Category Archives: Adult

ARC Review: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1) by Jill Shalvis

4.5 gems

sweet little lies

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jill Shalvis book. Sweet Little Lies was a good book to start reading her again. I do love a book with strong characters and zero unnecessary drama, and Sweet Little Lieswas exactly that. Sweet Little Lies is a gem of a book. Beautifully written, with strong lead as well as side characters.

Pru is one of the strongest and best heroines I’ve read recently. As a captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru is used to handling the rough seas and having lived through tough times in the past, she is also used to a rough life. Now all she wants is to do right by the people she believes were wronged and live a content if not happy life. But she finds herself drawn to a man who isn’t exactly right for her, a man she believes will hate her when he learns of his past.

Finn O’Riley is six-foot something, hardworking man who always has his bar and is arms open for his friends. When Pru becomes one of his friends, he extends the same behaviour to her too. Finn too has had a rough past. Early on he had to abandon his dreams to take care of his brother Sean, who by the way still hasn’t grown up. Pru enters into his life as a breath of fresh air.

The chemistry between Finn and Pru is perceptible and hot as hell. They share a great rapport and the banter between them is fun-filled and sexy. I love how their relationship progresses. They start as friends and go on to become lovers. They learn new things about each other with each passing page. You can actually see how their relationship develops and grows. As individuals too Pru and Finn grow a lot over the course of the book.

Pru has easily become one of my favorite heroines. She is innately good, with a big heart and only love to give, with no expectations of any returns. She made me fall in love with her. She is the kind of woman you need in your life, the best friend who will stay with you through your thick and thin. Her past and her guilt also broke my heart. For a woman so pure and good, her circumstances were not so good. I loved how easily Finn’s group of friends accepted her. Even a tough cookie like Elle was won over by Pru. Pru’s chemistry wih Elle and Willa is exactly the kind I feel I have with my friends, which made it all the more relatable.

Finn too was a great character. He had no controlling or dominating tendencies and that made him love him. In the era of hard-core alpha males, Finn came in as a breath of fresh air. That’s not to say that he wasn’t alpha, he was, just not in the overbearing way. He helped Pru open up and grow as an individual. He made her want happiness and life and love, and I absolutely loved him for it. Pru and Finn were the perfect couple.

Like in any romance novel, in Sweet Little Lies too there was an anger induced break-up. But the way Finn comes back to Pru and everything that hew says, I just fell in love with him and that epilogue was just beautiful.

Sweet Little Lies was a mixture of love and heartbreak, laughter and cries, sexy times and honest love-making. It was beautifully written in a way that would win your heart and make you believe in love. I can’t wait to read the stories of the rest of the gang.

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts


The Millionaire Makeover (Bachelor Auction #2) by Naima Simone

4 gems

The Millionaire Makeover

When you think of a fairy tale retelling, you imagine a fantasy with probably monsters and fairies and all sorts of paranormal shenanigans. Well, at least I did. That was before I read Naima Simone’s Bachelor Auction series. Thanks to her I know that fairy tale re-tellings can worm their way into contemporary romances too. By the wayThe Millionaire Makeover, if you haven’t guessed yet, is a rendition of The Ugly Duckling.

Plain-Jane Khloe Richardson, a.k.a the ugly duckling (at least she seems to think so, I don’t know why!) is in love with her boss. Except she doesn’t know how to approach him, and he definitely doesn’t see her. So what’s a girl to do? Make him jealous of course. Now how do you go about doing that, you ask? Easy peasy, you bid on a bachelor at the Bachelor Auction. Now if that bachelor turns out to be your brother’s best friend, who slept with you and then took off? You stay far away from him. And then after a few days of him wearing you down, ask him for a makeover. Well Khloe never wanted to do all that. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And when you have a best friend like Morgan pushing you into the arms of the love of your life, there’s not much one can do.

I love the brother’s best friend trope. The genre and I are the bestest of friends. And this book is exactly that. To make things interesting, Naima Simone decides to off the brother. Now hold your horses, before you start thinking, “with the brother gone things are going to be so easy” Because they are not going to be easy at all. The brother, Michael has to give a hard time to the man who is trying to shag his sister, even if it from the grave, a la P.S. I Love You style, with a letter. Or rather a couple of them. Read on for the rest.. the story isn’t disappointing. When you’ve a brooding, alpha male with an Irish accent, things can never be boring.

