Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger
Shade didn’t really do much for me in Pleasure Unbound so I was skeptical about how much I’d enjoy learning about his story. Desire Unchained didn’t blow me away like its predecessor did but it’s still a good read. We finally get to learn about the curse that kept coming up in the first book. The reveal was a tad anticlimactic in my opinion. For me, Gem and Kynan sort of stole the spotlight too. I think I enjoyed their interactions more than what was happening between Shade and Runa. Oh well!
The first half of the book is great. I’m particularly fond of Runa. She went from being a weak, love struck human to a don’t-mess-with-me werewolf. Shade didn’t expect his ex lover to come back for him with a vengeance (and claws!). I liked how every time the seminus demon would try to pull the same stunts he used to pull on the wolf; she’d push back and put him in his place. You don’t survive a werewolf attack without growing a backbone! I enjoyed seeing a character learn from her mistakes for a change. Runa was on the verge of falling into her old habits with Shade more than once only to realize what was happening and then she’d conscientiously take steps to change directions. I admired her knack for dealing with Shade and the way that she overcomes being a victim.
The big bad wasn’t much of a surprise, in fact, his name is mentioned several times in the blurb which I found a little disappointing. Larissa could have played up the mystery a bit more and the same thing goes for Shade’s curse. After finishing Pleasure Unbound, I was definitely curious to learn more about it but I found the truth to be somewhat of a let down to be honest. Ione’s characters and her Demonica world are so well-developed that I expected something similar with regards to these two elements. I just found that she gave the information up either too easily or simply didn’t elaborate enough on them. Maybe I’m just nitpicking but I’d expected more.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some tender moments between Shade and Runa because there are. In fact, I was on the verge of tears more than once which never happened while I was reading about Eidolon and Tayla. Gem and Kynan are amazing in this novel. With the way that things end between them in Desire Unchained, I’m really hoping that they get a book of their own, or a spin-off, or a novella, or… something! Because their story is just begging to be told!
Desire Unchained has many of the same elements that made me fall in love with the first book of this series but on a more subdued level. It’s good but it’s just not terrific. Although, many of my fellow reviewers seem to disagree with my point of view on this; which is fine, to each their own! Wraith’s story is up next and I hope that Larissa nails this book because I think it has the potential to be pure gold. Fingers crossed!
I don’t usually pace myself whenever I read series, I’m more of a back-to-back kind of girl, but the Molly Harper / Amanda Ronconi duo deserves to be savoured because they make outstanding audiobooks together. NICE GIRLS DON’T LIVE FOREVER is a winning amalgamation of smart aleck humour, three dimensional characters, snappy writing, and excellent narration. The story is more action-packed than usual, and I loved the werewolf tidbits that are scattered throughout this book. It’s the little details that make a series stand out, and JANE JAMESON’s got them in abundance!
These novels usually tend to be pretty straightforward in the plot department, so I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of this installment’s story. The Courtneys were hilariously stereotypical blondes, and I loved the dynamics between Jane and her two BFF’s: Jolene and Andrea. The latter character is also involved in another thread that was unexpected, but due. And, of course, there’s no shortage of laugh-out-loud moments including Dick’s attempt at “cheering” Jameson up after her supposed break-up with Gabe which proves to be oddly effective. Who knew that getting drunk, swallowing your feelings, and starting a bar fight could be so therapeutic!
I did have one major beef with this novel, and that was Jane and Gabrielle’s continued on-again-off-again relationship woes. I’m not big on the whole “create drama within the main couple with miscommunication” ploy unless the protagonists’ love is still fairly new. Jameson and Nightengale have been together pretty much since book 1, yet they haven’t learned to talk to each other which frustrated me to no end. However, the werewolf morsels did help to distract me from this minor annoyance with their unique details that were both enlightening, and a little scary. I am just thanking my lucky stars that human babies are not born with a full set of teeth like weres are. Ouchie!
What can I possibly say about Amanda Ronconi’s narration that I haven’t said already? Harper’s writing is entertaining enough on its own, but when paired with this talented woman’s voice, it achieves a level of awesomeness that puts it in a league above the rest. Ronconi navigates Jane’s world like it’s her second skin while also doing an excellent job of the secondary characters, and delivering all of the punch lines with pizzazz. She’s one of my top 3 favourite narrators, and this series is the reason why.
NICE GIRLS DON’T LIVE FOREVER is another fun filled installment in a series that consistently delivers barrels of laughs.
Worried about turning into bride-zilla? Nothing will make you feel better about your own wedding planning mishaps than reading about Jolene’s upcoming werewolf nuptials. Between her family’s questionable traditions, a future mother-in-law from hell and a theme that’s centered on a sinking ship; there’s no shortage of drama in Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men. Molly Harper’s unique sense of humour never fails to bring a smile to my face and even a few laugh-out-low moments but when her story is narrated by Amanda Ronconi the whole experience becomes doubly enjoyable. In this installment we get the best of both worlds: Jane Jameson AND werewolves!
I’m currently in the midst of planning my own big day so I absolutely loved reading about Jolene’s werewolf wedding disasters. She’s a fictional character so I didn’t feel bad about laughing at and even feeling better because of her misfortunes. There are several things that I am dreading about this whole “getting married” process but I was comforted by the knowledge that no matter how bad it gets, it’ll never be this bad. The wedding cake snafu was hilarious and I almost started crying from laughing so hard when the new couple had their first dance to Celine Dion.
One of my favourite characters in this series has to be Dick Cheney; every time he’s in a scene I just know that within no time I’ll be trying to suppress an uncontrollable case of the giggles. We uncover what his secret “vampire” power is and it’s so blatantly obvious yet ridiculously preposterous at the same time. I was as shocked as Jane was to learn the truth but couldn’t resist doing a quick *facepalm* over having missed the clues. Cheney even goes so far as to vamperize Jane’s car; you won’t believe the modifications that Harper dreamed up! This guy should get his own spin-off series. Seriously!
I loved getting to know more about the werewolves in this series; some of their wedding traditions are downright weird but they were definitely good for a laugh. Female wolves don’t consider the B-word to be derogatory and Jane quickly catches on to that fact; it was funny listening to her vent her frustrations over dealing with Jolene’s crazy family by repeatedly using the term. Unfortunately, the bride-to-be quickly caught on to Jameson’s scheme and makes her tone it down. It was great while it lasted though!
The only reason why I haven’t finished this series yet is because I find that the audiobooks are a great way to get me out of a reading slump so I always try to keep at least one in reserve. Molly Harper never ceases to entertain and Nice Girls Don’t Date Men is a great addition to her repertoire. If you haven’t listened to a story narrated by Amanda Ronconi yet, this series is for you.