Books I Read This Week 2/18/2017

The Raven Prince

Author: Elizabeth Holt

Series: Princes Trilogy #1

Tags: Period Romance, Pre-Regency, wigs (boo!), growly hero, physically scarred hero, hidden identity, clandestine meetings in a brothel

Rating: Super yay!

 

Elizabeth Hoyt: delightful as usual!

I've read all of her Maiden Lane series (regency vigilante!) and they are more or less all equally entertaining. This one did not disappoint. It fits under one of my favorite plotlines: physically scarred hero. AAND he's the archetype that I like to call Growly.

Definition: Growly

Hot tempered, surly, ill mannered, stomps and blusters about, often swarthy, usually intelligent, and always has a soft gooey soul under his crunchy shell. Most likely NOT a man-whore (a rarity in Regency Romance), could be engaged in a profession. He's a little too much of a misfit to be Byronic, but Belle and the Brontes would be all over him.

Here are some other Growly books, if you are also growly-y inclined:

  • When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Eloisa James
  • Some Like it Scot, Suzanne Enoch (his name is literally "Bear.")
  • Marrying Winterbourne, Lisa Kleypas (I suggest reading Cold-Hearted Rake first)
  • The Bargain, Mary Jo Putney (the secondary character is growly)
  • Scoundrel by Moonlight, Anna Campbell

The book opens on a scene with where the heroine, who was walking on a country road, spooks the horse of a gentleman riding past, huge dog in his wake. I was like, "okay, so we are starting at the first interesting part of Jane Eyre." I know that scene well, since it is permanently bookmarked in my copy of JE as a "start here for Rochester."

Fair enough. It's a good scene. I don't begrudge her stealing it.

It sets the tone for being a Jane Eyre themed book, but with far less angst. He has small pox scars so he's angsty, but the heroine is not. It goes on to add in the whole meeting in a brothel thing: you know, those brothels that allow women of high station to hide their identities behind a mask and sleep around. There should be another name for that, other than "brothel."

Perhaps the worst part of the book I was able to skip this time! Elizabeth Hoyt. I love her writing, but she likes to add little fake fairy tales as quotes to the beginning of her chapters. After reading all twelve of the Maiden Lane series with the fake fairy tales interrupting my reading every chapter, I'm all out of fucks to give about this fairy tale bullshit. I read them all as audiobooks, which makes it much harder to skip. But this time I read it in paper form! Yay! I am happy to say I have no idea what the fairy tale of the Raven Prince is about.

You know what? I am going to give this a Super Yay because I wouldn't mind owning this one.


 

Seduce Me in Dreams

Author: Jacquelyn Frank

Series: Three Worlds #1

Tags: SciFi Romance, interplanetary politics, ragtag team, the SciFi version of Black Ops, psychic abilities, superpowers

Rating: Yuck.

 

Okay, first of all: shirtless dudes on covers. 

I don't know what I'm supposed to get from this cover. You'd think that since it's about interplanetary military ops, they'd give some kind of visual cue to tip you towards the plot line. Shirtless dude with gun? Shirtless dude in a rocket ship? Shirtless dude in ripped army fatigues holding an alien chick with some kind of magenta mindpower force field coming from her head? Something other than a jacked dude with some etching that kind of looks like a tramp stamp.

Also, that face looks like Tom Welling.

 

Second of all, don't you think it should be "Seduce Me in My Dreams"? It just doesn't sound right without the "my." The meter is off. If you add the "my" it would be iambic.

 

Third of all: UGGGGGHHHHH GIRL POWERS.

Telepathy, empathy, shield, invisibility, healing, precognition: the girl powers that suck ass. The powers in themselves sound pretty awesome, but when put on a female character, they are just lame and vague and there is a whole lot of blubbering about not being able to handle it. How come you never see a girl with super strength or fire powers? Is it because girls aren't supposed to sweat?

Books like this always remind me that a female author does not = feminist characters. The girl characters are so lame and two dimensional. They are the kind that give coy smiles, break into tears often, immediately defer to the man, always look hot when they are using their powers, probably strike poses instead of stand.