For Niall Hunter, Michael Richardson is his brother, his best friend and his family. His death completely shatters Niall. Dealing with the loss of the only person who accepted him warts and all is not going to be easy. Michael’s sister Khloe has a hard time dealing with the loss of her brother. So, she goes to the only person who really knows what she is going through, her brother’s best friend Niall. Neither of them expected to end up in bed together. And Khloe definitely wasn’t prepared for Niall to disappear from her life after an amazing night together.

Fast forward three years, Khloe has moved on, or so she thinks until Niall appears in front of her. It’s like seeing a ghost from the past. For the past three years there has been no communication between Khloe and Niall, and not for her lack of trying. Niall has stayed away from Khloe for three years. She used to be one of her closest friend. But after “deflowering” her, he receives a letter from Michael. Which explicitly states that Khloe deserves a better man than him. So Niall does what any man who loves his best friend and has some decency and honor do. He leaves her in bed. Naked. Then doesn’t talk to her for three years.

Now that Niall is back in town, he wants to be Khloe’s friend. Just like old times. What Niall doesn’t know yet,  is that the penance for sleeping with your best-friend’s little sister is…. transforming her into a beautiful swan from an ugly duckling. All this would be cool, if only, and only if, he could stop imagining her naked and stop touching her, and stop trying to be her everything.

I loved reading this book. Because even though the trope is clichéd, Naima Simone brings her own flavor into the novel. Her characters are quite real and very well fleshed out. Be it the guilt-ridden and heart-broken Niall or the sweet and shy Khole. You could even understand Khole’s parents and their reactions, even if you don’t agree with them. And I don’t agree with them. I wanted to slap them around for a bit, and then I realized it’ll take more than a few love-taps to make them open their eyes and see what’s in front of them.

For those of you, who are not familiar with Naima’s work, this book is as good as any to start with. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. The Millionaire Makeover is full  of good humor and great  characters. The story itself won’t let you leave disappointed either.

Other books in this series:

Beauty and the Bachelor

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts


Beauty and the Bachelor (Bachelor Auction #1) by Naima Simone

3.5 gems

the beauty and the bachelor

Lucas Oliver is all set to avenge his father. And he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Even if it involves blackmailing the innocent daughter of his sworn enemy into marrying him. All her life Sydney Blake was controlled by her family. She was nothing more than a disappointment to her fickle, indifferent mother and her driven, controlling and absent father. She was a mere pawn in her father’s games. The only good thing she did to please her parents was agreeing to marry the son of her father’s business associate. And even that appreciation is short-lived, when she decides to give in to Lucas’s blackmail and marry him to save her father.

At first when I saw that the people around Sydney, including her family was treating her like garbage, I was enraged. Not just at her family, but also Sydney herself. What person just stands and looks around while they are being beaten to an inch of their lives. But as I kept reading, I realized, Sydney is far stronger than she looks. She has the kind of inner strength that inspires. The kind of strength one can’t guess just by looking at her. Her actions are mainly driven by the guilt of an old tragedy, a tragedy even her father blamed her for. But the growth you see in Sydney with each passing page is commendable.

Lucas Oliver. I have mixed feelings about the guy. When I first finished this book, I was leaning towards the ‘I-hate-him’ tip of the scale. But now that I have had some time to think and process the book, I am more in the middle. The best thing I loved about Lucas was that he is the reason Sydney found herself. He encouraged her, made her feel special, made her more confident. I think without Lucas, Sydney wouldn’t have grown as much as she did in this book. He made her more independent and strong enough to stand up for herself.

Now as much as I loved Lucas for all the good he did to Sydney, I hated all the bad he did to her too. He was always clear about his agenda. Revenge. No matter what the cost. And that’s what he does till almost the end of the book. More times than not, Sydney had to pay for her father’s sins in some way or the other. He may not have physically hurt her, but he hurt her plenty emotionally. At every stage of their relationship he kept secrets, his actions would say something and his words something else. Like Sydney, I too was frustrated with his back and forth. And when he accuses her of doing something she wouldn’t dream of, all bets are off.

Lucas does come to his senses and realizes what an ass he was for treating Sydney the way he did. And he does promise to keep her happy and love her for the rest of his life. But I would have loved to see some more grovelling on his part.

What was irrefutable was Lucas and Sydney’s chemistry. Oh boy did they have chemistry. Oozing hot was what they were. Since the moment their eyes met across the stage, they were sizzling. The sex was hot and even when they were angry with each bother they were burning up the pages. Their attraction to each other through all the ups and downs was so palpable, it was undeniable. Their kind of passion is one of the reasons that I think their relationship made it.

