Books I read this week 3/11/2017

Shadow Music

Author: Julie Garwood

Series: Highlands' Lairds #3

Tags: Highlanders! Murder! Treasure!

Format: Audiobook

Rating: Yay!

 

This has been a very Highlandery week! 

 

I almost gave up on this book because of its lengthy setup. Blahdeblahblah-history-whocares. Also, I believe that the preface was a quote from the Bible.

Having a Bible quote as the preface is basically putting up a sign that says,

"Warning: there will be no D in this book."

 

I read the beginning of a Murder/Romance/Christian book that had the Lord's Prayer as the preface. Really? Talk about lack of creativity. I mean, you would think they would at least share a quote that is halfway related to the plot.

Bor-ing.

 

After I got past the weird fake history, I enjoyed it because: Highlanders!

Something about them Highland Lairds, amiright? They are always written the same. Rough, gruff, battle-worn, laconic. Always saving the women, protecting the lochs, doing what needs to be done. This one followed suit, with an arranged marriage out of necessity.

Bitches always be getting married out of necessity to avoid ruin, man.

If I had a nickel for every time I was forced into marriage to avoid ruin to a man who was scary but in a hot way and turns out to be a sweety and now I'm the mistress of a castle...

...I'd have no nickels. But who wants nickels, anyway?

 

If you want more adorably formulaic Highlander novels, I suggest Lynsay Sands. She's got a couple Highlander series. My favorite was The Hellion and the Highlander. She has a stutter, and the only way her husband found to stop her stutter was to kiss her. Dawwwww! 


 

Wild Wicked Scot

Author: Julia London

Series: Highland Grooms #1

Tags: Highlanders! Breaking out of prison! Wigs (ew), estranged marriage

Format: Audiobook

Rating: Meh.

 

This is one of those "getting back together after __ years of estranged marriage" stories. I'd be fine with it except that the female character is so terribly unlikeable for the a good part of the book. She's a spoiled English brat, and pretty much is just that.

But aw, he writes her letters!

 

This book was in need of some cheerful secondary characters. The secondary characters that did exist were just meh and the main ones are Drama with a capital D. 

 

I'm reading the next one in the series because OverDrive users can't be choosers, and I've read all the other historical romances already.


 

Book of the Month!

I got my second Romance Novel Book of the Month!

This one has Beauty and the Beast themed swag. Included:

  • The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Beauty and the Beast themed tea
  • Beauty and the Beast themed candle
  • Beauty and the Beast themed bracelet
  • Beauty and the Beast themed sucker
  • Beauty and the Beast themed book cover (!)
  • Promotional eye mask with the title of a book on it (..the fuck?)
  • Bookmarks and a pen.

 

The package is shipped to my work, and I happened to open it right when a board meeting was getting out. Luckily, the only one who noticed was my direct supervisor, and he was like, "should I even ask?" *backs away slowly*...

I'm happy with the book choice. I've picked up this book and put it back down several times, so now I have a reason to read it. Yay!

 

This book cover thingy just cracks me up. I would be super excited about it if I were 8. It's the exact right size for a paperback romance, which means that someone said to themselves, "I need something to the silly covers of my romances. Solution: Beauty and the Beast fabric."

I can't decide which would be more potentially embarrassing.

It looks like I am reading a children's chapter book. I love that people would look at this and go, "Oh, are you reading a Judy Blume?"

"No! I'm reading smut!"

 

Though to be fair, the books that are really smutty are not usually these dimensions. If I wanted to, say, cover a book called Butt Sex with Werewolves, I would probably need something a little taller and wider.


 

Sinful Scottish Laird

Author: Julia London

Series: Highland Grooms #2

Tags: Historical Romance, Highlanders!, widow, marriage deadline

Format: audiobook

Rating: Yay!

 

The second of the book I rated above, this one is about the couple's oldest son. Apparently, the third is about their second born son.

 

I was very relieved to find the female character likeable. She's an Out-Of-Fucks Widow, ready to make some decisions by her own damn self.

The male character, though, I got a little peeved with. His conflict doesn't seem to have enough for him to stand on. I can't marry her, waaaahhhh... No one seems to think to check the terms of her marriage deadline thingy. In fact, it kinda seems like they knew all along he could marry her.

 

A friend of mine once told me that Jason from the Greek myth Jason and the Argonauts was the Greek hero with the least agency. "He just kind of waits around, and things happen to him." My thought while being told that was, 

That dick. 

Since then, I've looks for Jasons in other fiction. Do they have agency? Are they doing good things, or do good things just happen to him?

The hero in this story has an infuriating bout of Jasonism. One of the things he says is "When a Highlander wants something, they just reach out and grab it." Uh, like you, then? You didn't even do anything until the lady threw herself at you, twice!

 

Also, new vocab word: insouciance.