It probably also didn't help that the woman reading this book used an affected psuedo-English accent for the female character and her species. The narrator can do just about as good an English accent as Charlize Theron did in Snow White and the Huntsman... which is just making your R's long.

I gave Jacquelyn Frank another go because she had this other series, but it wasn't worth it. Apparently the third of the trilogy might not even be published. I can't say I'm broken up about it. I still can't tell the difference between her writing and Christine Feehan's. 

Needless to say, I will not be reading the second book.


 

Bayou Moon

Author: Ilona Andrews

Series: The Edge #2

Tags: Paranormal Romance, other worlds, kickass heroines, shifter, changeling, magic, the South

Rating: Super yay!

 

Wiillllllllllllllllllllllliaammmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Omg, I love William. 

He's a werewolf shifter changeling, at times violent, doesn't understand social niceties, and just wants a family! The opening scene is him sitting on his porch, talking to action figures that he buys because his childhood was squandered with supersoldier training. That's just freakin' adorable.

There is much to be said about the excellence of Ilona Andrews books. Every time I read an Ilona Andrews, it stands out as brighter, more engaging, more imaginative, and more entertaining than the paranormal books I read before or after. Their (Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife team) most well known series is the Kate Daniels books, but I have also really enjoyed Burn for MeOn the Edge, and a handful of short stories in anthologies I've read lately.

I wouldn't strictly categorize their novels as Romance. There usually is at least one romance, but there is also a lot action, fun, mystery, and magic that takes the main stage. I would recommend them to friends who aren't necessarily into the romance thing.

They also consistently write some pretty kick ass heroines. Basically, if you like Buffy, or most things from the Kick Ass Heroine era, check out Ilona Andrews.

On the Edge is the first of the Edge Series, and while I couldn't quite get behind the male protagonist Declan (golden boys don't appeal to me), I LOVED the kids. They make an appearance in this one, and there are some other kids that show up. I have enjoyed most of the kid characters written by Ilona Andrews, which brings me to...

 

Kids in fiction.

Man, I hate a good majority of the kids characters in fiction. They come in three categories:

  1. Perfect little cherubs that are all hugs and innocence and giant puppydog eyes.
  2. Wizened adults trapped in tiny childlike bodies, whose only purpose is the move along the plot with sage relationship advice and "From the Mouth of Babes" type wisdom.
  3. Actual children.

Kids IRL are not perfect. They are smart, they have feelings, and they can figure things out on their own, but are still trying to figure out life, and can at times be exhausting, annoying, or crazy. Like adults. 

Ilona Andrews writes kids like they are adults with half the answers to the quiz missing. I like that. I'm am much more impressed by that kind of kid than the perfect little innocent ball of blond curls, brown eyes, and chubby little fingers.

 

William, being a changeling, is also kind of like an adult with half the answers to the quiz missing. He doesn't get that Cerise might like him, and misses all the social cues. Cerise is kickass, in the usual Ilona Andrews way. She is the begrudging matriarch of her little clan, takes the weighty responsibility of searching for her kidnapped parents in stride, and has some kickass fighting moves to boot.

The worldbuilding is so wonderfully imaginative. The Edge is what they call the edge between the magical world (the Weird) and the non-magical world (the Broken). Only certain people can travel between worlds, and the Edgers live in a kind of lawless no-mans-land.

On the Edge sets up the worlds, and in Bayou Moon, you learn more about the Weird's history. There's this group of government spies called the Hand, and they are deliciously grotesque. They use body modification to enhance their magic, so there are all these weird, monstrous human creatures running around with tentacles, gills, and plants growing from them. It reminds me of playing the Resident Evil video games. 

 

This is an Actual Recommendation for those that like imaginative stories. Check out Ilona Andrews!

I'm off to read the third novel of the Edge Series, byeeeee.


 

Fate's Edge

Author: Ilona Andrews

Series: The Edge #3

Tags: Paranormal Romance, other worlds, kickass heroines, grifters, cons, shifters, changelings, dragons, wyverns, magic,

Rating: Yay!

