I'm totally in the minority here. I look at the sea of reviews, and I am practically an island on this book. The beginning, I was there. My heart was aching. I wanted to root for the couple.
Then, I listened to more (it was the audiobook version.) *Sigh* The beginning was the highlight, it only went downhill from there. Let me first start this autopsy by naming the subject, Lanie- from this point on in the review she will be named Doormat. She's supposed to be this eager marketing intern trying to get her foot in the door to land her dream job. Now, I always thought of a marketing rep to essentially be a salesperson for the masses. In theory, if you are to 'land that dream marketing job' you should be a good salesperson. Doormat even thought it herself. I'm sorry, but Doormat was not a salesperson. She had no backbone, she was so naive that her ears much have been constantly wet behind them, and she was an absolute doormat. I guessing you can tell how much I 'like' her.
Now, enter broody, bipolar rock star. He was her first everything, and she broke his heart in high school. There's some more standard rock star background... blah blah blah. OK, so she broke his heart- in high school. I've heard of people finding 'the one' all the way back in high school, but it's far from the norm. So he's a grade-A prime horse's rear end trying to scoop out her heart at the beginning. Not swoony. Not attractive. I don't care how talented and rockin' and rich you are, he went above and beyond to be a cold hearted snake. Then, true to form for the whole book, he flip-flops back and forth. Hot then cold - Don't run away from me but stay here while I take off and don't tell anyone where I am - Double standards out the wazoo - No. Just. No. I didn't see anything to swoon over. He was running when he should have been talking, seducing when he should be laying it out with an honest conversation, just plain being a dick about the way he does anything... and I'm supposed to swoon when he does a few sappy songs? I'm not even attracted to the guy. He's an *bleep*. Not an alpha character that pisses me off but makes me melt... no, he just gives off douchebag vibes, has a double standard for Doormat and just - ugggg! He's an *bleep*hat. A douchecanoe of the highest order that needs to be made to sing soprano with a swift kick in the nads.
What did he see in Doormat? I think a peek into his head could have really, really helped this book. We have no idea why he's all contractions all the time. I am just SO PISSED at the characters and the story. Finishing the book, and ESPECIALLY finding out everything behind all the brouhaha, I was in a bad mood and muttering, "Bullshit" every few minutes. I wanted it to end, just to put me out of my misery. I'm on the fence as to continuing the series at all. Is it just this story, these characters, that I am loathing? I sure don't know. Many have read a loved it, but not this island. My island far, far away from that drama llama couple... but I didn't hate Riff, so maybe there is a chance for trying out another book.
I wish I could blame it all on the narrator, but she wasn't bad. Not great, but not bad. Instead of a book hangover, I got book rage. I need a glass of wine just to get my mood out of that Doormat funk. Maybe even a shot of tequila.
It really deserves that extra ½♥. Really mello but still touching and hot m/m romance. Pride can be such a tricky bitch, keeping those lovers apart. It was an easy read over an afternoon, and really sweet.
The narrator has a lovely Southern drawl that was very appealing and easy on the ears. I thought he was a wonderful choice for Webber. Being from the South, I must say it worked well for me; I found it believable and more than comfortable to listen to. Like a tall glass of sweet iced tea on a hot day- only for my ears. OK, that's kind of a strange analogy, isn't it?
The only thing I wanted a little more of, and this may seem odd... but adversity. I suppose it's part of Webber's draw is that he can charm the pants of anyone... well, sort of, but there was a shit ton of acceptance going on. I hope that the world is filled with such loving, open-minded people out there, but deep down I found that hard to really believe that. But then again- this is fiction, suspension of disbelief and all that. It flirted with almost being 'too much' acceptance, but never quite crossed that line (it toed it, though).
This will most definitely be a re-read, it was just too easy to suck it down in a single afternoon.
I was having a really hard time rating this one...
About the only thing that gets 5♥s - the description of Rothko Chapel. Anyone that has been there and not appreciated the swirling complexity of the paintings and the lovely serenity and spiritual feeling the space imparts: you're missing out and my soul weeps for you.