The only secondary character I liked was Aiden, Lucas’s best friend. He was a fun guy who could clearly see that what Lucas was doing was not right. He tried to talk him out of it too. And when Lucas inevitably messes up his relationship with Sydney, it’s Aiden who gives him the much-needed kick in the ass. Tyler, Sydney’s ex-fiance too was a guy that I really liked. As we find out in the book, he has his own mess to clean up and I can’t wait to read more about him. I hope Naima Simone decides to write his story, because that’s one that I definitely want to read.

The people I hated most in this book were Sydney’s parents. There are no two parents worse than Jason and Charlene Blake. The way they chipped at their daughter was just despicable. They reminded me of vultures picking at a carrion. I am really surprised though that Sydney turned out the way she did with the kind of parents she had. But I guess, when you have the worst kind of parents, you are determined to be the best kind of person. And Sydney was definitely the best kind of person. Though Jason too realizes his mistakes and apologizes to Sydney, for e it was too little, too late. Twenty years of indifference and hurtful attitude can’t be overcome by one apology. But Jason was still better than Charlene, because that woman never even bothers to apologize to her daughter for all the agony she has caused.

Overall it was a really good book with an emotional roller coaster ride and an amazing lead heroine. Sydney is the kind of woman one would like to emulate. Her innate goodness, her strength, her kindness and courage are the best part of her. I have a total girl-crush on her, because let’s be honest, she may not wield a sword, but she is totally bad-ass.

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts


3 Breaths by L.K. Collins

3 gems

3 breaths

Pssst.. The review is kinda spoilery. Proceed at your own risk.

3 Breaths definitely had a lot of feels, but unfortunately the feels weren’t enough for me.

The book starts with Zoe and Krane celebrating their engagement with friends. but on their way home, Zoe has a seizure attack and passes away. Fast forward 5 months, Krane is still reeling from the loss of his beloved. He has let himself go; surviving solely on booze and underground fights. The only light in his dark tunnel is Ivy, Zoe’s sister. While neither his family nor friends understand his pain, Ivy surely does. She is the only one who does.

Ivy too has trouble dealing with her sister’s death, especially since they had grown apart in the last few months of Zoe’s life. With her death, Ivy is reeling with guilt and pain. Her only solace is her sister’s fiancee, Krane.

The pain of both Ivy and Krane is very palpable. You can actually feel their hearts breaking, you can feel them spiraling down. This is one of the most emotionally draining book that I’ve read. But on the flip side, while both Ivy and Krane work as individuals, they didn’t work as a couple for me.

Since Zoe’s death, Krane has not even looked at anyone else. But when one fine day he notices Ivy’s ass, he feels guilty, because well he is checking out a woman who is not Zoe and just to spice things up a bit, he is ogling his dead fiancee’s sister. That was all well and good, until the same night he sleeps with a woman, in part to get back at his high-school girlfriend who cheated on him, but didn’t feel an ounce of guilt.

Now mind you, I have no problems with men who sleep around, as long as they stay faithful and monogamous when they are with a particular woman. But hypocrisy doesn’t work for me. So if Krane felt guilty for ogling a woman who was not his fiancee, then he should have felt guilty for sleeping with someone else too. And he sleeps with two someone else’s, with no guilt whatsoever.

What I didn’t like was that Ivy was no different than the other two women Krane slept with. When he first notices Ivy, Krane says that Ivy is making him feel things (including lust). But he is just as turned on when he meets Casey and Shannon. How does that make Ivy special? I could get over this tiny issue, if only I felt some chemistry of the true love kinds, between Krane and Ivy. They work as best friends, they even work as friends with benefits, but I am not convinced that they are in love with each other.

One thing that L.K.Collins surprised me with was that Zoe was not an issue with Ivy and Krane. They both knew that Krane really loved Zoe, but Ivy was never insecure about that fact, which I absolutely loved. But I also didn’t appreciate the over-dependence that Krane and Ivy have on each other. They stop talking for a week and in that week they both spiral so far down the drain. They were way too dependent on each other, which in my opinion is unhealthy in a relationship.

I also never understood how they came together. One fine day Ivy asks what they were doing and Krane says he doesn’t want to hurt her. A fight, and a one-night stand later, Krane and Ivy make up and poof, they are together. I was never a fan of intsa-love, but here I didn’t even see it coming. All I could see was Ivy and Krane having a lot of sex together, but no love, even if it was there. Add to that the ending that came out of nowhere. If I didn’t see Ivy and Krane in a relationship, I definitely didn’t see the wedding coming. I find it hard to believe that a man would mourn for months after her looses his beloved fiancee, but within a month of dating another woman, he is ready to marry her. Ivy and Krane’s relationship has been on the fast track since Zoe’s death.

