Fire and Ice
Author: Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard #7
Tags: Contemporary Romance, non-magical, cop, FBI, MURDER, reporter, super soldier project?
Hey, I liked this book!
I was very skeptical. I approach new authors slowly, like a stray dog. I come at them obliquely, sniff the air around them, searching for potential foul smells or danger. I was wary of reading a contemporary, but since I liked Garwood's Highlander romance Shadow Music, I decided to try it out.
I was pleasantly surprised!
It is charmingly tame. No overt sex scenes. The soapbox-standing feminist in me watched carefully for the usual Contemporary Romance tropes: clumsy heroines that seem much more concerned with validation from men than whatever life threatening thing they are dealing with at the time. My inner feminist sat back down, appeased, and I was able to enjoy it unhampered.
I found I liked the secondary characters as well. I wanted to know more about them. I've been dropped into the later part of the series, but I didn't feel lost.
The action was a little boring. Sophie Rose is a reporter that stumbles upon a murder. FBI Agent Jack is the love/hate opposite who has to follow her around. Guess what happens. Love! Danger! Murrderrr! I found myself zoning out during the action scenes.
The main character Sophie is the daughter of this often-wanted-but-never-caught white collar criminal with a Robin Hood complex named Bobby Rose. I wonder if he shows up in any of the other books. The author seems to have a massive crush on him.
Bobby Rose can do no wrong. He is almost omnipotent, never caught off guard, rights wrongs, and takes down the big bad guys, all while making women swoon. He's not even a main character in this book. Is it just that the book is written in the lens of his daughter, or is his character really this infallible?
I have to wonder if the reason why I liked this book so much is because I enjoyed the voice of the narrator. Her voice is very calming, and I liked when she put on a psuedo-Brooklyn accent for some of the characters.
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #7
Tags: Paranormal Romance, shifters, fae, marriage of convenience
Spoiler alert because WHAT THE FUCK.
Okay, so I have picked up and put down this book a couple times now, and everyone around me has paid the price for it. I can't stop complaining about this premise: these two alpha wolf shifters decide to mate for convenience to assuage the unrest between two packs thrown together. The main problem in the story is that they don't form the mate bond, that magical mystical almost tangible bond between two shifters that will keep them happy and in love for the rest of your lives.
Turns out they love each other, they have a kid together, they have great sex all the time, and they work well together. The only difference is that they don't have that thing that shifters can't shut up about, that magical stamp of approval from the powers that be that writes in big letters *TRUE LOVE GUARANTEED* over the mate bonded shifters' foreheads.
OH I SO FUCKING SORRY YOU JUST HAVE NORMAL HUMAN LOVE AND NOT SOME MAGICAL WHATSIT THAT STOPS THEM FROM EVER LEAVING YOU AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.
I have a theory (of course I have a theory) that romance novels serve a purpose. That purpose is to reinforce the myth of monogamy. Monogamy is a human concept, therefore intangible. Just as people go to church to reinforce their views of an intangible religion, people visit romance novels to reinforce their intangible concept of monogamy.
That's why heroes in romance novels are always running around with some excuse why they will be forever faithful, be it magical mate bonding, some monogamy disease, or whatever other flimsy excuse you can muster.
I love it.
I see through it, but I love it because damn, wouldn't it be great if it were that easy.
One would think that a series like this, that sets up a fast track to monogamy through the magical mate bond, would not question its own world rules.
So what the fuck.
I respect the author's inclinations to test the boundaries of her own rules, but it's pretty sad that lack of mate bond cheapens just regular non-magical love. Further torture ensues when the woman is tricked into thinking she has the mate bond with someone else.
Gah! It's now a weapon! The mate bond can strike at any time, to any person, for any person, no matter what your current situation is or who that other person is. If he's a dick, it doesn't matter because you see him and SMACK! instant mate bond. No one else will fill your heart the way that this asshole you just met will. You may actually die if you don't follow your mate bond! That's AWFUL.
The ending of the book is the worst possible solution: you had the mate bond all along! Just kidding! J/K! Lots of love! GTG, go be mate-bond-y now.
Turns out their mate bond is so "special" that they don't feel what other people talk about. Their bond is so wrapped up in their souls that it feels part of them, and they didn't even notice.
That's fucking DUMB.
I had thought that maybe the solution would be some sort of personal awakening, or at very least a spell that is blocking the mate bond. Nope. We pulled the "it was within you all along" schtick, and left it at that.
Why didn't they come to this conclusion on their own? Couldn't they have investigated it? Isn't there some sort of magical litmus test? Pink for mate bond, blue for no mate bond?
Some magical beings can see a physical manifestation of the mate bond. The one that did in this story finally told them. If I were him, I would have totally lied and said they did even if they didn't. "Oh yeah. Totally mate bonded for life. Yep. Go on and get freaky."
The other premise of the story wasn't much better. An anthropology professor, who has spent his academic career studying shifters, decides to create a BATTLE READY MAGICAL WAR BEAST with the magical technology Fae used to create shifters.
As you do.
Because anthropology often translates into arms dealing with the U.S. Government.
I kept on thinking, where did he get the budget for this? Anthropology is under Humanities, which is under Dirt Poor Departments of Academia. And it's a state school.
"Man, I am so glad I switched to U of NC for my Anthropology major. Today in lab we abducted a faerie and made her create a griffin out of parts of many animals! Next week we will unleash it on a group on unsuspecting shifters to see if we can weaponize it for the US Department of Defense!"
"What?! No fair! At my school, we just talk about what it means to be human and stuff. What's your thesis going to be on?"
"One word: manticore."
Definitely my least favorite of the series so far. This was the Shifters Unbound book available to me through the library. Bummer, since I am still missing a few.
Delusions of Gender
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference
Author: Cordelia Fines
Tags: Nonfiction, Feminism, Neuroscience.
It was alright, but pretty repetitive. She basically debunks myths, preconceptions, scientific articles, and "facts" that say there is any hard wired gender difference.
I only needed, like, three examples to get the idea across, but whatever.
I went from "oh yeah, that makes sense," to "Girl, I know! Preaching to the choir here."
Probably the best reason to read it is the snark. She throws shade on all types of scientists, specific people, and every version of parenting from ultra-gender-non-conforming to traditional. She is basically calling the woman who wrote The Female Brain out to a duel. Pistols at dawn, scientists, or be publicly shamed!