10 Followers
13 Following
Aerulan

Aerulan

Piper - Leona Carver

This is a weak 2.5 stars, and I'm a little mixed about it getting that much to be honest. I thought it was excellent. Right up until the end when it all went completely to shit. If it weren't for the truly awful ending -and even worse epilogue- that absolutely ruined the whole thing for me this could have been a 5 star read.
The story set up all these really interesting ramifications for the piper technology and the League that ran everything and the secrets that were being kept from the pipers themselves as well as the public and all the way through the book those were built up and built up and then apparently Carver decided "fuck it" because the end didn't bother to address any of it.

Atmosphere is willing to murder hundreds of children to make a point about the greed of the station inhabitants and in protest of the company hiding the fact that piping resonance works on people too and then...... nothing. Atmos goes on the run from the law for his attempted murders and from the League goons who are after him for breaking ranks. Jake goes to work for the League, not to study the piper tech and actually help it be put to good use like he was obsessed with through the whole book but just to use their resources to track down Atmos so they can be together. And Jake spends like 4 fucking years faffing around before he manages it and then they ride off into the sunset. The End. WTF? Are you kidding me?

(show spoiler)

NOTHING to do with pipers or the League (or what they are actually doing or how aware they are of what pipers can or or ANYTHING about any of it) is addressed or resolved or even acknowledged again after a couple hundred pages of build up. So fuck that. 

 

If there had been any kind of resolution of those threads that enforced their importance and showed why it was truly worth what he tried to do, maybe I'd feel differently about this. But Atmos tried to murder scores of children just to make a point, and then not only does he get away with it he gets a happily ever after with Jake and the whole thing he thought was worth killing children for is just forgotten by the both of them. I really can't emphasize enough how much that bothers me. I don't have a problem with morally ambiguous (or just plain dark) actions but this was just.....  it made the whole story and everything that had happened pointless.

(show spoiler)

Time Waits

Time Waits - C.B. Lewis

 

I loved this one, OMG so happy to find a good time-travel romance. I love the idea of time-travel books, but it's really hard to find ones -especially in the romance genre rather than straight up fantasy or scifi- that actually handle it well. Time Waits does it wonderfully. I can see some people maybe being a little put off by the fact that both MCs (Dieter in particular) are  foulmouthed snarky bastards but it worked so well for me. I love that sort of character and here I got two! And beyond a shared tendency for sarcasm and profanity they've both got very distinct personalities that set them apart from each other and which dovetail nicely together. I loved them both and a lot of their interactions gave me a huge grin. The mechanics of time-travel are largely left unexplained beyond 'we've made a very high tech machine that does it' but the implications of time travel both moral and practical are explored in the story and create some fascinating depth to the plot. I'll be honest this one also really works for me because it aligns pretty neatly with what I've always thought seemed to make sense in terms of changing history, particularly to avert major events like wars.

I'm definitely going to be looking for more from this author, now she just needs to publish more. Preferably lots and right now.

SPOILER ALERT!

Ick. Nope nope nope.

Touch Me Gently - J.R. Loveless

This one made me really uncomfortable.

One of the MCs, Kayden, was repeatedly raped and tortured by his stepfather after the death of his mother when he was a child.  Putting this behind spoiler tags even though it's obvious from the very beginning.

(show spoiler)

Kayden is 19 at the time of the story and the other MC Logan is 28. The problem I had was the story constantly emphasizes the age difference, frequently calling Logan the "older man" while Kayden is referred to as a teenager a lot. Like a lot, a lot.  Logan frequently thinks of him as a "teen" or "boy" including during intimate moments.

Yuck yuck yuck.  Considering that Kayden was abused for years by a pedophile framing his relationship with Logan in terms meant to draw attention to his youth particularly in contrast to Logan's age at 28 seemed really distasteful.

 

I could maaayybe (though honestly, probably not) get past that if the rest of the book was any good but it really isn't.  I can't think of one element of it that I liked enough to salvage even a little of it for me. I can think of lots of other ways I didn't like it though.

 

Ran some searches on my kindle just to see those terms were as prevalent as I thought.

111 results for 'boy'

31 'teenager'

23 'teen'

4 'young man'

27 'younger man'

 

Ick.