The secondary characters were also mostly a likable bunch. I adored Logan. He was a really good friend to Krane and a good man to have in his corner. L.K. Collins has a flair for writing complex characters and a heart-wrenching story.

3 Breaths is a good book. The author has beautifully portrayed the pain and anguish the characters go through, but there were way too many things that didn’t work me for.

This review first appeared in The Ever Romantic Arts. 

Book Review: Love on a Summer Night (Pine Harbour#4) by Zoe York

5 gems

love on a summer night

Oh boy… This was by far. The. Best. Book in the series. #TheZanderEffect was in full swing in this book.

Zander Minelli has found his way back home to Pine Harbor after dedicating 20 years of his life to the army. In six months he’ll be out and needs to figure out what his future will be. What better place to do that than home sweet home. While on this two-week leave from the army, he meets the most delicious kind of woman, Ponytail Girl. She is beautiful, smart and has lots of questions on how to use deadly weapons and kill people. Fortunately for Zander, she also shares  his love for apple pie.

Faith Davidson is a widowed, single mother and a full-time author. She is ready to dip her feet back into the dating pool. Her only conditions: no tattoos and no bad boys. Only stable, boring men. While spending her time writing at the neighborhood diner, Greta’s, Faith encounters a tall, dark and handsome biker dude, who has her blood boiling and thinking dirty thoughts. He also happens to speak the language of weapons quite fluently, so she racks his brain for all the available knowledge. There’s just one catch. The hot as hell guy is the exact type of man Faith did not want; tattooed-bad boy. Except the attraction is strong and somehow they end up bumping into each other everywhere they go.

Zander and Faith were such amazing characters. Both strong in their own rights. Though they had instant attraction, there’s was by no means an insta-love story. Their relationship developed over the two-weeks Zander was in town and then later, when he was away. I loved seeing the way in which Zoe York dealt with the long distance relationship. A long-distance relationship is not easy, and Ms. York made sure that she included the difficulties that come with it, rather than making it all hunky dory. She also didn’t make Faith and Zander’s relationship full of fights, which I must say is very well done.

Faith was no meek woman, but after the death of husband in a skiing accident she has grown a lot more reserved and overprotective about her son Eric. She dulled her life, suppressed her desires, so that Eric wouldn’t have to grow up without either of his parents. She got a lot of help from her mother too. Faith, Eric and Faith’s mother shared  a very good relationship. Her mother too is a widow and knows how Faith feels.

Zander is indeed a tough, responsible guy. He loved his family, but the army is his life. He is in a dilemma when the book starts as to what to do with his life after his army stint comes to an end. But when Faith enters the picture, his priorities shift. He wants to stay with her and Eric, rather than being gone for months at a time. The six months they spent apart from each other while Zander was gone was difficult for both of them. The best thing about Zander was that he never took Faith for granted. He knew what her insecurities were, dealt with them in the best away possible. He never rubbished her fears, but rather coaxed her out in the open.

As expected from a typical Zoe York book, the chemistry was sizzling between Faith and Zander. They made a really good couple who shared a certain ease with each other. Every time they came together, sparks were flying. It was beautiful to see how caring Zander was towards Faith. He took care of the minutest details. He made her feel special and loved.

while Zander and Faith’s relationship was amazing, what was even better was Zander and Eric’s relationship. Now that took the cake. That man was meant to be a father. #ZanderEffect. Oh man!! The way Zander dealt with Eric, such love and care, I doubt even his biological father would have been capable of that. Zander was friend, a mentor, a comrade, a father, everything humanly possible to Eric. And the relationship all three of them shared together, Faith, Eric and Zander, a perfect family.

A special mention should also be given to Jake and Dani. They finally got married and man, oh man, their wedding vows…. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a few tears. It was just PERFECT!! Everything about this book was just plain amazing. There was nothing wrong that I could find about this book. Since it was an ARC, there were a few typos, but even those were disregarded in favor of the awesome story-line and beautiful characters. I know that every time a new book by Zoe comes out, I say it’s my favorite, but THIS BOOKS WAS PERFECT! This was absolutely mesmerizing in the beauty of the relationships depicted and the story touched my heart.

I’m crossing my fingers that the next book in the series, which is Dean’s book was will as amazing as this, if not better.

This review was first published on The Ever Romantic Arts.