 

So great. 

Another reason why I love the Edge series is because I love stories about misfits, the people on the fringes of society. I mean, the Edge is literally the fringe of both worlds, and therefore houses a whole lot of thieves, ex-cons, grifters, and other disreputable people.

This one focuses on two grifters -- one trying to go straight, one grifting for a cause -- that come together to steal back a valuable and potentially dangerous item from the wrong hangs. They stage cons! And heists! And solve mysteries! And fly on dragons and flirt by stealing!

Also, the word grifter. Using that word already makes me feel streetwise and gritty, like I'm in dark alleys in a trench coat, passing small items through inconspicuous handshakes. It means con man, or generally, small time crook. 

 

Also the kids from #1 and 2 show up in this one as secondary characters! Awww Jack. He is changeling like William except he's a lynx and 12. Normally, I don't encourage overusing a character, but I want him to grow up and have his own book to get a girlfriend.

One of the kids is named Gaston, and I totally thought it was something like "Gaskin." Audiobooks are so informative. I didn't know another way to pronounce Gaston was "GAStin." If I had been reading it instead of listening to it, I probably would have broken song every time I read it: ...is the best and the rest is all drips!

 

The only hard thing about this series, and most fantasy series in general, is that you can't read them out of order. UGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH, you are going to make me work for it, aren't you? It is SUCH a pain to hunt down books in chronological order, in the way that I would be putting any effort in at all. Then, you have to remember names, and what happened in the last book, and where relationships left off... SIGHHHH.

That's why I like Regency Romance. Each book is usually in this nice little self-contained package, so that you can read #4, then #2, then #14, then #35 and not be confused. There are overarching themes, yes, possibly a mystery interspersed throughout the series, and previous characters show up as Special Guest Stars in subsequent novels, but most of the time it's just one girl, one dude, and some sort of theme or archetype they are working off of at the time.

The part of me that loves lists wants to take all Regency and reorganize them by archetype instead of series. Because it is always a boy-band type Mickey Mouse Roll Call of archetypes. I'm the Mysterious One! I'm the Playboy! I'm the Serious One! As if all of these men of such different personalities would all hang out together.

 

I'm attempting the Kate Daniels series now. I only read the first novel about 6 months ago, but man, I am having a hard time remembering where it all left off.


 

The Serpent Prince

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Series: Princes #3

Tags: Pre-regency, period romance, wigs (boo!), fop, vengeance!

Rating: Yay!

 

Oh, Iddesleigh. You so cray cray.

I've been pronouncing his name in my head as "Idle-slee," but now I realize it is could be Ide-slay. Which makes me sad I don't have that last name. If I did, I'd-slay all day and all night!!!!

OHHHHH, corny.

 

I would categorize this book as "the well-dressed, urbane playboy, who is so styled and put together and O MY GOODNESS JUST KIDDING HE'S CRAZY!" He has this pact to avenge his murdered brother, and he's kinda sorta consumed by it, which is weird because he also wears impeccable 18th Century clothes, and red heels (that knave!).

Also, by the way, wigs. Ugh, wigs. I have a theory that most writers pick Regency as their time period because that was the farthest back time in English history where the men didn't wear wigs. It is super hard to read about a male hero, who is so supposedly sexy, wearing a snowy white wig on his head. I have a pretty good imagination, but whenever they talk about the wigs, I immediately do a quick revision in my visualization, and plop some kind of ill-fitting contraption made of cotton balls on the hero's head.

It's just. Silly.

 

Elizabeth Hoyt TRICKED me this time! She put the fairy tale within the story instead of as quotes at the beginning of chapters! I had to read the whole thing! A consolation was that the characters were able to comment on it, so when the fairy tale got dumb, the character went, "that's dumb." Preaching to the choir, sister.

 

I enjoyed it. It was an easy read. However, I am a little bummed that I bought this book in paper form instead of the Raven Prince one. I probably won't read this again.


 

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