The Collared Pup

The Collared Pup - Shea Balik

Nope didn't like this one at all. Picked it fairly at random 'cause the blurb sounded decent. And it's BDSM, which I thought would be a good thing but, I really don't like a lot of the way it's portrayed in this one -and in a lot of romance novels m/m and het both. Bram the Dom in this one, decided that Ethan (sub) was 'his' within seconds of meeting him. While Ethan was at the hospital to get treatment after being badly beaten by his brother! Yeah that's appropriate. And he keeps thinking of Ethan as 'his boy' way before he ever broaches the subject with E. Which is just, not ok. People, even submissives, aren't objects you can just pick up and keep at your whim without any input from them. The way Ethan is so desperate for affection and validation makes the situation even more unsavory. Because he's so eager for anyone to like him he'd agree to whatever they asked.

 

I thought Bram's behavior towards Ethan was frequently infantalizing. And it's one thing if that's the dynamic you enjoy and you choose it, totally another if one party decides that's what you get and expects you to live with it.

 

In the beginning Ethan complains that Bram treats him like a kid (his objection that he's a man is prompted not because the way Bram is acting is insulting -and it totally is- but because why would Bram want someone sexually when he has to take care of them like a little kid. Blech.) Ethan is scolded for swearing, because 'Bram's sweet boy' doesn't get to say things like that ( fuck off, seriously.) For leaving the room/house and not telling Bram where he is going. Urk barf no. And none of these things are negotiated first, or at all. Bram decides and Ethan is just expected to accept whatever he's told.

 

And one that really bothers me, Ethan throughout the book jokes with his friends Zeke and Aiden trading insults and giving each other a hard time, it's mutual and a facet of their friendship, no malice intended. It's also one of the rare example of him having a personality beyond 'needy needy needy'. And every time Bram hears it he admonishes E, frequently in front of his friends- and/or punishes him for it. Fuck you Bram. I mean that sincerely. You are an asshole. You don't get to dictate how he relates to his friends.

 

I feel like I need to read a good BDSM now, where all parties are equal, even (especially) when they aren't.

SPOILER ALERT!

I Hate Summer (and quite possibly this book)

I Hate Summer - HT Pantu

This is an incomplete and fairly rough review. I haven't finished reading this one, because I'm not sure if I will. I wanted to get my thoughts at least partially in order now.

 

This one had some really positive reviews on GR and it sounded promising so I was excited to start it. But I'm 78% of the way into it and I'm liking it less and less the more I read. I know people get different things out of the same books. So maybe I'm weird or oversensitive, because hardly anybody in the reviews I read seemed to mention this issue but I've got some serious problems with this book and it's really ruining it for me.

 

 

  Somewhere around the halfway mark the slut shaming in this one -already distasteful- ramped up to eleven thousand and it just keeps going like that.  

 

  Everybody calls Idrys a whore and it's not in a 'funny' joking way, no they're all serious. That's how they think of him, so much so it seems to be the first term they use to describe him. His friends, lovers, roommates, his supposedly loving and supportive sister (who frankly, I think is a horrible bitch.)  Trystan calls him a whore while trying to convince Idrys to go out with him!
   And it's just feeling more and more oppressive and hateful and no wonder Idrys has emotional issues, if this is the kind of support his family and friends offer him.

 

I searched my kindle and 'whore' is used 22 times, now one of those is a joint insult to Idrys and his sister both though it's said directly to him, along the lines of 'you're an even bigger whore than your sister' though I'm not bothering to go find the exact words. But other than that in all the other incidents I read it was used exclusively against Idrys and I'm betting that trend continues 'til the end. And that's just the times the word was used, there were plenty of other interactions that just implied it and the accompanying moral judgment that went along with it.

  

  What makes it all especially distasteful is knowing that Idrys was violently sexually assaulted as a teen, in fact that was his first experience with sex. And gosh maybe making him feel bad for how he reacted to that isn't the most helpful thing to do?  And yet this is how the people who love him respond, by labeling him a whore, because he reacted to the rape by sleeping around.  The whole thing is leaving such an awful taste in my mouth I'm having a really hard time seeing any possible outcome for the story that could redeem it after being subjected to pages and pages of that message.
 