Book Review: Midnight’s Kiss (Elder Races #8) by Thea Harrison

3

Midnight's Kiss

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two souls who have long buried their passions are about to be consumed…

Ever since their scorching affair ended years ago, Julian, the Nightkind King, and Melisande, daughter of the Light Fae Queen, have tried to put the past behind them—and distance between them. But when a war breaks out between Julian and Justine, a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind council, they find themselves thrown together under treacherous circumstances…

Kidnapped as leverage against Julian, Melly is convinced that her former lover won’t be rushing to her rescue. But when Julian gives himself up to save her, they both end up Justine’s captives. Armed only with their wits and their anger, Melly and Julian must work together to escape. But will they be able to ignore their complicated history, or will the fiery passion that once burned them blaze again?

It seems that I have arrived at the stage where I am losing my appreciation for Thea Harrison’s writing. Or it just might be my irritation with vampire romances. To get to the point, though nice, Midnight’s Kiss did not impress me much.

Julian and Melly’s story was good. It involved political manoeuvres and suspense build up. Action sequences and group fighting scenes were written nicely and the thankfully enough the plot had more than just romance and sex.

What I had an issue with was that the characters weren’t exactly drawn with clean strokes. For Instance, Melly’s character imbibed different personas; but they didn’t sum up. She has the benefit of being brought up as the heir to her mother but at no point in the story did I see her proving her mettle. She had some backbone, yes but there is no way I would label her as a kick-ass heroine the author wanted to portray her as. How can I call a woman cool who calls her mother “Mommy” ??

Julian’s character though strong and driven lacked a certain amount of foresight that he should have gained during his tenure as a Nightkind King. He is loyal, driven and hot-tempered but his soul yearns for peace but this is a secret yearning of his.  The author makes his self-realization – an important part of the plot in the novel so; it can actually be accepted. On the other hand, I did not see much character growth in Melly.

I even had issues with the characters which were not occupying the centre stage. They were either established in certain relationships that sprang out of nowhere or they came up with some mystery moves that necessitated explanations which were missing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the author had been merely testing the waters to check if stories about secondary characters would be found interesting by the readers. Honestly, I find such developments annoying.

Another issue I had with this book was that few characters were portrayed very differently previously. I remember reading The Wicked(Elder Races #5.5). I genuinely liked that book and enjoyed it. I remember Bailey and Julian in that book. And the portrayal of both these characters had made me interested in reading their stories. While Julian’s different persona I can live with, Bailey’s depiction in this novel was not something that could I could align with her previous impression.

Nevertheless, I will credit the author for a few well written scenes. On the whole, while I found the last book just tolerable enough, this book was a definite step-up. The writing and plot-development was good enough to keep me interested in the series still. The good thing is that the next book in the series is about Graydon. I am happy with that. It will be good to read a Wyr romance once again.

For my review of Night’s Honor (Elder Races, #7) click here.


Book Review: Seized (The Pipe Woman Chronicles #1) by Lynne Cantwell

4 gems

seized

 

It’s been two years since I read this book, but it’s still fresh on my mind. A well fleshed out, interestingly written book that will intrigue you and suck you in.

Seized by Lynne Cantwell is very different from your usual paranormal books. You don’t have a bad-ass heroine who loves to fight, but that does not make Naomi Witherspoon any less kick-ass. She is also a lot older than your usual heroines.

Naomi Witherspoon is a 35-year-old, working as a mediator in a law firm, rather than as a litigator. Unlike her fiance and the rest of her classmates, Naomi works in a law firm to help people rather than to make money. But if by working in a top class law firm helps her buy a condo, then that’s just a bonus right? But why does it feel like working for a firm that supports soulless corporations means compromising herself?

All these questions are answered through the course of the book. She is a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. But lately it seems that whatever she says people have to do it. Is that the reason her boyfriend Brock proposed?

Naomi realises that there is something going on with her. But what? She finds the answers when she goes to a sweat lodge with her best friend Shannon. There she meets Joseph Curtis and his grandfather Looks Far Guzmin, who helps her find out the truth. The stories Looks Far tells his audience reminds me of Patricia Briggs’ River Marked.

Looks Far’s home is in danger and Naomi mediates the case between him and Leo Durant who is being represented by her former fiance Brock and her old firm. What she doesn’t realise in the beginning is that the God’s have a hand in this whole fiasco. Now she needs to mediate the case between the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman, who amped her powers of persuasion and the Norse Trickster god Loki.