But, beyond that and the metions of the humid air and maybe Buffalo Bayou- I wasn't as jazzed about reading about my old stomping ground. I thought, for some reason, that being set in Houston it might influence me to like it more... No. I instead felt somewhat frustrated. Driving anywhere seems to take forever and a day. Granted -creative license, and who wants to read about traffic and all that - but I just didn't get a nostalgic and really spot-on peek into Houston to relate to the story in that fashion.
The characters... now this is approaching more of a personal thing for me. I just felt that "Bea" ... *uugghhh* on one hand, there were MANY things I have in 'common' with her. I've tried to follow that rule, "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all." *crickets chirping* And there were some swoony elements of Gio... I guess I just found myself more interested in the side characters. Her grandma- she freakin' rocks (where can I find a grandma like that?). The fashion-challenged vampire priest. Oh, yes, I'd have a barrel of laughs around him. But 'Gio' and "Bea"... honestly, their 'non-relationship' had me bored most of the time. *Yawn*
One more thing: the ending. It's not a HEA, it's not even really a HFN. It's not a 'bad' ending, and not even a cliffhanger. It just kind of fizzled out in this unknown future void. Not bad, not good - just is. Where is the passion? Where is the burning desire to continue the series? Where is ... I don't know - just something that seems more like a real ending? It's like the different between songs that have a solid end, last note, no question- the song ends here versus those songs that just fade away into nothing still playing the chords over and over... Even in a series, I prefer books not to just fizzle out.
Do I want to continue the series? Yes. Will I pick the next book in the series up today, this month, or maybe even this year? Probably not. I'm not in any great hurry to continue, but I eventually will. Rolling all of these points into one rating... I'm going to have to go with 3½♥'s. I'm rounding up to 4... but even that was a close thing.
I'll be the first to admit I'm a shameless Seanan McGuire fangirl. Just accept it. So therefore, by virtue of my 'office' I tend to love everything she writes. I have yet to find an exception to this; though I will admit there was a thing or two that left me a wee bit wanting (but I think it's just because I'm abnormally attached to odd side characters.)
One of the things that ended up being a source of amusement, and simultaneously an irritation: it was ever so slightly predictable in spots. Now, that sounds worse than it is- it's like telling a 'good guy' that "I just want to be friends. It's not you, it's me." Sounds like the kiss of freakin' death when that's not the impression I want to give. Basically, there was more than one aspect that was not a shock or surprise at all, and that's not always a bad thing. There is some comfort in that fact, there is not such a huge 180 slap-to-the-head that makes you thing WTF? On the other hand, a little more flabbergasted shock might not have been such a bad thing to experience.
While there are new characters to learn about and love, there are still some of my favorites from previous books in the InCryptid series: (please excuse my spelling now, as I've primarily listened to the books and that doesn't give any clue if I'm spelling something right) Sarah, even a cameo from Verity, and one cannot forget the Aisling Mice *Hail*. I simply adore those mice, and really, really want a colony of my own. Even if I might go broke on baked goods.
It all boils down to this: Half-Off Ragnarok is a lovely addition to the series, but ultimately not my favorite so far in the series. It was nice hearing more from the male of the Price family, but Verity already danced her way into my heart as my favorite, I think. Besides, he really is quite the geek, and while I love me some hot nerdy men, 'tweed as a valid lifestyle choice' just redlines those warp drives despite the objections from the head engineer. I smidge up from 4♥'s and eagerly await more from the Price family!
In terms of hot dragon smut, let's quote When Harry Met Sally, "YES! YES! YES!" and "I'll have what she's having."
In terms of the end... NO! NO! NO! My heart plummetted at the end, deflated. I wanted to stomp my foot. I wanted Jim to go bite or drool on someone on behalf of Aisling, I wanted to curl up and cry a little. Although, props to Katie MacAlister on making me seriously consider spending an audible credit for the next book.
The mystery: kept me guessing on this one. My theories would change chapter-to-chapter, I have to admit it kept me on my toes. However... there are a few things that bugged me. I'm not sure if they are included as a 'red herring' to throw the reader off the scent of the real killer, or if it was just one of the plot threads whose end didn't get woven into the overall carpet. Although- one teensy wheensy little thing, that wasn't overly important and such, I did figure out. WAY in advance; but like I said, it was a 'small fries' bit of the book, not a major plot issue.