 I'm about half a paragraph from wishing the whole lot of them (aside from Idrys and maybe his childhood friend Theo who hasn't done anything yet) would be stung to death by wasps and jellyfish just so Ide could get away from all these people who seem perfectly happy to think he is nothing but a whore and even happier to make sure he knows it and believes it about himself as well.

 

  Maybe this constantly calling someone a whore is a British thing I've never seen before and it's not meant to be as hateful as it reads for me. Or some sort of cultural quirk that I'm just missing. Or maybe it's just that awful.

 

Aaaannd after writing that I'm having a hard time seeing why I'd want to go back and try to finish it. Think this can go in the DNF.

 

 

 

 

 

(show spoiler)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Selah March

Had high hopes for this one (I'm really in the mood for haunted house/evil spirits type books right now, it's almost Halloween after all), but I was pretty unimpressed. The haunting elements were fairly standard and brief, no scares to speak of. And I really didn't get Tom and Leo together, they were either sniping at -or thinking in negative terms about- each other in a way that made it seem like they genuinely didn't like each other. Or they were fucking or thinking about fucking and even with the 'the demon is influencing them' element it just didn't work for me. Felt like they were only together because the author wrote it that way but there was nothing in the story that made the pairing make sense. Just.. nope. Didn't work. The demon stuff could have been creepier but in a short book, maybe that's expecting too much but honestly you could have skipped the other characters, the tabloid reporter, witch and reverend and just had Tom and Leo sent out to the house and skipped a lot of fluff, the other characters were mostly just there for exposition about what the demon was, and for that the priest was the only one necessary and to get scared by the baddie a couple times and then they left before the end. That space in the narrative could have been used to make the character development a little more coherent or to add in some actual scares.

 

Letting In the Light - Fae Sutherland

Nice low conflict, minimal angst May-December romance. I liked both main characters and how they were together. Solidly written, quick enjoyable read.

Where He Ends and I Begin

Where He Ends and I Begin - Cardeno C. Wow, this one is not working for me, and I usually like Cardeno's books quite a bit. But the story keeps switching from one character to the other and you get the same scene from each POV. I could be ok with that (though it's really not my favorite thing for a book to do) if it were just the important scenes being replayed but I don't need two nearly identical versions one after the other of them buying snacks or walking to dinner. And the voices for both guys are too similar especially since their characters are supposed to be very different people. I was losing track of who was the view-point character and who wasn't, if I have to keep going back and checking the chapter headings to know who's head I'm in something isn't working.
This one is going back on the shelf. Maybe I'll try it again another time.

The Mystery Woman

The Mystery Woman - Amanda Quick

Pretty typical Quick. Which was the problem I had with it, there wasn't anything new about it. This one felt very much like her other paranormal historical romances. You could have transplanted the H and h from many of her other books into this one and they would have slotted seamlessly into place. Even the conversations between Beatrice and Joshua felt like treading the same ground that the H/h usually go over in Quick's books. It wasn't bad, and if you like her books it'll appeal to you for the same reasons her others do, just don't expect Quick to take any risks at all or try anything new with this one. For me, I've read enough of her other books to make all the similarities to past books glaringly obvious and to really suck all the fun out of reading this one.

Dark Revenge

Dark Revenge - Jennifer Leeland

I'm liking this one so far, decent worldbuilding, and it's hot.

One problem I'm having is the names for the main characters. One of my pet peeves is gender neutral/ambiguous names in romance novels, I'm fine when one character has a name that could work for a man or a woman but when both do it's just irritating, it takes too long to get it fixed in my mind who is which and it just comes off as a bad choice.

 

The H in this one is Tory which I guess is masculine? But it makes me think Tori as in short for Victoria  which makes it read as feminine and is what I'm more used to seeing.

The h is Alex -short for Alexandra- but that one sounds masculine and when paired with a H with a name that reads as feminine it just...

It's not a huge deal but it's a little irritation that keeps me from really getting lost in the story. It's like when you have multiple characters with similar names, it just forces you to stop and think about who is in the scene and then you're out of the story for a second.

I'll get over it as I read more but I wish she had picked a different name for one of them. Either one.