Ms. Cantwell dishes out Native Indian culture on a platter to us. Seized is a good combination of fantasy, religion and moral human philosophy. It is well written with great characters. Ms. Cantwell manages to suck you into the story from the beginning and traps you in it till the end. Even after the story finishes you can’t help but pick up the next book.

This review also appears on The Ever Romantic Arts.


Book Review: Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

2.5 gems

fifty shades 1     fifty shades 2  fifty shades 3

The Fifty Shades Trilogy has been in rage for the past few years. I decided to jump the bandwagon and find out what Fifty Shades was all about around two years ago. Well…. I don’t really regret reading the series. Say what you may, but this series sure is addictive. It does grasp you and clutches into you tightly. Though the furor had died down in the past year or so, the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie brought it back with a bang. Once again Fifty Shades is everywhere.

This time around I’m doing my review a bit differently. Usually I would write-up a looong post about these three books and point out what I felt about it individually. But it’s been over two years since I read these book, so I am just going put my review into bullet points. Easy peasy right?

What I liked about the Fifty Shades Trilogy?

  • Christian Grey is hot. Speaking strictly in the physical sense of the word and nothing else. I mean he is a 20 something year old business tycoon who is tall, lean yet muscular, and broad-shouldered, with dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes.
  • The music. The author included a lot of songs in the book. I enjoyed those selection of songs more than anything else. I even read the series a second time around just to make a note of the songs.
  • Christian as a submissive. This scene was somewhere in the middle of Fifty Shades Darker and it was a very powerful scene and then it fizzled out.
  • Ohh yeah there was this scene at the end of Fifty Shades Darker where Ana throws her drink to Elena a.k.a Mrs. Robinson’s face. That made the petty bitch in me really happy. I always wanted to do that. Hmm… Maybe someday soon the day will come when I can throw a dirty martini to someone’s face.
  • I can’t think of anything else. Hunh!! How about that?

What I did not like about the Fifty Shades Trilogy?

  • Lets start with the main thing shall we? The writing. The Fifty Shades Trilogy is nothing but a poorly written piece of work. The editing is bad, the characters are bad and well the story is just horrible.
  • Anastasia Steele is a whiny sissy. She does not know her own mind. I liked her when she said no and walked away from Christian, but all it took was a chopper ride and a kiss to jump back into bed with him. Yeah! Let’s not talk about her any more. I am tempted to call names. That’s bad isn’t it? You are not supposed to do that in reviews. *deep breaths*
  • Christian Grey. My hero. The love of my life. Yeah right, no. That’s not happening. Nuhuhh!! Nope. Sorry. I know you are hot Mr. Grey and you are rich, but lets just face it. You are a dick. There I said it. Happy now? This man has issues. Like serious issues. And I’m not talking about the BDSM. That not the problem at all. Christian Grey is a stalker. And an overtly dominating, controlling jerk. I mean who track the cell phone of the woman you interviewed you? Seriously dude!! You need to get checked out.
  • The sex scene at Christian’s hotel room when Ana is visiting her mother. That shouldn’t have happened. Nope. Not at all.
  • The pregnancy. At the end of the first book Ana got tired of the all the spanking and flogging and no-touching rule and walked away from Grey. Then Grey almost died and proposed marriage to Ana after knowing her for ONE MONTH. And they were even broken up for a WHOLE WEEK during that month. All this by the end of the second book. Of course there had to be an accidental pregnancy now. How else will the story move forward? The pregnancy was just not needed. There was enough drama with Ana’s ex-boss and the mystery surrounding Christian’s almost death.
  • What does Christian do when he finds out Ana accidentally got pregnant? He accuses her of getting pregnant deliberately and then runs off to share a drink with his ex. An ex, mind you, one his wife did not like at all. That’s what any sane guy would do right? I think I’m in a different universe. From where I come from the definition of sane is completely different.
  • Elena Lincoln a.k.a Mrs. Robinson. Any woman who seduces a 15-year-old boy is a bitch in my book. And any woman who introduces a 15-year-old boy to a hard-core life-like that of BDSM is a bitch beyond words.
  • Well I’m sure I can think of more things that I did not like in this series but my brain is fried.

I’ve seen quite a few people who have watched the movie, comment on Facebook thatFifty Shades condones domestic violence. I haven’t seen the movie, but that IS NOT true about the book. Many people would feel uncomfortable reading this book I am sure, but that doesn’t mean that the book promotes violence. BDSM is a completely different lifestyle. It is a way of life for some people. And if a woman gives her consensual agreement then what the hell is anyone else’s problem.

