently fleshed out - Saeren, Kane, Blaine, Broderick and Connor were all so well crafted that I could describe them to you now as if they were real people. Even Fergus and his craftiness made me smile. So don't give up on the author, or indeed the book, because of the issues with it. I couldn't give it more stars when it was so poorly edited, and needed work, but I did enjoy it, and it has huge potential.

A Fortunate Blizzard - L C Chase
Trevor and Marcus are trapped in the same hotel by a blizzard at Christmas, and Trevor is unable to secure a room for himself, so Marcus offers to share. It sounds like the cheesiest romance novel ever, but it's different. For starters, they aren't forced into close proximity just because of the weather. Other stranded people are camping out in the hotel lobby, sleeping on chairs, etc. They are by no means alone, and Marcus doesn't have to offer his room to Trevor. He does so because he finds Trevor attractive, and after sharing dinner and conversation, the men decide to put the bedroom to good use (wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean).

Trevor doesn't want more than just a one night stand. Well, he does, but he's dying of kidney failure and after years on the transplant list, he has given up hope. He won't start a relationship under those circumstances. Marcus pushes though, and it turns out that Trevor is just what Marcus needed to teach him to stop and smell the metaphorical flowers. There's still the little issue of Trevor dying of kidney failure though...

Yes, the plot is a bit predictable, but the author does their best to keep you guessing. All in all, a touching read.
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