 

~ Having another name related issue. The plot revolves around machinations -involving a biological weapon- amongst the governments of several neighboring planets in a starsystem. Which have the most unimaginative names ever, Teran One, Teran Two, Teran Three, Teran Four, and Teran Five. And that's how they are written each time. Now I don't know, but it seems to me that the people of these planets would have come up with some other names for their homes, rather than it always being "Hi I'm from Teran Five!" Even just shortening it to T5 maybe?

 People like naming things, we name everything. Except for newly colonized planets we're living on apparently. I have a hard time believing all these different cultures/worlds are happy with being numbers. You're a group of colonists escaping from a plague ravaged Earth and desperately hoping for a new home and new beginnings, are you really going to be saying "our world should be called Five!"? Or would you be choosing a name that embodies all that hope? That celebrates what you've accomplished in surviving to reach this new beginning?

 

The main problem is each world -or their interests and influence- has a part in the story and it's constantly "Teran Two is this, Teran Four does that, Teran One will be" keeping it straight is a pain in the ass. And it makes the conversations sound so boring. The planets are often discussed together so you have a paragraphs peppered with Teran 1-5 over and over and over.

The Visitor

The Visitor - Amanda Stevens Not even sure if I want to read this one. The first book had promise -though I think it failed to deliver on a lot of it. But books two and three were pretty crap. Even being generous I was really not thrilled with them. And I'm stuck because I want them to be so much better than they are. In my head they have so much potential and such a good concept and I keep getting disappointed by what they actually are, which is decidedly mediocre. Not sure the author can save this series for me at this point, even less sure I want to bother with giving her that chance. Already struck out three times.

Pet's Pleasure

Pet's Pleasure - Zenobia Renquist

Surprisingly good. Well written. Interesting world-building, and I liked Starling as a heroine.

Flirting with Danger

Flirting with Danger (Samantha Jellicoe #1) - Suzanne Enoch

This is the second time I've read this and it was still a lot of fun. The suspense part moves along nicely and is complex enough to keep my interest even on a second read. I'd forgotten most of the details this time around, it was probably 500+ books ago that I read this before.

 

Sam was a great character, a lot of the time the skilled and competent-at-her-profession h meets the H and suddenly all her skills and intelligence disappears in a puff of pheromones so the H can save her and look suitably heroic. That doesn't happen in Flirting with Danger. Sam handles pretty much every challenge thrown at her and she does it well. And Richard actually respects her abilities even though he's not wild about how she uses them as thief. Which was a relationship dynamic I really liked. The story is pretty light, this one doesn't really fit as a romantic suspense -which is where I'd otherwise want to shelve it given the storyline- since while there is action and some peril the story never gets very dark or terribly well... suspenseful. But it's still makes for a fun, fast moving read. Good cure for angst overdose.

Unbound

Unbound - Cara McKenna

Loved this book. Watching them connect over the course of the book was just perfect. This would have been a 5 star for me

if the ending had been a little more definitive, as it was it read as a 'happy for now' with a possibility of 'happily ever after' rather than being an outright happy ending. I wanted to see that they'd work long term and the way it ended it doesn't seem to give that impression very strongly.

(show spoiler)

Still a really great read, the story is quite different, and really well written. Cara McKenna is obviously a very talented author, been terribly impressed by everything of her's I've read.

In Bed with a Highlander

In Bed with a Highlander - Maya Banks

Started this one once before and had to quit at the point where the h tells the H that "he doesn't kiss right" because the abbess/mother superior whatever she was at the convent where the h grew up told her all about kissing and never said anything about tongues being involved. And of course if the nun didn't mention it then clearly you're doing it wrong. :facepalm: I really don't like stupidly naive virgin heroines and Mairin definitely fits in that category. Though to be fair in other respects she's somewhat more competent. Came back to try again because I wanted to read the other books in the series. And apart from the h being a wittering idiot when it comes to anything related to sex, or men, or how men and women relate, it was a fun read.

The Last Hour of Gann - R. Lee Smith Loved this book, I was totally wrecked by the end. Holy crap, this was so good! I can't even articulate how amazing this one was, totally incoherent with how much I loved this.