Tag Archives: romance

Dead until dark by Charlaine Harris

★★★☆☆
Dead until dark

“I want to call you all those gooshy words you use when you love someone, no matter how stupid it sounds.”

So eloquently written…NOT! If that is what you’re looking for here, a book that is poetically dark then stop there and consider reading Carmilla by Le Fanu instead. This is kind of the bottom of the barrel as far as supernatural romance goes, so please if you’re looking for quality storytelling or insight to the dark world of vampires as well as other ‘underworld’ characters, look somewhere else!

I decided to read this way late in the game, I had been an avid True Blood fan and when the show ended I decided that I would begin reading the books. Now, we’re talking just recently – as of July 2015. I’ve been able to suck down these books and I don’t want to review them individually, but I’ll give a vague review that can be [i’m sure] applied to all of them.

Sookie Stackhouse calls her ability a disability, which kind of got me uppity from the beginning and the fact she goes around calling it this peeves me off continuously. However, this aside, from the get go Sookie comes off as being a bimbo and though she tries to say she’s a learned woman, that she isn’t stupid – she is. Very stupid in fact. In the show Sookie enraged me because of her stupidity, but the show Sookie might be smarter and far more independent than what novel Sookie is.

S: He better think twice about orderin’ me around! I’m my own woman and he better remember that!

B: Take off your clothes. Wear this outfit.

S: Okay, B! You just like my ass in these jeans!

B: I like you in nothing, but these jeans…I like them.

S: You got it boo! Oh, no…don’t start.. I’m not in the mood, B. I’m really tired.

B: I want to. So we’re going to.

S: Oh…alright…we can.

This sort of thing drives me crazy. She is not her own woman, she listens to what Bill says all the time. If he wants her dressing a certain way she does.. if he wants sex she drops it like its hot. She never stands to her word and its a weakness that just irritates me when she goes around waving her “I’m a woman hear me roar” flag – when she’s mewling like a weaned kitten!

So, then Sookie is shown this world of supernaturals, she gets drawn into their drama and is eventually used. She allows them too as well.

All in all, I really don’t care for this book OR the book series, but it has me drawn in because I do want to see how it differs from the show. My morbid curiosity and my love for Eric, which yes… he’s in the books and Eric is Eric. He’s the saving grace, I suppose.

Bill is even MORE flat – if you didn’t think that is possible, think again.

I wish I had great things to say about this series, but I don’t. Yet, I’ll continue to read until the end so I can say “I did it, I suffered, I conquered…. I DID IT!”

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

★★★☆☆

Immortal Beloved

I really had difficult getting into this book, it starts out with Nastya, our lead female who is a party goer and is inexplicably what is described as an “immortal,” what we come to later find out that these immortals are essentially witches. She is 400, nearly 500 years old and has lost her humanity, she happens to blot it out with partying. Nastya makes bad choices and hangs out with an awful crowd of people who make worse decisions. When an inevitable horrible thing happens by the hands of one of her friends, it wakes her up.

So, we hit a flashback which takes place about 80 or so years ago. There is a woman named River that she meets at another tragic event, do we see a pattern here? This woman tells her to find her in Massachusetts at X location when she grows weary of her current life. Bounce back to the future, Nastya is tired of her life, she’s terrified and on the run from her so called friends, [who are also immortals.]

The story begins to really pick up when she is thrust into what is essentially a rehab for immortals, the idea really struck me as interesting. Immortals live so long that they lose their humanity and ability to really care for what surrounds them, this rehab which is headed by River as well as her partner, is to rehab these immortals to bring normalcy into their life, to ensure that every moment and every breath in their life truly counts. Mundane tasks are preformed by way of gardening, harvesting, taking care of horses and sweeping. These are all tedious things but it gives an individual time to think, reflect and feel.

Enter Reyn, a hunky stuffed shirt that she finds herself drooling over and also being brought back to flashbacks of a horrible past. She finds herself pulled to him and repelled at the same time. It’s a mutual feeling and as the story unfolds you begin to see why.

I wouldn’t gush over the book because at times it was slow and I felt some pieces were unimportant but it was a good “moral” as to letting the past be the past and it’s never too late to change. I would recommend this read, but be forewarned that there are flaws by way of lack of story development, depth of character and a few minor details.

Radiance by Grace Draven

★★☆☆☆

Radiance by Grace Draven

Ahhh, it pains me to give this book two stars, but three would imply that I liked it more than what I did.

I enjoy Grace Draven so much. She was one of my great finds and whatever she writes I will read. Master of Crows set a high bar, I think. I was expecting something along those lines in regards to a combination of world building and romance. In comparison this book pales in comparison to the world and story that was built in Entreat Me and Master of Crows. What you have here is essentially a tale of two characters and their growing affection toward one another, looks aside.

The characters are likable enough, but with several other reviewers I have to agree that the whole “He is ugly/She is ugly” gets a bit old. In this book there are two races, our leading lady is a Gauri [think human,] and our leading lord is a Kai [think along the lines of Anubis.] Immediately they are set aback by how ugly/horrifying the other is. You are not meant to forget this as it is currently rewritten on how odd the other is, how ugly he is or she is, how weird it is… They even come to jest about how ugly they are to one another. I came to understand it’s how they show affection and yet… it just got a bit tiresome.

While there are background things going on I didn’t feel as if either character had that much depth to them, the story seemed to tread water constantly, just buying time until the end. It was an okay story, but not what I was expecting.

It’s a quick, easy read.. but not much happens in it. Which it pains me to say this, because I have read everything Grace Draven has ever written! This just wasn’t for me though.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

3 out of 5

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I am swiftly becoming a Hoover fan, because while she is not a perfect writer, while her words aren’t flowy and the writing itself isn’t the best the emotions really are. Hoover seems to “get” how to inflict emotion on people.