It's great because it sounds like in-SOOS-see-ence. It is used a few times in this book, and I kept trying to pronounce it by saying in-soo-we-soo-ence, accidentally calling the hogs in the middle of the word.

Apparently it means apathy, lack of concern, indifferenceThat is one heck of word to just mean indifference.

"I don't give a fuck so hard that I'm insouciant!"


 

Primal Bonds, Wild Cat, Feral Heat

Author: Jennifer Ashley

Series: Shifters Unbound #2, #3, #5.5

Tags: Paranormal Romance, shifters, fae, cops, explosions!

Format: ebooks

Rating: Meh, Yay!, and Yay!

 

Another twofer + a novella! I belatedly remembered that I was trying to finish all of the Shifters Unbound series. Three down, five to go! Read my review of the full series here.

 

Primal Bonds was meh. I skimmed.

It seems like Ashley doesn't hit her stride with this series till Wild Cat. Female shifter + human male pairing! Guns blazing, magic bending, shifter shifting action! Explosions! The guy is a no-nonsense Latino human cop named Diego. The girl is a dominant female shifter, the second in her clan. They save each other, like, a bunch of times, and still have time for lots of steamy scenes and mate bonding. 

 

I was happy to also find out who the hell Reid is. The trouble with reading series out of order is that when secondary characters stay secondary, you can't find the beginning of their story through synopses of the other books. There was this flirtation between a dark fae (just roll with it) named Reid and a bear shifter that kept popping up, and I had no context for it for soooo long. Who is Reid? What is Reid? Where'd he come from? Where did he go? I didn't know which book to find him in.

Now I know! And it wasn't that exciting.

But Diego!!! ¡Dios mio! *fans self* ¡Es muy caliente!

 

I asked my friend Rosie what is the proper way to say "he is hot" in Spanish, and this transpired:

Rosie: depends on the context... if you know this person, or if they are a stranger

Me: What if he... happens to be... a fictional character... that you don't technically know... but feel like you do... because you just read a book with him in it........?

Rosie: "Es muy caliente" if you are talking about him.

Me: Thanks..... I'm putting this in my blog.

 

Man, talk about an "it's complicated" relationship status. 

 

Feral Heat was fun too! It was another novella, so devoured it in a couple days. I like Ashley's novellas. Maybe the size restraint sharpens her writing.


 

The Rejects (DNF)

I feel like I should say something about the two books I ended up not finishing, since I did give them the ol' college try. 

 

Heart Shaped Hack by Tracey Gravis Graves really puts to the test one of the basic truths of romance fiction:

Basic Truth #1: It's not stalking if he's sexy.

The executive director of a failing food pantry wears a tight skirt onto a tv news piece while asking for money, and garners the attention of a mystery man that drops a BAG OF MONEY on their doorstep.

Seriously.

Bag of money.

Turns out he's a hacker. We know this because when she finally meets him, he has already hacked into her computer, read all private files and search history, updated her dating profile, and ordered her things that were sitting in the shopping cart of her online Victoria Secret account. 

Creepy much?

He doesn't even tell her his last name for a long time. He could have lied, if he wanted to, instead of being all cloak and dagger, but no... 

He continues to invade her privacy and ask for trust she should not be giving him. His come-ons are crass and somewhat demeaning. She might notice, if she didn't spend so much time being grateful to him for liking her in the first place, playing "love me, love me not" as if she's got a field of daisies to pick petals from.

If that wasn't enough, the heroine herself is pretty lame, her friendships are shallow, and I would not hang out with anyone in this book for the life of me.

Creeptastic behavior, AND he's not even a vampire? No way, Jose.

 

The other one I rejected, The Outsider by Olivia Cunning, was a story for Adventures in Reading all of OverDrive.

With only an extremely vague synopsis, and a cautionary "contains mature themes," I downloaded the audiobook, and quickly found out:

  • It's about a polyamorous  2M1F group of rock stars.
  • It's not about them getting together, but them dealing with the complications of having a triangular relationship (spoiler alert: it's complicated).
  • Though it is the second book of the series, the series is a spin off of another long series, so it should really be counted as the, say, 13th, or whatever.

I think the thing that bothered me most was the last aspect, though I am not super excited about polyamory (where is the hierarchy? Where is the division of labor? This group is extremely disorganized.). All these characters kept parading in and out of the story, like I knew who they were and loved them, and I couldn't care less. 

But imagine my surprise when not five minutes in, I was balls deep in a sex scene with the three of them.

Oh, OverDrive, you take me to such interesting places.

 

It's interesting to note that after some research I found that these characters are the only ones that deal with polyamory, though other characters seem to span the list of socially acceptable kink. So why did OverDrive decide to have this book, and only this book, out of all the other books in the two series? Heaven knows.

 

Needless to say, I will not be reading more of these authors.

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