Well as the saying goes, “You may love it, you may hate it. But you just can’t ignore it.” That holds true for Fifty Shades too. I did not like the series, but it sure had my complete attention.

This review also appears on The Ever Romantic Arts


Book Review: Fireblood (Whispers from Mirrowen #1) by Jeff Wheeler

3.5

Fireblood

I had completely forgotten the book’s blurb when I started it and that doubled the enjoyment I gained from reading it. To put the story succinctly, Tyrus is playing a dangerous game, and his motives seem dubious. But his game does not end with his involvement, rather it makes pawns of his niece, nephew and a flippant young warrior. Now, as the world is slowly fighting its death, the evil ones are set on the continued destruction of the world to remain in power. Annon, Hettie and Paedrin are on their own. They are united for a cause which seems like a pittance in comparison to the reality they are forced to confront. And when they do, they not only have to fight to survive but have to save thousands of lives too.

 Fireblood started with a glimpse of the past which is the base through which the story starts. The scene was interesting and almost prophetic in nature. A scene like that makes one assume. I assumed. But I found that assumptions took a back seat to the events that unfolded in the book.

The first half of the book develops rather slowly. It might irritate a few people, but it gave me enough time to accustom myself to Wheeler’s style of writing. I found his writing to be slightly uneven for my taste. Sometimes the narration was slightly choppy and failed to capture my interest and at other times it was written very well and involved me completely.

Annon, Hettie and Paedrin strangely reminded me of the characters from the cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Thankfully, even though the circumstances where the world is to be saved and relationships are similar, the resemblance of the book with the cartoon ended there.

Jeff Wheeler creates such characters that it’s quite easy to identify oneself with them. However, I sometimes did find instances where the characters seemed somewhat one-dimensional. The characters were written nicely but it felt that maybe the author could not guess the exact reaction or emotion that the character went through. It didn’t happen much but when it did, the dialogues and the scenes fell flat. In addition, Jeff introduced us to a lot of characters. It’s a worrisome undertaking since these side characters gained prominence as well when the story developed. Now, I’m eager to read their perspectives and I’m hoping earnestly that they are well constructed and don’t suffer through similar one-dimensional depiction.

The key characters are young in age but quite mature in their understanding of the world. Further, every character had his or her share of secrets and their actions further complicated the story. There were remnants of childishness which showed through here and there, still, the ease with which they embraced the harshest of truths, belied a mindset of a person who is in their mid-twenties. I can’t count this as a shortcoming though because of the upbringing that the three had. And ofcourse the dangerous world they live in. To have a look at the key characters:

Annon’s maturity was something gained due to his profession. He is a Druidecht. Someone who maintains harmony between the nature-spirits and the humans. He was my favourite character in the novel. The most well-balanced character who is not impulsive. Even though sometimes his nature demands it, Annon can overcome his emotions to handle the situation. Hettie was a complex character who evoked my sympathy as well as mild rejection due to her actions in different circumstances. At the end however, I was rooting for her as much as I was for the others. On the whole, I found that Paedrin might have been the only character that disappointed me. I had high expectations of him owing to his upbringing and his wisdom, however, he was the one who acted like a teenager the most. Still his crucible was not easy to cross and his pain was the most potent to me as a reader.

Jeff Wheeler successfully evoked my emotions. I failed to predict a single percent of the story and that makes me give this book a huge bonus score. The magical and mystical world is well-developed, though I guess I would have benefitted more if I had availed myself of the glossary given at the back. But my imagination was thoroughly engrossed in building the world in the way the author described it. Fantasy is one of my favourite genres and the author utilises all the leeway provided to a story in this category. A highly detailed world, the only flaw I could find seemed to be that the travel and distance didn’t take as much time as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, the medieval world is perfect for the plot that the author introduces to the readers. But even more perfect is the way in which the whole world and its inhabitants are involved in layers of overlapping connections. The bonds, the shifting alliances, the hidden agendas, the politics, all are unexplainable and unforeseeable elements that make the story interesting.

It doesn’t happen often enough for my liking that I stumble upon a book that I really like, which has beeen written by an author previously unknown to me. This time, thankfully it happened.

 Fireblood takes you into a world of mystical magic, graceful spirits, sinister plots, and drudge politics. It does not allow you the luxury of a correct guess regarding the plot and even though the story has a number of twists, the medium-pace makes it easy for the reader to follow the events without any threat of being overwhelmed.

Despite its shortcomings (and the cliff-hanger), I am glad that I got to read this book (through netgalley) and can’t wait to pick up the next one in the series.