I enjoyed Ugly Love so much, it was the second contemporary romance I’ve ever read in my life, so I had the bar set high for this one. I’m not in high school, I never got into the drama of high school and I kept to myself. So when I began reading this I rolled my eyes and thought: “Yeah I’m not going to relate to this at all.” But sadly, there are a lot of portions I could relate to.

While some may argue about the sexism thrown throughout the book… slut shaming, an overbearing male interest, the idiocy of both teens, etc… It’s not pretty aspects of life, but unfortunately they are there.. and it happens. So does bullying, so do stupid choices and tragically other ugly aspects of life occur, too. Hoover portrays them. Are the characters perfect? No… is the book flawless? No… Are humans in general? No.

I actually think “Sky” our leading lady here is pretty numb in the brain at times, she nearly does everything against what a parent teaches you. Taking a drink from someone she doesn’t know, talking to a guy she doesn’t know. She ignores warnings and it’s not smart… Guess what? It happens, this isn’t a guideline on how to act, [maybe it could be used as a guideline for how not to act or speak to strangers?]

“Holder” tends to be a typical overbearing male, the kind that I guess everyone is used to in a novel by now, he’s a teen and typically male teens don’t have their wits about them. They say stupid things, they act on instinct, they don’t get it, it’s a learning process!, but you discover why and although this is no reason to BE overbearing, or smothering her… you can see why he would.

Once everything is aired out and the truths come into the light it is fairly devastating, that’s where you can rock back in your seat and clutch your chest thinking, “Oh my gosh, Holder… Sky… SKY!” 

I read this book rather quickly, it took me about three hours to complete. It’s an easy read and it doesn’t make you feel good, so don’t read it if you’re looking for a feel good book. Once I finished this book I had a lump in my throat and definitely had a book hang over.

Again, this book isn’t perfect, the characters aren’t, the writing isn’t… but somehow Hoover gets to you. Every. Time.

Entreat Me by Grace Draven

4 out of 5 stars

Entreat Me by Grace Draven

I didn’t have super high expectations, but I expected something great because Master of Crows was a great find! I was wondering if Draven could wow me again.

While some of the characters needed some growth I believe this was fairly worthy of the four stars I gave it. It’s a retelling of beauty and the beast with a twist, minus a few of the servants, sadly. The main character, Louvaen is a strong woman who stops at nothing just about. She is a dedicated lover and sister, who refuses to give up even though she faces a few adversaries.

Ballard, the beast, has a ruthless past and the curse he and his son are under is revealed in dribs and drabs. It’s a fast read, that focuses more on romance than the world. Perhaps if the world building of MoC was fused in this book I would have given it a five star rating.

Still, totally worth the read and I’m not disappointed.

Firelight by Kristen Callihan

3 out of 5 stars

Firelight; Kristen Callihan

“What is beauty or ugliness but a false front that prompts man to make assumptions rather than delving deeper.”

The beginning of the book brings us to quite an opening with our leading lady Miranda Ellis and leading lord Benjamin Archer, the setting to me is a little unrealistic given that Miranda is only sixteen and yet she’s found groping at a certain firmness under the shadowed figures body..

Flash forward to a cliche setting of a forced marriage to settle up a debt and Miranda finds herself the new Lady Archer.

There were hints of phantom of the opera as well as beauty and the beast. In a less well done fashion. Soon we discover that Lord Archer has been cursed! [Enter Beauty & The Beast as well as Phantom of the Opera!] He’s cursed and it is taking over his body at a rapid rate, this curse supposedly cannot be undone.

The character development was stunted, I felt Miranda strayed from her strong role and became that stereotypical romance novel woman where she begged to be lorded over. Either hot or cold, pick one lovely! Also Miranda is lovely, beautiful, which we are not meant to forget!!

I don’t have many qualms with Benjamin Archer, aside from his angst over himself. I felt the secrets were withheld too long for any anticlimactic end or rather predictable one.

In the end all was amended, I suppose. In the end it was really anticlimatic and verged more on a lesser rating of 2.5 versus the 3. The only reason I gave it a 3 is due to the lore that was twined in it and it hardly saved it.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

4 out of 5 stars

“God gives us the ugliness so we don’t take the beautiful things in life for granted.”

ugly love

Upon first opening this book, I somewhat wondered what I had gotten myself into and if I was going to embark on a new “50 Shades.” Except, within the first few pages I found myself tugged into the wreckage of these peoples lives.

Before anyone starts on how “this man treats Tate…” let’s be clear, Tate Collins allows this to happen, it is her decision to embark on this agreement. This is her choice as a woman to be involved in a “no strings” relationship with a man who clearly wants nothing more, those are the rules and she understands this.

Now…

Miles Archer is a man filled with such pain and sorrow that he cannot bring himself to love, it isn’t revealed why until we begin seeing flashbacks. You steadily learn more about him and learn that there are several layers to this man, the more the story goes on the more you learn and the more you hurt for him. You know why he can’t and it’s frustrating.

This isn’t a fluffy tale, it’s a REAL tale about how ugly love can be at times, how there are so often not fairy tale loves or beginnings to true love. The good, the bad and the ugly of love.

While there were some little things that I could pick apart, like how the writing wasn’t the most exquisite but it did make it a quick fast read [I consumed it in 4 hrs.] Or how there wasn’t that much character development aside from Miles… it doesn’t matter, because the focus was the pain and the development of moving past pain. It was about forgiving yourself for past transgressions to that you may move forward. For all of that.. I give it 4 stars… because it really did hit me hard.