Time for some more new-to-me authors and a few bite sized reviews. If I ever win some sort of lottery, the money will go towards books, shelves to hold the books, more books, and if I have enough, a book barn. Like a literal barn, stuffed full of literature.
Writers must read, and read a lot. Stephen King says so. I’m going to take him at his word, because something is obviously working for him and I just really love reading. So that advice works well.
If you’re interested in mini reviews of Eva Ibbotson, Kylie Scott, and Gena Showalter, try Bad Boys Reading Challenge 2017
This is also the start of my Bad Boys Reading Challenge 2018. The minimum goal is five books and it ends November 30, 2018. If you’d like to join in, go here to sign up. You want to read this trope, you know you do. Join ussss.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. “Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.”
So sweet, but surprisingly harsh too. I won’t ruin the ending, but Simon pretty much has some real, terrible issues to overcome. I loved each and every character, especially Baz. Rowell has a talent for creating sweet, empathetic characters and dropping them into achy situations, then dragging them through awkward love situations. The kind that make your heart squeeze, while you go, “awww.” Her dialogue is another strong feature. Heat level: sweet with a touch of spice, but nothing too graphic. Safe for teen readers.
Masques by Patricia Briggs. Redemption plotline with a seriously damaged heart of gold MC. This one was everything right, for me. Aralorn is bold, strong, tough, sassy, but also genuinely kind and sweet. Wolf/Cain is emotionally tortured, and she helps him heal. While also, you know, taking down a truly evil, crazy powerful Mage who threatens their world. As an introduction to Briggs, this was five-star. Heat level: Sweet. Calling it a slow burn is being generous, but Cain is too broken for affection to be realistic and I appreciated how Briggs didn’t try to pretend that love heals all.
Wolfsbane (Sianim universe) by Patricia Briggs. The sequel to Masques, and Wolf/Cain lets Aralorn love him now! Oh, my heart. Some trouble at home sends them back to Aralorn’s roots. I loved reading more about these two as they work together to combat the threats getting thrown at them. Briggs’s strength is in how she builds the relationship, and in well done, complex characters. Heat level: Sweet. Any sex happens behind closed doors, although it is implied.
Steal the Dragon (Sianim universe) by Patricia Briggs. Same universe as Masques, different characters. This one was a miss for me. Revenge/Slave girl as Spy plot. Rialla is a good, strong character and I liked Tris as her mysterious, magical love interest. Until her spy role got a little too real. They’re supposed to be fated soulmates and her soulmate lets something happen that I would NOT be cool with, and then kinda shrugs it off? They talk about it, and that’s the end of it. It didn’t sit well with me. Heat level: Mild. Some sex is implied. Rape happens once.
When Demons Walk (Sianim universe) by Patricia Briggs. Pretend Mistress/Spy/Hidden Noble Background plot. The action never stops. The demon threat was well done, just serious enough without getting too gory. By this book I was starting to rely on Briggs for strong, competent heroines and she didn’t disappoint. Sham (yeah, I think the name is dumb too) was a great lead. Lord Kerim, as the love interest/conspirator in the spying, was great. Solid four-star read. Heat level: Sweet. This is my one complaint. Briggs apparently likes a slow burn, and honey, I write erotica. Three-quarters of the way through the book and they’re still flirting. Just KISS already!! If you like less smexy times in your books Briggs is definitely for you.
Blood Brothers (Sign of Seven trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts. You know a Nora plot. Some supernatural shenanigans are happening; a group of women and the men who are meant for them will rise up to fix everything. In this case the issue is a demon who comes around and tortures a specific little town once every seven years. I was honestly gobsmacked by the plot. Bad things happen. The demon is terrible, and I saw definite horror influences. One part reminded me strongly of ‘Salem’s Lot. No joke. For once I cared less about the main characters Caleb and Quinn than I did about combating the evil. I’m definitely getting the next two books to find out what happens. Heat Level: Medium. Some sex, but as always Nora keeps it classy.
Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark series #15) by Kresley Cole. Book number one for my Bad Boys challenge. Second Chance/Enemies to Lovers plot. This one came HIGHLY recommended and I’m glad to say it lived up to the hype. So. Freaking. Good. To say the main characters have issues to overcome is understating things. At first, especially with the way Thronos was talking to Lanthe, I was like, Oh Hell No. Slut-shaming galore. But Cole makes sure Lanthe not only won’t put up with that, she calls Thronos on it and he goes through a very realistic (and slow, not instant) change of heart where he realizes that is not acceptable and that he was wrong. Go Kresley Cole! By the end of the book I totally believed the bitter enemies to true lovers transformation.
Heat level: Holy Cold Showers Batman. Writing super hot sexy times is definitely Cole’s strength. Her weakness, to me, was her dialogue. Lanthe kept throwing out “human” slang that weirded me out. It was like nineties, valley girl slang but not? Somehow it just sounded really off. Otherwise the dialogue was standard.
featured image via stocksnap.io and Snufkin