Book Review: Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews

4

Magic Breaks

***This review might contain a few spoilers from Magic Rises (Kate Daniels#6)***

To say I had been awaiting this novel would be an understatement. It is one of those few books which one prefers to have on autobuy or pre-order. Ilona Andrews are that good.

Magic Rises had left us feeling happy for Kate and Curran – beautiful ending! Sad too, because Aunt B died a tragic and painful death, and we will miss her. A lot had happened in the book and there were a lot of questions raised after reading it.

Previously, Hugh was the evil serpent who maintained the persona of a charming gentleman till the end. It had made me interested to look forward to the time Kate came across him again. But his portrayal in Magic Breaks ripped off the persona of charm to reveal why Hugh is the right hand man to Roland. He came across as an explosive, ruthless and temperamental bastard. Add to that the fact that he is highly powerful and intelligent, and you have the formidable enemy Kate tackles in Magic Breaks.

In a nutshell, Magic Breaks has Kate scrambling together all her intelligence, connections and skills to protect the pack and prevent a war between the People and the pack. All of this happens while Curran is away. Then, due to a betrayal, she is imprisoned in a cell and almost starved to death. Afterwards, she gets to meet with her father. With all of that and more, you can safely surmise that this book is jam-packed with awesomeness.

To take a look at the emotions evoked while reading the novel, there was not a single scene where one or another emotion didn’t have me in its grasp. I just could not bring the emotions under control. Any time I let out a sigh of relief, the story threw another wrench in it, and I was left holding my breath in anticipation.

The world which Kate lives in has always been full of danger, but the new experiences and location took the danger to new heights. While Kate has to fight a large part of the battle against Hugh on her own, she holds strong. This book again proves Kate’s competence as the leader/alpha of the pack. However, I have to say, I am more than a bit tired of the hypocrisy of the pack. She bleeds for them, and they never accept her as one of their own, or as one worth fighting for. It grated on my nerves, especially in this novel, and I am happy at the way the book ended.

I had previously come across opinions where people were unhappy with the book because Curran was MIA, but I have no complaints. His absence was very much required, else Kate couldn’t have owned the show (and  she very well did!). Like Kate, I awaited Curran’s arrival anxiously.

Kate’s faith in Curran, her belief that Curran will save her is humbling. There is no other word for it. That’s what I felt. Afterwards, while facing Roland, Kate is the kick-ass heroine we love her for. She is also intelligent. I loved the fact that she decides to live for herself, leaving her upbringing behind. For her to survive she knows what she must do and she does it, no qualms about it. No second thoughts or procrastinating her decisions.

Curran’s love, support and acceptance of Kate, is awesome. It made me want to give him a tight hug.  Any lesser man or someone who loved Kate any less would have run, which makes me love Curran even more. Whatever grudges I held against Curran from the previous book, dissolved into dust in this book. I am cheering for Team Curran now.

Enough about the heroes, let’s have a look at the bad guys. There are very few villains you look forward to. Before Roland’s arrival it was Hugh. After Hugh lost his cool and became (in my very honest opinion) a sadistic and crazy ass, the mantle for the villain was taken up by Roland. And so again, we have a villain who is charming and lethal, but this time every quality is multiplied by a factor of 10 to portray the magnitude of reality.

A lot of stuff happens in the book, but to disclose the events would take away half the fun in reading it. Things which were earlier discussed upon, with the almost 100% possibility of never happening, actually happen in this book, which makes it a great read. The events in the book lead to an end with unforeseen consequences, but it makes me look forward to the next book even more.

It is quite hard to talk about the book without gushing about Curran, or about the dialogues, or  about the suspense or the events. In the first reading of this novel, it is not that easy to grasp the humour in all the scenarios but that is because we are constantly reeling in shock over one event or another. However there were a few times when I did not feel drawn in. These few moments were interspersed throughout the book, but I guess they didn’t lessen the fun of reading because of the impact the rest of the story was having on me. Kate’s sarcastic sense of humour helped as well.

I had a few issues with the novel. For instance, the whole scene with Ted Monyohan. I thought he would get what was coming to his-arrogant-ass but I was sadly disappointed in the manner the whole episode concluded itself. It seemed obvious to me that even though Ted suffered through horrors, in the end, he is the one whose ambitions become reality. Though it will be interesting to see the impact this conclusion will have on Kate’s life, I did not like the bloodshed. Overall, some parts of the book happily astounded me, few made me laugh but a couple left me disappointed.

Nevertheless, Magic Breaks is a great blend of suspense, action, angst and awesomeness. I for one, am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.