Narrator: I have a love/hate thing going on with this narrator. I like so much of what she does, except for these freakin' weird pauses. Like pauses that give the feel of being in the middle of a paragraph, but then 'announcements' of which Chapter you're on rides the coattails of the previous sentence like an automatic rifle. What's up with that? It's like someone in post production thought- let's add seconds of silence here, and take it away from there, just to mess with the audio book readers. Seriously. It must not affect me too much, however, because I still want to continue the audio version of the next book in the series.
Did I mention the hot dragon sex? It deserves mentioning twice. Maybe even three times. Maybe shouting it from the rooftops: HOT. DRAGON. SEX. Is it hot in here? I LOVE green dragons.... *shudder* I'm about to totally 'date' myself here... but anyone who is familiar with Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and the scene where Phoebe Cates is coming out of the pool - OK, same water-dripping sex-on-a-stick slow motion action but only it's a hot, wet, male dragon. Oh, yeah... if I was equipped to pitch it, there would totally be a tent after reading that part of the book (reading/listening, tomato/tomato). I swear, the music (from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) was practically playing through my head like a soundtrack for that part of the book. I could play that part of the audio book on repeat... One more time: hot dragon sex. Ok, it's out of my system now, really.
If you're a fan of PNR or Urban Fantasy with steam, and especially if you're a 'dragon' fan- then you need to check out this series.
4.5 'Did I just say that out loud?' ♥'s
Really, REALLY enjoyed this far more than I anticipated. That whole brain-to-mouth filter is absolutely missing for the main female lead, and I loved every single second of it! It was really above and beyond what I expected, I'm already eyeballing the next in the series, but why, oh, why are they NOT in audio yet? *Taps foot* I'm waiting. I want more. GIVE ME MORE!
It was one of those snort with laughter, out loud, making everyone around me wonder, 'what is up with that gal?' You may or may not be able to read this in public, but it's definitely worth a credit, sale, or purchase!
It's labeled as a 'smart knitting in the city romance' if I remember correctly, and just to warn everyone right now: I don't knit. I could give two craps about knitting, but fear not, this book could give two craps, too. It's more coincidence that the main character's inner circle of friends is a knitting group. That's all. She doesn't even knit, she just likes this circle of friends that do. So don't think yarn and needles are totally going to be shoved on you, really.
I mentioned the humor, right? Totally awkward and loveable humor. I was really pleasantly surprised by this and would recommend it to any romantic comedy lover.
I'd really give it more like 4½♥'s... It's like a New Adult Romance (but a little more 'vanilla' on the 'hot factor') meets the 'Family' (like Godfather type family) meets slave (like slave trafficking) meets... high school angst? It's VERY hard to describe, but I must admit I was captivated. *Whispers* Don't tell anyone- but I'm not really a big 'fan' of mafia-type stuff, but even I fell for this book.
I had SO many recommend this to me... and I kept dragging my feet. Over and over, no clue why. Maybe it's because organized crime doesn't usually make it's way into my romance books. For that matter, human trafficking doesn't much, either.
I most definitely will continue this series- and can I just say, Any Film Producers Out There? Take. A. Look. This would translate SO well to film, in my opinion. (And I do actually have theater and college film experience, so I'm not just whistling Dixie.)
In full disclosure, I did receive an eBook via NetGalley, but I also purchased the eBook and audio, so it should be MORE than obvious that I am willing to spend money on this book and these are my honest opinions.
While I enjoyed this, pretty much anything by Kristen Ashley has please me... but like #2 (Sweet Dreams), it just wasn't knock-me-down great. Beyond wanting to smack the characters around, maybe it's just me because I don't 'get' the whole doing criminals a favor or being indebted or whatever she was... but there was so much repetition. So much. And it's a long freakin' audio, so when I'm hearing nearly the same thing over and over... it got tiring.
