Monthly Archives: September 2019

Review of Beneath a Blood Lust Moon (Rise of the Arkansas Werewolves #2), by Jodi Vaughn

I received and audible credit for a copy of Beneath a Blood Lust Moon, by Jodi Vaughn.

Description from Goodreads:

Werewolf Braxton Devereaux would do anything to protect his mother from his abusive father, even commit murder. Or so everyone assumes. Pack Law justice is swift and unforgiving when it comes to murder, and soon werewolf Assassins are out to balance the scales – Braxton’s life for his father’s. On the run, Braxton flees on his Harley to the anti-extradition state of Missouri, but before he crosses the border, he is felled by an Assassin’s bullet, and an unsuspecting blonde. Kate Wolph is in a legal battle to avoid losing her Bed and Breakfast to foreclosure. The last thing she needs is an injured wolf to care for, let alone a gorgeous man with blank eyes and a deadly smile. But the supernatural world of danger that surrounds him threatens to swallow more than just her life. Can Braxton track down the real killer before the Assassins find him, or will Pack Justice cost him not only his life but the life of the only woman he’s ever loved?

Review:

This is a perfectly serviceable werewolf-finds-his-mate story. It fulfilled it’s purpose and the writing is pretty solid. Unfortunately for me, it contained a number of my absolute most hated PNR elements that adversely effected my enjoyment of it.

For example, I cannot express how much I hate when characters (especially female characters) can’t tell dream for reality and use the “this must be a dream” as an excuse to bypass their inhibitions. I think it’s weak storytelling. As if the author couldn’t come up with a feasible reason to give the woman sexual agency (and/or time to develop feelings for the love interest), except to remove her from reality. What’s more, unless the author gives me a reason (mental illness, drugs, knock to the head, etc) for why a woman can’t tell fantasy from reality, I have to question the character’s intelligence and I don’t want vapid, stupid heroines.

I dislike that the pet name Baby was dropped into almost all the sex scenes, from the very beginning. It irks me when a female character is supposed to be sexually active, but have never had an orgasm or even experimented at all (so, a symbolic virgin). At least one fairly significant character was introduced and then dropped from the story. I noticed at least one inconsistency in the plot. It’s never explained why an execution order went out so fast without anyone ever verifying he murdered anyone or even trying. (As in it’s never even questioned by authority.) The heroine ran off in a cliched TSTL manner. The authors’ were seriously over the top, inappropriate (if male characters did 1/2 of what they did we’d be calling for blood), and felt self-indulgent on the actual author’s part. And the two villains were paper thin, one not even being part of the plot at all really and the second’s motivation being murky.

But those are personal pet peeves that might not bother me so bad if they weren’t already on my radar as annoying elements. Others may not mind them at all. Similarly, Jeffery Kafer did a great job with the narration. But I would have SO preferred a female narrator for this book. (Again, personal opinion)

All in all, not bad. Just maybe not 100% for me. I didn’t dislike it. I just also spent an above average amount of time going, “Oh, and there is another annoying inclusion.” It did stand-alone fairly well. I hadn’t read book one in the series.

Review of NOS4A2, by Joe Hill

I borrowed an audio copy of Joe Hill‘s NOS4A2 through the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son. 

Review:

I’m surprised that I don’t have more to say on this one. But, having finished it, I’m just kind of like, “OK, I’m done.” I have no strong feelings either direction. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it. I was disappointed in the lack of what I would consider a happy ending, though it did mostly wrap up. And I 100% appreciated having a positively represented fat man who was lovable and loved. Lou was absolutely my favorite character. (Though the fact that he lost all his weight in the end compromised the fat representation a little bit. Not completely though. He was fat the whole time he was heroic and wonderful.)

This was my first Joe Hill book and I didn’t remember that he’s Stephen’s King son when I picked the book up. I thought his writing very like his fathers and was a little surprised to find him referencing some of Kings work in the book. It was odd.

The narrator (Kate Mulgrew) did a great job with the exception of the times she stopped for dramatic pauses before finishing sentences. “He walked into the……kitchen.” That seriously got on my nerves. All in all, it was pretty good but didn’t blow my socks off.

Review of Let It Snow, by Nancy Thayer

I won a paperback copy of Nancy Thayer‘s Let it Snow through Goodreads. I read it now, in September, so that I can put it in the Little Free Library with the other holiday themed (or set) books in December.

Description:

Christina Antonioni is preparing for the holidays at her Nantucket toy shop, unpacking last-minute shipments and decorating for her loyal Christmas shoppers. But when her Scrooge of a landlord, Oscar Bittlesman, raises her rent, it seems nearly impossible for Christina to continue business on the wharf.

Even so, Christina hopes there is a warm heart underneath Oscar’s steely exterior. When she bonds with Wink, his sweet, young granddaughter who frequents the shop, it becomes clear that perhaps he isn’t so cold after all. And with the help of Wink’s uncle, who happens to be a charming and very handsome bachelor, this may be the best Christmas any of them could have ever imagined. Nancy Thayer’s enchanting Nantucket setting provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday love story. 

Review:

This is a hard book for me to review, because everyone’s taste varies and this particular kind of book makes me cringe. At about the halfway mark I thought, “This is the sort of book people who like the Hallmark Channel would enjoy.” It’s completely true. At one point the main character even sits down and watches it herself. Unfortunately, that particular brand of wholesome, clean (read bland in my opinion), never rings true for me. I dislike it extremely. But I also acknowledge that there is a reason the Hallmark Channel has been around as long as it has. There are people out there who love tis kind of feel-good cheese. I’m just not one of them.

So, I’ll give it a middle of the road three stars. Acknowledging that the writing is perfectly solid and though I can’t relate to a 3-week romance culminating in a proposal, or the crass talk of who is rich and who is poor, or even the fact that everyone refused to get involved in the business issue and that was somehow supposed to be fair, others will no doubt love this.