4/16/18

Review: Deliver Me by Farrah Rochon


https://amzn.to/2v8IiTW

Format: ebook
Pub Date: March 2007, re-published November 2011
Publisher: Nicobar Press (originally via Dorchester)
Length: 337 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: purchased myself (free on Amazon)

The first few chapters of this book are well done, with excellent pacing and set up. Then...it all kind of falls apart.

The hunky "Super Doc" Eli is a giant douche.  I pretty much hated him throughout the entire book. Not only is he a player who disrespects pretty much every partner he has, but he somehow ends up with not one but TWO semi-stalker ex girlfriends. I did not like how the book chose to make THEM feel crazy, when it was pretty clear HE was the one who failed to pay attention or take their feelings into account. I did not buy that he was just so charming and had a magic wang, and that's why two different women felt led on about their relationship status. (Although one exhibited extremely unhinged behavior which actually SHOULD have been a major red flag).

Also absent (I looked) was any mention of condom use. Now I'm not sure if it was a Dorchester thing or not as common in 2007 romance [I can't remember] but these two are BOTH DOCTORS. There's no way that wouldn't have been discussed, but there is no mention of it. No mention of STDs at all. No mention of birth control. Not even a 'he paused to protect them both" throwaway. I had to back up and reread to check because it seemed so odd.
 

4/6/18

Review: An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Format: ebook, paperback
Pub Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Kensington
Length: 320 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Borrowed from the library

I heard about this book all of last year. All. Year. Long. From everyone. And because everyone loved it, I steered clear. I just don't seem to do well with buzzy books.

I also don't do well with American-set romances, so the chances of me totally adoring it were pretty slim.

While I DIDN'T love this book, I did like it. It's an ambitious, well researched book that doesn't sugarcoat anything about the history it portrays, which can be jarring when you're writing/reading in a subgenre that's usually based on fantasy. This is not a light read by any means, but it is a believable and deeply moving story about two people who find each other in the middle of the worst possible circumstances.

3/28/18

Easter is this Sunday? What?

Somehow Easter has snuck up on me again. I realized late last week that Easter Sunday was also April Fool's Day, which I can't remember happening before. Even though I knew Spring Break was coming, even though I knew we had community Easter egg hunts, the darn day snuck up on me. I'm blaming the weather, which seems to have found winter just in time for spring. Miracle March is a giant PITA.

Adding to my lack of preparedness was my uncertainty of what to do for the kids. They're too old for the Easter bunny, but do they still get baskets? Do I still hide eggs? No one warned me we'd have to redo all of our holiday traditions as the kids got older.

One thing we won't be changing is Easter dinner. Which is actually usually "Linner" in this house. We eat in the early afternoon to make sure we have enough room for dessert.  We nearly always bake a ham, which is glazed with a combination of Major Grey's chutney and apricot preserves. Sometimes we do pineapples, cloves and cherries, sometimes we don't.

One thing we absolutely do is make Posh Potato Casserole. It's full of high cholesterol badness, but we've been making it for years and years. It's a recipe from my 9th grade English teacher, who I recently ran into at a Rotary Music Competition. It was a little surreal introducing MY 9th grader to her.

What's on your Easter dinner table? And what are your traditions for your older tweens and teens?

Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Format: trade, ebook
Pub Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Kensington
Length: 432 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Digital galley via the publisher

Honey badgers are one of my favorite characters in Shelly Laurenston's shifter series. This new series is about hybrid honey badgers, which means they're even more over the top than the regular honey badgers.

I admittedly struggled through the first 25% of the book. It was disjointed, with a lot of chaos and confusion. If I hadn't read Laurenston before, I might have given up. The story really doesn't start coming together until about 30% through, which is probably typical for new series, but seemed weird given that this wasn't a new world, but a new spinoff in an old one.

The thing that makes Laurenston books different from the vast majority of paranormal romances out there is how the women are portrayed. There are no passive women waiting for their "fated" mates. Every single one is a warrior, and most are actually considered more dangerous than the men. That is the case with this book.

What I also love about Laurenston heroines is that just because they are badass, it doesn't mean they eschew things that are considered "girly" or feminine. Charlie bakes when upset or stressed (something I loved, because I am totally a stress baker). New here, but greatly appreciated, is the matter of the fact way that medication for mental health is dealt with. It's just a fact. Like taking a vitamin. It was simply discussed like any other health condition, which I liked and which made me realize how little we see of that in fiction.

I think this book needed an outside eye, someone who maybe hasn't read all of her books twenty times, because there is a ton of back story and world building that is just assumed here. There are also some incredibly brief cameos that won't make any sense unless you've read her other books. Don't start with this book if you're new to Laurenston!

More disappointing was the lack of heat between Charlie and Berg. It may have been me, but there was zero sexual tension here. It may also have been that most of the book is about the sisters and their antics, so the romance takes second (or even third) place in the narrative. At any rate, it felt like the author was far more interested in the caper aspects and sisterhood aspects than the romance. I really liked Berg, liked Charlie, and liked their slow slide into a relationship, but I wanted more desire.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

3/16/18

Review: The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

Format: Hardcover
Pub Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Minotaur (St. Martin's)
Length: 353 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

After two recent mysteries fell a little flat for me, it was a bit refreshing to see some solid characterization and emotion again. I'm primarily a romance reader, although I've always read mysteries and urban fantasy, too.  I tend to gravitate towards the books that show rather than tell. Those that grip you by your emotions. This book is one of the good ones.

This is Daugherty's first adult book, having previously written YA under a different name. You couldn't tell if you hadn't read the author's bio. She does an excellent job with the grit and gore of two messy crime scenes without playing up the shock factor. I appreciated that. Enough detail to get the point, without wallowing in the carnage.

Harper McClain is a a local crime reporter in Savannah. She listens to the scanner and spends her nights chasing down crime scenes and hoping for a page one story. What most of her friends and colleagues don't know is that her mother was murdered over a decade ago, and she was the one to find the body. The emotional scars and inevitable fallout of the murder both fuel her passion for covering crime, and make her leery of forming close attachments. Until a similar murder happens on her beat.