Like I said... I just don't understand if you don't like someone, you know they are a pimp, your love of your life was killed for doing them a favor... that's just far from anything I've ever been around, so maybe it's just my white-bread background that's throwing up a wall here. And... the whole 2nd male interest thing. OK, I get that it's something we can generally come to expect from any KA book. I can accept that- some sort of competition over the lady's love. I get it. But in this one, maybe I missed something, but the whole 2nd interested party... just didn't sit well with me in this book. It just didn't.
Maybe it's just a 'it's me it's not this book' thing. I hope. Sincerely. Although, I was pleased to get peeks into the previous couples and how they are doing.
It's a STRONG 4♥'s, with maybe a smidge extra for the broken bed alone.
There are things I loved about this book... fluffy and fun with rockers. Like a romantic comedy with some steam... eventually. It did have to build to that, but boy, that tent was erected pretty damn quickly once it got to that part. I liked that this book still focused on the 'main' couple but gave you snapshots of the couple from the last book. They didn't steal the spotlight, just added to the warm fuzzy glow.
Sadly, there were things I didn't love so much about this book as well. False pretenses (that was pretty obvious and not really sugar coated, so points for that), some characters were a hair on the bland side, and the main female lead- a smidgen of 'doormat'. And can I get an 'Amen' about the insta-love? Just because you crush on a celebrity for years does NOT make insta-love an easy pill to swallow. I really fought against that insta-love 'diagnosis' on this book, too. But at the end of the day, including all the aforementioned reasons, the good and fun still FAR outweighed the negative.
I also must give props to the narrator. I enjoyed hearing the story, I think it added to the humor of the book, and really helped add that 'smidge extra' to my rating. The narrator was a joy and absolutely a good choice!
If you need something hot and sweet and on the fluffier side of romance (and you like rockers) then I'd highly recommend checking out this book and series. It does have it's serious moments, but they are few and far between and have some lovely heat and foreplay to hold it all together.
Book #2 in the series.
Technically, I'd go with 4½♥'s, but I fudged up because hot DAMN... this is a damn good dystiopian series. A not a zombie as far as the eye can see! (Not that there is anything wrong with zombies.)
I saw mixed reviews regarding the narration of this sequel- I didn't have any problems whatsoever with the narrator. Not uber fabulous but it didn't hurt the book at all, in my humble opinion. Although, I'll admit, the LONG wait from book 1... I had already waited so damn long, I just put this sucker on the back burner until a friend finally recommended I finally listen to the darned thing.
A quick word about the ending... on one hand, it's very 'up in the air' and 'to be continued' (although PLEASE say I won't be waiting for over a year again!) but I still was satisfied. It's not all nice and neat and tied up with a bow, there are questions of 'what will happen' everywhere you look. But it's not a harsh cliff hanger, it's even almost... upbeat? Hopeful maybe is a better word.
If you like dystopian and want to see a dark side to angels then you simply MUST pick this series up. It's so unique and just WOW.
Irreverent, funny as shit- like bray like a donkey with laughter funny. My man-love obsession just wrapped this book up around me and made me snort and even made me almost mist up at one point. I was rooting for the Paul and Vince, and wanted so badly to see them get a happily ever after.
It's like this big gay romantic comedy, complete with a homophobic parrot and a two-legged dog named wheels. I kid you not. Although... that epilogue - no beuno. You can kiss my rosy rear for that! I liked the ending well enough, but the epilogue just won't be understood (and my rolling eyes at Paul) until you read it.
“He snorted into his radicchio, which I admired because it was a pretty purple. The radicchio was purple, not his snort. Just in case you got confused there. I don't think it's possible for people to snort colors. We're not unicorns, after all.”
Don't let that quote fool you- Helena (drag queen) is so fabulous, she may as well be a unicorn. There are flames and rainbows just oozing from the pages, and I loved it!
“It was as if God himself saw that my intention was to make my outer self match my inner fabulosity and didn't think the world could handle such an explosion of amazingness. So instead of letting me get to the gym where I would have transformed myself into a walking sex god, he created a Dunkin' Donuts out of nothing and then gave them away for free. I didn't make it to the gym. I had a bear claw instead. And a maple bar. And some donut holes. And then some more donut holes.”
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